Saturday, July 31, 2010

Smoothbore Ordnance Journal

News of an important new resource!
The Smoothbore Ordnance Journal a new journal/feature to be hosted on Napoleon-Series. With the editor being Dr. Stephen Summerfield no less, we can expect a mine of information of the highest quality. An interest of mine is bridging so I am glad to see that will be covered in the journal with an interesting Q&A in the first issue, I am really looking forward to seeing the future issues, bookmark it and put it on your must read list.

Smoothbore Ordnance Journal
Issue 1: August 2010
Chairman of the Editorial Board: Digby Smith
Editor: Dr. Stephen Summerfield

The Smoothbore Ordnance Journal will be a regular feature of the Napoleon Series website.

The aim of the Journal is to provide a variety of translations, biographies, commentaries, documents and other material related to technical aspects of artillery and weapon systems of the period that has often been overlooked.

Other technical subjects such as engineering, logistics, horses, bridging, and sieges may well be covered as they were important to the education of any artilleryman of the period and to the successful operation of artillery. Just a glance at the contents of the contemporary artillery texts will show the breadth of the subject.
* Adye (1801-27) Bombardier and Pocket Gunner,
* Gassendi (1789-1819) Aide Mémoire a Usage des Officières des France ,
* Muller (1757-1780) various manuals on Artillery and Fortifications
* Royal Engineers (1850-60) Aide Memoire to the Military Sciences
* Tousard (1809-13) American Artillerists Manual

The reader is invited to submit to the results of their research in the form of articles, translations, reviews, documentation, commentary, imagery and other related items.

The first issue contains:
Section 1: Translations – Horse Artillery
"The Austrian Cavalry Gun in Comparison to the Horse Artillery of Other States by Smola in 1827"
Translated by Digby Smith, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (01)

"About Horse Artillery with comments from Johann Gottfried Hoyer, c1798"
Translated by Geert van Uthoven, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (02)

"Rouvroy's view on the use of Horse Artillery in 1802"
Translated by Geert van Uthoven, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (03)

Section 2: Horses and Mobility
‘"HORSES" in Adye (1801-27) Bombardier and Pocket Gunner'
Stephen Summerfield, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (04)

"Mobility of Field Artillery; Past and Present,"
Hime, H.W.L. (1870) Professional Papers of the Royal Engineers, Volume 6, pp433-444

"Mechanics of Horse Haulage,"
Biggs, T.H. (1897) Professional Papers of the Royal Engineers, Volume 23, Paper VII, pp253-283

"On the Choices of Horses for the Artillery"
Müller, William (1811) Elements of the Science of War, Volume I, Longman, London, 134-137

"Lecture IV: Artillery Carriages"
Owen C.H. and Tames T.L. (1861) Elementary Lectures on Artillery, 3rd Edition, John M. Boddy, Woolwich, pp39-47

Section 3: Naval Ordnance
Constitution's Full Load of Ammunition, 1812,"
Tyrone G. Martin (Sept 2006)
War of 1812 Magazine, Issue 1

"Constitution's Wartime Gun Batteries,"
Tyrone G. Martin (June 2006)
War of 1812 Magazine, Issue 3

‘"Old Ironsides" On The Lakes,'
Tyrone G. Martin (Sept 2007)
War of 1812 Magazine, Issue 7

Section 4: Biographies and Memoirs
"Biography of Jean Baptist Viscomte de Gribeauval (1715-1789) in Wurzbach 1859"
Translated by Digby Smith, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (10)

"The Important Family of Saxon Artillery Officers, the Rouvroys"
Stephen Summerfield, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (07)

"The Hoyer Family of Saxon Artillery and Engineer Officers"
Stephen Summerfield, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (08)

"The Rouvroys in Austrian Artillery Service"
Stephen Summerfield, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (09)

"Extracts from the Memoir of Baron Alexander de Senarmont, Lieutenant of the French Army,"
Simpson, W.H.R. (1858),
Minutes of Proceedings of the Royal Artillery Institution, Volume I, 335-344

Section 5: Ordnance Texts in Context
"Notes on Adye (1801-27) Bombardier and Pocket Gunner,"
Stephen Summerfield, (Aug 2010) Smoothbore Ordnance Journal, 1 (11)

"Louis de Tousard and his ‘Artillerists Companion': An Investigation of Source Materials for Napoleonic Ordnance,"
Don Graves (May 1983) Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting, 23 (2), 51-60

Section 6: Dispatches
This is a readers' section offering correspondence, inquiries and discussion on ordnance subjects. The editors of the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal invite queries but please note that we cannot answer questions relating to genealogy. Those interested in such matters are directed to the many websites that specialise in this type of research. Please send your inquiries to the Editor.

Note that each letter or inquiry is numbered, so they can be referred in future by that number, such as 3001.

Question 3001:
What is the service life of bronze ordnance?
Answer 3001: [from Donald E. Graves]

Question 3002: [From Jonah Oliver]
Bridges and their demolition were key to most of the Napoleonic campaigns.
* How the destruction of bridges was carried out?
* Has anyone got any sources on this?
* How were the explosives rigged up?
* How did the engineers calculate the amount of powder needed?
Answer 3002: [From Stephen Summerfield]

Section 7: Reviews
"Adye RW and WG Eliot (1813 rp2010) Bombardier and Pocket Gunner"
Reviewed by Donald E. Graves

"Jean-Nicolas-Auguste Noël, With Napoleon's Guns: The Military Memoirs of an Officer of the First Empire"
[Translated and edited by Rosemary Brindle]
Reviewed by David McCracken

Section 8: Artefacts and Imagery
"The Art of Alexander Cavalie Mercer"
Gareth Glover (Jan 2010) Napoleon Series

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Light Infantry Skirmishing

This is an interesting article I had tucked away, it gives you an insite into how skirmishers were really used at the time. This article comes from a reenactor site 22e demi-brigade d'infanterie de ligne

Skirmishing in the 10e régiment d'infanterie légère in 1816.

The following text is found in the archives of SHD (the former S.H.A.T.) in the Château de Vincennes. It has been copied by hand and translated by Martin Lancaster.
Unfortunately, the signature and name of the file of this document got lost. From memory, it is an instruction of the 10e régiment d'infanterie légère, dating from 1816.
Service of the Tirailleurs.
First Part.
The first part contains general observations which have not been transcribed. The paragraphs of this part have been numbered from 1 to 15.
Second Part.
Peloton school of tirailleurs.
Article I.
General Rules.
16. Before deploying a company as tirailleurs, one will make it count by four, in each rank, from the right-hand side to the left.
17. Tirailleurs should, without awaiting any command, remove and put the bayonet on the musket, when they judge it right: it will be the rule to remove it while deployed, and to put it on the fusil when reforming.
Note. This is a means of precaution to avoid accidents; stopped in front of the enemy.
18. The reserves will keep the bayonet on the musket constantly; they will always conform to the movements of the tirailleurs.
19. The tirailleurs, on the double [au pas de course], will carry the weapon at will, in the manner that seems most convenient to them.
20. One calls interval [intervalle], the space that separates two tirailleurs in the same line [ligne]; and distances [distance], the space that is between the first and the second line.
21. The interval of 10 paces [6,5 m] will be that which the tirailleurs will usually take, in between themselves.
22. The distance from one line to the other will be indicated in article III.
Article II.
Of the deployments.
23. One will spread oneself as tirailleurs, in two manners: standing firm (also called, by the flank [par le flanc]), and while marching (also called, forward [en avant]).
Article III.
Deployment standing firm.
24. The captain wanting to deploy his company on the ground, which it occupies, will give the following commands:
En Tirailleurs.
Par le flanc droit et le flanc gauche – à droit, à gauche.
À tant de pas, prenez vos distances. Pas de course – marche.

[As skirmishers.
By the right flank and the left flank – right, left.
To so many paces take your distances. At the double. – march.
25. With the command à droit and à gauche, the first section will be turn to the right, the second to the left, and the third rank will about turn.
26. At the command marche, the third rank which has about turned will march ahead, and led by the sergent-major, will place itself at about 50 paces [32,5 m] behind, to be formed there in two ranks, and to be used as reserve.
27. At the same command, the men on the flanks of the first and second rank, will start to march; the others will follow the movement, each man advancing behind the man which precedes him, to the number of paces indicated by the captain. The captain, seeing the deployment being almost completed, will have sound the command halte: at this signal, the men will halt and face. The tirailleurs of the second rank will remain behind those of the first, with 1 pace [0,65 m] distance. The captain will go to the reserve, the heads of sections to about 10 paces [6,5 m] behind and opposite the centre of their section.
28. Two caporaux placed at the centre of the company, one to the first, the other with the second rank, will be used as guides with each line of tirailleurs.
29. The sous-officiers will not have fixed places; they will go everywhere where they will consider their presence necessary, and will particularly take care that the two lines do not merge.
Article IV.
Deployment while marching (also called, forwards).
30. The company marching en bataille, the captain wanting to deploy it as tirailleurs while continuing to gain ground ahead, will give the following commands:
En avant en tirailleurs.
À tant de pas, prenez vos intervalles. Pas de course – marche.

