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The Battle of Lappo - 14 July 1808

A 25mm Napoleonic wargame fought on Saturday, August 14, 2010

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The Battle of Lappo was an encounter between elements of the Russian 21st Division and the Swedish North Finland Army on 14 July 1808 at the village of Lappo (now Lapua, Finland). The Russian force was strung out along the main road through the village; the Swedish force appeared at around 1600 hours on their northern flank. The Russians were surprised by the size of the Swedish force and its aggressive stance, but the Swedes were forced to enter the field through a single road which ran though a dense forest, slowing their deployment considerably. The Russians were able to avoid being cut off, and managed to withdraw to the east of Lappo. The village had been set afire by Finnish guerrillas during the battle. The battle was historically a minor Swedish victory.

Follow our refight through the photos, below, and find out how the battle might have ended.

This battle was fought at the lovely Key Gallery by the Gourmet Wargaming Club with 25mm and 28mm miniatures, using the Age of Eagles wargaming rules.


The battlefield viewed from the southwest. The road in the foreground is occupied by a Russian brigade on the march.

A Russian brigade moves up to the outskirts of the village of Lappo.

The Swedish avante-garde is made up by a brigade accompanied by a Dragoon regiment.

The Russian left flank column, a brigade led by Cossacks and hussars.

Okay, let's get these metal men on the move.

The front of another Swedish brigade column emerges from the north.

Cossack cavalry move up towards the center.

Russian Hussars protect guard the road as the infantry change formation behind.

The Russian guns on the left are moved eastward, towards a small lake on the Lappo River.

The lead Swedish brigade in the center.

Russian troops march through Lappo itself.

The lead elements of another Russian brigade march up a road on the Russian right flank.

Phase two: the Swedish avante-garde (top) moves quickly to face Lappo. Two columns of Swedes move up from the forest (left).

The Swedes pour out the woods at full speed, not yet stopping to form up to face the Russian cavalry.

A second Swedish brigade fans out into the center.

The Swedish avante-garde is poised to attack Lappo itself.

Swedish forces of the center and right flank form up and prepare to advance with vigor.

The Cossacks are charged by Swedish light cavalry, which fails to drive them off.

The Swedish avante-garde changes course, half attacking Lappo while the other half takes a westerly course. This brigade is attempting to get out of the frying pan of the center.

Wham! The Russians hold fast in Lappo in the face of furious Swedes.

Russian artillery begins to fire on enemy units deployed in the center.

Infantry continues marching up the Russian right flank.

More Russians on the right flank. Another artillery section is deployed to blast the open center of the battlefield.

Phase three: the Swedish command changes course and decides for an all-out attack on the Russian left flank (top left) to isolate and destroy it.

All the Tsar's men...

Our gracious referee pontificates as needed.

Swedish infantry congeals on the Lappo River, but the Russians have cunningly hidden their two artillery sections behind a small lake, and reinforced them with infantry.

The last of four Swedish brigades enters the field on the Swedish left flank.

The Russian hussars are engaged by Swedish rifle infantry hidden in a small village.

Some plucky Cossacks! With attached commander, these horsemen continue to delay the enemy attack across the Lappo.

A close-up of the well-deployed Russian left flank under attack by the Swedish avante-garde brigade. These Swedes were hung out to dry as the tactical situation worsened.

This Russian commander seems ready to take a bite out of anything Scandinavian. Meatballs, anyone?

Russian commanders move their troops forward, out of Lappo. But note the burning bridge (marked with white cotton smoke) beside the town; it seems that Finnish saboteurs have been hard at work.

The bridge quickly burns through and drops into the stream. And the town of Lappo is now ablaze. Those nutty Finns!

Crash! Russian infantry counter-attack across a stream in front of Lappo, catching part of the Swedish avante-garde.

Phase four: the Swedes are desperately trying to smash the Russian left flank (at right), with only small forces actually engaging. The Swedish center begins to gel as the Russians deploy more artillery.

A two-pronged attack on the Russian left is not enough to finish the job. The Swedes are hammered by cannister and small arms fire.

The Russians are dominating the center of the battlefield with their weightier artillery.

Phase five: the Swedish avante-garde brigade has been all but destroyed, while the Russian left flank still holds its ground. The Swedes have formed up a formidable line of artillery in the center, but the Russians have foiled the possibility of a Swedish victory. The Swedes will have to withdraw to fight another day. Good game!