Happy 3rd Birthday Jemima Fawr!

Where has the last year gone?!  Perhaps it’s a consequence of Covid Groundhog Days, but it only seems like a couple of months since I was writing my 2nd Birthday post!  Looking back at that post, I see that I was looking forward to having a big Napoleonic game following lockdown… Ah well, so much for that plan… Maybe this year…?

Thankfully things do now appear to be heading in the right direction, so the clubs should be opening up again soon and we’ll be playing games once again (playing with someone else is so much better than constantly having to play with yourself, I’m sure you’ll agree).  That said, we did actually manage to re-open the Carmarthen Old Guard club briefly last Autumn and I did manage to play a 15mm Burma game that I completely failed to take photos of.  Phil Portway also invited me over for a cracking refight of the Battle of Medellin 1809…  Suffice to say, following the glorious victory by General Cuesta’s Spanish Army, he probably won’t be inviting me over again…

Medellin 1809 fought at Phil Portway’s place, October 2020

As mentioned at the time, the very linear 18th Century nature of the Medellin game and the use of Shako 2nd Edition rules, which I hadn’t played since using a modified version of the 1st Edition to run a massive 18th Century campaign during the 1990s, prompted me to dust off my Seven Years War collection (and in some cases crack open the rusted-shut lids).  Since then I’ve painted over 1,000 figures, including whole new Württemberg, Bavarian and French armies.  I’ve also expanded my existing Prussian and Imperial armies and have repaired and spruced up my Austrian and Swedish armies.  I’m presently just starting a new Seven Years War ‘Western Allied’ army (Britain, Hanover, Hesse-Kassel, Brunswick and Schaumburg-Lippe-Buckeburg).  A few of the lads in the club have reciprocated with new Russian and Ottoman armies, so I’m looking forward to running a whole new 18th Century campaign once this bloody pandemic is over.

One unexpected consequence of the pandemic and lockdown is that the stats for this blog absolutely sky-rocketed immediately after the start of lockdown in March 2020 and have only kept climbing!  In the first year I received 20,000 hits on the blog, which I was perfectly happy with.  I then had 40,000 hits in the second year, bringing the total to 60,000 and since then I’ve received another 65,000 hits, bringing the total to over 125,000!  My ‘followers’ (I prefer to call them ‘supplicants’ or perhaps ‘disciples’) have also doubled in the last year to over 80.  The only explanation I can find is that desperate times bring desperate means to find entertainment…   Or sleep…

So while still not exactly viral, this blog (having become a persistent yeast infection last year) is probably now resistant to modern antibiotics.

With light finally appearing on the pandemic horizon, we’re finally able to look forward again and make plans.  To that end, the Wargames Association of Reading’s ‘Warfare’ show has been confirmed for 27/28th November, at its new venue of Ascot Racecourse.  I’m not sure if I’ve previously mentioned it, 😉 but thanks to my Cassinga Raid 1978 game, I’m the reigning demo-game champion for ‘Warfare’ (for two years running by default – thanks Covid! 🙂 ).  Consequently, I’m going to defend my title this year with a 10mm American Civil War refight of the Battle of Murfreesboro (also known as the Battle of Stone’s River).  So once the Seven Years War itch has been scratched, I’m going to be buying and painting figures and building terrain for that project and hopefully get it done by Autumn.

In the meantime, I’ve still got a vast heap of pictures, articles and scenarios in the crypts of Fawr Towers, so there will be plenty to post here on the blog, even if we don’t manage to get wargaming again for a while yet!  Sorry if the Seven Years War doesn’t float your boat, but I will get back to all things Olive Drab, Khaki Drill, Jungle Green, Dunkelgelbe and DPM again soon, I promise! 🙂

In the meantime, thanks for looking! 🙂

Posted in Uncategorised | 2 Comments

‘All The Emperor’s Men’ (Part 2): The Reichsarmee

In Part 1 I looked at some of the German and Saxon-Polish units raised from within the Holy Roman Empire to directly support the Austrian Army in the field during the Seven Years War.  this time I’m profiling some of the units raised by the bewildering array of German statelets comprising the rump of the Empire, which were then brought together to form the colourful, ramshackle hullabaloo that was the Reichsarmee.

I’ve always held a soft-spot for the bloody awful armies of European history, partly because the attractiveness of their uniforms and spectacle on the table is usually in direct inverse proportion to their battlefield effectiveness, but mainly because you’re expected to lose… And if you ever manage to win with them, your opponent will never hear the end of it (particularly if they inflict a catastrophic hoofing of legendary proportions)…

… Will they, Phil…? 😉 

The military and political structure of the Holy Roman Empire and the Reichsarmee is a truly colossal subject and there’s little point in me repeating what Kronoskaf has to say on the subject, so follow the links in this paragraph if you want to look at the details. 

In a nutshell, the Holy Roman Empire was divided up into ten ‘Imperial Circles’ (Kreisen) or Districts, with each district being required to provide the Reichsarmee with a contingent of Foot and Horse, the number of whom would be based on the population of the district.  Each duchy, principality, county and bishopric within the district would then be required to provide a set portion of the contingent, again based on their population.  The only parts of the Reichsarmee to be formed centrally from Imperial taxes would be the Imperial General Staff and the Imperial Artillery Reserve (Reichsartilleriereserve).

In some instances, the wealthier duchies, principalities and bishoprics managed to raise complete units, led, trained and equipped to a good standard and in some cases were simply regular units taken from their own standing army.  Austria in particular, simply allocated units from its own massive army (most notably two regular Cuirassier Regiments, two Hussar Regiments and a number of Croat Battalions) and also donated regiments that it had hired from Imperial German states such as Mainz, Würzburg and Pfalz.

However, in the majority of cases, units were cobbled together from a myriad of tiny contingents (some contingents were as small as one man!) and were very badly led, trained, equipped and motivated.  To make matters worse, units from different districts were often using completely different drill manuals.  On top of all of this were the underlying tensions between Protestants and Catholics lumped together in the same units, which led to serious problems with regard to motivation and discipline.

Consequently, with one or two exceptions, the Reichsarmee were frequently more of a hindrance than a help on the battlefield, but they are spectacularly colourful and never fail to be interesting!  I’ve still got a long way to go before I finish my own Reichsarmee, but in the short-term I’m aiming to complete the order of battle for the Battle of Rossbach.  Here’s what I’ve completed thus far:

Franconian District (Fränkischen Kreis

The Franconian District managed to raise three regiments of infantry (Varell, Ferntheil & Cronegk), one of Cuirassiers (Bayreuth) and one of Dragoons (Ansbach) during the Seven Years War.  All five regiments were raised from a multitude of tiny contingents and had a very poor fighting reputation.  Thus far I have two of the three infantry regiments painted and the two cavalry regiments waiting in the lead-pile, while the third infantry regiment (Cronegk) has yet to be painted.

Above:  The Kreisinfanterieregiment ‘Ferntheil’ (became the Hohenlohe Regiment in 1759).  All three Franconian Infantry Regiments wore the same Prussian-style blue uniform, so I’ve used Old Glory 15s Prussian Infantry figures.  The regimental facing colour was displayed on lapels, collar, shoulder-strap, turnbacks and Swedish-style cuffs for all three regiments.  The Ferntheil Regiment had ponceau red facings, the Varell Regiment had sulphur yellow and the Cronegk Regiment had white.  

Each regiment had two battalions, each consisting of six companies and a detached grenadier company, for a full paper strength of 1,940 men (which may also include the regimental artillery detachment).  In the event, the Ferntheil Regiment managed to field over 1,500 men in 1757 and increased that to over 1,800 in 1758, despite the disastrous Battle of Rossbach.  With such a large establishment, I’ve gone with Austrian-style 16-figure battalions.

Above:  The Ferntheil Regiment (became the Hohenlohe Regiment in 1759).  All three Franconian infantry theoretically regiments carried colours of a common pattern.  Each battalion officially carried three colours; the 1st Battalion having the Leibfahne and two Kompaniefahnen, while the 2nd Battalion carried three Kompaniefahnen.  The pattern was changed in 1757, with the new flags being issued in 1758, so these flags are wrong for Rossbach (more of which later) and the older type was probably therefore carried.  However, no description or surviving example of the older type has been found, so these will have to do!

Both types of 1757 Pattern colour had the Imperial Double-Eagle on the obverse and a large ‘CF’ cypher on the reverse.  The Leibfahne was the same for all three regiments, having a plain white field.  The Kompaniefahnen had a field divided into three horizontal bands; the central band was blue, while the top and bottom bands were in the regimental facing colour.  These flags were from a sheet of Reichsarmee flags produced by Andy Grubb (of ‘Grubby Tanks’) in the 1990s.

Above:  The Kreisinfanterieregiment ‘Varell’.  Continuing the saga of the colours… The Franconian regiments became a laughing-stock, as the old colours were withdrawn and the regiments instead carried bare staves!  Worse was to come in 1758, when the new colours were to be issued.  New colours are traditionally dedicated with a religious service and in Germany this involved the ceremonial nailing of the colours to the staves and a lavish celebration.  However, first the Protestant and Catholic contingents argued with each other regarding the nature of the religious service and then the officers argued with their lords and masters about who was going to pay for the celebrations!  Consequently, these colours were never actually issued and the Franconian regiments instead carried the older colours, which as mentioned above, we have no record of…  So what the hell, I’ve used the 1757 Pattern colours…

Above:  The Varell Infantry Regiment.  All three Franconian infantry regiments had white small-clothes, black neck-stocks, white belts, black cartridge-pouches, black gaiters, brown scabbards and white hat-lace for the rank-and-file.  NCOs had hat-lace in the facing colour.  Officers had silver sashes woven with red and black threads.  The regimental ‘metal’ colour (i.e. buttons and officers’ hat-lace) was yellow for Ferntheil and Cronegk and white for Varell.  Hat pompoms were striped white/blue/facing colour – Pengel & Hurt shows this with the facing colour at the top of the pompom, while Kronoskaf reverses the order, with white at the top.  

The detached Franconian grenadier companies didn’t fight at Rossbach, so I’ve not painted them yet, though I will eventually need to do them for other battles, when they were massed as an ad hoc grenadier battalion.  They wore the same uniform as their parent regiment and in most cases, the headgear was a brown bearskin with yellow metal front-plate and the bag coloured by regiment.  The odd one out was the Varell Regiment’s 2nd Grenadier Company, who wore a Prussian-style mitre with red bag, yellow band, yellow piping, white pompom and brass front-plate.

Above:  The Franconian District Artillery Arm supplied each of the three infantry regiments with four 3pdr guns.  Those from the Nuremburg Arsenal are known to have been mounted on red carriages, so it’s probable that this was the common colour of Franconian gun carriages.  The uniform was based on the Austrian artillery uniform, though with blue instead of brown coats and with the addition of lapels.  However, the ‘metal’ colour (buttons and hat-lace) was probably yellow, rather than the white shown here, as these are actually gunners from the Reichsreserveartillerie, who seem to have worn the same uniform with white ‘metal’.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Artillery for these chaps.

Above:  The Würzburg ‘Red’ Infantry Regiment.  As discussed last time, the excellent Würzburg ‘Red’ & ‘Blue’ Regiments were not officially part of the Reichsarmee, but were instead raised within Franconia by the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg to serve as auxiliaries with the Austrian Army.  Würzburg had already met its Reichsarmee commitment, providing nine companies of infantry, two of cuirassiers and two of dragoons.  However, Austria immediately sent the ‘Blue’ Regiment to the Reichsarmee as part of its own district contingent and this was joined in 1760 by the ‘Red’ Regiment.  In 1761 the two regiments were amalgamated into a single three-battalion regiment, titled Kaiserlich-Würzburg.

Bavarian District (Bayerischen Kreis)

The Imperial Bavarian District consisted not only of the Electorate of Bavaria itself, but also the Archbishopric of Salzburg, parts of the the Palatinate (Pfalz), the City of Regensburg and a few very minor counties.  It managed to raise two regiments of infantry (the Kurbayern and Salzburg Regiments), but not a single one of the 2,400 horse it was meant to raise.  As mentioned in my previous article on the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps, Bavaria was strapped for cash at the time and had hired ten battalions to Austria, so there probably wasn’t the will to divert men and resources to raise units that weren’t going to bring cold, hard cash into Bavarian coffers.

Nevertheless, Bavaria did raise the three-battalion Kreisinfanterieregiment ‘Kurbayern’ for the Reichsarmee, simply taking the entire Pechmann Regiment from its standing army, along with the 1st Battalion of the Holnstein Regiment

Above:  The Pechmann Infantry Regiment depicted in the uniform it wore until June 1757; namely an Austrian-style coat in dark blue with straw facings and small-clothes, with yellow ‘metal’.  I painted these (using Old Glory 15s Austrian Infantry figures) in the 1990s, in line with the best available research at the time; the booklets by Pengel & Hurt.  However, more recent research has revealed that the Pechmann Contingent of the Kurbayern Regiment changed its facings in June 1757 to align with the colourings of the Holnstein Contingent.  Consequently, the lapels, cuffs, collar and shoulder-strap changed to ‘pale red’ (also known as ‘old rose’; a dull pink shade).  The turnbacks remained straw, so the uniform looked very much like the uniform shown below for the Holnstein Contingent.

Above:  The Holnstein Regiment contributed its 1st Battalion to the Kurbayern Regiment.  Again, I painted these in the 1990s, following Pengel & Hurt.  However, more recent research research has shown this uniform to be wrong in two areas.  First, the shade of red should be ‘pale red’  as described above (Pengel & Hurt just described it as ‘red’) and second, the turnbacks should also be pale red.  The combination of red facings with straw turnbacks may have been Pengel & Hurt getting confused by the second uniform worn by the Pechmann Contingent.

The Kurbayern Regiment also included two Grenadier Companies (probably both from the Holnstein Regiment) and an artillery detachment with six 4pdr guns.  On paper the regiment amounted to a little under 1,800 men.  However, in May 1758 the regiment counted fewer than 1,400 men with the colours.

Above:  The Kurbayern Regiment’s Artillery Detachment wore the standard Bavarian Artillery uniform, namely a light grey coat with blue facings, yellow ‘metal’ and straw small-clothes.  Gun-carriages were painted light blue with black ironwork.  For these I’ve used Old Glory 15s Prussian Artillery figures.

Above:  The Kreisinfanterieregiment Salzburg was formed from contingents raised by the Archbishopric of Salzburg and the other counties of the Imperial Bavarian District, such as the City of Regensburg and some enclaves of Pfalz.  The regiment numbered 1,468 men in total, but sources disagree regarding its organisation.  It seems to have numbered two battalions, with four companies apiece, plus a detached grenadier company and an artillery detachment with two or four 3pdr or 4pdr guns (with red carriages).  Again, I painted these in the 1990s, using Old Glory 15s Austrian Infantry figures.  For some reason I only painted one strong (16-figure) battalion, but it should really consist of two 12 figure battalions.  Perhaps I only had these figures spare at the time?

