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, Shako Rules | 22 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 | 2 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

Happy Bavarianuary!

Bavarian troops at the Battle of Leuthen, 5th December 1757. The straw-coloured facings and white hat-lace identify these man as belonging to the ‘Morawitzsky’ Infantry Regiment.

Well it’s Groundhog Month here at Fawr Towers and without any prospect of games to provide a spur to painting, I’ve been setting myself challenges to keep the painting mojo going and to finish off wargaming projects.  The first of these was my ‘Württember Challenge‘, where I set myself the task of completing the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps for the Seven Years War (13x 12-figure battalions, 1x gun and 1x general) within the month of November.  Then I allowed myself to paint whatever I wanted before the start of ‘Bavarianuary’ on 1st January.

You’ve probably already guessed, but my ‘Bavarianuary Challenge’ is to complete the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps for the Seven Years War before the end of January and the start of ‘Frogruary’…  This was nowhere near as much of a challenge as ‘Württember’, as the Bavarian Corps only consisted of ten battalions and I’d already painted four of these around 20 years ago!  I also got a little carried away during December and jumped the gun by painting the Bavarian general and artillery a little early… So with only six 12-figure battalions left to paint I actually completed it on 12th January! 🙂 

The Bavarian Army at the start of the Seven Years War was a shadow of its former self, due to Bavaria having ruined its finances during the War of Austrian Succession during the 1740s.  Following the death of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in 1740, Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria had allied himself with France to pursue his claim on the Imperial throne.  This was initially successful and in 1743 Charles Albert was crowned as Holy Roman Emperor Charles VII.  However, Bavaria was repeatedly ravaged by Austrian armies and in 1745, the gouty Charles VII died before he could really start enjoying himself as Emperor (or perhaps he partied too hard in his first year, who knows…?). 

Charles’ death was followed very quickly by the decisive defeat of the Franco-Bavarian army at the Battle of Pfaffenhofen.  Following this defeat, the new 18 year-old Elector Maximillian III Joseph of Bavaria sued for peace with Austria, relinquishing any claim on the Imperial throne.  With the resumption of peace, Maximillian III Joseph concentrated his efforts and meagre funds on renewing and reforming the civil, agricultural and commercial heart of Bavaria, at the expense of the army.  The army was severely downsized in 1753 and the four remaining cavalry regiments were largely dismounted, existing only as cadre squadrons.  The penny-pinching even led to the removal of buttonhole lace from coats and the characteristic Bavarian cornflower blue infantry coats being changed for cheaper dark blue cloth.

When the Seven Years War started in 1756, Maximillian did his best to keep Bavaria out of it, though standing Imperial commitments meant that Bavaria had to provide a regiment of three infantry battalions (the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment) plus artillery to the Imperial Reichsarmee.  A further ten infantry battalions were also then provided as a Bavarian Auxiliary Corps to serve with the Austrian Army in Bohemia, being maintained at French expense and bringing vital income into Bavarian coffers.  This was meant to be 10,000 strong, but in the event remained woefully understrength, with only 6,000 men.  Four infantry battalions and the four cavalry regiments (which were now fully-mounted) were left at home to garrison Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate and protect against raids by Prussian Freikorps.

Thanks undoubtedly to the neglect of the once-powerful Bavarian army, the performance of Bavarian troops during the Seven Years War was decidedly underwhelming and the nadir of Bavarian military prowess came at the Battle of Leuthen, on 5th December 1757, when the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps was swept away along with the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps by Frederick the Great’s assault.  However, I need ’em if I want to play Leuthen properly…

Above:  Generalfeldwachtmeister Johannes Claudius Graf Seyssel d’Aix commanded the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps for the duration of the war.  I painted him based on the description of Bavarian general officers’ uniform provided in the Pengel & Hurt uniform guides; namely a cornflower blue coat with black cuffs, thickly edged with silver lace, straw ‘smallclothes’ (i.e. breeches and waistcoat), red horse furniture with silver lace, sash of mixed silver and light blue threads and a hat edged with silver lace and split white ostrich feathers.  This figure is an Austrian general by Old Glory 15s and he’s also wearing a cuirass under his coat.

However, according to Kronoskaf, there was no stipulated uniform for Bavarian generals until the 1770s and in common with generals of the Prussian army and others, they would usually wear a version of their regimental uniform.  The problem is that I can find absolutely no information on Seyssel d’Aix’s background; there is no regiment with his name and I can’t find him listed anywhere as colonel of a Bavarian regiment (though relatives are listed with the French and Austrian armies).  I’ve therefore stuck with the uniform described by Pengel & Hurt, which in any case, closely resembles the pre-austerity uniform of the Bavarian ‘Leib’ Regiment.

Above:  The artillery element of the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps comprised little more than a single company of light guns, providing close support to the infantry battalions.  Bavarian arsenals did however, hold large stocks of heavy artillery guns which were made available to the Imperial Artillery Reserve (which I will cover in a future article). 

Above:  The Bavarian Artillery uniform was a light grey coat with blue facings (including lapels), brass buttons, straw smallclothes, white belts and ‘false gold’ hat lace (like the French, the Bavarians used ‘false gold/silver’ hat lace, which was made with silk threads and to be honest, didn’t look all that metallic, so I just use plain yellow or white paint).  The hats also had pompoms in the national colours of white & light blue.  Guns were polished brass and carriages were painted light blue, with metal fittings painted black.  These models are Prussian artillerymen by Old Glory 15s.

Above:  I painted my first two Bavarian regiments over 2o years ago, when I started building my Reichsarmee corps.  As a result, I painted the two regiments that provided battalions to the composite ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment that was sent to the Reichsarmee.  This therefore, is the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment, which provided its 1st Battalion to the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment (the other two battalions were provided by the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment).  Of course, the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment didn’t serve with Bavarian Auxiliary Corps, but the uniform is very close to that of the ‘Herzog Clemens’ Regiment, which did.

Above:  Pengel & Hurt described the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment as having red facings, straw turnbacks, straw smallclothes, brass buttons, ‘false gold’ hat-lace and white belts, which is what I’ve painted here.  However, Kronoskaf describes the facing colour as ‘light red’ or ‘old rose’, being more of a dark pink or light crimson shade.  Kronoskaf also shows the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment’s turnbacks as light red, though the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment as having light red facings with straw turnbacks.  The regiment’s drummers wore the same uniform, though heavily decorated with mixed white & light blue lace.

The ‘Herzog Clemens’ regiment of the Auxiliary Corps had a very similar uniform to that shown above, except with white smallclothes.

Above:  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment, as mentioned above, provided two battalions to the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment with the Reichsarmee and did not serve with the Auxiliary Corps.  However, its uniform was very similar to that of the ‘Morawitzsky’ Regiment, which did serve with the Auxiliary Corps (the only difference being the colour of buttons and hat-lace), so they can happily do double-service.  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment was renamed to the ‘Meinders’ Regiment in 1759 and to ‘Herold’ in 1761.

Above:  The ‘Pechmann’ Regiment initially had the uniform shown here, with straw-coloured facings and matching smallclothes, with brass buttons, white belts and ‘false gold’ hat-lace.  However, Kronoskaf suggests that the facing colour changed in Spring 1757 to ‘light red’ or ‘old rose’ to match that of the ‘Holnstein’ Regiment, which was also serving in the Reichsarmee contingent.  However, the turnbacks of the ‘Pechmann’ contingent remained straw.  The regiment’s drumemrs wore the same uniform, though heavily decorated with yellow lace.

Above:  When I first painted them, these two regiments were equipped with flags by Grubby Tanks, as shown here.  I’ve now replaced them with the rather nicer (and larger) flags by Wargames Designs.  I’m sure you’ll agree that the new flags are a definite improvement!  However, note that the Wargames Designs flags are bubblejet printed, so need a coat of varnish to clearly define the details and make the colours pop. 

