Franco Prussian War 1870 – Battle at the River Lauter


Another FPW battle in the Wargamorium last night using the 1870 rules and 15mm Old Glory figures.

A Bavarian Corps was trapped up against the river Lauter by a considerably larger French Corps.  The bridge behind them was destroyed but the Bavarians had a pontoon train which worked frantically to construct a safe crossing to escape.  It was a race against time BUT – at the far end of the table 2 Prussian Corps arrived and they too had a pontoon train.

So could the French destroy the isolated Bavarian Corps before they could escape across the river or before the Prussian Corps could cross over to them?  The short answer is NO they could not.  The Bavarians were able to hold up twice their number with ease and both pontoon bridges were constructed in time to allow the Prussians to cross over so the French retired and the game was over.

Photographs are below.  Only a few were good enough as many were too blurred to post.

I extended the table to some 16 foot long by 6 foot wide so as to allow the Prussian Corps to be laid out on the table in all their spendour.

This time we both agreed that the “1870” rules were not suitable for our games as there was too much micromanagement at a very low level so we are on the hunt now for a new set for the next FPW game.

Next week however it will be the Franco-Austrian War 1859 using Principles of War Rules.  Hopefully there will be more photographs.

01. Full table view

Full table view before the game. The table is 16 feet long.


Bavarians preparing to defend the railway embankment


Bavarian pontoon train arrives


Bavarian pontoon bridge under construction. The inverted wall is just a token to mark the stage the bridge is at.


French bearing down on the Bavarian held village


French and Bavarians entering into battle


Here come the Prussians to the rescue


Yet more Prussians on the way


Two Prussian Corps take up a lot of road space.



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11 Responses to Franco Prussian War 1870 – Battle at the River Lauter

  1. Dave Gamer says:

    Yeah, I have the 1870 rules and they looked too fiddly to me, too – good resource for the period, though. I have several rules for the Franco-Prussian War. I like Volley & Bayonet for high level stuff (1 stand = one 2000-3000 man regiment). For lower level I currently like Piquet:Field of Battle. Base size doesn’t matter, normally 4 bases for infantry and cav, 2 for arty. But if you wanted to use 3 bases per unit it’s no problem. The author of the rules actually plays 1870 and 1866 games (as well as ACW, Naps, and SYW) with the rules. Note that Piquet:FoB is one of those highly random rulesets (I might be able to move my units several times in a row before you could respond, for example) which might not float your boat. Here’s an 1866 game being run by the author (he uses 25mm figs but you can use any scale with the rules):

    • The Wargamorium says:

      Hello Davegamer

      Many thanks for your comments. I have considered Piquet but I believe it is a card based game which is a system I do not like. I will probably end up writing my own. Many thanks for the link.

  2. John Leahy says:

    Hi, nice looking game. I agree about 1870. The reference material in all his rulebooks are exceptional. But I am no fan of the rules. I agree with Dave Gamer about using VnB for the larger actions. A very good set of rules. I also agree about using Field of Battle. This has become our groups defacto set for early 1800’s through early WWI. Don’t confuse these with regular Piquet. They took all the elements that were good from Piquet and added some improvements. Yeah, it uses cards. Perhaps not in the way you may think. I have been gaming European Wars from the SYW to 1914 for pushing 40 years always looking for the ‘right’ set of rules. Field of Battle IS that set. You couldn’t pay me to stop playing it. You may watch a game of it if you ever come across one. It may change your mind.

    Thanks again for all the really nice games on your blog. i enjoyed them.



    • The Wargamorium says:

      Hi John

      Many thanks for your kind comments. I am not familiar with Field of Battle although I have to say that I am not keen on using cards. However I am considering using V&B as an alternative but will probably end up using home grown rules.


  3. Lee Grantham says:

    Hi Robert,
    I am also a fan of the FPW as well as Crimean war. Have you tried the ‘They died for glory’ rule set?
    They are not bad and do not involve cards. I also recently purchased a book called Wargaming Nineteenth Century Europe 1815 to 1878 by Neil Thomas.
    These are fast play simple rules. There are many scenarios for lots of different periods. The core rules remain the same but each army has different characteristics that affects how it operates.
    I quite like them plus they are really easy to pick up and their is no micro management. They give a feel for each period which is realistic without becoming tedious.
    Newbies like them and they make for an enjoyable and playable game which is what its all about. Plus there are no cards 😉
    Give them a whirl you may be surprised.
    PS my Crimean army is nearly completed. I may have to make a model of Malokoff next!!

    • wargamorium says:

      Hi Lee

      Many thanks for your kind comments.

      I have a copy of They Died for Glory but they are not for me I’m afraid. Any FPW ruleset which allows for hand to hand combat does not match my idea of an FPW battle. I ended up writing my own rules but they tend to crash under the pressure of play. However this has not stopped me trying and I am currently struggling to produce yet another set to try out some Friday night. Trouble now is that I re-based my armies for the “1870” rules. I don’t know if you are familiar with them but their website is here – Link – I have to say we found them to be grand tactical one minute and micro management the next. I believe the author is thinking of a re-write.

      I also use my own rules for the Crimean War as well. These are extracted form a Napoleonic set and they worked reasonably well with the assault on the Malakoff game on the blog. The trouble is that I am never happy with commercially produced rule sets. I should give up my own ideas and go with the flow. Life would be easier.

      Thanks for taking the interest to post a comment and please feel free to comment again.



  4. Lee Grantham says:

    Hi Rob
    I was a little unsure about your comment re hand to hand fighting for FPW. I am sure that they would have taken place. The storming of Gravelote- St.Privat by the Prussian Guard would be an example I think.
    Can you forward a copy of your own rules? I would be interested in giving them a bash. I have played several home grown sets and most make for an enjoyable outing on the table top.
    best wishes

    • wargamorium says:

      Hello Lee

      I am not aware of any hand to hand combat at the storming of St. Privat. It is possible that there may have been some between remaining French stragglers but grand scale battalion versus battalion melees just did not happen during the FPW. I do allow for hand to hand in built up areas but again that would have been rifle firing rather than the bayonet. Indeed the storming of St. Privat is an excellent example where the Prussian Guard drew up, lost a surprising number of casualties at long range and were so shot up in the advance that they all came to a complete halt 300 or so yards from the French position despite the best encouragements from their officers. It took quite a while to get moving again and that was after the French position had been turned by the 12th Saxon Corps.

      I am currently wading through my own rules to reflect this situation but they are not ready yet even for playtesting. I am conducting a major radical overhaul of the systems and aiming for a first test game in October. My FPW opponent is very critical in a constructive way so I am sure they will not survive the first playtest but I am very determined to get a set that works in view of the number of figures I have painted so far (over 1500 at the last count) and my long term enthusiasm for this period.

      The best I can promise is that I will send you a copy after the first playtest. They are a complete shambles at the moment.

      Thanks for the interest



  5. Lee says:

    Well I now stand corrected 🙂
    Thanks Rob and best of luck with the rule set.

  6. Neil says:

    You could try the fire and fury variant on the wyre forest wargames site. You will need the original ff rulebook.

    • wargamorium says:

      Hi Neil

      Unbelievably I have just posted this same query on the TMP Page this evening where Sheepman has just posted pictures of an 1870 battle using Fire and Furia Francese rules and I asked if I need the original F&F rules for this. What a coincidence.

      I have been on to Bill Grey of F&F and he tells me that the new Age of Valor – which is F&F for European 19th Century wars – is nearing completion so I think I will wait for those.

      Thanks for the suggestion though.


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