Tuesday 30 July 2019

Unusual terrain item: the 'ship-mill'

Here is a unique terrain item some enterprising manufacturer or creative modeller might want to add to their collection of European buildings: a ship mill.

These floating watermills moored in major rivers used to be a regular feature all across Europe, especially northern and central Europe, from late Roman times until the end of the 19th century, becoming especially common from the 10th century on. They could therefore legitimately grace an awful lot of wargame tables.

In particular, I have been researching the Hungarian War of Independence of 1848-1849 and there were dozens of them on the Danube, the Vag, the Mur etc. There were so many that they were frequently collected together and used to improvise pontoon bridges (often in combination with other craft), and they feature in several battle accounts from that war.

Maybe you know all about them but they were new to me and I had to look them up:

There are lots of pictures of a characterful preserved Hungarian one here, the Ráckevei Hajómalom:

So there you go, that's my suggestion, do with it what you will!


  1. My guess is one of those was the floating mill used to break Napoleon's bridge during the battle of Aspern-Essling.

  2. Undoubtedly. The Austrian 2nd Military Survey map shows dozens of them in the Danube near Vienna.

  3. Dear Chris. Your Ship Mill has been delivered by NOTAMAZON. Enjoy!

    1. And very beautiful it is too. Coming soon to an AAR near you!


Comments welcome!