Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Perry Prussian Fusiliers

Perry have posted a couple of shots to their workbench of the forthcoming 28mm metal Prussian Fusiliers. No further details as yet.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Victrix Hanoverians

Victrix just posted some nice pics of their Hanoverians:

Just received back from one of our painters a great new unit of Hanoverians for 1815. These are made by using our metal Hanoverian head and backpack packs in conjunction with our British Waterloo centre companies boxed set. The painter used a couple of arms from a different manufacturer as well to show the versatility of plastics and how easily parts can be intermixed to create truly unique looking figures!

I thought it was worth taking a fresh look at the Hanoverians as in the past I have been a little critical of this set.

There are two sets:
Hanoverian heads 1 [VXP0006] - 36 Landwehr heads in Shakos
Hanoverian heads 2 [VXP0007] - 36 Landwehr heads in Peaked Cap

Both sets also include replacement backpacks and are priced at GBP15.00 but require the British Waterloo center company box priced at GBP19.95 for 60 for the bodies.

Combined it does I feel, make for an expensive 'plastic' set and the mismatch in the numbers means you are either going to have too many heads or too many bodies, so there will be some wastage. At best it is going to cost you around GBP27.00 to make up a set of 36 Hanoverians, though that compares to about GBP40.00 for the same amount of Perry metal Hanoverians (the only real alternative) and the Perry set consists of just 6 metal March Attack poses whereas you have the full range of possible poses from the Victrix set from firing line to marching.

So yes, maybe relatively expensive but unfortunately there is little real alternative currently available, and certainly if you want something other than a basic MarchAttack pose there is no other choice. They do paint up into a very nice set as well, so at the end of the day I think it's worth spending the money. Still, don't you think Victrix could have made enough heads to better utilise the 60 figure Centre company box, especially when there were an awful lot of Hanoverians at Waterloo (11 Landwehr Battalions for a start)?

However here's a thought, one advantage of the heads being in a set just by itself is that you could actually combine the heads with the Perry British Infantry, no I haven't tried it so don't blame me if they don't fit perfectly but it's an interesting 'alternative' idea if you already have the odd spare Perry box at hand.

Ok, so want to know more about the Hanoverians?
The latter period Hanoverian Army was formed in early 1813 when the north german states threw their lot in with the Allies against Napoleon. Initially 3 Field Battalions, one line and two light, were raised but it was expanded to 5 battalions by August, with 3 more to be added at the start of 1814, along with 30 Landwehr battalions. The Field Battalions were to be of 8 companies but in 1814 this was reduced to 6 companies and later to 4 companies. Landwehr battalions consisted of 4 companies, there were no light or grenadier companies.

There were a number of transitions and uniforms seem often to have been just 'left overs' from other units and armies, basically British or KGL and there was a lot of variance between regiments so you need to check each unit to be sure.

There was also a unit of jägers, the Feldjägerkorps Von Kielmannsegge, formed in Spring 1813. At first it consisted of only two companies, but expanded to four companies in October 1813. The unit was dissolved in September 1814 but then reformed in 1815 and fought at Waterloo with a strength of two companies. They were equipped with rifles.

In February 1815 the army was reorganised into 10 regiments, with each regiment consisting of one Field Battalion and three Landwehr Battalions, however, despite this organisation, on the battlefield battalions appear to have fought independently rather than as regiments. Although there were variances in very simple terms for 1815 you have Light Field Battalions in KGL uniforms, Line Field Battalions and Landwehr in British.

On this blog we have previously covered the Battle of Göhrde, the 1813 battle in North Germany involving the Hanoverians, so importantly these units are not just for Waterloo and this opens up a lot of possible scenarios, some hypothetical, some not.

There is not really that much detailed information available online and the most easily accessed quality information is the Osprey MAA 206 - The Hanoverian Army of the Napoleonic Wars by Peter Hofschroer, this is a must have I think if you want to try and make any sense out of it but getting an answer to exactly who wore what and when is not that easy. One of our old favorites sites Les Uniformes pendant la campagne des cents jours is the best source online for uniform plates for 1815.

Landwehr Battalion 1815
(facings vary)

Bremen Line Battalion 1815

Verden Line Battalion 1815

Jager Detachment 1815

The Napoleoen Series also has an article on the Light Battalions here also John de Terre Neuve has done some work on the Hanoverians on his blog, definitely read this, plus his blog is always nice to look at anyway as he paints so well.

The Perry's are probably the only source for the Hanoverian 1815 KGL styled uniformed Light Field Battalions if we are sticking strictly to the 'Perry's sized 28mm (and we are!).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The song of the Beresina

"The day now beginning is likely to be a tough one"
Agathon-Jean-Francois, Baron Fain
28th Novemeber 1812

Oudinot is up by 5 a.m., Tchitchakov's attack is expected at dawn and sure enough at 7 a.m. the sound of guns is heard in the direction of Borissow. Merle's division is ordered to advance, led by the 2nd Swiss Line, a single shell kills eleven of its men as it moves off.

