The Combat of Zinna 1759: A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’

When a rare opportunity for a game presented itself a couple of weeks ago, I had a quick trawl of potential Seven Years War battles to find one that would be small enough to serve as a simple introductory ‘Tricorn’ game for my old mate Andy (who hasn’t played SYW or ‘Shako’-based rules since our last game together in 1997!).  It also needed to be a historical action and which suited my collection of models.  The Combat of Zinna (a.k.a. The First Battle of Torgau), fought on 8th September 1759, seemed to fit the bill and  as an added bonus, featured my favourite army; the bloody awful Reichsarmee! 🙂

As recently discussed here, I’ve painted  a couple of Prussian Frei-Battalions and the cavalry of the Reichsarmee over the last couple of months and these would be needed for Zinna.  I already had quite a few Reichsarmee infantry battalions, plus generals and artillery in my collection, but with a few days spare before the game, I was able to paint a few of the necessary Reichsarmee regiments: the Alt-Württemberg Regiment, the Baden-Baden Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the Pfalz Garde zu Fuss Regiment.  I also managed to do the single-battalion Baden-Durlach Regiment, which wasn’t at the battle, but I used them to fill in for the similarly-uniformed 1st Battalion of the Ernestisch-Sachsen Regiment.

The Combat of Zinna was a remarkable little action, not least because it saw a force of only 5,000 Prussians (none of them from particularly distinguished regiments) attack and defeat a theoretically superior Austro-Imperial force of 12,000 men!

Historical Background

In August 1759, King Frederick II of Prussia was having a hard time.  His glorious victories at Leuthen and Rossbach seemed a very long time ago as he attempted to contain the Russian invasion in the East (an invasion that would lead on 12th August to the cataclysmic Battle of Kunersdorf).  He had pulled Prince Henry’s troops out of Saxony to shore up the defences of Brandenburg and the Austro-Imperial army had consequently taken advantage of the reduced Prussian presence to launch an invasion, quickly capturing Leipzig, Wittenberg and Torgau and threatening the Saxon capital city of Dresden. 

The Battle of Kunersdorf

However, although Kunersdorf had been a victory for the Austro-Russian alliance, it had been a Pyrrhic one and the horrific casualties suffered by the Russian army had terminally stalled their invasion.  Frederick therefore felt confident enough to send what few forces he had in Brandenburg (many of whom had just only arrived from Saxony) back to recapture his Saxon possessions and lift the siege of Dresden.  One such force was a small brigade of light troops led by the newly-promoted Generalmajor Johann Jakob von Wunsch.


The 41 year-old Wunsch was very much a rising star in the Royal Prussian Army, despite not being Prussian!  Born in Württemberg, he served as an officer with a Württemberg auxiliary regiment supplied to the Austrian army, seeing action during the Austro-Turkish War of the 1730s.  Transferring to Bavarian service as an officer of hussars, he served in the Low Countries during the War of Austrian Succession of the 1740s and finished that war in Dutch service (his regiment having been transferred wholesale from Bavaria to the Netherlands). 

In 1756 Wunsch transferred once again, this time to Prussian service, and soon found employment in the newly-raised Frei-Bataillon d’Angelelli, as the oldest Captain in the Prussian Army.  Nevertheless, he soon made his mark and was promoted to Major.  His improvements to the unit brought him to the attention of Prince Henry and in January 1758 Wunsch was invited to raise his own Frei-Bataillon.  In June 1759 this was expanded to a full regiment and his superb service during the campaigns of the previous year won him accolades from the King and promotion in July 1759 to Oberst.  However, this was little compensation for the loss of his only son, who had been killed in Prussian service during April of that year.

Wunsch’s meteoric career-path continued to accelerate, as within a month he was given his first independent command, promotion to Generalmajor and orders to root the enemy out of Saxony.  Within a few weeks, Wunsch’s tiny force (consisting of two grenadier battalions, four fusilier battalions, three garrison battalions, two Frei-battalions, three squadrons of hussars and five squadrons of dragoons) had recaptured Wittenberg and Torgau and was marching to relieve Dresden.  However, Wunsch was too late and Dresden fell to Maquire’s Austrians on the evening of 4th September, with Wunsch only a day’s march away.  A further crisis then erupted, as Wunsch received word from Torgau that the small garrison he’d placed there was now once again under threat.  Wunsch turned his column about and marched back to Torgau.


Following two hard forced-marches, Wunsch arrived at Torgau on the afternoon of 7th September, to find that the city was threatened by a far superior force of 14,000 men commanded by Feldzeugmeister Friedrich Daniel, Freiherr von Saint-André.  Further Prussian detachments gathered up by Oberst von Wolfersdorff arrived early on 8th September, but these additional troops only brought Wunsch’s strength up to 5,000 men!  In the meantime, Saint-André had called upon Wunsch to meet him to discuss terms.  Wunsch decided that he would meet him… and attack!

Saint-André’s army was camped a little way to the west of Torgau in the lee of the Ratsweinberg hill, its flanks anchored on the marsh of the Grosser-Teich and the village of Zinna.  The main part of the army was formed by twelve battalions of Reichsarmee infantry; the Kurmainz Regiment (4 Bns), the Baden-Baden Regiment (2 Bns), the Ernestinisch-Sachsen Regiment (2 Bns), the Hessen-Darmstädt Regiment (1 Bn), the Alt-Württemberg Regiment (1 Bn), the 1st Battalion of the Franconian ‘Hohenlohe’ Regiment and the 2nd Battalion of the Pfalz ‘Garde zu Fuss’ Regiment.  Some sources say ten battalions, but it’s not clear which battalions were missing from this list.  On the left stood the Imperial ‘Kurpfalz’ Cuirassier Regiment and on the right was a cavalry brigade of four regiments; the Austrian ‘Trautmansdorff Cuirassiers and the Imperial ‘Hohenzollern’ Cuirassiers , ‘Bayreuth’ Cuirassiers and ‘Ansbach’ Dragoons.  An advance-guard consisting of nine companies of Reichsarmee grenadiers and two battalions of Grenzer were stationed on the Ratsweinberg, while the Szechény Hussar Regiment covered the far right flank on the Wildenhainsche Heath.  The only artillery elements were the light regimental gun detachments assigned to the infantry.

Following a brief refreshment break to fortify themselves in the western suburbs of Torgau (Wunsch had given each battalion a barrel of wine from a local winery), Wunsch’s force emerged from Torgau.  His artillery quickly deployed and brought a heavy fire down upon the grenadiers and Grenzer on the Ratswein.  This bombardment was followed up with a swift bayonet-charge by the ‘Willemy’ Grenadier Battalion and I./’Wunsch’ Frei-Regiment and the enemy was quickly put to flight.  With the enemy outpost routed, Wunsch wasted no time in occupying the high ground, establishing a thin line of infantry and all of his heavy guns (ten 12-pounders) on the crest.

All of the Imperial grenadiers and most of the Grenzer had already fled the field pursued by Prussian hussars, though some Grenzer remained around Zinna, so the Jäger detachment of Wunsch’s own regiment moved forward to engage them.  The rest of the infantry started to move forward in oblique order, with the right flank leading and the left flank refused, trying to maintain its distance from the dangerous mass of Austro-Imperial cavalry on the southern flank.

However, Oberst von Pogrell of the ‘Plettenberg’ Dragoons had a plan to deal with the enemy cavalry.  He had only three squadrons against fifteen, but nevertheless led his dragoons forward in a feint, before rapidly turning about in an attempt to entice the Imperial cavalry to pursue.  As Pogrell had hoped, the Imperial horsemen took the bait and charged straight into the sights of the 12-pounders now positioned on the Ratsweinberg.  Shocked by this sudden, devastating bombardment, the Imperial horse milled about in confusion as Pogrell turned his dragoons about and charged!  The Imperial cavalry broke and fled straight through the lines of Imperial infantry, causing much dismay among the footsloggers.

At this moment, the Prussian right wing began trading volleys with the Imperial left flank.  The Prussian left wing remained refused, allowing the guns to now switch their fire to the Imperial right wing.  With the Prussians now gaining fire-superiority over the Imperial infantry, Major Lossberg, commanding three squadrons of hussars and two of dragoons, now applied the coup de grace; having advanced in column on the right flank, using the ridge and town of Zinna to mask his movements, Lossberg now fell upon the flank and rear of the Imperial left flank, completely routing the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers and rolling up the Imperial infantry!

With the Imperial army now completely routed, the fugitives fled into a convenient forest to the rear, thus preventing any further pursuit by the Prussians, who had already taken hundreds of prisoners.  Astonishingly, most of the Prussian infantry had not even fired a shot!  One notable exception to the Imperial rout was the Hessen-Darmstädt Infantry Regiment, who retired in good order from the field, firing disciplined volleys to discourage pursuit, just as they had done at the Battle of Rossbach in 1757.

It would perhaps be easy to pass off this incredible victory as a mere fluke against low-quality opponents, but Wunsch followed it up by driving a French force out of Leipzig and on 29th October won another astonishing victory, this time against Austrian regulars, at the Combat of Pretzsch, for which the King awarded him the Pour le Mérite.  However, these remarkable successes in Saxony had attracted a lot of attention and Feldmarschall Leopold von Daun, the victor of Kolin, was sent to deal with the problem.

Wunsch’s astonishing military career therefore came to an abrupt pause on 21st November 1759 when in the immediate aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Maxen, he led a successful breakout of six cavalry regiments from Friedrich August von Finck’s encircled Prussian army.  As Finck negotiated the surrender of his remaining forces, Daun found out about the breakout and demanded that the escaped cavalry be included in the surrender!  His hands tied by the fate of his remaining men, the reluctant Finck sent orders for Wunsch to return with the six regiments.  To his credit, Wunsch did as he was ordered and went into captivity for the rest of the war.

Following Wunsch’s release from captivity at the end of the war, King Frederick (who had never forgiven many other officers for the Maxen debacle) still held him in high esteem and with Finck’s arrest and dismissal from Prussian service, rewarded Wunsch with the title of Chef of the former ‘Finck’ Infantry Regiment (IR 12).  This was followed some years later by promotion to Generallieutenant, an independent military command, the Order of the Black Eagle and finally another promotion to General der Infanterie shortly before his death in 1788.

The Scenario

This scenario lasts 12 turns, or until one army breaks.  The Prussians have the first turn.

To claim victory, the Prussian army needs to break the Austro-Imperial army, thus ending the threat to Torgau.  The Austrians win if they are not broken by the end of their Turn 12.

All divisions of the Austro-Imperial army start the game with enforced Defend orders.  The Prussians may assign any orders they see fit.

Prussian Corps of Generalmajor Johann Jakob von Wunsch
(Excellent – 2 ADCs)

Right Wing Cavalry (Lossberg)                                                                  (Good)
1 Sqn/‘Szekely’ Hussars (HR 1) (elite) }                                                               Large Unit [5/2]
1 Sqn/‘Ruesch’ Hussars (HR 5) (elite) }
1 Sqn/’Malachowsky’ Hussars (HR 7) }
2 Sqns/’Plettenberg’ Dragoons (DR 7) }

Right Wing Infantry (Wunsch)                                                                  (Good)
Jäger Companies, Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7)                     2x Skirmishers [3/0]
I. Bn/Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7)  (elite)                                     [4/1]
Grenadier Battalion ‘Willemy’ (4/16)                                                                  [5/2]
I. Bn/‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers (IR 45) (elite)                                                   [5/2]
II. Bn/‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers (IR 45) (elite)                                                 [5/2]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                          [2/0]

Left Wing Infantry (Wolfersdorff)                                                          (Average)
I. Bn/‘Salmuth’ Fusiliers (IR 48)                                                                          [4/1]
II. Bn/‘Hoffmann’ Fusiliers (IR 41)                                                                     [4/1]
Grenadier Battalion ‘Burgsdorff’ (38/43)                                                          [5/2]
II. Bn/Frei-Infanterie Regiment ‘Wunsch’ (F7) (elite)                                    [4/1]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Left Wing Cavalry (Pogrell)                                                                      (Good)
3 Sqns/’Plettenberg’ Dragoons (DR 7)                                                                [5/2]

Artillery Reserve
Heavy Battery                                                                                                            [3/0]
Heavy Battery                                                                                                            [3/0]

Prussian Breakpoints

Division                                          FMR    ⅓    ½    ¾

Right Wing Cavalry (Lossberg)          5        –       –       –
Right Wing Infantry (Wunsch)          24     8      12     18
Left Wing Infantry (Wolfersdorff)     19     7      10     15
Left Wing Cavalry (Pogrell)                 5       –       –       –

Army                                               FMR   ¼     ⅓     ½
                                                                 59     16      20     30

Prussian Notes

1. Units marked as ‘elite’ are rated one MR level higher than their normal MR class.  Some of these choices might be quite surprising (e.g. the ‘Hessen-Kassel’ Fusiliers and Frei-Regiment ‘Wunsch’), but I think their performance during this campaign warrants it and the Prussians have little chance of winning without some significant advantage in both leadership and troop-quality.

