Monday, June 28, 2010

Borodino: The aftermath

Travels in North Europe: from modern writers
By William Bingley.
Published in 1822.

From the narrative of Mr. James's Journey from Moscow into Poland in 1814.

The travellers passed through Borodino, and saw the remains of the fortifications which had been made by the Russians; they visited the spot where a furious battle had been fought between the Russians and the French, on the advance of the latter towards Moscow. Though the Russians were finally defeated, the loss sustained by the two armies was nearly equal. To prove the sanguinary nature of the conflict, it will be sufficient to state that sixty-three thousand bodies were left dead upon the field; an amount such as can scarcely have been equalled in any preceding war. The ground was still strewed with memorials of the havoc that had taken place. Caps, feathers, scabbards, pieces of camp-kettles, scraps of uniforms, both French and Russian, were lying apparently in the place where each man had fallen. The French general had been killed by a cannonball and a small wooden tablet, attached to a rough stake, had been erected over the place of his interment. It bore an inscription to his memory, written in ink.

After the expulsion of the French army from Russia, a question of great importance was agitated, regarding the best mode of consuming the innumerable carcasses of men and horses which covered the surface of the ground. The method of burying in quick lime was at first suggested ; but since it occurred, that wood necessary for burning so large a quantity of lime would, in all probability, be sufficient to consume the bodies themselves, the scheme was dropped, and the more summary process was preferred of committing the bodies to the flames. They lay, during the hard season, in a frozen state, until a short time before the thaw was expected to commence; they were then hewn in pieces, collected in heaps, and burnt upon piles of wood.

An interesting and unusual account highlighting a part of battle we here little of, recording a pragmatic though sad end to the fallen heroes of both sides. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Battle of Medellin, 28 March 1809

In the Peninsular War, the Battle of Medellín was fought on March 28, 1809 and resulted in a victory of the French under Marshal Victor against the Spanish under General Don Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta. The battle marked the first major effort by the French to occupy Southern Spain, a feat mostly completed with the victory at the Battle of Ocana later in the year.

Victor began his southern drive with the objective of destroying the Army of Estremadura, commanded by General Cuesta, who was retreating in face of the French advance. A series of successful rearguard actions between the 17th and 27th of March gave Cuesta a breathing space and after he was reinforced with Albuquerque's 7,000 troops he decided to meet the French in battle rather than continue to withdraw. Cuesta with now around 19,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry, might have had a chance of success in a defensive battle, but instead he decided to attack Victor’s army at Medellin.

The battlefield was just southeast of the town of Medellín, which was roughly 300 km southwest of Madrid. The battlefield was a triangle of land bordered by the Guadiana River along a west-east axis in the northern edge of the battlefield and was joined with the Hortiga River, which ran along a north-south axis that precluded any Spanish flanking maneuvers on the French right, and with Medellin at the north western tip of the triangle. Victor had roughly 17,500 troops while Cuesta possessed about 23,000. However, Victor had a 50-30 advantage in guns and could also count on more cavalry than the Spanish, 4,500 to 3,000, Cuesta’s only numerical advantage was in his infantry, but this was split between raw recruits and men who had been defeated at Gamonal and the Somosierra Pass.

Both commanders arrayed their armies in an unusual fashion, although Victor's setup seems to have been more reasonable. The center of the French army, an infantry division under General Eugene-Casimir Villatte, occupied the main road that led from Medellín to Don Benito in the southeast, whereas the wings, commanded by Lasalle (the left) and Latour-Maubourg (the right), stood much farther south and southeast. Each wing was composed of a cavalry division and two battalions of Laval's German infantry. Apparently, Victor's intentions were to keep withdrawing his flanks closer and closer to the center until a powerful counter-attack could shatter the Spanish lines. Victor's reserve was an infantry division under General François Ruffin, which would not take part in the battle. If this was an odd deployment, Cuesta’s forces were in an even more unusual position. To make sure that he could not be outflanked, Cuesta deployed his infantry into a single thin line, four miles long and only four men deep and split into five divisions (from left to right: Henestrosa, Del Parque, Trias, Portago and Albuquerque). For the Spanish to win they had to prevent the French from finding any gaps in this line, for there were no reserves. If the French cavalry got around the edges of Cuesta’s army, then a disastrous defeat would follow.

The cannonade began around 1 p.m. and Cuesta ordered the attack about an hour later. The Spanish initially had a great deal of success, repelling an impatient cavalry charge on their left flank by a brigade of Latour-Maoubourg's dragoons and prompting both French wings to keep falling back, all while their skirmishers unleashed deadly fire into the French ranks. Lasalle's position was a bit dangerous, since the Guadiana at his back meant his 2,000 cavalry and 2,500 infantry could not fall back more than a mile. Three Spanish cavalry regiments hovered around the bank of the Guadiana and attempted to turn the French left, but Lasalle and his men held on to their tenuous positions.

By this point in the battle, both French flanks had retreated far enough to be within easy supporting distance from Villatte's division. Latour-Maubourg's western sector was reinforced with the 94th Line infantry regiment and a battalion of grenadiers. The ten French guns in this part of the battlefield also stabilized the situation as they consistently outperformed their Spanish counterparts. Spanish infantry, however, kept pushing forward and created many problems for Latour-Maubourg's men, who were arrayed in squares to protect themselves against cavalry charges and consequently had limited firepower.