Above:  Sources agree that the Salzburg Regiment wore a white Austrian-style coat with red cuffs, lapels, turnbacks and shoulder-strap, yellow metal buttons, white breeches, black gaiters and an unlaced hat with red-over-white pompoms.  However, Pengel & Hurt’s description (on which these are based) shows white waistcoats and white buttonhole lace on the lapels, while Kronoskaf shows a red waistcoat, a red collar and no lace (making them look almost identical to the Fürstenberg Regiment shown below).  Officers wore silver sashes striped with red, while the grenadiers wore brown bearskin caps with red bags.

The various contingents making up the Salzburg Regiment all seem to have brought their own colours with them, featuring a wide variety of designs and motifs.  The Reichsarmee flag-sheet produced by Grubby Tanks included two Salzburg flags as described by Pengel & Hurt, one of which is shown here, being a black Imperial Eagle on a brown field.  However, recent research suggests that the flag should actually be white and it was merely age which had turned the flag brown before it was described many years later.

Swabian District (Schwäbischen Kreis)

The main player in Swabia was the Duchy of Württemberg, though there were numerous other small states making up the Swabian District.  They raised four regiments of infantry (Alt-Württemberg, Baden-Baden, Baden-Durlach and Fürstenberg), a cuirassier regiment (Hohenzollern), a dragoon regiment (Württemberg) and regimental artillery.  Thus far I’ve managed to paint the Fürstenberg Infantry Regiment and the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers.

Above:  Kreisinfanterieregiment Fürstenberg was raised mainly in the Principality of Fürstenberg and Bishopric of Augsburg (four companies from each), with the City of Augsburg, Abbey of Kempten, Abbey of Weingarten and Monastery of Ochsenhausen each providing a company, for a total of five musketeer companies and one grenadier battalion per battalion and a total full strength of 1,690 men.  I must admit that these battalions are a little strong and should really be 12 figures apiece rather than 16.  The grenadiers were also normally detached and were sometimes massed into ad hoc grenadier battalions, or assigned to guard key locations in the rear.  It was late, I’d probably been drinking and got a little carried away… The attached grenadiers do look good though… 🙂

Above:  I used yet more Old Glory 15s Austrian Infantry figures for the Fürstenberg Regiment and I do love them, as they’re packed full of detail and character.  However, there are a couple of ‘issues’ with them.  First, their cast-on bases are ludicrously small and simply won’t support the figure, which makes basing them a total pain in the arse, as many figures need to be propped up until the glue cures before you can move on to the next figure.  That means that basing the unit takes the best part of an hour, compared to literally one minute for Eureka figures (which have nice, large cast-on bases).  Secondly and as mentioned here before, Old Glory 15s now come in packs of 25 figures with only enough command figures to form a single unit with one flag (they used to come in bags of 100 with enough command figures to make 12 figure units).  Consequently I’ve padded these out with command figures from my enormous stash of spare Austrian grenadiers.

Above:  With their white coats and red facings, the uniforms for the Fürstenberg Regiment are very similar to other Imperial contingents, such as the Red Würzburg, Salzburg and Kurtrier Regiments, as well as many Austrian regiments.  However, this does mean that you can sneak them in at the back of an Austrian army to make up the numbers if needed!  The details of the uniform are almost identical to those of the Red Würzburgers described earlier, with white coat and breeches, red lapels, cuffs and turnbacks, white metal buttons, white hat-lace and red-over-white pompoms.  However, Fürstenberg had no collar on the coat and had red waistcoats instead of white.  The Grenadiers had brown-black bearskins with a white metal front-plate and red bag.

Above:  A rear view of the Fürstenberg Regiment.  Note that the drummers’ uniforms are not known, so I’ve arbitrarily gone for reversed colours of red coats with white facings. 

The flags were carried on black & white spiraled staves with gold finials.  These are taken from the Kronoskaf article and were then printed on my own laser printer.  I’ve given the 1st Battalion a white Leibfahne and the 2nd Battalion a yellow Ordinärfahne, though in reality each battalion probably followed the usual practice of having two flags per battalion – one of each type in the 1st Battalion and a pair of Ordinärfahne for the 2nd Battalion. 

A lot of Reichsarmee regiments used this pattern of flag, with the local arms being displayed on the breast of the Imperial eagle and the specific regiment being identified at long range by the combination of horizontal coloured ‘flames’ on the Ordinärfahne, which in the case of Fürstenberg were red-white-red-white-red-white from top to bottom.  For example, Alt-Württemberg had a similar design with black-black-white-light blue-black-black, Baden-Durlach had black-red-orange-orange-red-black and Baden-Baden had black-black-red-white-red-black-black.

Above:  The Kreis-Cuirassier Regiment ‘Hohenzollern’ comprised four squadrons, formed from 61 tiny contingents, amounting to a little over 600 men at full strength.  Like most of the Reichsarmee regiments raised from many small contingents, the regiment’s battle record was absolutely awful and on one memorable occasion they were routed by just two squadrons of Prussian hussars!  For these chaps I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Cuirassier figures.  I particularly like the ‘comedy’ figure, who is either trying to pull someone else’s pallasch out of his guts, or he’s committing seppuku due to his shame at being in such a bloody awful regiment.

Above:  The Hohenzollern Cuirassiers wore a uniform very similar to that of the Austrian cuirassier regiments, being a white coat with red facings (including lapels), white metal buttons and straw small-clothes.  However, sources are not clear on whether or not the regiment was actually equipped with cuirasses and they are usually depicted without.  the hat had white lace with a black cockade and red corner-rosettes.  Horse furniture was red with a double stripe of white lace around the edge, though with the outermost edge being red (I was clearly a bit lazy when I painted these).  Officers had silver hat and shabraque lace and an Austrian-style gold and black sash.  Trumpeters’ uniforms from the period are not known, but Kronoskaf gives a uniform from 1794, being a red coat with ‘false sleeves’ and white facings, all laced silver.

Out of necessity, I was still always painting my own flags in those days, but the Regimental Standard of the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers is a very simple design to paint, being a simplified version of the Arms of Swabia on an oval; the left half being black with a white ‘iron cross’ and the right half being yellow with three black leopards, flanked by green palm branches on a white field and fringed in gold.  Squadron Standards were the same, but with a yellow field.  Staves were brown and finials gold.

Above:  The Swabian District Regimental Artillery wore blue uniforms with red facings, white buttons and red small-clothes and had yellow-painted guns.  I haven’t painted any of those yet, but the district contingent was supplemented by regular artillery from the Duchy of Württemberg, as shown here.  I covered the Württemberg Artillery uniform in my previous post on the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps.

Electoral Rhenish District (Kurrheinischen Kreis)

Kurpfalz Effern Regt

The ‘Electoral Rhenish’ (Kurrhein) District is so-called as it contained the dominions of four of the seven Prince-Electors of the Holy Roman Empire; namely all three of the Ecclesiastical Electors (the Elector-Archbishops of Köln, Mainz and Trier) and the Count-Palatine of the Rhine (Elector of the Pfalz). 

Kurköln Leibregiment

Of these, the Palatinate had a reasonably-sized  and well-trained standing army (for Imperial Germany), though was contracted to send large chunks of it to France and Austria during wartime.  The Archbishop of Mainz had a very small standing army, but like the Archbishop of Würzburg, he paid close attention to its upkeep and it was very well-trained, with an infantry regiment being contracted to the Austrian Army.  The Archbishop of Trier had no standing army, so had to raise a regiment in wartime.  The Archbishop of Köln (Cologne) meanwhile, was contracted to provide France with an auxiliary corps, but instead simply trousered the cash to maintain his lifestyle in a manner that even the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath & Wells might find extravagant…

Kurpfalz Leib-Dragoner

In total, the District managed to raise five infantry regiments (Kurmainz Regiment, Kurtrier Regiment, Kurköln Leibregiment, Kurköln Wildenstein Regiment and Kurpfalz Effern Regiment), one cuirassier regiment (Kurpfalz Cuirassiers) and District Artillery.  Austria also reinforced the Reichsarmee with the two Pfalz regiments serving with the Austrian Army (the 2nd Battalion of the Gardes zu Fuss and the Kurfürstin Leibdragoner Regiment).  In addition to this total was the Mainz Lamberg Infantry Regiment serving with the Austrian Army, where it was generally known as the Mainz Infantry Regiment and not to be confused with the Kurmainz Regiment of the Reichsarmee.  There was also the Pfalz Merckel Hussar Regiment, which consisted of four squadrons and appeared at a few battles, but details of which are elusive.

Above:  The Kreisinfanterieregiment ‘Kurtrier’ was hastily raised for the war from raw recruits and was therefore considered ‘very poor’ by the French Marshal Soubise.  Nevertheless, in 1762 the regiment distinguished itself at the Battle of Freiburg.   The regiment was quite small by Austro-Imperial standards, having two four-company battalions and no grenadier companies, numbering a little over 1,000 men.

Above:  The Kurtier Regiment again followed the popular Imperial theme of white coats with red cuffs, lapels and turnbacks (no collar) with white metal buttons.  Neck-stocks were black and small-clothes were white.  The hat lacked pompoms, but had white scalloped lace edging and a black cockade.

Instead of the usual variations on the theme of Imperial double-headed eagles, the regiment’s flags featured the arms of the Elector-Archbishop of Trier on a white field with a light blue border and light blue stave.  I’m afraid that I can’t remember where I found these, but I printed them off on my own laser-printer.

The figures are once again Old Glory 15s Austrian Infantry.

Above:  A rear view of the Kurtrier Regiment.  The regiment’s drummers are described as having light blue coats with red facings and white metal buttons, along with light blue small-clothes.

Above:  Although I haven’t yet painted the Kurmainz Infantry Regiment, I did paint this mounted officer to represent General Johann Georg Baron von Wildenstein, who was Colonel of the regiment and who rose to command the Kurrhein contingent of the Reichsarmee.  The Kurmainz Regiment fielded a whopping four battalions and two grenadier companies, for a total of well over 2,000 men.    

My Baron Wildenstein figure wears the regimental dress of the Kurmainz Regiment; namely a white coat with green lapels, cuffs and turnbacks with yellow metal buttons, green waistcoat, black neck-stock and straw breeches.  He wears gold officers’ hat lace, but the rank and file had white hat lace with a white pompom.  The grenadiers wore an Austrian-style bearskin cap with brass plate and green bag, piped an tasseled yellow. 

Upper Rhine District (Oberrheinischen Kreis)

Nassau-Weiburg Regt

The Upper Rhine contingent of the Reichsarmee was very sparse, comprising only three regiments of infantry (Hessen-Darmstadt, Nassau-Weiburg and Pfalz-Zweibrūcken), a District Artillery detachment and no regiments of horse.  This number of men fell a very long way short of what they were meant to provide to the Reichsarmee.  A possible reason for this shortage is that the Rhineland states were taking enormous sums of cash to provide regiments to the King of France.

Thus far I have only painted a single unit for the Upper Rhine District: The superb Hessen-Darmstadt Regiment.

Above:  The Kreisinfanterieregiment Hessen-Darmstadt (also known as the Prinz Georg Regiment) comprised only a single battalion and Grenadier Company, amounting to 674 men at full strength.  The regiment was nothing short of superb and distinguished itself at Rossbach where it, along with the Blau-Würzburg Regiment, withdrew from the disaster in good order.  The Grenadier Company would normally be detached and as a consequence (and in common with all other Reichsarmee grenadier companies) didn’t fight at Rossbach.  However, in February 1759 the regiment was captured along with an Austro-Imperial army at Erfurt and only the detached Grenadier Company escaped, as it was assigned to a completely different force.

Above:  The Hessen-Darmstadt Regiment’s uniform was a dark blue, Prussian-style coat with white metal buttons, white facings (no lapels), white aiguillette on right shoulder and heavily laced with white buttonhole lace.  Neck-stocks were red and small-clothes were white.  The hat had a black cockade and white pompoms, but sources disagree over the hat-lace; Kronoskaf says white hat-lace, while Pengel & Hurt say no hat-lace.   Officers had silver buttonhole lace, silver scalloped hat-lace, silver gorgets and silver sashes striped with red.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s Prussian Infantry figures.

Above:  Sources differ markedly over the details of the grenadiers’ mitre cap.  My only source at the time was Pengel & Hurt, who described a silver front with a blue enameled disc bearing the Hessian lion rampant in red and white.  Knötel meanwhile showed a plain brass front, while Kronoskaf shows a plain silver front, though pierced to reveal a white cloth backing.  All agree that it had a white band, blue bag, white piping and a white pompom.  I must admit that I am rather pleased with those tiny stripy lions! 🙂

Above:  As you can tell, I was still painting my flags in those days and these are quite spectacular!  However, I’ve based them the wrong way around; the white Leibfahne should always stand on the right!  I’ll have to have a word with my 1990s self…

That’s it for my Reichsarmee regiments as they currently stand.  I still haven’t painted anything from the Lower Rhine or Upper Saxony Districts, so will leave those districts for another time when I’ve got something to show.  I’ve presently got five Reichsarmee cavalry regiments waiting in the lead-crypt, so hope to get them done soon.

Reichsarmee Generals

General officers of the Reichsarmee initially wore a version of their own regimental dress (such as General von Wildenstein above, in the dress of his own Kurmainz Regiment) or some other concoction of their own design.  However, the inevitable confusion this caused soon resulted in an order for all generals of the Reichsarmee to adopt Austrian-pattern general officers’ dress of white coat with red facings and small-clothes, heavily laced with gold. the exact pattern of which indicated the rank of the general. 

The portrait on the right shows the Prinz von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the first commander of the Reichsarmee during the Seven Years War, in the uniform of an Austrian Field Marshall.

Here are some of my Reichsarmee generals in Austrian uniform.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Generals.

Imperial Artillery Reserve (Reichsreserveartillerie)

As mentioned above, the only centrally-organised and funded elements of the Reichsarmee were the Imperial General Staff and the Imperial Artillery Reserve (Reichsreserveartillerie).  While each Imperial District was required to provide its own light regimental guns, the Imperial Artillery Reserve would provide the position batteries.  These were mostly 12pdrs, but howitzers, 6pdrs and even 3pdrs are also recorded as part of the Reserve. 

The guns themselves came mostly from the arsenals of Würzburg and Bamberg in Franconia, with additional guns coming from the city of Nuremberg and Bavaria.  The Franconian guns are recorded as being mounted on red carriages, while the Nuremberg guns were red or ‘red and white’ (perhaps red carriages with iron fittings painted white or vice versa?  The Hessians were known to use white carriages with red fittings), with some 3pdrs being plain wood and 6pdr carriages being painted blue-grey.  Bavarian gun carriages were painted light blue.

