“La Garde au Feu!”: My 15mm French Imperial Guard (Part 1 – The Old Guard)

I doubt that there’s a single Napoleonic wargamer who doesn’t have at least one Imperial Guard unit in their collection and I’m certainly no exception… And having recently painted my very LAST Imperial Guard infantryman (for the two Young Guard Corps at Leipzig in 1813), I thought I may as well post the pics here, starting with the Old Guard (which appropriately enough, are the oldest figures in my Imperial Guard infantry).

Back in the mists of time, I had a single unit of 16x 15mm Old Guard Grenadiers à Pied by Battle Honours.  They got a lot of mileage and by the mid-1990s were looking rather battered.  By then we’d started doing demo-games at wargames shows and I was wanting some new models, so asked Mike Hickling at AB Figures if they had any imminent plans for Old Guard infantry models.  By sheer luck, he had just cast the very first of the new AB Figures Old Guard and he put them straight in the post to me on approval!  I had it on good authority therefore that these AB Figures Old Guard figures were the first to appear anywhere – they were in our Bautzen 1813 game at ‘Warcon’ (1995 I think?) before they even appeared in the AB Figures catalogue! 🙂

(As an aside, Mike also sent me some never-released Empress’ Dragoons and a Napoleon figure that had originally been sculpted for the Battle Honours range and never released.  As far as he or I know, these figures are totally unique.  The Empress Dragoons have since passed on to my good friend Martin – replaced by newer AB Figures models – but I’ve still got the Napoleon figure and have never been able to bring myself to replace him with the newer AB Figures model.)

Above:  French 15mm Old Guard Grenadiers à Pied by AB Figures.  When I first saw these, I was totally blown away by the quality of sculpting and the accuracy of the depiction.  They look just as though they have stepped out of a Detaille or Gerard painting.  Even today, nearly 25 years later, I still think that they’re the best figures ever to have been produced in this scale (or indeed any scale).  They’ve even got their customary earrings sculpted on…

Above:  Regular readers of this blog will note that my painting was a fair bit better in those days… 🙁 Eyesight and cramping hands now get the better of me.  I also had a lot more patience and would routinely paint my own flags…

For the uninitiated, the distinguishing uniform features of the Grenadiers à Pied were the coat cut in ‘line infantry’ style, with square-ended white lapels (i.e. the bottom end of the lapel, where it meets the coat-tail), ‘Brandenburg’ cuffs with white cuff-flaps, plain red fringed epaulettes and a bearskin with brass front-plate, red plume, red ‘cul de singe’ (‘monkey’s arse’) on the back and white cords.  They continued to wear this uniform throughout the Napoleonic Wars, even when the rest of the infantry switched to the more modern ‘Bardin’ style after 1812.  However, the uniform would be modified on campaign by the addition of black gaiters, blue overall trousers and blue greatcoats.  The cap plumes and cords would also be removed and saved for best (‘Grande Tenue‘).

Above:  This photo will teach me to pay more attention to which figures I’m getting out of the box, as some Chasseur à Pied interlopers have joined the back of the column! 🙂

Above:  The next Old Guard regiment is the Chasseurs à Pied.  Once again, these are in very characterful ‘standing in reserve’ poses, often seen in Napoleonic battle paintings – standing around behind the Emperor, waiting for the order for the Guard to be committed.

Above:  The Chasseurs à Pied had some subtle uniform differences to the Grenadiers à Pied; their coat was cut in ‘light infantry’ style, with pointed lapels and pointed cuffs, edged in white piping.  Epaulettes were green with red fringes and crescents.  The bearskin this time had no front-plate and no cul de singe and plumes were now red-over-green.

 

 

 

 

Above:  I’m looking at the fine-lined piping on those cuffs while weeping into my turps-pot and wishing I could still paint like that… 🙁

Above:  My last regiment of the Old Guard is the regiment of Marins (which means ‘Seamen’, NOT ‘Marines’).  These are much more recent models and I painted these last year and wrote a blog-article about them at the time.

Above: The Old Guard on parade, with Général de Division Dorsenne, the Colonel-General of the Grenadiers à Pied at their head in full ceremonial uniform.

Above: Dorsenne and the Grenadiers à Pied under fire at Aspern-Essling 1809.

That’s it for now!  Middle Guard, Young Guard, Guard Artillery and Guard Cavalry to follow, but I’m now setting off on my hols. 🙂

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

75 Years Ago Tonight…

I’m just having a drink to the memory of my late father-in-law, Chief Petty Officer Harry James RN, chief engineer of a Royal Navy Landing Craft Flotilla, who 75 years ago tonight was being fished out of Portsmouth Harbour by the crew of a US Navy DUKW…

With the flotilla being held in total security lock-down in Portsmouth Harbour, he and his No.2 decided to row across from Portsmouth to Gosport, to ‘look for spare parts’. Having unsuccessfully searched most of Gosport’s licenced premises for spare parts, they realised that needed to get back to LCT(E) 413 in time to sail for Normandy, so made their way unsteadily back to His Majesty’s Rowing Boat… Only to find that some [insert an appropriate lower-decks naval epithet of your choice here] had nicked it…

Being trained Commandos and bolstered by the Courage bestowed on them by the Dutch, they decided to swim for it…

Had the USN not happened to be passing by, they might have become D-Day’s first casualties…

God Bless you Harry, and thanks for telling me that story… You certainly never told Jean or Sue! 🙂

Above:  Harry’s vessel on D-Day – LCT(E) 413.  This was a very rare vessel – only four LCT(E) were employed during the Normandy Landings and this (Harry’s photo – taken at Port Said in 1946) is the only photo I’ve ever seen of one.  It was the Emergency Repair (E) variant of the Landing Craft Tank (LCT) and instead of the tank-deck it had workshops for the at-seas repair of landing craft.  Unlike the standard LCT, there was also an upper deck with offices, cabins and stores, plus stowage and davits for its own motor-launch (and presumably Harry’s rowing-boat).

 

Posted in World War 2, World War 2 - Normandy 1944 | Leave a comment

Our ‘A Very British Civil War 1938’ Game at Partizan 2019

The last twelve months have certainly shot past since our last Very British Civil War 1938 epic at Partizan 2018 show in Newark!

I clearly hadn’t offended everyone last year, as this year I was very kindly invited by Dave Rose to once again take part in the Very British Civil Forum group’s demo game at Partizan 2019.

Dave’s collection is truly phenomenal and he was able to supply a 6×12-foot table, absolutely packed with beautiful urban terrain.  All we had to do was supply some troops, so I once again brought Baroness de Loutson and the Cadet Corps of the Slebech Castle College for Young Ladies (a Royalist faction aligned to the quasi-fascistic ‘English Mistery‘).  I also brought a spare force from the Army of the Bishopric of St David’s (Anglican League) in case additional players wanted to join the game.

Above: The Midlands town of Fackingham has been fortunate in that up to now the civil war has been held at arm’s length and the town’s local defence volunteers (LDV) have been able to discourage the belligerent factions from attacking the town.  However, Fackingham’s cottage industry has been producing armoured vehicles for anyone with the cash to buy them and while that has kept the richer factions happy, others viewed the town’s industrial resources with envious eyes.

Above: Nevertheless, Fackingham’s wealth keeps the locals happy and attracts business to the town and on Market Day the town is packed with traders… As well as rich pickings for anyone powerful enough to take on the town’s LDVs…

Above: But all is quiet in Fackingham… The vicar strolls through the church-yard and thinks about choirboys…

Above: Locals stroll through the streets as tradesmen make their deliveries.

Above:  The back-lanes are quiet… Perhaps too quiet…

Above: The peace is suddenly broken as an Anglican League reconnaissance aircraft roars over the town!

Above: Fearing an air raid or worse, the vicar runs to the church tower and rings the church bells to call out the LDVs!

Above: The local constabulary arm themselves and take up defensive positions around the police station and Red Lion public house.

Above: Even the local postmen have a war-role and quickly assemble their rocket-artillery.

Above: Factory-workers take up positions around the tank-factory.  While many of the armoured vehicles are only partly-built, some are runners and the crews fire up the engines and load ammunition.

Above: The town’s LDV was wise to mobilise, as a large Royalist force appears at the eastern edge of the town.

Above: The Baroness de Loutson establishes her headquarters in a farm and observes as her girls advance on the town.  On her left is a large force of BUF Blackshirts, while on the right is a regiment of Welsh Royalists.  Openng her packet of orders, she is horrified to discover that her primary objective is the tank factory at the far edge of the town!  Her girls will have to fight their way through the entire town to reach it!  However, secondary objectives include the confiscation of essential war-supplies, which should prove a much easier nut to crack.  She is also ordered to capture or destroy an enemy propaganda film-unit if encountered and she must also make contact with a Royalist agent, the local Verger.

Above: On the Baroness’ left, an armoured car leads the way along the lane, followed by a file of attached Blackshirts.

Above: Upon reaching the edge of town, the armoured car crew halt and scan the houses warily, waiting for the infantry to move forward and lead the advance into town.

Above: On the right flank, things go rapidly downhill as the Welsh Royalists encounter a group of archaeologists making a documentary film at the local ruined abbey (cultural endeavours must continue regardless of the war – this is Britain, after all!).  The Royalists demand that the film-crew stop making ‘propaganda’ and that they should hand over their equipment… A group of mercenaries providing close protection for the film crew lose their nerve and open up with a volley of Tommy Gun fire, cutting down a few Royalist soldiers!  The Royalists return fire, cutting down mercenaries, archaeologists and film crew alike, the Cadets also join in and even bring up a tankette…  The firefight is brutal and short and the surviving archaeologists make a run for the town, pausing only to shout “Come and have a look at this pottery sherd I’ve found over here, Tony!” and the like.

Above: Cadet cavalry follows the infantry into town… Who brings cavalry to a street-fight…?  Oh well, at least they add a degree of class to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl.  In the background, a Cadet headquarters orderly runs forward to commandeer an animal feed agent’s steam-truck.  Thankfully, steam and internal-combustion motor maintenance and operation is all part of the thoroughly modern educational syllabus provided by the Slebech Castle College for Young Ladies…

Above: At the western end of Fackingham, the rich pickings have attracted other factions… Socialists, Anglican League and Yorkists advance on the tank factory.

Above: The factory militia prepare to defend their livelihood [I have no idea what was going on at this end of the table – it was twelve feet away and was an entirely different game, as far as we were concerned!]

