The Forgotten Wargames Army: XIVth Army in Burma (Part 4)

Here’s the last of my Burma stuff for the time being; namely some elements of the Royal Artillery.

You might be wondering why I need to have model artillery, as the artillery will ordinarily be flippin’ miles away and only represented on table by Forward Observation Officers (FOOs) and by the effects of fire (unless you’re playing the frankly odd Flames of War, of course).  That’s certainly the case with my usual rules, Battlefront: WWII, though I must confess to having built up quite a large collection of artillery pieces, due in part to having inherited a large number of such models from a friend’s collection, but also due to us putting on some bloody enormous games that encompassed the artillery gun positions on table!

Part of the Bishenpur ‘Gun Box’ at our Bovington 2011 game

For Burma I have the perfect excuse to collect artillery, as it was often the case during that campaign that artillery units would find themselves directly in the front line, defending fortified ‘boxes’ against enemy attack.  One such example was the ‘Gun Box’ at Bishenpur, during the Battle of Imphal.  This contained a 25pdr Field Regiment, a 3.7-inch Mountain Battery, a 40mm Light AA Battery, a 6pdr Anti-Tank Battery, a 5.5-inch Medium Artillery Section and a 3.7-inch Heavy AA Section and came under repeated close infantry attack during the battle.  Part of this featured in our 1st Battle of Bishenpur game at The Tank Museum, Bovington in 2011 and there are numerous other examples of Gunners having to directly defend their guns during the war against Japan, so the models do come in handy.

Although it’s not remotely my cup of tea, the fact that the Flames of War game-system requires you to have artillery on table does mean that they produce a lot of interesting artillery and gun-tractor models that might not otherwise be available.  Bless ’em…

Above:  A Field Battery of 25pdr guns deployed and ready to fire.  At full-scale, a Field Battery would consist of eight guns, divided into two Troops of four guns.  However, I wargame at a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, so each gun model here represents 2 real guns and the battery therefore consists of four gun models.

Each Troop Commander would typically deploy forward as a Forward Observation Officer (FOO), leaving a Troop Gun Position Officer (GPO) behind to command the Troop’s gun detachments.  Similarly, the Battery Commander would typically deploy forward to liaise with the CO of the infantry battalion they were supporting, leaving a Battery GPO behind to command the Battery.

Units with a full scale of motor transport would typically use Universal Carriers as Observation Post (OP) vehicles for the FOOs, but units on a light scale of transport might use Jeeps or even mules to carry the necessary radios, batteries, field-telephones and cable-spools.  Many Field Regiments became ‘Jungle Field’ Regiments (consisting of 3.7-inch Mountain Howitzers and 3-inch Mortars) while the campaign was fought in the dense, mountainous jungle of the Burma-India border.  However, they transitioned back to a heavier scale of motor transport following the defeat of the Japanese offensive at the Battle of Imphal in 1944, in anticipation for the Operation CAPITAL counter-offensive into central Burma, where the road network was far more extensive and where the terrain was far more suited to mechanised warfare.

The vehicles here are marked for the 136th (1st West Lancashire) Field Regiment RA, which was the senior Field Artillery Regiment of the 7th Indian Infantry Division (‘Golden Arrow’), as indicated by the ’42’ serial on the red-over-blue RA Arm-of-Service Sign.  The divisional badge for 7th Indian Division was a golden arrow on a black disc.  Note that Field Artillery and Anti-Tank units did not apply markings to their guns.  The reason you see marked guns in museums is because this did become common practice AFTER the war.  AA units by contrast, commonly applied the full array of markings to their guns.

The battery is indicated by the smaller blue square marking, which has one quadrant (here the lower-left quadrant) coloured red.  The position of the red quadrant shows the seniority of the battery within the regiment – 1st Bty top-right, 2nd Bty bottom-right, 3rd Bty bottom-left and 4th Bty top-left, so this is the regiment’s 3rd Battery.  The white letter indicates the Troop (in this case ‘F’ Troop – the 3rd battery of a Field Regiment would have ‘E’ & ‘F’ Troops, so the other Troop will have the same marking with ‘E’ instead of ‘F’).  The Carrier has ‘RF’, which indicates the Troop Commander’s OP Vehicle for ‘F’ Troop.

The chaps at the back, huddled around a map-table and signaller, wearing red cap-bands and collar-tabs came with the Flames of War 25pdr Battery set as an ‘Artillery Staff Group’.  I’ve actually painted them as an infantry brigade tactical headquarters, hence the red staff officer bands and tabs.

An OP Carrier of an unknown Field Artillery unit in Burma, 1945. Note the radio antenna bracket and the cable-spool mounted at the rear. Note also the very large Allied Star that was applied to XIVth Army vehicles in 1945.

These models are all by Flames of War and the Carriers are lovely little models of the OP Carrier variant, with a radio in the back, radio-antenna mount on the side and a telephone cable-spool on the front (my apologies for being lazy and not sticking an antenna on them!).  Note that the Flames of War come usefully supplied with two gun-barrels, enabling them to be modelled either as the Mk I without muzzle-brake or the Mk II with muzzle-brake.  The vast majority of 25pdrs in Burma had the Mk I barrel, so I’ve used these here.  Note also that the Quad tractors in Burma were far more likely to be Canadian-built CMP types, rather than the Morris C8 Quads shown here, but I’m not aware of anyone making a CMP Quad in 15mm.

Some more Royal Artillery for Burma, but this time it’s a Troop of 40mm Bofors Guns from the 7th Indian Infantry Division.  In reality a Troop consisted of six guns and there were three Troops per LAA Battery, for a total of 18 guns per Battery and 54 guns per Regiment.  However, many batteries were reduced in strength to 12 guns; either by removing a Troop from each Battery or by reducing each Troop in the Battery to four guns.  My two models here represent a reduced-strength Troop of 4 guns at 2:1 ratio.

I should also mention that many AA guns in Burma were 20mm Hispano, Polsten or Oerlikon types, rather than 40mm Bofors.

As with most things in XIVth Army, the organisation of Light AA and Anti-Tank units changed quite dramatically as the war progressed, based on the nature of the terrain, enemy tactics and the ability of XIVth Army’s strained logistical system to supply units in the field.  At the start of the war, the 7th Indian Division had the standard organisation of separate LAA and AT Regiments; namely the 122nd LAA Regt RA (with three LAA Batteries) and the 6th Indian AT Regt IA (with four AT Batteries).  In August 1943 these units were replaced by the combined 24th LAA/AT Regt RA, which had two batteries each of LAA and AT.

This move to condensed and combined LAA/AT Regts was repeated right across XIVth Army.  Their flexibility was increased even further by the AT gun detachments adding a 3-inch mortar to their weapon-load on a semi-official/unofficial basis, thus turning them into AT/Mortar Batteries.  In most cases these regiments were split into separate units again in preparation for the advance into Burma and 24th LAA/AT Regt RA therefore became 24th AT Regt RA in September 1944 (being replaced in May 1945 by 8th Indian AT Regt IA) and was joined by 3rd Indian LAA Regt IA.

In terms of markings, note that unlike Field Artillery and AT units, LAA units tended to paint the markings on their guns.  I’ve absolutely no idea what the Arm-of-Service serial was for an LAA/AT Regt, so I’ve simply given them ’47’, which was the serial for an infantry division’s LAA Regt (the AT Regt used ’46’).  The Battery markings were much the same as the Field Battery markings mentioned above (note that the upper-right quadrant here is red, indicating the 1st Battery of a regiment), except that they had three Troops per battery, so the 1st Battery would have A, B & C, the 2nd Battery D, E & F and so on.  AT Batteries also had three Troops (of four guns each).

The Troop is served by a pair of Morris CDSW 6×4 Field Artillery Tractors.  These vehicles were introduced during the 1930s to tow the 18pdr Mk IV Field Gun and 4.5-inch Howitzer then standard in the British Army.  However, they were steadily replaced by the Morris C8 Quad in the Field Artillery role and were then relegated to tow the 40mm Bofors Gun, before being replaced by the Bedford QLB or CMP 3-Ton Trucks.  In Burma they tended to be replaced by lighter CMP 4×4 15cwt Trucks or Dodge Weapons Carriers, but I’ve stuck with the CDSW here, simply because I like the models.

Markings are the same as the guns, except for the yellow weight-class disc.  The split number indicates a tractor (either towing a gun or a trailer) – the top number (10) is the weight class when towing and the lower number (6) is the weight class when ‘travelling light’.  Engineers would place a similar disc on the approach to a bridge.  A vehicle could only then cross the bridge if the weight class displayed on their disc was equal to or lower than that of the bridge.  This simple system is still used by NATO today.

The Bofors Guns and tractors are again by Flames of War.

Anyway, that’s enough Burma for now!