2. The heavy Foot Batteries may start the game unlimbered or limbered and are classed as Army Guns.

3. All Battalion guns start the game limbered.

4. Lossberg’s mixed cavalry command is combined into a single 16-figure (large) unit, classed as Elite Light Cavalry (MR 5/2).

5. One or both battalions of the Frei-Regiment ‘Wunsch’ may be deployed as skirmishers (2x skirmisher stands per battalion). This must be decided before the start of the game and they may not deploy into skirmish order once the game has begun. Nor may they re-form into close order.  If deployed as skirmishers, each battalion will count as MR 3 and the divisional and army breakpoints will need to be recalculated (you can do that!).

6. Rather unusually, there are a couple of very small, single-unit cavalry wings here.  If they are broken there is clearly no need therefore, to roll for division morale.  They each instantly count as a broken division with regards to the army breakpoint.

7.   The Artillery Reserve is independent and not assigned to any division, but their MR counts toward the army breakpoint.

8.  Each pair of skirmisher stands lost counts as MR 3 when calculating divisional breakpoints.  they don’t need to be from the same battalion.  ‘Odd’ skirmisher stands are not counted.

Austro-Imperial Corps of Generalfeldzeugmeister Friedrich Daniel, Freiherr von Saint-André
(Poor – 2 ADCs)

Left Wing Cavalry                                                                                          (Poor)
3 Sqns/’Kurpfalz’ Cuirassier Regiment (Unreliable Heavy Horse)               [3/0]

Infantry First Line                                                                                        (Average)
I. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                        [3/0]
II. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                       [3/0]
III. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                     [3/0]
IV. Bn/Kurmainz Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                      [3/0]
II. Bn/Pfalz ‘Garde zu Fuss’ Regiment                                                                [4/1]
Hessen-Darmstädt Infantry Regiment                                                               [4/1]
I. Bn/Franconian ’Hohenlohe’ Infantry Regiment (Poor)                              [3/0]
Unidentified Grenzer Battalion                                                                      2x Skirmishers [3/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Infantry Second Line                                                                                   (Poor)
I. Bn/Ernestinisches-Sachsen Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                  [3/0]
II. Bn/Ernestinisches-Sachsen Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                [3/0]
I. Bn/Baden-Baden Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                 [3/0]
II. Bn/Baden-Baden Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                               [3/0]
Alt-Württemberg Infantry Regiment (Poor)                                                     [3/0]
Battalion Guns                                                                                                         [2/0]

Right Wing Cavalry                                                                                      (Poor)
3 Sqns/’Bayreuth’ Cuirassiers (Unreliable Cuirassiers)                                 [3/0]
5 Sqns/Austrian ’Trautmansdorff’ Cuirassiers (C21)                                      Large Unit [6/2]
4 Sqns/’Hohenzollern’ Cuirassiers (Unreliable Cuirassiers)                         [3/0]
3 Sqns/’Ansbach’ Dragoons (Unreliable Dragoons)                                        [3/0]

Austro-Imperial Breakpoints

Division                                          FMR    ⅓    ½    ¾

Left Wing Cavalry                                 3         –       –       –
First Line                                               30       10    15    23
Second Line                                          17        6      9      13
Right Wing Cavalry                             15        5      8      12

Army                                               FMR   ¼     ⅓     ½
                                                                 65      17     22    33

Austro-Imperial Notes

1. All artillery starts the game unlimbered.

2. All Imperial formations start the game on Defend orders. New orders may not be transmitted until the Orders Phase of Turn 2.

3. Grenzer skirmishers count toward their formation breakpoints. Count two skirmisher stands as 3 morale points.

4. The villages are not prepared for defence and provide no benefit to a defender.

5. The Reichsarmee cavalry were truly bloody awful and well beyond simply dropping them by one MR notch.  They are all therefore classed as Unreliable Cavalry with MR 3.  They move at the rate of their ‘weight class’ (Heavy or Dragoons).  If you’re feeling generous, let the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers move as Dragoons.

6.  The Reichsarmee grenadiers and most of the Grenzer had already disappeared before the scenario start-point, so aren’t counted.  The Szechény Hussars also didn’t get involved in the battle, so aren’t included here.

7.  Rather unusually, the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers form a very small, single-unit cavalry wing.  If they are broken there is clearly no need therefore, to roll for division morale.  They will instantly count as a broken division with regards to the army breakpoint.


The stream and associated marsh running through the Röhr-Grund are crossed as per the movement rates shown on the ‘Tricorn’ QRS, though may be crossed at full speed by units in column at the marked river-crossings.  

Any unit defending up-slope of a charging attacker gains a +1 bonus in mêlée.

The town of Zinna is not prepared for defence and confers no defensive benefit.

Next Time…

In the next thrilling instalment, find out if my Prussians managed to repeat Wunsch’s remarkable victory over Andy’s Reichsarmee rabble…

We’ve also just started a campaign based on Frederick’s invasion of Bohemia in 1757 (the campaign that included the Battles of Prague and Kolin), so a lot more of that to come, plus some more Reichsarmee units, my British and Hanoverian cavalry and my expanded notes on ‘Tricorn’.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Games, Scenarios, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 7 Comments

‘Tricorn’: My Seven Years War Variant of ‘Shako’ Rules

Well it’s taken a while, but here is the first draft of Tricorn, being my adaptation of Shako Napoleonic rules for the wars of the mid-18th Century. 

Tricorn has actually been around since the mid-1990s, when the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.) used it to fight the battles resulting from a massive War of Austrian Succession campaign that I organised and umpired.  Although we didn’t use it for Napoleonic wargaming, we found Shako (with some modification) to be be ideal for our needs, being sufficiently fast-playing to play a reasonably large 12-turn campaign battle in a single evening and also great for playing large historical refights to a conclusion in a single day.  However, while Tricorn existed in our heads, we never actually got around to writing it down!  Then, having perhaps having had ‘too much of a good thing’ during the campaign, we moved on to other projects and Tricorn (along with the Seven Years War) was largely forgotten until late in 2020, when I played a Shako 2nd Edition game with my new chum Phil Portway. 

That game (in which Phil’s French were absolutely trounced by my frankly rubbish Spanish army; I may have mentioned it before, but I mention it here again in case anyone missed it) set my mind whirring and I was determined to finally set Tricorn down on paper!  Of course, a procrastinator’s work is never done, so ‘flash to bang’ has taken 18 months!  That said, the time spent thinking about it has enabled us to have several playtests and make several minor (and some major) refinements to the rules.  

Although these rules are aimed initially at the Seven Years War, they’re also eminently suitable for the War of Austrian Succession, the War of Polish Succession and the Silesian Wars in the European Theatre.  I will expand these to include North America, India, the Turkish Wars and the ’45 Jacobite Rebellion and I’ll also add army lists for pick-up games.

Note that this is not a complete ruleset and you’ll need a set (or at least an understanding) of Shako rules to play Tricorn.  These are designed primarily with Shako 1st Edition in mind, though will work perfectly well with 2nd Edition.  I’ve cherry-picked a few of the vanishingly-rare elements of 2nd Edition that I liked (e.g. generals’ initiative and divisional morale results), but quite a lot of the rules below are specifically related to removing things that 2nd Edition brought in!  🙂 In the ‘unlikely’ event of a dispute between players, these Quick Reference Sheets (and the conversion notes, which will follow in a future post) take precedence, then the 1st Edition rulebook over 2nd Edition.

Feel free to cut’n’paste these four Quick Reference Sheets.  They’re graphics files, so just right-click on them to save them and/or print them off.

In a future post I’ll detail the various rule changes more fully and illustrate some examples of play, but these QRSs should be enough to get experienced Shako players started for now.

Also feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below and I’ll answer them as best I can.  If there are any amendments to be made, I’ll come back to amend this page, so that the correct version is always in one place on my blog.  Amendments will be listed at the bottom and the version number will always be shown for each Quick Reference Sheet (to make things easier for myself, the version number on each QRS will only change if that QRS has been amended, so each QRS might have a different version number). 

I’ve added a ‘Tricorn Rules Resources’ button to the list of categories on the right of the page, which will provide a link straight back to here, without having to wade through dozens of other posts relating to scenarios, games, units, etc.

Lastly, my thanks must go to Phil Portway, Andy James, Mike Eynon, Peter Thomas and Lewys Phillips at The Carmarthen Old Guard for the recent play-tests and encouragement, as well as the ‘Old Guard’ at W.A.S.P. for the original concept and playtesting; Gareth Beamish, Jase Evans, Al Broughton, Martin Small, Andy James (again!), Chris Jones, Chris Howells, Rob Wright and Bruce Castle, as well as our much-missed friends Doug Weatherall and Sidney Jones, to whom Tricorn is dedicated.

[Edited to add: These rules are designed for play with 15mm figures.  My typical frontages for units are 60mm for an infantry battalion of 12 figures (80mm for a large unit of 16 figures), 75mm for a cavalry regiment of 12 figures (100mm for a large unit of 16 figures) and 40mm for an artillery battery (single gun plus crew).]

[QRS Page 1 (above) edited 1 May 22 to v1.1: Artillery will stagger a target if it equals or exceeds the MR of the target (the same as musketry).  This was an error copied over from the original Shako 1st Edition QRS, but we’ve always played it this way and it was actually changed for the 2nd Edition.  Thanks to Maurizio for pointing it out.]

[QRS Page 1 edited 16 May 22 to v1.2:  Skirmishers hit on a 5 or 6, not 6 as previously written.  Thanks again to Maurizio for noticing the error.]

[QRS Page 2 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  The ‘French Stuff’ section on Page 4 has also been amended accordingly.]

[QRS Page 3 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: Cavalry units providing rear support may not be Blown.]

[QRS Page 4 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  Additionally, two battalions may not form Ordre Profond if one or both are Staggered.]

Designer’s Notes

If you’re familiar with Shako 1st Edition, you might be wondering why I’ve bothered, considering that the rules included a page of Seven Years War rules.  Here are a few of my random thoughts, in no particular order:

1.  The original ‘SYW Supplement’ included some incorrect assumptions for the period, especially with regard to brigade organisation, which the rules assumed to be the same as a Napoleonic division.  This is not correct; brigades were essentially the same as they were in the Napoleonic Wars, being typically 4-6 infantry battalions or 2-4 cavalry regiments strong in most armies and commanded by the equivalent of a Major General.  In the 18th Century, divisional-sized bodies of troops were known by various non-standard titles such as Corps, Wing, Division, Line, Column, etc, but they usually amounted to much the same thing as a Napoleonic division, usually being commanded by the equivalent of a Lieutenant General and comprising two or more brigades.

2.  To compound the above, the rules went on to state that rear support had to come from troops of a different formation.  While that was often the case with regard to brigades, it wasn’t true of higher formations.  When deployed for battle, an army would be divided into divisions/corps/wings (typically Centre, Left, Right, Left Cavalry, Right Cavalry and perhaps Reserve, Advance Guard and Rear Guard – these last two often formed largely of light troops), with a general taking command of each sector of the line.  These could each then form a number of lines within their own sector and therefore be self-supporting.  Formations did occasionally support the rear of other formations (e.g. the Old Dessauer’s Second Line at Mollwitz), but this wasn’t typical.

3.  In the original Shako rules. infantry battalions in line formation were far too vulnerable to frontal cavalry attack without forming an unhistorical phalanx of battalion squares, as not only do the cavalry often get better factors than the infantry, the infantry are immediately broken if they lose.  Cavalry (especially heavy cavalry) are also a lot more numerous during this period, making it doubly dangerous to be a footslogger when using Shako.  Hasty squares were disallowed in the Shako SYW Supplement rules, but squares formed during the player’s movement phase were not.  Historically, successful frontal cavalry charges against well-formed lines of infantry were incredibly rare during the period and this is what prompted the need for ‘Solid Lines’.  Cavalry can still win against them, but the chances of doing so are massively reduced.

4.  Artillery was hopelessly under-ranged in Shako.  Time after time when setting up historical scenarios, we’d find that batteries placed in their historical positions were a very long way out of range of the targets they were historically damaging by fire.

5.  Manoeuvring in line formation using the original rules was very, very slow, particularly when wheeling.  This is what prompted the increase in infantry movement speed and removal of the 50% movement penalty when wheeling.  The arbitrary limit of 45 degrees when wheeling in line isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does stop the ‘nippy small unit wheeling on to a flank’ syndrome without slowing down larger formations and its a mechanism used in other rules systems for the same reason (e.g. Fire & Fury).

6.  Infantry movement rates have also been increased (from 4 inches to 6 inches in line) in order to speed things up.  Musketry range and rear support distance have also been increased to match (at 15mm scale these were all 4 inches, now they’re all 6 inches) and this also means that you now have just enough room to place two battalions in column on the flanks, between the two lines of an army (standard Prussian practice) and still be able to give rear support with the second line.

