Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Village idiot

For some reason I couldn’t resist the urge to re-base the buildings in my village. This involved removing the models from their single A4 size base and putting them on individual bases which was in line with my original concept (click here). I must admit that this work was carried out without planning permission or any consultation with the residents.

The three buildings can still be arranged together as a single built-up-area, but it gives me the flexibility to use them individually as well.

Something else I couldn’t resist recently was splashing out and buying 96 French infantry from the 1807-12 range. This was a bit of a punt as I couldn’t be sure from the photos if they were vintage Hinton Hunt or not as the seller had miscaptioned them. For once I got lucky as all the figures turned out to be vintage castings in good condition except for a dozen or so broken bayonets.

The bulk of the figures are FN244 fusilier (charging) but there
are some others which I didn't already have in my collection
such as FN16 Voltigeur (marching) in greatcoat, although the
plumes have been cut down, and also marching/charging line

At a stroke this gives me a full division (three units in my organisation) of French infantry but also undoes all my progress this year - figures painted vs figures acquired. However, vintage stuff doesn’t come along all that often and certainly not at a half decent price and these reinforcements do sort of fit into my long-term plan for this project.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Rear-guard action

I had a few hours spare yesterday so decided to play a small solo game. It was a chance to get a few of the figures out of the display cabinet and put them through their paces. The scenario was simple enough – a small allied rear-guard was attempting to hold off a larger French force.

Marshal Grouchy was in charge of the French aided by
 General Lasalle as second-in-command.
"I say Lasalle, if you'd told me you were wearing your red
trousers and green top I'd have worn a different uniform!"

The allied force consisted of Austrians, Prussians and Russians.
 The Russian Grenadiers were commanded on this occasion by
General Alten (I have a Russian General but he's still in the
painting queue).
The French force advances and despite some seriously good
shooting the Austrian Jagers are forced to give ground. The
newly formed Guard light cavalry were well up in the front
line with the Guard heavy cavalry not far behind.
Turn 3 and the battle is in full swing. The French are making
a nicely coordinated attack. The cavalry have forced two units
of infantry into square whilst the skirmishers and horse artillery
do their thing. Behind them the infantry columns move up -
textbook stuff.
Those pesky skirmishers are making things hard for the 51st
Gabriel Spleny Regiment who are starting to take casualties.
The Guard infantry bring up the rear of the French line. From
this angle General Cambronne appears to be conducting
an orchestra!
The Guard heavy cavalry see an opportunity and charge the
Prussian Dragoons who fail their counter-charge die roll and
get hit on the back foot. The melee result is a foregone
This is the obligatory 1970s flashback scene of the fighting.
Straight off the pages of Miniature Warfare magazine.
The Spleny's become disordered by the effects of all the
incoming fire and the Guard light cavalry choose that moment
to charge and sweep them from the field.
The 45th Regiment charge and are repulsed but behind them
the Combined Grenadiers take on the Russians and force them
to retreat. It's game over for the allies.

Blucher and Mack look on as the rear-guard melts away.
"Mein Gott Mack, have you got zat map ze right way up?"
Men of the match - the French skirmishers.

It was a fun little game that enabled me to iron out a few details about the use of skirmishers. I really should give the British a run out next time.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Black Duke

Frederick William joined the Prussian army as a young captain in 1789 and took part in the war against Revolutionary France. His father Charles William was a field marshal and both father and son fought at Jena-Auerstadt where the former was mortally wounded. Frederick inherited his father’s title becoming Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg.

With the advent of the Fifth Coalition he established a corps of ‘Black Brunswickers’ at his own expense, dressed in black in mourning for their occupied country. In 1809 after the loss of Braunschweig he fled to Britain seeking employment with his brother-in-law The Prince Regent. The Brunswickers were then shipped to the Peninsular to fight under Wellesley gaining a good reputation for themselves in the process.

The Brunswickers were heavily engaged at Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815. Towards late afternoon the Leib-Battalion found themselves hemmed in by cavalry whilst taking artillery fire and suddenly gave way running towards the Namur Road. The Duke halted the battalion and was in the process of rallying them when a musket ball knocked him from his horse. Some of his staff carried him to the rear in a blanket hoping he was not badly injured, but he died shortly thereafter.

The figure is BRN/30 The Duke of Brunswick, in Death’s Head shako and braided coat (on horse BNH/11).