On the subject of flags, each Bavarian battalion in reality had two flags; the 1st Battalion of a regiment carried the Leibfahne (white flag with Virgin Mary) and a single Kompaniefahne (blue & white chessboard design), while the other battalions in the regiment carried two Kompaniefahnen.  As with most of my armies, I give each battalion a single flag – a Leibfahne for the 1st Battalion and a Kompaniefahne for the other battalions.  It’s also worth mentioning that in 1757 the ‘Pechmann’ Regiment added the Bavarian coat of arms to the corners of its Leibfahne (not shown here).

Above:  The regiments of the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps do not appear to have detached their grenadier companies in the manner of most other nations.  Probably because they were around 1/3rd understrength and couldn’t afford to detach any further manpower.  However, the ‘Kurbayern’ Regiment with the Reichsarmee did detach its grenadiers and these would be massed with other Reichsarmee grenadier companies to form ad hoc grenadier battalions.  I’ve therefore painted two separate bases of Bavarian grenadiers for the ‘Holnstein’ and ‘Pechmann’ Regiments.

Above:  The ‘Minucci’ Regiment provided both of its battalions to the Bavarian Auxiliary Corps.  It was renamed to the ‘La Rosée’ Regiment in 1759.

Above:  The ‘Minucci’ Regiment had yellow facings with straw smallclothes, white belts, white metal buttons and ‘false silver’ hat-lace.  Some sources suggest that the facings were ‘yellow-buff’ and that the waistcoats were a darker shade of straw/buff.  Note that all Bavarian regiments had red neck-stocks, dark red leather musket-slings and blue & white pompoms on their hats.

Above:  A rear view of the ‘Minucci’ Regiment.  Note that this regiment’s drummers had yellow coats with light blue facings.

Above:  The 1st Battalion of the ‘Preysing’ Regiment served with the Auxiliary Corps, while the 2nd Battalion remained on garrison duty at home.

Above:  The ‘Preysing’ Regiment had red facings with straw smallclothes, white metal buttons, ‘false silver’ hat-lace and white belts.  The regiment’s drummers are known to have had yellow coats with red facings and red waistcoats.

Above:  The 2nd Battalion of the ‘Kurprinz’ Regiment served with the Auxiliary Corps, while the 1st Battalion remained on garrison duty at home.

Above:  The ‘Kurprinz’ Regiment had white facings, smallclothes and belts, with brass buttons and ‘false gold’ hat-lace.  The regiment’s drummers wore the same uniform, though with the addition of mixed white & light blue lace. 

If you’re wondering why I’ve included the odd grenadier command figure in these units, the primary reason is that Old Glory 15s now only supply them in packs of 25, which includes only 1 officer, 1 NCO, 1 standard bearer and 1 drummer, which is a massive pain in the arse for those of us who like smaller units and/or more standard-bearers!  They used to supply them in massive bags of 100, with enough command figures to make 12-figure units.  Consequently, I’ve got a massive stash of spare Austrian grenadier command figures, so I’m using them to beef up these units, using the excuse that they kept their grenadiers attached… 😉 

Above:  The ‘Leib’ Regiment uniquely had three battalions, but only supplied its 2nd & 3rd Battalions to the Auxiliary Corps, while the 1st Battalion stayed home on garrison and ceremonial duty, hence the absence of a Leibfahne.

Above:  The ‘Leib’ Regiment had white facings and smallclothes, with white metal buttons and ‘false silver’ hat-lace.  Most unusually, its belts were ‘natural leather’.  In 1760 they were ordered to change their facings to their traditional (expensive) black with white bastion-shaped buttonhole lace loops (turnbacks remained white).  In 1761 the coat colour was officially changed back to the traditional (expensive) cornflower blue, retaining the black facings and white lace.  However, the coats were only to be replaced as they wore out, so the change took place gradually, over a number of years. 

Above:  A rear view of the ‘Leib’ Regiment.  The regiment’s drummers initially had white uniforms with blue facings, though in 1760 adopted the same dark blue uniform with black facings as the rest of the regiment, though heavily decorated with lace.  From 1761 the drummers’ coats also began to change to cornflower blue.

So that’s it for ‘Bavarianuary’!  I’m painting some SYW Prussian infantry and Napoleonic Russian artillery and jägers at the moment, but ‘Frogruary’ will soon be here…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession | 9 Comments

Jemima Fawr’s Review of 2020

Well it’s been a funny old year… ‘Funny’ that is, in much the same manner as Ricky Gervais, Miranda Hart or Mrs Brown’s Boys are ‘funny’; i.e. Not remotely funny whatsoever.

Thankfully, I’ve remained in employment throughout and I live in a remote corner of Wales, so it’s only in the last week that I’ve known anyone personally who has come down with the dreaded ‘Flu Manchu’ [edited to add that I’ve just heard that my aunt’s mother has just died of covid and my cousin, is ill… Shit’s gettin’ real!].  So I can only count my blessings, as it’s been a hell of a lot harder for many others.  The only mild embuggerances for me have been a succession of cancelled holidays and trips away, the pubs being closed for long periods of time and wargame shows being closed down.  So all things considered, I’ve got away very lightly and I sincerely hope that the readers of this blog have had as easy a time of it (except that bugger who sold one of my armies without telling me, obviously).

I’ve not done a proper review of the year before, but it’s been an unusual year!  I’ve put quite a few links in the text below, but a lot of the pictures are also linked to the relevant article if you click on them.

It’s certainly been a good painting year for me.  I’m doubly fortunate in that I do all my painting at my place of work AND my workload was reduced, so I had a lot of spare time on my hands in work.  I started the year by painting a heap of 15mm Cold War stuff, mostly Canadians and Soviets, with the intention of doing a demo game based on the book ‘First Clash’ later in the year.  However, lockdown killed that idea and in any case, I was getting sick of Olive Drab!  I haven’t done any relevant blog-posts yet, but here are some of the models:

With the arrival of lockdown and the cancellation of all games and club-nights for the foreseeable future, I decided to look at the vast list of projects that needed finishing.  Most of it was 10mm American Civil War (ACW) and 15mm Napoleonic.  So I started off with some more 10mm Reb divisions and half of the the Union XII Corps for Gettysburg.  I got distracted onto other things, but I’m now within sight of my goal to complete the order of battle for the full first day of Gettysburg.  I’ve now only got Anderson’s Rebel Division and half of the Union XII Corps left to do.

I finally finished off the French Imperial Guard Cavalry with the long-delayed painting of the Mamelukes of the Guard.  However, when I say ‘finished’, it was always my intention to add some Young Guard cavalry and Eclaireurs if and when AB Figures produced them.  As luck would have it, Tony Barton has just sculpted the Young Guard Chasseurs à Cheval, so those will soon be added to the ‘to do’ list in 2021!  He’s also sculpted Westphalian Cuirassiers, Saxon Hussars and several other bits and pieces I need to complete my armies, so I’ll be getting all of those as soon as they are available to buy! 🙂

Staying with the Napoleonic theme, I then moved on to the Army of the Duchy of Warsaw, painting Poniatowski’s VIII (Polish) Corps and Kellermann’s IV (Polish) Reserve Cavalry Corps for 1813, which gives me enough Duchy of Warsaw troops to do any historical scenario.  That said, I will eventually get around to adding some infantry in French-style uniforms for the Peninsular War, as well as the infantry of the Vistula Legion.
Then some Russkis, starting with a massive re-basing and re-flagging exercise of my large and rather ancient Russian army.  This actually consists of three former collections; My own original collection consists of the first AB Figures I ever bought, plus a load of Old Glory 15s cavalry and Battle Honours artillery (back in the early 90s AB only did Russian infantry and dragoons, so the other cavalry types and artillery were sourced elsewhere).  The second part of the army belongs to my mate Jase, who emigrated to New Zealand about 15 years ago and left his collection with me ‘in trust’.  This collection consists again of AB Figures and Old Glory cavalry, bought and painted at the same time as my own.  The third collection is that of my mate Martin, who swapped them for my old 15mm ACW army.  This consists mostly of Lancashire Games figures and a load of infantry of unknown origin.

