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 afterwards.

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.