As the Spanish led by Colonel de Zayas, who was marching on the French battery at the head of a column of grenadiers threatened to capture the French guns, Latour-Maubourg ordered the dragoons to attack once more. This time, the charge succeeded. The French dragoons defeated three Spanish cavalry regiments, who fled the field and left their infantry isolated, the entire left wing crumbled and fled, most of the survivors from the Spanish infantry came from the left wing. Since Cuesta had no reserves, a breach of this magnitude was just about the worst that could happen to his fragile line.

Events now unfolded quickly. Lasalle had been reinforced with seven infantry battalions from Villatte, and once he saw the Spanish routing to the west he too ordered a powerful counter-attack. The 2nd Hussars regiment, accompanied by a regiment of Chasseurs à Cheval, smashed the Spanish cavalry, reformed, and charged at the once-again abandoned Spanish infantry in the eastern flank. Lasalle's fresh battalions also attacked frontally, General Trias fell mortally wounded. Though the Spanish commander on the right, the Duke of Albuquerque, did better than his equivalents on the left wing, managing to organise some resistance to the cavalry, the Spanish were then hit from the rear by Latour-Maubourg’s cavalry, fresh from the rout of the Spanish left, and the entire Spanish army broke. Some battalions attempted to stand and fight, and were virtually wiped out, while the French cavalry offered no quarter during the pursuit (in vengeance for the 10th Hussars at Miajadas). Many were brutally killed in this chaotic retreat and Cuesta's army effectively ceased to exist.

It had been a disastrous day for Cuesta, who nearly lost his life in the battle. The Spanish had 8,000 troops killed or wounded and about 2,000 captured, while the French only suffered about 1,000 casualties. On top of that, the Spanish lost 20 of their 30 guns.

In the aftermath of the battle Cuesta retreated to Monasterio, half way between Medellin and Seville. Bizarrely his standing with the Central Junta improved after Medellin, for despite the defeat and the heavy losses, his army had put up a much more credible fight than had been the case in the majority of recent battles. By mid April enough reinforcements had reached him to bring the Army of Estremadura back to same size as it had been before the battle.

Victor gained very little from his victory. The second part of his orders had been for him to capture Badajoz, close to the border with Portugal, and then wait for news from Marshal Soult, who was believed to be advancing towards Lisbon. Instead of doing this, Victor put his men into camps at Merida and Medellin. He remained in Estremadura until the middle of June, by which time it was clear that Soult’s campaign in Portugal had gone badly wrong. Arthur Wellesley had taken command in Portugal, forced the French to retreat across the mountains back to Galicia, and was now threatening to invade Spain. Victor and his army was needed around Talavera.

Battle Of Meddelin
A History of the Peninsular War: January to September 1809 - From the Battle of Corunna to the End of the Talavera Campaign v. 2
Battala Medellin


Eagle Figures - 28mm Napoleonic Spanish Range

Eagle Figures recently released a range of Napoleonic Spanish 28mm figures.
They now have some pics posted in their gallery which are shown below.

Well my first reaction is these are not bad at all, they were sculpted by Ian Mountain (who did the Hussites for KingMaker and they were excellent), just for some reason I find I am 'interested' but not truly 'excited' by them but after taking a look at Ian's greens which he has posted on his site I think maybe its just the paint job that I am not wild about (I am not saying 'bad' just not edge of the seat gripping), of course in 28mm everything is compared to Perry, 'the 'gold' standard, which makes life tough for the rest of the industry. I think I may just have to pick up a small selection to check them out in the flesh, then get DPS to paint them up for me and see what they can make of them. If I do then I will post a further review here, so check back later.

Anyway can't complain too much there is not a lot of choice when it comes to Spanish!

The full range

Ian Mountain's Greens

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Battle Of Maria, 15th June 1809

After his defeat at the Battle of Alcañiz on the 23rd of May General Suchet fell back to Zaragoza, where he tried to reorganise his battered III Corps. However the Spanish led by Captain General Joaquin Blake lingered for several days at Alcañiz waiting for reinforcements before taking any further action.

Once his reinforcements arrived Blake, with a force that now totaled over 20,000 men, finally felt strong enough to move and so marched against Zaragoza intending to take it from Suchet and free Aragon from French control. Alcañiz had convinced him that his army could successfully fight a defensive battle against the French, so rather than advance along the main road from Alcañiz to Zaragoza, along the Ebro, he decided to cut west across the mountains to the Huerba valley, and then advance north along that river towards Zaragoza. The move to the Huerba threatened Suchet’s lines of communications north west towards Tudela and onwards to France. He would have to either abandon Zaragoza without a fight, or attack the Spanish on ground of their own choosing.

By 14th June Blake had reached the Huerba, and his outposts were within ten miles of the Zaragoza. For some reason he had deliberately divided his army in two. One division, under General Areizaga, was advancing down the right bank of the Huerba, while the other two divisions, under Blake, were on the left bank. The two armies were separated by a gap of six or seven miles and by the river.

Suchet had been active since the battle, concentrating all his forces on Zaragoza and restoring the III Corps somewhat shaken morale. Hearing of Blake's approach Suchet decided to come out to give battle. Of the 10,500 men available to him, 1,000 were left to guard Zaragoza against any surprise attack, 2,000 were posted on the right bank of the Huerba under Laval with orders to stop, or at least slow down, any attack by Areizaga. This left Suchet with 7,500 infantry, 800 cavalry and twelve guns to attack Blake’s two divisions.