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Eclaireurs-Dragons of the Guard

Napoleon was impressed (or more likely annoyed) by the hit and run tactics of Russian Cossacks during the campaigns of 1812-1813. The French had nothing similar in their own cavalry so three regiments of Eclaireurs were formed and trained to counter the Cossack threat.

The 2nd Regiment were termed the Eclaireurs-Dragons and were assigned to the Empress’ Dragoons. They were recruited from the ranks of the Young Guard and had a green uniform with a nifty red shako.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the Hinton Hunt painting instructions for this one but have cobbled together the uniform information from various sources. My overall impression is that they do look a bit like Santa’s Elves.

This completes my French Guard Cavalry. I didn’t have enough of any figure type to make full 12-figure units so have opted for composite units. The Heavy Cavalry is comprised of Empress’ Dragoons and Horse Grenadiers whilst the Light Cavalry contains the Polish Lancers and Eclaireurs. All the figures are vintage Hinton Hunt castings which is befitting for the Guard.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Ecky Thumped

Whether it’s Eckmuhl or Eggmuhl there’s no doubt that Goya’s Austrians gave the Franco-Bavarian army a bit of a rough time last Saturday. Tony and I were left struggling to come up with a workable plan to dislodge the Kaiserlichs from the villages and woods that provided such a good defensive position. In the end it was a convincing win for the Austrians.

Tony's splendid new DK Bavarian troops advancing on the
village of Unterlaichling. This village changed hands several
times and was the focus of our main attack.
The Austrians wait patiently for the French to come on. They
have a strong position anchored on a line of villages and woods.
The infantry figures in this shot are all S-Range (I think).
This photo shows the French right as the Bavarians near their
objective. They are supported in the centre by French infantry.
The French left flank. These units are all under the command
of Davout. They are pushing up through difficult terrain
(mostly woods). Not much use for artillery or cavalry here.
The Austrian line looks solid and determined and I'm sure they
must have had a few maxim guns because their fire was pretty
devastating (I discovered to my cost that Austrian infantry use
5 dice when firing rather than the usual 4!).
This is about as far as I got before my units started to melt away
and Goya began to rack up an impressive VP score.
For one brief moment Tony managed to take Unterlaichling
again - but it was only brief. The French units in the centre
were unable to make any further headway .
With our infantry a spent force Tony led a mad dash with our
cavalry against the Austrian left. Spectacular, but it was
never going to turn the tide.

Tony had come up with a clever rule amendment that allowed us to play the game without using any cards. The result was play that felt much more like a conventional wargame than the usual C&CN affair.

Marshal Davout now with added gloss.

As for marshal Davout, well he didn’t exactly excel but I have decided to spare him from the bleach bath anyway and, after a touch-up to his paint work, he has been deemed fit to join my other French commanders.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Prince of Eckmuhl

We’re planning to refight Eckmuhl on Saturday and Tony asked me this week if I had Marshal Davout amongst my personality figures. Well I do, so I’ve volunteered him for duty even though he is still sporting the original paint job he had when I acquired him ten years ago (click here). All I’ve done is base him up and touch up a few chips to the horse’s hooves because there isn’t enough time to give him the full treatment.

The figure is FN/355 MARSHAL DAVOUT in marshal’s uniform raising his hat. The identity of the horse had always baffled me because it has some ornate harness and a high-backed saddle, and I assumed it was a conversion because I’d never seen one like it before. However, this week when I fished the figures out of the lead pile, I had a sudden brainwave and a quick check on the Hinton Hunter confirmed the horse is FNH/4 horse for Mameluk of the Guard.

The paint job is actually very nice with more detail than I could manage myself however both horse and rider are destined for the bleach jar after the battle. The paint is quite faded, and the white has yellowed somewhat and the whole thing smells faintly of tobacco, so the time is approaching for a complete overhaul.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Be prepared

This is the test figure for my Guard Scouts FN/308 Eclaireur Lancer of the Guard (on horse FNH/3). He is the first of a squadron of 6 figures destined to team up with my Guard Polish Lancers to make a full Light Cavalry unit.

I received these figures back in 2013 as part of a swop with Andy involving my Swedes and they are way overdue for painting. I don’t have enough to make a full unit, but I quite like the idea of mixed Guard cavalry units as it provides a lot of colour.

The figure is a splendid vintage casting and was a joy to paint.