Lieutenant Thomas Legler of the 1st Swiss is noticing that 'a little snow was falling', and at about 7.30 a.m. he and his Commandant Blattmann are strolling to and fro on the road and Blattmann reminds him of 'a favorite song of mine, "Our Life is like a Journey"' and asks him to sing it for him.

Our life is like a journey
Of a wanderer through the night;
Everybody carries something on his way
That causes him to grieve.
But then unexpectedly do fade
Night and darkness before us,
And the sorely troubled find
Solace to their sorrow.
Fearless, fearless, dear brothers,
Abandon the anxious worries;
Tomorrow the sun will rise again
Friendly in the sky.
Therefore let us move on;
Do not retreat disheartenedly!
Beyond those far heights
A new happiness awaits us.

'I started to at once, and when I'd finished it, he heaved a deep sigh. "Yes, Legler, that's how it is. What splendid words!"'.

Other officers joined them and spend 'the morning's early hours singing and chatting'.

Evidently Tschaplitz's attack is taking some time too materialise. Becuase it's already '9 a.m. when suddenly a roundshot passes overhead with a horrible loud noise' startling Legler's colleagues.

'We couldn't understand how we could have been standing so near the enemy without outposts. Now we heard heavy cannon fire in the distance; and to our right musketry seemed to be coming closer. An orderly officer came galloping up from that direction: "Our line's have been attacked!"'

Hardly have the group of Swiss infantry officers taken 100 paces to their right than 'to our great astonishment an enemy came forward'. The swiss scouts 'quickly spread out backward and sideways', keeping the enemy at a distance by a well nourished fire, on the road both sides' artillery were facing each other, 'but the enemy's so aslant it we could now and again trace the damage their roundshot was doing'.

The Croat Regiment having been stationed elsewhere, Merle's four Swiss infantry regiments, 'these four units together perhaps amounting to at most 2,500 men', only have the French 123rd Line to support them.

'Behind us a few small Polish infantry units, a squadron of chasseurs and one of lancers formed a second line.'

By now it's growing light and the 3rd Swiss, with the 4th Swiss to their right, are firing volley after volley, 'fighting without budging'.

'it seems the enemy's being reinforced. His firing's becoming livlier. Suddenly we're thrown back, we retreat some 50 paces. The chiefs shout: "Forward!" Everywhere the "Charge" is beaten. We're flung at the enemy, cross bayonets at point-blank range. Slowly, the Russians retire, still firing.'

Soon the Swiss are held up by cavalry.

'which makes a charge through the sparse snow-laden pines. But all this has been no more than a passade. In no time our battery and the 4th's dismount the Russian battery, which is abandoned on the road.'

But the Swiss are suffering heavy casualties. The 2nd Regiment, only a few yards away, is 'the most advanced of all. After a first, very sucessful charge, our commandant Vonderweid, from Seedorf, was following up vigorously', Capitan Begons orders his adjutant,

'an NCO named Barbey, to go and get some cartridges. He was obeying when he was hit mortally. I gave the same order to a certain Scherzenecker. He too was hit, in the right arm. I was just going to send a third officer when I saw the Russians, protected by numerous light infantry, were still coming on ever more thickly. Although our regiment scarecely had 800 men, it was well equipped and aware of the importance of the position entrusted us. We hear a formidable noise of gunfire and hurrahs. It was the Rusian army which, knowing our army corps had crossed the river and to dispute the passage with us, was coming on in ever greater numbers.'

Now the Swiss - the 1st Regiment had spread out en tirralleurs - are beginning to run out of ammunition:

'On both sides the firing was murderous . It wasn't long before General Amey and several staff officers had been wounded and several killed, among them our commandant Blatmann. A bullet went through his brain. General De Brigade Canderas and his adjutant had fallen too; a roundshot had taken off the latter's head.'

By now Legler - he's taken cover behind a tree - is estimating the number of men - it was growing every minute' - standing idle for lack of cartridges to be at least 300. 'All these were coming and placing themselves calmly behind the line of officers.' When he asks them what they are doing there, they simply reply "give us cartridges". What can he reply to that? At that moment he sees Merle 200 yards away. Runs over to him. Asks leave to attack the advancing Russians at bayonet point. Merle tells him to run back and, in his name, order the firing to cease and to charge with the bayonet. Legler insists that the drummers 'since we'd ceased fire' shall take the lead:

'But this they all refused. So in the heat of the moment I seized the first one to hand by his collar and threatened to run my sword through him if he didn't follow me. After which I, at the run, dragged him behind me to the front line, while he beat the attack with one hand. However, just as I let go of him a bullet hit him in the right jawbone.'

All his long life the 23-year old volunteer Louis de Bourmann will remember and celebrate the 2nd Regiment's homeric struggles, he sees Vonderweid fall:

'He'd just given his horse to his adjutant, who'd been wounded in the leg, and was fighting on foot at the head of his braves when a Russian musket ball went through his throat. He gave a cry, stifled by blood, and fell backwards into my arms. After the first moment had passed, he, without losing consciousness, said these simple words to his fellow citizen "Bourmann, I've died here as a Christian."'

He is carried to the rear by his men, 'hardly to survive for forty-eight hours'.