Above:  I’ve gone for the majority ‘Franconian Red’ option with regard to gun carriage colour.  I’ll paint some other colours when I paint the next batch.

Above:  The uniform of the Imperial Artillery Reserve was a dark blue coat with red cuffs, lapels, turnbacks, collar and shoulder-strap with white metal buttons.  Small-clothes were dark blue.  Neck-stocks and cross-belts were black, though waist-belts were white.  The hat was laced white, with a black cockade.

Above:  I used Old Glory 15s Austrian Artillery and simply painted on the lapels.

Anyway, that’s enough for now! 🙂 

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Austrian Army, Seven Years War Minor German States, Shako Rules | 7 Comments

‘All The Emperor’s Men’ (Part 1): Imperial Auxiliary Troops of the Seven Years War

The Rot-Würzburg Regiment defends Leuthen Churchyard against the Grenadiers of the Prussian Garde, 5th December 1757

First an apology to lovers of all things Jungle Green, Khaki Drill and Olive Drab and/or tracked; I’ve still got stacks and stacks of WW2 and Cold War stuff to post here (and more besides), but I’m on a bit of a Seven Years War roll at the moment…

As mentioned a few months (and 800 figures) ago when I rediscovered my SYW mojo, I kicked it all off by painting the Würzburg ‘Red’ Regiment, which was raised by the Archbishop-Elector of Würzburg, in return for Austrian cash, to serve as an auxiliary corps under Austrian command.  This regiment was one of many raised by the states of the Holy Roman Empire to fight in the Seven Years War.  These regiments fall generally into two groups; first, those raised at Austrian (and sometimes French) expense to serve as auxiliary units under the command of the Austrian Army (or occasionally the French Army) and second, those raised to serve as part of the Imperial Reichsarmee.  

I started painting a Reichsarmee/Imperial Auxiliary force back in the 1990s and at the time painted eleven battalions, generals and four regiments of cavalry.  Since November I’ve added a further 29 battalions, plus artillery and generals and there’s still plenty more to come, particularly in terms of cavalry and a few infantry battalions to complete the order of battle for the Battle of Rossbach.  I’ll probably then add some more infantry and cavalry units for the later battles featuring the Reichsarmee.  In the meantime, here are a few of the units I’ve already painted:

Imperial Auxiliary Corps Serving With The Austrian Army

Württemberg

In addition to maintaining its treaty commitment to the Reichsarmee, the Duchy of Württemberg also raised an Auxiliary Corps of ten infantry battalions, three grenadier battalions and a company of artillery essentially to serve as a mercenary force in order to swell the Duke’s coffers.  Serving initially with the Austrian Army (disastrously so at the Battle of Leuthen), the French later paid for the corps and at one point, the Duke even considered accepting offers from the British to fight on the other side! 

Followers of this blog will probably remember that I painted the entire Württemberg Auxiliary Corps in my first personal painting challenge last November, so I won’t go into detail again here.  Just follow the link (or click on the photo) back to the earlier article.  I will at some point expand this army to include cavalry, which did fight when under French command.  I’ve got a pile of spare Old Glory Austrian Horse Grenadiers who will make passable Württemberg Horse Grenadiers and some spare Austrian Cuirassiers who might become the Cuirassier Regiment ‘Von Phull’.

Bavaria

Again in addition to maintaining its commitment to the Reichsarmee, the Electorate of Bavaria raised a divisional-sized Auxiliary Corps of ten battalions at Austrian expense, bringing badly-needed cash into Bavaria’s struggling treasury.  Although badly hammered at the Battle of Leuthen and perpetually under-strength, the corps operated under Austrian command for the duration of the war. 

As with the Württembergers and as regular readers will know, I recently painted the entire Bavarian contingent as a personal painting challenge, with the ultimate intent of completing the order of battle for the Battle of Leuthen.  I won’t therefore go into details of regiments and uniforms here.  Just follow the link or click on the picture above to the relevant article.

Würzburg

In addition to its commitment to the Reichsarmee, the Prince-Diocese of Würzburg signed an agreement with Austria to supply two regiments of infantry, each numbering a little over 1,800 men (two battalions (each of six companies) plus two grenadier companies per regiment).  Provided that the Bishop raised one regiment at his own expense, Austria would pay all costs for the second.  The first regiment was raised in 1756 and was known as the ‘Red’ Regiment (Roth- or Rot-Würzburg) from its facing colour.   Unlike so many Imperial contingents, the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg paid close attention to his tiny army and the Würzburgers proved to be excellent troops.

Joining the garrison of Prague alongside another Imperial auxiliary regiment, the Mainz ‘Lamberg’ Infantry Regiment (which I will be painting soon!), the Rot-Würzburgers were soon in action during the successful defence of the city against the Prussians in 1757.  

In the meantime, the second regiment, entitled the ‘Blue’ Regiment or Blau-Würzburg (again reflecting the regimental facing colour) was raised and sent to reinforce the Reichsarmee in Franconia, where it was soon in action against Prussian raiders.  In August 1757, the Reichsarmee combined with Marshal Soubise’s French army and the combined armies invaded Prussian-occupied Saxony.  Despite his defeat against the Austrians at Kolin and his subsequent retreat from Bohemia, Frederick was swift to respond and his army smashed the combined Franco-Imperial Army on 5th November 1757 at the Battle of Rossbach.  The Reichsarmee in particular was very quick to break, though the Blau-Würzburg Regiment, alongside similarly-superb Hessen-Darmstädt Kreis-Infanterie Regiment, held their ground and withdrew from the field in good order.

Sadly I haven’t yet painted Blau-Würzburg, though they are on my ‘to do’ list.

Following Frederick’s withdrawal from Bohemia after his defeat at Kolin, Rot-Würzburg was assigned to a field army for the Austrian invasion of Silesia.  The regiment’s finest, though bloodiest hour came on 5th December 1757 at the Battle of Leuthen when, with the Austrian left flank collapsing, Rot-Würzburg was assigned the key task of holding Leuthen Church.  Rot-Würzburg held their position against ever-increasing odds, until at last Frederick committed the grenadiers of his Garde Regiment (as shown in the painting at the top of this article) and the regiment was finally thrown out of the position.  Rot-Würzburg had suffered the loss of 24 officers and 755 men killed or captured during its defence of the churchyard and only 217 men remained unwounded.

Both regiments were rebuilt and fought in numerous other engagements and both eventually served with the Reichsarmee, though there was apparently a bitter enmity between them.  Nevertheless in 1761, with casualties and expenses rapidly mounting and with Blau-Würzburg reduced to a single battalion, the Bishop of Würzburg was forced to amalgamate the two regiments into a single regiment.

Imperial uniforms mostly fell into one of two camps: ‘Prussian Style’ and ‘Austrian Style’.  Würzburg uniforms were very much in the Austrian camp, being indistinguishable from Austrian ‘German’ infantry uniform and I’ve therefore used Old Glory 15s Austrian (German) Infantry figures.  The coats and smallclothes were white, with red lapels, cuffs, turnbacks and neck-stocks (no collar or shoulder-strap).  Buttons were white metal.  Hats had white lace and red-over-white pompoms.  Grenadiers had brown-black bearskins with a front-plate (variously described as brass or white metal) and a red bag with white piping.  Officers had yellow silk sashes.  Drummers had the same uniform with the addition of white-laced red swallows’ nests.

The flags are taken from Kronoskaf, and are interpretations based on a surviving description of the flags.  I’ve used the images to create flags that I then printed on my laser-printer.  I don’t know how many flags each battalion carried, but I’ve followed the usual pattern of a white Leibfahne for the 1st Battalion and a (red) coloured Ordinärfahne for the 2nd Battalion.

As the Würzburgers went with the large Austrian-style six-company battalion organisation, I’ve gone with large 16-figure units for these chaps.  The Grenadier companies would normally have been detached, but I’ve attached them to the right flank of each battalion simply because a.  Old Glory 15s are now only supplied in packs of 25 figures and b. I have an enormous stash of spare Austrian grenadiers! 🙂 

Saxony

Saxony was very quickly knocked out of the war by Frederick’s invasion of 1756, with the Saxon Army being conscripted en masse into the Prussian Army.  However, a number of regiments remained within Saxon-ruled Poland and the King of Saxony placed a number of these under Austrian command, namely the Karabiniergarde, the Graf Renard Uhlans, the Graf Rudnicki Uhlans, the Graf Brühl Chevauxlégers, the Prinz Karl Chevauxlégers and the Prinz Albrecht Chevauxléxlegers

The two Saxon-Polish Uhlan regiments proved to be superb light cavalry and highly skilled in the petit guerre of scouting and raiding, though didn’t take part in any major battles (which is fortunate, as I can’t find any decent figures for them).  However, the others were assigned to Marshal Daun’s main army in Bohemia and excelled themselves at the Battle of Kolin (with the exception of the Karabiniergarde, who were routed by Prussian Dragoons).  Saxon cavalry throughout history have often been among the best in Europe and these regiments were no exception to that rule.  They fought on with the Austrian Army throughout the Seven Years War, even after the re-creation of the Royal Saxon Army, though by the end they were apparently ‘dressed in rags’. 

The Karabiniergarde was one of two Saxon Guard Cuirassier regiments, the other being the Garde du Corps.  It had been assigned to the Warsaw Garrison since 1754 and therefore escaped the surrender of the Saxon Army at Pirna in 1756.  At full strength the regiment had 514 men organised into four squadrons, though the contingent sent to join Marshal Daun’s Austrian army in Bohemia had only around 350 men organised into two squadrons, hence the small size of the unit shown here.  The remainder were presumably kept back to garrison Warsaw.

These figures are Freikorps 15 figures, painted by my mate Gareth Beamish for the late Doug Weatherall’s collection and now in my own collection.  I’ve recently given them a new standard using the Kronoskaf image and printed on my own laser-printer.  However, the uniform doesn’t match the one described in the Kronoskaf article, as the Karabiniergarde is there described as having white/silver hat lace and edging to the horse furniture and its trumpeters were dressed in red coats with white facings and lace. 

There is a very good reason for this mistake… Back in the pre-internet 1990s, our ONLY source for Saxon uniforms was the 1970s-vintage booklet by Pengel & Hurt.  I’ve just had a look and this booklet doesn’t actually mention the Karabiniergarde at all and the uniform shown is therefore the one described in Pengel & Hurt for the Leib-Cuirassiers.  Doug had labelled them as ‘Leib-Carabiniers’, so had understandably got the two regiments confused.  We’ve all been there… Anyway, I won’t be correcting them, as these lads fought hard for Doug and I won’t dishonour them now! 🙂 

The Saxon Chevauxlégers (above) are often defined in wargame army lists as ‘light cavalry’.  However, while the literal translation obviously means ‘Light Horse’, the French definition of that term simply meant anyone lighter than a fully-armoured gendarme!  So in the French army, ‘Chevauxlégers’ were the main heavy cavalry type, being routinely issued with cuirasses and armoured skull-caps and classed heavier than Dragoons; not exactly what might be termed ‘light cavalry’. 

In the Saxon Army, the troopers of the Chevauxlégers were given the title of ‘Dragoon’ and clearly filled that niche in the Saxon order of battle, being used for scouting but also eminently capable of charging hard in the line of battle, so I class them as Dragoons rather than putting them on a par with Hussars.  However, there is one small fly in the ointment in terms of classification, in that the three regiments shown here were initially mounted on Polish horses which were normally classed as light cavalry mounts.  However, once assigned to the Austrian Army they would have received Austrian remounts.  There was a fourth regiment, the Graf Rutowsky Chevauxlégers (captured at Pirna), which was mounted on heavier German breeds.

The Chevauxléger Regiments were each organised into four squadrons, with 762 men at full strength.  When committed to the Austrian Army in 1757 they were fairly close to full strength and in 1759 they actually exceeded 800 men per regiment!  One of the eight companies (i.e. half-squadrons) in each regiment was designated as the elite Carabinier Company, though I’ve never found any information regarding special uniform distinctions for these men and they were probably dressed the same as the rest.

I painted these sometime around 1997/98 for our demo game of the Battle of Kolin (back in those days I’d paint all my flags!).  I used Old Glory 15s Austrian Dragoon figures for these troops and I really like them.  Lovely sculpting and stacks of character!  However, I ended up with a whole pile of spare Horse Grenadier figures (the old pack contained roughly 22 Dragoons, with command figures for two regiments and eight Horse Grenadiers).  But no matter, as those figures will eventually become the Württemberg Leib Grenadier à Cheval Regiment and the Prussian ‘Kleist’ Freikorps Dragoon Regiment.

The Graf Brühl Chevauxlégers wore an iron grey coat with lapels, cuffs, turnbacks, collar and waistcoat in bleumourant (a bright shade of light blue), white metal buttons and a white aiguillette on the right shoulder.  Breeches and gloves were straw-coloured.  Neck-stocks were red.  Belts were white.  Horse furniture was bleumourant with white-red-white-red-white lace edging and ‘AR3’ cyphers in red, edged white, on the rear corners and holster-caps.  The hat had a white cockade and bleumourant rosettes in the corners.  Pengel & Hurt describe yellow hat-lace (gold for officers), while Kronoskaf describes white hat-lace (silver for officers).  Officers wore silver & crimson sashes.

The trumpeters and drummers of the Graf Brühl Chevauxlégers wore bleumorant coats with white facings and yellow lace on lapels and cuffs, as well as yellow lace swallows’ nests on the shoulders.  Most unusually, they are recorded as being mounted on piebald horses.

The 1st Squadron carried a white Leibstandarte decorated with the arms of the Kingdom of Poland in the centre and ‘AR3’ cyphers in the corners.  The other three squadrons each carried an Ordinärstandarte in bleumourant decorated with a large crowned ‘AR3’ cypher in the centre, above a green palm wreath, with corner medallions comprising the heraldic badges of Saxony, Poland, Lithuania and the Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire (a ceremonial office held by the Elector of Saxony).  Staves were silver and the finials were gold.

The Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlégers wore a uniform very similar to that of the Graf Brühl Chevauxlégers, except that the distinguishing colour this time was green (described by Pengel & Hurt as grass green) and the horse furniture had plain white cyphers, with yellow stripes on the white edging instead of red.  Kronoskaf and Pengel & Hurt again disagree on the colour of the hat-lace; P&H again say yellow, while Kronoskaf says white.

The trumpeters and drummers of the Prinz Albrecht Chevauxlégers again followed the same pattern, having green coats with white facings.  The lace this time was white.  Their horses again were piebald.

Standards were of exactly the same pattern as before, except the Ordinärstandarten were ponceau red.