A lot of troops were still based in single ranks for WRG rules, which we stopped playing in the early 90s, so a major re-basing effort was long overdue!  All of Jase’s flags had turned brown due to age and bad varnish, while Martin’s old printed Revo flags had fallen apart, so they were all replaced with lovely GMB flags.  My own hand-painted flags didn’t look as good as the GMB ones, so I replaced those as well!  You can see my last remaining hand-painted Russian flag at the back of the toolbox above (the purple one).  🙂


While rebasing and re-flagging the Russians, I realised that a lot of my cavalry and artillery were very ropey and my army would be much improved if I finally got around to painting the stack of unpainted AB Russian cavalry and artillery that had been sitting in the Lead Crypt for over 20 years!  So I then set to work painting all the Russian cavalry, artillery and grenadier units I’d need for the Battle of Liebertwolkwitz that we were going to play after the end of the pandemic… These units have been painted for over six months now… 🙁  I will eventually get around to doing a proper blog-post on the newly-painted Russians.

Oh and I also painted some Black Brunswickers
And some Burma stuff

And some more Cold War Cloggies

I did slightly burn out my painting-mojo with the Russian Napoleonics, though that was largely due I think, to the increasing realisation that this bloody pandemic was going to be with us for a very long time and me getting slightly depressed by the whole bloody thing.  However, during our brief respite from lockdown during the late summer, I managed to get a game in with my mate Phil and that led to a resurrection of my old Seven Years War (SYW) armies (along with my mojo), starting with the complete re-flagging of a rather large SYW Austrian army, which had been left to me by my mate Doug, who shuffled off this mortal coil some 15 years ago.
That was shortly followed by the painting of a whole new SYW Württemberg army and the purchase of a lot more new SYW figures! 🙂 

I’ve since painted some more SYW units (mostly Imperial and Prussian units) and have bought a whole new SYW French army from Eureka, which will be painted in the new year once I’ve finished my SYW Bavarian army.  With the SYW and Napoleonics in mind, I’ve also painted a load of new buildings and village ’tiles’ by Total Battle Miniatures to supplement my very old and battered scenery collection (articles to follow soon).

In terms of actual gaming, I kicked off the year with the second outing of my (dare I say, award-winning?) Cassinga Raid demo game in January at ‘Crusade 2020’ in Penarth, though a further outing to Partizan 2020 was of course, cancelled.  Warfare 2020 at Reading was also cancelled, so I’ve got to keep their Best of Show trophy and bask in the glory for another year! 🙂 

In February we also played a WW2 Burma game at club (the Battle of Wetlet 1945).

In March we had a refight of Marshal Masséna’s counter-attack at the Battle of Wagram 1809.  Sadly, the country went into lockdown immediately after this game, so that was pretty much it for a very long time…

Thanks to the brief easing of lockdown during the late summer/early Autumn and as mentioned above, I managed to get a game in at Phil’s in early October.  This was a historical refight of the Battle of Medellin 1809 and the Spanish won!  Of course as a gentleman, I could not possibly reveal the details of the comprehensive hoofing that Phil received at the hands of my Spaniards… 🙂  This game was played with Shako rules and this, along with the linear nature of the battle, was what re-kindled my enthusiasm both for the rules and for the 18th Century, hence the recent drive on SYW.  Of course, having utterly crushed Phil, seen his armies run before me and having heard the lamentations of his women, this may have contributed toward my enthusiasm, but I don’t like to go on about it…

Much to the wife’s disgust, I was also found playing with myself on the dining room table a couple of times during lockdown.  The first such solo game was a refight of ‘Sickles’ Salient’ during the Battle of Gettysburg 1863, which I enjoyed enormously.

And most recently, a rather compressed solo refight of the Battle of Mollwitz 1741, which was my first run-out for my SYW collection and Shako rules since the 1990s!

So while the gaming has been sparse, it’s been of high quality and with luck will be surpassed in 2021!  If our luck holds, a lot of the shows will be back on during the second half of the year, so I’m starting to think about demo-game options…  My original plan had been to do ‘First Clash 1984’, but it rapidly became apparent that I’ll have to make a massive further investment in ‘heavy metal’ as well as 20th Century scenery, so that might have to be pushed back a year or three.  Then there’s the ‘Sickles’ Salient’ ACW scenario above, which is a cracking scenario and has the advantage of being an iconic action, fought on very well-known ground.  I already have almost all the troops required (excepting some Zouave units, the Irish Brigade and the correct HQ flags, which will only take a few days to paint) and I’m sure I could make some superb terrain for it.  Then there’s the SYW, which has massive visual impact with densely-packed serried ranks of troops, usually with relatively simple terrain and which using my variant of Shako, can be played in a single day.  I have done some epic SYW demo games in the past.  Decisions, decisions…

It has been a rather epic year for the blog, however.  With not many games to write about, I did a few research articles and photo-shoots for old armies of mine, which proved extremely popular, especially the articles on my Napoleonic Austrian Army, SYW Prussian Army, SYW Swedish Army, Churchill Tanks, Hobart’s ‘Funnies’, the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group, the XIVth Army in Burma and the British Army of the Rhine.

There were also a few scenarios, including some old favourites such as the Battles of Fuentes de Oñoro and Dennewitz, as well as some I still have to play, such as the 2nd Battle of Caldiero.

My daily hits absolutely shot up with the start of lockdown in March and have only kept going up!  Hits on the blog seem to be doubling every year since I started in April 2018:  20,000 in the first year, then increasing by 40,000 to reach 60,000 in the second year and last week I just passed 100,000, so am on target to reach 120,000 at the end of my third year of running the blog.  So as mentioned before, while it’s not exactly viral, my blog is at least a persistent yeast infection…  But do not fear!  I will never put ads on this blog, as I hate the bloody things with a passion and in any case, I only do it for the adulation, free drugs and groupies…

Anyway, that’s me done with 2020…  A very Happy New Year to all readers of this blog!  

Well, most of you, anyway…

Posted in Uncategorised | 23 Comments

Resurrecting The SYW Mojo (Part 2) – Refreshing The Rules (Battle of Mollwitz 1741 Solo Playtest)

Much to Mrs Fawr’s disgust, I’ve been playing with myself on the dining-room table again…

Earlier this month I found myself at a loose end, with a dining-room table miraculously clear of Mrs Fawr’s sh…precious things and a pressing need to refresh my knowledge of the rules we used to play mid-18th Century battles some 20+ years ago.  These rules are an adaptation of Arty Conliffe’s Shako, which is a solid, fast-playing set of Napoleonic rules.  The 1st Edition rules did include rules for the Seven Years War, but I didn’t like them, so instead wrote my own version (which needless to say, we called Tricorn).  We found that Tricorn worked very well indeed; retaining the flavour of the period and allowing us to play both fast-paced campaign battles within the bounds of a four-hour club-night and big historical refights such as the Battles of Kunersdorf or Kolin within a single day.

A couple of months ago and during our brief respite from lockdown restrictions, I played a game with my mate Phil using Shako 2nd Edition, which sparked my renewed interest in the rules.  Chris Leach, one of the co-designers of Shako also kindly posted his 2nd Edition 18th Century playtest rules on the end of one of my recent posts and that gave me some more ideas to further adapt Tricorn.  I will post my Tricorn 2.0 rules here soon, along with a play-sheet.  

