Part 2: The Battle of Storkyro
(or Napue or Lappola) (19th February 1714)
In the first article of this mini series I described the background
to the Finnish campaign of 1713 -1714 and the first large battle
at Palkane. In this second part I will give details of the final
battle of the campaign and briefly describe the events at sea. The
battle is sometimes called Storkyro after the large river and a
nearby village. It is also often called Napue which is the name
of the village where the action was centred or Lappola, by the Russians,
another small hamlet in the area.
With defeat at the battle of Palkane the Finnish army withdrew
north and took up a position near the Storkyro river from which
they could block further advances and also possible move south again
to retake the large parts of Finland already lost.
The Russian response was two fold. Galitzin and a strong detachment
of the Russian army were to clear Armfelt's Finnish army from its
position and secure Russian control of Southern Finland. Apraxin
and the Russian navy were to continue their advance along the coast
and attempt to defeat or neutralise the Swedish fleet blocking their
path north. I do not intend to cover the efforts of the Russian
fleet in any detail but I will briefly outline their efforts later
(see Aftermath). Instead I will now turn to Galitzin and his army.
In freezing weather Galitzin and his army marched to attack Armfelt's
waiting Finnish army.
The Historic Armies
Essentially the two armies were the same as at the previous battle.
The units were a little more experienced but the rigours of campaigning
had taken there toll on numbers. There were a number of Russian
units present that were not at Palkane but they too had been in
Finland at this time. This battle also saw Finnish militia fight.
The Swedish (Finnish) Army
Horse: All Horse use Swedish charging
at a gallop tactics but once again this may be downgraded to a less
effective tactic due to their poor performance.
Abo och Bjorneborgs lans Cavalry Regiment: 628 men, poor cavalry.
Nylands och Tavastahus lans Cavalry Regiment: 384 men, poor
Note: Another source gives a total of 1500 Finnish cavalry.
Infantry: All infantry are musket
armed, no pikes as would be usual. Unless noted the units use Swedish
Ga Pa attacking tactics.
Abo lans Regiment: 385 or 455 men, average.
Bjorneborgs Regiment: 388 or 412 men, average.
Tavastahus Regiment: 280 or 256 men, average.
Viborgs Regiment: 120 or 128 men, average.
Savolax Regiment: 700 or 568 men, average.
Nylands Regiment: 130 or 326 men, average.
Osterbottens Regiment: 600 or 669 men, average.
Finska varvade Battalion: 230 or 224 men, average but probably
using firing tactics.
Finnish Militia: about 1100 men, poor and using firing tactics.
The Abo lans, Tavastahus and Savolax regiments performed well as
did the Finnish militia (in defence only). Therefore some slight
upgrading may be called for, depending on the rules you use.
Note: There were also smaller units or remnants of units.
There were 9 (or 16) men from the Finnish Adelsfanen company (cavalry)
and 33 dismounted dragoons for example.
Artillery: 8 guns
The Russian Army
Governor's Squadron: about 200 elite dragoons.
Tverskoy Regiment: about 500 average to good dragoons.
Viatski Regiment: about 400 good dragoons.
Narvski Regiment: about 400 good dragoons.
Luzhski Regiment: about 400 average dragoons.
Vologdski Regiment: about 400 average to good dragoons.
Tobolski Regiment: about 500 average to good dragoons.
Olonetzski Regiment: about 500 average to good dragoons.
Cossacks: about 1400 poor light horse but only about 700 participated
in the battle.
The Russian cavalry totalled either 3068 or 4717 men. For the lower
figure it is possible that this is 'men' (i.e. ordinary troopers)
and does not include officers and possibly others.
Infantry: Grenadier units are all
musket armed. All other units are probably all musket armed as well
but it is possible that they retained a small number of pikes -
10 to 20% of a unit.
1st (formerly Busch's) Grenadier Regiment: about 300 (a detachment)
2nd (probably formerly Sykov's) Grenadier Regiment: about 500
Archangelski Regiment: about 300 (a detachment) average infantry.
Nishegorodski Regiment: about 500 average infantry.
Kazanski Regiment: about 500 average to good infantry.
Moskavski Regiment: about 500 average to good infantry.
Sibirienski Regiment: about 300 (a detachment) average to good
Luzhski Regiment: about 500 average to good infantry.
Troizki Regiment: about 500 average to good infantry.
Viborgski Regiment: about 500 average infantry.
St. Petersbourgski Regiment: about 300 (a detachment) average
Galitschski Regiment: about 300 (a detachment) average infantry.
Vologdski Regiment: about 600 average infantry.
Vyborg Garrison Regiment: about 400 (a detachment) poor infantry.