The Prinz Karl Chevauxlégers had very different colourings to the other regiments, having bright green coats with cuffs, turnbacks, collar and waistcoat in poppy red, yellow metal buttons and a yellow aiguillette on the right shoulder.  Pengel & Hurt and Kronoskaf disagree on the lapel-colour; P&H says green lapels, while Kronoskaf says red.  Breeches and gloves were straw-coloured.  Neck-stocks were red.  Belts were white.  Horse furniture was bright green.  Pengel & Hurt describe the edging as plain yellow, though Kronoskaf describes yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow lace edging.  This time there were no cyphers on the horse furniture.  The hat had yellow lace (gold for officers), a white cockade and red rosettes in the corners.  Officers wore silver & crimson sashes.

The trumpeters and drummers of the Prinz Karl Chevauxlégers had poppy red coats with green facings and yellow lace, this time including upward-pointing lace chevrons on each sleeve.  There was no specified horse colour for the trumpeters and drummers of this regiment.

The standards again followed the same pattern, though the Ordinärstandarten were now poppy red.

Saxon general officers all wore a standard regulation uniform which came into service from 1753.  It consisted of a ponceau red coat with cuffs and collar in the same colour.  The collar, cuffs and pockets were edged in a double row of gold lace, as were the front seams of the coat.  The waistcoat was straw-coloured and had another double-row of gold lace down the front  seams, with a line of red between the gold.  Breeches were straw and white gloves were usually worn.  The hat was edged with straight or scalloped gold lace and split white ostrich feathers, with a white cockade held in place with a gold strap.  The sash was mixed silver and crimson.  Horse furniture was crimson with gold lace edging.

This figure was originally a Prussian general by Old Glory 15s.

Anyway, ’nuff for now!  Next time I’ll post up some units of the Reichsarmee.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Austrian Army, Seven Years War Minor German States, Shako Rules | 9 Comments

Reinforcements For King Louis! (Seven Years War French Army)

As mentioned last time, I’ve been setting myself painting challenges to keep the painting-mojo going during the continued lockdown and lately these have been tied to my renewed interest in the Seven Years War, which has lain dormant since the 1990s.  I started last November with the ‘Württember’ Challenge, which was followed in December by a Carmarthen Old Guard painting challenge which I used to catch up with my Napoleonic Russians.  Then came ‘Bavarianuary’, followed closely by ‘Frogruary’ and now we’re into the month of ‘Marsch!

The ‘Marsch!‘ challenge is to paint anything Germanic during the month of March, so I’ve been painting some more Seven Years War Prussians, as well as some German and Swiss regiments for my new French army for the Seven Years War.  OK, sneaking in the Swiss is a bit of a cheat, but I needed them to finish off the First Infantry Line of the Battle of Rossbach orbat… Some of them were German… probably… or spoke German… or could perhaps order a beer in German…

Above:  The Swiss ‘Planta’ Brigade for the Battle of Rossbach orbat, consisting of the ‘Planta‘ and ‘Reding’ Regiments.  All Swiss regiments in French service had the same basic uniform of red coat, royal blue facings and white ‘metal’ (i.e. buttons and lace).  The uniform differences were very minor and took the form of button-placement on the breast and pockets, the presence or otherwise of a collar, red smallclothes (i.e. breeches and waistcoat) instead of blue and lace on the waistcoat; much of which is almost impossible to spot in 15mm.  However, their traditional Swiss style of flag, with radiating ‘flames’ in psychedelic colours, does make the regiments reasonably easy to tell apart on the wargames table.

Above:  The ‘Planta’ Regiment.  Swiss regiments were known by the shortened form of the name of their Colonel, which in this instance was Louis-Auguste Baron de Planta de Wildemberg.  As mentioned above, there wasn’t much in the way of uniform details to tell one Swiss regiment from another, but this regiment’s uniform lacked a collar and had blue piping on the breast-buttonholes.  There were three buttons on each cuff and three arranged horizontally on each pocket.  There was also white piping on the seams of the blue waistcoat.

These are French infantry figures by Eureka Minitures, with flags by Maverick Models.

Above:  The ‘Planta’ Regiment.  Some Swiss regiments had very ornate flag-designs, but this one was relatively simple, with four ‘flames’ in each canton, coloured black, yellow, blue and red. 

I’ve not been able to identify the drummers’ livery for any specific Swiss regiments and they weren’t authorised to wear the King’s Livery, but one picture of a drummer belonging to an unidentified regiment shows simply the regimental coat in red with blue facings, decorated with strips of silver or white lace.  The drummers of the Swiss Guards also followed this colour scheme, though were very heavily laced with silver.  I’ve therefore gone with this scheme, though might simply make up some livery for a future regiment (I have another four Swiss regiments to paint).

Above:  The ‘Reding’ Regiment.  The regiment’s Colonel throughout the Seven Years War as Antoine Baron de Reding de Frawenfeld.  

Note that as with the French infantry I painted earlier, I’ve used French infantry figures without turnbacks, as this was their style of dress at the start of the Seven Years War, being barely unchanged since Marlborough’s day.  However, the uniform steadily changed as the Seven Years War went on, with the skirts of the coat being turned back, bearskins being adopted by grenadier companies and some regiments adding lapels to the coat.  These changes were fairly haphazard, so it would probably not be unusual to see a regiment at the end of the war still dressed in this manner.

Above: The ‘Reding’ Regiment.  Like the ‘Planta’ Regiment above, the ‘Reding’ Regiment had fine blue piping on the breast-buttonholes and three buttons on each cuff.  However, it differed in having a plain waistcoat without piping or lace, a blue collar, a blue shoulder-strap on the left shoulder and five buttons on each pocket.

Above:  The ‘Reding’ Regiment had relatively simple flags, with four ‘flames’ per canton, coloured red, white, green and yellow.  The white Colonel’s colour also had ‘flames’, but all in white.

That’s the First Line now completed for the Battle of Rossbach! 🙂 On to the Second Line…

Above:  As if the Swiss weren’t colourful enough, here’s the German ‘La Marck’ Brigade, consisting of the ‘La Marck’, ‘Royal Pologne’ and ‘St Germain’ Regiments.  This brigade was one of four in the Second Line at Rossbach.  In addition to the Germans, one brigade was French, consisting of all four battalions of the ‘Mailly’ Regiment and the remaining two brigades were Swiss; the ‘Wittmer’ Brigade (‘Wittmer’ and ‘Diesbach’ Regiments) and the ‘Castellas Brigade (‘Castellas’ and ‘Salis de Mayenfeld’ Regiments).  So that’s twelve more battalions to paint to complete the Second Line… 🙁  In fact there was a Third Line with another eight French battalions and Touraine’s detached corps, with yet another eight battalions, but two lines will do for now!

Above:  The ‘La Marck’ Regiment.  The regiment initially had two battalions as shown here, but increased to three battalions in 1760.  Most German (and all Scottish) regiments in the French Army were clothed in Turquin blue uniforms.  The exact shade is a little hard to pin down, being depicted in art as everything from dark blue to bright sky-blue, but it was apparently the middle-blue colour used to clothe the entire French Army in the latter half of the 19th Century, so that makes the shade somewhat easier to pin down.

Above:  The distinguishing features of the ‘La Marck’ Regiment were pale yellow lapels, cuffs and collar.  The lapels, cuffs and pockets had white lace buttonholes.  The turnbacks were also initially yellow, but changed to blue in 1757 and white in 1760.  The waistcoat and breeches were blue until 1758 when they changed to white and then back to blue in 1760.  The ‘metal’ colour was white.

Above:  The ‘La Marck’ Regiment unusually had whitened leather belts, when almost all other regiments in the French Army had natural buff leather.  The cartridge-pouch remained natural leather, while the sword and bayonet scabbards were blackened leather instead of the usual dark brown.

Above:  A rear view of the ‘La Marck’ Regiment.  I couldn’t find any information on the colonel’s livery worn by the regiment’s drummers.  However, Jase Evans dug out the livery for the ‘La Marck’ Cavalry Regiment of the War of Spanish Succession, which was grey-white, with black cuffs (with white buttonhole lace) and black ‘Brandenbourg’ lace decorating the other buttonholes.  Lacking any other information, this livery seemed like a good bet.

The figures are again by Eureka Miniatures, while the spectacular flags are by Maverick Models.

Above:  The ‘Royal Pologne’ Regiment.  This regiment consisted of only one battalion and was commanded and partly-officered by exiled Polish supporters of Louis XV’s father-in-law, the on-off-on-off former King of Poland, Stanislaw Leszczynski, who now resided in French territory as Duke of Lorraine.  The bulk of the regiment was made up of German-speaking troops from Alsace-Lorraine and other German territories.

Above:  The ‘Royal Pologne’ Regiment again had uniforms of turquin blue, this time with ‘red’ cuffs, turnbacks and collar.  The red is usually depicted as an appropriately Polish shade of crimson, so I’ve gone with that colour.  The collar had white lace edging and the buttonholes on the breast and pockets were also decorated with lace, as were the buttonholes on the blue waistcoat.  Breeches were white and the ‘metal’ colour was also white.

Above:  A rear view of the ‘Royal Pologne’ Regiment.  Note that the belts and equipment were natural buff leather, with scabbards of dark brown leather, in the style typical of French infantry of the period.  As a ‘Royal’ regiment, the regiment’s drummers wore the King’s Livery.

The figures are again Eureka Miniatures.  I stuck the flags together from images taken from the relevant page on Kronoskaf and printed on my own laser-printer.

Above:  The ‘St Germain’ Regiment.  This regiment had only a single battalion before being disbanded in 1760.

Above:  The ‘St Germain’ Regiment was dressed in turquin blue coats like the rest of the brigade, with blue waistcoat and breeches to match.  The regiment’s distinguishing colour was pale yellow, which was displayed on the collar, cuffs and turnbacks.  The coat and waistcoat were also decorated with white lace buttonholes on breast and pockets.  The ‘metal’ colour was yellow.

Above:  A rear view of the ‘St Germain’ Regiment.  Note the four lace buttonholes on the pockets and the small red (heart-shaped) decorations where the turnbacks are buttoned together.  Again, I couldn’t find any information on the colonel’s livery for this regiment, but Jase Evans came up with the livery of the St Germain-Beaupré Cavalry Regiment of the War of Spanish Succession, which consisted of a yellow coat with blue cuffs, smallclothes and lace.  It’s as good a guess as any, so I’ve gone with that scheme for the drummer.

The figures are again by Eureka Miniatures, with the flags this time by Fighting 15s

Anyway, that’s if for now.  If you’re wondering what happened to our resident troll, he still occasionally rants away in the Spam Folder where only I can point and laugh at the sad little onanist.  I suppose it’s safer for him to be sitting in his mum’s basement, sending anonymous abuse to a blog about toy-soldiers than being out in public, shouting at pigeons, stampeding horses and scaring children.  He was amusing for a day, which I suppose is all that a pathetic waste of human life such as ‘Martin’ can ever hope to be.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War French Army, Shako Rules | 8 Comments

Another Blast From The Past: The Battle of Auerstädt 1806 at the AB Figures Wargames Weekend 2000

While having a rummage through an old campaign chest filled with mouldy old rule-books and the like, I recently came across two old copies of Wargames Illustrated (November & December 2000).  These two magazines contain my article on the AB Figures Wargames Weekend 2000, where we played the Battle of Auerstädt 1806 at 1:20 ratio, using General de Brigade rules, on a massive 16×16-foot playing area (consisting of three parallel 16-foot tables), in a barn at Mike Hickling’s place in Carmarthenshire (Mike was then the UK manufacturer and distributor for AB Figures).

This was the second of three such Wargames Weekends; the first in 1999 was the Battle of Eggmühl 1809 and the third and final weekend was the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro 1811.  The game itself was played 6-7 May 2000, though we’d put on the central section (the opening clash at Hassenhausen) on a much smaller table as a demo-game at the Wargames Association of Reading’s ‘Warfare 99’ show the previous November.  

The players were Colonel Simon Millar (Davout), Dave Brown (Gudin), Martin Gane (Friant), Colin Allen (King Frederick-William III), Dave Balfour (Schmettau), Julian Travis (Wartensleben) and John Rich (Blucher), with me as the ‘Holy Roman Umpire’ (‘Neither Holy, nor Roman and least of all an Umpire’) and Mike Hickling providing the venue, scenery and inordinate quantity of troops (most of which were based and flagged by me and I painted roughly one-quarter of the Prussian army).

Clearly it was all down to the quality of the scenario-writing 😉 , but it remains one of the best, most finely-balanced games I’ve ever been involved in.  Sadly I’ve lost all my photos of the three AB Figures Wargames Weekends, so all these photos are ones I set up at one of Duncan McFarlane’s Wargames Illustrated photo-shoot days in Newark.  The photos here show the historical situation at two stages of the battle around the village of Hassenhausen, rather than a recreation of our game.  I used the smaller ‘Hassenhausen’ scenario table I’d used for the ‘Warfare’ show, as the full 16×16 foot terrain would have taken a truck to get to Newark and a full week to set it all up and take it all down again:

Above: The village of Hassenhausen at 0930hrs.  As the morning mist lifts, Davout and his staff, escorted by a squadron of the 1st Chasseurs, ride forward to assess the situation of Gudin’s Division, just as Blücher launches a huge, yet foolhardy and unsupported cavalry assault on the squares of Petit’s Brigade (12e & 21e de Ligne).  In the distance, the Prussian infantry of Schemttau’s Division (Schimonsky’s and Alvensleben’s Brigades) starts to deploy around the village of Taugwitz.

Above: As Petit’s squares hold back the Prussian horsemen, the first battalions of Friant’s Division arrive to stabilise the situation.  However, yet more Prussian infantry are beginning to appear from the misty valley of the Lissbach; this is Wartensleben’s Division (Renouard’s and Wedell’s Brigades).

Above: The view from Spielberg, behind Blücher.  The Queen’s Dragoons, having already mounted two failed attacks, reform their lines as the ‘Heising’ Cuirassiers have a crack at the squares.  In the distance, the Prussian advance guard infantry (the massed Schützen of Schmettau’s Division, the ‘Schack’ Grenadier Battalion and 2nd Battalion of the 33rd ‘Alvensleben’ Regiment) skirmish with Gudin’s Voltigeurs in the copse below Hassenhausen.

Above: The scene at 1100hrs.  With Blücher’s cavalry assault beaten off, Friant extends the French line to Gudin’s right, as far as Spielberg (in the left foreground).  Schmettau’s Division is now fully engaged with Friant and Gudin and the bodies are beginning to pile up.  Reinforcements arrive in the form of Prince Henry’s Brigade of the Prince of Orange’s Division.

Above: The view from behind Prince Henry’s Brigade as Schmettau’s Division assaults the French line between Hassenhausen and Spielberg.  On the right, King Frederick-William III and his staff, escorted by the Gardes du Corps, move forward for a closer look.  In the distance, Friant moves a regiment to extend his line further out to the right and Vialannes’ cavalry also move to envelop the Prussian left flank.