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Painted Units, World War 2, World War 2 - British Commonwealth Armies, World War 2 - Burma Campaign | 2 Comments

The Forgotten Wargames Army: XIVth Army in Burma (Part 3)

A Jeep patrol of the British 2nd Recce Regiment in Burma, 1945

Some more Burma stuff today, namely a reconnaissance patrol from the Indian 16th Light Cavalry Regiment.  When we did our game of the Battle of Wetlet late last year, we needed a recce group from that regiment and rather than use some of my NW European collection, I decided to paint some specific vehicles for Burma.

Wheeled armoured recce isn’t exactly what you might imagine as being suitable for the Burma Campaign, as in the main they were limited to the extremely sparse (bordering on non-existent) motorable road network.  As a consequence, a lot of recce units, such as the 2nd Recce Regt, 11th (East African) Recce Regt, 81st & 82nd (West African) Recce Regts replaced their armoured cars and scout cars with Jeeps and just retained a few tracked Universal Carriers, while 45th Recce Regiment was completely converted to Chindits.  The Indian 7th Cavalry Regt traded in its armoured cars, scout cars and Carriers in 1943 for Stuart light tanks.  The 3rd Gwalior Lancers (XV Corps Recce Regt) did things a bit differently and instead had a 50/50 split of Carriers and horsed cavalry.  The West African Recce Regiments even converted in late 1944 to waterborne recce, using native Arakanese small water-craft called khistis.  The recce element of most infantry divisions meanwhile, was a ‘Scout Battalion’ consisting simply of light infantry with no weapons heavier than Brens.

A Daimler Scout Car of 116th RAC’s Recce Troop (255th Indian Tank Brigade) leads a Sherman and a Dodge Weapons Carrier in crossing the Irrawaddy, February 1945

However, the British and Indian armoured regts in the theatre did retain a Recce Troop of either Daimler Scout Cars or Universal Carriers and three Indian cavalry regiments; the 8th (King George V’s Own) Cavalry, 11th (Prince Albert Victor’s Own) Cavalry and 16th Light Cavalry were retained as armoured car regts.  Given the nature and terrain of the campaign from 1942 to 1944 they had precious little chance to operate in their dedicated role.  However, that all changed with the defeat of the Japanese 15th Army at the Battle of Imphal and Operation CAPITAL which followed (and which then became EXTENDED CAPITAL).  As the XIVth Army crossed the Chindwin and broke out of the jungle onto the ‘Dry Belt’ of central Burma, they were finally able to act in their traditional role and provided invaluable intelligence on the position, strength and movements of Japanese units.

Armoured Car Regiments were typically organised with four squadrons, each with five Armoured Car Troops of 2-3 armoured cars and 2-3 scout cars, a Heavy Troop with heavy armoured cars, SP guns or mortars and a Support Troop of two motorised infantry sections, equipped to conduct limited sapper tasks such as detecting and lifting mines.  However, this basic organisation was modified quite extensively due to the tactical, environmental and logistical limitations of the Burma Campaign; I’ve got very little specific information on the organisation of the 8th KGVO and 11th PAVO Cavalry, but the squadrons of 16th Light Cavalry each had two Armoured Car Troops, three ‘Jeep Troops’ (i.e. Jeep-motorised infantry) and a Heavy (Mortar) Troop.

In terms of scout car types, all three regiments used Daimler Dingo Scout Cars (some may actually have been near identical Canadian-built Lynx Scout Cars).  For armoured cars, the 11th PAVO used exclusively Daimler Armoured Cars, but the 8th KGVO and 16th Light Cavalry used a mix of Daimlers and Humber Mk IV Armoured Cars (probably two squadrons of each type).  The 7th Cavalry had been equipped with Fox Armoured Cars (Canadian-built Humber Mk III, armed with Browning .50 Cal) until conversion to Stuart and some of these may well have been used in lieu of Humbers.

In other theatres of war, the Heavy Troops were equipped with AEC Armoured Cars or Staghound Armoured Cars, or with M3 GMCs, but by 1944 the Heavy Troops of all three regiments in XIVth Army were equipped with two Wheeled Armoured Carriers (India Pattern) Mk II, refitted as self-propelled 3-inch mortars.  Other Wheeled Carriers were apparently used as command vehicles.

The Daimler Armoured Car, Dingo, Jeeps and Dodge Weapons Carrier models are by Skytrex.  The India Pattern Carrier and infantry are by Flames of War.  The India Pattern Carrier has a spare plastic mortar added from a Team Yankee M113 APC kit.

In terms of markings, I’ve given these the circular version of the XIVth Army badge, which was the standard form of the badge when painted on vehicles.  I’ve given them square squadron signs (signifying ‘B’ Squadron) in white, which indicates an un-brigaded regiment.  I’ve seen a photo of a 16th Light Cavalry Daimler Armoured Car with just the troop number (2) on the turret side and no squadron sign, though a photo of a column of 11th PAVO Daimlers shows them all painted with squadron signs and troop numbers painted within the signs.  Going into 1945 they would have large white Allied Stars painted on the sides, but apart from the India Pattern Carrier, there are no suitable flat surfaces on which to apply the decals, so I’ve left them off.

That’s it for now.  Artillery next time…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Painted Units, World War 2, World War 2 - British Commonwealth Armies, World War 2 - Burma Campaign | 2 Comments

The Forgotten Wargames Army: XIVth Army in Burma (Part 2)

As discussed in Part 1, I’ve been photographing a lot of my old stuff during the recent spell of sunny weather amid Plague Lockdown.  It’s occurred to me that I’ve got nowhere near enough WW2 stuff on this blog, even though my 15mm WW2 collection is rather huge, so it’s time to rectify that omission.  One of my favourite WW2 campaigns is Burma and we put on a huge Burma demo game at Bovington in 2011.  However, that rather killed the bug for a while and the Burma stuff then sat in its boxes until last December, when I renewed my love for the period with a refight of the Battle of Wetlet.  So expect to see a lot more WW2 games once the current crisis has eased, but in the meantime, here are some more troops:

Above:  A Field Company of Indian Engineers.  I painted these for our Bovington demo game, as the scenario required a Field Company of the Bombay Sappers & Miners, who were tasked with supporting the assault by bridging nullahs (ravines), clearing minefields and destroying enemy fortifications.  These are a mixture of Flames of War ‘Italy British’ Sappers, Peter Pig XIVth Army Infantry in Bush-Hat and Peter Pig XIVth Army Sappers.

They’re painted in exactly the same manner as the Sikh infantry in Part 1, except for the helmets and bush-hats.  Helmets and vehicles in this theatre were normally painted in British Army Standard Camouflage Colour (SCC) 13 Jungle Green, which was introduced in 1943 (replacing the brighter ‘No.3 Green’ shade) and was a very similar, though slightly darker shade to the later SCC 15 Olive Drab or US Olive Drab.  To be honest, the differences in shade are so miniscule and when subjected to the effects of damp, weathering, strong sunlight, deep shade, mud and dust, are completely non-existent.  I therefore simply paint them the same colour as my NW European British kit: namely SCC 15 Olive Drab, for which I use a base of Humbrol 75 Bronze Green and a top-coat of Humbrol 159 Khaki Drab and a final dry brush of Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill, all over a black enamel undercoat.  The bush-hats were very much the same shade of khaki-brown as temperate Battledress uniform, so I use the same shade – Humbrol 26 Khaki, with the puggri band in lightened Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill.

Engineer Field Companies were roughly double the strength of Infantry Companies.  Like the infantry they had three platoons, but each platoon had six sections instead of three (this is essentially the same basic organisation as that used in Europe).  In game terms, there’s one Commander stand and eighteen Sapper Section stands (three platoons of six), three of them armed with flamethrowers (one per platoon).

Unlike Indian infantry, Indian Engineer platoons were commanded by a King’s Commissioned Officer (KCO – either British or increasingly, Indian), with a Viceroy’s Commissioned Officer (VCO) as second-in-command.  In the infantry, platoons were normally commanded by a VCO.  Field Companies were normally assigned to a brigade and platoons would then be split off to provide engineering support to the constituent infantry battalions of the brigade. They could be brought back together as full companies for specific Sapper tasks.

A Sapper of the Madras Sappers & Miners, drinks water from a Chaggal (water-skin) that was widely used by Indian and British troops alike

Another curious organisational feature of Indian Engineers is that they were segregated by race/religion on a platoon-by-platoon basis, whereas in the other combat arms, segregation was normally by company/squadron/battery. In his superb memoir ‘Sunset in the East‘, John Hudson describes how he commanded a platoon of Sikh Sappers, while the rest of the Field Company (of the Bombay Sappers & Miners) consisted of a platoon of Muslims and a platoon of Hindus. They were then assigned to the all-Gurkha 48 Infantry Brigade of 23rd Indian Infantry Division.  Nobody makes any Sikh Sapper figures at present, but it would be a relatively straightforward job to swap heads… If I wasn’t terminally lazy…

The vehicles are marked up for 62 Field Coy Indian Engineers (Queen Victoria’s Own Madras Sappers & Miners), 7th Indian Infantry Division (‘Golden Arrow’).  The unit arm-of-service marking is the usual engineers’ cobalt-blue square, with ’51’ serial.  The divisional sign was a golden arrow (pointing roughly to 10 o’clock) on a black disc.