[Forward as skirmishers.
To so many paces take your intervals. At the double – march.
31. At the command, marche, the third rank will stop, the sergent-major will form it immediately in two ranks, as above, and it will be held about 50 paces [32,5 m] behind the line of the tirailleurs.
32. With this same command, the two first ranks will continue to march forward; each file,
except for that of the centre which will move straight to the front, will extend gradually
to the right and to the left of this one, so that the men while eventually little by little,
arrive at their interval in the line. The captain, seeing the deployment completed, or nearly so,
will have sound the command halte, if he needs to correct the line,
if not he will let his peloton march to the front thus scattered as tirailleurs.
33. Up to now we supposed the company to be formed in three ranks, and the third rank being used as reserve; if instead of being in three ranks, the company was only in two, the principles of the two species of deployments would be the same, with this difference, that the reserve which, in the company of three ranks, had been formed of the third rank, would be composed, in the company on two rows, of files taken on the right and left of the peloton, always forming a number of men equal to the third part of the company.
34. In the stationary deployment (or by the flank), these files will about turn, and will take 50 paces [32,5 m], behind the line of the tirailleurs.
35. In the deployment while advancing (or forward), these same files will stop with the command march, to meet on their ground, and to also maintain a gap of 50 paces [32,5 m] from the line of the tirailleurs.
Article V.
Observations on the various deployments.
Once the soldiers are well strengthened in the mechanism of the deployments, one will remove the commands: par le flanc droit, et par le flanc gauche, à droite, à gauche, à tant de pas prenez vos distances ou vos intervalles, pas de charge – marche, these commands will be replaced by the call en tirailleurs, which will be the signal to spread themselves. The captain will have then not need to give any other warning than: À tant de pas, being used to indicate to the tirailleurs the interval that they must take. This warning, of how many paces, will be even necessary only when the interval is not that indicated in No. 21.
Article VI.
On rallying.
36. At the call ralliement, the tirailleurs will come at the double [pas de course] to meet with the reserve, to take such formation there that the captain will judge suitable.
37. If the captain would intend to reform his company in line [en bataille] of three ranks, he would indicate this to the tirailleurs by placing the reserve in advance in a single rank, and each man at the time he arrives would form again his rank of size.
38. If, instead of that, he wanted to form a circle [cercle], he would also indicate it to the tirailleurs, by making the rank of the reserve form it in advance. In this formation, the men will not seek their rank of size, all their attention having to tend to being promptly gathered to resist an attack of cavalry.
39. With the approach of the cavalry, the captain will give the signal commencez le feu. This fire will be carried out by the second and third ranks, the first kneeling down, and crossing the bayonet.
40. If the reserves are too far away from the tirailleurs, at the moment when the ralliement would be sounded, it would go forward to meeting them, having however intention to stop in time, to be able to indicate to them in which order they will have to meet.
41. The circle formed against the cavalry, will break with the command: sur le centre, rompez le cercle – marche. It will be able to also break as tirailleurs, with the simple call: en tirailleurs; this deployment will be carried out like a fan [en eventail] (No. 32 of the instruction).
Article VII.
Rallying of a company formed in two ranks.
42. The captain intending to reform its company in line [en bataille], will indicate this to the tirailleurs, by making turn à droite and à gauche with the reserve, and leaving, between the two portions, a sufficient interval to frame the remainder of the company.
43. The gathering of the company in a circle [cercle], always having to be made on three ranks, will always be carried out like it was indicated above, No. 38.
Article VIII.
On firing.
44. There will be two species of fires: the fire standing firm [de pied ferme], and firing while marching [en marchant].
Article IX.
Invariable rules for all firing.
45. It is necessary to look at, as invariable rules, that the tirailleurs of the same file should never make fire at the same time, and than one of them must always have their weapon loaded.
46. The men having counted by fours before being deployed, the fire of the tirailleurs will always start with the first numbers of the first rank, and will be continued by fours, each man firing only after his neighbour on his right-hand side.
47. The man of the second rank regulate themselves, for firing, on their head of file in the first rank, in the manner which will be indicated for each fire.
48. Fire will never cease other than with the call, cessez le feu, regardless of such movement that the line of the tirailleurs carries out besides.
Article X.
Fires standing firm
[feux de pied ferme].
49. With the signal commencez le feu, the two ranks will make ready [aprêteront]; the second rank remaining in this position, fire will start with the first rank, in the manner indicated above, No. 46.
50. The man of the first rank, after having made fire, will, while turning left, come in the place of his comrade of the second rank to go while charging, who will replace him with the first; the man of the second rank having made fire, will pass by again behind that of the first, and so on until they receive the signal cessez le feu.
51. At this last signal, each man will take again his place, the men of the first rank, in first line; those of the second, in second line.
Article XI.
Firing while marching
[feux en marchant].
52. There will be three species of fires while marching: fires while advancing [en avançant], fires in withdrawal [en retraite], and fire while going to one side [en marchant par le flanc].
Article XII.
General rule relating to the three species of fires while marching.
53. The tirailleurs will always start marching before beginning fire.
Article XII.
Fire while advancing
[feux en avançant].
54. At the call commencez le feu, the men of the first line will take the double [pas de course], to go quickly to about thirty paces [19,5 m] from the point of the departure; during this time, the second line will continue to march at the ordinary pace.
55. Arriving at 30 paces [19,5 m], the first line will stop, shall fire (of four into four) and will load standing still.
56. The second line, having heard the fire of the first line, will advance ahead of it by about 30 paces [19,5 m], will give fire, also charge with firm foot, and so on.
57. At the call cessez le feu, fire will cease; and the two ranks will continue to go straight in front of them, in the order where they find themselves, but one tclosed up to the other with one pace [0,65 m] apart.
58. If instead of the signal cessez le feu, one would sound halte, the two ranks close also their distance, and would continue the fire, which would then become feu de pied ferme; just as it would become fire of side, if one sounded par le flanc droit or par le flanc gauche, and fire in retirement, if demi-tour were sounded.
Note. Experience showed that this last explanation was necessary to render comprehensible well with the soldier that fires, once engaged, must be continued until the call cessez le feu, regardless of such movement that the line of the tirailleurs carries out besides.
Article XIII.
Fire in withdrawal
[feux en retraite].
59. The captain wanting to carry out firing in withdrawal, will have his tirailleurs make a turn about, and will start them to march, which will be carried out to the sound of the fourth and first call, demi-tour, and en avant.
60. The two lines being in retreat, the captain will sound commencez le feu.
61. At this signal, the first rank will stop, and the second will take the quick pace [pas accéléré], to go to be established to about 30 paces [19,5 m] behind. The first rank being stopped as has just been said, it will face to the front, and will engage fire as soon as it sees the second line in position. The first rank having made fire, will about turn; and, passing in the intervals of the second line, in its turn will be established at about 30 paces [19,5 m] from this one, and so on until the signal cessez le feu, halte, en avant, etc. (see, for these various signals, what has been sayed in No. 58).
It seems here is missing at least an article on the fire while going to one side [en marchant par le flanc].