So on June 14th the two sides found each other along the river Huerva near Cadrete on the road between Maria de Huerva and Zaragoza. The Spanish Areizaga Division (6000 men and 8 guns) was at Botorrita, a league back, after they had captured a French supply convoy. However Blakes remaining force of over 14,000 men including 1,000 cavalry and seventeen cannons still heavily outnumbered Suchet's force.

Suchet seeing the sluggishness of the Spaniard's decided at this point to wait a day for the arrival of promised reinforcements in the shape of Roberts with 3,000 men.

On the morning of 15 June Blake’s army formed up in line of battle on a series of ridges that run down from the hills towards the Huerba. Roca’s division was on the northern-most ridge to the left of Venta Real with the cavalry on his right in the plain, Lazano was in the second line with the artillery filling the gaps in the two lines and with a small force on the right bank of the Huerva covering the bridge over the Arroyo Salado.

The French formed up on another line of hills one mile to the north. Suchet then held his ground, ignoring the initial movement of the Spanish forces on his left flank, waiting for the promised 3,000 reinforcements, which by now were only a few miles from the battlefield.

Despite wishing to fight a defensive battle, Suchet’s inactivity provoked Blake into launching an attack on the French lines. At around 2pm Blake ordered a strong attack on Suchet's right by Roca reinforced with two regiments Lazano, in an attempt to out flank Musinier's division. Suchet seeing the danger responded by ordering the Polish lancers under Liski to attack the flank of the advancing columns, while the 114th Regiment of the line attacked from the front, the Spanish attack was soon repulsed. Suchet seeing the temporary disruption in Blake's left flank decided to launch a general counter attack in the center and left across the ravine with the 114th Line, 155th Line and the 1st Vistula Regiment. However the attack was stalled by fire from artillery located on the plateau and then repulsed by infantry fire from reinforcements ordered up by Blake forcing Suchet to commit his limited reserves to stabilize the situation, Harispe fell wounded. A heavy hail storm which began at 3pm brought limited visibility and halted operations at this point but the Spanish still firmly held the advantage.

During this hailstorm the French reinforcements (166th and 117th Regiments) finally arrived at the Abbey of Santa Fé, behind the French left. This convinced Suchet to launch a second attack, this time using his left to attack the Spanish right close to the Huerba. Three French infantry battalions under Habert's were used to soften up the Spanish lines, before the French Hussars and Cuirassiers of Wathier charged through gaps in the French lines. O'Donojou's cavalry fled without offering any resistance, exposing the infantry on the Spanish right. The French cavalry turned on this infantry, destroying Blake’s right wing, and taking a battery stationed by the bridge over the Arroyo Salado blocking his line of retreat back towards Areizaga. Brigadier O'Donojou and Colonel Menchaca were both taken prisoner.

Habert didn't follow the cavalry but instead turned on the flank of the Spanish center and finally, the Spanish troops broke and fled, Blake managed to partially save the situation. He formed a new line across the ridge, at ninety degrees to his original line, and conducted a fighting retreat, eventually escaping to the south at nightfall. Despite this his army had suffered dreadfully, losing 1,000 dead and at least 3,000 wounded, as well as 400 prisoners, three flags and 17 guns. The French suffered between 700 and 800 casualties.

Somewhat to Suchet’s surprise, the Spanish did not immediately abandon their campaign. Blake’s army concentrated at Botorita upstream from Maria, joining the Areizaga division, and then spent the next day in that position. Suchet responded by attempting to turn both Spanish flanks, but failed, and Blake was able to begin a retreat south-east across the mountains towards Belchite unhindered by the French. His army began to disintegrate during the retreat – 3,000 men deserted in two days, but despite arriving at Belchite with only 12,000 men, Blake decided to attempt to fight a third battle. This time his army simply collapsed, and when it came back together another 2,000 men had disappeared. The French grip on Saragossa had been saved.

Suchet's OOB
Blake's OOB

A History of the Peninsular War vol.2: Jan.-Sept. 1809 - From the Battle of Corunna to the end of the Talavera Campaign, Sir Charles Oman.

The Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War, David Gates

Batalla de Maria

Battle Of Maria


Battle Of Shevardino, 5th September 1812

On September 4th the French army again moved forward. Behind a ravine, near Gridnevo village, a heated fight developed between the Russian rear-guard under the command of Lieutenant-General Konovnitsyn, and the French troops of the King of Naples, Murat, supported by the Viceroy of Italy, Eugene. Night stopped the battle, and Konovnitsyn's troops that had held the field of battle retreated to the Kolotsky Monastery in darkness. It was a very difficult time for these rear-guard forces because they had been a engaged with a very large enemy cavalry force, and Napoleon's main forces had kept them in constant sight, forcing Konovnitsyn to continue fighting while retreating.

Kutuzov needed to either retreat more quickly or he needed to do what he had originally planned, to stop near the Kolotsky Monastery, fortify this position by absorbing the rear-guard of Konovnitsyn into his main force and await Napoleon.

Early in the morning of September 5, after throwing bridges over the stream separating the two armies, Compans' 5th Division rolled forward, supported by 1st and 2nd Reserve Cavalry Corps. They pushed through Fomkino and Doronino in dense columns preceded by a cloud of skirmishers, pushing the Russian pickets in front them.

A French battery unlimbered near Valoueava, on a low ridge where it was supported by seven companies of skirmishers. Those guns fired in support of the advancing infantry, limbering up to move ahead with the column, unlimbering to fire on the Russians time and again until they were finally within cannister range of the Shevardino redoubt itself. After firing for nearly two hours they moved against the village of Doronino and the adjacent woods.