Above: As the Cadet armoured car covers the houses with its machine gun, the Blackshirts advance on the market square, followed by a cadet medic and her trusty hound.

Above: A Cadet musician, riding on the back of the armoured car, gives the Blackshirts a jaunty tune on the accordion…

Above: As the Blackshirts move warily up the street, they spot the Verger – their agent!

Above: The Verger/Agent is escorted back to headquarters under guard.

Above:  With the fight at the abbey over, the Cadets, covered by the tankette and a heavy machine gun, move forward into town.

Above: Suddenly, all hell breaks loose as the Cadets and the Welsh Royalists come under heavy fire from LDV units positioned in the Bank, the Pelican pub and some terraced houses, as well as from the Post Office rocket-artillery on the market square!  Trapped in the street without immediate cover, several cadets are cut down before they have the chance to withdraw!

Above: Particularly murderous is the fire from an LDV heavy machine gun emplaced on the roof of The Pelican.  this gun dominates the market square and completely enfilades the street up which the Cadets were marching.

Above: The surviving cadets take cover behind the Bank’s courtyard wall and the tankette moves forward to engage the heavy machine gun.  However, the tankette is soon engaged by the machine gun and by LDV men concealed in the houses to the right of the lane!

Above: Throwing caution to the wind and responding to radio calls from the tankette, the armoured car surges forward onto the market square, in an attempt to destroy the rocket-artillery!

Above: Demonstrating a remarkable degree of dexterity  and speed, the Post Office Rocketeers somehow manage to dismantle their weapon and leg it into cover as the armoured car’s machine gun knocks chunks out the brickwork around them!  The armoured car turns its attention to the machine gun, but is in turn engaged by previously-unseen heavy machine guns at the far end of the square!  The armoured car’s paper-thin armour can’t withstand much punishment and the car is soon reduced to a burning wreck in the middle of the square.

Above: The LDV machine gun crew atop The Pelican whoop with triumph and taunt the Royalists as they turn their gun on the tankette.

Above: The Welsh Royalists manage to rout the LDV men from the terrace, but too find themselves suffering from the heavy fire coming from The Pelican Inn!  Alas, the Cadet tankette too succumbs to heavy machine gun fire and is soon burning in the lane behind the Bank.

Above: On the Royalist left flank, a large force of Blackshirts has moved forward, but doesn’t seem to be much interested in joining the fight… Instead, they spend their time removing trucks, loot and a whole herd of cattle from the cattle market.

Above: The local civilians keep their upper lips stiff as they carry on with their shopping on the market square, regardless of the bullets whizzing past… It makes all factions proud to be British (except the Socialists, obviously).

Above: The reason for the armoured car’s destruction soon becomes apparent as an LDV gun-truck and a police armoured car appear on the square.

Above: Despite their losses, the Cadets are made of stern, matronly stuff and, having fixed their lippy, they lift their skirts to ankle-height and with a bellow of “Come on Girls!” from Captain de Carnelle, they charge the rear of the Bank!  Their heavy machine gun manages to keep the bank staff pinned down and the Cadets reach the building without loss!  Led by Captain de Carnelle, brandishing her pistol and sabre, the well-drilled Cadets winkle the bank staff out from behind their heavy mahogany counter.

Above: The surviving bank staff are taken prisoner and are escorted to the rear by a mounted Cadet.

Above: With the armour knocked out, the mounted Cadets are mover forward to provide what support they can to the infantry.

Above:  Baroness de Loutson’s tactical headquarters group also moves forward for a better view of the action.

Above:  With Royalist forces now occupying the Bank and the houses on the left, the heavy machine gun on the roof of The Pelican is finally knocked out by the massive weight of Royalist small-arms fire.  The LDV gun-truck moves forward, somewhat suicidally, to closely engage the Royalists and quickly becomes the target of several grenades…

Above: On the north side of The Pelican, the LDV Headquarters Platoon is getting the worst of their firefight with the Welsh Royalists.

Above: Meanwhile, on the western edge of the town, the Socialist militia don’t seem to be making much headway against the tank factory LDV, who have brought up some armour to aid their defence.

Above: However, on the north side of the factory someone’s armour (we’re not sure whose) is storming up the main road and has almost reached the market square!

Above:  Following in the wake of the armour, Anglican League militia are storming through the factory gate.

Above:  Yorkist Boy Scouts have taken the church and raise the banner of the Duke of York from the tower!  There is much cheering from the Yorkists, though nobody else knows or cares why.

Above:  The Bishop of St David’s Anglican League forces follow the Yorkists into town and have ‘armour’ of their own…

Above:  Meanwhile, back at The Pelican, the LDV gun-truck has been grenade into submission and the Cadets storm out of the bank to assault the front door of The Pelican!  Astonishingly, they suffer no casualties during their mad charge and successfully breach the pub!  Suddenly realising that they have no Gentleman Friends with them, they immediately turn left into the Lounge Bar and avoid the Public Bar, as they are Ladies…

Above:  The dismayed survivors of the LDV Headquarters Platoon desperately down their pints and half-heartedly defend their pub from this frenzied attack, but are soon overwhelmed by shrieking women with long-suppressed Issues…  Congratulating her girls, Captain de Carnelle permits them to consume a small fruit-based drink, while the officers consult the cocktail menu…

Above: Missing out on the free drinkies, one disgruntled cadet escorts the prisoners to the rear, wondering if she is going to make it back in time for Last Orders…

Above: Cadet Headquarters Orderlies once again move forward to remove anything portable or driveable.

Above: “Time please, Ladies!” Having consumed a refreshing beverage, giggling Cadets burst out into the Beer Garden to engage the Post Office Rocketeers… However, they may have had one or two Babychams too many and are soon forced to withdraw, staggering and giggling, back into the Lounge Bar…

Above:  Duty done, the cadets have a lock-in and a party on the roof terrace of The Pelican, while waiting for their Gentleman Friends from the Welsh Royalists to join them…

Above: At the far end of town, the Anglican League and Yorkists look to be making headway into the tank factory.

Above:  The Yorkist armour has succeeded in knocking out the police armoured car, but is itself coming under heavy fire from the Post Office.

Above:  As the Anglican League recce plane makes another pass over the town, the Royalists realise that there’s no way that they’ll be able to reach the tank factory and withdraw (some of them staggering, giggly and ‘silly’) from their town with their loot..

Thanks to all for a great game and especially to Dave Rose for putting it on and to Mort for running around like a whirling Dervish as the game-umpire.  Congratulations also to Norm, our Blackshirt ally, who was judged to have ‘won’ due to hoovering up more cows than John Chisum and Ronald McDonald put together, while not firing a single shot during the entire battle…

Posted in 28mm Figures, Games, Partizan (Show), VBCW - A Very British Civil War | 3 Comments

“The First Horseman of Europe”: Marshal Murat in 15mm (Sho Boki Miniatures)

If you’re a Napoleonic wargamer like me, who enjoys refighting the Great Battles of History, you will at some point require the services of a model of one of the greatest ‘characters’ of the age; Prince Joachim Murat, Marshal of the Empire, First Horseman of Europe, Grand Duke of Berg, King of Naples, brother-in-law to the Emperor, Beau-Sabreur, ‘King of the Dandies’ and all-round whoopsie.

Murat commanded the cavalry reserve in many of Napoleon’s greatest battles – Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, Borodino and Leipzig to name a few and his (somewhat foolhardy) bravery and singular dress-sense were the stuff of legend.  At least one model Murat is an essential part of any Napoleonic French wargames army.

However, there hasn’t been very much choice in 15mm – Old Glory and Minifigs both did a Murat figure, but I didn’t really like them and they didn’t fit very well with my collection, which is almost completely AB figures.  For 25+ years I hoped in vain that Tony Barton might sculpt at least one Murat (or hopefully a whole pack of Murats) for AB Figures, but it was not to be.

Then at last, salvation arrived in the form of a new Estonian scupltor named Sho Boki!  He had clearly read my mind and produced a range of Murats, depicted in some of his best-known costumes (I hesitate to call them ‘uniforms’) from the span of his career – starting with the elaborate Chasseur Colonel’s uniform he wore at the Battle of Marengo in 1800 and ending with one of the regal costumes he wore during the Neapolitan War of 1815.  The pack also includes a figures of Marshal Ney during the Retreat from Moscow (included by Sho Boki as the figure is almost identical to one of the 1806 Murats).

Above: A ‘Regiment of Murats’: I’ve painted six of the Murats and mixed them in with some staff officers and aides by AB Figures.  AB Figures also provided the horses (Sho Boki designs them to be mounted on AB horses).  I painted one of the 1807 Murats as Marshal Bessières (see below) and haven’t yet painted the Spring 1806 Murat or the Ney figure.

Above: The first Murat figure depicts him in the uniform he wore in 1800 as Général de Division of the Reserve Cavalry Division 0f the Army of Italy at the Battle of Marengo.  The uniform is an elaborate version of that of a Colonel of Chasseurs à Cheval.  Murat had originally been commissioned into the 12th Chasseurs à Cheval (twice – the second time after being cashiered following an affair).  The uniform was dark green with scarlet facings and heavily laced in silver. Headgear was a curious green-topped czapka-style cap

As a mere divisional commander at this stage in his career, I’ve based him as a single figure on a 25mm square base, which is the standard format for Napoleon’s Battles, my preferred Napoleonic wargame rules.

Above:  My second Murat figure shows him as a Marshal of the Empire, commanding the Reserve Cavalry Corps of the Grande Armée at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.  He had by this time started wearing bizarre costumes in lieu of regulation uniforms – in this instance he wore a costume modelled loosely on ‘Cossack’ dress; namely a dark green kaftan with red lining, fur edging and gold frogging and lace, topped off with a red cap with a fur turban and white egret plumes.  He’s also wearing 17th Century-style buff leather boots and gloves and his horse furniture consists mostly of a bearskin shabraque.

As Murat was now commanding a whole Reserve Cavalry Corps, he’s based with an Aide de Camp (ADC) on a 40mm square base.

For his ADC, I’ve used a French Guard Chasseur à Cheval officer by AB Figures, dressed in the typical uniform worn by Murats ADCs; namely a white hussar-style pelisse jacket with black fur edging and gold lace, a black fur busby with crimson-pink bag, gold cords and white plume, crimson-pink breeches with gold lace and a leopard-skin shabraque.