Artillery: 11 guns
The Russian infantry totalled either 5639 or 6146 men depending
on source. The smaller figure may, like the cavalry, be without
The Russian infantry were organised into 8 'battalions', i.e. groups
of about battalion size, for the battle. It is not clear if all
of the above were part of these battalions of if some remained with
the Russian Train.
The following is a scenario to re-fight the battle of February
19th 1714 using the Polemos Great Northern War rules. Hopefully
I will also include enough information for you to fight the battle
using another system.
If the game is going to be played by the organiser of the game
then the organiser should be the Russian player.
Order of Battle: The Swedish
Army Commander: Armfelt (A: 3)
Horse: organised into 2 brigades.
Abo och Bjorneborgs lans Cavalry Regiment: 2 bases of Raw, H.
Nylands och Tavastahus lans Cavalry Regiment: 1 base of Raw,
Karelska (Viborgs och Nyslotts lans) Cavalry Regiment: 1 bases
of Raw, H.
Ingermanlandska Dragoon Regiment: 1 base of Raw, H.
I have rated the units as Horse to reflect their poor performance.
Infantry: organised into 2 brigades.
Abo lans Regiment: 1 base of Trained, Determined GP(-P).
Bjorneborgs Regiment: 1 base of Trained, GP(-P).
Tavastahus Regiment/ Finska varavde: 1 base of Trained, Determined
Viborgs/Nylands Regiment: 1 base of Trained, GP(-P).
Savolax Regiment: 1 base of Trained, Determined GP(-P).
Osterbottens Regiment: 1 base of Trained, GP(-P).
Note: I have combined smaller units to make one reasonable
Finnish Militia: organised into 1 brigade. 3 bases of Raw,
Finnish militia are Determined if deployed in any cover or defensive
Artillery: 1 Light Gun, Trained.
Order of Battle: The Russian
Army Commander: Galitzin (A: 3)
Cavalry Detachment Commander: Tshekin
Horse: organised into 7 brigades,
the Cossacks must be in a separate brigade
Governor's Squadron: 1 base of Elite, Dragoons.
Tverskoy Regiment: 2 bases of Veteran, Dragoons.
Viatski Regiment: 2 bases of Veteran, Dragoons.
Narvski Regiment: 2 bases of Veteran, Dragoons.
Luzhski Regiment: 2 bases of Trained, Dragoons.
Vologdski Regiment: 2 bases of Veteran, Dragoons.
Tobolski Regiment: 2 bases of Trained, Dragoons.
Olonetzski Regiment: 2 bases of Trained ,Dragoons.
Cossacks: 3 bases of Raw, Light Horse (mixed).
Infantry: organised into 3 brigades.
A maximum of 8 bases may be used.
1st Grenadier/ Sibirienski Regiment: 1 base of Veteran AP (RS?)
2nd Grenadier Regiment: 1 base of Veteran, AP (grenadier) infantry.
Archangelski/ Galitschski Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?)
Nishegorodski Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?) infantry.
Kazanski Regiment: 1 base of Veteran AP (RS?) infantry.
Moskavski Regiment: 1 base of Veteran AP (RS?) infantry.
Luzhski Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?) infantry.
Troizki Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?) infantry.
Viborgski Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?) infantry.
St. Petersbourgski/ Vyborg Garrison Regiment: 1 base of Trained
AP (RS?) infantry.
Vologdski Regiment: 1 base of Trained AP (RS?) infantry.
Note: I have combined smaller units to make one reasonable
I have assumed that not all of the above fought in the battle.
Chose 8 of the above or dice for which are present.
Artillery: 1 Field Gun and 1 Light
The map is courtesy of Sven Luger and I would like to thank him
for his excellent work.
Each square on the map is the width of 5 standard infantry battalions
(5 BW). In Polemos: GNW terms they are with standard 60mm bases
30cm square. The smaller grey square represents a table 180 cm by
120 cm (6 by 4 feet) and the larger one a table 8 by 6 feet.
For other systems work out the table size you need by calculating
the space need for 5 standard infantry battalions in the system.
This will give you the size of each of the small squares.
Forest: There was deep snow in the forests. Movement through
it is at half normal speed for woods but otherwise it counts as
woods (Polemos - defence factor 1). In Polemos an extra TP must
be spent for each move.
Hill: All hills will block line of sight and give defensive
bonuses, if appropriate. Only the 2 level high hill affects movement.
This counts as a Slope level 2 for Polemos and should be about half
speed for other rules.
Village: Restrict movement and low defensive value (Polemos:
Defence factor 1).
River/Streams: All rivers and streams are frozen and can
be moved over as if clear terrain. The major river is one and a
half times the width of a standard infantry unit (Polemos - 3 BD).
The streams are all half a standard unit with (1 BD). Units will
receive defensive bonuses if defending on the river bank against
units attacking from the river or across it.
Marsh: All marshes are frozen. Movement is at normal speed
but units will count as a little disordered while in this terrain.