Calls adopted for the school of tirailleurs.
1. En avant. [Forward]
2. Par le flanc droit. [Right face.]
3. Par le flanc gauche. [Left face.]
4. Demi-tour à droite. [Right turn about.]
5. Pas de course. [At the double]
6. Halte. [Halt.]
7. En tirailleur. [A skirmishers.]
8. Ventre à terre. [Belly to the ground.]
9. Se relever. [Get up.]
10. Commencez le feu. [Start firing.]
11. Cessez le feu. [Cease firing.]
12. La charge. [Attack.]
13. Le ralliement. [Rally.]
14. Feu de peloton. [Fire of the peloton.]
15. Feu de deux rangs. [Fire of two ranks.]
16. Rompre par peloton. [Breaking of the peloton.]
17. Changement de front (à droite et à gauche). [Change of direction (to the left and to the right)]
18. à 45 dégrés. [by 45 degrees]
      à 22½ dégrés. [by 22½ degrees]
      à 75 dégrés. [by 75 degrees]
      à 60 dégrés. [by 60 degrees]
19. Roulement. [Roll of drums.]
20. Garde à vous bataillon. [Attention battalion.]
21. Garde à vous tel ou tels bataillons. [Attention such or such battalions.]
22. Garde à vous telle ou telles compagnies. [Attention such or such companies.]
23. Raccorder une ligne d'un seul bataillon. [Contract the line of a single battalion.]
24. Raccorder une ligne de plusieurs bataillons. [Contract the line of a several battalions.]
25. Formez les carrés. [Form squares.]
26. Rompez les carréés. [Break squares.]
27. Découverte de l'ennemi (Infanterie). [Discovery of the enemy (infantry).]
28. Découverte de l'ennemi (Cavalerie). [Discovery of the enemy (cavalry).]
Note. In the call No. 18 indicating the degree of angle of an oblique change of face the low notes indicate the tens and high notes the digits of the number of degrees.
In the calls garde à vous tel ou tels bataillons, telle ou telles compagnies, like in those raccorder la ligne, the low notes indicate the number of the battalion, the high notes that of the company.
See for the call garde à vous demi bataillons de droite, ou de gauche, note 2 on page 58 [probably the preceding note].
The notes of these calls have not been transcribed.

Musée de l'Armée

Somewhere I haven't been but is on my bucket list is the Musee de l'Armee in Paris.

The Musée de l'Armée is a museum at Les Invalides in Paris, France. Originally built as a hospital and home for disabled soldiers by Louis XIV, it now houses the Tomb of Napoleon and the museum of the Army of France.

Here are a few teasers: (click on each picture to see more)

These interesting images are from a site that unfortunately is broken these days so the onyl way to get to these pages seems to be by linking directly to them rather than to the main site. That is one of the problems with the internet nothing seems to last, excellent sites dissapear or become broken and are no longer maintained.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Perry Miniatures RHA Limbers arrive

Just received the latest package from Perry, a dozen 'Cuirassiers in reserve' the same ones you can see in the blog background and also the real 'gem' I was after two of the new British RHA Limbers, now these I am really looking forward to painting.

These are specifically for a Peninsular War Cacabellos scenario that I have in my mind. This is the rarely covered but much more interesting early afternoon action when the French cavalry pursue a single RHA battery, the 95th Rifles and some Hussars into Cacabellos rather than the later 'Plunkett's shot' which is all Cacabellos tends to get remembered for these days. I will blog the scenario later.

As ever with Perry service was prompt, ordered 22nd, packed and posted on the 23rd, then 5 days to get half way round the planet which is standard. A few parts of the limber need some careful straightening but not a biggie, flash is minimal doesn't look like much cleaning required. Wonder if I can get time this weekend to assemble and paint them? If I do it means the Imago Romans will have to go back in the box for a few weeks.

Foundry Bargains

I saw an announcement on TGN that Wargames Foundry is currently offering a 50% discount on some of their books. So I thought I would take a look, just out of curiosity, as I consider Foundry way over priced these days, especially with the way they treat o'seas customers, well maybe not surprisingly Napoleon, the much criticised ruleset, are in the sale but are going for only GBP15 with free shipping.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago if I had these rules and I said no and no intention to do so either but at GBP15 even if its only for the pretty pictures it's got to be worth it.

However I noticed that they also had a "Starter Army" deal which was 32 figures plus the ruleset for only GBP30 and all with free shipping! Whichever way you look at it that is dirt cheap, figures for GBP1.00 and rules for free or figures for 50p and GBP15 for the rules and this is 'free shipping worldwide' which normally accounts for another 20% on top for me.

Now I had said a while back 'no more Foundry', their figures are too small and dumpy to fit with the Perry style figures I am now trying to collect but this is too good a deal to turn my nose up at so I plumped for the Austrian Starter Army as no one makes Perry sized Austrians, yet, and I could add them to my current Foundry Austrians which look like being active for some years to come.

FYI they have British, French, Prussian, Russian, Austrian and Bavarian 'starter' armies.

Whilst I was there I also picked up '1644', the ECW Rules, as they were going for only GBP12.00, though I didn't bother with any figures in this case because I am 100% Renegade for ECW and Foundry would look laughable alongside, it's a shame though.

They also have Terry Gore's Medieval Warfare for GBP15.00, I thought hard about it but decided there has to be a limit somewhere, and I am not going to have a medieval army for some years to come but if you are into Medieval it's a bargain I think.

Anyway check it out, not sure how long it will last though.

Well I can't complain about their service, just received an email from WF telling me my order is already packed and on the way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Battle of Limonest 20th March 1814

In the final battle for Lyon, Marshal Augerau with 18,000 men tries to hold of the 48,000 men of Prince Hesse-Homburg Reserve Corps of the Army Of Bohemia.

Despite two successive defeats at the hands of the Austrians the situation was still not hopeless for Augereau, the new position he had chosen on the heights around Limonest was a formidable one and Général Beurmann was marching at the head of 5,000 men from Catalonia to join the army, which more than made up for any losses on the 18th.

He deployed his men on the right bank of the Saone in an arc from Limonest on the Mont d'Or north of Lyon (Division Musnier), along the heights at Dardilly (Division Pannetier with Brigade Esteve in Dardilly and Brigade Gudin in Paillet) to Tassin-la-Demi-Lune to the west of Lyon on the Paris road (General Digeon with Beurmann's Brigade and a squadron, on the road to Salvagny).

Remond's Brigade including the honor guards from Lyon, and 12e Regiment of Dragoons were in reserve near Vaise.

Detached were Bardet's Brigade (Conscripts of Nimes) at Miribel to observe and contain a column (Austrian General Hardegg) who was adavancing from Bourg en Bresse and two battalions sent to Caluire to stop another Austrian column (General Coburg) coming down the left bank of the Saone.

The Austrian plan was simple, to attack all along the front whilst maneuvering to outflank the French left wing.

The Austrian attack began on the entire front at dawn. On the right Binachi sent Bakony and Lederer to sieze Dardilly and Wied-Runkel against Tassin-la-Demi-Lune to turn the position. On the left Wimpffen would make a feint on Limonest to pin Musnier.

The French comfortably resisted the attacks and about noon Augereau whose command post was on the Salvagny road left the field to talk to civil authorities in Lyon.

Général Musnier had relied heavily on the imposing natural strength of the Mont d'Or to protect his right flank and had placed only a few small detachments to guard in that direction. However an Austrian brigade led by Mumb's marched down the Soane Valley from the east, through the heights of Couzon au Mont d'Or and Sainte Romain Mont d'Or and without barely firing a shot seized the Mont d'Or and turned the French right around 1:00pm.

Towards one o'clock Musnier finds that the Austrians have seized Dardilly threatening his left, crown the heights of Mont d'Or on his right and Mumb threatens to cut off his rear, so Musnier decides to fall back on Vaise, this then forces Pannetier who is still fighting for heights around Dardilly to withdraw on Ecully.

Digeon, on the road to La Tour de Salvagny facing Wied-Runkel is now outflanked on both wings and is in danger of being cut off as he tries to slowly fall back towards Tassin-la-Demi-Lune.

All this was taking place between 12:00 and 15:00 hours, during which time the Marshal now in Lyon was unaware of what was going on. When he finally hears that Musnier and Pannetier have appeared in Vaise he rushes to find out what is happening. On arriving he realises he is staring defeat in the face, through Musniers mistake and his absence the army may be cut off from Lyon and destroyed. He decides to stand firm and with his usual courage try and to save both his honor and that of the army.

He orders Général Guillemet with the 13e Cuirassiers, two infantry batallions and 3 guns, to strengthen Digeon whose heroic resistance against Prince de Wied-Runkel is at least averting disaster.

Wimpffen soon reaches the Chateau de La Duchère and Mumb start to shell Vaise from heights of Rochecardon. It is imperative that they are repulsed. The Marshal marches at the head of Musnier and Pannetier troops and with bayonet clears Duchère and Rochecardon, pushing back both Wimpffen and Mumb, and then holds them into the night against repeated attacks from the Austrian reserves.