Above:  In 1806 Murat was once again commanding the Reserve Cavalry Corps and was in the vanguard during Napoleon’s advance against the Prussian-Saxon Army.  Murat’s cavalry were only briefly engaged at the end of the critical Battle of Jena, but Murat’s relentless pursuit of the defeated Prussian Army resulted in the surrender of several major Prussian formations and fortresses and ultimately the complete defeat of Prussia.

Murat’s dress here still includes the green kaftan worn in 1805; here worn open, showing a green & gold hussar dolman and the crimson sash of the Légion d’Honneur.  However, he seems to have briefly reigned in his more fanciful fashion catastrophes, this time optiong for a more typical Marshal’s cocked hat (albeit with extra egret plumes) and deep red leather hussar boots, as well as a typical Marshal’s shabraque of crimson cloth, heavily edged with gold lace and fringes.  The painting below shows him (for once) without facial hair, so I’ve left off the usual moustache.

Again, as a corps commander, I’ve based him on a 40mm square together with an ADC.

His ADC is dressed much as before, except this time he has buff campaign overall trousers with a crimson-pink stripe down the seam, as well as a crimson-pink shabraque with gold edging.  The figure is taken from the latest French ADC pack by AB Figures.

Above: Following his appointment on 15th March 1806 as Grand Duke of Berg, Murat designed a grand new wardrobe to go with his grand new title.  The predominant uniform colour for the army of the new Grand Duchy of Berg was white and Murat’s uniform followed that theme.  His tailor must have finally caught up with him in Poland in late 1806, in time for him to complement the snow on the battlefield of Eylau in February 1807.

Although much the same pattern as the regulation coat of a Marshal of the Empire, Murat’s coat was coloured white instead of blue and was liberally festooned with gold lace, epaulettes and aiguillettes.  Breeches were light cavalry-style in white with gold lace seams and ‘spearpoints’ on the thighs and were worn with crimson leather hussar-boots, edged in gold lace.  The whole ensemble was topped off with the same egret-plumed Marshal’s hat as in 1806, gold & white Marshal’s waist-sash, crimson sash of the Légion d’Honneur and esoteric gold-edged gauntlets.  Horse furniture is again crimson, heavily laced and fringed with gold.

Once again, as a corps commander, I’ve based him on a 40mm square; this time with two ADCs.  I must confess however, that I decided not to add the snows of Eylau to the base!

Above: My 1807 Murat, leading the titanic cavalry charge at Eylau (minus the snow…).

For his ADCs I used a galloping ADC figure from AB Figures’ latest French ADC pack (here on the left) and the ‘Superior Officer of Hussars’ figure also from AB Figures (on the right).  The hussar officer here is dressed in much the same manner as the previous ADCs, though this time has replaced his fur busby with a shako in crimson-pink.

The other ADC is wearing the uniform worn by the famous memoirist Jean-Baptiste Antoine Marcellin Marbot, when he served as one of Murat’s ADCs at Eylau.  He also has a crimson-pink shako (with white plume), but instead of hussar dress has a Chasseur-style coatee in crimson pink, with collar, cuffs, linings and piping around the lapels in a deep buff shade.  The cutaway front of the coat reveals a white waistcoat decorated with gold hussar-braid.  Overall trousers are deep buff with a crimson-pink stripe and the shabraque is crimson-pink, edged gold.  around his sleeve he wears a brassard, which is a miniature version of the Marshal’s sash in white and gold, indicating his status as an ADC to a Marshal of the Empire.

Above: Following his proclamation as King of Naples on 1st August 1808, Murat devoted most of his time to the governance of his kingdom and didn’t participate in the 1809 Campaign against Austria.  However, in 1812 he was recalled along with the Neapolitan Army to join the Grande Armée for the invasion of Russia and true to form, Murat had a whole new uniform that was even more off-the-wall than ever…

Murat’s costume at the Battle of Borodino consisted of a vaguely Ottoman-style blue coat with ‘ruffed’ shoulders, which was once again absiolutely dripping with gold frogging and lace and encrusted with sashes and decorations.  This was worn with gold-laced crimson breeches and boots.  He was still wearing a Marshal’s cocked hat adorned with egret-feathers, but this time tended to wear it ‘flopped’ on one side, giving him the look of a 17th Century cavalier.

Murat’s flamboyant dress, bravery, horsemanship and dazzling swordsmanship on the battlefield won him a whole new legion of adoring fans – the Cossacks…

The Cossacks would apparently cheer and call to him on the battlefield and on one occasion withdrew when he galloped up alone and ordered them to!

In 1812 Murat commanded an entire army-wing of several cavalry corps, so I’ve now based him on a 50mm square and given him a larger retinue of staff.  Once again, there is an ADC in the usual rig of white pelisse with black fur trim and crimson-pink shako and breeches (taken from the first AB Figures French ADC pack).  Another ADC wears the ‘Marbot’ uniform described earlier (taken from the later AB Figures French ADC pack).  The third figure is a Général de Division of cuirassiers (the AB Figures General d’Hautpol figure).

Above: This figure is based on a famous 1815 equestrian portrait of Murat as King of Naples (shown here) and was probably the uniform worn during Murat’s disastrous Italian Campaign of 1815 that was decided with Murat’s defeat at the Battle of Tolentino.  However, an 1813 portrait of Murat also shows him wearing this uniform, so I’ve opted to use this model to represent Murat at the Battles of Dresden and Leipzig (I think it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever bother to paint enough Neapolitans for 1815!).

His blue coat with red facings was positively restrained in style compared to the gorgeous Ottoman-inspired confection worn in 1812, but was once again liberally festooned in lace, epaulettes and frogging – this time in silver instead of gold.  His headgear was a peakless czapka, not unlike that worn at Marengo, though this time with a buff top and with the addition of egret feather plumes.  Legwear was buff-coloured tight pantaloons with a double red stripe down each leg and just to annoy future painters of wargame figures, a tiger-skin was used in lieu of a shabraque.  Grrr.

Murat was placed in command of an entire army-wing during the 1813 Campaign and as such, I’ve based him on a 50mm square with three ADCs in attendance, including a Polish officer as his command contained two corps from the Duchy of Warsaw.  All three figures are taken from the most recent AB Figures French ADC pack; two are dressed in the usual variations of white & crimson-pink, though one this time has the pelisse jacket slung over his shoulder to show off the crimson-pink dolman beneath.  The dolman has white facings and gold braid, though buff facings are also recorded, as shown here.  The yellow plume is another recorded variation on the usual theme.

The third ADC is an officer of Duchy of Warsaw Uhlans, wearing a white kurtka jacket with crimson facings, crimson-topped czapka, crimson pantaloons and silver lace.

Following his defeat at Tolentino, Murat escaped to France in an attempt to rejoin the Emperor, though Napoleon wanted nothing to do with him following his brief ‘turn of coat’ in 1814.  In the event, Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and Murat was forced to escape to Corsica.  Then, with a loyal band of followers, Murat attempted to regain his Neapolitan throne, only to see his dream end in front of a Neapolitan firing squad.

His last words (to the firing-squad) were 100% Murat to the end… “Spare the face.  Aim for the heart.  Fire!”

Above: As mentioned at the top of this article, I decided to use the less animated of the 1807 Murats to plug another significant gap in my French Napoleonic collection; Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières, Duke of Istria.

As shown here, Bessières typically wore the green undress coatee of an officer of the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard.  This fairly plain coat (also typically worn by the Emperor Napoleon beneath his trademark grey overcoat) was then adorned with gold epaulettes and aiguillettes and the crimson sash and silver star of the Légion d’Honneur, plus the white and gold waist-sash of a Marshal.  Waistcoat and breeches were also typical items of Guard Chasseur dress, being scarlet with gold lace, often worn with very natty green leather boots, as shown here.  Horse furniture was crimson with heavy gold lace and fringes and his typical Marshal’s cocked hat was sometimes adorned with egret plumes, as shown here.  One notable and slightly odd feature of Bessières’ appearance is that he persisted with using deeply unfashionable white hair-powder.

His ADC is an officer of the Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard and is dressed in much the same ‘undress’ uniform as his Marshal, though in somewhat simpler style.  I actually used a spare AB Figures Officer of the Sailors of the Guard and the horse was taken from an AB Figures ADC pack.  The two escorts are Chasseurs à Cheval of the Imperial Guard in full dress and are taken from the AB Figures Napoleon & Staff set.

So there you have it!  All in all, a damn fine set of figures that fits in extremely well with my existing collection of AB Figures Napoleonics and I can’t wait to get them on the wargames table.  Sho Boki has done a magnificent job and I’ve also bought some of his magnificent Russian generals, which I’m looking forward to painting.

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

A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire: The Manor Park Raid

With Lord Tenby’s Royalist Administration forces engaged in the north of the county against increasingly belligerent Anglican League and Welsh Nationalist forces, the south of the county had almost been forgotten by the Royalist Administration. With the south relatively quiet, Regular and Territorial forces had been stripped from the lines facing the Albertine ‘Pembroke Protectorate’ to bolster the ‘Landsker Marches’.

However, Prince Albert’s forces had not been idle.  Under the leadership of the capable Sir Charles McKay-Price and aided by reinforcements and resupply from Canada, they had slowly been building their strength in preparation for a major offensive against Lord Tenby’s forces.  Nevertheless, the Protectorate Army was still some way from being a competent field force and so it was left to the more capable elements of the army to conduct raids, fighting patrols and spoiling attacks against the Royalists.

With manpower being steadily stretched by demands from the north, significant gaps had opened up along the Royalist ‘Jameston Line’ (which stretched from Carew on the Cleddau Eastuary to Manorbier on the south coast).  Instead of a continuous line of trenches, the ‘Line’ was little more than a straggling line of fortified outposts, connected by strong patrols of cavalry, armoured cars and motorised infantry.  While the Albertines did not yet have the strength to directly take on these fortified positions, they were able to infiltrate relatively strong forces under the cover of darkness or the reasonably regular South Pembrokeshire sea-fog.

And so it came to pass that Sir Charles received intelligence that a Royalist VIP was due to visit the local BUF Headquarters at Manor Park; a large mansion-farm on the Carew-Tenby road, approximately 2 miles behind Royalist lines.  With luck, it was reckoned that a sizeable force might be infiltrated under cover of darkness to assault Manor Park, destroy the headquarters and capture or kill the VIP.  Major ‘Skip’ Broughton, of the Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, was appointed to command of the operation and under his command were placed the Pembroke Post Office Lancers and a company of The Duchess of York’s Own Highland Volunteers.