7.  I was never fan of the single movement rate for all cavalry types.  There are arguments for and against having different movement-rates, but I simply like the different cavalry types to have advantages and disadvantages beyond their baseline combat/morale factor.  However, you’ll note that unlike the infantry movement, I haven’t massively increased their movement rate and in the case of heavy cavalry it has actually been reduced.  Cavalry simply didn’t spend their time galloping around the battlefield at full pelt and most manoeuvres were performed at the walk.

8.  The most controversial of all the rule changes was the Cavalry Fatigue rule.  This was something we brought in almost immediately with my original group at W.A.S.P., as it was a mechanism we were already familiar with from Napoleon’s Battles and it worked well.  However, the lads at Carmarthen Old Guard weren’t convinced… until we played the Lobositz scenario, when the cavalry battle just went on and on and on and on and on… so much so that the infantry lines never got to fight!  The Cavalry Fatigue rule represents the cumulative fatigue effects of combat on the horses, as well as the attritional losses, men detached to escort prisoners, etc, etc.  It’s clear from reading the writings of cavalry commanders such as Von Warnery, that cavalry once committed to combat, were essentially a one-shot weapon to be husbanded until the critical moment.  An infantryman could fight all day if he had to, but horses quickly became blown when too much was asked of them.  As an optional rule for campaigns, casualties accrued from cavalry fatigue could be marked separately and restored to the unit after the tactical battle.

9.  I brought in flank and rear support bonuses for cavalry in order to encourage players to keep their cavalry in linear formations.  Our Lobositz playtest quickly degenerated into a confused and swirling mass of units, with little attempt at formation cohesion.  There didn’t seem to be any reason not to bring in this rule and it’s worked well in subsequent games.  However, this rule only applies against other cavalry, as it might otherwise make it too easy for cavalry to overcome infantry by cunning use of support modifiers.

10.  I’ve allowed rear support bonuses for infantry assaulting towns and fortifications, as these assaults were often conducted in deep, columnar formations formed by successive battalions in line and it therefore seemed appropriate to encourage those tactics.

11.  In Shako we often found that occupied towns could simply be bypassed and ignored.  Consequently we allow the garrisons of towns to fire as skirmishers (though out to 6 inches rather than the full 8 inches) and this helps to make them more of a thorn in the side of an attacker.  However, I’ve reduced town-defender’s firepower against charges on the town, as the amount of fire generated by the defender is simply not going to be anything like the firepower of a battalion volley and it’s also split around the perimeter.  I’ve also made a slight change in that the defender has to fire at each attacker individually.

12.  Battalion Guns are the aspect we probably agonised over the most.  Early playtests demonstrated that large numbers of battalion guns, if classed as regular Light Foot Artillery, could have an enormous (and unhistorical) impact on the game.  We initially tried abstracting them into infantry firepower, but that proved unsatisfactory, so they were brought back onto the table as physical gun models, though with reduced firepower when compared to other artillery and their range reduced to reflect their infantry close-support role (and reflecting Frederick’s ‘Instructions’, which dictated that Battalion Guns open fire at no more than 1,000 yards and switch to canister at 500 yards).

13.  The French ‘Ordre Profond’ formation was added late in the day and still needs to be playtested.  It might prove to be too fiddly and may therefore be relegated to ‘Optional Rules’.

14.  I’m still mulling over rules for the Prussian-style attack in ‘Oblique Order’; mainly because no two authors can quite agree on exactly what Frederick’s ‘Oblique Order’ actually was!  I was thinking that for that classic ‘advance in echelon’, as seen at Leuthen and Zinna, we could extend the front and rear lines of a unit forward and backward by 2 inches, thus allowing Flank Support to units deployed in that manner.  I don’t think that giving ‘Solid Line’ status to such a formation would be appropriate, however.

15. Oh and I only used the term ‘Solid Line’ because I couldn’t think of a better phrase… Please do suggest a better one!

Anyway, enough waffling… 

Sorry for the slow output since February!  Mrs Fawr has been rather ill and that’s consequently stolen much of my available time and mojo for writing.  I have however, been painting like a demon, have written some scenarios and played a couple of games, so there’s plenty to come.

Posted in Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules), Tricorn Rules Resources | 37 Comments

“Thrice Blue And Thrice Damned To The Devil!”: SYW Prussian Frei-Infanterie

“Dreimal blau und dreimal des Teufels!”

Last month I played a small historical refight of the Combat of Pretzsch, to introduce my mate Lewys to Tricorn (my 18th Century version of Shako).  However, the Prussian order of battle required a battalion of Prussian Frei-Infanterie and although I did have a single formed battalion (Frei-Bataillon 8 ‘Du Verger’) in my collection, Lewys being the awkward bugger that he is, wanted to deploy them as skirmishers.  To my eternal shame, I had to give him a couple of stands of skirmishing Grenzer.

So following our Combat of Pretzsch (game report and scenario to follow), the King of Prussia has had to submit an Urgent Operational Requirement for more light infantry!  As you might have noticed from this blog, I’ve recently been filling out my Prussians with the excellent Eureka figures.  However, Eureka don’t make any skirmishing or firing Prussian infantry, so I went ‘back to my roots’ with an order for Old Glory 15s figures (sold here in the UK by Timecast).  Barrie at Timecast provided his usual exemplary service and they were back here within a few days (barring a bag of Jäger awaiting re-stock) and the uniforms are very straightforward, so they were all painted within two days.

Frederick and the Pandour‘: This print by Carl Röchling recalls an incident when a Pandour had the temerity to take a pot-shot at Frederick.  Pointing his cane at the man, the King shouted “You, Sir!”.  The Croat freebooter was apparently shamed enough to lower his weapon and let Frederick continue on his way.  History doesn’t record if the Pandour was then set upon by a dozen outraged Prussian Hussars, but it seems likely…

The History Bit

During the Silesian Wars of the 1740s (i.e. the two Prussian-Austrian wars fought during the larger War of Austrian Succession), Frederick’s armies and lands had suffered near-constant depredations at the hands of the Austrian light troops; the Hungarian Hussars and the light infantry from the Imperial ‘Military Border’ known variously as ‘Grenzer’, ‘Croats’ or ‘Pandours’.  These men were experts of the so-called Petit-Guerre and constantly attacked military supply convoys and raided deep into Prussian territory, seemingly at will.

When the Seven Years War kicked off in 1756, Frederick was determined to counter the ‘Pandour Threat’.  He’d already raised small regular corps of Jäger-zu-Pferde and Feldjäger zu Fuß, but they were going to be nowhere near sufficient to the task.  He therefore commissioned three foreign adventurers; Le Noble, Mayr, Angelelli and the Prussian Kalben to each raise a Frei-Bataillon, the ranks of which would be filled with volunteers of dubious morals, attracted by the prospect of adventure, pillage and loot.  Despite the ‘low cunning’ of the rank-and-file, these first four units actually performed admirably (and on occasion even heroically) throughout the war, both when engaged in the Petit-Guerre and when in direct support of the main Prussian armies.

Frei-Infanterie-Battalion F1 ‘Le Noble’

However… From 1757-1758 the Frei-Infanterie were expanded by the addition of a further ten units, primarily raised from Austrian and French PoWs.  These units were very much of a lower quality, suffering from low morale and high desertion rates.  Some only lasted for a few months before surrendering or deserting en masse and in some cases being amalgamated into the better units.

A few Frei-Infanterie units formed green-coated and rifle-armed Jäger Detachments and some even formed very small Hussar Detachments to aid in scouting and message-transmission.  A few of these units (such as Wunsch’s, which proved to be the best of the second batch of units) also eventually became multi-battalion Frei-Infanterie Regiments, though in some cases it was because the 1st Battalion had been captured.

The third batch of Prussian light troops were known as the Frei-Corps and were intended from the outset to be combined-arms ‘legions’, capable of independent action away from the main armies.  Some of these units were primarily mounted Hussars or Dragoons and never did raise an infantry component, though most did become combined-arms formations and at the top of the scale was the impressive ‘Kleist’ Frei-Corps which at its peak had 6,000 men, including a regiment each of Hussars, Dragoons and Uhlans, a regiment of Hungarian ‘Croats’, a Jäger battalion and even a battery of horse artillery.  In the last years of the war, Kleist’s Corps often took its place in the line of battle as the equal of a regular formation.

A priest harangues some Frei-Corps ruffians in a print by Adolph Menzel (my sincere thanks to Dr Stephen Summerfield for this image)

Despite the dubious quality of many units, these freebooters in Prussian service generally beat the Pandours at their own game, forcing Austria and her allies to divert valuable troops and resources to defending their lines of communication.  However, despite the invaluable service performed by many of these units, Frederick had little gratitude for what he considered to be a necessary evil.  At the end of hostilities they were ordered to march to Prussian fortresses, where they were disarmed at gunpoint, with many soldiers being then conscripted into the Garrison Regiments.  Their commanding officers were forced to hand over arms and uniforms (which were actually the officers’ property) without compensation.  Not even Kleist’s magnificent corps or the first four Frei-Infanterie units were spared this purge.

Note that there was no official numbering system for these units.  The historian Hans Bleckwenn gave them an arbitrary numbering system based on their date of formation and this has continued to be used by many other historians such as Christopher Duffy and the contributors to the Kronoskaf website, as it makes it easy to track the identity of units whose names changed and it also makes battle-maps easier to label.  Bleckwenn prefixed them all with the letter ‘F’ and gave the Frei-Infanterie Arabic numerals (e.g. F2 ‘Von Mayr’), while the Frei-Corps were identified by Roman numerals (e.g. FII ‘Von Kleist’).  However, other historians have used different numbering systems, which can cause some confusion.

Here’s a run-down 0f the uniforms of the Frei-Infanterie Battalions/Regiments and their associated Jäger and Hussar detachments.  I’ll list the latterly-raised Frei-Corps in a future article, once I’ve painted ‘Green’ Kleist’s lads.  Note that the predominant uniform style of the Frei-Infanterie was a dark blue uniform coat with light blue facings and ‘small-clothes’ (i.e. waistcoat and breeches), hence the nickname ‘Triple-Blues’ (or ‘Double-Blues’), referenced in the title of this article.  Light blue wasn’t used as an identifying colour by the regular Prussian infantry, so was a combat-indicator of low-born ne’er-do-wells, ruffians and general beastliness.

Frei-Infanterie Uniforms:



Jäger and Hussar of Frei-Bataillon F2 ‘Von Mayr’.

* These units had an organic Jäger Detachment for at least part of their existence.

These units had an organic Hussar Detachment for at last part of their existence.

Pompom colours on the table above are shown as they are arranged on the pompom, from top to bottom.  So red over light blue means exactly that.

All units had light blue smallclothes and dark blue coats with red tail-turnbacks and red piping on tail-pockets.

Aside from F9 which had Brandenburg-style cuffs (i.e. with a flap above the cuff, edged with red piping and two buttons arranged vertically) and F8 and F14 who had Hungarian-style pointed cuffs, all other units had Swedish-style cuffs with two buttons along the top edge of the cuff and no flap (though some sources suggest that F5 may also have had Brandenburg cuffs).

There is no record of any of these units having flags of any description.  The only Frei unit known to have carried flags is Frei-Corps FII ‘Kleist’, which was authorised colours for its regiment of Hungarian ‘Croats’ and guidons for its regiments of Dragoons, Hussars and Uhlans.

Officers of all units had scalloped hat lace in the button colour, plus silver-and-black corner-rosettes.

NCOs of all units had button-coloured lace edging to hat, cuffs and collar (where the unit had a collar), plus quartered black-and-white pompoms and black-and-white corner-rosettes.

F1 Officers:  Silver lace down front seam of waistcoat.

F1 Jäger Detachment:  Dark green coat with light green lapels, cuffs, collar, turnbacks and smallclothes.  White buttonhole lace. Buff belts.  Black casquet cap with ‘FR’ cypher in white and black fur edge to front-piece.

F2 Officers:  Silver lace down front seam and on buttonholes of waistcoat.

F2 Jäger Detachment:  Light green coat and smallclothes with red collar, cuffs and turnbacks.  Black belts.  Green cockade and corner-rosettes on hat.

F2 Hussar Detachment:  Light blue uniform with mirliton, dark blue pelisse edged in white fur, all laced white.  Red sash.  Dark blue shabraque with light blue vandycking, edged with white lace.

F3 Hussar Detachment:  Yellow uniform with mirliton, black pelisse edged with white fur, red sash, red lace and yellow cords on mirliton.

F4, F5 and F14, instead of lapels, had small coloured ‘tabs’ of material extending forward from the top breast-button to the front seam.