Above: On the Prussian right flank, Wartensleben’s Division is now fully engaged with Gudin around Hassenhausen as Prince William gather’s all remaining cavalry regiments in an attempt to envelop Davout’s left flank.  However, Davout has moved Morand’s freshly-arrived division to that sector and the Prussian cavalry once again runs into a mass of squares.  In the foreground, Renouard’s Brigade from the Prince of Orange’s Division moves up in support, but to little effect…

Sorry, but those are the only photos I’ve got 🙁 I’m sure the photos for the three AB Figures games must be here somewhere (it’s such a long time ago that they were PROPER photos, printed on paper and living in a packet!), so I might one day be able to post the actual game photos here.

If you’re interested, the full game report and scenario is in Wargames Illustrated #158 (November 2000) and you can also find a slightly truncated scenario (minus the Prussian Reserve Korps) in the General de Brigade Scenario Book #3 ‘The Glory Years’.  That book also contains my full Battle of Eggmühl 1809 scenario from the 1999 AB Figures Wargames Weekend (which Wargames Illustrated also printed earlier in 2000, but accidentally deleted a chunk of the Austrian orbat).

Posted in 15mm Figures, Games, Napoleonic Wars, Warfare (Show) | 7 Comments

Happy Frogruary!

As the terminally bored and bewildered followers of this blog will know, when not playing with myself I’ve been setting myself various painting challenges throughout the latest lockdown in order to keep the painting-mojo going while wargames clubs are closed and wargaming opportunities are non-existent.  The sudden renewal of my interest in the Seven Years War prompted me to finally finish a couple of armies that had remained unpainted since the 1990s, starting with the Württemberg and Bavarian Auxiliary Corps for the Battle of Leuthen.  So in the spirit of the ‘Movember Challenge’, I decided to set myself the ‘Württember Challenge‘ in November, followed in January by ‘Bavarianuary‘.  There was also a concurrent Carmarthen Old Guard Lockdown Painting Challenge, so I also got some Russian Napoleonics finished, as well as some more Prussian and Imperial units for the Seven Years War.  All in all, I managed to paint 552 foot, 3 horse and 12 guns (all 15mm) in three months, which is pretty good going for me! 🙂

All this frenzied SYW activity has prompted a renewal of interest for the period in the club.  As part of this, there’s interest in a resurrected Europe-wide campaign like the epic campaign I ran at WASP in the 90s, so a couple of the lads are presently painting Russian armies, while Phil has anointed himself as ‘Shadow of God Upon Earth‘ and has just taken delivery of a gigantic Ottoman army that he now has to paint.  However, we’ll need a few more armies for a Europe-wide campaign, so I’ve recently invested in a large French army from Eureka Miniatures that will be followed in good time by a British/Hanoverian army.

So with ‘Bavarianuary’ completed, I got stuck into ‘Frogruary’…

I always like to paint a historical order of battle, as it gives me a clear objective and satisfies my deep-seated obsessive-compulsive need to make lists and then tick things off the list.  That then forms the core of an army and I can then add special or specific units for scenarios when required.  I’m therefore painting the order of battle for the Battle of Rossbach, the only encounter between the French and Frederick the Great’s main Prussian army.  Although it ended disastrously for the French, I’ve already got the Imperial and Austrian contingents for Rossbach and most of the French units turned up again at later battles in western Germany, so it’s a good place to start.

Here’s a little painting aide-memoire I made for myself, taking bits and pieces from the excellent Kronoskaf website and some stuff scanned and sent to me by my mate Jase Evans.  This shows the first line of infantry regiments at Rossbach and served as my painting list for Frogruary.  The regimental uniform is shown at the top, then the flags and then the drummers’ livery (where known) and any notes.

I had fourteen painting-days available to me during the month and I can usually churn out a 12-figure battalion per day on average, so I thought I’d paint all twelve white-coated battalions over twelve days (saving the Swiss for later) and then have two days left over to paint the artillery.  In fact, the simplicity of the infantry uniform meant that I was able to gain two extra days, so used those days to paint all my French generals and ADCs.

Above:  The first brigade to be painted was the Royal Roussillon Brigade, consisting of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Roussillon Regiment and three battalions of the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment.  French infantry brigades almost always consisted of four battalions and were known by the title of the senior regiment in the brigade.

Note that as my army is modelled on the early part of the war, I’ve used the Eureka French Infantry figures without turnbacks.  This does give them a very old-fashioned look and aside from the style of officers’ hair/wig-styles, they are virtually indistinguishable from the troops who fought in the Wars of Spanish, Polish and Austrian Succession.  The style of uniform changed very rapidly during the Seven Years War however, with tails being turned back, lapels being added and the grenadiers (who until this point were virtually indistinguishable from the rest) adopting the bearskin cap.  These changes were already happening in 1757, though sadly Eureka don’t do any grenadiers in bearskin caps apart from the Grenadiers de France Regiment, who wore a very different style of coat.  I will start mixing some other styles into my army, starting with the German ‘La Marck’ Brigade, which will have coats with turnbacks.

These are absolutely lovely figures, all marching in the standard and rather old-fashioned French drill pose of the period, with the left hand grasping the neck of the musket-stock and the musket carried at the slope on the left shoulder.   The officers and NCO figures are very similar, but have longer sword-scabbards and are either carrying a spontoon or a musket in the crook of the right arm, with the officers being distinguished by a gorget at the throat and a slightly different design of spontoon-blade.  My one criticism is that the metal used by Eureka, while giving exquisite casting detail, is rather soft when compared to the tougher but more grainy pewter we used when casting AB Figures in the UK.  This means that the thin flagpoles are very bendy and need replacing before I start (I use 0.8mm brass rod).

Above:  The 1st Battalion of the Royal Roussillon Regiment.  French uniforms of the period are reasonably well-documented, but there are still some massive, yawning gaps in our knowledge.  The thorniest one is the subject of drummers’ livery (more of which later), but the second one is facing colours.  Very occasionally, the facing colour will be precisely described, albeit usually in archaic terms, but more often than not they’re just described for example, as simply ‘red’, which going by old paintings of French soldiers, could be anything from pink to dark crimson!

In the case of Royal Roussillon, the cuffs, collar and waistcoat are simply described as ‘blue’, which in most cases with the Royal French Army means a ‘royal blue’ shade.  Most depictions of Royal Roussillon show quite a light shade – probably akin to the light Turquin blue worn as the coat-colour of German regiments in the French Army.  Soldiers from Royal Roussillon are shown in a painting from 1748 that was presumably painted from life, an extract of which is shown here on the right.  I’ve mixed up this shade using Humbrol 25 blue, 89 mid blue and 34 white.

Note that as a Royal regiment, the drummers wore the King’s Livery of blue with red facings and red/white lace in a ‘chain’ pattern.  No other nobles were permitted to use blue as the ground colour for their livery.

Above:  The observant will have noticed that the 1st Battalion of the Royal Roussillon Regiment is depicted in the painting at the top of this page.  However, that painting actually depicts the North American theatre where the 2nd Battalion of the regiment was stationed, so the painting isn’t actually correct.  The 1st Battalion of any French infantry regiment carried a white Colonel’s Colour, paired with a coloured Ordonnance Colour, while the 2nd and subsequent battalions each carried a pair of Ordonnance Colours.  The painting therefore shows the pair of colours that would have been carried by the 1st Battalion in Europe, rather than the 2nd Battalion in America.

Note also that in the majority of regiments, the central cross would be plain white, meaning that the Colonel’s Colour was usually a very boring white cross on a white field.  However, the cross of both colours here is decorated with fleurs-de-lys.  The flags are by Fighting 15s.

Above:  The Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment was actually a German regiment in French service (‘Deux-Ponts’ = Zweibrücken), though when raised at the start of the Seven Years War was initially dressed very much in French style, with an unbleached wool coat faced red (for which I’ve used Humbrol 60 signal red), rather than the Turquin blue coat of most German regiments.  A German-style uniform of Turquin blue with crimson facings and much more elaborate flags were authorised almost immediately, but the new uniform doesn’t seem to have appeared until 1760 at the earliest, while the new flags possibly weren’t delivered until after the war.  The uniform changed again after the Seven Years War, with the facing colour changing again to yellow, so the Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment of the American War of Independence looks very different to this one.  The waistcoats are described in most sources as white, but some say ‘possibly yellow’; give me an inch and I’ll take a mile, so I’ve done mine in yellow. 🙂

Note that unusually for a Royal regiment, the King authorised the Duc des Deux-Ponts to dress his drummers in the Duc’s own livery.  However, nobody seems to know what this livery looked like, so I’ve just done them in the King’s livery.

Above:  The Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment started the war with two battalions, but this was very soon increased to three.  French brigades were almost always maintained at four battalions, hence they were paired with the single-battalion Royal Roussillon Regiment.  In 1758 this increased again to four battalions, but in 1760 was reduced back to two battalions.  The flags here are printed by Maverick Models, who produces an excellent range of flags and also gives options for ‘textured effect’ and even a self-adhesive option, which is something I’ve not seen since the days of Revo Flags in the 1980s.  He also very kindly offered to re-size them to my specifications, so I went for something a little larger – 20mm at the hoist instead of 15mm.  This makes them a bit bigger than the Fighting 15s flags, but there was some historical variation in any case, with surviving examples ranging from 6 feet 6 inches to 9 feet square.

Above:  The next brigade to be painted was the St Chamond Brigade, consisting of two battalions of the La Viefville St Chamond Regiment and two battalions of the Cossé-Brissac Regiment.

I suppose I should explain why I’m using two flags per battalion instead of my usual single flag, as two flags in every 12-figure battalion is rather ostentatious…  Basically, it’s because in most cases, there isn’t a lot of visible uniform detail to tell one regiment from another, so the flags are a key element in that.  However, in the vast majority of French regiments, the Colonel’s Colour is basically a plain white flag, which looks very boring and really needs to be paired with an Ordonnance Colour  I noticed this when my friend Jase Evans painted his SYW French army back in the 90s and decided that if I ever did them, I’d give them two flags per battalion.  The British are another case in point – they just don’t look ‘right’ without a King’s Colour and Regimental Colour in every battalion.

Above:  The La Viefville St Chamond Regiment, like so many others, officially had ‘red’ collar, cuffs and waistcoats.  However, the shade is usually depicted as crimson or a dark pink shade and in the 1770s officially became ‘crimson’, so that’s what I’ve gone with (for which I used Humbrol 153 insignia red).  It’s only very subtly different to the usual poppy red, but it helps to break the monotony.  The drummers’ livery for the regiment is described simply as ‘yellow’.  Nothing more is known, so I added crimson lace to the yellow coats.

Above:  The La Viefville St Chamond Regiment, like the vast majority of French regiments, wore coats made of unbleached white wool.  Variations in region and quality meant that the exact colour of the coat could sometimes vary slightly from regiment to regiment, but the colour is usually depicted or described as ‘pearl-grey’, ‘drab’, ‘beige’ or ‘cream’.  What it was not was dyed a uniform shade of grey, which is what was once depicted in older uniform books and wargames armies.  When I did my 28mm French troops for the War of Spanish Succession, I used the translucency of the Humbrol white enamel over a Humbrol 64 light grey base to successfully achieve that shade.  However, the current recipe for Humbrol seems to be more opaque and makes it look too bright white.  I’ve therefore mixed a touch of Humbrol 64 light grey into the white and am very pleased with the resulting shade.

Above:  The Cossé-Brissac Regiment, like so many others, had red collar, cuffs and waistcoat.  Although many regiments had very similar uniforms, they were sub-divided by the regimental ‘metal’ colour (i.e. buttons and hat-lace) and each regiment had its own unique placement of buttons on the breast, cuffs and tail-pockets.  While officers had true metal wire lace, the hat-lace of the rank-and-file was ‘false gold’ or ‘false silver’ lace, being a combination of silk, wool and sometimes metallic wire.  To be honest, it doesn’t look very metallic in reality, so I simply use yellow or white paint for the rank and file as it looks much better than trying to use metallic paint.

The drummers’ livery for the Cossé-Brissac Regiment was yellow, with black cuffs and silver/white lace.

Above:  The Cossé-Brissac Regiment.  The gaiters for all French infantry regiments were made from bleached canvas, each secured with buttons up the side and a brown leather garter below the knee.  In paintings and reenactor photos they often look whiter than the coat, so I’ve used a basecoat of Humbrol 103 cream and the highlight of pure white.  The garter is Humbrol 98 chocolate brown.

Above:  The Piémont Regiment, being a large regiment of four battalions, was a brigade in its own right.  Being the fourth most-senior infantry regiment of the French army, Piémont was regarded as something of an elite corps.  However, that didn’t help them at Rossbach when, at the head of the French column, they became the target of virtually every Prussian gun, suffering over 1,000 casualties in just that single day!

The regiment was somewhat monochrome with black cuffs, white waistcoats and no collar, particularly when combined with their simple black and white flags, but I think they look rather striking.

Above:  Although not a ‘Royal’ regiment, the Piémont was a provincial regiment rather than a ‘Gentleman’s’ regiment, so its drummers wore the King’s livery.

I should mention that hat-cockades at this time generally did not identify the national affiliation.  This happened during the 1770s, when all French hat-cockades were ordered to be white.  At the time of the Seven Years War the majority of French hat-cockades appear to have been black, but evidence is sketchy at best, with white and sometimes other colours appearing in paintings, descriptions and anecdotes.  There is however, reasonably good evidence for the Piémont Regiment having white cockades.

Above:  With the white-coated infantry done, I moved onto the artillery for a splash of colour.  These chaps are depicted with their coats, belts and swords removed and working only in their red waistcoats, which makes painting them a very easy process.

Above:  As I’ve got a massive stash of guns by Old Glory 15s, I decided to use those instead of buying guns from Eureka.  I was looking forward to a nice phalanx of lovely red guns  and had been saving an old tin of Humbrol 60 signal red for the purpose, as it was from an old bad batch that was much darker than the usual bright shade.  However… Once again, I have learned not to just read the Osprey book, but to check online for the latest research… 🙁

Had I read Kronoskaf more closely, I would have learned that the French were painting their gun-carriages blue from at last 1741 and possibly as early as 1732! 🙁  Oh well… these artillereurs are clearly traditionalists…

Above:  A couple of the Eureka gunners had bloody enormous rammers that were impossibly floppy and would never be able to stay stiff for long on the table, so needed drastic surgery…

[…Which reminds me; do the French have a word for double-entendre…?]

The huge artillery-tools are perfectly accurate for the larger calibre guns, but I wanted something a bit shorter and less prone to bending and breaking, so I cut off the heads, drilled them out along with the hands and replaced them with brass rod.  In retrospect I should also have done the same to the men with shorter tools, as they are also ridiculously floppy…

[oh for goodness’ sake…]

Above:  I did six guns and crews in all; four light guns and two heavies.  Here are the two heavies, including the converted rammers.  I gave the light guns three crewmen apiece – partly to accentuate the difference in calibre, but mainly because I’m a cheapskate.