However Bakony, Lederer and Wied-Runckel now almost encircle Digeon between Ecully and Sainte-Foy. The French cavalry charge on the two roads in order to keep open the line of retreat which is now inevitable. The 13e Cuirassiers led by Bigarré sabre a battery of 8 guns and capture their limbers and train, the 12e Hussars of Colbert capture 400 men and the Colonel of
l'IR "Hiller". Continued charges by the 4e and 12e Hussars drive back the Austrians and as night falls the line is stabilised without further trouble.

The Austrians have lost 1,432 men and the French about 1,200 but this is offset by 1,500 men who arrive from Catalonia that evening. Augerau could realistically consider fighting again the next day around Vaise and Sainte-Foy as Hesse Homburg had failed to disloadge him and within 24 hrs he would receive another 2,500 veterans from Catalonia.

However he decided not to, and by 6:00am on the 21st there was not a soldier left in the town and by 10:00am the Austrians had taken Lyon this was considered a catastrophy for France.

La Loire et l'aigle: les foréziens face à l'état napoléonien By Pascal Chambon

Monday, July 26, 2010

Imago Militis Romans

Last week the Imago Militis order I had placed with NorthStar arrived.

As I mentioned previously this was a bargain, especially since they have put up the price by GBP22 since then, I did say grab them quick, you do feel like you have won the lottery when this happens!!

Anyway I bought these because I had been told they were small 28mm and I thought they would go well with Warlord Games plastic Romans. Well its true they are very small 28mm indeed, and they are as perfect a match as your are ever going to get between a plastic and metal figure, in fact if anything they are smaller than they WG Romans, though the difference is tiny, I would say less then 1/2mm but no doubt the metals are the smaller of the two in height, though offset by metals being a little bit bulkier round the middle as you would expect. I would have no problem mixing the two in the same units (and I am the pickiest of them all) except for the shields which are quite different.

The "Army Deal" I bought included seven 24 man units plus army command and enough LBMS shield transfers for all for GBP77. One unit was Praetorian, one Legionaire in Lorica Segmentata and the rest Legionaire or Auxillaries in mail. I am not sure exactly which codes they are as, when they revised the price last week, NorthStar also removed the listing of codes for the deal from their site.

I am really pleased with the figures, very nicely sculpted, by Brian Ansell I think, anyway I have now started on cleaning them up, they are fairly free from flash so its not a big job.

The figures were reasonably packed, each unit in a plastic bag and the whole in a sturdy box, only one figure got 'dinged' in transit, one of the guys with the big horn thingies (yes I know nothing about ancients) had the tube of the horn snap in one place, (being small figures the tube is very thin) not a great disaster, I straightened it and it probably will look Ok when painted up.

This was the first time I had dealt with NortStar, I tend to use Caliver whenever I can because of their free shipping. NorthStar send you lots of email confirmations about your order, including when they finally dispatch the figures. Delivery was prompt, nothing to complain about but a tad slower than Caliver, Caliver always seem to mange to dispatch the same day whereas NorthStar took about 3 days, as I said that is perfectly acceptable and in any case they sat around on my table for several days before I unpacked them.

I would gladly recommend both NorthStar and Imago to anyone, I would even go so far as saying if you have WG Ancients then Imago Militis should be on your must have list.

La Légion Irlandaise

Established on the 31st August 1803, the Legion Irlandaise was originally created in anticipation of an invasion of Ireland. General Augereau was in the process of assmbling a force when Napoleon's Adjutant General Bernard MacSheehy, a man of Irish birth, suggested the forming of a battalion of Irishmen to spearhead the invasion. He reasoned there would be no shortage of Irish ready and willing to fight in a war of liberation against the English rulers in Ireland. The French Minister of War, Henri Clarke, himself of Irish descent, agreed wholeheartedly and thus the "Légion Irlandaise" came into being.

Initially one light battalion of five companies of 139 officers and men each was raised in Brest, but in time this increased to nine companies, organised on the along the lines of a typical legere battalion. This gave it eight chasseur companies and a single carabinier company. Later, in common with other legere units, one company of chasseurs was changed to a company of voltigeur. Troops were raised from Irish emigres, mainly upper class catholics that the English had persecuted, though a large proportion were men who had only recently fled to France after the collapse of the 1798 Rebellion or the 1803 uprising. They were on the whole well educated, with 55% in their thirties.

By the decree of 10th March 1804, a second battalion was authorized, and the title "Regiment" was given to the legion. The officers were to be Irish as far as possible, and although the official language of the unit was French, the officers and men spoke English among themselves as only 45% were fluent in French. MacSheedy lost command of the Legion following an inquiry into a duel between two of the legions officers, in these early years internal rivalry and conflict was all too common.

With the defeat of the French navy at Trafalgar in September 1805, the invasion plans fell by the wayside and after the French victories over the Prussians in 1806 Napoleon ordered the regiment to Berlin, however they only reached Mainz before they were ordered back, though not before recruiting 1800 Polish prisoners from a passing column, a large number of which were Irish. It appears that the British had sold a number of Irishmen who were involved in the insurrections of 1798 to the King of Prussia as miners. Many were recruited into the Prussian army and after the destruction of that army many would pass into French service.

In February 1807, by which time the 1st Battalion had a strength of 900 men, the regiment received both a standard and an eagle. The flag had the distinction to be of a special pattern. At the end of 1808 the battalions were reoganised into six companies, like other legere units, being one carabinier, one voltigeur and four chasseur companies.

The First Battalion in Holland
In the fall of 1807, the First Battalion of the Irish Regiment was sent to Walcheren Island, in the mouth of the Scheldt River, to bolster the forces defending the naval base at Antwerp. Just as the British troops that came after them, the soldiers stationed at Walcheren suffered the drastic effects of "Walcheren fever," a form of malaria.

Two years later in the spring of 1809, the Irish Regiment had a new official name -- the 3e Regiment Etranger (Irlandaise). However, most official correspondence continued to refer to them as the Regiment Irlandaise. On July 30th of that year, the first Battalion received its baptism of fire in battle when English forces landed on Walcheren Island. After a spirited defense, the vastly outnumbered French forces, including the Regiment Irlandaise, retreated into Flushing. On August 1st, The English attacked all along the perimeter outside Flushing. The Irish suffered heavy casualties, but performed well and held their assigned position. The Irish regiment remained in an advanced position from the 3rd to the 13th of August, and was engaged in almost daily skirmishes.

The English were preparing positions and bringing up siege guns. The expected bombardment began at noon on 13th August. At 5 pm the enemy infantry attacked all of the advanced posts. Although elements of the other regiments sought to retreat into the city, the Irish held firm and occupied their original position at the end of the day. In the fighting, the acting Commander of the 1st Battalion, Captain William Lawless, was struck below the right eye by a musket ball that lodged below his ear. This serious wound forced him to seek medical attention, and he was carried into the town.

By the evening of the 14th of August, after a terrible bombardment which dismounted many of the town's guns and nearly exploded the powder magazine, it was apparent that further resistance was futile. A truce was called to discuss terms for surrender. On the 15th, the French General surrendered, and the entire garrison of Flushing were taken prisoner and transported to England where the men remained until the end of the war.

However, a small number of men managed to escape. Among them were Captain Lawless and Lt. Terrence O'Reilly, both officers of the Irish Regiment. Following the surrender, Lawless made his way to the home of Dr. Mokey. The doctor, who was a friend of Lawless, cared for his wound and hid him when the English occupied the city. Despite the seriousness of Lawless's wound, he and O'Reilly, who joined him after the surrender, decided to attempt an escape from Flushing by boat. Lawless carried with him the eagle of the Regiment Irlandaise, which he had guarded dearly since the surrender of Flushing, determined that it would not fall into the hands of the English. Their plan was to cross the West Scheldt to French held territory. However, the vigilance of the English blockade forced them to turn back before they were halfway across, and they again went into hiding. First at Dr. Mokey's, then in a farmhouse outside Flushing, and finally back in the city, the two Irish Officers evaded the enemy for more than 6 weeks. Finally, they were able to hire an open boat that was used for transporting vegetables and other foodstuffs and make good their escape.

After a hearty welcome from Marshall Bessieres at Antwerp, Lawless was sent on to Paris where he was received by the Emperor himself. Not only was he the highest ranking officer to escape from Flushing, but he had saved the Regiment's Eagle, an act which greatly pleased Napoleon. For this feat, Lawless was given the Legion of Honor, promoted to Chef de Battalion and given command of the First Battalion of the Irish Regiment which was being reformed at Landau. Lieutenant O'Reilly, likewise, received the Legion of Honor and was promoted to Captain.