At the same time Poniatowski advanced against Yelnia, driving out the Russian garrison there. Some Russian dragoons charged, driving back the exposed French skirmishers, while a small force of hussars slammed into the French column marching against the Russian guns. The French were driven back.

While the Russian skirmishers were retreating on the Russian right, one of their dragoon regiments attacked and disordered two French columns then also and threw back a French cavalry probe. But the advance of Poniatowski's Poles up the Old Smolensk Road threatened their flank and forced them to withdraw in turn.

Gen. Maj. Lowenstern misread the situation, reporting to Bagration about the valiant and successful defense of the redoubt. When he returned to his command he found the artillery and some of the infantry streaming back toward the main Russian lines. He responded quickly and sent another battery and a brigade of 27th Division forward to support the position. The 27th advanced to pointblank range and engaged the French with musketry.

Two French regiments then moved to attack the left of the Russian 27th. Two other regiments on the right of the French 5th Division were to turn the Russian right. Simultaneously, Morand and Friant moved on the village of Shevardino, but were stopped by a violent Russian fusillade. Four French guns moved up under the cover of the infantry and began to fire cannister into the dense Russian ranks. Shaken by the artillery fire, those Russians crumbled under a bayonet assault. The French swept into the redoubt to find their fire had already killed everyone in it.

What had begun as a small engagement for maneuvering room had rapidly escalated into a general battle between the two armies' wings. Prince Gorchakov sent the 2nd Grenadier Division to relieve the battered 27th Division. The rest of 8th Corps was sent to retake the redoubt,. which they did after a bloody assault. The sole intention of Gorchakov was to hold it long enough to let night fall and end the battle.

The French columns began to close in on the 2nd Grenadier Division from the left. The Russians counterattacked with two cuirassier regiments (Little Russia and Gloukhov). One flank of the cuirassiers was covered with 2 squadrons of Kharkov Dragoons and the other flank with 2 squadrons from Chernigov Dragoons. The French 111th Line Infantry Regiment tried to form square against the charging cavalry. One battalion was destroyed while other battalions became disordered. Louis Gardier of 111th wrote: "... Russian cuirassiers, who claimed to be our allies and indeed looked like the Saxon cuirassiers, appeared. Assuming that they arrived to charge the enemy, we allowed them to pass nearby. But they rallied behind us and charged, killing anyone who came under their sabers." The cuirassiers killed 300 men and captured 3 guns. The disordered 111th Line Regiment was then shattered by a friendly fire from a French battalion standing near the village.

General Friant's infantry division already stood north of Shevardino. Its 2 Spanish battalions of the Régiment Joseph Napoléon marched toward the village when Russian dragoons charged them. The Spaniards formed squares and opened fire. The dragoons fell back. The remaining regiments of Friant's 2nd Infantry Division (15th Light, 33rd Line, 48th Line, and artillery - all French units) were much less molested by the cavalry. Russian cavalry also pressed elsewhere on the field, forcing the French to take defensive measures.

Darkness finally fell, but it did not end the battle. The French began to turn the redoubt's southern flank. By this time the redoubt had been half destroyed by the violence of the assaults. Around 11:00 p.m. Bagration received the order to withdraw his forces. Kutuzov had decided to give up the redoubt and move Bagration eastward, to the Semenovsky ditch to form the left flank of the Russian army. The Semenovsky or "Bagration's" fleches were hastily built but would play a colossal part in the great battle to come.

His rear guard was made up of a cuirassier division and a musketeer battalion. As the Russians withdrew, the French cavalry came forward once again. The Russian rearguard commander ordered infantry to raise their voices and beat their drums as loudly as possible in an effort to exaggerate their numbers in the darkness, while the cuirassiers advanced to meet the French. The engagement was fought in total darkness, and in its confusion the Russians managed to complete their withdrawal. The French had confronted 18,000 Russians with 35,000 of their own men, with both sides losing about 8,000 in the engagement.

Both armies settled into their bivouacs and camp fires soon lit the Russians' positions to the east. But the French sat sullen in the darkness. The late hour of the fight had denied them chance to prepare the few comforts of a field encampment.

Battle Of Shevardino (napoleonistyka)

Régiment Joseph Napoleon

The Régiment Joseph Napoléon was a regiment formed from the remnants of the Division del Norte of General La Romana, which had been unable or chose not to leave Denmark and be carried back to Spain by the English ships in 1808. They served in the French Army from 1809 until 1813, participating in the 1812 Russian campaign and 1813 campaign in Germany.


In 1807 the Bourbon monarchs of Spain sent an expeditionary force from the regular Spanish Army to Northern Europe, to serve with the French La Grande Armée. The expeditionary forces was commanded by Marquis de la Romana and consisted of four regiments of line infantry, five regiments of cavalry, two battalions of light infantry, and supporting artillery. The Spanish expeditionary force participated in the siege of the Swedish fortress of Stralsund in late 1807. The Spanish expeditionary force was then broken up and stationed in different parts of Denmark.
The Spanish expeditionary force was still in Denmark in the summer of 1808, when news of events in Spain arrived. The Bourbons of Spain had been forced to abdicate and Napoleon proclaimed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, as King of Spain on 6 June 1808. Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal and overthrowing of the Spanish monarchs would result in conflict between France and Portugal, Spain, and Great Britain in the Iberian Peninsula until 1814, which became known as the Peninsular War.
The crowning of Joseph Bonaparte as King of Spain was considered by many in the Spanish expeditionary force as disgraceful. However, the Spanish expeditionary force was too far from Spain and too close to French forces to do anything about the situation in Spain. However, a British agent contacted the leader of the Spanish expeditionary force, Marquis de la Romana, and offered transportation to Spain by British ships, La Romana accepted. In August 1808 the Spanish expeditionary force seized the Danish port of Nyborg; however, not all the units of the Spanish expeditionary force made a successful embarkation, the Asturias and Guadalaxara Spanish infantry regiments were overwhelmed, disarmed and captured by French and Danish forces. While the Algarve Spanish cavalry regiment, the farthest unit from Nyborg, did not attempt to escape and actually revealed the escape plot to the French. In total over 3,500 Spanish troops become prisoners of war.