Above:  Lastly here are Les Generaux!  One army commander and staff, six divisional commanders and two ADCs.  Unfortunately, in painting these I may have just started the Great Gold Paint Famine of 2021…

Above:  “Sir!  Here’s the menu from the local Ottoman take-away.  What do you want and do you want to go halves on the rice?”

A close-up of my Army Commander (the central mounted figure).  I’ve painted him as a Maréchal de France, so he has three rows of gold lace on his cuffs, as well as lots of extra gold lace up the seams of his sleeves and down his back.  The uniform for French general officers had been standardised by this time, namely a royal blue coat, heavily laced with gold, with red waistcoat and breeches, but despite orders from the King to dress themselves properly, generals were still often a law unto themselves and waistcoats, breeches, etc could be different colours such as yellow or blue, and/or made of rich materials such as velvet.

Standing at the front-left are two dismounted Lieutenant-Generaux; note the two rows of lace on their cuffs.  It’s bloody difficult to paint at this scale and with my middle-aged eyesight, but the gold lace should be ‘volute’ or zig-zag in style.  the other three figures on the base are Aides-de-Camp, who at this time were ordered to wear a very plain, all-blue uniform with very simple gold lace buttonholes on the breast and cuffs, though senior officers could wear a strip of gold lace all the way down the breast, as modelled by the mounted ADC on the right.  curiously, the Osprey book shows an ADC in a plain blue coat without lace and red waistcoat and breeches, yet the text describes the regulation uniform shown here.  There’s no explanation, but he might be a supernumerary ADC, paid for by the general from his personal funds rather than by the King (these were permitted).

Above:  Another Lieutenant-General supervises the deployment of his troops as another pair of Lieutenant-Generaux chat in the background.

Above:  Yet another Lieutenant-General supervises his troops as he dabs his nose with a hanky (I do like this figure).  Behind him a pair of Aides-de-Camp look on as a Maréchal-de-Camp (i.e. a brigade commander, identified by the single row of gold lace on his cuff), armoured with a steel cuirass beneath his coat, draws his sword and prepares to run away…

Anyway, that’s it for Frogruary as we start the month of ‘Marsch!’, which is devoted to painting all things vaguely Germanic, starting with a brigade of Swiss (German-speaking, obviously) and a brigade of Germans in the service of King Louis XV. They’ll probably then be followed by some more Prussians…

Anyway, that’s it for now.  But this isn’t just goodbye, this is ‘Bonjour‘.  Bonnet du Douche and Chambourcy Nouvelle!

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War French Army, Shako Rules | 23 Comments

Some New Buildings (Total Battle Miniatures)

As regular readers of this blog might have noticed, my stash of 15mm Central European buildings is starting to look rather shabby.  Aside from a few very nice farms bought in 2015 from Tiger Terrain for the Waterloo Bicentennial refight (which reminds me – I haven’t done an article on those!), all of my scenery dates from the late 1980s and early 1990s (as seen in this photo of my Lobositz 1756 demo game from a 1998 copy of Wargames Illustrated).   

As can be seen, the core of my existing collection is a load of resin and stonecast models once manufactured by The Drum.  This beautiful, though small range was later taken over by Mayhem Miniatures, and is now owned by SHQ, but the moulds are sadly now in a very bad state, judging by some ex-The Drum Spanish buildings I bought from them in 2019.  The Drum’s models were absolutely beautiful when they were new, but mine have taken a lot of knocks over three decades, with the stonecast ones being particularly prone to chipping. If you look very carefully at the photo above, they were already chipped in 1998 and the church had already lost the tip of its spire!

The rest of my existing buildings are a set of ‘Germanic’ resin models by Hovels which I had for Christmas in the 1980s (I think all Napoleonic wargamers of that era have had that set in their collection at some time) and a load of timber-frame houses scratch-built for me from card, foamboard and balsa by my good friend, the extremely talented Gareth Beamish.

As it happens, I wasn’t actually looking for a load of new scenery, but I was looking for an Essling(ish) Granary and Aspern(ish) Church for my forthcoming Aspern-Essling refight.  My mate Phil Portway then pointed out that a company I’d never heard of called Total Battle Miniatures (TBM) did a Esslingish granary model that would fit the bill.  I ended up getting the granary… along with a Town set, a Village set and a couple of Hamlet sets…

The curious feature of this range is that every building is designed to perfectly fit into a 50x 50mm or 50x100mm recess on the village tile.  The tiles then have hedges and walls moulded on.  the Hamlet tile is shown above, with some 15mm figures and TBM buildings shown for scale.  

The flexible nature of the tiles means that they MUST NOT be painted with spray paint, as that will simply crack and flake off.  TBM recommend using acrylic paint, but I experimented with my usual thinned Humbrol enamel and it worked absolutely fine, though did stay sticky for a few weeks afterwards, which was strange. 

Having since painted two more tiles, they have now been painted for over six months and show absolutely no sign of cracking or flaking, so I’ll stick with enamel paint (I still have the large Town tile left to paint).

Here’s the Hamlet tile again with some different buildings.  The casting was exceptionally clean and crisp on these models and there was absolutely no clean-up required whatsoever.

As with almost all wargames scenery, the scale-footprint of the buildings is reduced, otherwise the larger buildings (such as Essling Granary) would be absolutely gigantic on the table and in terms of game ground-scale would be as long as a 12pdr can shoot!  It’s an eternal problem with wargame scenery, especially when we want to have famous buildings on the table, but which then fill an unhistorically-large area of the battlefield (e.g. Essling Granary and the Waterloo farms).  The solution used by TBM seems to have been to exaggerate the vertical scale to make the large buildings look big, while keeping the footprint the same as the small buildings (50x100mm) and I have to say that it works really well!  It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it works for me.

Note that the church supplied with the town set comes with three alternate spires – a tiled spire, a lead/copper-clad spire and a copper-clad onion dome.  I’ve drilled and pinned them, so I can swap them around from game to game.  The lead-clad spire is shown above and the tiled spire is shown here.  If you buy the church as an individual model you pick which spire you want.

Lastly, here’s the church with its copper-clad onion dome.

I do like my new buildings.  They’re already serving as back-drops for new photos and I can’t wait to get them in a game. 🙂 

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Napoleonic Wars, Scenery | Tagged | 10 Comments

Shiloh: The Hornet’s Nest, 6th April 1862

I’m very pleased to report that Mrs Fawr, after years of resistance, has now finally accepted that I am a man with needs that need to be satisfied and has once again relented to me playing with myself in the house! 🙂 

However, with only 5×3 feet of available table-space, my choice of playable wargame scenarios is pretty limited, but thank goodness for my 10mm ACW collection!  That investment in 10mm that I made on a whim in 2018 (at roughly the same time I started this blog) has been worth every penny; doubly so at the moment!

This time I decided to play Rich Hasenauer’s ‘Shiloh: The Hornet’s Nest’ sub-scenario from his superb Great Western Battles 2nd Edition scenario book, which covers the eastern half of the Battle of Shiloh of 1862.  The rules of course, are Rich’s own Brigade Fire & Fury 2nd Edition.  We played the ‘Shiloh Church’ sub-scenario at club in December 2019, so this was one I’d been looking forward to playing.

These two scenarios cover the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, when Major General Ulysses S Grant’s Union Army of the Tennessee was surprised by General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Confederate Army of the Mississippi while encamped in a terrible position, in swampy forest on the banks of the Tennessee River.  The Confederates initially achieved complete surprise and overran the forward Union positions, but as coordination broke down in the confused fighting, the Union army eventually managed to form a solid defence and the Confederates were forced to fall back from what was up until that date, the bloodiest battle in American history.  Rich’s scenario allows the whole battle to be played as a single scenario, or as mentioned above, as two smaller sub-scenarios.  Here’s the initial deployment map for the whole battle:

My thanks to Rich Hasenauer for allowing me to use his maps and also for very kindly giving me one copy of the map with all the troops removed, so I can show the movements in my game. Here’s the cut-down map for the ‘Hornet’s Nest’ sub-scenario, which is essentially the lower-right portion of the main map.  When playing at my reduced scale for 10mm figures, all distances are reduced by 20%, so this map becomes 4 feet by roughly 3.5 feet.  I therefore had to trim a few inches off the east and west edges of the map in order to fit it onto my table, but it didn’t make any difference in terms of game-play:

The key objective for both sides in this scenario is to retain control of the Sunken Road (between Points Y & Z on the second map).  The Union Army has been surprised in its scattered encampments, so most of the troops still need to form up and march to the sound of the guns.  The closest Union brigades must roll a die in the first turn, in order to determine how surprised they are during Turn 1.

The vast majority of this table is wooded, with just a few key cleared fields dotting piercing the woodland.  I used fences and walls to delineate the edge of the cleared fields.  Visibility in the woods, normally limited to 4cm using my re-scaled variant of Fire & Fury, is slightly more open at this time of year, but it still limited to just 8cm, which means that artillery is of rather limited value in this scenario!  It also somewhat negates the range-advantage of rifled muskets over smoothbore muskets (the Union side here are rather better-equipped with modern weapons than the Rebels).

Note that the account is peppered with terms such as ‘Double-Quick’, ‘Hard-Pressed’, ‘Withering Fire’, ‘Galling Fire’, etc.  Where capitalised, these are specific terms from Fire & Fury, which will be familiar to players of these rules.

Above:  Wood’s and Shaver’s Rebel Brigades, with Generals Hardee and Hindman in attendance, encounter Peabody’s Union Brigade in the woods.

Above:  Miller’s Brigade is just spilling out of its tents and forming up on the Spain Field, along with two batteries of field artillery and General Prentiss.

Above:  Well to the rear, Hurlbut’s Union Division is still lounging around in its tents at the Cloud Field.

Above:  Stuart’s Union Brigade is also still in its camp at the Larkin Bell Field.  Stuart’s Brigade included the 54th Ohio Zouaves, so I’ve shamelessly stuck my be-turbanned 114th Pennsylvania Zouaves on the table again!  However, the 54th Ohio were slightly more restrained in their dress-sense, with artillery-style shell-jackets trimmed in red, light blue Zouave trousers with red stripes and a red fez with blue tassel.

Turn 1

Above:  As the Confederate army approaches the Union encampments, the Rebel generals each take personal command of a brigade:  General Hardee attaches himself to Shaver’s Brigade, and Hindman attaches himself to Wood, while both Johnston and Withers attach themselves to Gladden.  The Rebels are hoping for complete surprise, but Peabody’s Union Brigade is alerted at the last minute by a ‘Hasty Alarm’.  They manage to form up, but their firepower is halved and they only manage to disorder Wood.  The return volley is Withering, throwing Peabody’s Brigade into disorder and Peabody himself off his now-departed horse! 

Above:  Despite their surprise, the devastating casualties (reducing them immediately to ‘Worn’ status) and Peabody being temporarily detached from his brigade while searching for a fresh horse, the Bluebellies do not immediately collapse.  However, they are Hard-Pressed and grudgingly give ground to the Rebels.  Wood’s Brigade is already low on ammunition due to the intense opening volleys (the three markers at the back of Wood’s brigade are an officer figure to show that Wood is an Exceptional Leader, a loading soldier to show Low on Ammunition and a casualty figure to show Disorder).

Above:  Gladden’s Confederate Brigade can only charge Miller’s Brigade with a Double-Quick result on his Manoeuvre Roll, but with both Withers and Johnston attached he achieves that admirably.  Miller is completely surprised in the Spain Field, which means that his men are Disordered as they scramble from their tents and the two supporting batteries are silenced!  Miller’s ragged volley causes no damage whatsoever to Gladden’s Rebels, but Gladden’s return volley is Withering.

Above:  Gladden’s men are also now low on ammunition following their blistering hail of fire, so now fix bayonets and shout the Rebel Yell as they charge onto the Spain Field!  Like Peabody, Miller doesn’t immediately collapse, though his men are Hard-Pressed and grudgingly fall back across the Spain Field.

Above:  However, the steady withdrawal doesn’t last long, as Miller’s men pull back beyond musketry range, into the woods north of their camp, while Peabody’s men make a full retreat!  While all this action is taking place, Brigadier-General Chalmers finds a side-road to the east, which will enable him to march around behind the Union left flank.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 1.

Turn 2

Above:  Sabre in hand, General Johnston urges Gladden to pursue Miller through the camp.  However, Gladden is subjected to Telling Fire and his charge stalls among the tents of Miller’s former camp.

Above:  Hindman’s Division charges through the camp to reach Peabody.  However, Peabody’s brigade again fails to inflict any casualties on the Rebs, who then subject him to yet more Withering fire.  Tragically, Peabody is shot dead while still trying to find a horse.  Now Spent and Wavering, the late Brigadier Peabody’s Brigade retreats to the Barnes Field.  Prentiss’ gunners meanwhile, are whipping their teams into a lather as they attempt to reach a better defensive position.  

Above:  Despite having halted Gladden’s Rebels, Miller’s Brigade is still Wavering and falls back out of musketry range, through the woods, before crossing the Purdy-Hamburg Road to reach the open ground of Sarah Bell’s Cotton Field.

Above:  However, Stuart’s Union Brigade has been alerted and is now moving to attack Gladden’s flank.  Gladden spots the threat to his flank, but his men have become fixated on the prospect of loot in Miller’s abandoned camp!

Above:  Support for Gladden’s open flank is coming in the form of Jackson’s and Chalmers’ Brigades (Withers’ Division), but they’re too far away to stop Stuart from charging.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 2.

Turn 3

Above:  Unable to charge into contact, this turn, Gladden’s and Wood’s Brigades pause to loot the Federal camps.  This means that they automatically become disordered, but lose their Low on Ammunition status.  This is small compensation to Gladden, as Stuart’s Zouaves charge his exposed flank!

Above:  By some miracle, Gladden manages to hold his ground, though there is a Desperate Struggle (i.e. a draw), where both sides take losses.  The mêlée goes into the second round with Gladden now Worn and at an even greater disadvantage.  Amazingly, there is another Desperate Struggle and the melee goes into a third round with Stuart also now Worn!  To much astonishment, Stuarts men Falter and fall back!

Above:  Despite Prentiss’ attempts to stop the retreat, Peabody’s Brigade Panics and flees as an unformed mob up the Eastern Corinth Road!  However, reinforcements are on their way and Prentiss orders his two batteries to establish a new defensive position along the Sunken Road.

Above:  General Hurlbut, with Lauman’s Brigade and another battery, is alarmed to see the state of Prentiss’ Division, but wastes no time in establishing a new line along the Sunken Road.

Above:  Praying that Miller will stop retreating and form up on his right, Williams, with a battery in support, moves his brigade into the Sunken Road at the Peach Orchard.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 3.