At last cartridges have arrived and been distributed by Legler's men. Not enough to keep up the heavy fire however. So a second bayonet charge is launched. 'Twice at a hundred paces' distance we forced him to retire.' With some grenadiers Legler goes to the rear to get more ammunition, 'but had to search about for a powder wagon for a good half hour before we found one'. Just as they're going back to the firing line with as many cartridges as they can carry, they see Commandant Zingg, who insists on taking over now that Blatmann is dead. But as they approach the regiment they see, 'about 300 paces to the left of the road', another Russian column advancing and outflanking them. 'Already it could take us in the rear.'

Being only a cannon-shot from the bridge on the forest fringe, the Swiss can't see very far ahead, Begos assumes the 3rd and 4th Regiment must be somewhere to his right.

'almost opposite the bridge. For the rest, it was hard to grasp the army's overall movements. In such moments each man feels how important it is to stay at his post. It was a question of preventing the Russians from approaching, so what was needed was a heroic defence, no more, no less! Not for a single moment had we nothing to do. Swarms of Russians were aiming such well-nourished fire at out regiment that after an hour of combat we'd lost quite a lot of ground.'

Legler's men, however, have been following up their bayonet attack 'for the best part of half an hour', and the Russians have turned and fled - as troops almost always do when seriously threatened with a bayonet charge -

'when we were swept up in the flight of the lancer squadron on our right flank. Looking back as we ran, we saw Russian Dragoons at our heels, and also enemy infantry advancing with them. Again I yelled out to halt and form up. Those who heard me did as I'd ordered, and our well aimed shots at the nearest dragoons, felling them from their horses, had such a good effect that the others galloped back, leaving the infantry standing.'

By now, through thickly falling snow, the Russian artillery's enfilading the road at short range. It's causing such slaughter among the Swiss that Oudinot, sitting on his horse amidst the swirling snowflakes, orders Merle's division to move off to its left. Thus placing it under cover of the forest, he brings up two of his own guns. Pils, in the saddle beside the Marshal, and clasping his first-aid box, sees how, 'before they've had time to be ranged in battery, one of them is carried off by the Russians, whom we hadn't realised were so close. We couldn't see farther than 30 paces for the snow.'

For all their staunchness the Swiss, Fezensac realises, are losing a lot of ground:

'Only three weak batttalions placed on the road - all that was left of I, III and VIII Corps - served as their reserve. For a while the fight was sustained; under pressure from superior forces II Corps was beginning to sag. Our reserves, hit by roundshot at ever closer range, were moving towards our rear. This movement put to flight all the isolated men who filled the wood, and in their terror they ran as far as the bridge. Even the Young Guard was wavering.'

Oudinot, 'indignant at such audacity' on the Russians part, 'remains in the middle of the road without bothering about the bullets whistling by on all sides.' The moment has come, he decides, to send in his heavy cavalry; and send his ADC, M. de la Chaise, to General Doumerc, ordering him to advance his curassiers' - the 4th, 7th and 14th Curassiers.

So impatient is Oudinot 'while waiting for his order to be carried out that he stamps his foot', asking Pils as he does whether he hasn't got a drop of brandy to warm him:

'I'm just searching for it in my bag, paying no more heed to what's going on, when, having found some dregs of brandy, I offer them to him. In the same instant I see M. le Marechal put his hand to his side and fall from his horse, which instantly bolts.'

Dragging with it its rider (according to another eye-witness) hanging upside down. Pils, 'alone beside him' struggles to dismount,

'but couldn't extract my right shoe from the stirupp. The illustrious wounded man gave no more sign of life. But then a young voltigeur whose right fist had been carried away and who was holding his musket in his left hand came to my assistance, frees me and helped to lift M. le Marechal. We raised him to a sitting position.'

At this moment Captian de la Chaise comes back to report his mission accomplished, as Pils continues;

'Between the three of us we placed him on the voltigeur's musket and took him away from this spot where musket balls were still whistling. Then Lieutentant-Colonel Jacqueminot appeared, bringing back a Russian officer, whom he was grasping by the collar. Finally General de Lorencz, chief-of-staff, and some other officers had rejoined us. We got busy making a stretcher out of pine branches.'

Napoleon, meanwhile, has returned to his headquarters at Ziniwki hamlet, and is standing 'on foot at the forest fringe on the right of the road, surrounded by his staff. Behind him the Imperial Guard, drawn up in battle order,' amounts in all to some 5,500 men - Mortier's Young Guard (2,000), Lefebvre's Old Guard Infantry (3,500), and Bessieres' 500 Chasseurs and a handful of Horse Grenadiers:

'Informed of the Duke of Reggio's condition, the Emperor immediately sent his own carriage, escorted by some Horse Grenadiers, but M. le Marechal, who'd recovered consciousness, declared he couldn't stand the jolting, and so we went on carrying him.' Bonneval, sent with a dispatch to Ney to take over command of the II Corps as well as his own, sees 'Jacqueminot following after, all in tears.'