F7 Officers under the second (1759) uniform wore gold ‘Brandenburg’ lace buttonholes – three pairs on each lapel, three below each side of the lapel, three on each pocket, three each side of the waist at the rear and two on each cuff.  NCOs had gold edging to the lapels, in addition to collar and cuffs.

F7 Jäger Detachment:  Light olive green coat and smallclothes with red lapels, collar, cuffs and turnbacks.  Buff belts.  Black cockade and white corner-rosettes on hat.

F8 had three pairs of yellow lace buttonholes on each lapel, plus a diagonal buttonhole in the top corner, another pair below each lapel, two on each pocket, one either side of the rear waist and one on the (pointed) cuff.  NCOs had the same yellow lace, but with the addition of the usual gold rank-lace edging, while officers wore the same style of lace as the men, except in gold.  A second version of the uniform (probably worn from 1760 when the regiment was increased to three battalions) deleted the diagonal corner lace from the lapels, removed the lace from the pockets and changed the cuffs to the Swedish style, with two lace buttonholes.  Officers’ lace at this time was changed to the fancy Brandenburg style, with the addition of three Brandenburgs on each pocket.

F8 Jäger Detachment:  Dark olive green coat with light yellow-olive green lapels, collar, shoulder-strap, cuffs, turnbacks and smallclothes.  Buff belts.  Black cockade and white corner-rosettes on hat.  Lace as for the rest of the regiment, plus gold aiguillette for officers.

F9 had Brandenburg-style cuffs with a flap edged in red piping and two buttons with white lace buttonholes visible above the top edge of the cuff.  They also had three pairs of white lace buttonholes on each lapel, another pair below each lapel and one either side of the rear waist.  Officers had the same style of lace, plus two lace buttonholes on each pocket.  At some point the NCOs changed to silver lace buttonholes without NCO lace edging and the officers changed to Brandenburg-style lace without lace on the pockets.

F10 had elaborate Brandenburg-style lace for all ranks except NCOs; three pairs on each lapel, plus another pair below, a pair on each cuff and a single buttonhole either side of the rear waist.  Officers also had a pair on each pocket.  Shoulders straps were white.  NCOs just wore two simple lace buttonholes below each lapel and on each cuff, without any lace edging.  One source also shows white lace edging on the other ranks’ waistcoats and hats.

F10 Hussar Detachment:  The uniform was all light blue with white lace and white fur pelisse-edging, worn with a mirliton cap.  Sash was mixed light blue and white.  Shabraque was light blue edged in broad white lace.

F11 wore yellow aiguillettes (gold for officers).

F11 Jäger Detachment:  Dark green coat with light green collar, cuffs, turnbacks and waistcoat (these may have been shades of olive green, like F8 above).  Yellow aiguillette.  Buff belts and breeches.  Green hat cockade and corner-rosettes.

F12 lace was much the same as that described for F10 above.  Most unusually they had a grenadier company, wearing uniforms of reversed colours (light blue with dark blue facings and smallclothes) and a bearskin cap with red bag and a white metal plate, bearing a black eagle badge.

F13 officers had silver aiguillettes.

F14 had Brandenburg-style buttonhole lace arranged 1-2-3 down the breast (below a light blue tab at the top button), a single Brandenburg at the rear waist and another on the (pointed) cuff.  Officers also had vertical pockets with three Brandenburgs.

Here are my painted Frei-Infanterie Battalions:

Frei-Bataillon F1 ‘Le Noble’

Frei-Bataillon ‘Le Noble’ (F1 under Bleckwenn’s classification system) was raised in June 1756 by the former Pfalz Lieutenant Colonel Franciscus de le Noble, who continued to command the unit throughout the war until disbandment in 1763.  The unit initially consisted of five companies, each of 100 men taken from the districts of the Holy Roman Empire, ten of whom were rifle-armed (and differently-uniformed) Jäger, for a total of 500 men, plus a headquarters detachment and a battalion gun detachment consisting of two 1pdr guns (which were probably replaced by 3pdr guns later in the war, in common with most other such units).  This increased during the winter of 1758/58 to a little over 800 men (presumably with a commensurate increase in Jäger?).

The unit had a reasonably good reputation and spent most of it’s time in direct support of the field armies, most noticeably at the battles of Breslau, Leuthen and Hochkirch.  It was however, captured en masse in June 1760 at the Second Battle of Landeshut.  The unit therefore became a Regiment during the winter of 1760/61, with a 2nd Battalion being raised.  However, as the 1st Battalion remained in captivity, the unit continued to operate as a single battalion, spending the rest of the war with Prince Henry’s army in Saxony.

For models I’ve used standard Old Glory 15s Prussian Musketeers, with the Firing Line pack used for the skirmishers.  In Shako/Tricorn a light infantry battalion may either fight as a formed unit or may break down into to skirmisher stands, so the whole lot wouldn’t be deployed on table as shown here.  If there was a sufficiently large Jäger Detachment (150 men or more) they might also create an additional, permanently-detached skirmisher stand, but Le Noble’s Jäger Detachment was very weak (which is a good job, as I can’t find any suitable figures with the required headgear).

F1 ‘Le Noble’ had a reasonably colourful coat, with light blue cuffs, lapels, collar and shoulder-strap and white metal buttons, though without lace.  One mistake I made was that the pompoms should be light blue over dark blue, but I mistakenly painted them plain light blue.  That said, it’s not very noticeable, so I’m not going to correct it.

Frei-Bataillon F3 ‘Von Kalben’/’Von Salenmon’/’Favrat’

Frei-Bataillon F3 ‘Von Kalben’ was raised in September 1756 by the Prussian officer Heinrich Detlev von Kalben, consisting of five companies, each of 100 men, plus a headquarters detachment and a battalion gun detachment of two 1pdr guns, which were replaced by 3pdr guns during the winder of 1758/59.  There was no Jäger Detachment.  The unit was increased to 800 men during the winter of 1757/58 thanks largely to a draft of conscripted PoWs and in 1760 a tiny Hussar Detachment of just twelve men was added.

Frei-Bataillon ‘Kalben’ (F3) was initially attached to Bevern’s corps as part of the Prussian invasion of Bohemia of 1757, but was soon detached along with Frei-Bataillon ‘Mayr’ (F2) to raid the counties of the Holy Roman Empire, where they caused massive disruption to Reichsarmee recruiting-parties and acquired a large amount of booty. 

However, Kalben didn’t have much opportunity to spend his new-found wealth, as later that year, the battalion was re-assigned to Bevern’s corps and at the Battle of Breslau on 22nd November 1757, Kalben was mortally wounded.  Command of the battalion passed to Kalben’s close friend, Konstantin Nathanael von Salenmon, an experienced mercenary officer of Bohemian-Jewish ancestry.  The battalion was henceforth known by the name ‘Salenmon’ and fought under its new commander at Leuthen.

In 1758, having been reinforced by the addition of conscripted PoWs, the battalion was assigned to the invasion of Moravia, as part of a light corps under Generalmajor von Mayr.  However, when the brigade came under Austrian attack the conscripted PoWs deserted en masse and the weakened battalion was smashed, with 300 men being captured by the Austrians.  The surviving 200 men were assigned to Frederick’s main army, with whom they fought at the Battle of Hochkirch and again suffered heavy casualties.


On 14th October 1760, Salenmon himself was taken into captivity along with 40 men of the battalion and the rest of the garrison of the fortress of Wittenberg.  A month later the rest of the battalion followed Salenmon into captivity when they surrendered along with the rest of Finck’s army at Maxen

As with Frei-Bataillon ‘Le Noble’ a new 2nd Battalion was raised to replace the captive 1st Battalion and the unit officially became a Regiment.  The post of Chef remained vacant until the Autumn of 1761, when command passed to Franz Andreas Jacquier de Berney Favrat.  The unit was then known as Frei-Battaillon ‘Favrat’ until the end of the war.

The uniform of Frei-Bataillon F2 ‘Von Kalben’ was the plainest of all the Frei-Infanterie units.  The coat was plain dark blue, without lapels or collar.  However, a splash of colour was provided by the standard red coat-linings and light blue small-clothes.  The metal colour was yellow and the unlaced hates were decorated with light blue pompoms.  These figures are again by Old Glory 15s.

Frei-Bataillon F8 ‘Du Verger’/’Quintus Icilius’

As mentioned above, I did already have one painted Frei-Bataillon from the 90s and this is it.  Frei-Bataillon F8 ‘Du Verger’ was raised in March 1758 in Saxony from French deserters and comprised five companies, totaling just over 800 men, including 50 Jäger (10 in each company) and two 1pdr battalion guns (upgraded to 3pdrs in 1759). 

The Commanding Officer, Major Johann Antonius Kensinger du Verger was from French Huguenot stock and had previously served as an officer in the Dutch Army.  However, in 1759 he fell out of favour with the King and was arrested and imprisoned!  Nevertheless, in 1762 he managed to escape and joined Austrian service.  In the meantime, command of his battalion passed to one of the King’s favourites; Major ‘Quintus Icilius’.

Quintus Icilius

Quintus Icilius was another descendant of French Huguenots and had started life in 1724 as Carl Gottlieb Theophilus Guichard.  Initially trained for the priesthood, but with a deep interest in military affairs, he decided to follow a different path and was commissioned into the Dutch Army, with whom he fought against the French during the campaigns of 1747-48.  Leaving military service, he then decided to follow a scholarly path and his research took him to the libraries of England’s universities, where he wrote a very well-received history of the wars of ancient Greece and Rome.  Returning to the continent, he became friends with Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, who in turn recommended him to King Frederick II. 

Guichard soon became a firm favourite at court and would often have long discussions with the King on points of ancient military history.  During one of these discussions, the two men were discussing the Battle of Pharsalus and the King pronounced of the name of a Roman Centurion as ‘Quintus Icilius’.  Guichard dared to correct the King’s pronunciation to ‘Quintus Caecilius’ (they were apparently both wrong…).  Amused, the King ordered that Guichard would henceforth be known as ‘Quintus Icilius’.

So in 1759 Quintus Icilius was ordered to take command of Du Verger’s former battalion of French ne’er-do-wells.  The unit did well under Quintus Icilius’ command and spent most of its time campaigning as part of the King’s main army.  In 1761 the unit was expanded to a full Regiment of three battalions and over 2,400 men (150 of whom being Jäger).

Following the looting by Saxon troops of Frederick’s palace at Charlottenberg in 1760, the King was determined to launch a reprisal raid against the Saxon king’s hunting-lodge/palace at Hubertsburg Castle.  However, due to the strict Prussian officers’ code of honour, General Von Saldern had already refused point-blank to carry out such an act and it seemed unlikely that any other Prussian officer would agree to such a plan.  However, a non-Prussian toady such as Quintus Icilius had no such scruples and in February 1761 he took one of his battalions to sack Hubertsburg, making himself considerably wealthy in the process!

As mentioned above, I painted these chaps back in the 1990s and I used Lancashire Games Mk 2 figures.  They’re by no means the best figures in the world, but they do have a certain ‘corn-fed’ charm to them.  The unit’s uniform is one of the more attractive ones on the list above, having much the same uniform as F1 ‘Le Noble’, though with the addition of yellow buttonhole lace (gold Brandenburg lace for the officers).

Anyway, that’s it for now!  Sorry it’s been a bit slow here just lately.  Mrs Fawr isn’t very well at the moment and when not attending to her, I seem to spend most of my time just scrolling through the news… 🙁

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Prussian Army, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 18 Comments

225 Years Ago This Week: The ‘Battle’ of Fishguard 1797

My apologies to those of you who have seen this all before on my blog, but I think it’s worth mentioning that this week marks the 225th anniversary of the surrender on 24th February 1797 of the French Légion Noir (‘Black Legion’) to an outnumbered and rag-tag force of Welsh Yeomanry, Militia, Royal Navy, Volunteers and armed civilians on Goodwick Sands, near the port of Fishguard in Pembrokeshire, West Wales.  Later immortalised as the only Battle Honour to be won by the British Army on British soil, the ‘Battle’ was in fact a relatively bloodless comic-opera.

And of course, it’s where my terrifying namesake became a true Welsh legend.

Needless to say, we HAD to wargame it and in 2013-2014 we put on a series of demo games around the shows and in Fishguard town.

