Monday, June 30, 2008

Return To The Closet O' Lead

Another look at the Closet O' Lead - in a bit of a mess this time.

It is time for the end of the month accounting of the painting points, and the figures have been tallied and double checked by the accountants, so it looks like Old Fritz racked up 123 Olley Painting Points during the month of June. Let's take a look at what we've accomplished.

Things have taken a decided direction towards Napoleonics, what with 38 SYW points painted and 85 points in the Napoleonic genre. I added 24 more DR2 Jung Krakow Dragoons to my SYW Prussian army - all Suren figures; and 8 more CR13 Garde du Corps Prussian cuirassiers. Those cuirassiers came in mighty handy during our last SYW game in Brown Deer, as they drove off the French light cavalry and gave the French some second thoughts about continuing the cavalry attack in their vicinity. The dragoon still need to have their bases terrained before they bloody their swords at Historicon.

In the Napoleonic genre, Russians seem to have caught my fancy, due in part to my being enamored with those old old Old Glory 1805 Russians that the late Dave Alsop designed. So I painted 36 in shakos and 9 in bicornes. I also painted four sections of Russian horse artillery, using Elite Miniatures (as described in yesterday's post). Finally, I painted 16 Front Rank Old Guard Grenadiers as a painting commission and also completed a mounted colonel of the Guard. The final 2 points were contributed by the one 1806 Prussian dragoon from Imperialist Enterprises. I also primed a 12 figure squadron of these nice dragoons so that I can complete the first squadron at a later date. You can see the figures in the picture above, nicely camouflaged on the black cardboard box sitting in the middle of the floor in my infamous Closet O' Lead.

The photo of the Closet O' Lead provides a better view of the complete room. It is about 30 feet long and maybe 9 feet wide. So there is plenty of room for storage. Things have gotten a bit disheveled and out of order over the past month or two, so I will have to spend some time tidying up and putting things back in their proper place. The picture of Napoleon is actually a poster that my wife picked up at Starbucks several years ago. She thought that it would look nice framed and hanging in my wargame room. It would, but it is huge and I had no spare wall space in the gaming area, so I placed it above my proposed painting table inside the Closet O' Lead. At least that was the plan at one time.

Plastic storage drawers are color coded by army: Blue - Prussian; Red- British; Green - Austrian, etc. One complete unit can be stored in each stackable drawer.

Various figures awaiting storage in some proper containers. If you don't put them away in containers, they have a habit of proliferating and taking up too much storage space. Stacking them in boxes on the shelves allows me to store more figures per shelf.

A view of some of the Napoleonic unit storage drawers. The small shoebox sized drawers are for unpainted lead figures. This makes them easier to find when I am looking for a specific unit to paint. If I still kept them in boxes and bags, I would never be able to find them. Armies get stored away in large 3ft long by 18 inch wide white plastic stackable storage drawers. I get these at Bed, Bath & Beyond - the type that are designed to store under a bed, etc.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Russian Artillery

Russian Horse Artillery Battery - Elite Miniatures

I have been working on a battery of Russian horse artillery for my growing Russian 1805-07 army. You can see the results above of the first four of six guns that will be in the battery. My recollection is that foot batteries had 12 guns as did the horse batteries had 6. Sometimes the Russians would divide their artillery into "half batteries" of 6 field guns. The horse artillery battery had 6 six pounders and 6 howitzers, called licornes, and were manned by a company of 160 men. So at a ratio of 1 to 10 (castings to real people), that would work out to 16 figures in a battery. Assuming one uses four gunners per gun model, then we would need 4 gun models in this scale.

In the example above, I have painted 3 six-pounders and one licorne howitzer. I am contemplating increasing the battery to 6 gun models. The rules In The Grand Manner by the late Peter Gilder used a ratio of 2 gun models for each actual cannon in the battery. ITGM uses a 1 to 20 ratio, so one might imagine that one would want to use more gun models at 1 to 10. I am not so sure. Do I go with the correct ratio of personnel and then divide that number by four (assuming that four is the minimum number of castings that can serve a gun model), or should I go with something more arbitrary like Gilder and ITGM does? I am still trying to resolve this issue. I do sort of like the idea of 6 gun batteries.

The display above, takes up a frontage of 18" spaced out in the arbitrary manner in which I set up the photo shot. That begins to give you some idea as to how much ground space a Napoleonic artillery battery takes up. I plan to add limbers at a later date. I believe that Hinchcliffe makes Russian limbers. Nobody else seems to do so (maybe Eagle-Bicorne?).