Anyway, a lot of braincells have died since I last played the rules in 1998, so a playtest was needed.  I thought I might play a game based on the Battle of Mollwitz 1741, from the War of Austrian Succession (aka 1st Silesian War) at club when Covid allows, so as a playtest I set a rather cramped version of the scenario up on my dining-room table.  The scenario really needs at least a 6×4 foot table (our club has 7.5×5 foot tables, which are ideal), but my table is only 4×3 feet! 🙂 

Here’s the historical map of the scenario.  I’ll write up the full scenario soon.  Thanks to my cramped playing area, I had to straighten up the opposing battle-lines and the fancy Austrian flank-attack would instead have to be a frontal charge! 🙂 In the actual battle, knee-deep snow slowed a lot of the movement and swirling snow severely reduced visibility at several key moments.  The snow also probably degraded roundshot performance quite considerably, but to keep things simple for the purposes of play-testing, I casually disregarded these facts!

Above:  Here’s the initial scene, viewed from the Prussian lines.

Above:  The view along the Prussian lines from the left flank.  Due to the cramped nature of the infantry deployment area, Oberst Posadowsky’s cavalry (in the foreground) have crossed over the Kleiner-Bach stream in order to find space to deploy.

Above:  King Frederick and his staff supervise the deployment.

Above:  Neipperg’s Austrian army is waiting for the Prussians.  The Austrians are weaker in infantry and artillery, but stronger in cavalry.

Above:  The view from the Austrian right flank.

Above:  The battle opens with two strong Prussian batteries hammering the Austrian centre.  The Austrians realise that their best chance of victory lies with Römer’s strong cavalry division on the left flank and this is immediately hurled forward to smash Schulenburg’s mixed division of cavalry and grenadiers.

Above:  In the centre of Schulenburg’s line, the ‘Winterfeldt’ and ‘Bolstern’ Grenadier Battalions make a brave stand, but are utterly smashed by the charge of the Austrian cuirassiers.  On their right, several squadrons of the ‘Schulenburg’ Dragoons and a single squadron of the Gens d’Armes are thrown back by Austrian dragoons.  The Prussian Leib-Carabiniers make a better show of it however, and succeed in repulsing one of the Austrian cuirassier regiments.

Above:  The Prussian Leib-Carabiniers charge on to glory, but are in turn thrown back by the second wave of Austrian cuirassiers.  Schulenburg’s entire wing suffers a crisis of confidence and flees the field!  The Austrian horsemen wheel to their right and bear down on the Prussian infantry.

Above:  General Römer urges his men on to glory!

Above:  On the right flank of the Prussian infantry, the Leibgarde Battalion, the ‘Kleist’ Grenadier Battalion and a battalion of the ‘Prinz Dietrich’ Regiment prepare to meet the charge.

Above:  Although the Austrians are getting the worst of the unequal artillery battle in the centre, a single Austrian battery posted on the left flank makes life miserable for the Prussian Leibgarde Battalion.

Above:  The rest of the Prussian and Austrian armies await the outcome of the battle on the far flank.

Above:  As Römer’s cavalry charges home they are subjected to a withering hail of musketry!

Above:  Braving the hail of lead, Römer’s cavalry press home their attack, but are unable to make a dent in the wall of Prussian bayonets.  The Prussian Leibgarde Battalion (1st Battalion of the Garde Regiment) on the corner of the line, comes within a whisker of being swept away, but the guardsmen hold the line!  If there had been any other battalion in that spot, the line would have been broken.

Above:  While things get exciting on the Prussian right flank, the artillery continues to duel in the centre.

Above:  Göldy’s Austrian left wing is suffering badly from the cannonade (the casualty figures indicate a ‘Staggered’ unit and the dots indicate the number of hits suffered (figures/bases are not removed in Shako.  Instead each unit has a morale level (e.g 4 for line infantry) and can suffer that many hits (increased by 1 for large, 16-figure units as here) before being broken.  One of the battalions in the second line has already been broken by the amount of roundshot bouncing through the formation.

Above:  Römer’s first wave is beaten off and falls to the rear as the second wave charges the Prussian lines.

Above:  Two more cuirassier regiments smash themselves fruitlessly against the corner of the Prussian ‘box’, though Römer’s personal dragoon regiment does somewhat better and breaks the ‘Prinz Dietrich’ Musketeers! However, upon breaking through the line, they run into the 3rd Battalion of the Garde and are soon falling back to join the cuirassiers.

Above:  With casualties rapidly starting to pile up and with two of his four cuirassier regiments already broken, Römer has a crisis of confidence and his cavalry falls back to the safety of Austrian lines.  However, the Austrian horse quickly rally and a messenger soon arrives from Neipperg, telling him to get back into the fight!  The Austrian cavalry are soon surging forward once again, though this time with a great many empty saddles.

Above:  With the Austrian cavalry driven off for the time being, Prinz Leopold starts to wheel half of his second line to the right, in order to protect the right flank of the advance from any further interference.

Above:  the Prussian artillery has torn ragged gaps in the Austrian left wing and the time is ripe for the Prussians to mount a general assault.

Above:  Schwerin is already leading the left wing forward against the Austrian lines and the Prussian guns start to fall silent as the infantry pass through.

Above:  Posadowsky’s Prussian cavalry moves forward on the left to cover the flank of the infantry.  A light battery positioned on the flank also continues to pound the Austrian horse.

Above:  As the Prussian right wing advances it isn’t long before Römer’s cavalry reappear.  

Above:  However, Prince Leopold hasn’t yet completed his redeployment to protect the right flank!  

Above:  The ‘Kleist’ Grenadiers, having been left behind by the main body and unsupported by Prince Leopold, are soon overwhelmed by the Austrian cuirassiers!

Above:  While the ‘Kleist’ Grenadiers keep the Austrian cavalry busy on the right flank, the rest of the first line of the Prussian right wing pushes forward to engage the crumbling Austrian left wing more closely.  This is all too much for the Austrian infantry as having already been crushed by the Prussian artillery, they flee the field.

Above:  The view of the whole battlefield from the Prussian left flank.

Above:  Having broken the ‘Kleist’ Grenadiers, the Austrian cuirassiers fall back to rally.  In front of the Prussians, Göldy’s Austrian left wing, dismayed by the heavy losses suffered from artillery, has broken and fled the field!  The Prussian gunners have now swung their guns around and will soon be sending canister into the packed ranks of Austrian cuirassiers.

Above:  Not waiting to remain stationary under artillery fire, the Austrian cuirassiers charge once again, aiming for the vulnerable end of the Prussian line.  However, the cuirassiers run into a withering hail of fire from Prince Leopold’s infantry and are broken.  Römer’s Austrian cavalry division again falls back to consider its options and the Prussian right wing resumes its advance.

Above: Schwerin’s Prussian left wing, with Kalckstein’s division in the lead, finally engages the Austrian infantry.

Above:  Having been largely ignored by the Prussian artillery, Browne’s Austrian right wing has only suffered very light casualties thus far and now looses a devastating volley into the advancing Prussians.

Above:  Kalckstein’s infantry very much get the worst of the opening volleys, suffering heavy casualties.  However, they reorder their lines more quickly than the Austrians and launch a charge into the disordered whitecoats!

Above:  Although outnumbered and outmatched by Berlichgen’s Austrian horse, Posadowky crosses the stream and launches a charge to support the infantry attack.