The Second Battalion in Spain
The second battalion proved no less valiant than the first. The first 800 men of the second battalion joined Marshall Murat's Army in Spain in the fall of 1807. In the Spring of 1808, Murat marched into Madrid, starting a war which was to last until 1813. The Irish Regiment was camped outside of Madrid on May 2, 1808 when the inhabitants of that city rose up against the French. The Irish were among the French troops used to suppress the revolt, though there was understandable unease because of the clear parallels between the Catholic Spanish fighting for liberation against a foreign occupier and themselves. Subsequently, the Irish Regiment garrisoned Burgos, and was engaged in constructing a fort for the protection of the town, performing escort duties, patrols, and skirmishing with Spanish Guerrillas. A third battalion was raised in 1809 from Austrian prisoners and Irish in the English pow depots, this was sent to Spain to join the 2nd Battalion, it was understandably constantly racked by desertion and finally absorbed into the 2nd Battalion in 1811.

In March of 1810, the Second Battalion was assigned to Junot's 8th Corps of the Army of Portugal. The Second Battalion's first action was the siege of Astorga, a base for supplies and operations of the Spanish forces in the Northwest. The capture of Astorga would secure the right flank and rear of the Army of Portugal. Captain John Allen's company of voltigeurs formed a part of the assault battalion. At 5 pm, on April 21st, Captain Allen led the Irish over the tops of the trenches, across open ground under heavy fire, and into the breach. The Irish voltigeurs occupied a house just behind the rampart, and held their position throughout the night. The remaining Irish troops were also heavily engaged. In the morning, the Spanish surrendered. The Irish brought great honor upon themselves, but also suffered heavy casualties.

The battalion's adjutant major and surgeon were wounded. Every company had lost men killed and wounded while carrying ladders to the breach. Captain Allen's drummer lost both of his legs but continued to beat the charge. For this, he received the Legion of Honor. Captain Allen, who led the troops into the breach, and Lieutenant Perry, who was wounded while carrying a ladder to the breach, were both rewarded with the Legion of Honor. Elements of the Irish Regiment were ordered to escort the Spanish prisoners to Valladolid. The Irish Regiment also served with honor in the seige of Almeida, the invasion of Portugal, including the Battle of Bussaco (September 27, 1810), and Fuentes de Onoro (1811). Ordered back to France, on December 25, 1811, the 120 officers and sergeants, corporals and drummers stood inspection for the last time in Spain, bidding a farewell to the privates, who were incorporated into another regiment.

After four years in Spain and Portugal, the Second Battalion of the Irish Regiment arrived at the new Regimental Depot at Bois-le-Duc in southern Holland on April 11, 1812. The First Battalion garrisoned the islands of Goeree and Oveflanque. As part of the reorganization of the foreign regiments, a third Battalion was raised and stationed in Willemstadt. By this time the makeup of the Irish Regiment had changed markedly from the early days, whilst 50% of officers were still Irish (32% French, 18% German) less than 10% of the soldiers were Irish, the majority being German (Saxons, Poles), the dream of an independent Ireland had long since faded. Because of their refitting, the Irish Legion did not participate in the disastrous Russian Campaign of 1812

The Campaigns of 1813-14
The Irish Regiment remained in southern Holland until February of 1813. As a battle-ready Regiment, the Irish were ordered east to fight the Russians. They were assigned to General Lauriston's V Corps and on arrival, the Irish were immediately posted north to Stendal to guard against a crossing of the Elbe by the Russians. On March 20th, now-Colonel William Lawless, commanding the Irish Regiment, drove an enemy raiding party back across the Elbe at Werben. On the 24th, the Regiment played an important role in capturing Seehausen. The Regiment was on detached duty, and did not participate in the Battle of Lutzen, but received orders and rejoined on the morning of 21st May at the Battle of Bautzen. At dawn on the 26th, the Irish Regiment was led by Napoleon against the enemy at Lignitz, whom they drove several miles to the east.

Marshal Ney watched the Irish in action and reprimanded Sergeant Costello for not falling back to the rallying point immediately the trumpet sounded. The sergeant explained that a Cossack had fired twice at him and he had waited to kill the man before withdrawing. “Did you ?” asked the Marshal. “I hope so, “ said Costello, “for I saw him fall from his horse.” “A la bonne heure,” replied the Prince of the Moscow.

This was the first and only time the Irish had been directly under the orders, and the eyes, of Napoleon. As a reward, the Irish Regiment was given the honor of posting guard in the town of Lignitz for Napoleon until the Imperial Guard arrived and relieved them. Shortly thereafter, a temporary armistice was agreed to.

Hostilities resumed in August. The first serious fighting took place in Silesia. The Irish Regiment formed a part of General Vachereau's Brigade, which had neither artillery nor cavalry support, in Marshal MacDonald's V Corps.

At Lowenberg on 19th August they gave a magnificent display of steadiness. At daylight, as thousands of Prussian horsemen appeared before them, the Irish formed square, front ranks kneeling down with musket butts on the ground, rear ranks standing behind them. They felt greatly honoured when the Brigade Commander, General Vachereau, and his staff choose to come within their square rather than those formed by the other regiments of the Brigade, the 134th and 143rd Line. Mass charges by cavalry in great force failed to break the squares and the enemy then brought up batteries of artillery which fired point blank into the Irish ranks causing enormous casualties. Colonel Lawless had his horse shot from under him.

The Regiment held firm and as openings occurred men filled them, thus presenting an unbroken front to the horsemen. General Lauriston, seeing the dangerous position the Irish were in, ordered them to fall back to a nearby wood. They executed this command with great skill, the square retreating in a body, halting and firing every two minutes until the wood was reached.

During this withdrawal, Lieutenant August St. Leger saved the life of General Vachereau. The General's Horse had been killed under him while he was giving orders from the center of the Irish Square, and he had to fall back on foot. Enemy cavalry attacked just as they reached a farmyard that was surrounded by a stone wall. St. Leger threw Vachereau over the wall into the farmyard, and quickly followed. As a result, both escaped injury. However, another officer was wounded by a sabre stroke before he could reach the safety of the farmyard. There, a roll call disclosed they had suffered 300 casualties with Commandant Tennant, Captain Evans, Lieutenants Osmond and McAuley dead. The wounded included Sergeant Costello who had an arm blown off.

Napoleon now appeared at Lowenberg and ordered a counterattack against the enemy who were bombarding the town. On horseback at the river crossing, he watched the Irish moving over to attack. Here is how Miles Byrne describes the incident.

Napoleon…ordered a general attack. The Irish regiment was to pass through a mill, which stood in the centre of the river, the bridge having been destroyed the day before; the town was bombarded by the enemy’s batteries. Under this tremendous fire, Colonel Lawless passed at the head of his regiment, and saluted the emperor, who was on horseback in the street leading to the river where the regiment had to pass. The emperor was surrounded by his staff officers, the King of Naples (Murat) etc…Colonel Lawless, seeing the grenadiers and the most part of his regiment had got through the mill, immediately rode through the river and placed himself at the head of his regiment to attack the enemy; he had hardly advanced a few steps when his leg was carried off by a cannon ball from the enemy’s battery, which was placed on an eminence to defend the passage of the river. Colonel Lawless was brought into town upon a door by six grenadiers of his regiment. Napoleon saw him again as he returned wounded, and sent his chief surgeon, Baron Larrey.

In the end, it was necessary to amputate the limb, and Colonel Lawless’ career came to an end, costing the Legion not only their most effective officer but their spiritual leader as well. Lawless returned to France to recuperate. On the 24th of August, General Puthod was so pleased with the performance of the Officers and Men of the Irish Regiment, that he recommended eleven of its members for the Legion of Honor, and other Officers for promotion. All of these recommendations were supported by General Lauriston.

At Goldberg on 23rd August the Irish saw stiff fighting, capturing an important hill and during the battle General Vachereau was killed. As a result of reverses suffered by MacDonald further to the east, the 2nd Division was ordered back to Lowenberg on the 27th. But torrential rain now fell, turning the tracks into quagmires, and when the 6,000-strong division reached the Bober (Bobr) River they found all the bridges had been swept away. On the west bank Westphalian engineers were waiting for the flood to subside before building new ones.