If you’ve only recently arrived on this blog and haven’t yet delved into the murky depths of the blog crypt, here are some links to the lunacy of our Battle of Fishguard wargaming:

The Battle that Never Was: The Battle of Fishguard 1797

French Forces at Fishguard

British Forces at Fishguard (Part 1): Commanders and Characters

British Forces at Fishguard (Part 2): Units

Scenario #1: The Ambush at Carnwnda

Scenario #2: The French Attack

The Further Adventures of the Black Legion

Jemima Fawr & Friends (Trent Miniatures Models)

Posted in 28mm Figures, British Grenadier! Rules (AWI), Campaigns, Eighteenth Century, Fishguard 1797, Games, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units, Scenarios | 4 Comments

All The Emperor’s Men (Part 3): Reichsarmee Cavalry

Having flipped to painting Napoleonics for a few weeks, I’ve now flopped back to painting my Seven Years War armies, starting with some cavalry regiments for the Imperial Reichsarmee.  These were yet another über-stalled project, as I painted the first regiment in 1997 and it’s taken me nearly 25 years to paint the remainder… 🙂

In Part 2 of this series I covered the units I’d painted thus far for the Reichsarmee.  These regiments represent pretty much the entire cavalry arm of the Reichsarmee, which to be honest, wasn’t very much and what there was wasn’t very impressive.  Most of the squadrons were raised from dozens of tiny district contingents (some contingents being as weak as a single man and horse), with only a few (two squadrons of Pfalz cuirassiers) being regular troops.  As in Part 2, I’ll group them by Imperial district or Kreis (‘Circle’).

The Electoral Rhenish District (Kurrheinischen Kreis)

As one of the richer Imperial ‘Circles’, containing as it did the dominions of the Elector-Archbishop of Mainz, the (‘Baby-Eating’) Elector-Archbishop of Köln, the Elector-Archbishop of Trier and the Elector-Palatine (Pfalz), this district was meant to provide 1,800 cavalry to the Reichsarmee.  However, the three Elector-Archbishops completely failed to meet their commitments in this regard, leaving it to Pfalz to raise a single regiment of horse, the Kurpfalz Cuirassier Regiment.

The Kurpfalz Cuirassiers (also referred to in some sources as the ‘Hatzfeld Carabiniers’) were formed from the 2nd and 3rd Squadrons of the Pfalz Prinz Friedrich Michael von Pfalz-Zweibrücken Cavalry Regiment and the Oberrheinische Kreiseskadron.  Each squadron had three companies and the regiment had a total paper strength of around 450 men.  Despite being formed from elements of the standing army of Pfalz, the regiment did not perform well and no better (or worse) than the other cavalry regiments of the Reichsarmee.  Despite that and despite suffering very heavy casualties at the Battle of Rossbach, they (along with the rest of the Reichsarmee cavalry regiments) remained in action for the duration of the war.

The two contingents forming the Kurpfalz Cuirassiers had different uniforms, though I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Dragoon figures for both contingents.  Both contingents had a white coat without lapels, straw-coloured smallclothes, black neck-stocks, white belts and an unlaced hat with black cockade.  It’s not clear if they wore cuirasses during this period, but if they did, they were probably worn under the coat (I’ve left the waistcoats black to give that impression).  The Prinz Friedrich Cuirassiers had red cuffs, collar and linings, with yellow ‘metal’, a mixed red & white aiguillette and yellow shabraques and holster-flaps with white lace edging.  

The Oberrheinische Kreiseskadron had light blue colourings instead of red, with white ‘metal’ and light blue horse furniture, edged with narrow white piping.  There is no information on trumpeters of either contingent, so I’ve painted a trumpeter for the Prince Friedrich Cuirassiers in reversed colours of red with white facings. 

Standards are also not recorded, though Pfalz regimental standards were usually white with very elaborate designs featuring the arms of Pfalz on the obverse and the Virgin Mary on the reverse, while the squadron standards are thought to have been light blue with the Palatinal monogram on the obverse and various district arms on the reverse.  Given the vagueness of the details, I must confess that I’ve used a spare Austrian cuirassier standard, as it has the Virgin on the reverse the Imperial eagle on the obverse.  It’ll do until something better comes along.

Upon his appointment to command the Reichsarmee in 1758, Prince Friedrich Michael of Pfalz-Zweibrücken reinforced the Reichsarmee cavalry arm with the Pfalz Kurfürstin Leibdragoner-Regiment.  This regiment was expanded at around the same time from three to five squadrons (each of two companies), for a total of around 800 men.  This regiment wore red coats with black lapels, cuffs and collar, red linings, yellow ‘metal’ and aiguillette, straw smallclothes, an unlaced black hat with black cockade, white belts and red horse-furniture with yellow lace edging.  One company was designated as Horse Grenadiers and these wore a brown-black bearskin cap with brass plate and red bag, piped and tasseled yellow (shown on the right).  

I have the Kurfürstin Leibdragoner-Regiment waiting in the Lead-Dungeon to be painted, but they might have to wait a while.  The regiment did not get off to a good start, as over 500 men were captured in May 1759.  However, they quickly made good the losses and the regiment was back up to five squadrons by the time of the Combat of Strehla in August 1760.  

One other Pfalz cavalry regiment to join the Reichsarmee was a mysterious unit by the name of the Husarenkorps Merckel.  This was apparently raised in 1760 and comprised four squadrons, but nothing more is known about it.

Franconian District (Fränkischen Kreis)

Franconia raised two cavalry regiments for the Reichsarmee; the Bayreuth Cuirassier Regiment and the Ansbach Dragoon Regiment, each organised as five squadrons, each of two companies, raised from dozens of tiny contingents (23 for the Bayreuth Cuirassiers and 27 for the Ansbach Dragoons).  Each regiment had a paper strength of around 700 men, though when they went to war in 1757, the Bayreuth Cuirassiers were only able to field 353 men, with the Ansbach Dragoons faring little better with 519.  The French Marshal Soubise, commanding the combined Franco-Imperial Army in Saxony, also considered both regiments to be ‘Poor’.  Nevertheless and despite disasters such as Rossbach and Zinna, both regiments actually increased their strength and spent much of the rest of the war close to their paper strength.

The Bayreuth Cuirassiers wore white coats with red lapels, cuffs and linings and yellow ‘metal’.  Many depictions show the coat as being pale straw-coloured in Prussian style, but that uniform wasn’t adopted until 1775.  This was worn over a buff leather jerkin edged in red lace, though all that was hidden by a black cuirass, which had white metal fittings and was edged with red cloth.  A red sash was apparently worn around the waist and went over the cuirass (though this may have been a 1775 addition).  Breeches and belts were white.  Neck-stocks were black.  The hats were edged with yellow lace and had black cockades with red corner-rosettes.  Horse furniture was red, edged yellow.  I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Cuirassier figures for this regiment.

Trumpeters are recorded as wearing reversed colours of red coats with white facings, all richly decorated with golden lace (the county of Bamberg is recorded as complaining about the expense of the trumpeters’ lace).

Descriptions of the standards are very vague, though the squadron standards seem to have been red and probably featured the black Imperial eagle on the obverse and county heraldry on the reverse.  The regimental standard was probably similar, though in white.  I confess to having again used a spare Austrian cuirassier standard here.

The Ansbach Dragoons wore white coats with light blue lapels, cuffs and linings, a mixed light blue & white aiguillette and white ‘metal’.  The lapels and cuffs were decorated with white buttonhole lace; three on each cuff and four pairs on each lapel.  Smallclothes were straw, belts were white and neck-stocks were black.  Hats were laced white, with a black cockade and no corner rosettes.  Horse furniture was light blue, edged with white lace incorporating a light blue zig-zag pattern.

I’ve again used Old Glory 15s Austrian Dragoons for these lads, though for some reason the light blue facings look very pale in these photos; undoubtedly an artefact of the lighting conditions when I took the photos.

Officers of the regiment wore silver lace instead of white and had red sashes striped with black.  Drummers are known to have worn reversed colours of light blue coats, faced white, probably decorated in mixed light blue & white lace.

The Ansbach Dragoons‘ standards are described in suitably vague terms.  As usual, the regimental standard was coloured white, while the squadrons had dark blue standards edged in silver and decorated with the arms of the various counties making up the regiment.  It’s not clear if these were square or swallow-tailed in shape.  Again, I’ve opted to use a spare Austrian standard (a swallow-tailed dragoon Leibstandarte) for the time being, until something better comes along.  Maverick Models produce a square, dark blue standard for the ‘Bamberg Cuirassiers’, which is a regiment that didn’t exist at this time.  It’s possible that this is the standard for the 6th Company of the Ansbach Dragoons, as they carried the arms of Bamberg.

Swabian District (Schwäbischen Kreis)

The Swabian District raised two cavalry regiments; the Hohenzollern Cuirassier Regiment and the Württemberg Dragoon Regiment

However, the Württemberg Dragoons only ever reached a maximum strength of 138 men and only had 101 men ready for action at Rossbach.  They are therefore far too small to be represented on table (except perhaps as a couple of figures escorting a general or some such).  That said, they’re an interesting little unit, as their bright blue uniforms, with black facings, yellow linings, yellow ‘metal’ and straw smallclothes did make them look almost exactly like the Prussian Normann Dragoon Regiment (DR 1) and as a consequence they did suffer a nasty case of mistaken ‘friendly-stab’ at Rossbach, when they were overrun by Austrian hussars, who stole their standards! History doesn’t record if the Austrians ever gave their standards back, but the Württemberg Dragoons did change their coat colour to dark blue in an effort to prevent a repeat of the incident!

I did actually discuss the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers in Part 2, as they’re the solitary regiment I painted way back in 1997, but I’ll repeat myself again here.  The regiment was organised as four squadrons, raised from a whopping 61 contingents and having a total paper strength of 600 men, though at Rossbach had only 483 men fit for service.  The regiment was regarded by Marshal Soubise as probably the worst of the Reichsarmee cavalry arm. 

The uniform of the Hohenzollern Cuirassiers was very similar to that of the Bayreuth Cuirassiers described above, with white coats, red facings and horse furniture.  However, they had white ‘metal’ and white lace edging to hats and horse furniture and straw breeches.  It is also not known for certain if they actually wore cuirasses.  Nevertheless, I’ve used Old Glory 15s Austrian Cuirassier figures.

The regiment’s standards are well-recorded and were of a very simple design, as shown above.  The regimental standard was white and the squadron standards were ‘golden’.  The Württemberg Dragoons carried standards of a near-identical pattern.  I was still keen enough to paint my own standards in the 90s (not that we had much choice)!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I’ve been continuing to write up my ‘Tricorn’ rules over the last few weeks, but it’s a slow process.  I will hopefully be able to continue working on it while sipping sangría by the pool in Tenerife next week! 🙂 I’ve also been working on my SYW British cavalry and following our last game, King Frederick placed an Urgent Operational Requirement for some Freikorps, so I’ve also done two battalions of those wretches, plus skirmishers.  It was a quiet week in work, so I also managed to paint the first of four Artillerie de la Marine (infantry) regiments for the 1813 Campaign.  So there’s lots more to come when I get back…

Hasta la vista!


Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War Austrian Army, Seven Years War Minor German States, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 9 Comments

More Napoleonic French Allies (Saxon & Westphalian Cuirassiers)

My painting since November has been a bit random, consisting mostly of Napoleonic bits and pieces that I’ve been wanting to paint for a while, but kept getting knocked back while the big Seven Years War and American Civil War projects got in the way.  Chief among these are some new figures that were released by AB Figures during 2021 (Chasseurs à Cheval of the Young Guard, Westphalian Cuirassiers and Saxon Hussars) and some odd regiments that we’ll need later in the year for a planned refight of the 1813 Battle of Dresden.  Fortunately there is some overlap in these two groups, but I’m also painting the odd regiment that tickles my fancy along the way.

The Saxon Zastrow Cuirassier Regiment has been sitting in my lead-dungeon for about 20 years, having once again been taken from the very first spin of the mould, along with some Saxon Garde du Corps and Chevauxlégers (my lead addiction was quite severe in those days).  I painted their comrades of the Garde du Corps about six years ago

Although the Royal Saxon Army had something of a poor reputation throughout the period, the Saxon cavalry and especially the heavy regiments (Garde du Corps, Leib Cuirassiers and Zastrow Cuirassiers*) were absolutely superb. 

* There was also initially the Carabinier Regiment, though these were disbanded in 1810.

In 1812, the Garde du Corps and Zastrow Cuirassiers, along with the Duchy of Warsaw 14th Cuirassiers and Hiller’s Saxon Horse Battery, were grouped as a brigade under the command of the Saxon General von Thielmann, which in turn was part of Lorge’s 7th Cuirassier Division of Latour-Maubourg’s 4th Cavalry Corps.  Von Lepel’s brigade, consisting of the 1st & 2nd Westphalian Cuirassier Regiments and a Westphalian horse battery, formed the other half of the division.  At the Battle of Borodino, Lorge’s Division with Thielmann’s brigade at the head, won eternal fame in mounting a colossal charge against the counter-attack in concert with other formations, thus enabling the Great (or ‘Raevsky’) Redoubt to be taken (with some cavalrymen actually entering the redoubt), though in the process losing around one-third of their strength.

After being effectively destroyed in Russia, the Garde du Corps and Zastrow Cuirassiers were re-formed and fought again at Dresden and Leipzig, before defecting to the Allies.