Above:  The leading Austrian cuirassier regiment (here with the blue standard) has already suffered heavy casualties from a Prussian battery and is swiftly broken by the charge of the Prussian cuirassiers.  The Prussian cuirassiers break through, but are in turn repulsed by the next Austrian cuirassier regiment.  The Prussian ‘Platen’ Dragoons meanwhile, recoil from the phalanx of Austrian dragoons.

Above:  Following up their success, the Austrian cavalry break through to strike the second line of Prussian cavalry and throw those horsemen back as well!

Above:  However, the two leading Austrian cavalry regiments are now on blown horses.  Some of the Prussian cavalry quickly rally behind the guns and charge again, throwing back the over-confident Austrian horse!

Above:  The infantry combat meanwhile, is a similarly mixed affair.  As expected, the two grenadier battalions on the Prussian left flank do well, breaking one Austrian battalion and throwing back another, forcing Browne to commit two battalions from his second line.  However, Prussian battalions, already weakened by musketry, are also starting to break, forcing Prince Leopold to feed some of his reserve battalions into the combat.  However, the Prussians have a significant numerical advantage and are poised to roll up the Austrian left flank.

Above:  However, Römer’s Austrian cavalry remains a significant threat and instead of rolling up the Austrian infantry with his full weight, Marwitz is forced to wheel several battalions to the right to meet the renewed cavalry threat. 

Above:  Nevertheless, the Browne’s Austrian infantry are slowly being crushed by the Prussian assault and Neipperg is forced to evacuate his field headquarters!  

Above:  However, there is still a slim chance for an Austrian victory, as Kalckstein’s Prussian infantry have suffered very heavy losses and are starting to waver.  The cavalry battle on the flank is also still far from decided. 

Above:  As the Austrian cuirassiers charge the Prussian grenadiers on the left flank of the line, a Prussian infantry battalion from the second line moves forward to support the grenadiers’ flank, with the Prussian cuirassiers charging again on their flank.

Above:  The Prussian infantry successfully beat off the Austrian cavalry, though the Prussian cuirassiers aren’t so lucky and are forced to retreat for a second time!  The Austrian dragoons this time wisely choose not to follow up and instead fall back to rally out of Prussian musket-range.

Above:  Browne’s infantry start to crumble as both flanks fold up under assault from Prussian infantry.  By some miracle, Kalckstein’s Prussian infantry manage to stay in the fight, despite having suffered very heavy casualties.  Prince Leopold meanwhile, keeps plugging gaps with battalions from his second line, as Marwitz overruns Neipperg’s former headquarters.

Above:  Posadowsky once again rallies his cavalry and is now in a significantly better state than Berlichgen’s Austrian horse, who have suffered heavier casualties.

Above:  Over on the opposite flank, Römer’s last-ditch attempt to disrupt the Prussian assault has failed!  The Prussian Leibgarde Battalion (with the musket smoke in front of it) once more comes within a whisker of being broken (for the second time today!), but again manages to hold its ground and drive off the Austrian cavalry!  Römer’s lads have finally had enough and flee the field.

Above:  As his division disintegrates around him, Browne makes his last stand with one resolute Austrian battalion.

Above:  Posadowsky moves forward again to complete the rout of the Austrian army!

Above:  With two cuirassier regiments broken and two dragoon regiments in full retreat, Berlichgen mounts a desperate rearguard with the ‘Württemberg’ Dragoons, though they are soon sent packing by the Prussian dragoons. 

The young King of Prussia has won his first battle!

Anyway, it sounds like the turkey is finally out of the oven and we’re about to take it to the daughter’s house, so I’m signing off now to get stuffed!  Everyone please do have a very Merry Christmas and stay safe! 🙂

 

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Games, Scenarios, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules | 5 Comments

Happy Württember!

Wurttembergers meet the Prussian attack at Leuthen, 5th December 1757… and some of them are already ‘advancing to the rear’ (this appears to be the ‘Spitznass’ Regiment, though the pompoms belong to the ‘Prinz Louis’ Regiment).

Last month I mentioned that I had decided to embark on the ‘Württember Challenge’, which was to paint the entire Württemberg Auxiliary Corps for the Seven Years War by the end of November (13x 12-figure infantry battalions, 1x general and 1x gun and crew).  Well, I’m pleased to report that I ALMOST succeeded; all the figures were painted, but as November came to an end, I still had the bases of the 3rd Grenadier Battalion and the artillery left to paint and flock.  I blame myself, as I got a little side-tracked en route and also painted fifteen casualty markers, two additional generals (a Bavarian and a Saxon) and a Bavarian gun-crew!

Anyway, they’re now all finished and I’ve also managed to paint some more Prussian and Imperial troops during the first week of December.  In the New Year I’ll be partaking in ‘Bavarianuary’, which will be a little less strenuous than ‘Württember’; namely painting the last remaining six battalions of my Bavarian Auxiliary Corps.  Anyway, here are the finished Württembergers.  These are all Old Glory 15s figures (available in the UK from Timecast), with flags printed by me from pictures nicked from the superb Kronoskaf website.

The Württembergers make an interesting, if rather hopeless little army.  The rot most definitely started at the top, as Duke Charles Eugene of Württemberg was something of a mercenary, having been paid by France since 1752 to maintain a corps of 6,000 men in thirteen battalions for their use, but only raising 3,000 men and trousering the remainder of the cash!  However, when the call to muster came in 1757, the Duke was forced to conscript the remaining 3,000 from an unwilling population.  This forced conscription, allied to a pro-Prussian Protestant majority and a deep suspicion of France, contributed to severe discipline problems, high levels of desertion and complete collapse at the Battle of Leuthen.  Nevertheless, they continued to fight alongside both the Austrian and French armies at various times (depending on who was paying the Duke), as well as on their own as an army in their own right on at least one occasion.  Finally the Duke kept his army at home from 1761 to 1762, as nobody had any cash left to hire the Württembergers (or perhaps decided they weren’t worth the bother).  There is also an interesting ‘what-if’ for 1758, as the British tried paying off the Duke to fight for the other side!  What wargamer could possibly resist an army with a bloody awful fighting reputation and led by an amoral war-profiteer…? 🙂 

Above:  The Leibregiment ‘von Werneck’ was (briefly) the premier infantry regiment of the Württemberg Army, having been created in 1757 from the two musketeer battalions of the Garde zu Fuβ (the four grenadier companies of the Garde zu Fuβ having been split off to form the 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’).  However, along with much of the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps, the regiment included large numbers of unwilling Protestant conscripts and even suffered a mutiny before leaving Württemberg!  Nevertheless, they performed well enough at the Battle of Breslau, though at the Battle of Leuthen the Württembergers (along with the Bavarians) became the focus of the Prussian flank-attack and were beaten like an unloved ginger step-child!

Above:  In 1758 the Leibregiment ‘von Werneck’ lost the ‘Leib’ part of its title when the 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’ became the core of a new Leibgrenadierregiment and thus became the new premier regiment of the army (until the creation of a new Garde zu Fuβ later that same year).

Above:  In common with the other regiments of the Württemberg Army, the Leibregiment ‘von Werneck’ had a a blue, Prussian-style uniform and I’ve consequently used Prussian figures by Old Glory 15s (currently available in the UK from Timecast).  The regimental facing colour was carmine (a pinkish-purplish shade of red) and their guard status was indicated by white lace bars (three pairs on each lapel and one pair on each (Swedish style) cuff) and by their lemon yellow waistcoats.  Breeches were white.  Buttons were yellow metal, though the hat-lace and aiguillette behind the right shoulder were white.  Hat pompoms were black over yellow.  Officers’ buttons, lace, hat-lace and sashes were gold (some sources say that the sashes were mixed red and gold or black and gold).  Drummers’ uniforms are not known, but I’ve given them simple swallows’ nests and brass drums with hoops striped in the national colours of red & yellow.  When they became Regiment ‘von Werneck’ in 1758, the uniform stayed the same, though the hat-lace and aiguillette became yellow.