As predicted by R(P)AF Pembroke Dock’s Meteorological Section, a sea-fog rolled in during the night, enabling the force to infiltrate between Royalist strongpoints. As the bulk of the force moved into its assault positions, the Highlanders marched further into enemy territory, to set up an ambush position on the Tenby road, with the intention of cutting off any escape by the VIP.

As dawn broke, all was ready and the attack was mounted.

Manor Park, looking west toward Carew and Pembroke.

In the courtyard we see the VIP consulting with the local BUF staff – it’s the notorious Baron Kylsant, Marcher-Lord of Narberth and ‘Butcher of the Landsker’.

Manor Park, looking East toward Tenby. The BUF are completely unaware that Albertine Highlanders are lurking in the woods at the top of the picture.  However, the Albertines are equally unaware that a Royalist field gun is deployed behind Manor Park (roughly where the sheep are in this photo).

Looking north toward Redberth, the Albertines are also unaware that BUF outposts are deployed along this sunken lane.

The attack begins. In the foreground are the territorials of ‘D’ Company, 4th Welch Regiment.  Beyond the road are the dismounted Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, while the Pembroke Post Office Lancers split into two Troops.

In the centre, the Light Horse deploy their Vickers MG Section to cover the road.

Major Broughton and his guidon-bearer move forward.

On the left flank, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers move forward to support the Light Horsemen.

Resplendent in their purple ‘kangaroo feathers’, the Light Horsemen move forward through the hedgerows.

An Australian blows his thing.

As the Australians cross a field, a unit of BUF open fire from the sunken road.

The clock starts ticking now that the BUF are alerted to the enemy presence.  Royalist reinforcements will soon start to arrive, so the Albertines need to complete their mission in the shortest possible time.

The Australians and BUF trade fire with each other, with light casualties being suffered on both sides. Men on both sides scramble for cover as bullets find their mark.  The Lancers move forward in support, firing from the saddle as they do so. A saddle is emptied by BUF bullets, but the Lancers press on.

On the Albertine right flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers moves forward, covered by the Territorials.

The Territorials haven’t yet spotted any enemy, but don’t like the look of that hedgerow in front…

With trumpet blaring, the Post Office Lancers add a degree of tone and class to the battlefield as they dash forward.

With the Australians now suppressed by fire from the hedgerow, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers attempts to seize the initiative and launches a reckless charge on the BUF!

However, the Lancers’ gamble pays off, as the BUF are also suppressed by Australian fire. They completely fail to cause any casualties on the charging Lancers and as the Lancers charge home they break and run!  Blackshirts are quickly lanced, ridden down or captured by the victorious Lancers.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers dashes across the field to the sunken lane.  A volley of shots rings out…

As the Territorials suspected, a second unit of BUF Militia is lurking in the lane.  The two sides trade shots inconclusively across the field.

The BUF Militia Commander and his 2IC leave Manor Park to tell his men to keep the bloody noise down…  Just in time to witness one of his units being ridden down by Lancers!

A St John’s Ambulance officer attached to the BUF, looks on in horror as the Lancers complete their annihilation of the BUF.

“View Halloo!” Spotting the BUF officer and his friend, the Lancers charge off in hot pursuit, though the officer manages to dash back into Manor Park, while the NCO hides in the phone box.

The St John’s Ambulance officer sneaks off, hoping that his black & white uniform will enable him to hide among the cows…

Major Broughton moves forward to rally his men and get them moving forward again.

Having seen what happened to their comrades on the right and not wanting it to happen to them, the remaining unit of BUF leg it as fast as their hairy little fascist legs will carry them back to Manor Park.

The Territorials set off in hot pursuit!

‘A’ Troop charges on up the road, unaware of the fugitive hiding in the phone box.

The Blackshirts scarper, with the Lancers hot on their heels!

The BUF officer bars the gate, while one of his staff officers frantically looks for an escape route.  A BUF signaller, calling frantically for support, finally manages to make contact with a friendly unit!

Captain de Carnelle’s Company of Cadets has heard the call and has withdrawn from the front line near Carew.  The young ladies arrive in rear of the Australians!

The Lancers reach the lane, but their horses refuse to tackle the steeply-banked hedges! The BUF make good their escape and barricade themselves inside Manor Park.

‘A’ Troop of the Lancers meanwhile, runs into trouble as a previously un-located BUG heavy weapons detachment opens up on the horsemen.  Amazingly, no casualties are suffered by the ‘Lucky Lancers’.

Another heavy weapon joins in – this one an 18-pounder field gun belonging to the 2nd Haverfordwest Volunteer Horse Battery RA.  Still the Lancers suffer no casualties!

With the battle intensifying around him, Baron Kylsant makes good his escape in a convoy of staff cars with a motorcycle outrider.

The Haverfordwest Horse Artillery have traded their horses in for a commandeered tea van…

The Duchess of York’s Highlanders, waiting in ambush positions, spot te approaching convoy…

A Highlander NCO orders his men to hold their fire until he gives the word.

However, a Highlander fires on the horse gunners and the ambush is compromised!

With the ambush detected, Baron Kylsant attempts to escape across the fields.  Meanwhile, fortune favours the ‘Lucky Lancers’ once again as the BUF machine gun jams!

However, Captain de Carnell’s Cadets are now engaging the Australian rear.

A cadet sharpshooter takes aim at the exposed Australian machine gun team.

Another cadet rushes forward to engage the Australians.

As more cadets move forward, one takes a tot from her hip-flask to steady the nerves!

A cadet seeks a target among the hedgerows.

A cadet readies her rifle and prepares to engage the enemy.

Major Broughton’s men turn to face the new threat.  With the ambush blown, the time has come for his force to scatter and infiltrate back into friendly lines. Baron Kylsant has escaped justice this time, but his time will come…

This game was played at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire.

The Albertines in this game are mainly from Al Broughton’s collection: the Australian Light Horse are now long out-of-production Battle Honours figures, the Territorials are from Great War Miniatures and the Lancers are from Empress Miniatures’ Anglo-Zulu Wars range.

The other figures are from my own collection: the BUF and Highlanders are by Footsore Miniatures (formerly Musketeer Miniatures), the artillery are by Renegade Miniatures (which seem to be now out of production), the ‘cadets’ are by Hinterland Miniatures and the staff group is a Spanish Civil War staff group by Empress Miniatures.  The cars are by Sloppy Jalopy (drivers by Empress Miniatures) and the livestock is by Redoubt Miniatures.

The scenery is mostly from the club collection and was mainly built by Al Broughton.  The farm is a very nice pre-painted set by EM4 Miniatures.

Rules used were ‘Went The Day Well?’ by Solway Crafts.

Posted in 28mm Figures, Games, Scenarios, VBCW - A Very British Civil War | Leave a comment

A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938: The Army of the Pembrokeshire Protectorate

As recounted in my short history of the beginnings of the Civil War in Pembrokeshire, the south-western peninsula of the county, centred on the towns of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock and with extensive military infrastructure, was the first non-Welsh Nationalist Pembrokeshire district to rebel against the King.  The forces of Prince Albert, the Lord Protector, were very quick to react to this rebellion and a detachment of the Albertine Western Blockade Squadron soon arrived to reinforce and reassure the rebels, closely followed by an Albertine Canadian Infantry Brigade Group and thus this rebel territory fell into the Albertine sphere of influence.

With the arrival of strong Albertine forces and supplies, the Albertine Pembrokeshire Division rapidly expanded into a force of two infantry brigades:

Forces of the Albertine Protectorate of Pembrokeshire

General Headquarters, Protectorate Forces (Pembrokeshire)
HQ at Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock

1st Pembrokeshire Protectorate Brigade – Brigadier Sir Andrew James DSO MC*
1st (Pembroke) Rifle Volunteers (Prince Albert’s Own) – Lt Col Sidney Jones MC
2nd (Pembroke Dock) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Sir Gareth Hogmanay Beamish OBE
3rd (Cosheston & Carew) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Adrian James CFM
Princess Elizabeth’s Own Highland Émigré Volunteers of Canada – Lt Col Alexander Goldie TD

2nd Pembrokeshire Protectorate Brigade – Brigadier, Sir James Ackland
4th (Castlemartin & Angle) Rifle Volunteers (Lord Cawdor’s Own Angle & Castlemartin Cyclists) – Lt Col, The Hon. Jason de Beauharnais Evans VC
5th (Pembroke Irish) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Robert Wright
6th (Pembroke Foreign Legion) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col, Conte Diego Manuel Garcia d’Arretano
Queen Mary’s Own Rifle Volunteers of Canada – Lt Col Molson Labatt

GHQ (Pembrokeshire) Artillery – Colonel, Sir George McGeary CRA
405 Field Battery (Pembroke Yeomanry), The Pater Artillery Volunteers (4x QF 18pdr) – Major Ronald Watts
4 Field Battery, Canadian Artillery Volunteers (4x 18pdr) – Major Douglas Butt
185 (East Blockhouse) Coastal Battery, The Pater Artillery Volunteers (2x 9.2-inch & 2x 6-inch) – Major, The Hon. Vaughan Austin du Fresnoy
186 Anti-Tank/Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, The Pater Artillery Volunteers (2x QF 12pdr on improvised mounts & 12x Lewis AA Mounts) – Major Samuel Spiers

GHQ (Pembrokeshire) Troops
The ‘Cumby’ Battalion, Royal Marines – Lt Col Edward Owens RM MC ChLdH
‘A’ Squadron, Castlemartin Yeomanry – Major, Sir Terence Meyrick, Bart.
Freshwater West Australian Light Horse Squadron, Royal Australian (Protectorate) Air Force – Squadron Leader Alistair ‘Skip’ Broughton RA(P)AF DFC
The Pembroke Post Office Lancers – Major Terence Gwyther
The Pater Tank Corps – Major Mervyn Evans MC
1st Field Company, Royal Pater Engineers – Major Charles George Gordon

Royal (Protectorate) Air Force – Gp Capt Arthur Harris R(P)AF AFC
210 Squadron R(P)AF – 12x Short Singapore – Sqn Ldr Christopher Jones R(P)AF DFC CFM*
228 Squadron R(P)AF – 8x Supermarine Walrus – Sqn Ldr John Evans R(P)AF
R(P)AF Pembroke Dock Ground Defence Flight – Flt Lt Martin Griffiths R(P)AF

Notes

1. ‘D’ Company, 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, The Welch Regiment (Territorial Army) was based at Pembroke Drill Hall.  As the local Territorial Army infantry company, one platoon of ‘D’ Company had naturally been called out to assist the police in maintaining order at a large public meeting that was to take place at the Great War Memorial on Castle Hill, Pembroke.  However, the BUF also decided to impose their version of the ‘King’s Peace’ and a massacre was the result.