In the autumn of 1808 Napoleon considered the possibility of using Spanish regiments in French service in the Peninsular War and would later become part of King Joseph Bonaparte’s army. General Jean Kindelan, second in command of the former Spanish expeditionary force, had not participated in the escape plot and took an oath of allegiance to King Joseph Bonaparte. Kindelan supported the idea that within the 3,500 Spanish prisoners, there would be a sufficient number who would accept the new ruler of Spain and provide a nucleus for a new military unit for service in the Peninsular War.
On 13 February 1809 a decree specified the formation of Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment. The regiment was formed as a line infantry regiment along French regulations and organization (although allowed to conduct drills and manoeuvres in Spanish). The regiment consisted of four combat battalions and one depot battalion; each battalion had four fusilier (regular infantry) companies, one grenadier (heavy infantry) company, and one voltigeur (skirmisher) company. Formation of the new regiment was slow, since it was formed entirely from Spanish prisoners of war and distinctions had to be made between those who genuinely wanted to serve and those who would desert and fight against the French.

General Jean Kindelan commanded Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment from 13 February 1809 until 19 January 1812. Colonel Jean Baptiste Marie Joseph de Tschudy commanded from 19 January 1812 until 25 November 1813, when the unit was ordered disbanded. Colonel Tschudy was wounded 18 November 1812.

Combat history

By the spring of 1810 the regiment was fully organized, King Joseph Bonaparte asked that Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment be sent to Spain to serve with his army. However, due to the situation in Spain the loyalty of the unit could not be guaranteed if it was sent to Spain. Instead Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment was broken up, the four combat battalions were sent to Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, and France.
In 1812 during the French invasion of Russia, Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment was deployed for combat. The 2nd and 3rd battalions formed part of Marshal Davout’s I Corps while the 1st and 4th battalions formed part of Prince Eugene’s IV Corps. In the 1812 campaign Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment fought at Vitebsk and Smolensk. At Shevardino, forming squares and protected a French infantry regiment that had been attacked and disorganized by Russian cavalry from further cavalry attacks. At the Battle of Borodino all four battalions of Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment were present, the 3rd and 4th battalions participated in fighting for the great redoubt that dominated the battlefield at Borodino.
The Spanish earlier fought alongside Murat at the chateau of Fominskoie - "The French right meanwhile is on the highway, and Dedem's 2 weak infantry battallions, one from the 33rd the other Tschudi's Spaniards, are being ravaged by enemy grapeshot. Almost the whole Spanish battalion is thrown to the ground and loses all it's officers."
Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment fought during the French retreat from Russia at Battle of Krasnoi and Battle of Berezina.
There´s a report by Rafael de Llanza or Llança about the Spanish regiments sent to Russia. He was an officer in the regiment and was taken prisoner by the Russian at a large skirmish close to river Dnieper in an action where Ney was protecting the rearguard. Llanza was injured in the action by shrapnel, he didn´t surrender to the Russians, but in his own words the Russians happily were around there. In short, Russians gave a warm welcome to Spanish prisoners. Later some of the prisoners formed a Russo-Spanish regiment.

Of the four battalions that fought in Russia only 160 men were left at the start of 1813. The Regiment was reconstituted from the depot batalion and a 5th battalion that had been formed from prisoners of war who preferred to fight rather than become pioneers and build roads. In the 1813 campaign in Germany Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment fought at Battle of Lützen, Battle of Bautzen, Battle of Leipzig, and Battle of Hanau.

Actions in which officers were killed:
1812: Moskowa, Mojaisk, Krasnoe, Beresina and Wilna
1813: Stettin, Lutzen, Bautzen, Liepzig, Hanau and Glogau


By mid 1813 Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment had been reduced to one combat battalion and the depot battalion. On 25 November 1813 a decree ordered the disbandment of Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment, on 24 December the troops of Joseph Napoleon’s Regiment surrendered their weapons and were converted into a pioneer regiment. The pioneer regiment was disbanded on 17 April 1814.


The regiment was formed in 1809 with a French Line Infantry style uniform and with long gaiters up to 1812. The shako has an early Spanish style plate and features a red roundel.
The officers wear the shako of course with golden ornaments in particular a gold stripe at the top edge.
After the return from Russia the regiment is reconstituted with Spanish prisoners of war, the uniform is a Bardin style, shako with cockade and a plate are the French model 1812 and then the semi-gaiters that go with it.
The drummers of the regiment in 1813 wore a green coat without lapels and without imperial livery.

The following two pictures of a Bonnet de Police are taken from the website of an auction house. It is labelled as being from the JNR and as support for this they claim the decorative initials on the front are 'JNR'. Whilst the initials do appear to be 'JNR' I don't believe it belongs to the Joseph Napoleon Regiment as their facing color was green not red, any thoughts?