Turn 4

Above:  Encouraged by General Withers, Jackson’s Brigade charges across the Locust Grove Run to to take Stuart in the flank!  

Above:  Jackson’s flank-attack works far better than Stuart’s own effort!  Stuart is Swept From The Field and keeps running until he leaves the table!

Above:  Chalmers’ flank-marching Brigade finally arrives at the Larkin Bell Field to find Stuart long-gone.  The Rebels become disordered as they set about looting Stuart’s former camp.

Above:  With reinforcements pouring in, the Rebels reorganise and strengthen their lines in preparation for the next phase of the assault.

Above:  Despite the initial disaster, the Bluebellies already hold the Sunken Road in considerable strength with Williams’, Miller’s and Lauman’s Brigades and four batteries already emplaced.  Tuttle’s Brigade is also approaching, together with yet another battery.  These new arrivals are mostly Experienced troops, generally outclassing the universally Green Rebel Army.  The Union brigades also have a greater proportion of rifled muskets, which they can use to dominate the open ground in front of them.

Above:  At the Review Field, forward of the Union right flank, Hare’s Brigade has appeared.  This brigade is the left-flanking unit of McClernand’s Division, which is engaged to the west.  As such, it can’t move more than 4cm from the table edge and can’t move south of the Review Field, but will prove to be a thorn in the side of the Rebel left flank.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 4.

Turn 5

Above:  Sure enough, as they emerge onto the Purdy-Hamburg Road, Wood’s Rebel Brigade get the worst of a firefight with Hare in the Review Field and falls back to the cover of the woods along the road’s verge.

Above:  As Shaver’s Rebel Brigade appears at the edge of the woods along the Hamburg-Purdy Road, they are subjected to Telling long-range rifle-fire from Miller’s Brigade and suffer casualties.  Unable to respond with their smoothbore muskets, shaver orders his men to fall back into the trees and to wait for the artillery to come up.  In the meantime, Gladden’s battered Rebel Brigade falls back out of the line, allowing Gibson’s fresh brigade to form up in the centre, between Shaver on the left and Jackson on the right.  Large quantities of Rebel guns also move forward.  The Union artillery attempts to engage them as they unlimber, but to no effect.

Above:  Yet more Rebel reinforcements appear; this time from Breckenridge’s Corps.

Above:  On the Rebel right, Chalmers has finished looting Stuart’s camp, but it Tardy in moving forward.  Stephens’ Brigade (Cheatham’s Division) in the meantime, has also arrived at the Larkin Bell Field and pushes on over the creek, aiming to turn the Union left flank.

Above:  However, as the Rebels make a move, the Union immediately make their counter-move; General Wallace arrives at the head of Sweeny’s very strong Brigade.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 5.

Turn 6

Above:  There is something of an ‘operational pause’, as both sides build up their strength and the Rebels ponder the best way to assault this strong position.  In the meantime, Prentiss manages to rally the remnants of Peabody’s Brigade before they run to the hills and General Grant arrives, but can’t stay long.

Above:  Artillery is the key, but the Rebels’ elderly smoothbore pieces, crewed by Green gunners, are barely making an impression.

Above:  Realising that his numerous but weak artillery is not going to break the Union line, Johnston orders General Withers to take Chalmers and Gladden’s Brigades, plus a battery, to reinforce Cheatham’s flanking move on the right.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 6.

Turn 7

Above:  As Johnston shifts forces to the right, the artillery duel continues.  At long last, the Union battery supporting Williams, Brigade is silenced by Rebel guns as Williams, outflanked by Chalmers, also suffers casualties.  However, Chalmers can’t exploit this with a flank-attack, as he is himself threatened by Sweeny’s Brigade.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 7.

Turn 8

Above:  As Sweeny’s massive Brigade advances to support Williams’ flank, Stephens forms up on Chalmers’ right as Gladden and a battery also rush to the scene, in an attempt to match Sweeny.

Above:  However, Sweeny charges Stephens before Gladden is in position.  Sweeny suffers Telling Fire, but charges home, Driving Back Stephens.

Above:  Stephens’ retreat disorders Gladden.  With the Rebel right now in disarray, Sweeny seems unstoppable!  However, thanks to the early defeats, total Union losses have been mounting…

Above:  With Williams’ disordered and his supporting battery silenced, Jackson takes advantage of the situation and charges through the Peach Orchard!

Above:  Jackson suffers Telling Fire during his charge, but charges on into the Sunken Road.  Williams meanwhile, suffers Withering Fire from a combination of Jackson, Chalmers and the supporting Rebel guns.  

Above:  Despite the heavy losses to enemy fire, Williams is in a strong position and Jackson’s charge bogs down into a Desperate Struggle (draw) and both sides suffer casualties as the combat continues.  Eventually Jackson’s Brigade Falters and falls back to the Peach Orchard. 

Above:  However, Williams’ Brigade is now Worn and the Union Army as a whole has reached its Greater Losses threshold.  The ripples of fear and uncertainty spread through the ranks and the courage of Williams’ men starts to Waver.  Abandoning their position in the Sunken Road, Williams’ men fall back out of rifle-range to the Wicker Field.  Thankfully, Tuttle is made of sterner stuff and is able to shift his position to the left, reoccupying Williams’ abandoned position at the Peach Orchard. 

Above:  In the Union centre, the space created by Tuttle shifting to the left allows the 23rd Missouri Regiment to reinforce Miller’s Brigade in the Sunken Road.  The addition of these reinforcements gives Miller’s men fresh heart and raises their status to ‘Fresh’.  On the Rebel left, Wood and Statham use the cover of the trees to push forward to the Duncan Field.  However, this sector contains the greatest concentration of Union guns.  With the battle about to re-intensify, General Grant leaves…

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 8.

Turn 9

Above:  Despite their earlier crisis, Gladden and Stephens Rally with Élan and form a new, stronger line in concert with a battery and Chalmers’ Brigade.  The contagion of defeat now seems to have spread to Sweeny, as his brigade steadfastly refuses to advance.

Above:  In the centre, the thinning of the Union line has not gone unnoticed and Gibson moves forward to support Jackson’s left as Shaver moves forward through the thick brush to engage Miller.

Above:  On the left, Wood and Statham launch a general assault on Lauman.  The Bluebellies have considerable firepower here, but the Rebel infantry’s sacrifice is allowing their supporting artillery to deploy unmolested along the edge of the Duncan Field.

Above:  Somewhat astonishingly, given the quantity of canister fired at them, Wood and Statham each suffer only Galling Fire and charge home on Lauman.  However, their attack Falters as it reaches Lauman and both brigades fall back to cover.

Above:  At the eastern end of the Sunken road, Jackson’s weakened Brigade, supported by canister fire from Gage’s Battery, charges for a second time and ejects Tuttle from the Sunken Road!  With the Rebels now having established a foothold in the Sunken Road, Union morale sinks even further.  

Above:  In the centre, Shaver’s Brigade is unable to reach Miller due to the thick underbrush, though a fierce, point-blank firefight erupts, in which a limbered Rebel battery is damaged and Miller’s brigade suffers Withering Fire, which cancels out the morale-gain from the arrival of the 23rd Missouri and also kills Prentiss’ horse!  Shaken, Miller withdraws from the Sunken Road.  However. at the eastern end of the Sunken Road, Williams has rallied and with close-range artillery support, is moving to eject the weakened Jackson.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 9.

Turn 10

Above:  Shaver’s Brigade occupies the centre of the Sunken Road and quickly deploys a battery to take Williams under point-blank canister fire.

Above:  However, Jackson is getting the worst of the firefight with Williams at the ‘Bloody Pond’ (which is where Williams is situated – I don’t have a model pond and in any case, it has no effect in game terms) and is now Spent.  Jackson has two batteries in close support, but the terrain (which is wooded on the Union side of the Sunken Road) means that they can’t see any targets.  

Above:  At the Duncan Field, the newly-established Rebel batteries are quick to damage and drive off one Union battery at the western end of Lauman’s line.  However, the two Union batteries at the eastern end of Lauman’s line similarly damage and drive off a Rebel battery that was deployed to support Statham on the Eastern Corinth Road.

Above:  Most critically, Lauman’s Brigade, which has hardly suffered any losses, though Shaken by the defeatism infecting the Union Army, retreats from the Sunken Road.  The artillery heroically fights on in the centre and the gap is rapidly filled by Hare’s Brigade, but the writing is on the wall for the Bluebellies…

Above:  On the bank of the Tennessee River, Sweeny’s Brigade still refuses to advance.  The gunboats USS Tyler and USS Lexington perform harassing fire against Stephens’ Brigade from the river, but to little effect.

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 10.

Turn 11

Above:  Shaken by the point-blank canister fire, Jackson is finally forced to pull back from the Sunken Road.  However, the position is quickly re-occupied by Gibson’s fresh Confederate brigade.  Williams is soon Wavering and falls back to the safety of McArthur’s Brigade at the Wicker Field, taking his supporting battery with him.

Above:  Statham tries to push forward against the two batteries, but his attack stalls in the face of Telling Fire from the two Union batteries (including one of heavy artillery) still holding the crossroads.

Above:  Hare suffers Withering Fire from Rebel canister-fire, but manages to hold his brigade together as he prays for support to come.  But no help is coming…

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 11.

Turn 12

Above:  Forrest’s mighty cavalry brigade arrives to save the day!  Hurrah!

Above:  It’s difficult to know what Forrest can possibly hope to achieve, but the cavalry adds tone to what until now has been a vulgar brawl.

Above:  Breckenridge moves forward to Statham’s Brigade.  Seeing their corps commander leading from the front, Statham’s men Rally with Élan and surge forward through the brush!  The Union artillery again inflicts Telling Fire, but Statham this time charges home, capturing the 5th Ohio Light Battery and driving off the Missouri Heavy Battery! 

Above:  The only part of the Sunken Road still in Union hands is the western end, next to the Duncan Field.  Wood’s Brigade charges once again, but is checked by Telling Fire from Hare and his supporting battery.

Above:  Despite halting Wood’s charge, Hare’s men are Wavering and soon retreat northward, leaving the entire Sunken road in Rebel hands.  Only a single Union battery remains on the western side of the Duncan Field, but that is quickly silenced by Rebel musketry.

Above:  General Wallace attempts to push McArthur’s uncommitted brigade forward at the Bloody Pond, but to no avail.  In any case, it would merely have been reinforcing failure.

Above:  A fleeing mass of blue-coated humanity skedaddles northward.  The Union Army has suffered catastrophic losses (more than three times the casualties suffered by the Rebs) and is forced to retreat!

Above:  As US Naval artillery continues to whistle overhead, Sweeny’s Brigade withdraws in good order as the Rebels jeer them on their way!

Above:  The final positions (North/Union at the bottom).

Above:  The situation at the end of Turn 12 (end of the game).

All in all an excellent game!  I was surprised at the outcome, though it may well have been different with a human opponent.  The Rebels had the disadvantages of poor troop quality and poor weaponry, but they were replete with leaders and virtually every brigade in the front line had at least one attached leader and/or Exceptional brigade leader at all times.  The Union leaders by contrast, were run ragged and could rarely concentrate on one brigade under their command.  Grant himself only turned up for three turns!  The Confederate leadership certainly made a massive difference, as did sheer luck; the Rebs seemed to have the luck of the Devil, while the Bluebellies must have stepped on a black cat while putting shoes on a table under a ladder… On a boat captained by a woman who had just caught and killed a dolphin… 

Deutschmeister Doug’s Dastardly Purple Dice of Doom, which normally only favour Austrians, must have caught a whiff of Wienerschnitzel around the Rebel HQ…

Models & Terrain

The figures are all 10mm models by Pendraken Miniatures.  The terrain cloth is by Tiny Wargames, the buildings and breastworks (used to represent the Sunken Road) are by Timecast, the rubber roads and rivers are by QRF, the fences are by Blotz and the trees are made from Woodland Scenics bits & pieces.

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Games | 10 Comments

“Mother Russia, Rain Down, Down, Down!”: My Napoleonic Russians (Part 2)

Mrs Fawr has finally resigned herself to the fact that me openly playing with myself in the dining room is ‘The New Normal’, so I was able to get another solo game in last week! 🙂

Our table measures only 5×3 feet so scenario options are fairly limited.  Consequently, it was very fortuitous that I decided to invest in 10mm American Civil War a couple of years ago, as that does give me a wide range of historical scenario options for my very small playing area.  Who knew in 2018 that this would become necessary…?  Anyway, I spent a couple of days last week playing through Rich Hasenauer’s ‘The Hornet’s Nest’ sub-scenario from the Battle of Shiloh (taken from his recent ‘Great Western Battles’ 2nd Edition scenario book for Fire & Fury 2nd Edition).  As always with Rich’s scenarios, it was a finely-balanced, nail-biting game with plenty of surprises despite the solo play. 

However, more of that next time, as I’m still sorting out the photos and drawing the maps.  In the meantime and following on from the last instalment, here are some more recently-painted Napoleonic Russians (some only finished last night).  These are all AB Figures models:

Above:  I’ll start with the Russian ‘Queen of Battle’; the artillery arm, starting with the Foot Artillery.  In real terms, by 1812 Russian artillery batteries were large, each consisting eight cannon and four ‘Unicorns’.  The ‘Unicorn’ was a type of long-barreled howitzer, named for the handles on top of the barrel which were shaped like unicorns in honour of General Peter Ivanovich Shuvalov, commander of the Russian Artillery and whose arms featured unicorns.  Light Batteries had 6pdr cannon and 10pdr Unicorns, while Position Batteries had 12pdr cannon and 18pdr Unicorns (some sources say 20pdr, but that is due to different nations having different standards of weights and measurements and the ’20pdr’ description tends to come from French sources).  There was also a 2pdr Unicorn which was used for close defence of Position Batteries (two being allocated to each Position Battery prior to 1805), but this was declared obsolete after 1805. 

Note that a lot of authors persist in using the word ‘Licorn‘, but that’s just the French word for ‘Unicorn’.  When writing in English we refer to ‘Howitzers’, not ‘Obusiers‘, so I’ve no idea why anyone would use ‘Licorn‘ instead of ‘Unicorn’.  This odd use of language undoubtedly stems from English authors drawing primarily from French sources.

Above:  In game terms, my six model guns (4x 12pdr cannon and 2x 18pdr unicorns) become three two-model batteries when playing Napoleon’s Battles.  Alternatively, it could be a single six-model battery for General de Brigade.

Above:  Millions of pixels have died in discussing the exact shade of green for Russian gun-carriages.  The shade is often described as ‘apple green’ and as a consequence, an awful lot of people translate this as being a very bright ‘Granny Smith’ shade of green.  However, there are a few things to consider, the first of which being that the Russians themselves never called it ‘apple green’; that was a description applied later by the French.  Secondly, 19th Century apples were not the colour of modern Granny Smiths!  In fact, the 19th Century Austrian facing colour ‘Apple Green’ was more of a light khaki-ish green.