As the men carrying Oudinot pass before him, Pils goes on,

'The Horse Grenadiers of the Guard were drawn up to the left of the road. Captain Victor Oudinot, the Marshal's son, sees the convoy passing, has recognised the face of his farther, jumped the ditch and come to him. We laid M. le Marechal on a mattress in the Emperor's hut. There he was given first aid.'

Bonneval, coming with the order to Ney to take over, has found him

'on a little white horse, surrounded by his whole staff. There he was in the midst of a very well nourished fire, as calm as at the Tuileries.'

The Brill wood's pine trees, though heavily snow-laden, are 'very sparse'. And upon Doumerc's 3rd Heavy Cavalry Division coming up, Ney orders Colonel Ordener of the 7th Curassiers, supported by the 4th, '200 Curassiers at most', to charge through it. Within sight of Thomas Legler and his men - they're about to be taken in the rear again by yet another Russian column which - 'advancing with loud shouts' - has just forced some French or Swiss infantry to give ground', the cuirassiers are ordered to charge:

'The brave cuirassiers of the 4th and 7th Regiments, who were standing only 1,000 paces away from us, had seen the enemy too. We clearly heard the word of command: "Squadrons, by the left flank march!" As soon as the cuirassiers crossed the road they went into the attack.'

In front of them is a huge Russian square. Nearby is Rochechcaouart, who's 'marched for the Studianka ford with everything we could collect'. Langeron has invited him to come with him

'into the forest with the grenadier battalion and a good regiment of Don Cossacks. No sooner have we got into said forest than we're vigorously charged by a regiment of cuirassiers, such as we certainly didn't expect to meet with on that kind of battlefield. Our grenadiers, taken by surprise, were sabred and routed, while our Cossacks made a show of resisting, which thanks to our horses gave us time to escape.'

The great Russian infantry square is shattered and dissolves.

Legler sees only:

'four shots fired; then the enemy fled, we threw our ammunition to the ground and all ran forward with a single shout: "the cuirassiers are attacking the enemy in the woord to our left! Forward at the bayonet!" Some were shouting "Vive l'Empereur" and I myself. "Long live the brave men from Polotsk!" The assault was general and this time succeeded so well that we took 2,500 prisoners, two-thirds of them wounded. Many dead and badly wounded men were lying on the ground.'

After this catch, says the breathless Legler;

'followed a calm that lasted for a quarter of an hour at least. Now at long last, our other column, the Poles advanced, ad we were issued cartridges, which had finally arrived in sufficient quantity. The oddest thing about his bayonet attack was that though we'd lost many dead and wounded during the firing, we ourselves hardly lost anyone at all. The enemy's second line, which now engaged us, hadn't been firing at us for half an hour before the Poles were forced back on top of us. We absorbed them into our line and resumed firing. We were amazed how accurate the enemy shot's were; if it had been sharpshooters we'd had in front of us they couldn't have done us worse damage.'

But Tschaplitz's men are falling back head over heels into Stavkowo. Rochechouart the emigre is half shattered by his compatriots achievements, half proud of it 'the French and Polish infantry seconded the cuirassiers efforts. The prize of their victory was 4,000 prisoners and five guns.'
As the come back driving before them long columns of prisoners, most of them slashed by sabre cuts', Doumerc's victorious cuirassier are welcomed by Fezensac's men 'with transports of joy'. Rapp sees them ride past in front of the Guard, 'still beautiful and to be feared, in battle array at the forests edge.' And Fain hears how the Russian square has consisted of no fewer than 7,000 infantrymen. From a Russian officer he interrogates through his Polish interpreter napoleon hears that all 'are from the Army of Moldavia'

Swiss Memorial at Beresina

It has been the battle's turning point, at least on the right bank. Tchitchakov, who hadn't expected to come upon such redoubtable enemies, didn't renew the attack, though by nightfall fewer than 300 of the 2,500 Swiss remained, the 2eme has been virtually destroyed and in the 3eme Jean-Marc Bussy notes that his Voltigeur company can only muster 7 effectives out of the 87 that started they day.

"Brave Swiss! You have fought like lions.
Each of you deserves the cross of the Légion d'honneur."

General Merle, commander of the Swiss Division.

(Largely taken from '1812 The Great Retreat' by Paul Britten Austin - edited for brevity)

So here we have a fitting action for our 3ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne Suisse, only a small force is needed, perfect for the tabletop. If you prefer something a little different, then look in the archives for this blog as you will also find an account of the first Battle of Bruc in Spain, which once again involves the Swiss saving the day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

March Attack - New Napoleonic Rules from Crusader

Crusader have announced the imminent release of their new Napoleonic Ruleset "March Attack".

They are available for pre-order from North Star at GBP20.00 and should be shipping next week, post free world wide while still on pre-order.

March Attack are presented as an 80 page A4, full colour, perfect bound book. The rules are designed to allow players to fight large battles with battalion sized units in a reasonable amount of time.

Command and control, orders and morale for large formations are combined with easy to learn tactical game mechanics so that battles of a Corps or more a side
can easily be fought by a few players during an evening. Each unit on the table represents a battalion of infantry, regiment of cavalry or battery of artillery.