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘Prinz Louis’ was one of four Württemberg line infantry regiments (five regiments once Regiment ‘von Werneck’ was downgraded in 1758 – a sixth infantry regiment was raised in 1759) and like the others consisted of two musketeer battalions and two detached grenadier companies.  The grenadiers formed part of 2. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Plessen’ (see below).

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘Prinz Louis’ had poppy-red facings without lace and white metal buttons.  Hat-lace and aiguillette was white, as were the waistcoat and breeches.  Hat pompoms were red over yellow.  Officers had gold hat-lace, which is known to have been ‘scalloped’.  They presumably also had a gold aiguillette.

Above:  A rear view of the Infanterieregiment ‘Prinz Louis’.  Details of Württemberg regimental flags are not all that well known, but the excellent Kronoskaf website has reconstructions based on the written descriptions.  The flags of all regiments were apparently of a standard pattern, with each regiment receiving a single white Leibfahne and an unknown number of Regimentfahnen, which Kronoskaf presumes to be red for all regiments.  I’ve given a Leibfahne to each 1st battalion and a Regimentfahne to each 2nd battalion, though in reality each battalion probably carried at least two flags – one of each type in the 1st battalion and a pair of Regimentfahnen in the 2nd battalion.  The Leibfahne has the ducal arms on both sides, while the Regimentfahne has the ducal arms only on the obverse side, with the crowned ducal cypher (repeated in the corners) on the reverse.

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘von Spiznass’ had several changes of inhaber (i.e. colonel-proprietor) and therefore regimental title through the Seven Years War, becoming ‘von Romann’ in 1758, ‘Prinz Friedrich Wilhelm’ in 1761 and ‘von der Gabelenz’ in 1762.  The regiment’s two grenadier companies were permanently detached to the 2. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Plessen’ (see below).

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘von Spiznass’, like the Regiment ‘Prinz Louis’, had poppy-red facings, white waistcoat and white breeches, though this time with brass buttons and yellow hat-lace and aiguillette (gold for officers).  Pompoms were red over medium blue.

Above:  A rear view of the Infanterieregiment ‘con Spiznass’.

Above:  The Füsilierregiment ‘Truchsess’.  This regiment was originally formed in 1752 from part of the Garde zu Fuβ and for some reason was designated as a ‘Füsilier’ regiment.  However, this title seems to have been purely historical/whimsical and there were no role, uniform or organisational differences with those regiments designated as ‘Infantry’.  The regiment’s two grenadier companies were permanently detached to 3. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Georgii’.

Above:  The Füsilierregiment ‘Truchsess’ had black facings without lace, though the coat-linings and turnbacks were poppy-red.  Waistcoats and breeches were white.  Hat-lace, pompoms and aiguillettes were yellow.  Buttons were white metal (note that I made a mistake here and painted the regiment with brass buttons – I wrongly assumed that the button colour matched the hat-lace/aiguillette colour).  Officers’ hat-lace/aiguillette colour is not known; it may have been gold in common with all the other regiments or may have been silver to match the button colour.

Above:  A rear view of the Füsilierregiment ‘Truchsess’.

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘von Roeder’.  Like the Füsilierregiment ‘Truchsess’ above, this regiment was also originally titled ‘Füsilier’ when raised in 1754, but had been changed to ‘Infantry’ by 1757.  The regimental inhaber and title changed in 1759 to ‘von Wolff’.  The regiment’s two grenadier companies were permanently detached to the 3. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Georgii’.

Above:  The Infanterieregiment ‘von Roeder’ had rose-pink facings without lace, brass buttons and white hat-lace, pompom and aiguillette.  Waistcoat and breeches were also white.  The colour of officers’ hat-lace and aiguillette is not known, so I’ve gone again with gold.

Above:  A rear view of the Infanterieregiment ‘von Roeder’.

Above:  The massed grenadiers of the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps.  Note that the Württemberg grenadiers are recorded at the Battle of Leuthen as wearing white cotton pillow-cases over their mitre-caps, in an attempt to avoid being confused by Allied troops for their Prussian enemies.  I do have some grenadiers wearing (black oilskin) cap-covers in my Swedish army, but I decided to leave the Württemberg grenadiers in all their glory.

Above:  The 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’.  As mentioned above, in early 1757 the Württemberg Garde zu Fuβ was split into two parts; the two musketeer battalions became Leibregiment ‘von Werneck’ and the four grenadier companies were combined to become 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’ (most unusually the Garde zu Fuβ had double the usual helping of grenadiers, so was able to form a complete grenadier battalion it its own right.  All other regiments had only two grenadier companies and grenadier battalions were therefore formed from the grenadiers of two regiments).  In 1757 the 1. Grenadierbataillon served with the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps in Silesia.  However, in November of that year (shortly before the Battle of Breslau), three of the four companies were returned to Württemberg, to form the cadre of a new Garde zu Fuβ and Leibgrenadierregiment.  Their place in the battalion was taken by picked men from the five infantry regiments of the Auxiliary Corps.

The battalion went through a series of commanders and titles during the Seven Years War, becoming ‘von Plessen’ in 1758, ‘von Bode’ in 1759 and back to ‘von Plessen’ in 1762.  Note that the 2. Grenadierbataillon was also called ‘von Plessen’ in 1757.

Above:  The uniform of the 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’ was exactly the same as that of the Leibregiment ‘von Werneck’ discussed above, except that the men wore a brass-fronted Prussian-style grenadier mitre-cap.  However, following the departure of three grenadier companies in November 1757, it is almost certain that the battalion wore a mixture of uniforms at the Battles of Breslau and Leuthen and the battalion probably didn’t revert to this uniform appearance until well into 1758.

Note that this uniform was also worn by the new Leibgrenadierregiment, though the 2nd and 3rd battalions of the Leibgrenadierregiment were eventually detached as the 4. ‘Herzog’ Grenadierbataillon & 5. ‘Haus’ Grenadierbataillon and adopted different facing colours (black and green respectively).  The battalions of the Leibgrenadierregiment carried flags of the standard pattern and therefore represent a rare opportunity to use those bloody Old Glory Prussian grenadier standard-bearers!  However, the battalions lost their flags when they were detached as independent battalions.

Above:  A rear view of 1. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Rettenburg’, showing the details of the mitre-cap.  The band of the cap was brass, while the ‘bag’ (i.e. the cloth back) was carmine with yellow (some sources say gold) piping.  The pompom was yellow with a black centre.  Note that Württemberg grenadiers officers actually wore hats like the Prussians, but I need to use up my huge stash of unhistorical Old Glory Prussian grenadier officers…

Above:  The 2. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Plessen’ was formed from the grenadiers of the ‘Prinz Louis’ and ‘Spiznass’ Infantry Regiments.  It went through a number of changes of commander and title through the Seven Years War, becoming ‘von Legenfeld’ in 1758 and ‘von Wizleben’ in 1759.  Note that the 1. Grenadierbataillon was also called ‘von Plessen’ in 1758 and again in 1762 (due to the CO being transferred and then spending some time in captivity before returning to his command).

Above:  Both constituent regiments of the 2. Grenadierbataillon had poppy-red as their facing colour, so the two uniform coats look very similar, being differentiated by their button and aiguillette-colours (white for ‘Prinz Louis’ and yellow for ‘Spiznass’).  However, both contingents had brass-fronted mitre-caps, which is slightly odd, as most armies used the button colour as the colour for the mitre-cap metalwork.  Also note that the pompom of the ‘Prinz Louis’ Regiment’s grenadiers was plain red, whereas the parent regiment used red over yellow.  The ‘Spiznass’ Regiment’s grenadiers simply used the same red over medium blue pompom as the parent regiment.