Tony Barton’s sculpting has certainly done these superb horsemen justice and in my opinion they’re among the very best of his models, which is probably why I now have far more than I need!  As previously discussed, most of my Napoleonic wargaming is ‘grand tactical’ using Napoleon’s Battles rules, where each unit represents a brigade.  Age of Eagles rules are set at the same command-level and we’ll be using AoE for our forthcoming Dresden game.  Consequently, I only really need a single unit of 12-16 figures to represent the whole Saxon cuirassier brigade, but what the hell…?

As with the rest of the AB Figures Napoleonic Saxon range, these are modelled in the late-war uniforms issued in 1810.  These were VERY different to the very old-fashioned uniforms worn during the 1806 and 1809 Campaigns.  I will eventually ‘need’ to get an early-war Saxon army for those campaigns (primarily to go with my as-yet-unpainted 1806 Prussian army), which I will probably do using the very nice Eureka Miniatures range.  Oh yes, and a Seven Years War Saxon army is also on the cards… I can handle it… Can’t I…?

The 1810 uniform of the Zastrow Cuirassiers was predominantly white (replacing the traditional pale straw colour previously worn by Saxon heavy cavalry), with yellow collar, cuffs and tail-turnbacks, white metal buttons and brass shoulder-scales.  The cuffs were normally hidden by white leather gauntlets.  Breeches were white for full dress, though pale buff deerskin breeches or grey wool breeches were worn on campaign.  The helmet was predominantly brass, with a black leather visor edged in brass, brass chin-scales, a black woolen crest and a black fur ‘turban’.  In full dress a white plume would be added to the left side.  The cuirass was enameled black, edged in yellow cloth and it lacked a back-plate.  Belts were white with brass fittings and scabbards were steel.  Shabraques, holster-caps and and square valises were yellow, decorated with the royal cypher and edged in lace, which was predominantly white, though with very narrow lines of blue and yellow (I took the view that from a distance the edging just looks white).  Cloaks were pale grey with a yellow shoulder-cape and were often carried rolled over the front of the saddle.

Officers had silver epaulettes, lace and shabraque edging.  They also had a gold plate, chain and picker on the cross-belt and golden laurel decoration running around the turban of the helmet. 

Trumpeters had yellow coats with white facings and no cuirass.  Their helmet-crests and plumes were red and their trumpets were silver.

Horses were ‘dark-coloured’, though the most black were apparently picked out for the Garde du Korps.  Trumpeters rode the same colour horses as the rank-and-file.  Officers’ horses could be any colour and according to anecdote, greys were a common affectation, as they were in the Garde du Corps (and which I got wrong when I painted that regiment!).

Tony for some reason hasn’t modeled any standard-bearers for the Saxon cavalry.  I know that he generally doesn’t model standard-bearers when there was a general order banning standards from being carried on campaign (e.g. all British cavalry regiments and French light cavalry regiments), but as far as I can determine the Saxon heavies carried their standards on campaign.  Therefore, as with the Garde du Korps, I’ve converted one of the troopers to a standard bearer.  The standard is by Fighting 15s.

As mentioned above, the second brigade of Lorge’s 7th Cuirassier Division in 1812 was formed by Von Lepel’s Westphalian Cuirassier Brigade, consisting mainly of the 1st & 2nd Westphalian Cuirassier Regiments.  This time I was a little more restrained in my figure-buying and only bought the 12 figures I really need to represent the brigade on the tabletop!  However, the two regiments had markedly different uniform colourings; the 1st Regiment wore white uniforms with pink facings, while the 2nd Regiment wore blue uniforms with orange facings.

My motto has always been “When in doubt, pot the pink”, so the 1st Cuirassier Regiment was clearly going to be my first choice!  In addition to the pink facings, the white coats do make them stand out from the (French) crowd.

As mentioned above, the coat was white with pink collar, cuffs, tail-turnbacks and lapels.  The cuffs would normally be hidden by white leather gauntlets.  Buttons were white metal and the tail-turnbacks were decorated with white grenade badges.  The shoulders were adorned with scarlet fringed epaulettes in the style of French cuirassiers.  The cuirass was also of French style, being a full back-and-breast plate of polished steel with brass fittings and having a red cloth lining, edged with fine white piping.  However, some sources show only a black-enameled breast plate being worn (perhaps captured Austrian items?).  Breeches were white for full dress, but on campaign would be pale buff deerskin or grey wool with a pink stripe down the outside seam. 

Helmets were very similar to the French, having a steel bowl with a black leather visor edged with brass, brass chin-scales, brass ‘comb’ and a black fur ‘turban’.  In full dress a red plume would be added to the left side.  Instead of the French-style horsehair mane, Westphalian helmets were topped with a black woollen ‘roach’ or ‘raupe’ crest and the front was decorated with a shield-shaped brass badge. 

Shabraques were pink, edged white with a white grenade badge at the rear corner.  The saddle and holsters were normally covered with a black sheepskin, edged in pink vandycking.  Belts were white with brass fittings and scabbards were steel.  Officers wore silver epaulettes, had silver lace shabraque-edging and often had additional gilded decoration on the breast plate.

Again, Tony for some reason hasn’t modelled a standard-bearer for the Westphalian cuirassiers, so I’ve used a French Late Carabinier Eaglebearer, cut off the eagle (which will no doubt come in handy for a French unit needing one) and then drilled out his hand to take a new stave of brass wire.  The standard itself is by Fighting 15s.

The trumpeters initially wore reversed colours, which for the 1st Regiment consisted of pink coats with white facings and white epaulettes.  The facings were edged with lace, which was white with a thin central stripe of blue.  There were also nine bars of lace across the chest, extending from the buttons and buttonholes.  Trumpets were brass with cords of mixed blue & white.  The trumpeters’ uniform changed in 1812 to dark blue coats for both regiments, faced in the regimental facing colour and laced as before, though this coat probably wasn’t worn until 1813. 

In terms of headgear, the trumpeters initially wore helmets crested and plumed in white, with a brown fur turban.  The headgear seems to have changed sometime around 1812 a black colpack with bag in the regimental facing colour and white cords, plume and lace, plus the national cockade of blue & white.  However, there are depictions of trumpeters in the early uniform wearing colpacks and trumpeters in the late uniform wearing helmets, so perhaps the colpacks were for parade dress?  AB make both types, so I arbitrarily decided to go with a pink coat and colpack combination.

That’s it for now.  I had another small playtest game of Tricorn last week (below), so the scenario and game report will be up soon, along with my first draft of the Tricorn quick-reference sheets and conversion notes for Shako.


Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic French Army, Napoleonic Minor States, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 2 Comments

“Mother Russia, Rain Down, Down, Down!”: My Napoleonic Russians (Part 3: The Pavlov Grenadier Regiment)

As the surviving readers of this blog will know, I often get stuff wrong and this blog mostly exists as a warning to other wargamers, being a record of where I went wrong and how to avoid such schoolboy errors…  However, it’s not often that I get a unit wrong even before I start painting… 

That is until I came to paint the Pavlov Grenadier Regiment…

I think it’s fair to say that almost every wargamer with a Russian Napoleonic army will have the Pavlov Grenadiers/Guards somewhere in their collection and most will look like these fellas; splendid in their tall grenadier mitre-caps… Which of course, is where the story goes horribly wrong…

Tony Barton sculpted these figures in around 1998.  There was a lot of demand for them and in those days, ‘everyone knew’ that the Pavlov Grenadiers all wore the 18th Century Prussian-style mitre cap.  At the time, I’d already painted a lot of Russian infantry and had moved on to other things, so I collected these figures when they were first cast, but never got around to painting them. 

Everyone probably already knows the story, but the Pavlov Grenadiers were meant to have replaced their mitre caps following the change in dress regulations of 1805, which dictated that Grenadier Regiments were meant to replace their headgear with the 1803 Pattern shako with large busch plume.  However, military procurement being what it is, they were still wearing their old caps in 1807 and following their heroism at the Battle 0f Friedland, were allowed to retain their caps as a badge of honour.

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia opened up to the West (that worked out well…) and with the advent of the internet, a wealth of archival material and historical research flooded out of Russia, including stacks of new information about the composition and dress of the Russian Army of the Napoleonic Wars.  Thanks to the first wave of this new research, Tony was able to sculpt his Early Russian Napoleonic figures, which included the Fusilier Battalions of the Grenadier Regiments, with their distinctive short mitre caps in the style of 18th Century Prussian Fusilier Regiments (until October 1810, the Grenadier Regiments had a single Grenadier Battalion and two Fusilier Battalions, but then changed to three Grenadier Battalions).  

In 2008 or thereabouts, some Russian contributors began posting on the Napoleon Series forum and others, pointing out that the short Fusilier caps were in use well beyond 1810 and that therefore, everyone’s 1812 Pavlov Grenadiers were wrong!

The confusion stemmed from that fact that although all three battalions in the regiment were re-titled ‘Grenadier’ in 1810, each battalion was actually made up of three Fusilier companies and only one Grenadier company.  The Fusiliers retained their old short mitre-caps and therefore only one-quarter of the regiment was actually wearing the ‘classic’ tall mitre-cap!  As evidence, there is surviving correspondence between General Lavrov and Army headquarters, discussing what to do with the old mitre-caps and being ordered to issue the caps in this manner.

Pavlov Grenadier Regiment circa 1812.  Note the short Fusilier mitre cap on the right.

As a consequence of this new research, a few 28mm figure manufacturers such as Perry and Warlord have released Fusilier Company figures for the Pavlov Grenadiers, though AB Figures have yet to follow suit.  I’m also a painter, not a modeller*, so I’m not about to go to the massive faff of swapping heads!  And as this blog has amply demonstrated, I have very little concept of shame, so I’ve painted my Pavlovs as they are, as a ‘classic’ wargames unit with 100% Grenadier mitres! 🙂 

The mitre-caps of both type had brass front-plates and were backed with a red ‘bag’.  The headband was white and was studded with brass grenade badges at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions.  The Fusilier cap had a domed top to the red bag, with brass strips up the sides and a finial on the top (depicted variously as a spike or a knob).  The bag of the Grenadier cap was piped white up the sides, was attached to the front plate all the way to the top and was crested with a mushroom-shaped white pompom.  Most depictions show the pompom as being white, with red for drummers and quartered orange/white for NCOs, without any variations by battalion (companies and battalions were in any case identified by the colouring of sword-knots).  Brass chin-scales were a post-war addition and black leather chin-straps were used until then.

Officers apparently had mitre-caps for parade, but wore shakos in the field.  These were of Grenadier style, with tall black plume, three-flamed gold grenade badge, silver cords (changing in 1812 to cheaper white) and a silver pompom with orange centre and ‘A’ cypher in gold.

As for the rest of the uniform, they wore the standard Russian double-breasted coat in dark green with red collar, cuffs and tail-turnbacks.  As with all Grenadier regiments, the shoulder straps were red with the regimental initials embroidered in yellow.  Cuff-flaps were dark green and buttons were brass.  NCOs had gold lace edging to the collar and cuffs.

Drummers had green swallows’-nests on the shoulders, decorated with white lace tape, with further strips of lace down the front and rear sleeve-seams, upward-pointing chevrons down the sleeves and strips across the chest.  Drums were brass, with hoops painted in alternating triangles of green and white (green outermost).  

These figures are depicted in the long white Summer ‘gaiter-trousers’.  In winter they wore heavier white wool trousers with false black leather ‘booting’ on the lower leg (the difference being clearly shown on the plate above).  Belts were white and backpacks were black, though musket-slings were deep red leather.  The black ammunition pouches were decorated with the brass three-flamed grenade badge of the Russian Grenadiers.  The colour of greatcoats is variously described as ‘grey’, ‘brown’, ‘grey-brown’, ‘drab’… I’ve painted them the same khaki-brown colour I’ve always painted them.

The Pavlov Grenadiers carried this very striking set of 1797 Pattern flags in orange and white throughout the Napoleonic Wars (by GMB Flags).  Each Russian battalion carried a pair of flags; the 1st Battalion carried the regimental ‘White Flag’ and a ‘Coloured Flag’.  The other battalions each carried a pair of Coloured Flags.  It’s hard to tell the difference in this instance, but the White Flag is the flag with the white field and orange corners.  The Coloured flag has an orange field, with white corners.

In April 1813 the regiment became the Pavlovski Life Guard Regiment, which in turn led to a further change of uniform.  The regiment was ordered to add a pair of ‘Guards’ lace bars to each side of the collar, as well as three lace buttonholes to each cuff-flap.  However, they were ordered to use the white lace used by the drummers and not the golden-yellow lace normally used by Guards regiments.  This was probably a temporary measure, as the Pavlovs were on campaign and white drummers’ lace would have been readily available to them.  It’s not clear how quickly this uniform change came into place, but is recorded as being worn by Pavlovski Guardsmen in Paris during the peace of 1814 (the collar colour had also apparently changed to green with red piping). 

Pavlovski Guards in 1813 or 1814, wearing the new white ‘Guards’ lace.   Although the caps are shown as being tall, Grenadier-style caps (perhaps exaggerated), these appear to be Fusilier caps with brass finials rather than pompoms.