A ground scale of 1” to 60 yards, one turn representing 20 minutes and fast paced strategic movement rules mean that battles play out at a realistic rate. Combat is dealt with in a manner that allows large numbers of units to be fielded and the interaction between strategic movement and tactical combat allows for a fast paced game that keeps a good level of detail.

Seven different training and morale levels combined with the historical strength of a unit introduces the concept of ‘Combat Value’. This ties together all of the tactical rules and ensures that troop quality, more than just luck or buckets of dice, plays an important part in every battle.

80 pages, full colour, perfect bound.

For more info from NorthStar click here.

The Crusader Publishing website contains sample chapters, formations, play sheets, counters, and an extended example. This should allow folks to decide whether these rules suit their tastes before spending any hard-earned cash.

The rules are currently available as a PDF from the Crusader Publishing site (GBP6.00), and the first delivery of hardcopies should be with North Star by the end of May. As always, the printed copies of the rules are available to trade and distribution through Nick at North Star.

From the sound of it the rules seem intended for large Corps level battles, personally that's not really my cup of tea, I prefer brigade level games or even smaller but if you are into replaying the really big battles then this might be worth a look, the price for the glossy book is not too bad and GBP6.00 for the pdf is a giveaway, probably worth the GBP6.00 even if you only want to get an idea of what the rules are about.

The Crusader Publishing site (NOT the NorthStar site) has plenty of info on the rules especially in the downloads section, worth looking at, I must admit at that price even if I don't like Corps level games I might just pick up a pdf copy, you never know in some alternative universe I might even play a Corps level game once.. not!.

Actually Crusader also do a 'generic' 'black powder era' (1740-1900) set of rules called 'Rank and File' they are also available in pdf form for GBP6.00 from their site, they are supposed to be fast play and allow play at various levels.

Edited for updated info.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

30% Off Some Foundry Napoleonic Regiments

The world has definitely moved on from the days the Perry's were sculpting Napoleonics for Foundry and they no longer represent the best sculpts on the market or even particularly good value at their regular price and although these days I am not actively adding to my Foundry collection they do still form a big part of my Napoleonic's (currently maybe 60%+) and I guess they do for many other people as well.

Anyway it seems they have a 30% sale on certain Napoleonic items and if you are still into them or just need to pad out your existing range it's at least worth taking a look.

Our 30% CLEARANCE DISCOUNT has been so successful that we are continuing with it!

We'll be adding more items to the clearance section so it's worth checking it out from time to time!
Click here for more info

There really is little I can say about Foundry you don't already know!
You buy Foundry because you need them not because you prefer them, they don't really need to compete with anyone and they know it. It's a shame they can't refresh the range in the way OG have tried to do with the 2E range, it would be interesting to see better proportioned sculpts but you can understand why they don't bother, though maybe some day they will see the writing on the wall before the become another Hinchliffe or Minifigs.

I will say for all the issues with Foundry figures they still produce the best horses!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Project 1813-1815

I have touched on a few issues related to this project a couple of times this year without really mentioning what the project is.

In short the concept is to create all new 28mm armies for all the major players in the various campaigns from 1813-1815 in time for the various 200th Anniversaries. That means French, Prussian, Austrian, Russian and British to start with, though there maybe some additional units from the minor countries to add some variety.

The figures will all be 28mm 'Perry' compatible both plastic and metal, so we are talking of Perry (of course), Victrix, Warlord Games, Renegade and maybe a couple of others.

There is no single 'ruleset' that I am going to use, in fact the point is to use a variety of rules (as I seem to have built up a collection) from old school Grant era through to the latest crop of glossy rules. That may mean I have to adapt some rules, but we all do that anyway. The key thing is it will all be element based rules (or rules adapted to become element based) that way I can base once for all rules.

I like big battalions, probably something to do with growing up in the Grant era, 40-50 figure battalions just look right, also I am more interested in replaying smaller engagement than the major battles, I have often though that if it is big enough to call a battle it's too big for this blog and that's not a bad rule of thumb, though it could be that replaying a part of a major battle would work. Probably the maximum I am aiming for is something in the region of 10-15 battalions per side.

I have also decided that these armies will primarily be painted by a painting service rather than done by myself. The last few years the demands of work has reduced drastically my 'free' time and the long hours has also I think had an impact on my painting skills which seem to have declined significantly over the last 3 years, my age is probably a contributor to that as well, I turn 55 in a couple of weeks. So after several attempts at painting figures that left me dissatisfied with the result I decide it was time to cave in and pay someone to do it, though at the same time my budget is tight.

When it turned to basing I did play around with various ideas, at one time I even considered 16 figure bases with a 'standard' battalion of 96 figures but realized that despite how good it looked (and also a better fit for the actual formation it was trying to represent) I just couldn't afford that many figures. There are still some unanswered question in this are but the basic 'element' I have decided upon is 60mm x 40mm and that will contain 8 Infantry or 3 Cavalry figures. How many bases to a battalion is somewhat open, initially it will be 4, somewhat in line with LaSalle I think, though I have said that later in the year I may go back and 'pad out' the battalions with another two elements. Command and Artillery bases will be large, the aesthetic aspect is to some degree more important than historical accuracy here.