In Polemos the unit receive 1 Shaken level while moving in the marsh
Roads: Normal small roads.
Breastwork: Gives a small additional bonus to defence factor
and counts as a minor obstacle to cross. Polemos - defence value
1, obstacle value 1.
The players can chose from two deployments and with each of these
the players may choose the historical deployment or freely deploy.
The normal deployment has the Russian army moving on to the table
from the edge. It will take longer to play and allow both sides
to manoeuvre. The alternative, 'quick start', deployment has the
two armies set up with the two armies confronting each other on
the table in the location of the real battle. This version of the
scenario will be quicker to play.
It would be useful if an umpire is available if using this deployment.
The umpire can then keep track of units (Russian normally) moving
but which should be unseen.
The Finnish Army: The army is deployed between the two points
marked F and facing south. Artillery is unlimbered and all other
units are in'Line'. Historically it was deployed from west to east
Right wing cavalry - Nylands och Tavastahus lans and half of Abo
och Bjorneborgs lans regiments.
Infantry centre - 2 brigades, first brigade with the determined
units on the right.
Left wing cavalry - The remainder of the cavalry.
The Finish militia formed a second line and the artillery was with
The Russian Army:
The majority of the Russian army marches onto the table on the first
turn. 3 cavalry brigades, 4 regiments with 8 bases, commanded by
Tshekin arrive from point A in march column. The arrival of this
group may be delayed by the Russian player any number of turns.
But the delay must be noted at the start of the game.
Galitzin with the infantry, artillery and the remainder of the
Dragoons arrives between the two point marked B. All units are march
column or limbered. The Cossack brigade may accompany him or be
sent on a wide flanking move.
If the Cossack brigade has been be sent on a wide flanking move
it may arrive at point C. The Russian player must pay to activate
these units, if appropriate in the system you are using, and start
the process. The Russian player may do this at any point. In Polemos
TP's must be spent. Once the units have been activated you roll
a D6 at the beginning of every turn to see if they arrive on table
this turn. On the first turn after activation a 6 is needed for
them to arrive, on the second turn a 5 or 6, third turn 4, 5 or
6, etc. A score of a 1 is always a failure. These units will arrive
on table in march column at point C.
Quick Start Deployment: The Finnish Army: As above but the brigades may be pivoted
by up to 2 standard unit widths. No unit or part of a unit may be
in the bottom 2 rows of squares. The Karelska cavalry is now assigned
to the right wing.
The Russian Army:
Tshekin and a force of Russian dragoons (as described above) are
placed within 2 standard unit widths (2 BW) of the point marked
RD. They may be in any desired formation.
Galitzin and his force (as described above) are placed within 2
standard unit widths (2 BW) of the point marked R. They may not
be in the open terrain. All units are in march column or limbered
and have 1 level of Shaken from moving through bad terrain. The
Cossack brigade is detached on a wide flanking move and may be activated
and deployed as above. can be in command of these.
Free Deployment: Either of the above
options may be used but with no restriction on group composition.
Other Game Options: If you wish you
may add optional units to each side.
Russians: The Russian player may deploy all of his or her
infantry bases. Add the 'missing' 3 bases in another brigade.
Extra Finnish Militia: It was planned that a lot more militia
would be available than was in reality but this battle happened
before they could be assembled. If you wish up to 4 brigades of
militia may be used. Half, rounded up, are Raw and the others levy.
All are determined if in cover or defences and use AP tactics. After
nominating the quality of a brigade roll a D6 for the number of
bases in each unit. A score of 1 or 2 = 2 bases, 3, 4 or 5 = 3 bases
and 6 = 4 bases.
The Historic Battle:
Armfelt carefully chose a position near the village of Napue in
which it was hoped his enemy would not be able to use its superior
numbers. His army had suffered greatly from disease, sickness and
desertions but it had received reinforcements. The reinforcements
were the first part of a larger militia force which it was hoped
would be raised. Despite worries about their quality they proved
to be better than expected, perhaps because they contained many
individuals with at least some military experience.
On the approach of the Russians the Finnish army took up a position
facing south. The regular troops in front with the militia forming
a second line and using the two streams, a small hill and a breastwork
to strengthen his line. The Russian had been advancing towards the
Finnish position using the river as a road when scouts informed
Galitzin that the Finnish army was formed and ready for battle.
The Russian army was at this time near to the village of Kuivila
(to the south of the area of the map). It halted and a reconnaissance
was made of the Finnish positions.
Having seen how strong these were Galitzin determined on a less
direct approach for the following day's battle. A cavalry force
of 4 Dragoon regiments, under Tshekin, was detached to protect the
Russian baggage train and to continue the advance along the river.