Units in Burma frequently had little access to motor transport, so there are only enough CMP 15cwt trucks here to lift one platoon or heavy engineering stores, plus a Dodge WC-51 Weapons Carrier for the Company HQ.  Jeeps, CMP 15cwt, Dodge and Chevrolet light trucks were ubiquitous in this theatre and performed magnificently in the extreme terrain.

The Wheeled Armoured Carrier India Pattern Mk II (hereafter referred to as an ‘India Pattern Carrier’) represents the Field Company HQ’s Recce Section, whose task was to seek out and survey routes, assess weight-loading of roads and bridges, seek out bridging points, etc.  These vehicles were fairly uncommon in Burma, but Bill Slim mentioned having a ride in one belonging to 7th Division Engineers, so it HAD to be included in my XIVth Army.  Most Engineer units in Burma would have made do with Jeeps for this task.  India Pattern Carriers were generally not used by recce units in Burma, except as command vehicles and as 3-inch mortar-carriers.  Some Brigade and Divisional Tactical Headquarters also used them as armoured liaison vehicles (General Cowan of 17th Indian Division is known to have used one as his personal transport).

The Valentine Armoured Bridgelayer isn’t actually an Engineer vehicle.  They were operated by Independent Bridging Troops of the Royal Armoured Corps (RAC), with one such troop being assigned to each Indian Tank Brigade Headquarters (50, 254 & 255 Indian Tank Brigades).  The supremely talented Martin Small converted this for me from a standard (and very ancient) Valentine Mk III model by pre-Flames of War Battlefront Miniatures.  In reality the bridgelayers lacked sand-skirts, but the only available model at the time had cast-on sand-skirts, so we were stuck with them.  Although difficult to see, this one carries the markings of Brigade HQ, 254 Indian Tank Brigade.

I’ll leave you with some more photos of Martin’s lovely model bridgelayer:

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Painted Units, World War 2, World War 2 - British Commonwealth Armies, World War 2 - Burma Campaign | Leave a comment

The Forgotten Wargames Army: XIVth Army in Burma (Part 1)

Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) Bill Slim, GOC XIVth Army

It’s been gloriously sunny here this week while on lock-down from the ‘Flu Manchu’, so I decided a photograph a stack of models.  At the top of the stack were some boxes of XIVth Army British and Indian troops for Burma, so let’s start with those…

I’ll start with an Indian Army battalion of Sikhs.  These were originally painted to represent the 4th (Sikh) Battalion of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, for our 1st Battle of Bishenpur game at Battlegroup South 2011, in The Tank Museum, Bovington.  However, they could represent any all-Sikh battalion in the Indian Army.  The beards and turbans mark them out as Sikh, as they are a requirement of their faith.  Other races/religions would wear turbans of a different style in full dress uniform, but these were not worn in the field (except in the case of a few garrison units caught up in the Japanese invasion early in the war and by Military Policemen).  Instead they would wear standard British headgear of helmets, bush-hats, cap-comforters (cloth tubes – similar to a balaclava) or GS Caps (large floppy beret-type-things).


Indian Infantry (non-Sikh) of XIVth Army

After the Indian Mutiny of 1857-59 all Indian Army units were segregated by race/religion.  In the case of infantry battalions, these would either be 100% from one race/religion or they would be segregated by company.  For example, the 1st to 4th Battalions of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment were 100% Sikh, as were all battalions of the 11th Sikh Regiment.  Battalions of some other regiments (particularly the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 14th, 15th & 16th Punjab Regiments and 13th Frontier Force Rifles Regiment) would also often have one or two, maybe more Sikh companies.  For example, the 7th Battalion 16th Punjab Regiment had A (Dogra) Company, B (Sikh) Company, C (‘Punjabi Mussulmen’ or ‘PM’ – i.e. Muslim) Company and D (Mahratta – i.e. Hindu) Company.

Sikh signallers with scrim-covered turbans

These are painted for the latter half of the Burma Campaign (late 1943 to 1945), so are all painted in Jungle Green, often known as ‘JG’.  Earlier in the war the standard tropical uniform was Khaki Drill, known as ‘KD’ and these Sikhs still have their turbans in KD.  They would often cover their turbans with helmet scrim-net and later in the war they were often supplied with JG turbans.  From late 1942 onwards units started dying their own uniforms in various shades of green, leading to a very patchwork appearance until factory-produced JG items started being delivered.  Units newly-arrived in Burma often had to wait a while for JG uniforms to be delivered.  for example, the 81st (West African) Division didn’t get its first JG uniform until they were delivered by air-drop halfway through their first campaign in Dec 1943/Jan 1944.

Sikh Infantry of 7th Division in the Arakan 1944

For JG I use Humbrol 116 (US Dark Green), highlighted with quite a lot of white mixed in.  Factory-supplied JG usually faced to a light blueish-greyish-green, but would look very dark when wet.  For the KD turbans I use Humbrol 72 (Khaki Drill).

Webbing was a light ochre-khaki colour in its natural state that tended to fade to a very pale shade when exposed to sun for long periods.  It was meant to be covered with Blanco (a boot-polish-type substance that came in various colours) to provide camouflage and waterproofing, but supplies were often not available at the front line and it and in any case, Blancoing was a detested activity that was normally abandoned immediately upon contact with the enemy!  Later in the war, webbing was dyed JG at the factory.  According to my mate Skippy’s father (a veteran of 7th Indian Division and the ‘Admin Box’), they would often paint their webbing with green or black vehicle paint.  However, photos of Indian infantry often show very pale webbing (see above), suggesting scrubbed and sun-bleached bare canvas.  For ‘scrubbed’ webbing I use Humbrol 83 (Ochre), again highlighted with quite a lot of white mixed in.  This unit has mostly ‘scrubbed’ webbing, with occasional soldiers wearing JG webbing.

In terms of organisation, Infantry Battalions by this stage of the war in Burma typically had four rifle companies, each of three rifle platoons.  There was no Support Company organisation, but there was always a Mortar Platoon of six 3-inch Mortars and a Carrier Platoon of four sections.  In many cases, the Carrier Platoon lost its Carriers and either got Jeeps or went on foot as a very strong infantry platoon with 12x Bren Guns, used as recce and/or fire support.  There was also usually a Sniper Section and an Assault Pioneer Platoon.  Anti-Tank Platoons were universally disbanded and turned into other uses such as additional Jeep or Mule Transport Platoons.  Battalions might also get a Vickers MG Platoon of four guns if the division had no MG Battalion.

Some uniquely Burma oddities were ‘Commando Platoons’ and ‘Assault Platoons’.  Details are scant, but these seem to have often been re-purposed Carrier or Assault Pioneer Platoons, plus Sniper Section and these terms could either mean a long-range patrol unit or a unit equipped for assaulting bunkers and other fortifications.

Above:  Here’s the battalion ‘on parade’ and organised for Battlefront: WWII rules: At the back are four Rifle Companies, each consisting of a Company Commander stand, a 2-inch Mortar stand and 9x Infantry stands (one of them equipped with PIAT).  At the front is the Battalion HQ, Mortar Platoon of three sections and Bren-heavy Carrier Platoon of four sections.  The sharp-eyed will spot that there are a couple of British officers in there.  It was typical for Battalion COs and Company OCs to be British King’s Commissioned Officers (KCOs), backed up by Indian Viceroy’s Commissioned Officers (VCOs – a sort of Indian liaison officer between the British KCOs and Indian NCOs).  Platoons were typically commanded by VCOs (as were companies on occasion, where the KCO had become a casualty).  However, the process of ‘Indianisation’ had begun before the start of the war, with many company commanders being Indian KCOs and a handful of battalions having 100% Indian KCOs.  This process accelerated as the war went on.

I’ve not added any transport to these, as I’ve already got quite a lot of generic Carrier, motor and mule transport and the scenario didn’t require any.

The figures are all by Flames of War.  These were originally produced for their North Africa/Italy range, but are perfect for Burma.  However, I don’t think they’re in production any more.  I’ve also got another (unpainted) battalion that I intend to paint in KD uniforms.  This will do double-duty as an Early War (1941-1943) unit, with the option to use it as a Late-War Indian National Army (INA) unit, fighting alongside the Japanese (known to the Allies as ‘JIFs’ – Japanese-Indian Forces).

