Project Planning - Zorndorf 2018

Eureka Russian Grenadiers on the workbench

...the 260th Anniversary of Zorndorf is in AUG 2018. Perhaps that could be a goal for your Russian build-up?  

Jon sent me the preceding suggestion earlier this week, and with such suggestions are armies forged and plans brought into focus...  I started working on this 18mm Russian force as a supplement to Jon's much more robust Prussian and Austrian collections.  The problem with adding another open ended collection is that it tends to be lost over time in the morass of all the other time periods and collections I find interesting and engaging.  Now, however, I have I a goal to work towards.  But can I attain it?

The Battle

The Battle of Zorndorf occurred on August 25th, 1758 between a Russian force of around 43,000 under Count Fermor versus a Prussian Force of around 36,000 under Frederick the Great.  King Frederick managed to get behind the Russian defensive position north of Zorndorf and was placed between the Russians and their Supply depot.  He decided to attempt the same oblique order attack on the Russian position as he did at Leuthen.  Unfortunately, he made his maneuver in plain view of his opponent much as he had at Kolin, resulting in another frontal assault with grievous casualties on both sides.

That appears to be the extent of agreement I can find.  Both sides suffered massive casualties (roughly 1/3 of their deployed forces)  and both sides claimed victory.  Contemporary writers and those of the 19th century claim a Prussian victory, but modern analysis makes it appear to be a tactical draw.  (Perhaps a strategic victory for Prussia as Russia did not conduct any significant offensive actions in the following months)

What makes it a compelling scenario for play?

The battle comprises two roughly comparable forces fighting across mostly open ground.  The Russian troops surprised the Prussians with their stubborn tenacity.  Frederick had stolen a march on the Russians, but had done so by exhausting his own troops.   Thus, this battle is not going to be a lopsided affair.  Both sides had compelling arguments for moments that could have resulted in resounding success. 

Further, it is large enough to provide a substantial goal, while still being attainable within a year.  Many projects run afoul of the time commitment required to meet the end goal.  I think this is one I can do!

The Challenges

  • The size of the battle means that approaching it on the battalion level may be a little too much.  Jon has hosted games of both Kolin and Mollwitz at the Regimental level that played quite well.  
  • Most accounts show the Russians were very resilient under fire. They fell back, but refused to break. Is this handled better by adjusting the troop statisitics or giving them better command ratings?
  • The cossacks did not appear to play any part with the open battles, so I am choosing not to worry about fielding them.
  • The Observation Corps units (less the Grenadiers) fielded double the numbers of regimental guns. Do you reflect this on the regimental stats or with additional free batteries?
  • The combined Grenadiers and one Grenadier Regiment were essentially left to defend the Wagenberg south of the battlefield.  Rather than try to model them, I am going to just leave them out of the battle.
  • At some point Fermor disappeared to 'care for a wound' and Saltykov took over.  Jon used his scenario design to model a similar situation with Frederick at Mollwitz.  Alternatively we can treat that as a random even from a command casualty result.
  • Models are still missing.  I am building my collection primarily from the Blue Moon SYW collection and those from Eureka Miniatures.  Blue Moon has grandiose plans listed, but over half the packs are listed as "COMING SOON"  This includes most of the models with Summer uniforms, including the command figs.  I intend to do some regiments with command groups in green jackets and musketeers in summer uniform, but it still looks a little off.  Eureka has an array of models, including the Observation Corps complete, but they are all in the winter uniform.  I plan on tackling what I can with the current line and then hope that some new releases occur between now and August....
Blue Moon Curassiers getting their base coats.
The Resources

Several excellent resources for this one starting with the battle analysis from Kronoskaf

Another excellent resource is the "Obscure Battles" blog that includes a workable map and orders of battle.

Some other articles of note

There are also the documented efforts of other hobby enthusiasts to model the conflict

The Plan

Looking over the various sources I figure I will need to build the following:
  • 5 Grenadier Regiments  
  • 20 Line Regiments 
  • 4 Cuirassier Regiments (8 stands)
  • 1 Horse Grenadier Regiment (2 stands)
  • 2 Dragoon Regiments (4 stands)
  • 5 Hussar Regiments (10 stands)
  • 5-8 Artillery Batteries
  • 1 Corps Commander  (Fermor)
  • 5 Division Commanders (Gaugreben, Saltykov, Galytsin, Browne, Demiku)
 There is still considerable debate as to whether the Russian Curraisiers fought without their protective leather coats, so I am planning on using the winter uniform troops and calling it good.  For the most part I will do the same with the rest of the Russian Cavalry as there are more models available, and the differences in color will make unit recognition easier.

For the Infantry, I plan on doing one division (8 regiments, 2 grenadiers) in their green jackets, and the remainder in the all-red summer uniform.  That leaves 12/3 in the summer uniform, including the observation corps in their tall boots.

Two Eureka limbers nearing completion, but what of the guns?
 Overall that is 37 regiments, plus the guns and command stands. With four regiments completed in Novemeber that means that I will need to average about 4 regiments per month or about 95 figures.  Not insignificant, but still attainable.  Now all I have to do is maintain focus on a project for half a year.....


  1. My word that's a lot of painting to be done to reach your target. Best of luck!

  2. Now that is an impressive project plan! I like that you have laid it all on the table and given yourself both intermediate and long term goals. If needed, I wouldn't mind pressing my own brush into service to field a few Russians. I better take a look at the Prussian OB and see how I stand...

    1. Reading yesterday's post from Der Alte Fritz, we can also just take his approach and scale the forces appropriately based on the figures on-hand. That would allow you to expand your collection in other directions if you choose.

  3. I've been half-thinking of doing Zorndorf as well. Luckily I've got a substantial part of the Russians I'll need already done - just 4 line regiments and the Observation Corps to add.

    Good luck with this project!

    1. One thing to bear in mind - the Observation Crops regiments were about double the size of the other infantry regiments.

    2. I have been using your updates for inspiration as well as painting tips! I am looking at different methods to tackle the size disparity. Honours of War already allows for large formations, so I am thinking about keeping them as standard troops, but with a large formation designation. This should allow for the greater volume of fire and make up for their 'conscript' status, since they historically didn't break like the Prussians expected.

  4. Definitely achievable, but it will require focus! The OB is a pretty good sized and reasonably balanced one when you're all done with it, too. 5 regiments of Hussars are likely to be the biggest speed bump, I suspect!


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