‘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.

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Austrian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units. Bookmark the permalink.

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

  1. Martin Radcliffe says:

    Ha- I’ve enjoyed seeing this army. Good to see a nice Austrian force.

  2. James Fisher says:

    “…another post about” your Austrians it may be, but in no way ‘just’. These are a pleasure to see. I really like the close-up of the two be-telescoped officers. Beaut stuff!

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