By the afternoon of August 29th, the Division was surrounded by 40,000 Russians, with the Bober River at its back. For eight hours the battle raged, the Irish holding a village on the left
flank, in savage fighting and in what would prove to be the Legion’s finest hour, the unit withstood successive attacks by Russian General Emanuel's cavalry of the Russian advanced guard and a detachment of the Prussian Leib Hussars of Major von Schenk and later infantry assaults, including a bayonet charge by five Russian Jaeger battalions. They fought with the ferocity and doggedness, for which the Irish were famous, but at 16:30, with their ammunition exhausted, the first and second Battalions were overrun and the order came to breakout; 20 officers were killed, 3 captured along with almost all the enlisted men, 37 swam across the Bober to the opposite shore including Colonel Ware, the acting commander, who saved the Regimental Eagle as well as Lieut.-Colonel Myles Byrne, Captain St. Leger and Lieutenant Lynch. Of Puthod’s entire Division, only 254 men escaped of the nearly 6,000 he led. The Irish Regiment no longer existed as a fighting unit. Out of the 2,000 men who had joined the Grande Armee eight months earlier, only 117 were left. The survivors were ordered back to their depot at Bois-Le-Duc.

The scant remnants of the Legion were reorganized with other foreign troops and slowly brought back up to regimental strength. In the fall the unit was sent to Antwerp where it again displayed admirable courage and élan in the gallant defense of that port. Upon Napoleon’s abdication, Louis XVIII ordered a restructuring of the French Army that included disbanding the foreign units, including the Irish Legion, but also called for the reorganization of the Irish Legion as the Royal Irish Regiment, the regiment hid it's eagle and standard instead of burning them as ordered, in anticipation of Napoleons return. As a part of the reorganization, the Regiment lost its distinctive green uniform, which was replaced with an unpopular sky blue uniform. When Napoleon returned from exile, the unit again swore allegiance to him, but there wasn't been sufficient time for the officers of the new Irish regiment to raise and refit the battalions, and the Irish saw no action during the Hundred Days leading up to the Battle of Waterloo. After Napoleon’s defeat, the regiment swore allegiance to the French King, but to no avail. Louis XVIII ordered the unit disbanded on September 28, 1815. The officers were dismissed, and the enlisted men were incorporated into a Royal Foreign Regiment that was being organized. The flags and the Eagle of the Irish Legion were ordered burned. The days of the Irish fighting as a separate unit in French service were done.

Bernard Mac-Sheehy December 1803 to September 1804
Antoine Pettrezoli September 1804 to 1 August 1809
Daniel O'Meara August 1809 to May 1810
William Lawless 8 February 1812 to 21 August 1813
John F. Mahony 21 August 1813 to April 1815
Hugh Ware April 1815 to 28 September 1815

During the period 1803 to 1814, the Irish Legion wore a standard pattern light infantry uniform in a striking light green color with yellow facings (see plate below for details).
French cut long tail coatee in a distinctive green with yellow collar, lapels, cuffs (pointed) and tunbacks (with green horn). Epaulettes green fringed yellow.
White waistcoat and breeches, knee-length black gaiters, black shoes.
Black Shako with white cords, green plume or pompon.
All shakos had the Imperial Eagle plate, from 1811 this included the number 3.
From 1811 green lapels, cuffs and turnbacks all piped yellow. Turnbacks with yellow horn.
Green breeches (sources differ as to whether in fact they remained white). White metal chinscales.
From 1813 new pattern habit, epaulettes green cloth piped yellow. Short gaiters.
Pompons of the company colors: yellow, green, violet and light blue.
From 1810 the sabre was dropped for the Chasseurs.
Buttons were gold for officers and brass for other ranks.
The remaining items of uniform and equipment were standard light infantry issue.

As Chasseurs except:
Pre-1811 Bearskin bonnet with red cords, patches and plumes
Epaulattes red fringed red. Red grenade on turnbacks
1811 Shako cords red, red plume over red pompon.
Epaulattes red fringed red. Red grenade on turnbacks
1813 Shako top, bottom and side V bands in red, red plume over red pompon.
Epaulettes red fringed red. Red grenade on turnbacks

As Chasseurs except:
1811 Shako cords green, green plume tipped yellow over green pompon.
Epaulattes green fringed yellow.
1813 Shako top, bottom and side V bands in green, green plume tipped yellow over green pompon.
Epaulettes green fringed green.

The regimental sappers wore the same uniform as the carabiniers, but their bearskin had a primrose patch with a red grenade, plume and cords.

The first standard carried by the unit is described as green with an oval red tablet in the center enclosed by a yellow border embellished by two green branches. On the red oval the inscription in yellow "LIBERTE/DES CONSCIENCES/INDEPENDENCES/DE L’IRLANDE" and in each corner a large gold Irish harp with silver strings. On the reverse side the standard had the same four harps but in the centre a circular wreath of golden oak leaves tied at the bottom with green ribbons and in the center of the wreath a tablet divided in tricolour horizontally from the top blue/white/red. It was lettered across each panel "LE PREMIER/CONSUL/AUX IRLANDAISES/UNIS". The colour was carried on a simple staff with a gilded pike-head; it probably had a tricolour scarf.

In December 1805 the Irish Legion received its first eagle but, nevertheless, maintained its tradition and retained the green standard. The pattern was, however, altered; the flag bore on one side a large gold harp, with the motto: "L'INDEPENDENCE D'IRLANDE". On the other side was the inscription: "NAPOLEON EMPEREUR DES FRANCAIS A LA LEGION IRLANDAISE". The flags carried by the other battalions, as expected, did not have an eagle, they were also green with a large golden harp in the center of each side, on one side lettered "INDEPENDENCE AU L’IRLANDE" and on the other "NAPOLEON AU 2e BATAILLON IRLANDAIS".

In 1812 upon reorganization the regiment received a new model eagle and the wording on the standard was likely to have been changed to "L’EMPEREUR NAPOLÉON AU 3ME RÉGIMENT ÉTRANGER".

Memoirs of Miles Byrne, Miles Byrne (Irish University Press 1972).
Napoleon's Irish Legion, John G. Gallaher (Southern Illinois University Press, 1993).
The Wild Geese: The Irish Brigades of France and Spain, Mark G. McLaughlin (Osprey 1980).
Histoire des Troupes Etrangeres au service de la France, Eugene Fieffe (Dumaine, 1854).
The Campaigns of Napoleon, |David Chandler (MacMillan Co. 1966).
Napoleon's Irish Legion: La Legion Irlandaise 1803 - 1815 by Virginia Medlen
Régiment Irlandais - Histofig
Napoleon's Irish Legion Review by Joseph Sramek
Napoleon's Irish Legion Review by Nicholas Dunne-Lynch

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hussar Sabretaches

Not an original item of mine but I thought this deserves as much 'air' as it can be given.

Aldo Stocco, a clearly talented Italian from Veneto, came up with a very simple but very effective solution to the problem of how to paint sabretaches on 28mm Hussars. Don't!

Instead he designed a series of sabretaches on his PC specifically for the Perry plastic Hussars. You can find the sheet below, simply print out the sheet, cut the sabretache to fit and glue using standard white glue.

Now why didn't I think of that!

(Click image for full size view)
And the results:

A little bit of WWI

A couple of months ago I got hold of my grandfathers service record from WWI which I thought was interesting, well at least it was interesting to me. Being that he was from Denbigh in North Wales he, maybe not unsurprisingly, joined the Royal Welch Fusiliers in 1916, and so it begins:

Enlisted April 16th 1916 at Wrexham.

Training at Park Hall, Oswestry.

Draft for France August 1916. Southampton to Le Harve Base camp France.

Drafted to 1st battalion R W F. 22nd Brigade, 7th Division

Posted to “D” Company, 14th Platoon, Lewis Gun Detachment.

Promoted L/Cpl January 1917

Promoted Full corporal June 1917

Promoted Sergeant October 1917

Home leave from France 12th – 22nd October 1917.

Division sent to Italy November 1917

Acting CQMS November 1917

Wounded July 25th 1918

Hospital in Stockport and Knutsford September – November 11th 1918.

Discharged 3rd January 1919 from 3rd Battalion RWF, Limerick, Eire

According to the RWF Regimental Record the month of July 1918 was a 'peaceful' month, I guess that depends from whose perspective you are looking. The RWF moved to the Asiago Plateau in northern Italy, entering the front line near Roncalto on the 20th July relieving the 1st Staffordshire Regiment.

Five days later my grandfather was shot whilst on a patrol. According to my Grandfather they had to move through a cutting, he warned the senior officer that he thought there were Austrians ahead and that they should turn back but he was overruled, they moved on and he was hit in the head, the war ended for him in that moment, though he wouldn't see home for another six months.