I took a while to sample a few painting services but now that has been set, though probably more on that in another post. I have kicked off ordering the core of the French army and currently I am awaiting the arrival of 6 new plastic battalions (in fact they are a bit overdue, hope this doesn't start badly) to join my existing force.

The existing force is 2 pro-painted battalions, plus another 1 fully painted by me, 2 part painted by me and 1 pro-painted under strength battalion (Victrix Fusilier-Grenadiers). So that gets me into the ballpark for the French, though there will be more to add later. There may be the odd unit from my 'old' armies that could be recycled but they need to look right and I am picky.

There is also 24 Cacadores (Victrix), a unit of French Hussars and a British battalion being processed by another painter. Although he doesn't know it yet he is most likely my 'metals' painter, and most likely all the cavalry will be metal. Artillery will also be metal simply due to the current lack of any choice.

Next month I will probably start to add either a British or Prussian force. The Brits have the advantage of allowing me to reuse some of my existing 28mm OG Cavalry which don't look to out of place but I would prefer the Prussians.

I have promised my wife that a part (big?) of the cost of this project will be met by selling off my old stuff, so far I have been spending without selling but I am pretty close to be overdrawn with my 'banker' :)

A project has to have a catchy nickname these days, I though of 'Decline and Fall' but I am too much of a Napoleonphile to have such a negative name, or 'Project Merde' but that's a bit course, and 'Project Hexagone' is probably to obscure if your not French, so currently it's a definitely not catchy and pretty boring '1813-1815'.

Monday, May 16, 2011

3ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne Suisse

I was thinking today that it might be nice to add a bit of variety into the ranks of the French and from nowhere the 3ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne Suisse popped into my head. Not sure at the moment whether I will paint them myself or have them commissioned, but whichever here is the background info. Also I believe this regiment possibly retained the bearskin bonnet for their Grenadiers after 1812 which makes things a bit more interesting.

The prints below are in pre-Bardin style.

Swiss mercenaries have long been associated with the French Army, and without a doubt the most famous episode in their history was the defense of the Tuileries Palace in central Paris during the French Revolution.

However the French Revolution abolished the use of mercenary troops in its citizen army, but Napoleon ultimately reversed this decision and made use of Swiss troops, with four Swiss infantry regiments being raised and employed in both Spain and Russia. They were well trained and disciplined, their musket volleys were perfectly controlled, their shots well aimed and they served loyally, so long as they were paid regularly, there was indeed a saying "No money, no Swiss".

The 'Act of Mediation' was issued by Napoleon Bonaparte on 19 February 1803 establishing the Swiss Confederation, following the collapse of the Helvitic Republic. As a result it was agreed that four regiments of 4,000 men each would raised to serve in the Grande Armee replacing the old Helvetic demi-brigades recruited in 1798.

The 3ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne Suisse was founded in September 1806 under the command of Colonel Louis de May, stationed at Lille. By the end of 1807 it had reached a strength of 3,000 men and had received it's Eagle.

The 1st Battalion was sent to Spain in late 1807 and the second in early 1808. The 1st Battalion was almost entirely taken prisoner at Baylen.

The 3rd and 4th battalions were employed in garrisons in Zealand until 1811.

In 1811 the regiment headed to Magdeburg to join the three other Swiss regiments forming Merle's division in Marshal Oudinot's II Corps for the upcoming Russian campaign. Each regiment had an artillery company of 2 3pdrs. The 3eme was brigaded with the 123eme Line under Général de Brigade Coutard. On 24th June 1812 the Swiss crossed the Niemen, with the third under the command of Colonel Thomasset and leaving the Grand Army en route to Moscow, they moved on Polotsk where they were involved in both the August and November battles as well as the combats at Drissa and Lepel. They rejoined the Grand Armee during the retreat and at the Beresina they were heavily involved, crossing the river they occupied a position on the right bank in the forest of Stachowa, resisting all attacks they protected the retreat of the Grande Armee, and though barely 300 were left to recross the Niemen they had once again earned a fearsome reputation and a lasting place in the Napoleonic legend.

In 1813 the Swiss regiments saw little action as they were posted in Northern France and the Netherlands, though a small detachment of around 60 men was left in Kustrin through to May. In 1814 the 3eme regiment was involved at Bescanon.

At the first abdication the four regiments swoar an oath to Louis XVIII and during the hundred days they refused to betray that oath and returned to Switzerland. After Waterloo, the Bourbon's signed a new agreement for two new regiments of the Royal Guard and 4 of line infantry. The revolution of 1830 finally put an end to the presence of Swiss troops in the service of France.

See Histofig

To 1812, French coats with long tails of scarlet cloth, Black distinctives piped white. Black open collar piped white. Scarlet shoulder straps piped white. Square black lapels piped white. Cuff flaps (with three buttons) scarlet piped white. Turnbacks white decorated with white five-pointed stars. Vertical pockets simulated by a white piping. Brass buttons.
From 1812, Bardin style coat with short tails of scarlet cloth, Black distinctives not piped. Turnbacks white decorated with a black crowned N. Black open collar piped red. Scarlet shoulder straps piped in black.Square black lapels not piped. Cuff flaps (with three buttons) scarlet not piped. Vertical pockets simulated by a white piping. Brass buttons.