I’ve gone with the research done by Dr Stephen Summerfield on this subject.  He describes the Russian artillery paint as being based on verdigris, which does immediately suggest a bright, bluish green.  However, he goes on to say that the paint immediately started to brown on contact with the elements, as did the varnish used as a top-coat.  The net result was a brownish khaki-green, not completely dissimilar to the ochre-based paint used for French artillery or indeed that used latterly to paint Russian tanks.  I’ve therefore used Humbrol 150 Forest Green, which is what I use as the highlight coat for Soviet vehicles.

Above:  The standard uniform for Russian Foot Artillery was a dark green, double-breasted coat with black facings piped red, brass buttons and red shoulder-straps.  Belts were white and the shakos had brass chinscales and crossed-cannon & grenade badge, red pompom and red cords and ‘flounders’.  As always, Tony Barton’s sculpting and attention to detail shines through when you notice that some gunners have draped their dangling cords and flounders over the top of the shako, or hooked them around the pompom, to keep them out of the way.  They’re also dressed in long white summer-dress ‘gaiter-trousers’.  Guard Artillery had yellow lace bars on collar and cuff-flaps, as well as the Guards’ double-headed eagle shako-plate.

Above:  To support the cavalry I’ve also painted some Russian Horse Artillery.  Being a cheapskate, I’ve actually only put three crew figures per base instead of four.  I need A LOT of Russian artillery, so every little helps…

Above:  Russian Horse Batteries again had twelve guns apiece.  They were equipped with 6pdr cannon and 10pdr Unicorns, like the Light Foot Batteries, though some Horse Batteries had a 1:1 split of cannon and Unicorns instead of the more usual 2:1 split.

Above:  Russian Horse Artillery wore a dragoon-style uniform in the same colourings as the Foot Artillery, with the addition on campaign of grey cavalry overalls.  In 1814 the straight Dragoon sword was replaced by the curved light cavalry sabre and the Dragoon helmet was replaced by a shako much the same as that of the foot Artillery, though with the addition of a tall, white plume.  The Guard Horse Artillery had apparently already adopted these uniform changes in 1812, which is a shame, as AB don’t yet do the figures!  On a related note, I could really use a couple of Don Cossack Horse Batteries, but AB don’t do those either. 🙁 

Above:  The Little Russia Grenadier Regiment.  All Russian grenadier regiments wore the same uniform; namely the standard dark green, double-breasted coat with red facings, brass buttons, white belts, red leather musket-slings, shakos with white cords and tall black plumes and a brass ‘flaming grenade’ badge with three flames worn on the shako and cartouche (the exception being the Pavlov Grenadier Regiment, which famously still wore its old brass-fronted mitre caps).  All grenadier regiments had red shoulder-straps, with the regiment being identified by the regiment’s initial letters embroidered in yellow on the strap.  Drummers had white lace on the breast, sleeves and ‘swallow’s nests’, plus a red plume.  Officers had gold epaulettes and silver sash and shako-cords, though in 1812 were authorised to wear cheaper white in lieu of silver.

Above:  The observant will have noticed my ‘deliberate mistake’ of giving all the rank-and-file red pompoms on their shakos…  I’d unwisely assumed that all grenadiers wore red pompoms, but I now know that this actually only applied to the Grenadier Platoon that stood on the right flank the battalion and even then, only those of the 1st battalion of a regiment had plain red pompoms!  All line infantry, grenadier, guard and jäger regiments used the same system of pompom colours described here:

The centre companies of the 1st battalion had white pompoms with a green centre, while the Grenadier Platoon had red and the Tirailleur Platoon had yellow.  In the 2nd battalion, the centre companies had green pompoms with a white centre, while the Grenadier and Tirailleur Platoons had a green lower half to their pompoms.  The pompoms of the 3rd battalion were the same as those of the 2nd battalion, though replacing the green with light blue (though the 3rd battalions normally stayed in depot, their elite companies often went on campaign as part of combined grenadier battalions).  NCOs had quartered orange & white pompoms and also had a white tip to their plume, with an orange stripe over the top, as well as gold lace edging to collar and cuffs.  Officers had silver pompoms with an orange centre and imperial cypher in gold, though one of the officers here has an undress bicorne with an orange cockade with black centre.  There was also a bewildering array of sword-knot colours for each company, but life’s too short…

Above:  The main distinguishing feature for each regiment was the colour-party, which for the Little Russia Grenadiers in 1812 was this rather pleasing black and pink combo (by GMB Flags).  The 1st Battalion would carry the mostly-white Colonel’s Colour and a Regimental Colour, while the 2nd and 3rd Battalions would each have a pair of Regimental Colours.

Above:  Fresh from the painting-table is this regiment of Russian Jäger.  The Jäger regiments all wore the standard dark green double-breasted infantry coat with green facings piped red, brass buttons and black belts.   Jäger regiments did not carry colours, so regiments were identified the regimental number, which was embroidered on the shoulder-straps and was repeated as brass numerals on the cartouche.  Shoulder-straps were yellow for regiments 1-13, 16-20, 23, 25, 27-31 & 49 and light blue for the remainder.

Above:  These chaps are wearing the white summer gaiter-trousers.  In winter they wore dark green trousers with red piping down the side-seams and black leather ‘booting’ on the lower legs.  The officers here wear undress (and very fashionable) dark green frock-coats, green field-caps piped red and grey overall trousers.

Above:  The pompoms are coloured using the same system described above for the grenadiers – the 1st battalion is on the right and the 2nd battalion is on the left.  Note that in Jäger and line infantry regiments, only the Grenadier Platoon wore plumes.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  Shiloh battle-report to follow…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Russian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 3 Comments

“Mother Russia, Rain Down, Down, Down!”: My Napoleonic Russians (Part 1)

First my apologies to all lovers of Olive Drab, Jungle Green and Crabfat Blue, as it’s all been a bit overloaded with the lace, brightly-coloured coats, facings, buttons, muskets, sabres and tricorns of the 18th Century around here just lately.  So just to break the monotony, here’s some TOTALLY different lace, brightly-coloured coats, facings, buttons, muskets, sabres and shakos of the Napoleonic Wars… 🙂

As mentioned in my Review of 2020, I’ve got a large Napoleonic Russian Army, but an awful lot of it is pretty ropey, partly because I used dodgy models before AB Figures built up their range, but also because I’ve picked up a few other collections along the way.  The age of a lot of the painting also meant that my mate Jase’s hand-painted flags had turned dark brown due to his choice of varnish and a lot of mine had broken off through rough handling.  They were also based for three different rule-sets, which always made things awkward when playing games.  I actually bought tons of AB Figures Russian cavalry and artillery about 20 years ago and I also bought hundreds of replacement Russian flags from GMB Flags about five years ago, but had never got around to sprucing up my Russians! 

When lockdown started last March I finally resolved to re-base around 500 figures, replace all the flags and paint some fresh models, especially cavalry and artillery!  The infantry above represents only around half of my Russian infantry and the whole army, including all the cavalry, artillery and generals, fills two three-tier toolboxes like this one.  

Above:  As discussed last May, I made a start on my new Russians with some AB Cossacks.  These are probably some of my favourite figures of all time!  

Above:  However, the posing and the cast-on lances simply wouldn’t stand up to game-play for very long, so I replaced them with steel spears by North Star (which are sadly no longer in production) which have the twin advantages of being very strong and very sharp, so act as a deterrent to ham-fisted players…

Above:  I’ve still got another three units of Cossacks to paint, but I was feeling the itch to paint some Russian Cuirassiers, starting with the Military Orders Regiment here.

Above:  One of my objective games for that bright, sunlit day when we get out of Lockdown (well, once I’ve shaken off the hangover from going back to the pub…) is the Battle of Liebertwolkwitz, which was a large cavalry-battle fought on 14th October 1813, two days before the titanic Battle of Leipzig kicked off on the same ground.  The Russian 3rd Cuirassier Division, commanded by Generallieutenant Ilya Duka, fought in that battle, attached to the Advanced Guard of the Allied Army of Bohemia and consisted of two brigades, each of two regiments.  Generalmajor Gudowich’s Brigade consisted of the Military Order Cuirassiers and the Little Russia Cuirassiers.  I’ve therefore picked the Military Order Regiment to represent Gudowich’s Brigade.

Above:  The regimental facing colour for the Military Order Cuirassiers was black, which is visible here on the collars and shabraques, as well as the piping of their shoulder-straps and tail-turnbacks.  The regimental ‘metal’ colour was yellow, so the officers have gold buttons and epaulettes and shabraque-edging, while the rank and file have brass buttons and yellow shabraque-edging.  The standard is by Fighting 15s.

Above:  Another view of the Military Order Cuirassiers.  Russian Cuirassiers, in common with Prussian cuirassiers of the period, had previously lost their cuirasses, though got them back thanks to the renaissance of the cuirass in French military fashion.  Russian cuirasses were enameled black with red cloth lining, as shown here, though some regiments had polished steel (possibly captured from the French).

Above:  A rear view of the Military Order Cuirassiers.  Note that trumpeters had a red crest to their helmets and wore a laced coat without cuirass.  Trumpeters’ lace was normally in the facing colour, though the Military Order Regiment had a mix of black and orange lace.

Above:  The Novgorod Cuirassier Regiment.

Above:  Duka’s second brigade was commanded by Generalmajor Levaschov and consisted of the Novgorod and Starodub Cuirassier Regiments.  I can never resist potting the pink, so I’ve gone for the Novgorod Cuirassiers to represent this brigade.

Above:  The regimental facing colour for the Novgorod Cuirassiers was rose pink, which again is visible on the collar, shabraque and piping of the shoulder-straps and tail-turnbacks.  The regimental button colour was white, so the rank-and-file had white metal buttons and white shabraque-edging, while the officers had silver buttons, epaulettes and shabraque-edging.  However, note that the metalwork for helmets remained brass for all regiments.

Above:  The Novgorod Cuirassiers in closeup.  The standard is again by Fighting 15s.  Note that the standard of all regiments had a green stave and gold finial.

Above:  Rear view of the Novgorod Cuirassiers.  The trumpeter’s lace is pink, matching the facing colour.

Above:  The Soumy Hussar Regiment.  In keeping with the Liebertwolwitz theme, the bulk of the cavalry at that battle was provided by Generallieutenant Count von der Pahlen’s Cavalry Corps (actually a strong division).  The first of Pahlen’s brigades was commanded by Generalmajor von Rüdinger and consisted of two regiments, the Grodno Hussars and the Soumy Hussars.  I’ve therefore gone with the Soumy Hussars to represent this brigade.

Above:  The regimental distinctives for the Soumy Hussars were a grey uniform with red facings, white lace and white metal buttons.  Officers initially had silver lace, but they were permitted in 1812 to have white lace, in order to ease the financial burden on junior officers (this was applied across the army, with silver sashes, shako-cords, etc, also becoming white, or yellow instead of gold).  However, the officer here is clearly a wealthy man, as he’s gone for traditional silver lace.

Above:  The Soumy Hussars in closeup.  Russian Hussars were issued with lances from April-May 1812, with 640 lances being issued to each regiment; enough for 64 per squadron, or the entire front rank, minus officers and NCOs.  Uhlan instructors were used to train the Hussars in the use of the lance. 

These lances were painted black, though were not officially fitted with pennants.  However, pennants were unofficially acquired by most (possibly all) regiments, though only a few colours are known.  The known ones usually conform to the colours of the uniform in some way (e.g. dolman and facing colour, facing and lace colour, pelisse and lace colour, etc).  Some regiments used captured Polish and French pennants.  I’ve been unable to discover what, if any pennants were used by the Soumy Hussars, so have gone for red-over-white, which conforms to the uniform colours, but also might be captured from the enemy.

When training with the lance, it was soon discovered that the carbine, being slung on the right side, interfered with the proper handling of the lance and so permission was given for lance-equipped Hussars to discard the carbine and its associated white cross-belt.  you’ll therefore notice that only the sabre-armed second rank here have these items and the lance-armed front rank have just the natural leather cartouche-belt.

Above:  The Soumy Hussars marching to the flank, showing off their shabraques, which were grey, edged with red vandycking.

Above:  The Olviopol Hussar Regiment.  I should add that these were the very first Russian Hussars to come out of the mould at AB Figures back in the late 1990s and in a moment of madness, I bought this regiment in charging poses.  I will NEVER normally buy charging lances, as the lances don’t last five minutes on the table before some ham-fisted idiot (usually me) bends the bloody things!  Ah well, they do look good…

Above:  The Olviopol Hussars were assigned to Generalmajor Schwanow’s Hussar Brigade.  The regimental uniform was very similar to that of the Soumy Hussars above, switching the grey jacket-colour for dark green.  One other minor difference was that the regimental sabretache was in the jacket colour (green), embroidered with the facing colour (red), whereas in the case of the Soumy Hussars, the sabretache was in the facing colour (red), edged with the lace colour (white).

Above:  The Olviopol Hussars were one of the last three regiments to receive lances (along with the Belorussia Hussars and Lubny Hussars) and probably received them in 1813.  Once again, I’ve been unable to discover any evidence for pennants, so have simply copied another wargamer and gone with green over white, which suits the regimental colours.

Above:  A view of the other side, showing the sabretache, bearing Czar Alexander’s ‘A’ cypher in red.  Note also the green shabraques with red vandycking.

Above:  A rear view of the Olviopol Hussars.

Above:  The Tchuguiev Uhlans.  Note that there are various spellings for this regiment in English (Tchugujew, Chuguiyev, etc)!

Above:  The Tchuguiev Uhlans formed half of Generalmajor Lissanevich’s Brigade, along with the Lubny Hussars.

Above:  The Russian Uhlan regiments all had very similar uniforms, all having blue as the basic uniform colour, with various combinations of red, raspberry red or white as the facing/cap/pennant colours and yellow or white as the button/lace & cord colour.  The Tchuguiev Uhlans had the uniform shown here, with red lapels, cuffs, cap ‘box’, shabraque edging and jacket-piping and white cap-piping, cords and ‘metal’.  The girdle was red with a central blue stripe and the pennant was red over blue, with alternating central stripes.

Above:  Another view of the Tchuguiev Uhlans.  Some Uhlan regiments were issued with standards, but this regiment wasn’t one of them.

Above:  A rear view of the Tchuguiev Uhlans.  Note that the Russian Uhlan cap, or czapka had a black, waterproof oilskin top, unlike the lancers of other nations who often had a coloured top with a lace ‘X’.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now!  Next time I’ll post some Russian artillery and infantry.  In the meantime and much to Mrs Fawr’s disgust, I’ve been playing with myself on the dining-room table again…  Game report to follow…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Russian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 15 Comments