One of the first to fall was the Territorial platoon commander and his incensed men were quick to return fire on the BUF.  Civilians were armed from the Drill Hall’s armoury and the BUF were soon driven from the town. ‘D’ Company then moved quickly to secure the locality: The Defensible Barracks was seized in a bloodless coup as they were joined by ‘A’ Squadron of the Pembroke Yeomanry and the men of the local Coastal Artillery Regiment, Royal Marines Detachment and Royal Dockyards Police. Most of the Officers and Airmen of RAF Pembroke Dock also joined the coup, though the Loyalists made a stand at the depot of the 2nd KSLI in Llanion Barracks. Nevertheless, the loyalist positions at Llanion were quickly overrun and the rebels consolidated their position in the south-west of the county. Within a week, an Albertine brigade group landed to reinforce the rebels, who quickly declared for Prince Albert.

Despite the switch of allegiance, the men of ‘D’ Company are proud of their regiment and have retained the old title. Perhaps in a vain hope that the rest of The Welch will join them against the King? They continue to wear their old Service Dress uniform and insignia. The only variation on Dress Regulations is the cap-band, in Albertine Purple.

[Models are Great War Miniatures, painted by Al Broughton.]

2. 405 Field Battery, 102 (Pembroke & Cardigan Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery has been expanded and split into two parts since the mutiny: The most experienced horsemen in the battery, along with the most promising new volunteers, have been returned to their pre-1922 role as cavalry and designated as ‘A’ Squadron, The Castlemartin Yeomanry.  It was fortunate that throughout the 1920s and 30s, the Battery (always referred to as a ‘Squadron’ by the old hands) continued to parade on horseback and compete in cavalry skills such as tent-pegging.

3. The remainder of 405 Field Battery, plus some new volunteers, continue to operate as a Field Artillery Battery.  They are equipped with WW1-vintage 18pdrs, though they have recently been motorised with Morris CDSW 6-wheel tractors.  However, the guns retain their iron-shod wooden wheels, so the tractors cannot exceed 6mph when towing the guns.  This means that they travel no faster than a horse-team on a road, but are much more efficient at cross-country movement, having the power to pull the guns out of boggy ground with ease.  The Battery Staff are mounted on horseback, with a horse-drawn Battery HQ radio wagon and office caravan, though they also possess an Austin 11 fitted as a Light Recce Car with radio for Forward Observation work.

4. The Pater Artillery Volunteers, a 19th Century volunteer regiment disbanded in the 1880s, has been resurrected to take control of 405 Field Battery, 185 Coastal Battery & 186 Anti-Tank/Light Anti-Aircraft Battery.

5. 185 (East Blockhouse) & 186 (West Blockhouse) Coastal Batteries, situated on either side of the mouth of the Milford Haven Waterway and completely dominating sea access, both consisted of 2x 9.2-inch and 2x 6-Inch Guns, emplaced in open, half-moon concrete revetments, served by underground magazines.  However, both batteries are completely indefensible from the landward side and the decision was therefore taken to withdraw the personnel of 186 Coastal Battery across the Haven.  The magazines at West Blockhouse Battery magazines were then blown up along with the guns, in a colossal explosion that has left a series of massive craters scarring the flank of St. Anne’s Head.  The new AT/LAA Battery has been given the old 186 Battery designation and is manned by the former coastal gunners.

6. The newly-formed Anti-Tank Troop of 186 AT/LAA Battery has been formed around two ancient naval 12pdr guns that once formed part of the Chapel Bay Battery, but were moved a few years ago to create a Training Battery at East Blockhouse.  This type of gun had been used successfully on field carriages by the Royal Navy during the Boer War and its time has come once again.  There is ample ammunition for these weapons and the RAF and REME mechanics at Pembroke Dock have excelled themselves in building two new, split-trail gun-carriages for these high-velocity weapons.  Trial firings of these weapons against warship armour-plate has clearly demonstrated that they are more than capable of defeating even the most modern of tanks.

7. The Pater Tank Corps has been formed from six Carden-Loyd Carriers captured at Llanion Barracks, two redundant RAF Rolls Royce Armoured Cars and a Mk V ‘Male’ Tank that was previously used as a war memorial in Pembroke Dock’s Memorial Park.  Mr Mervyn Evans, a former SNCO of the Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) and Royal Tank Corps has been maintaining the Memorial Tank all these years and despite 20 years of children climbing on it, has kept it in fighting condition.  As the most experienced tank-soldier in the Brigade, Mr Evans has been awarded an Emergency Commission with the rank of Major and has been appointed to command the new Pater Tank Corps.  The RAF and REME have provided mechanics to refurbish these vehicles and to keep them in action.

8. The two regular Albertine Canadian battalions landed after the declaration for Parliament and the Lord Protector.  They have been split between the two brigades, in order to provide each brigade with some regular backbone.  A third Canadian battalion, plus supporting arms, has been sent to shore up the Bishop of St David’s forces in the northeast corner of the county.  However, aside from the field artillery, much of the Canadian motor transport and heavy equipment is still somewhere in the North Atlantic.

9. The ‘Pembrokeshire Foreign Legion’ is formed from assorted foreign émigrés, seamen and adventurers who have volunteered for service.  Thus far only two companies have been formed, but every ship that makes it through the blockade brings with it adventurers, mercenaries and volunteers from the Empire and beyond.  The battalion is commanded by the Count of Arretano, who is a refugee from Spain, presently resident at Orielton House near Castlemartin and who was an officer in the Royal Spanish Army before he was forced to flee with his family when the Anarchists seized his estate in northern Spain.

10. One company, commanded by Major Louis-Philippe de Guédelon Jones, is formed from a community of French onion-sellers.  The French onion-sellers have resided in the town for decades and most are now about as French as roast beef.  Nevertheless, they persist in wearing the obligatory berets and stripy shirts and speaking in outrageous accents.  Their ability to balance gigantic loads of onions onto bicycles has military use and they have therefore been turned into a bicycle-carried Vickers MG Company.  The French are mortal enemies with the Breton onion-selling community of Haverfordwest (who have now declared for King Edward) and onion turf-wars were common before the Civil War.

11. The ‘Cumby’ Battalion of Royal Marines is formed from the original Pembroke Dock RM Detachment, expanded by the addition of what Royal Navy personnel are present in Pembroke Dock, plus local Royal Marine and Royal Navy Reservists, former members of the disbanded Royal Dockyard Police, volunteers from the Merchant Navy and some ex-Royal Marines.  The battalion is named for Captain William Pryce Cumby RN, a former Captain-Superintendent of the Pembroke Royal Dockyard and who, as First Lieutenant of HMS Bellerephon during the Battle of Trafalgar, took command of the ship when the Captain was killed.

12. 4 Field Battery of the Canadian Volunteer Artillery is fully motorised with 8cwt cars and 15cwt trucks and is equipped with modern 18pdrs, fitted with pneumatic tyres.  They are not therefore speed-restricted like those of 405 Field Battery.

13. The RAF order of battle is largely conjectural, as the bulk of the heavier flying boats were badly shot up by Red forces from across the river before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Protectorate and the People’s Republic came into force.  Several flying boats were burned and/or sunk at their moorings and most of the rest were damaged. Life on the river also became pretty lethal for the small RAF tenders servicing the flying boats.  Thankfully the Reds didn’t have anything heavier than MGs, so didn’t manage to do any more damage – they were also discouraged once 405 Battery’s 18pdrs started firing back from the Defensible Barracks.  To be on the safe side in case the MoU breaks down, the surviving flying boats have been taxied into the shelter of the Pembroke River, out of sight of the Reds, though only the lighter Walruses can operate from there and the heavier Singapores still need to take off and land on the Haven proper.  The RAF ground-crew have therefore moved everything they can from RAF Pembroke Dock, south to Pennar, where they have established a temporary base.

14. The old ‘RNAS Pembroke’ airship station at Carew-Cheriton had recently been re-commissioned by the Air Ministry for use as an RAF airfield for conventional aircraft.  However, while land has been purchased from neighbouring farmers, the field is still not large enough for modern aircraft and nothing heavier than a Tiger Moth can yet operate from there.  It is also dangerously close to the front line for comfort.  Another site, at Angle, has also been bought by the Air Ministry and has been surveyed, though work has not yet begun to clear hedgerows and grade runways.  However, Angle could be an excellent alternative site to operate Walrus amphibians and would enable the operation of land-based aircraft.

15.  The Albertine Pembroke Post Office Lancers had their origins in the ‘Volunteer Craze’ of the late 19th Century, when mounted postmen volunteered to supply a whole troop of the Pembroke Yeomanry.  The volunteer fad died with the Great War, though much of the mail in Pembrokeshire continued to be delivered on horseback. A few of the old veterans decided to revive their old cavalry skills and before long, the posties were competing once again in ‘tent-pegging’ (i.e. an old British cavalry exercise – attempting to spear a wooden tent-peg at the full gallop while remaining mounted). This was embraced enthusiastically by the younger postmen and the Pembroke Post Office Tent-Pegging Display Team were soon a popular sight at carnivals and fairs around South Pembrokeshire. New ceremonial uniforms soon replaced the standard, relatively plain blue & red Post Office uniform.

With the sudden descent to war, the tent-pegging display team soon became the Pembroke Post Office Lancers, volunteering en masse to defend Pembroke (and the Albertine cause by default).  Their smart uniforms were also an extremely effective recruitment tool and the Lancers quickly found their ranks swollen to full Squadron strength.  Their uniforms retain the blue, red and brass Post Office theme, though with the addition of smart-as-carrots pith helmets which are festooned with spare elastic-bands in the finest traditions of the Post Office (you never know when they might come in handy for parcelling up loot or prisoners).