More later…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Painted Units, World War 2, World War 2 - British Commonwealth Armies, World War 2 - Burma Campaign | 8 Comments

‘Going Dutch’: Building a Cold War Dutch Battlegroup (Part 4)

I’ve been side-tracked on other projects just lately and haven’t really progressed with my 15mm Cold War Cloggy army.  However, I recently found some spare models cluttering up space in my locker, so decided to paint them up as 1980s Dutch vehicles.  They don’t really fit with my battlegroup at the moment, but might at some point in the future if I decided to expand it.

First is an M106A1 107mm Mortar Carrier.  This vehicle was based on the ubiquitous M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier and was widely used by a number of NATO and other nations’ armies.  However, the Royal Netherlands Army only used a small number of them, as their standard mortar was the French towed 120mm MO-120-RT, which was towed by the YPR-765 PRMR variant.  M106A1 were only used by the Recce Battalions.

There were three Squadrons per Recce Battalion.  Squadrons had a headquarters consisting of 1x M113 C&V 25 recce vehicle, 1x M557 command vehicle and a pair of M113A1 APCs carrying ground-surveillance radar.  The Squadron then had three Platoons, each with a headquarters of 1x M113 C&V 25, another 4x M113 C&V 25 divided into two sections of two vehicles, a tank section of 2x MBTs, an infantry section (armed with an 84mm Carl Gustav) mounted in 1x M113A1 and a mortar section with 1x M106A1.  In total the Squadron therefore had 16x M113 C&V 25, 1x M577, 6x MBT, 5x M113A1 (two with GSR) and 3x M106A1.

I do my games at a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, so in game terms, my Recce Squadron (when complete) will have 7x M113 C&V 25, 2x M113A1 (one with GSR), 3x MBT, 3x infantry stands and 1x M106A1.  I just need to paint another 5x M113 C&V 25.  The models above are all by Team Yankee/Flames of War/Battlefront Miniatures.

Next up is a quartet of Centurion Mk 5/2 tanks.  These venerable old beasts of war were still being used in front-line service by the Royal Netherlands Army  right up until 1987, thanks largely to the delays in delivery of the Leopard 1-V:

42 Armoured Infantry Brigade was equipped with Centurion until 1986, when they were replaced by Leopard 2A4.  This brigade initially used YP-408 wheeled APCs as its main infantry carrier until 1987, when they were replaced by the YPR-765 Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

52 Armoured Infantry Brigade was equipped with Centurion until 1987, when they were replaced with Leopard 1-V.  The brigade’s YP-408 APCs were replaced with YPR-765 AIFVs at the same time.

53 Armoured Brigade was equipped with Centurion until 1985, when they were replaced with Leopard 2A4.  The brigade had the YPR-765 AIFV throughout the 1980s, so it does present a fun opportunity to mix old with new during the early 1980s.

These models are by QRF Models.  I must however own up here and say that to be true Dutch Centurion Mk 5/2 NLs of the 1980s they should really have a Leopard 1-type IR searchlight box to the left of the main gun and they usually stowed a road-wheel or two on the glacis plate, so these are rather ‘clean’.

For painting, I’ve used Humbrol Enamel 155 US Olive Drab.  The strong sunlight (and my new camera) has made these look rather brown, but it is exactly the same shade as that used on my previous Dutch models.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Cold War, Cold War - NATO Armies, Painted Units | 3 Comments

Cold War Polish ATGM Teams

Of all the articles on this blog, my article on the mechanised infantry of the Polish People’s Army of the Cold War has the most hits by quite a wide margin (closely followed by my series on the Cold War Cloggies).  I’m not sure why this should be, but I think it’s probably because there is precious little else available online when it comes to wargaming the ‘Roads Less Travelled’ armies of any particular period.

I’ve always liked to research collect slightly ‘off the wall’ armies and to dig out the detail of what makes them different.  If it interests me, it’ll probably interest others, which is the whole point of this blog, I suppose…  It also leads people who know what they’re talking about to correct my nonsense! 🙂

Another part of the research/collecting side is finding the right models for the job (or at least the ‘near enough’ models).  For many years I’ve had armies of tanks with no infantry, or of infantry and APCs with no tanks, etc, etc, but at long last the gaps are starting to be filled.  One such gap has been filled by the latest pack of 15mm Cold War Polish Infantry by Oddzial Osmy (marketed by Magister Militum); namely their pack of AT-4 SPIGOT (9K111 Fagot in Soviet-speak) anti-tank guided missile teams.

There are two teams per pack: four crew figures and two launchers and they are sculpted and cast to the same exceptionally high standard as the rest of this superb little range of models.  As mentioned before, they use a very lightweight, hard metal (zinc?) alloy that is damn-near impossible to cut or trim with normal modelling tools, but there is thankfully no flash and no mould-slip to removed; just a few small air-vent runners that easily snap off.As can be seen, these are excellent models and fit in extremely well with Team Yankee models, both in terms of size and style.

Anyway, that’s it for today.  We’ve just gone on lock-down here in the UK, so there won’t be any wargaming here for a while, but I’ve still got stacks of archived stuff to post, as well as a load of Cold War, Napoleonic, Seven Years War, Samurai, AWI, ACW and WW2 still to photograph, so lots more soon.


Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Battlefront: WW2, Cold War, Cold War - Warsaw Pact Armies, Painted Units | Leave a comment

Masséna’s Counter-Attack At Wagram 1809: The Refight

Last week we finally managed to play my ‘Massena’s Counter-Attack at Wagram’ scenario.  We had originally planned to play this scenario at Christmas, but had to cancel due to sickness.  This will probably have been our last game for a while, due to the current round of Plague, so it’s a good job that it was a good ‘un…

As usual, the rules are Napoleon’s Battles 4th Edition, which is a ‘grand-tactical’ ruleset, where each unit represents a brigade or large regiment and each model gun represents a battery.  the models are all 15mm figures from my own collection and are mostly AB Figures, though Massena’s Carriage is an old model by Old Glory.  The Hessian, Badener and Bavarian infantry are all old models by Battle Honours (sculpted by Tony Barton from the days before he started AB Figures).

Above:  The opening situation at approximately 10am on 6th July 1809.  Massena’s IV Corps has been pulled out of heavy fighting at Aderklaa with the aid of immense fire-support from a grand battery established by the Emperor.  It has now been sent directly south with orders to re-take the old battlegrounds of Aspern & Essling and to drive back Klenau’s Austrian VI Korps, thereby eliminating the threat to the lines of communication across the Danube.  The Emperor has reinforced IV Corps with St Sulpice’s Cuirassier Division from the Reserve Cavalry Corps, while Durutte’s Division of the Army of Italy and Wrede’s Bavarian Division stand by in reserve.  Boudet’s French Division is a short distance south of the battlefield, where it has sheltered behind earthworks, having been repulsed by (and lost its artillery to) Vincent’s Austrians.

Above:  The battlefield as it appeared on our table.  Looking from East toward the West: The French army is closest to the camera, marching in column toward the village of Essling, with their flank screened by Lasalle’s Light Cavalry Division.  Note that this landscape was known as the Marchfeld and consisted of flat, largely featureless farmland on the flood-plain north of the Danube, dotted with villages and criss-crossed with roads and tracks.  However, I only had sufficient roads available to portray the main highways and not the network of minor roads that crisscrosses the battlefield.  This was quite a contrast to the ‘jungle warfare’ of our last 1809 game – the Battle of Neumarkt!

Above:  Another view of the battlefield, looking from the South toward the North:  The villages of Aspern (on the left) and Essling (on the right) are nearest the camera.  These villages had been the scene of bitter fighting over 21st-22nd May 1809, during Napoleon’s first attempt to establish a bridgehead north of the Danube.  The area had been fortified by the Austrians following the French withdrawal to Lobau Island, but these fortifications proved worthless when Napoleon completely outflanked the fortified line on 5th July.

Above:  The most advanced outpost of Klenau’s VI Corps is Vécsey’s Brigade of Vincent’s Division, which is formed from the understrength 6th and 7th Grenze Infantry Regiments.  They dig themselves into the battered ruins of Essling village, load and cock their muskets and wait for the French to come into range…

Above:  The rest of Vincent’s Division is clustered around the village of Aspern.  Wallmoden’s Brigade (formed from the 6th & 7th Hussar Regiments), supported by a 6pdr cavalry battery, moves out to challenge Lasalle’s cavalry, while Mariassy’s Freikorps Brigade digs into the ruins of Aspern village.

Above:  On Vincent’s left and forming the centre of VI Korps is Vukassovich’s Division which is formed entirely of Hungarian infantry regiments.  Splényi’s Brigade (the larger unit with the white flag) is formed of the 31st and 51st Regiments, while Hoffmeister’s Brigade is formed from the 39th and 60th Regiments (these have been split into two separate units).  Klenau has also assigned the corps 12pdr position battery to Kottulinsky’s command.