Meanwhile the remainder of the Russian army turned right and marched
towards a position to attack the Finnish left wing. The Cossacks
were dispatched on a wide sweeping movement to attack the Finns
Marching through the frozen landscape the Russians emerged from
the marshes and woods to the Finnish armies left. The Finnish army
had though been informed some time earlier of the new direction
of the Russian advance and they had already started to redeploy.
The Finnish right wing cavalry was strengthened by the addition
of the Karelska regiment and was positioned to block the Russian
Dragoon detachment. Next to them in the area of the small hill and
redoubt were the Finnish militia. While the regular infantry and
the left wing cavalry moved to face the emerging Russian main body.
The Russian army started to deploy for battle with the infantry
in front in 2 lines. The first line with the artillery and 5 battalions,
the second line of 3 battalions. The cavalry, 3 regiments and a
squadron, deployed in a third line behind the infantry. As the Russians
deployed the Finns advanced. Swedish and Finnish tactics of this
period were very aggressive and it was very rare for them to defend.
Perhaps they also realised that they needed to do something quickly
before Russian numbers could tell. The Finnish regulars formed up
in a single line with the cavalry on the left, but hanging back,
and moved to the attack supported by their artillery. The Russian
artillery replied as the Russian infantry shook themselves into
order for the coming clash.
With the minimum of firing the Finnish infantry charged. The Russian
line shuddered and fell back but did not break. The left of the
Russian line was particularly badly hit and sensing victory Armfelt
committed part of his left wing cavalry to try and clinch victory.
Unfortunately Galitzin had also seen the possibility and he also
responded, in his case by committing a small number of the Russian
cavalry and some second line infantry.
Having generally stabilised the situation it was time for the Galitzin
to make a further move. With his remaining cavalry he moved round
the Finnish left wing and moved to attack the Finnish line in the
flank/rear. The situation was becoming desperate for the Finnish
regulars as they attempted to face in two directions against the
Russian dragoons and the shaken, but not defeated, Russian infantry.
Meanwhile up until this point the rest of the battlefield had been
relatively quiet. The Finnish right wing cavalry and militia had
been content to sit and watch the Russian detached Dragoon command.
As the Finnish regulars attack ground to a halt the Russian Cossacks
arrived and swept into the Finns rear, where the militia tried to
deal with them. But the Russian dragoons under Tshekin had not been
as inactive as they seemed. Earlier one of the regiments had been
sent West to work their way round to the Finnish right wing cavalry's
As the Cossacks caused chaos in the rear this unit appeared on
the flank. In combination with the remaining units from Tshekin's
command they charged. The Finnish cavalry was quickly dispersed
and only vain, but brave, stands by the militia slowed Tshekin's
With the Finnish right dissolving and the left in grave danger
of becoming surrounded the Finns quit the field. Once again the
brave infantry of the Finnish army tasted defeat and once again
they headed north.
The Finnish army had once again fought well but once again suffered
defeat. It once again pulled back north but for the time being stayed
in Finland. But it now relied on the Swedish navy to support its
continued presence in Finland. This was unfortunate as events at
sea were not going Sweden and Finland's way.
I do not intend to go into details but in short the Swedish and
Russian fleets now confronted each other. The Russian fleet being
galley's was supreme as long as it stayed near the coast where the
Swedish vessels could not come. The decisive confrontation came
at Hango Head, also called Gangut. At this place the Swedish fleet
could get close enough to the shore to threaten the Russian fleet.
The Swedes managed to catch the Russian fleet and trap it in a bay,
or at least they thought it was trapped. But the water was not shallow
enough to allow them to destroy the Russians. After a period of
stalemate the event the Russians had been waiting for happened -
in August 1714 the wind dropped.
The Russians did not feel strong enough to attack the main Swedish
fleet but instead decided to attack an isolated Swedish squadron
and thus break the Swedish 'blockade'. This involved transporting
the galley's overland to another channel! The subsequent battle
was costly but the Russians managed to sink or capture all of the
small Swedish flotilla. This was enough for the Swedish fleet and
made the whole of the Finnish coast untenable for them. So they
withdrew to Swedish waters.
This meant that the valiant Finnish army also had to leave Finland.
The Finns continued their struggle by using 'guerilla' tactics and
a small but bloody campaign of strike and retaliation continued
for the rest of the war. Not that the adventures of the Finnish
army were over yet for this war. The battered remnants were stationed
in northern Sweden for the rest of the war and took part in various
actions. The Finnish army had not had much luck and this was to
continue. In 1718 they took part in an invasion of Norway. An indication
of how it went is that there part of this action is called 'Armfelts
Death March'! But that is another story.
I would like to acknowledge the help of the following people with
these articles. In particular I would like also to thank Dan Schorr
for his help, advise, material and corrections. Sven Luger for the
excellent maps, Timo Immonen for various materials, Olavi Hartonen
and Pauli Savolainen for their help with the Finnish language.