“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…

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

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

  1. Mike B says:

    Amazing looking collection! So jealous!

  2. Pingback: Reinforcements For King Louis! (Seven Years War French Army) | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

  3. Dave Sanders says:

    You do amazingly nice work with the painting, and your comments about how the colors should look are also VERY good. I will have fun bookmarking and reading this!

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