Above:  On Klenau’s left is Hohenfeld’s Division.  This weak division consists only of one brigade (Adler’s), but for game purposes has been split into the line infantry element (14th & 59th Regiments) and the Landwehr element.  This line looks very thin…

Above:  Guarding Klenau’s left flank is St Julien’s Division of Kollowrat’s III Korps.  Here on the right is part of Lilienberg’s Brigade (1st and 23rd Regiments), while the rest of Lilienberg’s Brigade (12th Regiment) forms the second line.  On the left is Bieber’s Brigade (20th and 28th Regiments).  The division has been reinforced by the 2nd Uhlans, a 6pdr cavalry battery, a 12pdr position battery and by Wratislaw’s Bohemian Landwehr Brigade, which is holding the village of Breitenlee.

Above:  Marshal Masséna had been wounded at Aspern-Essling and is still unable to ride a horse.  So at Wagram he’s roaming the battlefield in a very conspicuous white phaeton, drawn by white horses!  This is a very old model by Old Glory that originally included four horses and a driver, though these seem to have disappeared somewhere along the way.  In game terms he moves at the rate of a supply wagon (18 inches, which is half the normal speed of a general at 36 inches) and needs to perform wheeling manoeuvres, whereas generals may normally move at will in any direction without having to wheel.

Above:  Screening IV Corps’ march is Lasalle’s Light Cavalry Division, which normally consists of two brigades (Piré’s and Bruyère’s), but on this occasion has been reinforced by the addition of Marulaz’s IV Corps Cavalry Brigade.  Marulaz’s Brigade is an interesting mix of the French 23rd Chasseurs, Bavarian 1st Chevauxlegers, Hessen-Darmstadt Chevauxlegers and Baden Light Dragoons; here represented by the Baden Light Dragoons, resplendent in their sky-blue coats.

Above:  On the opposite side of the column is St Suplice’s Cuirassier Division, consisting of the Cuirassier brigades of Fiteau and Guiton, plus an 8pdr horse battery.

Above:  At the head of IV Corps is Legrand’s Division, consisting of Ledru’s French Brigade (some sources state that Friedrichs was in command of this brigade), the 1st and 2nd Baden Infantry Regiments, belonging to Neuenstein’s Brigade and French and Baden 6pdr horse artillery.

Above:  Another view of Legrand’s Division, better showing the Baden 1st Regiment (red facings, mostly-yellow flag), 2nd Regiment (yellow facings, crimson flag) and Baden artillery (grey gun and Bavarian-style uniforms).

Above:  As they close on Essling, Ledru’s Brigade, the 2nd Baden Regiment and the French artillery deploy for the assault as Vécsey’s Grenzer pepper them with long-range fire.

Above:  The rest of IV Corps turns to the right and advances on Breitenfeld.  Nearest the camera is Molitor’s Division (Leguay’s & Viviez’s Brigades).  In the centre is Schinner’s Hessen-Darmstadt Contingent (the Leibgarde Regiment and Leib Infantry Regiment) and on the left of the line is Carra St Cyr’s Division (Cosson’s and Dalesme’s Brigades).  Molitor and St Cyr each have a 6pdr horse battery under command, while Molitor has been given the two corps reserve 12pdr batteries (one of which is just visible at the bottom of the picture).

All six of these brigades have already suffered casualties during the fighting at Aderklaa and this is determined by the roll of 1D4 for each brigade, equating to that many figures being removed at the start of the game: Leguay’s Brigade nearest the camera lost 2 (indicated by the marker), Viviez’s Brigade lost 4 (a whole base removed), the Leibgarde lost 1, the Leibregiment 4, Dalesme lost 3 and Cosson 4; a high rate of loss (18 of a possible maximum of 24) before the game even started.

Above:  At Aspern, Lasalle’s French Light Cavalry advance to threaten the Austrian right flank and cut Vécsey’s detachment off from any support.  The challenge is met by Wallmoden’s hussars, who charge the nearest French cavalry brigade (Bruyère’s).  However, Wallmoden soon finds that he has bitten off more than he can chew and his hussars are soon fleeing for the safety of Kottulinsky’s Hungarian infantry lines.  It’s now Bruyère’s turn to lose control of his men, as they launch a ragged charge against the isolated cavalry battery front of Aspern.  Canister fire shreds Bruyère’s Chasseurs, but they charge home and sabre the gunners.  However, further losses are suffered to skirmisher fire from Aspern village and Bruyère is soon forced to order his men to flee for the safety of their own lines!

Above:  An overview of the initial clashes.  In the foreground, St Julien’s 12pdr battery has started engaging the advancing enemy infantry, while in the distance the cavalry of both sides retire to lick their wounds.  The French cavalry has suffered heavier losses, but they have more cavalry to lose, added to which the Austrians have lost one of their precious few artillery batteries.

Above:  Meanwhile at Essling, both sides have suffered losses from a desultory exchange of musketry, but the addition of a French battery tips the balance and the Grenzer are soon disordered from the close-range heavy fire.  With the Grenzer suppressed by fire, Ledru’s Brigade and the 2nd Baden Regiment launch their assault on Essling.  In a gruelling melee, the two sides are initially well-matched.

Above:  Bruyère’s battered Chasseurs finally rejoin the ranks of Lassalle’s Division.  However, the Austrian 12pdrs have found the range and the Chasseurs are soon rendered hors de combat.

Above:  Attritional losses finally force Vécsey’s Grenzer to withdraw from Essling, which they do successfully, falling doggedly back along the causeway road toward Aspern.  However, they have suffered heavy losses and the Badeners are hot on their heels!  A combination of the Badeners and long-range artillery fire finally breaks the Grenzer.

Above:  Another overview of the battle.  With the immediate threat coming from Lasalle’s and St Sulpice’s cavalry, Kottulinsky orders his Hungarians to form square.  St Sulpice decides to look for easier pickings and wheels his division right, aiming to support the infantry attack on Breitenlee.  However, as he passes the left flank of Massena’s line, his two brigades are arranged in column, one behind the other.  Spotting this move, the commander of the 2nd Uhlans realises that he might never get a better chance to take on the Cuirassiers… His Uhlans are in line, while the Cuirassiers are in column… Breaking the first brigade will disorder the second brigade behind it… However, it all goes horribly wrong for the Uhlans and re-roll markers fail to rectify the situation as the brave Uhlans are routed…

Above:  With the Uhlans’ brazen charge routed, Guiton manages to retain control of his Cuirassiers and launches a charge at the nearest Austrian infantry unit (Bieber’s Brigade).  Thankfully for the Austrians, Bieber is able to form square and the supporting 12pdr battery quickly slews its guns around to engage the approaching Cuirassiers.  The Cuirassiers are beaten off with heavy casualties and fall back to lick their wounds…

Above:  Bieber’s jubilation is short-lived as the Hessian Leibgarde Regiment launches a charge on his squares.  The Austrian whitecoats are unable to reform their lines in time and are quickly routed, taking the 12pdr gunners with them!  St Julien can only watch in horror as his division starts to disintegrate.

Above:  The 12th Regiment wheels left to engage the Hessians, but on their left the rest of Lilienberg’s Brigade is routed by concentrated French 12pdr fire!  Once again, the Austrian gunners are swept away with the fleeing Austrian infantry.  St Julien and the 12th Regiment now find themselves fighting on alone against the massed guns and infantry of Molitor’s Frenchmen and Schinner’s Hessians.  The Bohemian Landwehr holding Breitenlee look on nervously…

Above:  Behind Breitenlee, a panicked mass of fugitives is streaming back down the Vienna Road.  Klenau himself gallops over to rally them.  Thankfully, the 2nd Uhlans and Lilienberg’s Brigade react instantly to his entreaties, though Bieber’s Brigade stubbornly refuse to pick up their arms.

Above:  Back at Breitenlee, Molitor’s infantry make short work of the Austrian 12th Regiment and along with Schinner’s Hessians, they start to put pressure on the Bohemian Landwehr, who quickly crumble.  In the distance, St Cyr’s Division is directed to engage Hohenfeld’s Division in the centre of the plain.  Adler’s Brigade is quickly routed and Hohenfeld rides to steady the Landwehr, who are now lined up in St Cyr’s sights.

Above:  With Lilienberg, the Uhlans and the 12th Infantry Regiment rallied, St Julien leads his weary division forward again.  However, Klenau is still trying to rally Bieber’s Brigade and they’ve now been joined by Adler’s Brigade from Hohenfeld’s Division.  Adler however, quickly rallies.

Above:  St Julien’s counter-attack is too late for the Bohemian Landwehr, who are thrown from Breitnlee at bayonet-point by the Hessian Leibgarde and scattered to the winds.