Les Espangols A La Grand Armee
Regiments d'Infanterie Etrangers (Napoleon Series)
Tradition Magazine #88

Uniforms: French - English Dictionary of Terms

Français - FrenchAnglais - English
baguette de tambourdrumstick
banderoleshoulder belt
botte à reverstop boot
boucle de ceinturonbelt plate
bridehead stall
brisque, chevronstripe
bufflerieleather equipment
cartouchièrecartridge box
ceinturonsword belt
chaperonholster cap
collet droitstraight collar
courroiestrap, belt
cravateneck tie, cravat
crosse pistoletgrip
dragonnesword knot
épaulette à frangeepaulet with fries
épée droitestraight sword
étrivièrestirrup leather
flamme de trompettebanner
flamme, fanionpennon
fusilriffle, musket
gardehilt, sword guard
guêtregaiter, leggin
habit courtpacket
habit longlong tailed coat
jugulairechin strap
longe de poitrailbreast lunge
manteau enroulérolled great coat
nid d’hirondelleswallow’s nest
ornement de retroussisornament of turnbacks
parement en pointepointed cuff
parement galonnélaced cuff
passantring belt
patte d’épauleshoulder strap
patte de parementcuff slash
poche en longvertical pocket
poche en traversacross pocket
poche simuléeblinded pocket
porte carabinecarbine bucket
porte manteauvalise
reverslapel, facings
revers en pointepointed lapel
saccalf-skin pack
selleriehorse furniture
tapis de sellesaddle cloth
tresses cords

English - AnglaisFrench - Français
across pocketpoche en travers
bannerflamme de trompette
belt plateboucle de ceinturon
blinded pocketpoche simulée
breast lungelonge de poitrail
calf-skin packsac
carbine bucketporte carabine
cartridge boxcartouchière
chin strapjugulaire
cuff slashpatte de parement
drumstickbaguette de tambour
epaulet with friesépaulette à frange
gaiter, legginguêtre
gripcrosse pistolet
head stallbride
hilt, sword guardgarde
holster capchaperon
horse furnituresellerie
laced cuffparement galonné
lapel, facingsrevers
leather equipmentbufflerie
long tailed coathabit long
neck tie, cravatcravate
ornament of turnbacksornement de retroussis
packethabit court
pennonflamme, fanion
pointed cuffparement en pointe
pointed lapelrevers en pointe
riffle, musketfusil
ring beltpassant
rolled great coatmanteau enroulé
saddle clothtapis de selle
shoulder beltbanderole
shoulder strappatte d’épaule
stirrup leatherétrivière
straight collarcollet droit
straight swordépée droite
strap, beltcourroie
stripebrisque, chevron
swallow’s nestnid d’hirondelle
sword épée
sword beltceinturon
sword knotdragonne
top bootbotte à revers
valiseporte manteau
vertical pocketpoche en long

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Renegade Update

News from Renegade Miniatures of an update to their 28mm range.

We've now added Advancing and Kneeling Firing (both flank and centre) packs/regiments to the range.
We'll also see the Household Cavalry (Command, Shouldered Arms & Charging) out very soon.
Followed shortly by Hussars, British Infantry Firing Line and more Command.

We've really enjoyed putting this range together and expect to see things take apace with Limbers, Horse Artillery, Mtd. Colonels and the 95th all in the pipeline.

We're also working on adding Chariots to our CWS range; we'll keep you informed of their progress.

Cavalry Regiments
We here at Renegade pride ourselves on bringing you high quality miniatures, both in design and of cast - at exceptionally low prices! But, we feel we have to reduce our cavalry regiments from 9 to 8 per regiment. The insurmountable cost of metal has forced our arm and we only hope you still agree - £11.95 for a regiment of quality 28mm metal miniatures is still, very, very good indeed.

We'll be reducing the contents to eight Cavalry per regiment as from the 1st of July.
So get them in now whilst they're 9's!

New Range:
Last, but not least.. We've been hard at work over the Spring and hope to bring you news on an entirely new range of miniatures, along with some additions to our current ranges asap.

Well thats great news indeed!
I know someone out there will be over the moon to hear about finally getting some CWS Chariots though for a some reason CWS is just not my thing.
Ha! Napoleonics, be still my beating heart, what with Limbers and RHA it certainly seems these guys are serious about creating a line of Napoleonics not just the odd figure or two, I can't wait to my hands on these!
So what of the new Range, what will it be, more Ancients or new Medievals or finally are we going to see the Saxons have some opposition (yeah!), what do you think?
Now the price rise, note this applies to Punic Wars, ECW and WWI only, the other ranges were already 8 to a pack, any price rise sucks but to be honest at these prices you can't complain really.
Exciting times for Renegade fans!

Monday, June 21, 2010

HKSW Meeting - Beijing Wargame Club

Saturday was HKSW club day this time at the Kowloon Bay venue.

I played a couple of rounds of C&C Ancients with Angus from the Beijing Wargame Club who has been here for the last couple of weeks. We played the Cannae scenario swapping sides so we both got a chance to try each side.

As I found in my recent post on TMP about the Beijing Wargame Club stereotypes are very hard to break down. Many still see China as a heavily controlled police state with little freedom, but as Angus confirmed there are no 'taboos' in wargaming in Bejing. If you really want to wargame the invasion of Tibet you can do so without any worries, it was telling that he actually found the whole idea that there might be a problem somewhat amusing.