Aside from a few Great War veterans and a few former Yeomanry and Territorials in the ranks, the Lancers have little in the way of infantry skills, so they are retained as shock cavalry and reconnaissance troops.

The Post Office Lancers formed part of the Albertine contingent sent by sea from Pembroke Dock to reinforce the beleaguered Bishopric of St Davids, where they fitted in well with other cavalry contingents outfitted in Ruritanian uniforms. They fought well in their first engagement at Robleston Hall, charging fearlessly in the face of stiff enemy opposition and blunting the Royalist offensive there, pausing only to carry out the day’s 2nd Collection at Dudwells Sub-Post Office.  However, they suffered heavy casualties, as nobody likes a show-off; least of all BUF Vickers Machine Gun teams…

So despite their detractors and accusations of being a throwback to Queen Victoria, the ‘Parcel Force’ as they have become known, have proved their worth on the battlefield. They might be silly buggers, but they’re sill buggers with style, panache and bulging sacks.

[The models are sculpted by Paul Hicks for Empress Miniatures’ Anglo-Zulu Wars range, painted by Al Broughton.]

16. In 1936, the Royal Australian Air Force purchased a number of Saro London flying boats from Great Britain.  RAAF personnel were then sent to RAF Pembroke Dock, to train on the new aircraft, with the intention of forming a brand-new RAAF flying boat squadron at Pembroke Dock, before flying their new machines back to Australia. However, the war intervened and the aircraft were not even delivered to Pembroke Dock. The Australian aircrew, finding themselves marooned in the midst of a war on the far side of the globe and hearing the trumpet’s call… found a superb surfing beach at a place called Freshwater West and set up camp there, well away from the Poms and their stupid war.  However, the Main Street Massacre changed all that.

It came to pass that some of the Australian officers were relaxing in the King’s Arms on Pembroke Main Street, enjoying a few quiet pints and looking forward to a few loud ones.  Squadron Leader ‘Skip’ Broughton was just lifting a foaming pint of “Feelin’ Foul” to his lips (‘Felinfoel’ isn’t a name that comes easily to Englishmen, let alone Australians) when a volley of shots erupted in the street outside!  A bullet smashed the window, then smashed Skip’s pint before passing through his hand and lodging in the dark oak panelling of the public bar!  Squadron Leader Broughton stood, ashen-faced, dripping with blood and beer as the other Australians looked on in shock and horror. “Strewth, Skip!  The bastards shot your pint!”  Unaware of the screams and incessant gunfire outside the smashed window, the Australians stared dumbstruck at their stricken leader and his former pint.  Then, as one man, the enraged and dripping Australians charged out into the street.  Someone was going to pay!

Having joined forces with the people of Pembroke against the Blackshirts (and by association, the King), the Australians have nailed their colours firmly to the Albertine mast.  There are no aircraft to fly, so the Australians have turned their hand to horsemanship (already a well-honed skill among many of them).  The Australian airmen’s natural dash and initiative has made them excellent light cavalrymen and the Freshwater West Australian Light Horse Squadron has been rapidly incorporated into the Pembrokeshire Protectorate forces.  Some wags insist on referring to them as ‘Air Cavalry’ – a clearly ridiculous name that will surely never catch on…

 

The FWALH’s old RAAF uniforms have now been almost completely replaced with khaki and brown leather cavalry equipment drawn from local Yeomanry stores, as well as with dashing Australian Light Horse-style hats run up with a local milliner and decorated with a band of RAAF blue serge and ‘Kangaroo Feathers’ in Albertine purple.

The squadron’s guidon is emblazoned with the Prince of Wales’ Feathers (commemorating Wales, not the Prince!), a boomerang and the motto ‘Ne Solliciti’ (‘Worry Not’).

[Models are Battle Honours (I think), painted by Al Broughton.  The guidon was painted by me.]

Posted in 28mm Figures, Campaigns, Painted Units, VBCW - A Very British Civil War, VBCW Albertine | 7 Comments

“Glory, Glory Hallelujah!” (Part 3): The Union XI Corps at Gettysburg

Since starting my 10mm American Civil War project last June, I’ve been building up both sides, using the order of battle for the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg as my immediate ‘to do’ list.  In Part 1 of this series I looked at the Union I Corps, which marched to the aid of Buford’s cavalry on the morning of 1st July 1863.  In Part 2 I looked at Buford’s 1st Cavalry Division, which was the first Union formation to engage the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg.  In this article I’m looking at the ‘unlucky’ Union XI Corps, which consisted mostly of German-speaking immigrants, was the next to arrive at Gettysburg (after I Corps) and which had something of a controversial history.

General Louis Blenker

The XI Corps had a somewhat complicated origin, but its story began with General Louis Blenker’s Division of German immigrants, which was raised in 1861 and initially formed part of the reserve of the Army of the Potomac before being sent west to join General John Fremont’s Army of the Mountain Department.  Unfortunately, Blenker got lost on route, his command ran out of supplies and discipline broke down before they finally reached Fremont’s army.

The German Division was soon committed to battle against ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s army in the Shenandoah Valley without adequate food, shoes or tents.  To make matters worse, the locals despised them due to their looting during the march and the attitudes of their English-speaking comrades were little better.  As a consequence, the German brigades performed poorly at the Battles of McDowell and Cross Keys and their initial strength of 10,000 was soon whittled down to 7,000 men.

General Franz Sigel

On 26th June 1862, John Fremont’s Army of the Mountain Department was re-designated as the I Corps of John Pope’s Army of Virginia.  Fremont, who outranked Pope, was outraged and immediately resigned his command.  General Franz Sigel was appointed to replace Fremont as commander of the new I Corps and the morale and fighting spirit of the German troops under his command seems to have immediately improved.  The corps was in the thick of the fighting at the Second Battle of Bull Run (aka Second Manassas) and suffered heavy casualties, but didn’t break.

With the merging of the Army of Virginia into the Army of Potomac, there couldn’t be two I Corps in the same army, so Sigel’s ‘German Corps’ (commonly known as ‘Dutch’ – a corruption of ‘Deutsch’) finally received the title of XI Corps on 12th September 1862.  However, with the appointment of General Joseph Hooker to command the Army of the Potomac in February 1863, major disagreements between Hooker and Sigel led to the latter’s resignation and command of XI Corps passed to General Oliver Otis Howard.

General Oliver O. Howard

The loss of Sigel was keenly felt by the Germans, who made up around half of XI Corps (13 out of 27 regiments) and this was exacerbated by Howard’s appointment of the unpopular General Devens to replaced the wounded General Schenck as commander of the 1st Division, as well as Howard’s evangelical Christian fervour, which alienated the anti-clerical Germans and the religious Germans (a mixture of Catholics and Lutherans) alike.

Then came XI Corps’ worst disaster; the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Late in the day, just as XI Corps was settling down into bivouacs, the right flank of the corps was struck by General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s Confederate Corps, which had achieved a remarkable flank march, to strike the exposed flank of the Army of the Potomac.  To make matters worse, having placed his corps in this exposed position, Howard then chose that moment to absent himself from his headquarters.  Outflanked and leaderless, XI Corps was rapidly rolled up and routed from the field.  Somewhat astonishingly, Howard kept his job; his failure was mitigated by being out-foxed by the Confederacy’s greatest general and by the fact that ‘Stonewall’ Jackson had been killed in the very moment of defeating XI Corps.  However, his failure to admit fault only made his German troops despise him even more.  To make matters even worse, he appointed General Barlow to replace Devens as commander of the 1st Division; Barlow proved to be a martinet and a petty tyrant, who openly despised the ‘Dutch’ and who immediately stamped his authority on his new command by arresting the popular Colonel von Gilsa for allowing his thirsty men to fetch water!

General Howard’s Headquarters

Two months later, Howard was still in command of XI Corps when it arrived at Gettysburg on the morning of 1st July 1863, marching to the aid of Reynolds’ I Corps.  However, Howard was then shocked to discover that with Reynolds’ death, he was now in command of the Army Wing (I Corps, XI Corps and XII Corps) and therefore the battle.  Command of XI Corps now passed temporarily to General Carl Schurz, commander of the 2nd Division; leadership of which now passed to Brigadier-General Schimmelfennig.  Leaving Von Steinwehr’s 3rd Division in reserve on Cemetery Hill south of the town of Gettysburg (a fortuitous decision), Schurz marched the rest of XI Corps north to shore up the flagging right flank of I Corps, which was coming under pressure from Ewell’s newly-arrived Confederate II Corps.  Schimmelfennig’s 2nd Division was on the left, linking with Wadsworth’s Division of I Corps, while Barlow’s 1st Division was placed on the right with instructions from Schurz to refuse the right flank, in order to avoid another ‘Chancellorsville’…

However, Barlow had other ideas and, seeing an area of high ground approximately 500m forward of his position, he took it upon his own initiative to advance his division to that location (which was subsequently immortalised as ‘Barlow’s Knoll’).  So instead of refusing the flank, as ordered by Schurz, he had now advanced the flank…

The highly experienced General Juball Early, commanding the 1st Division of Ewell’s Confederate II Corps, wasted no time in taking advantage of Barlow’s fatal error.  Barlow’s Knoll was swiftly envaloped by superior numbers and Barlow’s division was crushed and forced to retreat back to Cemetery Hill, suffering even heavier losses than the entire XI Corps had suffered at Chancellorsville.  Among the casualties was Barlow himself, who was left for dead on the battlefield, though later recovered from his wounds as a prisoner of war.  With the right flank now completely exposed, Schimmelfennig’s Division was also forced to retreat, followed by the entire I Corps; all of whom now rallied on the solid position formed by Von Steinwehr’s Division atop Cemetery Hill.  This position was then further reinforced by Slocum’s XII Corps, which took post on the right of XI Corps, around Culp’s Hill.

Shamefully, Howard later pinned the blame for the retreat on to I Corps and Abner Doubleday, who had taken command of I Corps, following the death of Reynolds.  General Meade, a long-time enemy of Doubleday, wasted no time in sacking the blameless general and the truth of Howards’ actions, when revealed, only led the rest of the army to despise XI Corps and the Germans even more.  Nevertheless, XI Corps solidly defended Cemetery Hill against Ewell on 2nd July.