The uniform changed again in 1814, with the lace colour being changed to golden-yellow and red plastron lapels added to the front of the coat.  The flags were also changed to the ‘St George’s Pattern’, having a yellow field with black/white corner-darts (the yellow and white switching places on the White Flag) and inscriptions around the edge.  However, these changes didn’t come in until after the Napoleonic Wars.

* I’m also a lover, not a fighter.**

** Which is ironic, as Mrs Fawr often puts up a fight.

Pavlovski Guards in 1814, wearing the new golden-yellow lace and red plastron lapels ‘Guards’ lace.  Once again, the caps are perhaps exaggerated in height, as the design appears to be that of Fusilier caps.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Russian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 16 Comments

“Vive L’Empereur!”: A Unique (?) Tony Barton Napoleon Figure

While I was photographing the Imperial Guard cavalry last week, it occurred to me that I’d never properly photographed my Napoleon model.  He’s a rather unusual and possibly unique figure, sculpted by Tony Barton, the supreme talent behind the original Battle Honours and then AB Figures

I acquired my Napoleon in 1995, when I was organising a big demo game of the Battle of Bautzen.  My old Battle Honours Napoleon and most of his Guard were getting very tired and battered by ten years of abuse, so I called up Mike Hickling, then the UK producer of AB Figures, to find out if he had any new models of that ilk. 

Ah yes, those heady pre-internet days when you had to either meet them at a show, see an advert, order a catalogue or phone up and ask…

As it happened, Mike had just that very day put the brand-new Old Guard figures into production, so sent me the very first figures off that mould, along with the  Chasseurs à Cheval and Grenadiers à Cheval of the Guard and a ton of other stuff.  He also kindly threw in a dozen unreleased Empress Dragoon figures that Tony had sculpted for Battle Honours, but had never gone into production.  Again, I’ve never seen those Empress’ Dragoon figures in anyone else’s army, so they might also be unique. 

This is the only photo I have of my possibly unique Tony Barton Empress’ Dragoon models. They were very much of the Battle Honours ‘style’ and I gave them to my mate Martin when the new AB Empress’ Dragoon figures were painted for our Waterloo Bicentennial game.

Mike also threw in a master figure for Napoleon that according to Mike, had previously been rejected by Battle Honours as being ‘too fat’!  Tony at that time was fully intending to sculpt a new and improved Napoleon figure, which he later did and which now forms the core of the current AB Figures Napoleon and Staff set.  He had therefore asked Mike not to put it into production and so the rejected Napoleon sat sad and forlorn at the back of a drawer until Mike took pity on me…

[Edited to add this response from Tony Barton himself on the Lead Adventure forum: 

I actually have four masters of Boney in my little drawer : The original BH version , in Fimo; and two slightly variant versions in metal which include the current AB one ; and an unissued 1790s figure.There’s also another head. At this distance in time I can’t recall when or why  made the one you have , but although it looks familiar , I don’t seem to have it myself ! ]

As far as I know, my Napoleon is therefore one of a kind, but I’d be very interested to know if anyone else has one.  He is VERY similar to the final production AB Figures Napoleon, except that the production figure is very slightly slimmer, has a breast-star on his left lapel and has his head turned very slightly to the left, whereas mine is undecorated and is staring straight ahead.  Mine also has a retracted telescope in his left hand, whereas the AB Napoleon’s hand is empty.  [Edited to add that my Napoleon has the coat pulled back to reveal the sword-hilt, whereas the AB Napoleon’s coat is covering the sword]

I painted these fellas over half a lifetime ago, which is rather terrifying. 🙁  I also gloss-varnished them (as was my custom in those days).  I did give everything a spray with matt varnish a few years ago, but these are still quite glossy, so I’ll have to do them again.

[Edited to add that my good mate Brendan Morrissey has this to say about my Napoleon… “Qui a mangé toutes les tartes, Qui a mangé toutes les tartes, Vous l’avez fait, Vous l’avez fait, Vous etes gros bâtard, Vous avez mangé toutes les tartes!”]

[Also edited to add a comparison photo of the AB Figures Napoleon set.  My thanks to Darren Rees for this superbly-painted example]

That’s it for now!  I’ll sign off with a little peek at what I’ve been painting this week…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleonic French Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 2 Comments

“La Garde au Feu!”: My 15mm French Imperial Guard (Part 8: Young Guard Cavalry)

As regular readers of this blog might remember, in April 2020 I declared my French Imperial Guard to be finally finished! Hurrah! Vive l’Empereur! etc…

So here are another two units of Imperial Guard cavalry… 🙂

“WTF?!” I hear you cry… Well in my defence (and in order to justify it to myself), I had already completed most of the significant heavy cavalry regiments (Grenadiers à Cheval, Empress’ Dragoons and Gendarmerie d’Élite) and light cavalry regiments (Chasseurs à Cheval, 1st (Polish) Lancers and 2nd (‘Red’) Lancers, Mamelukes and 2nd Gardes d’Honneur) of the Imperial Guard, though I didn’t have any squadrons of Young Guard cavalry.  This becomes rather critical when refighting the larger battles of 1813 and 1814, as the squadrons of the Young Guard contributed around half the strength of the Imperial Guard Cavalry Corps, often being separated from their parent regiments and grouped in their own brigades and as de facto regiments in their own right.  To complicate matters further, the Young Guard were uniformed differently to the Old Guard and in some cases markedly so.

So I needed some (it’s not merely a case of ‘wanting’)…  That ‘need’ was amplified last year when AB Figures released figures for the Young Guard squadrons of the Chasseurs à Cheval…

In a desperate attempt to justify my indulgence, here are some example orders of battle from 1813 and 1814 to illustrate the tactical groupings of the squadrons of the Young Guard:

Order of Battle of the Guard Cavalry at Bautzen, 20/21 May 1813
Général de Division d’Ornano

1st Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Lefebvre-Desnouëttes
1st (Polish) Lancers (4 Old Guard + 3 Young Guard squadrons)
2nd (’Red’) Lancers” (4 Old Guard + 2 Young Guard squadrons)
Berg Lancers (3 squadrons)

2nd Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Walther
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Old Guard + 5 Young Guard squadrons)*
Empress’ Dragoons (4 Old Guard + 2 Young Guard squadrons)
Grenadiers à Cheval (4 Old Guard + 2 Young Guard squadrons)
Gendarmes d’Élite (2 squadrons)

Order of Battle of the Guard Cavalry at Dresden, 27 August 1813

Général de Division Nansouty

1st Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division d’Ornano
Berg Lancers (4 squadrons)
2nd (‘Red’) Lancers” (4 Old Guard + 6 Young Guard squadrons)
Empress’ Dragoons (2 Young Guard squadrons)

2nd Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Lefebvre-Desnouëttes
1st (Polish) Lancers (4 Old Guard + 3 Young Guard squadrons)
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Young Guard squadrons)*
Grenadiers à Cheval (2 Young Guard squadrons)

3rd Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Walther
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Old Guard + 2 Young Guard squadrons)*
Empress’ Dragoons (4 Old Guard squadrons)
Grenadiers à Cheval (4 Old Guard squadrons)
Gendarmes d’Élite (2 squadrons detached to Headquarters)
1st Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
2nd Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
3rd Gardes d’Honneur (1 squadron)
4th Gardes d’Honneur (1 squadron)

Order of Battle of the Guard Cavalry at Leipzig, 16-19 October 1813

Général de Division Nansouty

Gendarmes d’Élite (2 squadrons detached to Headquarters)

1st Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division d’Ornano
1st Brigade – Général de Brigade Colbert
Berg Lancers (6 squadrons)
2nd (‘Red’) Lancers” (4 Old Guard + 6 Young Guard squadrons)
2nd Brigade – Général de Brigade Pinteville
Empress’ Dragoons (2 Young Guard squadrons)

2nd Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Lefebvre-Desnouëttes
1st Brigade – Général de Brigade Krasinski
1st (Polish) Lancers (4 Young Guard squadrons)
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Young Guard squadrons)*
2nd Brigade – Général de Brigade Castex
Grenadiers à Cheval (2 Young Guard squadrons)

3rd Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Walther
1st Brigade – Général de Brigade Lyon
1st (Polish) Lancers (4 Old Guard squadrons)
4th Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Old Guard + 2 Young Guard squadrons)*
1st Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
2nd Brigade – Général de Brigade Letort
Empress’ Dragoons (4 Old Guard squadrons)
2nd Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
3rd Brigade – Général de Brigade Laferrière
Grenadiers à Cheval (4 Old Guard squadrons)
3rd Gardes d’Honneur (1 squadron)

Order of Battle of the Guard Cavalry at La Rothière, 1st February 1814
Général de Division Nansouty

1st Old Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Colbert
1st Brigade – Général de Division Krasinski
1st (Polish) Lancers (4 Old Guard + 4 Young Guard squadrons)
2nd Éclaireurs (Éclaireurs-Dragons) (4 squadrons)

2nd Old Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Guyot
1st Brigade – Général de Division Guyot
Grenadiers à Cheval (4 Old Guard squadrons)
2nd Brigade – Général de Division d’Ornano
Empress’ Dragoons (4 Old Guard squadrons)
3rd Brigade – Général de Division Lefebvre-Desnouëttes
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 Old Guard squadrons)*

1st Young Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Laferrière
Chasseurs à Cheval (4 or 6 Young Guard squadrons [accounts vary])*
Empress’ Dragoons (2 Young Guard squadrons)
Grenadiers à Cheval (2 Young Guard squadrons)

2nd Young Guard Cavalry Division – Général de Division Defrance
1st Gardes d’Honneur (4 squadrons)
2nd Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
3rd Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)
4th Gardes d’Honneur (2 squadrons)

* One company (i.e. half-squadron) of the Guard Chasseurs à Cheval was formed by the Mamelukes of the Guard.  However, I’m not sure if this company was grouped with an Old Guard or Young Guard squadron.

The Young Guard Squadrons of the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard

Disclaimer: Details of uniforms for the squadrons of the Young Guard are sparse, fragmentary, contradictory and sometimes non-existent, but here’s my best stab…

The uniform of the Young Guard Chasseurs à Cheval differed from that of the Old Guard squadrons in several areas, though did wear some matching items of dress.  The dolman jacket was the same, being dark green with green collar and scarlet cuffs, decorated in hussar style with aurore braid and brass buttons (gold braid and buttons for officers).  This was worn with the same green & scarlet barrel-sash.  They also wore the same undress green breeches with aurore braid as the Old Guard squadrons and on campaign wore the same green campaign overalls with aurore side-stripes (some sources show red stripes and even grey overalls with red stripes).

Only officers were permitted to wear the distinctive scarlet pelisse over-jacket and those of the Young Guard had black fur edging, instead of the white fur worn by officers of the Old Guard squadrons.  However, some officers seconded from the Old Guard are depicted in art wearing their white fur-edged pelisse and even scarlet full-dress breeches.

Chef d’Escadron Jacques de Trobriand was seconded to the Young Guard from the Old Guard and is depicted here wearing the white-edged pelisse, scarlet breeches and brass sabre-scabbard of the Old Guard with the officers’ pattern shako of the Young Guard.

Instead of a fur colpack, the Young Guard squadrons wore a scarlet shako trimmed with a band of aurore lace at the top and bottom edges and aurore cords.  The peak was black leather, trimmed with brass.  Chinscales were brass, as was the crowned eagle badge of the Young Guard.  The national cockade was worn above the eagle badge and the whole ensemble was topped off with an aurore pompom (some sources show scarlet pompoms).  A green plume with scarlet tip was added in full dress.

The classic bell-topped shako soon gave way to the slightly taller, cylindrical shako-rouleau, which was probably the main type of shako worn by 1814.  The shako-rouleau retained the scarlet colouring, again decorated with bands of aurore lace and brass fittings.  However, it only had a pompom instead of the full dress plume and cords.  Instead of the brass eagle badge was a large national cockade, secured by an aurore strap and brass button.  At the rear was a false rear peak of black leather.  The top was waterproofed with black oilskin or leather and this might also have been true of the earlier shako.  The AB Figures Young Guard Chasseurs are modelled wearing the later shako-rouleau.

Belts were of whitened leather and sabretaches were of plain black leather, decorated with the brass eagle and crown badge of the Young Guard.  Some artistic depictions do show more ornately-decorated sabretaches, but these seem to have been officers’ items and perhaps belonged to officers seconded from the Old Guard and/or saved for parade best?

In contrast to the distinctive brass sabre scabbards of the Old Guard, the squadrons of the Young Guard were only issued with plain steel scabbards.  However, again it would seem that officers and trumpeters seconded from the Old Guard continued to wear their old brass scabbards.