He's a great guy and if you ever pass though Beijing I recommend getting in touch with him and seeing if you can join in one of their club meetings. See below for more info.

Oh and for the record I won both games.

There was also a very interesting 15mm Waterloo game using Peter's A Near Run Thing rules.

More HKSW News

Beijing Wargame Party Club (北京战棋党 in Chinese) was founded in 2006. There are currently around 20 core members, 7 of which form the executive committee. It has weekly gathering on Saturdays (unless there is special arrangement of "long holiday" as announced by the State government, then usually the gathering will be arranged on the second day of the holiday.) and usually there are 12 to 15 members attending each gathering. You are welcome to visit its (new and revamped) website (forum) at (mainly in Chinese).

Angus can be contacted at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Uniforms: Coraceros Espanoles

The Coraceros Espanoles was formed on the 24th May 1810 in Reus Tarragona.
Comprising 6 companies of 70 men in 2 squadrons, being one squadron taken from the Cazadores de Olivenza and one squadron from the Hussars de Grenade (The Cazadores de Olivenza had also been used to form the Husares de Grenade in June 1808).

They were equipped with weapons, cuirasses and helmets captured by the Numancia Dragoon Regiment from the French 3e Provisional Cuirassiers at the battle of Mollet del Valles.

About 200 cuirassiers were killed or captured at Mollet, the prisoners were taken to the fortress of Lerida  and the equipment was used to create the Coraceros Espanoles Regiment.

However only one squadron received the cuirass and helmet

The uniform was a red coatee (supposedly of English origin) with green collar and cuffs, white piping and turnbacks, pewter buttons, white pantaloons, black high boots and a white cape. The white sheepskins were edged with red wolfsteeth and the green saddle-cloth with white lace. The portmanteau was green edged in white. The saddle cloth was not of French origin and differs in that it has a rounded front corner.

The source for this is "Conde de Clonard Album de la Caballeria".

In 1815, as part of a larger reorganisation of the Spanish army, the Coraceros Espanoles were renamed the 3e Coraceros Espanoles, the saddle-cloth and the portmanteau had the numeric "3" added. All contemporary prints which show the numeric "3" are of the post reorgansiation unit not the Peninsular War unit.

Napoleon formed three provisional cuirassier regiments for the campaign in Spain. The first two regiments were formed in Tours in November of 1807 while the 3rd Provisional Regiment was formed in Poitiers in 1808.
The 2e Provisional Regiment was captured at Baylen (all their equipment was eventually returned to France). On 24 December 1809 the 1e Provisional Regiment was reinforced with the remnants of the 2e Regiment and became the 13e Cuirassiers. The 13e Curassier regiment was attached to Suchet Corps in Aragon. When Suchet entered in Catalonia on the 19th of May 1810 and conquered Lerida (April 1810) the French prisoners were liberated and the surviving men of the 3e Provisional Curassiers were incorporated into the 13e Curassiers.

The 3e Regiment was, however, not formally disbanded until early 1811 in Barcelona.

Uniforms: Austrian Army

General Austrian Uniform Info:
Osprey MAA 176 Infantry
Osprey MAA 181 Cavalry
Osprey MAA 223 Specialists
Osprey MAA 299 Austrian Auxiliary Troops 1792-1816
Osprey Warrior 24 Austrian Grenadiers and Infantry 1788-1816

Osprey Elite 101 Austrian Commanders of the Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Napoleon-Series:The Austrian Army in 1798: the Uniform Plates of Tranquillo Mollo and Joseph George Mansfield

Napoleon-Series:Austrian Landwehr in 1809: the Uniform Plates of Joseph Eder

Napoleon-Series:Austrian Regular Infantry

Napoleon-Series:Austrian Cavalry Regiments and Their Commanders: 1792-1815

Napoleon-Series:Austrian Freikorps and Landwehr of the Wars of Liberation: the Uniform Plates of Friedrich Neumann


Austrian Uniform Guide – Line Infantry

Small guide plus nice painted figures

PDF of the Foundry catalog

napoleonistyka general info on the Austrian army

Austrian Army



Artillery (plus Engineers)

Uniforms: Duchy of Warsaw


Napoleon Online

Les Uniformes de l'Armee Francaise By Lienhart Et Humbert


Uniforms: Chasseurs de Montagne

To ensure security along the border with Spain, and to try to capitalize on the potential strength of the numerous departments of the Pyrenees, Napoleon decided in 1808 to form battalions of "irregulars" with a special status called "Chasseurs de Montagne" or hunters of the mountain. The term originally referred to Miquelet Catalan supporters raised by a gang leader Miquelot Prats in the fifteenth century.

The decree of August 6, 1808 created 34 companies of irregulars known as "Chasseuers de Montagne" to protect the people and property in the Pyrenees. These troops were tasked with monitoring the border between France and Spain to prevent invasion as well as to ensure free movement of troops, convoys of prisoners and materials through the Pyrenees mountain passes and valleys.

The soldiers were recruited in the five departments of the Pyrenees (Pyrenees Oriental, Haute-Pyrenees, Pyrenees Basses, Ariege, Haute-Garonne).

Each battalion was to be composed of a variable number of companies:
8 in the Pyrenees-Orientales
8 in the Ariege
2 in the Haute-Garonne
8 in the Hautes-Pyrenees
8 in the Basses-Pyrenees.