Above:  In the centre, St Cyr’s Division comprehensively routs Hohenfeld’s Landwehr who flee to Hirchstatten.  Tragically, Hohenfeld is mortally wounded in the melee.  He is swept along to Hirchstatten by the routing Landwehr, but soon succumbs to his wounds.  His second-in-command, Generalmajor Von Ersatz takes command of the division and rides to bring Adler’s Brigade back into the fight.

In the distance, General Legrand’s Division has been slow to exploit its success at Essling and is still some way from launching an assault on Aspern.  This is largely due to Masséna concentrating his attention on the assault on Breitenlee.  However, a strange lull now falls on the battlefield as Masséna turns his carriage around to go and find Durutte’s and Wrede’s reserve divisions, who are resolutely remaining stationary at Raasdorf.  Unfortunately, the bulk of Masséna’s divisional commanders now take this opportunity to light up a Galloise and get the kettle on…

Above:  St Julien takes some small measure of comfort as the Hessian Leibregiment (already badly weakened by earlier combat at Aderklaa) is destroyed by his counter-attack.  However, they take losses from the vengeful Leibgarde, which has established itself firmly behind the walls of Breitenlee.

Above:  In a desperate attempt to delay the French advance, the 2nd Uhlans launch themselves at Cosson’s Brigade of St Cyr’s Division.  Sadly for the Austrian horsemen, the French infantry form square and repulse the unfortunate Uhlans once again.

Above:  Fiteau’s Cuirassiers extract supreme vengeance for the destruction of the Hessian Leibregiment as they smash into the Austrian 12th Infantry Regiment.  The whitecoats fail to form square in time and are routed.  Lilienberg’s Brigade finds itself disordered by their fleeing comrades and is milling in disorder as Fiteau’s Cuirassiers complete the destruction of St Julien’s hapless Division.

Above:  Guiton’s battered Cuirassier Brigade meanwhile, has a crack at Adler’s rallied Brigade, but this time the whitecoats manage to form square and Guiton retires in disorder.

Above:  Meanwhile at Aspern, Legrand’s Division finally throws itself at the walls of the village.  However, over-confidence is Legrand’s undoing, as Mariassy’s Freikorps are made of stern stuff and easily repel the French and Baden infantry.  Lasalle meanwhile, attempts to insert his division through the gap between Aspern and Kottulinsky’s Hungarian squares in an attempt to take on Wallmoden’s Hussars, though his horsemen are shot to pieces by flanking fire, resulting in Piré’s Brigade being routed and Marulaz becoming disordered.  Kottulinsky’s 12pdr gunners meanwhile, finally manage to hit something as they silence the French horse batteries harassing the Hungarian squares.

Above:  With Guiton’s Cuirassiers disordered, the 2nd Uhlans launch yet another charge against them, yet with no more luck than the previous two attempts!  The unlucky Uhlans are this time driven from the field, along with the rest of St Julien’s Division.

With his left wing completely collapsed and with two infantry divisions approaching from Raasdorf, Klenau decides that now is the time for his corps to break contact and save themselves to fight another day…

My thanks to Phil, Andy and Rhys at the Carmarthen Old Guard for a great game!  Let’s hope that it’s not too long before we’re able to have another one…






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‘Imperial & Royal’: My 15mm Napoleonic Austrian Army (Part 6: Grenadiers)

As ponderous as an Austrian army corps on campaign, this series is finally trudging to it’s destination and the loyal camp followers can finally… do whatever it is that camp followers do…

For this last instalment I’m looking at the Grenadier Battalions of the Austrian Army of 1809.

In peacetime, each Austrian infantry regiment would raise two companies of Grenadiers, which in wartime would be split off and combined with the grenadiers of one or two other regiments to form a Grenadier Battalion.  Most battalions were formed from three regiments and comprised six grenadier companies.  A few however, were only formed of two contingents, with a total strength of four companies.  Grenadier Battalions normally stayed together for the duration of a campaign before being split up again at the end of hostilities.  They were known by the name of their commanding officer.

Here is the list of Grenadier Battalions for 1809.  The name of the battalion would change in line with new commanding officers, so the name changes are marked (e.g. ‘Hohenlohe/Hromada’ means that the battalion started the campaign as Grenadier Battalion ‘Hohenlohe’ but ended the campaign as Grenadier Battalion ‘Hromada’).  The regimental contingents making up the battalion are listed in brackets.  Regiments marked ‘(H)’ are Hungarian:

Grenadier Battalions Serving With the Main Army in the Danube Valley

Nissel/Berger (#15 ‘Zach’, #28 ‘Frelich’, #57 ‘Joseph Colloredo’)
Bissingen (#3 ‘Archduke Charles’, #50 ‘Stain’, #58 ‘Beaulieu’)
Brzeczinksy (#24 ‘Strauch’, #30 ‘De Ligne’, #41 ‘Kottulinsky’)
Cappy/Oklopsia (#12 ‘Manfredini’, #20 ‘Kaunitz’, #23 ‘Würzburg’)
Stark/Demontant (#7 ‘Schröder’, #18 ‘Stuart’, #21 ‘Rohan’)
Hohenlohe/Hromada (#1 ‘Kaiser’, #29 ‘Lindenau’, 38 ‘Württemberg’)
Peccaduc/Legrand (#9 ‘Czartorysky’, #55 ‘Reuss-Greitz’, #56 ‘Wenzel Colloredo’)
Wieniowsky/Frisch (#10 ‘Mittrowsky’, #11 ‘Rainer’, #47 ‘Vogelsang’)
Georgy (#17 ‘Reuss-Plauen’, #36 ‘Kollowrath’, #42 ‘Erbach’)
Hauger/Portner (#40 Joseph Mittrowsky’, #44 ‘Bellegarde’, #46 ‘Chasteler’)
Puteani/Jambline (#14 ‘Klebek’, #45 ‘Devaux’, #49 ‘Jordis’)
Leiningen (#25 ‘Zedtwitz’, #35 ‘Argentau’, #54 ‘Froon’)
Mayblümel/Trenck/Locher (#8 ‘Archduke Ludwig’, #22 ‘Koburg’, #60(H) ‘Gyulai’)
Scovaud (#4 ‘Hoch-und-Deutschmeister’, #49 ‘Kerpen’, #63 ‘Baillet-Merlemont’)
Hahn/Habinay (#2(H) ‘Hiller’, #33(H) ‘Sztarray’, #39(H) ‘Duka’)
Kirchenbetter (#34(H) ‘Davidovich’, #37(H) ‘Weidenfeld’, #48(H) ‘Vukassovich’)
Scharlach/Purcell (#31(H) ‘Benjowsky’, #32(H) ‘Esterházy’, #51(H) ‘Splényi’)

Grenadier Battalions Serving In Italy & Hungary

Albeck/Chimany (#13 ‘Reisky’, #43 ‘Simbschen’)
Salomon/Welsperg (#16 ‘Lusignan’. #26 ‘Hohenlohe-Bartenstein’, #27 ‘Strassoldo’)
Janusch/Gersanich (#19(H) ‘Alvinczy’, #52(H) Franz Karl, #61(H) ‘St. Julien’)
Mühlen/Zedtlar (#53(H) ‘Johann Jellachich’, #62(H) ‘Franz Jellachich’)

Above:  Grenadier Battalion ‘Bissingen’.  This battalion was made up of grenadiers from Infantry Regiments #3 ‘Archduke Charles’ (sky blue facings), #50 ‘Stain (violet facings) and #58 ‘Beaulieu’ (black facings).  As each of my units represents an entire brigade, I have chosen this battalion to represent Hammer’s Grenadier Brigade of D’Aspré’s Division.

I have to admit that I wasn’t over-enamoured with these charging poses and there was no suitable standard-bearer, so I had to convert one of the rank-and-file for the job.  After painting this unit I bought marching poses for the remaining three brigades.

Above:  Grenadier Battalion ‘Brzeczinsky’.  This battalion represents Merville’s Grenadier Brigade of D’Aspré’s Division and was made up of contingents from Infantry Regiments #24 ‘Strauch’ (dark blue facings), #30 ‘De Ligne’ (light pike grey facings) and #41 ‘Kottulinsky’ (sulphur yellow facings).

Note that each combined grenadier battalion would be issued with a spare Ordinährfahne flag for the duration of its existence.  Grenadier battalions would never carry a white Leibfahne.  AB Figures don’t make a marching German Grenadier standard-bearer figure, so I simply use the Hungarian Grenadier standard-bearer figure and paint on white breeches and black gaiters instead of sky-blue pantaloons – easy. 🙂

Above:  Grenadier Battalion ‘Frisch’.  This battalion represents Melgum’s Grenadier Brigade of Prochaszka’s Division.  The battalion comprised contingents from Infantry Regiments #10 ‘Mittrowsky’ (parrot/poplar green facings), #11 ‘Rainer’ (rose pink facings) and #47 ‘Vogelsang’ (steel green facings).