Above:  A rear view of the 2. Grenadierbataillon ‘von Pless’, showing the mitre-cap details.  The ‘Prinz Louis’ Regiment’s grenadier mitre-cap had a dark blue band with red bag and ywllow (some sources say red) piping.  Those of the ‘Spiznass’ Regiment had a medium blue band and piping, with a red bag.

Above:  The 3. Grenadierbatailon ‘von Georgii’ was formed from the grenadiers of the ‘Truchsess’ and ‘von Roeder’ Regiments.  It also went through a succession of commanders and titles, becoming ‘von Bouwinghausen-Walmerode’ in 1758 and ‘von Altenstein’ in 1760.

Above:  As with the other grenadier battalions, the companies of 3. Grenadierbataillon wore the uniform of their parent regiment, which in this instance were markedly contrasting; black for ‘Truchsess’ and rose-pink for ‘von Roeder’ (note that I’ve here corrected the button colour for ‘Truchsess’).  As with 2. Grenadierbataillon, the white metal-colour of the mitre-caps was consistent throughout the battalion and didn’t necessarily match the button-colour.

Above:  A rear view of the 2. Grenadierbataillon, showing the details of the mitre-caps.  The historical details aren’t actually recorded beyond the (white) metal-colour of the front plate, so I’ve gone with the regimental facing colour, with piping and pompom colour matching the regimental aiguillette.

Above:  The Württemberg Auxiliary Corps of 1757 included a small Artillery Company, which is represented here by a single model gun and crew.  In 1758 the Württemberg Army’s artillery arm was expanded to a battalion of five companies and later campaigns included larger quantities of Württemberg artillery, so I will probably eventually add another light gun and a heavy gun to this contingent.  The uniform was again Prussian in style, consisting of a dark blue coat (changing to light blue sometime between 1760 & 1762), black facings (lapels, cuffs, collar and turnbacks), brass buttons, white smallclothes and yellow hat-lace, with yellow over black pompoms.  Prussian artillery uniforms didn’t have lapels, so I’ve simply painted them on.

Above:  Württemberg artillery is described as being ‘probably’ Austrian in origin, with Austrian carriages also being used.  The carriages are described variously as ‘yellow’, ‘ochre’, ‘buff’ and ‘plain wood’ and were probably just the same as the Austrians (yellow ochre with black iron fittings).  I’ve gone with the plain, varnished wood look, simply to make them look a bit different from the Austrians.

Above:  Marschall von Spiznass commanded the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps in 1757 and here we see him at the start of the Battle of Leuthen, praying to God that the Prussians attack someone else…

Above:  As with many other armies such as that of Prussia, the Württemberg Army had no stipulated uniform for general officers, so they wore regimental uniform (or a flamboyant concoction very loosely based on regimental uniform!).  In this instance, Spiznass simply wears the regimental uniform of his own infantry regiment.  I do like this figure; note how one hand is thrust through the guard of his sword.  Note also that he’s taken his hat off to pray and has it on the saddle-pommel in front of him.  Lovely 🙂 

Anyway, I’m hoping to finally get some games in over Christmas if lockdown permits… Fingers crossed… I’m presently painting more Imperial and Prussian troops to field in those games, so more SYW stuff to come.  I will also get around to finishing off the Burma Armour series with the 255th Indian Tank Brigade, I promise.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the view of the Württemberg Auxiliary Corps that the Prussian Army had five minutes into the Battle of Leuthen…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules | 21 Comments

Post Without an Interesting Title: The Swedish Army of the Seven Years War

Normally when I write an article, I’m able to find an interesting battle painting, some interesting and quotable military characters, an interesting or exciting historical event or some pithy and amusing phrase to use for a title and/or introduction…

 

No, me neither…

While Sweden was a fairly major player in the Seven Years War, its star which had shone brightly through the 17th Century, was most definitely on the wane in the 18th.  An ill-advised war with Russia from 1741 to 1743, launched to regain territories lost at the conclusion of the Great Northern War in 1721, proved to be a humiliating defeat.  In 1757 the Swedes joined the allied powers of France, Austria and Russia in the war against Prussia, hoping to regain those parts of Swedish Pomerania (on the Baltic coast of Germany) that had been lost to Prussia in 1720.  The ‘Pomeranian War‘ as that part of the Seven Years War is known, proved to be an extremely indecisive non-event for both sides, with only a few very minor engagements being fought and with Sweden completely failing to effectively prosecute, let alone achieve its war-aims.

So you might be wondering why I bothered getting a Swedish wargames army… Well in the mid-1990s I was running a very large, Europe-wide 1740s campaign and we already had armies in the club for Prussia, Austria, France, Russia, Britain, Hanover, the Reichsarmee and Ottoman Empire (those were the days!), so Sweden was the only missing army for the main players.  The Swedish army also looks great, with the very striking national theme of blue and yellow running right through the army.  Added to which, Pengel & Hurt produced an excellent organisation and uniform guide AND I managed to pick up a sheet of printed flags from Andy Grubb. 🙂 

The uniforms of the Swedish army were very old-fashioned for the period, being largely unchanged since the Great Northern War, with only the headgear having changed significantly.  The infantry also now whitened their belts instead of leaving them natural buff.  Instead of canvas gaiters, they still wore long woollen stockings, secured with a leather garter-strap below the knee and these stockings (usually white or matching the facing colour) add a huge splash of colour to the uniform.  I do rather like them and in our campaign, the King of Sweden (King Bruce I) managed to regain all of Sweden’s lost territories!

Above:  The Swedish army commander and his staff, seated on STEFAN flatpack dining chairs.  According to Pengel & Hurt, Swedish generals and staff usually wore a very plain uniform in the national colours of blue with yellow linings, cuffs and small-clothes, with white stocks and gold buttons and hat-lace.  I’m not aware of a specific range of 15mm figures for the Swedish Army of the period, so these chaps are taken from Old Glory 15s‘ Austrian Generals & Staff pack. 

The Commanding General wears a cuirass under his coat and the red sash of the ancient Swedish Order of the Secret Ways.  This ancient order confers on the holder the ancient knowings of the secret pathways through Swedish life, until at last one is rewarded in Swedish paradise with the Sacred Meatballs.  

Above:  The attendant hussar officer and orderly (holding a leather map-tube – these are lovely figures) are from the ‘Yellow’ (‘Gula’) Hussar Regiment, which was raised late in the war, in 1761.  The dolman is black, with yellow facings and barrel-sash and white braid and buttons (silver for officers) and the pelisse is yellow edged with black fur and braid and buttons as before.  The shabraque is black edged in yellow vandycking and the sabretache is black edged yellow with a crowned yellow ‘G’.  Belts are buff and the busby is brown with a yellow bag and silver death’s-head badge.  Breeches are straw, while boots are black with white lace edging and tassels.  Thigh-length leggings could also be worn and these were black cloth with a white lace upper-edge.

Above:  A pair of ADCs.  Again, these are Austrian figures by Old Glory 15s.  The chap on the right is an officer of the general staff and just wears the usual blue and yellow staff uniform.  The chap on the left is an officer of the Swedish horse guard corps, the Upplands Liv Regiment.  This regiment had white facings, with gold lace for officers and polished steel cuirasses (usually, but not always worn under the coat).  However, when I painted my Swedes in the Pre-Internet Age, the Pengel & Hurt booklet was my only source of information and they just described the coat-colour as ‘blue’.  The Kronoskaf Seven Years War Project website describes the coat-colour of Swedish Regiments of Horse as ‘medium blue’, so the colour should probably be quite a bit brighter than this.