They were comprised of local inhabitants, National Guard and draft dodgers. The draft dodgers had been promised amnesty by serving in the "Chasseuers de Montagne" with the assurance that they would only serve within France. In some departments such as the Ariege and the Basses-Pyrenees, the influx of draft dodgers was so great that they doubled the number of battalions. History would show that this promise was not kept.

At their inception, the 34 companies totaled 5032 men but by 1810, it was no more than 4465. On January 17, 1811, an imperial decree gave the "Chasseurs de Montagne" a new structure, with the companies now divided into three battalions numbered from 1 to 3:

The 1st Battalion Chasseurs de Montagne is formed from:
- 1st Battalion of the Pyrenees Orientales (1 Company)
- 1st & 2nd Battalion of the Haute-Garonne (2nd & 3rd Company)
- 1st Battalion of the Hautes-Pyrenees (4th, 5th & 6th Company)

The 2nd Battalion was formed with two battalions of the Ariege.

The 3rd Battalion was formed at the meeting by 8 companies of the battalions of Basses-Pyrenees and the reserve battalion.
- The five companies stationed in Jaca (1st & 2nd Coy)
- The reserve battalion in Bilbao (3, 4 & 5 Coy)
- The battalion of the Basses-Pyrenees employed in the 10th Division (6, 7 & 8 Coy)

Contrary to what had been promised the Chasseurs were active in Spain in particular to monitor the road between Pamplona and Zaragoza. This flagrant breach of commitments was the cause of many desertions, so that the first battalion of the Ariege, for example, had be returned to its parent department to be reformed and General Wouillemont, who left for the Haute-Aragon with 3,000 Chasseuers in early 1809 had no more than 700 on his arrival.

The continuing influx of draft dodgers however more than offset these losses and even a second battalion was raised by Ariege which was sent to Jaca a strategic node on the other side of the border where it was joined by the reformed first battalion. The Ariege Chasseuers came to be regarded as the best, and under the command of Captain Roquemaurel they dispersed several bands of guerrillas in 1809. Suchet asked for the cross of the Legion of Honour for this worthy captain. Chasseuers de Montagne fought in many other battles, but their marginal nature makes them difficult to identify but throughout the French occupation of Spain the Chasseuers de Montagne continued to secure communications in the border region and participated actively in the fight against the Spanish guerrillas. After the evacuation of Spain, the battalions were incorporated in the infantry in December 1813:
- The 1st Battalion in the 116th regiment of the line,
- 2nd in the 4th light,
- The third in the 25th light.

Article 7 of decret de portait: "The weapons, equipment and clothing are the same as they were in the last war with SpainThe problem is that the uniform of the 1793 French irregulars is not known, and therefore, in the absence of further research in the departmental archives, we rely upon simply classic uniformology that gives us:

The dress was that of the light infantry, with the background color of the cloth brown, with sky blue facings. It seems clear that the cutting of the uniform was not that of 1794, and the shako had replaced the hat.It is from this meager data that dress of the Chassuers de Montagne has been reconstructed.Further research in the archives of the departments concerned should provide answers to remaining questions.

It is difficult to use the word consistent when speaking of uniform of the Chasseurs de Montagne. The brown cloth remains the basis of the uniform. The facings sky blue. The headgear consists of a black shako without adornments and with a plate with a white eagle or diamond. The jacket of known variants: lapels, cuffs and collar for some blue sky, brown collar with blue piping (see red) for other . It seems that many Chasseuers have worn civilian clothes as shown in this application Wouillemont General dated 24 March 1809 and calls for " at least shakoes coats and absolutely indispensable to cover the ragged villagers three quarters of my men" .

Napoléon Et Les Pyrénées -
Les Chasseurs Des Montagnes Et La Couverture De La Frontière 1808-1814
By Jean Sarramon


Uniforms: Croatian troops under Napoleon

Uniforms and History of Croatian troops under Napoleon
History and Organisation:

Uniform Provisional Infantry

Uniform Hussars

Uniform Sedentary Infantry

Summary mainly repeating the above but a couple of extra pics

The links to the histofig site can be very very slow at times, so you can also look at the summary, it repeats most of the information without linking to histofig.

Uniforms: Kingdom of Württemberg


Les Uniformes de l'Armee Francaise By Lienhart Et Humbert


Uniforms: Useful Sites

I thought it might be of use to start a list of some of the "Uniform" sites.

Napoleon, His Army and Enemies (napoleonistyka)
Great for the history as well as unifrom information

Histofig (French site) – Very good, but very slow!!
Lots of uniform plates.

Les Uniformes pendant la Campagne des Cents Jours – 1815 (Site in French)

1815 (Site in French)

Les planches Waterloo

HISToire des UNIFormes des troupes alliées de l'Empire 1804-1814

Kingdom of Italy

The Vinkhuijzen collection of military uniforms
Huge collection of contemporary plates

US Reenactment site but details uniform of the 21e Fusiliers

Knoetel plates

Facings tables

Réunion des musées nationaux:

The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection:

Napoleon On-Line:

Les Uniformes de l'Armee Francaise By Lienhart Et Humbert

Uniforms of the Russian and the French Armies of the Napoleonic Wars
by Alexander Mikaberidze

Russian Hussars and Pandurs

The Artwork of Victor Boltishev

Cuirassiers, Dragoons, Horse-Jägers, Hussars, Lancers, Gendarmes, and the Train 1801-1825

Для увеличения картинки нажмите на нее

Napoleonic Uniform Glossary

Uniforms of the French Line Infantry: 1804 – 1812