Above:  Grenadier Battalion ‘Hahn’.  This battalion represents Steyrer’s Grenadier Brigade from Prochaszka’s Division.  The battalion was made up of grenadiers from Infantry Regiments #2 ‘Hiller’ (Emperor yellow facings), #33 ‘Sztarray’ (dark blue facings) and #39 ‘Duka’ (poppy red facings).  These were all Hungarian regiments, so the troops are wearing their tight sky-blue Hungarian pantaloons, have pointed Hungarian cuffs and the battalion has a Hungarian-pattern Ordinärfahne, with the Arms of Hungary at the centre.

Right that’s it for now!  There will be more Austrians later this week, in my report from our weekend refight of Massena’s counter-Attack at Wagram.  In the meantime, here’s another Hungarian general I painted yesterday; I had a sudden brainwave and used the AB Figures ‘Prussian Hussar ADC’ figure, as his panache-style feather plume looked just the job!  I decided to paint him wearing the campaign-dress pike-grey pelisse and I have to say that I’m very pleased with how he came out (sorry for the poor lighting).

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Austrian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | Leave a comment

‘Imperial & Royal’: My 15mm Napoleonic Austrian Army (Part 5: Artillery & Staff)

Once in a while, a you find a blog post that gives you that ‘Eureka!’ moment and gives you a whole new perspective on the hobby…

This probably isn’t it.  It’s just another post about my Austrians…

Above:  Archduke Charles and friends.  I actually painted these about 20 years ago, and got a few things wrong.  Firstly, I painted Archduke Charles’ collar red, edged gold, like the cuffs.  However, in the field Austrian generals seem to have worn a plainer tunic with a plain white collar, such as that worn in the portrait of Archduke Charles on the right.

Secondly, I painted one of his friends as a general, with red breeches.  However, he lacks the green cockerel-feather plume of a generals, so should really be painted as a more junior staff officer or regimental officer.  The chap at the back in a covered hat and dark pike grey frock-coat could be either a general or a staff officer.

Above:  A close-up of the two officers at the back.  I do like the officer figure in the covered hat, as he’s very useful and in my collection has also been used as a British officer on Wellington’s staff.  He could equally be a senior officer or general of almost any nation of the period.

 Above:  Two Austrian corps commanders and a Hungarian divisional commander.  The chap on the left, wearing the white cloak represents Nordmann, commander of the Avantgarde Korps in 1809, which was actually just a very strong division, so I’ve only given him one escorting figure, namely a trumpeter of Hussar Regiment #3 ‘Erzherzog Ferdinand’ (identified by the dark blue pelisse and grey shako).

The officer on the right is wearing a ‘field service’ version of the Hungarian General Officers’ uniform.  This comprised a red dolman and breeches and white pelisse edged with black fur, all heavily laced with gold.  A pike grey pelisse and grey overall trousers could also be worn in the field (I’ve gone with the grey trousers, but left the pelisse white).  Headgear was a heavily-decorated shako with green cockerel-feather plume (upright white egret plumes are also recorded, but probably unofficial.  The central figure in the print at the top of this article is a Hungarian general.

Lacking a suitable figure with cockerel-feather plume, I’ve just used an Austrian hussar officer figure in the appropriate colours.  However, I’ve just noticed that the AB Figures Prussian Hussar ADC figure would be perfect as a Hungarian general with that style of plume, so will paint one this weekend.  A fur colpack (busby) could also be worn in parade order and there are examples of these being worn without plumes so a British or French hussar officer figure could also be used.

The general in the centre is escorted by the ubiquitous officer in covered hat and frock-coat and a ‘Staff Dragoon’.  The Staff Dragoons provided commanders with escorts, scouts and gallopers and went through a number of uniform-changes throughout the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, from dark blue coats to bright blue, back to dark blue, to green and finally in 1809 to white coats.  Mine is an 1809 army, so I’ve painted him in a white coat.  However, I foolishly believed someone who told me that the facing colour was ‘Crab Red’ (a distinctly orange shade).  I’ve since discovered that he’d confused Crab Red (Krebsrot) with Madder Red (Krapprot).  Madder is a dark red shade.  Ah well…

It seems to me that most other wargamers paint their Staff Dragoons in blue or green uniforms for 1809, but here’s what Dave Hollins has to say about their uniforms (extracted from a web discussion):

Staff Dragoon Uniforms

“The 1778-9 unit wore a dark blue tunic faced poppy red (ponceaurot) with yellow buttons and the same was used in 1790, except the jackets were supposed to be bright blue (hellblau) in 1790 before reverting to dark blue in 1791 (in reality they were probably dark blue the whole time time).

From 1792 they wore a grass green or dark green uniform with black facings (yellow buttons changed to white in 1794).

In 1798 the existing Staff Dragoons became the 9th Light Dragoon Regiment, so a new Staff Dragoon unit was raised from drafted in from various cavalry units. They were supposed to be kitted out in dark blue tunics (probably old ones recut to the 98 pattern) , but an HKR order of 1799 puts them in the pike grey (hechtgrau) jackets faced madder red (krapprot) with yellow buttons.

In 1805, the uniform was pike grey with madder red facings and white buttons with Hussar saddles.

In 1809, they had white tunics with madder red facings and collars, but white turnbacks and Chevauxleger saddles. An official order acknowledged that the allocated men could only be supplied with madder red material for the facings/cuffs (they seem to be a mix of men taken from the Dragoons and Chevauxlegers).”

Above:  Another group of generals.  In Napoleon’s Battles, a divisional commander is represented by a single figure on a 25mm square base.  I’ll often use mounted colonels as well as general officer figures, just to vary things a bit, but here I’ve got some pukka generals, including that Archduke Charles figure again.  The general in the centre is wearing campaign rig of overall trousers with a dark pike grey frock-coat, though still wears his cockerel-feather plume and tops it off with the red-white-red sash of the Order of Maria-Theresa.

For officers’ waist-sashes, I normally painted them in non-metallic paints, as gold or silver cloth generally doesn’t look all that metallic in real life.  On my RAF No.5 Mess Dress I’ve got 9-carat gold lace rank-rings around the cuffs, but from more than 5 yards away, they look little different to the cheap yellow nylon version.  Consequently, I normally paint Austrian officers’ waist-sashes yellow rather than gold (and similarly, I do Prussian and Russian sashes white instead of silver), as I think it looks a lot better.  However, for generals I paint them in metallic colours to make them look a bit richer.

The officer in the centre is escorted by an officer and mounted NCO of the Staff Infantry Battalion.  These chaps did much the same job as the Staff Dragoons, but presumably more in a ‘camp’ capacity, rather than galloping around in the field.  However, I made the same mistake re colours as with the Staff Dragoon above; the facings should be Madder Red rather than Crab Red.  The turn-backs should also be white rather than coloured.  Here’s what Dave Hollins has to say about them:

Staff Infantry Uniforms

“From 1792 to 1801, they had a white uniform with no facings and just yellow buttons, although the officer had pompadour red facings and cuffs.

In 1805, they are quite similar to the cavalry – pike grey tunic with madder red facings and yellow buttons.

In 1809, the Staff infantry were drawn from the Grenzkordon (that’s the border guards all around the empire), who wore a white uniform with black facings and no colour on the turnbacks.  They just changed the black cuffs and collars for madder red.  Headgear was a shako.”

Above:  I’ve got stacks of Austrian artillery, but this is the only photo.  They all look much the same though, so it doesn’t really matter!  These are Cavalry Artillery, so I’ve put three figures on each base – I put four on the base for Foot Artillery.  It makes no difference in game terms, but does help to identify the different types, as the uniform for both Foot and Cavalry Artillery was identical.  If you look closely, you will notice that the 6pdr guns have the leather padded ‘sausage’ (wurst) attached to the trail, which the gunners would ride.

The shade of brown used for the Austrian artillery uniform got steadily darker from the 18th into the 19th Century.  At the time of the Severn Years War it was quite a light grey-brown and by the middle of the 19th Century it was a dark coffee-brown, like that of the Grenzer.  During this period it was apparently a ‘middling’ earth-brown.  It’s open to conjecture, but I’ve used Humbrol 29 Dark Earth.  Facings were poppy red, but some bases have an occasional figure with light blue facings, to represent attached ‘artillery handlers’.  Headgear at this time was an unlaced cocked hat, with the yellow & black national cockade and similar ‘rosettes’ at the corners.  In full dress they could also have a yellow & black plume, but these in most cases just have a sprig of oak-leaves inserted behind the cockade.