I never noticed any effect from his being shot, but by then he was quite old and I was probably too young to notice anyway, my grandmother is said to have remarked he came back a very changed man, he certainly turned his back on the family business, which was eventually closed down, my father says that because of the injury he basically never really worked again and lived his life on his war pension. He lived into his eighties, passing away in 1980.

I was surprised that he had 10 days home leave in 1917, I somehow imagined that once you went to war that was it until it was all over, though 10 days leave in 3 years isn't much and it must haven taken a couple of days to get home anyway!! Was he really discharged from Hospital the day the war ended or was that some administrative thing? I actually saw the hospital he stayed at in Stockport, we lived on the outskirts of Stockport in my teens and recall my Dad showing me the building one time. Even more surprising was his being discharged in Limerick, no idea why, again I imagined he would have been discharged in Wrexham which was still a fair way from Denbigh, but closer than Ireland!

WWI is an era I have never really had an interest in gaming, though not because of any family sensitivities, more the idea of playing on a table of mud with almost all your troops wiped out without moving doesn't fit my description of fun. However I have recently bought two "large skirmish" sized early war armies from Renegade. The first few months of the war were markedly different, more maneuver, more traditional engagement, more fun!! Now when I eventually get them painted up I might do some WWI scenarios, don't hold your breath though, as I paint very slowly.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

13e Régiment de Cuirassier

Three provisional regiments of heavy cavalry were formed at the end of 1807 for the campaign in Spain. They were supposed to be formed with a compagnie of 3 officers and 120 men from the 4e escadron de dépôt of each heavy cavalry regiment. The regiments in central Europe formed the first two provisional regiments (formed in Tours in November of 1807), for service in north/central Spain. The regiments in Italy formed the third provisional regiment (formed in Poitiers in 1808) for service in the south/east of Spain. Originally commanded by majors, these officers were promoted to the rather unusual rank of colonel en 2e.

2e Corps d'Observation de la Gironde
1er Régiment Provisoire de Grosse Cavalerie
Major Guillaume-François d'Aigremont (1770-1827, du 1er Cuirassiers)
   1er Régiment de Carabiniers à cheval (4/119)
   2e Régiment de Carabiniers à cheval (4/118)
   1er Régiment de Cuirassiers (4/142)
   2e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/138)
   3e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/100)
This unit moved to Madrid in early 1808.
By order of the Emperor dated October 21, 1808 the 13e régiment de cuirassiers was formed from this unit and the remains of the 2e Régiment Provisoire de Cuirassiers under the command of Colonel of Aigremont with its depot established at Niort, initially 5 squadrons but reduced to 4. It was sent to Suchet and unit served with distinction until disbanded at the first restoration.

2e Régiment Provisoire de Cuirassiers
Major Philippe-Albert Christophe (1769-1848, du 12e Cuirassiers)
   5e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/109)
   9e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/64)
   10e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/96)
   11e Régiment de Cuirassiers (3/120)
   12e Régiment de Cuirassiers (2/100)
Thise unit moved to Madrid in early 1808.
The 2e régiment provisoire de cuirassiers were all killed or captured with Dupont at Bailèn, the few who were either dismounted or sick that had been left in Madrid were sent to the 1er régiment provisoire de grosse cavalerie on the 24th Decemeber 1808.

Corps d'Observation des Pyrénées orientales
3e Régiment Provisoire de Cuirassiers
Major Antoine-Didier Guéry (1765-1825, du 8e Cuirassiers)
   4e Régiment de Cuirassiers (~2/~100)
   6e Régiment de Cuirassiers (~2/~100)
   7e Régiment de Cuirassiers (~2/~80)
   8e Régiment de Cuirassiers (~2/~80)

This unit served with Duhesme, and was generally on occupation duties in the area around Barcelona. They wasted away steadily over the next two years, though reinforced by a second draft of nominally 400 men from the same regiments in early 1810, they were virtually destroyed at the Battle of Mollet in January 1810 (the Spanish taking 250 horses, cuirasses and casques for the Coraceros Espanoles), those who were captured were held in the fortress at Lerida and freed when it was taken by Suchet, the men were absorbed into the 13e regiment, though officially they were forgotten about by the Ministrère de la guerre, and were finally disbanded upon a second(!) order from Napoléon at the beginning of 1811.

Campaign History:
1808: Tudela and the siege of Zaragossa (December 1808 - February 1809)

1809: Zaragossa
June 1809 siege of Moria.
November 1809, Suchet 3rd Corps is ordered to march on Valencia.
At Castellon de la Plana, in March 1810, trooper Vinatier forces a passage of the fortified bridge.

1810: In April 1810 during the siege of Lerida, in the plain of Margalef, 450 men of the regiment returning by forced march, attack and rout a relieving Spanish column taking a general, three colonels, three guns and three flags.
Lerida falls on May 14th.
Mequinenza falls on June 8th.
They lay siege to Tortosa.
In November 1810 the 13e Curiassiers and the 4e Hussars defeat the Spaniards of Uldecona.
Captain De Gonneville joined the regiment shortly after and took charge of a company.

1811: Tortosa capitulated January 2, 1811
The regiment spent two months in Santa Olalla and Daroca.
Meanwhile, in another action against Uldecona, Robichon with 57 cuirassiers of the 3e escadron attacks 500 Spanish cavalry and routs them.
Napoleon gives orders to withdraw 400 troops to reinforce the cuirassiers depot for the Army of Germany.
During the siege of Tarragona (Catalonia), which falls in June 1811 and is accompanied by the massacre of the population who had resisted for three months, part of the regiment is used to cover the rear in Lower Aragon.
Suchet, now a Marshal, marches on Valencia. The Spanish occupied the fort at Murviedo (Sagunto) in an effort to stop Suchet's march. Several French assaults over a period of a month are beaten back but on October 25th Blake moves to relieve the fort and the French turn to engage him. During the subsequent action, the French cavalry are being forced back when Captain Gonneville leads a charge of his 2e escadron against 1500 cavalry, they rout the Spanish, capturing General Caro. Sagunto falls.

1812: Valencia capitulates on January 9, 1812, and the enemy's cavalry file past the 13e Cuirassiers before giving up their weapons and horses. Suchet was given the title of Duke of Albufera. Gonneville notes that besides the horses, his regiment also recovered a maître de musique!
The regiment is stationed in outposts around the city and patrols the region.
In 1812, the unit had 34 officers, 591 NCOs and soldiers including 26 acting as personal escort to Suchet.
At Castalla (July 21 1812) Suchet faces a Spanish army under O'Donnell. The advanced guard with the 24e Dragoons and a squadron of the 13e Cuirassiers commanded by General Delort is victorious. Trooper Becheret captures a flag.

1813: In September threatened by the English army, Suchet seizes the Col d'Ordal.

1814: 13e Cuirassiers led by de Bigarré returns to France. It is enaged in the battles for Lyon and is in action at the Battle of Limonest on 20th March sabreing a battery of 8 guns and capturing its train.

Battle Honours
Lerida 1810, Sagonte 1811, and Col d'Ordal 1813

When first formed they wore a mix of uniforms based upon their originating regiments, including various colored lapels, though mainly with red facings, the Carabiniers retained their bearskins and formed an elite company of the regiment.

In mid 1809 they bought 400 pantalons made from a local cloth in brown color (worn tucked in the boots, like the normal cuirassier pantalons and not Mameluke style over the boots) as they still hadn't received either leather breeches or trousers, they also make some surtouts in the same cloth. In 1811 at Valencia Captain Gonneville remarked "I have no cuirass and my saddle is english".

It wasn't until 1812 that they received leather breeches and an 1810 regulation surtout. In July 1812 a large convoy arrived from Pau, escorted by men of the regiment, with new vestes, breeches, pantalons, boots and gloves allowing the whole regiment to be refitted to 1812 regulations. The surtout, without lapels, had 10 buttons in the front with a burgundy collar piped blue, burgundy cuffs without piping and burgundy turnbacks. The carabinier or elite company was similarly outfitted but retained the bearskin. The surtout of the trumpeters was burgundy with blue lapels and with white galons on the front. In 1813 the carbiniers finally lost their bearskins as the whole regiment received new casques.

Yvert, L. Historique du 13e Regiment de Cuirassiers 1807-1814-1891 Chartres; 1895.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Württembergers from Uwe Ehmke

Uwe continues to make progress with his 28mm Württembergers, this time he adds a standard bearer and trumpeter. I understand that there are to be two variants of each 'command' figure, and after some comments, the trumpeter 'green' below is to be redone in a less 'dramatic' pose. Actually I really like it as it is, even if it is not a truly realistic pose.