Above:  The Dalarnas Infantry Regiment.  For my Swedish infantry I used Old Glory 15s ‘French Infantry With Turnbacks’, as they have suitably old-fashioned, baggy coats with big cuffs and a waist-belt worn outside the coat, which is ideal for Swedes.  This uniform was virtually the standard uniform for Swedish infantry regiments of the period, with the majority conforming very closely to this scheme of dark blue coat, yellow facings, yellow small-clothes (i.e. waistcoat & breeches), black neck-stock and white stockings, held up by a brown leather garter-strap.  The hat-lace matched the button-colour, which in this case was white (silver for officers).  Speaking of officers, Pengel & Hurt describe Swedish infantry officers as wearing very plain uniforms in the field, being dark blue, without coloured cuffs, small-clothes or stockings (though the linings might sometimes be in the facing colour).  Black canvas gaiters or tall leather boots were worn.

Above:  The Dalarnas Infantry Regiment (again).  There are a couple of differences of opinion between my painting (based on Pengel & Hurt) and the more modern research on Kronoskaf:  First, Kronoskaf describes the Dalarnas Regiment’s small-clothes as being white, not yellow.  Second, Kronoskaf states that the button-hole edging matched the facing colour for all regiments, while P&H says it was white for all regiments (the button-hole edging is hardly visible in any case, so it matters little).

Above:  The Hälsinge Infantry Regiment.  The uniform details for this regiment are exactly the same as the Dalarnas Regiment described above, though the sources this time agree that the small-clothes were yellow.

Above:  The Hälsinge Regiment (again).  As with many other armies of the period, the Swedish infantry carried two types of flag.  The first was the Colonel’s Colour or Liffana.  This was basically the same pattern for all regiments, being a white field bearing the royal coat of arms.  The only difference being that the  provincial ‘badge’ was shown in the canton of each Liffana.  The other type of flag was the Kompanifana, which simply carried the provincial coat of arms, with the field colour matching the armorials.  The 1st (or Colonel’s) Battalion of a regiment carried the Liffana and one Kompanifana, while the 2nd (or Lieutenant-Colonel’s) Battalion carried two Kompanifanor.  However, as with my Prussians, I’ve simplified things slightly by giving the 1st Battalion a single Liffana and the 2nd Battalion a single Kompanifana.  

Above:  The Hälsinge Regiment (again again).  I bought these flags from Andy Grubb of Grubby Tanks in about 1998ish.  I think he printed them himself, but I’ve no idea if they’re still available.  Needless to say, the more modern research in Kronoskaf has highlighted some mistakes:  The flag-staves should apparently be yellow for all regiments and the Kompanifanor should have steel finials (gold for Liffanor).

Above:  The Nylands Infantry Regiment.  The uniform for this regiment is the same as that described above for the Dalarnas and Hälsinge Regiments, except that this time the buttons are brass and the hat lace is yellow (gold for officers).  However, Kronoskaf disagrees, stating that the hat lace remained white instead of yellow (still gold for officers though).

Above:  The Nylands Infantry Regiment (again).  I should discuss the Swedish Army’s system of of ‘Varvade‘ (‘Permanent’) and ‘Indelta‘ (‘Alotted’ – i.e. to the army in wartime) regiments.  Along with the Household Troops, the Varvade regiments were the only permanent, peacetime force of the Swedish army and were mostly used as garrison regiments.  The Indelta meanwhile were raised for one or two months every year in peacetime and would then be placed on furlough, becoming full-time during war (the Prussian Army operated on a similar system, with only the Garrison Regiments and small cadre elements of the other regiments being full-time soldiers).  Consequently, when the Swedish Army was mobilised for war, the field armies consisted mainly of Indelta regiments.  Of the eighteen infantry regiments deployed to Swedish Pomerania during the Seven Years War, fifteen were Indelta regiments, two were Household regiments and only one was Varvade.  All five regiments shown here are Indelta regiments.

Above:  The Skaraborgs Infantry Regiment.  At last, we have a slight change of colour here, with the yellow stockings of the Skaraborgs Regiment!

Above:  The Skaraborgs Regiment (again):  However, Kronoskaf disagrees with the yellow stockings and instead shows them as boring white!  🙁 

Above:  The Närke-Värmlands Infantry Regiment.  This time we have a PROPER splash of colour, with one of the very few infantry regiments in the Swedish Army to have a different facing colour (red).

Above:  The Närke-Värmlands Infantry Regiment (again).  However, Kronoskaf disagrees once again re the stocking colour and instead describes them as white.  In fact, Kronoskaf describes the stockings of ALL regiments as being white.

Above:  The Swedish Artillery had a very plain uniform of dark blue, which lacked contrasting facings, linings, hat-lace or small-clothes.  This was worn with buff belts and dark grey gaiters.  Gun-carriages were painted light blue, as shown here.  However, I now know that metal fittings were either polished brass or were iron painted with yellow ochre, thus reflecting the national colours.  These will therefore need a repaint, as I did them with black iron fittings, like the Prussians.  For these chaps I used Old Glory 15s Austrian Artillery.

Above:  Swedish Horse (‘Ryttare‘) Regiments were theoretically equipped as cuirassiers, being equipped with a polished steel cuirass that was normally to be worn beneath the coat.  However, in practice it would seem that this cuirass was rarely worn.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s French Chevauxleger figures for the Swedish cavalry, as again they have that ‘old-fashioned’ baggy-coated look about them.  Like the Swedes, the French Chevauxlegers were meant to wear a cuirass beneath their coat but rarely did so.  As mentioned above, according to Kronoskaf the coat colour should probably be a brighter ‘medium blue’ shade for all these regiments, but I painted mine according to Pengel & Hurt, which just described them as ‘blue’.

Above:  The Östgöta Regiment of Horse.  This regiment had red cuffs, linings and shabraque-edging with brass buttons (gold buttons and hat-lace for officers).  Small-clothes, gauntlets and belts were buff leather and these were common to all regiments.  My Swedish cavalry are especially glossy, so don’t look all that great in photos!

Above:  A rear view of the Östgöta Regiment of Horse, showing the obverse of the standard.  There weren’t any printed flags available for the cavalry, so I had to paint my own.  Swedish Horse carried one standard per company (there were typically four companies per regiment, though some regiments had more), with the 1st or Colonel’s Company carrying the regimental Lifstandar and the others each carrying a single Kompanistandar.  For simplicity’s sake I’ve given each regiment a single standard.  The Lifstandar was very much like the infantry Liffana, being white and bearing the royal arms on both sides, with the provincial badge shown in the canton.  The Kompanistandar was in the provincial colours, with the provincial badge on the obverse and the crowned royal ‘AF’ cypher within a laurel wreath on the reverse (some regiments had palm-wreaths instead of laurel-wreaths).  All standards had gold finials and were heavily fringed with gold.  I now also know from Kronoskaf that all standards had yellow & blue spirals on the stave. Bah… 🙁 

Above:  The Södra Skånska Regiment of Horse.  This regiment was dressed in the same manner as the Östgöta Horse above, but the facing colour this time was straw.  Note also the general urging them forward; this is another Austrian general figure.

Above:  A rear view of the Södra Skånska Regiment of Horse, showing the reverse of the Kompanistandar.

Above:  The Västgöta Regiment of Horse.  This was again dressed in the same manner as the regiments above, though with yellow facings.  For some reason I’ve given these yellow hat-cockades, but I don’t think that’s correct, as Swedish units normally did not wear any cockade during this period.

Above:  A rear view of the Västgöta Regiment of Horse, showing the obverse of the standard.  I really do love the bold, heraldic designs of the Swedish flags. 

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got painted thus far.  I still have another five infantry regiments, two grenadier battalions, two horse regiments, a dragoon regiment, a hussar regiment and some more guns waiting in the lead-crypt to be painted.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules | 16 Comments