Veste and culottes were white. High white gaiters in grande tenue and black in tenue de route, replaced from 1813 by Black short gaiters in any outfit. Black shoes.

Black felt shako with a top band, and reinforced by a black leather 'V', adorned with a brass rhomboid plate stamped with an eagle. Pompom ball the color of the company with tricolor at the base. White cords and flounders. Black leather visor and brass chinscales.
From 1813, shako decorated with an eagle stamped on base with regimental number.

White leatherwork. Black leather giberne. Infantry sword with brass hilt with a strap and black leather scabbard with brass fittings, white strap.

Troopers dress but with white fringed epaulettes, a scarlet crescent was added after 1810. Bearskin bonnet adorned with a brass eagle. Scarlet plume with white top, white cords and flounders. Red Saber strap.

Troopers dress with chamois collar, green fringed epaulettes with a yellow crescent. White turnbacks decorated with a green horn.
Shako with a green pompon and green plume with a yellow top.
Green Saber strap, sometimes with a yellow tassel.

Troopers dress with lace or gold grade dawn on the sleeves. For sergeants, gold braid on top of shako cords and strap mixed with gold.

Troopers dress with rank insignia (shoulder pads, lace top of shako) gold. Gold cords and flounders, golden ornaments, and for senior officers, white plume. For mounted officers, saddle cloth saddle cover to French madder laced with gold. For mounted officers, schabraque black cloth laced with silver.

Drums and Cornets
Troopers dress with the same distinctives. Collar, lapels and cuffs trimmed with gold and five gold chevrons on both arms. Company insignia for the Fusilier drummers, swallow nests black laced gold.

Dress as per Grenadiers with the insignia of the Sapeurs (crossed axes over a grenade) in white cloth on both sleeves. Whitened leather apron, axe and sabre de sapeur. Four sapeur badges on both sleeves. Scarlet plume topped black.

From what I have read the Grenadiers retained the bearskin bonnet after 1812, whether this means they also didn't switch to the Bardin regulation uniform or not is unclear. Vernet's illustrations of the Bardin uniform does include the Suisse regiments, though he doesn't specifically depict a Grenadier, however Winkler draws a 1ere regiment Fusilier in 1813 in a pre-Bardin uniform, also the Vernet print below is claimed to be from 1813 and depicts a Grenadier in bearskin bonnet.

It appears that even after the switch to the Bardin uniform the Grenadiers still retained the bearskin bonnet. This is a Vernet print of a 1ere regiment Grenadier in 1813.

A 3ème Régiment Grenadier from 1812 in what appears to be a Bardin coat (Bellange)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Victrix Army Deal

Little bit of Victrix news.

They have added a Russian Army deal to their catalogue, if your into Austerlitz etc. this is not a bad starting point, and I believe I am correct in saying that if you are an overseas customer you are exempt from UK VAT so the price will actually be 20% off the quoted amount.

They do paint up very nicely indeed don't they, almost tempted myself but I have enough on my plate at the moment with 1813-1815 (more on that very soon) though it does make me keen to add an 1813 Russian army next year.

They have also kicked of a new monthly draw, anyone buys direct from Victrix has a chance to win this painted Vignette.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Russian Generals - Front Rank

After the move last December we 'lost' the charger for the family camera so I have been unable to take any pics since then, but finally I bought a new camera with macro mode for taking pics of miniatures, hopefully you will start to see some pics of the 'new' stuff though the blog will remain primarily an 'informational' blog rather than seeing endless pics of my collection.

Anyway last weekend was our local clubs AGM, which apart from beer and a curry, and then beer and a game was also the occasion for the annual auction, I picked up these Front Rank Russian Generals, as well as some British Light Dragoons all from DPS. The Dragoons are destined for skirmish gaming, the Russian Generals I was unsure about but they will most likely have to wait until next year before they have any troops to command, so this gave me a chance to try out the new camera (which cost around $80).

I need to improve my camera skills I think as the figures look better than in the pics.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Victrix Austrians Update

Victrix have a brief announcement on the upcoming Austrian sets, with more to follow:

For those who want to find out about updates and new releases please go to the News pages and shopping cart. We update the news pages and shopping cart on a regular basis, don’t assume that if the home page has not changed for a while other pages are not being updated and products being added. We also produce regular news letters covering product releases or just useful information about uniforms, regimental histories and painting or modelling tips. Let us know via email if you want to be added to the newsletter subscriber list.

A brief update about the plastic Austrians

They are in the tooling stage at present, and will be released very soon. We will have some of the first box art to show you in the next few days, and some plastics to show off in a few weeks. Four sets are being released in close succession: Austrians in helmets, shakos, Grenadiers and Landwehr. The sets will consist of 56 figures, 48 infantry, two officers on foot, two standard bearers, two drummers, and two mounted colonels. This gives flexibility to the sets, for those who use 24-man units rather than 48-man units.