Shabraques were in ‘reversed colours’ when compared to those of the squadrons of the Old Guard, being scarlet with plain green edging.  They also lacked ornamentation.  The round valise fixed behind the saddle matched those colours, being scarlet with green lace rings at the ends.  Unusually, officers were meant to use exactly the same pattern of shabraque and valise, though there are depictions of officers adding at least a little gold lace to the edging and even using ostentatious animal-skin shabraques in the style of the Old Guard Chasseurs.  Again, this may have been an affectation used by seconded Old Guard officers.

Cloaks were green and are often depicted in art as being worn rolled over the shoulder en bandolier, as protection against sword-cuts.

White sheepskin saddle-covers could also be used but as with all Guard cavalry regiments, the full shabraque seems to have been universally used, even when on campaign.  Line cavalry regiments by contrast, often dispensed with the shabraque and just used the sheepskin saddle-cover on campaign.  The full shabraque is therefore one of the key features marking the figures out as Young Guard.  The AB Figures French Hussars (which I used for my Gardes d’Honneur) are just modelled with the sheepskin saddle-cover, so aren’t suitable.  I was just about to paint some AB Figures Dutch Hussars as Young Guard Chasseurs (as they have the full shabraque and rolled cloak en bandolier, albeit with a boring covered shako) when AB released the pukka Young Guard Chasseurs.

Trumpeters wore a sky-blue dolman with deep crimson-pink collar and cuffs and braiding in mixed crimson/gold-yellow.  Campaign coveralls were in matching sky-blue with a crimson-pink stripe (or double-stripe).  Barrel-sashes were gold-yellow with deep crimson-pink barrels.  Some Young Guard trumpeters are depicted wearing the deep crimson-pink pelisse of the Old Guard trumpeters, decorated with mixed sky-blue and gold-yellow braid, though these may again be seconded trumpeters from the Old Guard.

The trumpeters’ shako or shako-rouleau was of the same pattern as the rank and file, though had lace and cords in mixed sky-blue/gold-yellow.  Some depictions show trumpeters wearing colpacks in black or white fur, though once again, this may have been an affectation worn by seconded trumpeters of the Old Guard.

Trumpeters’ equipment was the same as the rank-and-file, though again brass scabbards may have been worn by seconded trumpeters of the Old Guard.  Somewhat unusually, their horse furniture was exactly the same as that of the rank-and-file, namely scarlet with green edging.

As they were not regiments in their own right, the squadrons of the Young Guard were not issued with Eagles and no guidon or standard of any type, official or unofficial is recorded.

In 1815 a 2nd Regiment of Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard was raised and wore essentially the same uniform as described here.  However, the regiment did not see action and was disbanded following Napoleon’s second abdication.  I mention it here as the title ‘2nd Regiment’ is sometimes used in relation to the Young Guard squadrons of the Chasseurs à Cheval during the campaigns of 1813 and 1814 (most notably on the AB Figures website!).  This is incorrect and while the Young Guard squadrons may have fought as a de facto regiment 1813-1814, that title was not awarded until 1815.

The Young Guard Squadrons of the 2nd (‘Red’) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard

Do not adjust your set… Yes, the Young Guard squadrons of the Red Lancers wore BLUE coats!

Of all the known Young Guard cavalry uniforms (those of the 1st (Polish) Lancers remain curiously unknown), those of the 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard were the most radically different from their parent regiment.  As mentioned above, the Young Guard squadrons of the Chasseurs à Cheval had reversed-colour shabraques, but the basic uniform colours remained the same and the Young Guard uniforms of the Grenadiers à Cheval and Empress’ Dragoons also remained very similar to those of their parent regiments.  However, the Young Guard squadrons of the 2nd Lancers were dressed in coats of reversed colours (i.e. blue coats with scarlet facings instead of the scarlet with blue facings worn by the Old Guard).

My pet theory is that plenty of uniforms with very similar colourings were already in stock, thanks to the demise of the short-lived 3rd Regiment of (Lithuanian) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard, which was raised in 1812 and then wiped out soon after, possibly leaving a depot full of undelivered uniforms….

[Factoid: The 2nd (‘Red’) Lancers of the Guard were initially classed as Middle Guard, but on 17th March 1813 were elevated to the Old Guard by Imperial decree.  Someone recently tried to correct my ‘mistake’ in calling them Old Guard…]

The dark blue Polish-style kurtka jacket had a plain scarlet collar, lapels, pointed cuffs and turnbacks, as well as scarlet piping on the back-seams, which continued down the back of the arms.  Instead of the elaborate yellow epaulette and aiguillette worn by the Old Guard, the Young Guard just wore simple blue shoulder-straps, piped scarlet.  However, NCOs wore the Old Guard-style epaulette and aiguillette in mixed crimson and gold cords (as shown on the right).  Buttons were brass.

The full-dress trousers were scarlet with a double dark blue stripe.  However, dark blue coveralls with a single scarlet stripe were worn on campaign.  As my figures are in campaign dress, I’ve gone with the campaign coveralls (as I did with my Old Guard ‘Red’ Lancers).  Depictions of the campaign coveralls vary from source to source, but most show black leather reinforcing and white metal buttons down the scarlet stripe.

The czapka cap followed the colouring of the Old Guard ‘Red’ Lancers, being a black leather cap with a black leather peak trimmed in brass, with brass chinscales and a scarlet cloth ‘box’ piped yellow, with a wide yellow band of lace separating the ‘box’ from the black leather cap.  Yellow cords and a white plume were worn in full dress.  Sources vary re the front-plate; most depictions show the Old Guard-style ‘sunburst’ plate, while some show just a simple brass ‘N’.  There is actually a surviving example of a Young Guard czapka of the 2nd Lancers with the simple brass ‘N’ badge, which adds considerable weight to that depiction of the uniform.  It is of course possible that both types were worn and the ‘N’ badge might have been a late-war ‘austerity’ item.  In my case this is all academic, as my lads are wearing black oilskin czapka-covers.

Belts were whitened leather and the waist-belt had a large brass buckle-plate.  Scabbards were plain steel, though again some brass scabbards appear in art and may have been worn by personnel seconded from the Old Guard.  Cloaks were white with a red collar.

The lances had WHITE-OVER-SCARLET pennants, which were the same as the Old Guard squadrons of the 2nd Lancers.  (NOT scarlet-over-white, as used by the Line Lancers!)

The horse furniture was essentially the same as that of the Old Guard squadrons, namely a dark blue shabraque edged yellow and a scarlet round valise, also edged yellow.  However, they seem to have lacked the ornamentation (eagle badges, etc) added to the shabraques of the Old Guard.

The details of officers’ uniforms for the Young Guard squadrons of the 2nd Lancers seems to be lost to history, though if a specific uniform existed it was probably much the same, except with the addition of a gold epaulette and aiguillette, plus gold lace on the czapka and shabraque.  However, I’ve opted to use an officer seconded from the Old Guard squadrons, wearing his scarlet kurtka.

Evidence for trumpeters’ uniforms is fragmentary, but they seem to have worn a sky-blue kurtka with scarlet collar, cuffs and turnbacks, edged in mixed crimson/gold-yellow lace.  The back-seams were also edged in this lace.  The lapels are invariably depicted as plain sky-blue without edging, though its possible that in full dress these were reversed to show scarlet and lace.  The shoulders were decorated with an epaulette and aiguillette in mixed crimson/gold-yellow lace and the trumpet had matching cords.  Full-dress trousers were scarlet, but on campaign they wore the same dark blue campaign coveralls as the rank-and-file.  The czapka had a white ‘box’, edged scarlet with cords matching the aiguillette.

Again, Eagles and standards were not awarded to the squadrons of the Young Guard and no unofficial standards are recorded.

AB Figures don’t produce any specific figures for the Young Guard Lancers.  Their Guard Lancer figures have the epaulette and aiguillette, so are only suitable for officers, NCOs and trumpeters.  However, their Vistula Legion Lancer figures are spot-on, having full shabraques and shoulder-straps.  That said, these figures are a touch on the small side, having been originally designed for the Battle Honours range.  Cue the usual internet wailing and gnashing of teeth about ‘incompatibility’, ‘scale-creep’, ’18mm’, etc, but I’m willing to bet that hardly anyone noticed until I pointed it out… 😉

Other Squadrons of the Young Guard

As I play Napoleonics at a high command-level, where each unit represents a brigade (using Napoleon’s Battles rules), I don’t really need to paint any more Young Guard.  This is fortunate in the case of the Young Guard squadrons of the 1st (Polish) Lancers, as there seems to be nothing known about their uniforms.

However, if you’re interested, the Young Guard squadrons of the Grenadiers à Cheval simply wore the undress, single-breasted surtout coat of the Old Guard squadrons, though deleting the aurore aiguillette, replacing it instead with a second aurore contre-epaulette.  All other uniform details were the same as the Old Guard squadrons.  If I were going to model these, I would use the AB Figures Early Carabinier figures and carefully file the fringes off their epaulettes to make contre-epaulettes.

The Young Guard squadrons of the Empress’ Dragoons seem to have worn exactly the same uniform as the Old Guard squadrons, though again replacing the aurore aiguillette of the Old Guard with a second contre-epaulette.

There isn’t really an easy modelling work-around for these fellas, as the helmet shape of Line Dragoons is rather different and they lack epaulettes to file down into contre-epaulettes.  The triple-holstered horse furniture of the Empress’ Dragoons is also very distinctive and is a feature shared only with the Gendarmes d’Élite.  The only option therefore seems to be to use the Old Guard Empress’ Dragoons and somehow carve away the aiguillettes… Sod that for a game of soldiers…

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I’ll sign off with another photo I took while the Imperial Guard toys were out of the box…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic French Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 10 Comments

Reinforcements For King Louis! (Part 3: The ‘Royal-Nassau’ Hussars)

As the surviving regular readers of this blog might remember, it’s almost a year since I started my ‘Frogruary Challenge’ to complete the core of my new French army for the Seven Years War during the month of February 2021.  That was followed in March by some German and Swiss infantry and in April by the cavalry.  However, I still had one cavalry regiment outstanding, namely the ‘Royal-Nassau’ Hussar Regiment.

This regiment was initially raised at the start of the Seven Years War in 1756 as a German ‘Free Corps’ of only 300 men in two squadrons.  Titled the ‘Volontaires de Nassau-Saarbruck’, the regiment was rated by the Prince de Soubise as ‘poor’.  However, it survived the catastrophe of Rossbach and in April 1758 was re-titled as the ‘Volontaires Royaux de Nassau-Saarbruck’. 

This new title only lasted two months however, as in June 1758 the regiment was brought into the regular German cavalry of the French Army and was expanded to 600 men in four squadrons, with the new title of ‘Royal-Nassau’.  Unlike many better-rated regiments, the ‘Royal-Nassau’ Hussars never suffered a major catastrophe and by the end of the war had repeatedly proved themselves in the petit-guerre of scouting, raiding, pursuing a defeated enemy and screening a retreat.

The regiment was dressed in the typical Hungarian Hussar style; the dolman jacket was royal blue, with standing collar and pointed cuffs faced in ventre de biche (pale yellow-buff), white braid (silver for officers) and white metal buttons.  The pelisse was red with black fur edging, white braid and white metal buttons.  Officers has white fur and silver braid.  The barrel-sash was coloured white and aurore.  Breeches were yellow deerskin and were usually worn with chashkiry (leggings) in royal blue edged with white lace and boots cut in Hungarian style, edged with white lace and tassels.  Cross-belts were white, with a black leather cartridge-box.

The sabretache was red, displaying the arms of Nassau (a gold lion rampant on a gold-edged blue oval scattered with gold ‘billets’) and edged in aurore and white lace.  The scabbard was black leather with iron fittings and the sabre had a steel hilt.  The sabretache and scabbard were hung from red leather belts, but I mistakenly painted them white, like the cross-belts.

The mirliton caps were black, probably with a black flamme and mixed white/aurore cords and lace edging to the flamme.  Like a lot of military lace patterns, at a distance this probably just looked white, which is how it looks in prints and is how I’ve painted it.  However, one source (Blandford’s ‘Uniforms of the Seven Years War’) shows the body of the flamme being coloured aurore instead of black, another source shows alternating squares of aurore and white on the lace strips, while most sources show a white plume.

Shabraques were red, edged in aurore and white lace and decorated with a white fleur-de-lys at the front and rear corners.  

French Hussar trumpeters of the period, instead of Hungarian dress, still wore French-style uniforms in the livery of their colonel-in-chief (in this instance, the Prince of Nassau).  Consequently, the trumpeter here wears a yellow coat with ‘false sleeves’ and red facings with white buttonhole lace, topped off with a tricorn hat decorated with white lace and ostrich feather edging.  The shabraque is red with a white edge and the front and rear corners are decorated with three fleur-de-lys, with a crown above.

These are Eureka Minisatures 18mm figures painted by me, with flag by Maverick Models.

That’s it for now!  I’ll leave you with a sneaky peek at what I’ve been painting this week…

Posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War French Army, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules) | 11 Comments