After Gettysburg, the 1st Division (now commanded by Schimmelfennig) was split off from XI Corps and the rest of the corps was transferred along with XII Corps to Hooker’s command in Tennessee.  There the XI Corps partly redeemed its reputation and earned praise for its actions, particularly for their magnificent bayonet-charge at the Battle of Wauhatchie, though ‘s£!t sticks’ and the reputation for bad behaviour remains to this day.

Above: The entire XI Corps, deployed for battle at Gettysburg.  The three divisions are identified by their headquarters flags emblazoned with the Corps’ badge of a crescent-moon (which like all the corps badges of the Army of the Potomac, was adopted on 21st March 1863).  As for I Corps, the corps badges were colour-coded by division and the colour of the badge displayed on the headquarters flags and the men’s caps indicated the division to which they belonged: red = 1st Division, white = 2nd Division & blue = 3rd Division.

General Francis C Barlow

Above: The 1st Division, commanded by Brigadier General Francis C Barlow, is identified by the red crescent-moon badge on the divisional headquarters flag, as well as by the red badges (dots!) on the forage caps of the men.

The division’s 1st Brigade (shown above on the right) was commanded by Colonel Leopold von Gilsa and consisted of 1,138 men belonging to the 41st, 54th & 68th New York and 153rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments.  This equates to five bases for Brigade Fire & Fury.  Von Gilsa’s Brigade suffered 530 casualties (dead, wounded and missing), equating to 47% of the starting strength.

The 2nd Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by Brigadier General Aldelbert Ames and consisted of 1,341 men of the 25th, 75th & 107th Ohio and 17th Connecticut Infantry Regiments, equating to seven Fire & Fury bases.  Ames’ Brigade suffered 780 casualties, or 58% of its strength.

General Adolph von Steinwehr

Above: The 2nd Division, commanded by Brigadier General Adolph von Steinwehr (a former officer of the Prussian Army), is identified by the white crescent-moon badge displayed on the (blue) headquarters flag and on the men’s caps.

The division’s 1st Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by Colonel Charles R. Coster and numbered 1,215 men (6 bases) from the 27th & 73rd Pennsylvania and the 134th & 154th New York Infantry Regiments.  Even though the 2nd Division was in reserve on the 1st July, the brigade suffered 600 casualties or 49% of its strength – mostly during Ewell’s assault on Cemetery Hill on 2nd July.

The division’s 2nd Brigade (shown above on the right) was commanded by Colonel Orland Smith and consisted of 1,640 men (8 bases) belonging to the 55th & 73rd Ohio, 33rd Massachusetts and 136th New York Infantry Regiments.  Of all six brigades, Smith’s Brigade suffered the least, with 350 casualties, or 21% of the brigade’s strength.

General Carl Schurz

Above: The 3rd Division, commanded by Major General Carl Schurz (a former Prussian revolutionary), was actually commanded at Gettysburg by Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig (another former Prussian revolutionary and a communist to boot), commander of its 1st Brigade, due to the temporary elevation of Schurz to command XI Corps during the battle.  The division became broken up during the confused retreat through Gettysburg and Schimmelfennig was forced to hide in the town for several days to avoid capture before rejoining his division.  However, this story was later ‘spun’ as yet another example of ‘Dutch’ cowardice…  The division was identified by its blue crescent-moon badge, which on uniform caps would be coloured sky-blue in order to contrast with the dark blue of the uniform.  On (white) headquarters flags the badge was dark blue.

General Alexander von Schimmelfennig

The division’s 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig (shown above on the right) was the strongest in the corps, with 1,685 men (8 bases) drawn from the 45th & 157th New York, 74th Pennsylvania, 61st Ohio and 82nd Illinois Infantry Regiments.  The brigade suffered a massive 815 casaulties (most of them being captured) or 48% of the brigade’s strength.

The division’s 2nd Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by the Polish-born Colonel Wladimir Kryzanowski and numbered 1,420 men (7 bases), made up of the 58th & 119th New York, 75th Pennsylvania, 82nd Ohio and 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments.  The brigade suffered 670 casualties at Gettysburg, or 47% of its strength.

Above: By this stage of the war, the Army of the Potomac had removed artillery batteries from divisional control and had massed them all in the Corps Artillery Brigades and the Army Artillery Reserve.  The XI Corps Artillery Brigade was commanded by Major Thomas W. Osborne and comprised five batteries: Battery I/1st Ohio Artillery (6x 12pdr Napoleons), Battery K/1st Ohio Artillery (4x 12pdr Napoleons), Battery I, 1st New York Artillery (6x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles), Battery G/4th US Artillery (6x 12pdr Napoleons) and the 13th New York Artillery (4x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles), for a total of 16x 12pdr Napoleons and 10x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In Fire & Fury, each model gun represents a ‘battery’ of eight guns, so the above boils down into 2x 12pdr Napoleon models and 1x 3-inch Ordnance Rifle model, plus crews and limbers.

Models & Painting

All the figures and gun models shown above are 10mm models by Pendraken Miniatures.  The buildings are a mixture of Pendraken and Timecast Models.  The terrain-cloth is by Tiny Wargames.

All painted by me using Humbrol enamels.

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, American Civil War Union Army, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Painted Units | 8 Comments

‘Going Dutch’: Building a Cold War Dutch Battlegroup (Part 3)

Following on from my previous updates in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I’ve recently added a few more bits and pieces to my 15mm 1980s Cold War Netherlands battlegroup for the (under-development) Battlefront: First Echelon variant of Fire & Fury Games’ Battlefront: WWII rules.

In these rules, each model vehicle or heavy weapon represents 2 or 3 actual items and each infantry base represents a section/squad.  My 1980s Dutch organisations can be found here and they’re almost completely drawn from the 1980s Netherlands order of battle presented on Hans Boersma’s outstanding website here.

A sincere Dank je wel must go to Hans, Bart and Wout for putting me straight on all my mistakes areas for further research in previous articles!  It really is most appreciated and I await your corrections for this nonsense… 😉

Above:  I’ve finally completed a full Tank Squadron of Leopard 1-V main battle tanks.  As discussed in Part 1 and in my Beware of the Leopard! article, I’m using the Team Yankee Leopard 1 plastic kit, which has the advantage of being able to swap the turrets around (with the help of magnets) and using the same hulls for Dutch, German and Canadian Leopards.

Note that this is NOT a depiction of a tactical formation!  This is merely a load of models bunched together for photographic purposes! 🙂

Though it has to be said that my tactical formations are little better… 🙁

Experts in AFV recognition will no doubt note that the Team Yankee Leopard 1 model lacks the hull stowage bins that were a feature of the Dutch Leopard 1-V (see the photo at the top of this article). Sharing the hulls also means that I can’t apply nation-specific decals such as the ‘NL’ national marking that can be seen on the top photo. However, that’s a compromise that I’m willing to accept for the sake of saving money and associated marital bliss…

If you want a 100% accurate Leopard 1-V including stowage bins, QRF’s metal model of the Leopard 1-V is the way to go.  QRF are also the only source for the earlier Leopard 1NL model

Above: At the start of the 1980s, Dutch Tank Squadrons had an HQ of 2x MBTs (Leopard 1NL or Centurion Mk 5/2) and three Platoons of 5x MBTs, equating to 1 model tank for the SHQ and 2 model tanks for each Platoon, as shown here.  All Tank Battalions had three identical Squadrons, regardless of their affiliation to Armoured or Armoured Infantry Brigades.

As Tank Battalions began re-equipping with Leopard 1-V and Leopard 2A4 during the early to mid 1980s, the organisations changed markedly:  Tank Battalions of Armoured Brigades retained the three-Squadron formation, though Tank Battalions of Armoured Infantry Brigades moved to a four-Squadron formation.

Within each Squadron, the SHQ was reduced to 1x MBT and the Platoons were reduced to 4x MBTs apiece.  While the number of MBTs within a Platoon had reduced, the number of Platoons within each Squadron increased from 3x Platoons to 4x Platoons.  However, in the case of Tank Battalions of Armoured Infantry Brigades, only the A & B Squadrons had four Platoons.  The C & D (reservist) Squadrons kept the three-Platoon structure.

In game terms, this revised organisation gives me something of a dilemma with regards to the tank-to-model ratio, as the SHQ only had 1x MBT, which doesn’t warrant a model in its own right.  If the Platoons were 3x tanks apiece (like Danish or West German Squadrons), then some of the ‘loose change’ can be absorbed into the SHQ to justify a separate SHQ model.  However, there is no ‘slack’ in this organisation, so the Squadron in game terms consists of 6x or 8x tank models, depending on the squadron type (I need to paint one more…).

Above: Here we see a combined-arms Tank Squadron Team, consisting of a Tank Squadron minus one Platoon and reinforced by an Armoured Infantry Platoon in YPR-765 PRI, an anti-tank section with YPR-765 PRAT and an attached artillery forward observer in YPR-765 PRCO-C5.

As discussed on Hans Boersma’s site, the Dutch experimented with various variations on the theme of mixed Company Teams and Battalion Battlegroups.  However, these tactics were difficult to achieve for an army with short-service conscription and little in the way of a long-service professional officer and NCO cadre (doubly so with the reduced Squadron HQ establishment in the new organisation).  Nevertheless, they did persevere and mixed Teams/Battlegroups would have been formed in wartime, with varying levels of success.

It’s interesting to note that the West Germans and French (and some others) took a very different approach, organising many of their battalions as permanent combined-arms units.  However, having to establish permanent infantry/armour units in peacetime led to its own challenges – primarily in terms of cost and logistics.

Above: The Royal Netherlands Army was not a great user of the basic M113 armoured personnel carrier (though many of its vehicles such as the YPR-765 and M113 C&V were mechanically identical).  However, Dutch Armoured Reconnaissance Battalions and Armoured Engineer Companies used the M113A1 as their primary armoured personnel carrier.  The Recce Battalions also used the M106 107mm mortar carrier variant.

Above:  The vast majority of Dutch M113s simply had the basic commander’s cupola fitted.  However, I found one photo of a Dutch M113 in the field with the ‘ACAV’ cupola fitted, so used that as an excuse to fit this entirely atypical bit of kit… 🙂

I should add that I’ve given the commander a khaki beret, as this is for my Armoured Engineer detachment (I await correction…) 😉

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

Some M48 Chaparral SAM Vehicles (Butler’s Printed Models)

Last September I posted here about my first experience of 3D-printed models (SKOT APCs from Butlers’ Printed Models).  Since then on the Cold War front, I’ve been working my way through the stack of unmade plastic kits and unpainted lead and resin in my ‘to do’ mountain, so hadn’t bought anything more from BPM.  However, as my US Cold War battlegroup was growing, I had a need for some M48 Chaparral SAM vehicles to provide a little close air defence for my Yanks.  Team Yankee produce a pack of four resin & metal Chaparral models, but I only needed an absolute maximum of two vehicles, so decided to give BPM another punt.