I really hope that someday these figures will see the light of day commercially, here's hoping that won't be too far off.

I heard from Uwe that he hopes to have them available for sale by the end of August.
Check back here for updates!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Table Top Teaser #1 - Red Dawn

I thought we might try something different, a Table Top Teaser in the style of CS Grants famous articles for Battle! magazine in the 70's, in this case a fictitious action between two forces, inspired by the Battle of Vinkovo between French and Russian forces in 1812 and CS Grants "Dawn Attack".

The map depicts a river plain surrounded by rising woody ground. The river is unfordable and can only be crossed at the bridge. The main road runs from Northeast to Southwest and crosses the river at a small abandoned village.

Red Army
1 Infantry Regiments
5 Cavalry Regiments
1 Horse Battery

Blue Army
5 Infantry Regiments
3 Cavalry Regiments
1 Horse Battery
1 Foot Battery

General Situation
The advanced guard of the Blue Army has moved into the area along the main road from the southwest. They have halted for the night at the river. Although the Red Army is known to be somewhere to the northeast, a short term truce is in effect and therefore it is not considered to be a serious threat. The Blue Army has however been deceived and the Red Army plans to take advantage of the advanced guards exposed position to launch a surprise attack. The Red Army dispatches a small force which makes a forced march throughout the night, determined to attack the Blue Army still in its bivouac at dawn.

Opening Narrative
The Red Army has lost its way several times in the darkness and it is well past dawn by the time it is finally in position to attack. It has split it forces into two groups, a small cavalry force made up of two regiments is north of the river and enters at point "A", whilst the remainder of the force is south of the river and enters at point "B".

The Blue Army outposts are relaxed after dawn came and went, it's now 7am and they have stood down and returned to the bivouac. With the advance guard having decided to rest for the day little is stirring in the camp. The heavy mist begins to lift just as they Red Army strikes.

Playing the Game
In order to play the game we need rules to reflect the confusion in the Blue Army camp as they become aware of the Red Army attack. We will also need a set of conditions to determine the victor of our engagement.

Red Army forces move on to the table on turn one from both A and B. Blue Army throws 1D6 to determine how many turns before his outposts, now close in to the camp, finally spot the advancing Red Army. Until spotted the Red Army moves at half its normal movement reflecting its cautious advance in the early morning mist. Once spotted the mist is considered to have lifted and movement for both sides will be as normal. The alarm finally starts to be raised but there is much confusion as to what is going on and where the threats is coming from, each unit reacts independently to the sounds of the approaching Red Army. For each unit in his Army the Blue commander rolls 1D6 to determine when they finally are activated, add 1 if the unit is west of the main road deduct 1 if east of the main road. On the turn the Red Army is spotted units are activated on a 5-6, on the next turn it is 3-6 and thereafter it is 2-6. The camp is finally alerted but there is still chaos, much will depend on how quickly they can deploy and the strength of their morale in the face of this surprise attack.

Action in the Camp
The bivouac is scattered with tents (an excellent excuse to pick up those Renedra tents), Muskets will be stacked and their will be chaos as the infantry dress, collect their weapons and try to muster. The cavalry will be dismounted and will require to saddle up and mount. Artillery will have been unlimbered and parked, the horses will be unharnessed. As each unit is activated consult the following table to determine what action it takes next.

Dice score:
2 : Break and run, unarmed : cannot be rallied, retire to the east.
3 : Break and  run,  armed. May be rallied the next turn if not attacked.
4 : Stand for three periods then throw again. They will run if attacked, but may be rallied.
5 & 6 : Stand for two periods then throw again. They may defend themselves if attacked.
7 - 9 : Stand two periods, then they are considered deployed at the start of the following turn.
10 & 11 :  Stand one period, then they are considered deployed at the start of the following turn.
12 : Considered deployed at the start of the next turn.

Dice score:
2 & 3 : Horses bolt. Troops rout and retire east, cannot be rallied.
4 : Troops saddle up and mount but rout while mounting. May be rallied on the following turn.
5 : Troops saddle up and mount but must stand for four periods. Will rout if attacked.
6 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for four periods before moving out. Will defend themselves if attacked but considered disorganized in the first three periods.
7 & 8 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for three periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. Will defend themselves if attacked but considered disorganized in the first two periods.
9 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand for two periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. Will defend themselves if attacked.
10 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand two periods, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. May counter charge if attacked in the second period.
11 : Troops saddle up and mount, stand one period, considered deployed at the start of the following turn. May counter charge if attacked.
12 : Troops saddle up and mount. Considered deployed at the start of the next turn.

Dice score:
2 : Horses bolt, gunners run, guns abandoned.
3 : Horses bolt, gunners rout to the east but may be rallied next turn. Guns abandoned.
4 : Half the horses bolt, the remainder controlled by gunners who take six periods to prepare the gun for movement. Will break and run if attacked.
5 : Horses retained, gunners take six periods to prepare guns for movement but stand and fight or fire if attacked in the last three periods.
6 : Horses retained, gunners take five periods to prepare for movement but will fight or fire if attacked in the last three periods.
7 : Horses retained but guns cannot be moved. Gunners will fight or fire from present positions.
8 : Horses retained, gunners take four periods to prepare guns for movement but will stand and fight or fire if attacked after the first period.
9 & 10 : Horses retained, gunners take three periods to prepare guns for movement but will stand and fight or fire if attacked.
11 & 12 : Horses retained, gunners take two periods to prepare guns for movement. Will fight or fire if attacked.

The Blue Army commander is located with the cavalry unit in the Southeast corner, when this unit activates he will add 3 to the dice score of that unit.

Cavalry horses bolting
When horses bolt they will move in the direction determined by throwing 2D6. Any unit they come in contact with must throw 1D6 and on a score of greater than 3 an unformed unit will rout whilst a formed unit becomes disorganized.

If the bridge is held by Red Army infantry for 3 consecutive turns all Blue Army forces north of the river will surrender.

The Red Army wins by having all his troops east of the main road for 3 consecutive turns whilst preventing any Blue Army unit from maintaining itself west of the main road or if he drives the Blue Army from the field. Blue Army wins by having all his troops west of the main road for 3 consecutive turns whilst similarly preventing a Red Army unit from maintaining itself east of the main road or if he drives the Red Army from the field. If neither condition is met the two armies can agree an honorable draw at any time.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Renegade Update - Free Regiment Offer - ends July 31st

I just received an email update from Renegade Miniatures:

Just a quick reminder that our 5-4-4 offer ends July 31st.

So hurry, as you can still receive a
Free Regiment or Blister of your choice for every 4 that you order.
That's just 39p per foot! - 28mm Metal Miniatures.

For every 4 Regiments ordered - Pick a Fifth for Free (only 1 cavalry regiment per deal)
For every 4 Blisters ordered - Pick a Fifth for Free
This offer is available across ALL of our ranges.

New Napoleonics - just around the corner!
New Cavalry - Household & Hussars
New Foot - Firing Lines & New Command

Well, we never like price increases, I wonder though whether this will prove only to be a short term thing and the 5-4-4 deal will be back on again in the Autumn, I hope so, anyway its about time I spent some money elsewhere don't you think.

The sharp rise in the GBP in the last few weeks hasn't helped unfortunately, up 7% from last months lows, so I hope it might drop a little in the next few days before I need to place an order.

Also I should mention that Renegade deliver very promptly these days, when they first slashed the prices last year they were swamped and it too a while to catch up and again in April combination of shows and the ash cloud again lead to delays but they are really fast now, not that I care, I always tell them to put my order at the bottom of the pile.

The question is what to order next?
Saxons still have the problem of nothing to fight against for the moment, as for Naps I am waiting for the new releases, for WWI I have enough if I am limiting myself to skirmish games, so looks like ACW, ECW or Punic.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miniature Warfare

The very first wargaming magazine I ever bought was John Tunstill's Miniature Warfare, Airfix Magazine didn't count because that was a modelling magazine but MW was the 'real thing' and I loved it!

Sadly none of my copies of MW have survived the years (though I do still have every issue of Battle! but that came along almost a decade later).

However there is a wonderful site, Vintage Wargaming, that is dedicated to old school gaming and has reprinted many articles from MW and also the Wargamer's Newsletter. There are several 'gems' that I feel need to have more of a spotlight shone on them so I will maybe have to do a few posts in the future based on old MW or WL articles.

Anyway in the mean time go visit the site and take a look at a few of these golden oldies.