Austrian guns were painted ‘yellow-ochre’ with metalwork painted black.  The guns were also often painted black, but this looks rather rubbish, so I’ve done  mine as polished brass.  The exact yellow-ochre shade is open to conjecture, but I’ve done it with a base of Humbrol 63 Golden Brown and a highlight of Humbrol 154 Insignia Yellow.

Just one more article to go!  I’ve saved the best ’til last – the Grenadiers.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Austrian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 4 Comments

‘Imperial & Royal’: My 15mm Napoleonic Austrian Army (Part 4: Militia Troops)

Those of you still awake and not having taken an impromptu holiday to northern Italy to get away from this blog will no doubt be overjoyed to see this, the 4th instalment of my Austrian army! 🙂

This time I’m looking at the militia forces: The Austrian Landwehr and the Hungarian Insurrection.

Above:  A battalion of the Lower Austrian Landwehr.  The Austrian Landwehr were initially raised in 1808 as a conscript militia, to serve as a reserve for the regular army and as garrisons for towns and fortresses while the regular army was away on campaign.  By early 1809 there were over 100,000 men serving in the Landwehr and later that year, with the French invading Austria, the Landwehr were called out to reinforce the army in the field.  The Landwehr battalions serving with Archduke Charles’ main army came from Lower Austria, Bohemia and Moravia.  However, their combat record was extremely poor and they suffered huge losses due to desertion.

The Landwehr were organised on a provincial basis and each province had its own coat colour, facing colour and cockade colour.  The rank-and-file in the main wore peasant coats and were poorly equipped, though officers and NCOs, as well as a few complete units and some individuals could be far better dressed.  Some units also included Volunteer Jäger who would equip themselves and would again be generally better-dressed.

The Lower Austrian Landwehr wore coats coloured ‘Ash Grey’ with red facings, topped off with a Corsican hat (Corsehut), turned up on the left side.  The provincial cockade was yellow-within-sky blue, though this was not often worn and the national yellow & black cockade could also be seen.

Above:  A battalion of Moravian-Silesian Landwehr.  Most Moravian Landwehr wore brown coats with red facings.  However some units, especially from the Austrian Silesia, wore light blue facings, as shown here.  The provincial cockade was red-within-white.  The officer’s mid-blue breeches also seem to have been a popular item of dress.

Landwehr battalions were authorised to carry flags.  These were officially to have the Imperial eagle on the obverse and the provincial arms on the reverse.  In addition, many carried hand-me-down Ordinärfahnen from the local infantry regiments.  However, I haven’t given mine flags; partly because at the time of painting I had no idea as to what their flags looked like but also because AB Figures don’t produce any Landwehr standard-bearers.

Above:  A battalion of Bohemian Landwehr.  The Bohemian Landwehr were remarkably well dressed.  The coat was a brown jacket with red facings and red braid across the chest, worn with bright blue breeches (some with red Hungarian knots on the thighs) and tall leather boots, all topped off with a ’round-hat’ (what we might call a top-hat).  The city and university Landwehr units from Prague were even more lavishly dressed, with plumed shakos!

Above: A battalion of Hungarian Insurrection Infantry from ‘below’ (i.e. south of) the Danube.

Unlike the Austrian provinces, the Kingdom of Hungary did not have a standing Landwehr and instead relied upon the Hungarian Diet (council of nobles) voting to raise an Insurrection during times of national emergency.  This had been done in 1797 and 1800, but in 1805 the fickle Hungarian nobles decided NOT to call out the Insurrection to oppose Napoleon’s invasion.  Nevertheless, in 1809 around 60,000 Insurrection troops (roughly 40,000 hussars and 20,000 infantry) were successfully raised.

Two regiments of hussars volunteered to fight with Archduke Charles’ Main Army (more of those later), though the bulk of the Insurrection fought with the Army of Inner Austria against Prince Eugène’s invading Army of Italy in a number of small actions across Hungary before finally being comprehensively smashed at the Battle of Raab on 14th June 1809.

Above:  A battalion of Insurrection Infantry from ‘above’ (i.e. north of) the Danube.  In 1809 the regulation uniform for the Insurrection infantry consisted of a short blue tunic and breeches, decorated with brass buttons, light blue ‘hussar’ lace and Hungarian trefoil knots (see the period print at the top of this article).  The exact shade of blue is debatable; Dave Hollins describes this uniform as ‘dark blue’, but then the accompanying plate shows an officer dressed in the same shade of sky-blue as the pantaloons of regular Hungarian or Grenze infantry.  I’ve hedged my bets and opted for a ‘middle blue’, which seems to be what was depicted by Ottenfeld in 1895.

The collar and cuffs were coloured by region: Crimson = ‘Above’ the Danube.  Yellow = ‘Below’ the Danube.  Light blue = ‘Above’ the Theiss.  Grass green = ‘Below’ the Theiss.  Of course, there is no guarantee that in reality, the mobilised Insurrection was dressed in anything like the official regulation uniform and it may be the case that many men were wearing civilian clothes or uniforms from earlier incarnations of the Insurrection, which had far more varied uniform colours, more reminiscent of the regular Hussar regiments.

The shako was black and plain apart from a yellow & black national cockade-pompom.  Belts were red leather.  Boots were black leather and hussar-style.  Officers do not appear to have worn metallic lace and instead wore more elaborate light blue lace.  However, there is the odd modern picture of Insurrection officers wearing metallic lace and these might be senior officers or perhaps an honest mistake.

The Insurrection are known to have carried flags.  Dave Hollins describes these as normally having the provincial emblem on the reverse, with a religious symbol such as the Madonna on the obverse.  Cavalry flags were swallow-tailed.  However, with only vague descriptions of flags and the lack of a standard-bearer figure, I’ve opted to go without.

Above:  A Hungarian Insurrection Hussar Regiment from ‘Below’ the Danube.  The regulation uniform for Insurrection Hussars was very similar to that of the infantry, though according to Dave Hollins the lace was white instead of light blue and instead of having provincial facing colours on the dolman jacket, the shakos were instead coloured by province.  These colours were the same as for the infantry facings, though regiments from ‘above’ the Danube had black shakos instead of yellow.  They were also issued with a blue pelisse, again decorated with white lace and edged with black fur.  Shabraques and sabretaches were black, edged in red and bearing the Imperial ‘FI’ cypher in white.  Belts were red leather and the shako had a black plume with a yellow base (apparently much more black than the regular army plume).

As mentioned above, two regiments of Insurrection Hussars fought with Archduke Charles’ Main Army in 1809.  These were the Neutra Hussars and the Primatial Hussars and I wanted to depict these regiments.  However, the Primatial Hussars are something of a mystery.  They were privately raised as a volunteer regiment by Archduke Charles Ambrosius, the Archbishop-Primate of Hungary and were therefore a somewhat different animal to the conscripted county Insurrection regiments.  There is no record of their uniform, though Dave Hollins has suggested that as a Volunteer regiment they might have worn red pointed cuffs on the dolman, which were the mark of the Austrian Volunteers (a mystery surviving hussar uniform from an unknown unit does have red pointed cuffs).

Of course, this did give me carte-blanche to go absolutely nuts and invent my own hussar uniform…  Archbishop Purple would be nice…  However, I decided to be sensible and paint a known Insurrection Hussar uniform instead.  As the Archbishop Primate of Hungary’s residence was in the town of Gran, which is ‘below’ the Danube, I opted for that region’s colour of crimson as the shako-colour.

Note that the Primatial Hussars are regularly confused in many books and publications with the regular Hussar Regiment #12 ‘Palatinal’.  The Palatinal Husars were at this time fighting in Poland with the VII Korps and were definitely not the same regiment.  However, they had once been an Insurrection Hussar regiment from the 1800 muster, having been ‘regularised’ in 1802.

Above:  A regiment of Insurrection Hussars from ‘above’ the Theiss.

The other Insurrection Hussars regiment with Archduke Charles was the Neutra Hussars.  The city of Neutra is ‘above’ the Danube and should therefore have a black shako… Which is rather boring… So I opted instead for the light blue shako of regiments from above the Theiss… 🙂

At Aspern-Essling, the Neutra and Primatial Hussars were brigaded together under the command of Generalmajor Kerekes in Wartensleben’s Light Cavalry Division of the Reserve Korps.  However, they broke immediately when faced with a French cavalry attack on 22nd May, prompting Archduke Charles to write in his post-action report that “The two regiments of insurrection cavalry… are good for nothing.”  By Wagram they had been split up, with the Primatial Hussars being sent away and brigaded with Hussar Regiment #10 ‘Stipsicz’ under Generalmajor Frelich in the Avantgarde Korps.  However, they did no better at Wagram than they had at Aspern-Essling.

That’s it for now.  Next time it’ll be the artillery and general staff.


Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Austrian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 4 Comments