I’m pleased to say that I absolutely was not disappointed!  The BPM Chaparral is if anything, even better than the SKOT.  In the photo above, the cleaned-up model is on the left and the ‘unclean’ model with all its supporting printing-structure is on the right (plus three separate pieces at the front).  Behind are a Team Yankee M113 and Leopard 1 for scale – the M48 Chaparral was based on the same chassis as the M113, so should have exactly the same ‘footprint’, which I’m pleased to report that it does.

Note that one missile-rail section has a sighting/tracker unit box situated between the two missiles. This should always go on the left-hand side of the turret, as shown in the assembled model above. I of course, completely failed to notice this and glued one of them the wrong way around…

I’m also pleased to report that the model is almost completely absent of ‘stepping’, which is a fairly common criticism of 3D-printed models.  There is a some stepping on the curved rail-things at the front of the vehicle that obscures the divisions between the rail-things (what are they?  Stowed tarpaulin-supports perhaps?), so I used some black lines to create the impression of rails.

Note also that the kit is modelled in the ‘buttoned up’ configuration, ready to fire.  In order to drive the vehicle, the crew would have to open the hatches on top of the cab – it isn’t possible to model the kit in this configuration without some serious conversion-work.

My Cold War collection is painted and organised for 1984 (ish), so the standard paint scheme for all US Army in Europe (USAREUR) was the US Mobility Equipment Research & Design Command (MERDC) camouflage scheme in ‘Winter Verdant’ colours of Forest Green, Field Drab, Sand and Black.

MERDC camouflage was designed to be of a standard pattern on all vehicles of the same type and the colours would (theoretically) be changed, depending on the terrain and season.  In practice however, USAREUR tended to stick with Winter Verdant colours all year-round and the Summer Verdant scheme (replacing the Field Drab with Light Green) was only seen on reinforcement vehicles from the USA during REFORGER exercises.  That said, vehicles were usually adapted during snowy conditions to the ‘Snow, Temperate with Trees’ MERDC scheme, by painting over the Field Drab with whitewash or some other water-soluble white paint that could be washed off again when the snow melted.

A US-based Chaparral in ‘Summer Verdant’ MERDC camouflage, with Light Green replacing the Field Drab of the ‘Winter Verdant’ scheme.

All US military vehicle types had standard MERDC painting-patterns produced for them, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the pattern for the M48 Chaparral, so I had to assemble the pattern from as many photos as I could find.  That said, many of the actual vehicles were painted differently/wrongly in any case, probably due to bored soldiers failing to follow the instructions, or local orders removing some of the colours (the Sand element was commonly deleted for some reason).

You will find various paint-guides for MERDC camouflage on the web, but my own preferred colours are:
Forest Green – Humbrol Enamel 116 US Green (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Field Drab – Humbrol Enamel 29 Dark Earth (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Sand – Humbrol Enamel 72 Khaki Drill (highlighted with quite a lot of white mixed in)
Black – Humbrol Enamel 33 Black
Light Green – Humbrol Enamel 80 Grass Green

To finish off, I painted the MIM-72 missiles in US Olive Drab (Humbrol Enamel 155) and the gunner’s canopy and track-guards in black.  The track-guards were then highlighted Humbrol 67 Tank Grey and the whole model was lightly dry-brushed with Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill before being sprayed with matt varnish.  Last of all, the gunner’s canopy was given a coat of Humbrol Gloss-Cote.

All in all, this is an excellent model – highly recommended!

Just pay attention and stick it together correctly… 🙁

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Cold War, Cold War - NATO Armies, Painted Units | 4 Comments

“In Dixie Land I’ll Make My Stand”: Building a 10mm Confederate Army (Part 2)

Pender’s Division at Gettysburg

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, I’ve been building 10mm Confederate and Union armies for the American Civil War, using the orders of battle for the first day of the iconic Battle of Gettysburg as my immediate ‘to do’ list.  On that day, elements of the Confederate III Corps encountered the Union 1st Cavalry Division near the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg and the battle rapidly sucked in the rest of the III Corps, as well as the Confederate II Corps and Union I Corps, XI Corps and XII Corps.  Over the next few days the battle would suck in the rest of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac.

Major General Pender

Following the initial clash between Heth’s Division and Buford’s cavalry west of Gettysburg, General A. P. Hill, commanding the Confederate III Corps, ordered the rest of his Corps to march to the battle.  Next in the line of march after Heth was the 3rd Division of III Corps, commanded by Major General William Dorsey Pender.

Like most Confederate generals, Dorsey Pender was a pre-war U.S. Army officer, having served initially as an artillery officer and then as an officer of the 1st U.S. Dragoon Regiment.  Resigning his commission in 1861 to join the Confederate cause, he briefly served as an artillery officer before being appointed as the Colonel of a succession of North Carolina infantry regiments.

Major General Pender

Serving with distinction during the Peninsular Campaign, he was promoted to brigadier in June 1862, in command of a brigade of North Carolinians in A. P. Hill’s famed ‘Light Division’, where he won a reputation for aggressive and decisive action on the battlefield, as well as for being wounded in practically every battle he participated in.

In May 1863 Pender briefly took command of the ‘Light Division’ when A. P. Hill was wounded at Chancellorsville.  Following A.P. Hill’s elevation later that month to command the new III Corps, Pender was the natural choice to become one of his divisional commanders and was therefore appointed to command the corps’ 3rd Division.

Arriving with his division at Gettysburg on 1st July 1863 in support of Heth, Pender somewhat uncharacteristically decided to halt his decision and observe developments from the Herr Ridge.  When Heth’s first assault failed in the face of stiffening resistance from the Union I Corps, A. P. Hill ordered Pender to support Heth’s renewed assault.  However, Heth refused the offer of assistance and launched his second assault unsupported.  This assault also failed, with Heth being wounded in the process.  Pender was therefore ordered to make the third assault, which went in at around 4pm and proved to be extremely bloody; Scales’ Brigade in particular was almost completely destroyed by Union canister fire.

Nevertheless, Pender’s assault (assisted in no small measure by the arrival of Ewell’s II Corps on the Union right flank) succeeded in dislodging the Union troops from their position and pushed them back through Gettysburg itself, to Cemetery Ridge.  It was there, on the next day of the battle, that Pender was seriously wounded by a fragment of Union shell.  Pender died on 18th July 1863 of complications resulting from that wound.

Above: Pender’s Division at Gettysburg consisted of four brigades: Lane’s, Perrin’s, Thomas’ and Scales’, as well as a battalion of artillery.  Starting the battle with 6,736 effectives, it suffered 2,101 killed, wounded and missing, or 31% of its strength over the course of the battle.

As with Heth’s Division, I’ve gone for the same pose-type of figure for the entire division (in this case advancing poses – Heth’s are all firing & loading).  The reason for this is that I painted the division in three batches – the first batch in dark shades of grey, the second batch in light shades of grey and the third batch in ‘butternut’ – and then mix them all up before basing.

Above: Colonel Abner Perrin’s 1st Brigade comprised 1,886 men, equating to 9 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  Raised entirely in South Carolina, the brigade consisted of the 1st South Carolina Rifles Regiment and the 1st, 12th, 13th & 14th South Carolina Infantry Battalions.  This brigade lost 595 casualties or 32% of its strength at Gettysburg.

Above: Brigadier General James H. Lane’s 2nd Brigade consisted of 1,738 men, equating to 9 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  The brigade was one of two North Carolinian brigades in the division; consisting of the 7th, 18th, 28th, 33rd and 37th North Carolina Infantry Battalions.  Lane’s Brigade lost 705 men, or 41% of its strength at Gettysburg and suffered the highest casualty-rate of Pender’s four brigades.  Lane took command of the division when Pender was wounded on 4th July.

Above: Brigadier General Edward L. Thomas’ 3rd Brigade was the weakest of Pender’s four brigades, numbering 1,330 all ranks and equating to 7 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  This brigade was raised in Georgia and consisted of the 14th, 35th, 45th & 49th Georgia Infantry Battalions.  Thomas’ Brigade suffered the lightest casualty-rate at Gettysburg, losing 270 men or 20% of its strength.

Above: According to most sources, Brigadier General A. M. Scales’ Brigade had 1,355 men present at Gettysburg, which would normally equate to 7 bases for Brigade Fire & Fury.  However, the Fire & Fury 1st July scenario pegs the strength as 9 bases.  I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy, but I’ve gone with the published scenario strength.  Scales’ Brigade was all North Carolinian and comprised the 13th, 16th, 22nd, 34th & 38th North Carolina Infantry Battalions.  At Gettysburg it suffered 490 casualties, equating to 35% of its strength, based on the 1,355 figure.  Most of these casualties were suffered during the initial assault on McPherson’s Ridge on 1st July, when the brigade was shredded by Union canister fire.

Above: Colonel William T. Poague’s Artillery Battalion in reality consisted of four batteries: Wyatt’s Albermarle Va Battery (1x 12pdr Howitzer, 2x 3-inch Rifles & 1x 10pdr Parrott Rifle), Graham’s Charlotte NC Battery (2x 12pdr Howitzer & 2x 12pdr Napoleon), Ward’s Madison MS Battery (1x 12pdr Howitzer & 3x 12pdr Napoleon) and Brooke’s Warrenton Va Battery (2x 12pdr Howitzer & 2x 12pdr Napoleon).  In Brigade Fire & Fury, each gun model equates to a ‘battery’ of eight guns, so a gun model usually represents two Confederate four-gun batteries.  This mess of calibres (6x 12pdr Howitzer, 7x 12pdr Napoleon, 2x 3-inch Rifle & 1x 10pdr Parrott Rifle) boils down in game terms to one battery of 12pdr Napoleons and one mixed battery of Rifle/Smoothbore.

Models

The figures are all 10mm Pendraken ACW figures, painted by me.  The buildings are a mixture of Pendraken and Timecast Models and the cloth is by Tiny Wargames.

 

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, American Civil War Confederate Army, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Painted Units | 2 Comments