All the figures can be assembled in march attack if you wish, but there are some arm options for firing, loading, at porte, and at charge. There are also some various right arms to add a little dynamism to the march attack poses, if you wish. Backpacks, canteens and bayonets are one-piece castings, and heads are separate. One third of the figure bodies have both arms attached, one third have the left arm attached, and one third have no arms attached to enable some variation and conversion possibilities.

We will be starting to produce metals to compliment our plastic Austrian range.

Not sure what Victrix mean by 'very soon' but the last date they gave was June I think, though if they are to be released in just a matter of weeks I am really surprised there are no test shots already available by this stage.

So lets see whats happens over the next few weeks though to be honest Victrix tend to be way off on any dates they promise for anything and quite a few things just never happen, like the non-regular regular newsletter.

Which brings up the newsletter, up until now to get the newsletter required you to register in their on line store, something I have ranted about previously, in this internet age we have to be very careful about giving out our detail to anyone (think Sony and PS3 for a recent example of what can go wrong) so I won't give up my details unless I really NEED to and I don't need to for a newsletter, well at long last you can now subscribe just by sending them your email address!!!

That said are Victrix seriously expecting people to keep browsing their store as a way to find out what they have released. If you release something put it on your home page, that really is a no brainer.

Anyway back to the Austrians...
There some very interesting points in this announcement, first the size, 56 figures but designed also to fit 2 x 24man sets, that is going to be important to quite a lot of people and it is good to see that Victrix are starting to think with the gamer in mind. Even more significantly they are producing a third with both arms on, third with one arm and a third with no arms, again it seems they are starting to think with the gamer in mind, responding to the biggest complaint with Victrix sets, assembly time, but at the same time trying to achieve a compromise between the gamer who is willing to forgo some flexibility for the sake of speed of assembly and the modeler who wants complete flexibility and doesn't mind how long it takes to assemble the set. We will have to see if this compromise 'works' and resolves the issue. The also mention that you can make up the whole set as March Attack, another concession to the gamer, but with some variety which is what we really want.

This marks a significant change of approach by Victrix and it is good to see this at last but it is also good to see that the will retain some flexibility, more often than not I just want to throw together a bunch of March Attack battalions BUT occasionally it's good to be able to produce a one off unit, for example I have a Fusilier-Grenadier unit which is made up of the Grenadier set with line Shako's and has a mix of firing line and march attack, I think it looks really good (and that's all that counts).

Anyway it's good to hear we are almost there and eagerly wait to see what the metal range will include, cavalry for sure but really we do also need artillery. It would be nice to see Victrix for once staying focused on a range and flesh it out so we can realistically build wargaming armies. Don't you think Victrix would make a good fit at WG?

Until we see the pic's of the real thing here are some shots of the greens
Austrians in Helmets

Austrians in Shakos

Austrian Grenadiers

Austrian Landwehr

Sergeants and Drummers


Sunday, May 01, 2011

Interesting Flag Company

By chance I ran across Rofur Flags, a Germany company that specializes in 1/72, 28mm, 1/32 flags (if you didn't guess already).

Their focus to date has clearly been on 1/72 where they have a very extensive range of Napoleonic flags, however they do have two 28mm Napoleonic French sets.

What makes this interesting is the contents of these sets, which are more than your run of the mill Infantry flag.

28mm/005-new2010: Waterloo 1815 (1). French Army

1 flag each for:
105me Infantérie de Ligne / 45me Infantérie de Ligne / 93me Infantérie de Ligne / 92me Infantérie de Ligne / 100me Infantérie de Ligne / 54me Infantérie de Ligne.

1 Standard each for:
1er, 5me and 6me Regiment Chevau-Legers Lanciers de Ligne, and 8 lance pennons / 1 Standard each for: 10me, 11me und 12me Cuirassiers / standard of 2me Carabiniers.

28mm/006-new2010: French Army, Line-Infantry

1 flag each for:
4me, 8me, 17me, 21me, 30me, 33me, 61me Infantérie de Ligne 1812 -14 / Batn-Fanion of 13me Voltigeurs de la Jeune Garde 1813 / Btn.-Fanion of 5me Tirailleurs-Grenadiers, Jeune Garde ca.1812-14 / Fanion de Compagnie, Grenadiers of 63me Infantérie de Ligne / 4 pennons each for 2nd and 3rd poerte-aigle 1808-1814 (1st and 2nd Eagle-Bearer) / Line Infantry Bataillon-flags: 1 Fanion each for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Bataillons / Voltigeurs-Company : 2 different Fanions / Grenadiers-Company : 2 different Fanions / Carabiniers-Company : 2 different Fanions.

Rofur itself doesn't seem to sell these flags but the are available from various retailers worldwide.

In the UK the are available from Painted Napoleonic Armies, you can order online and they ship worldwide. They currently have an older version of these sets selling at 4GBP, the new sets are on the way (expected within the next week) but will retail at 8GBP as the contents (as listed above) are double the old sets.

The word from Painted Napoleonic Armies is that the above pictures do reasonably represent the actual sheet colors i.e. not as pale as shown on the Perry page, though as it appears above the 1815 sheet is not as dark as the 1812-1814 sheet.