French 8-pounder battery - unpainted Elite Miniatures, with 12-pounders in the back ground.

I have been neglecting the French of late, so yesterday I started cleaning and assembling an 8 pounder battery. The French usually used 6 eight-pounders and 2 six-inch howitzers in a typical foot battery that would have been attached to an infantry division. The heavier 12-pound batteries were usually attached to the infantry corps and held back in reserve. The figures shown in the picture above depict Connoisseur 8-pounders and Elite 12-pounders along with some Elite Miniatures artillery crew in bicorn, as worn in the 1805-07 campaigns.

The above picture also sort of serves to illustrate one of the advantages of single based figures in wargaming. In the background, you can see French 12 pounders: the Emperor's Beautiful Daughers, as he liked to call them. The 8 pounders are in the foreground. By the simple expedient of changing the gun models, I can use the crew as a medium 8 pound battery or as a heavy 12 pound battery. I rather like the flexibility that the system gives me in organizing my armies.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Austrian Horse Grenadiers

Crusader SYW Austrian Horse Grenadiers - Regt. Saxe-Gotha

Here is a picture of a squadron of Austrian horse grenadiers that I completed a few weeks ago. The figures are from the Crusader range of Seven Years War figures and they are a joy to paint.

The Austrian dragoon regiments all had a company of elites that wore the bearskin mitre, hence the name Horse Grenadiers. In the cuirassier regiments, the elite company was called a carabinier company. The carbiniers did not wear the traditional cavalry boot, but instead wore something that looks like a leather gaitor with buttons running up the side. Presumably, this would allow the carabiniers to dismount and fight or patrol on foot. By the way, nobody makes carabiniers for the Austrian cavalry.

The Austrians had the habit of detaching all of the elite companies from the dragoon and cuirassier regiments and converging them into ad hoc cavalry regiments prior to a battle. They were usually held in a central reserve and used to counteract any Prussian break throughs in the battle line. Thus, in my horse grenadier unit, I have three 12 figure squadrons from three different dragoon regiments - green coats, blue coats and red coats. It makes for a nice looking converged unit.

I believe that the red coated regiment depicted above is the Saxe-Gotha dragoon regiment with red coat and light blue facings. I use the term "believe" because it is one o'clock in the morning and I need to haul off to bed and couldn't remember for sure the exact unit. The red coats are painted with Reaper's "Blood Red" in two coats over black primer. Then the red is highlighted with Ral Partha "Red". The combination does an effective job of covering up the black primer, which is a significant concern when one is painting reds over black.

I was working on another squadron of Austrian Dragoons over the weekend: the green coated, red facing De Ligne Regiment (DR31) who are famous for their charge at Kolin that saved the day for the Austrians. I already have 36 figures in the regiment, but I am adding another 12 figure squadron in time for my Historicon game in several weeks. I kind of hit the painting wall on Saturday, so I switched over to 1805 Russian horse artillery from Elite Miniatures. Russians seem to paint up so much faster for some reason so I find the allure of painting Russians hard to resist these days. I also primed more of the Old Glory 1805 Russians in bicorn that are depicted in yesterday's post.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fritz Goes Shopping

Some of the treasures that Der Alte Fritz found today. (click pic to enlarge the view)

I have been painting and primer figures like a mad man, which means that I have also been running out of supplies. So I made the 30 mile journey to the Games Plus game store in Mt. Prospect, Illinois where I make most of my purchases. I was in particularly short supply of black primer and Reaper Elven Green paint (for my Russians), and as usually happens, I end up making a few (a few?) impulse purchases that make my pocket book squeal. So let us take a look at the loot that I found today (see picture above - click to enlarge).

It looks like I bought 16 jars of Reaper Pro Paints in various colors. I like the Reaper range of paints because they cover black primer very well and the company offers colors in three hues (shade, medium, and highlight) which makes it easy to select paints for the world famous Dallimore 3 color painting system, which I sort of use with my own modifications. I also picked up three larger jars of Howard Hues paints and four cans of Armoury Spray Primer - Black. The Armoury primer dries very fast and you can start painting your figures within an hour of applying the primer, something that Fritz likes when he's in a hurry to paint something new.

I also hit the Osprey rack, looking for a copy of the new book on French Infantry Tactics. This should come in handy as I work on the rules modifications for BAR-Napoleonique. Whilst perusing through the racks, I also found a book on the Prussian cavalry up to 1807 (to replace the lost copy that I couldn't find last night) and I also bought a nifty book on the Jacobite Army uniforms. Cha-ching, he shoots, he scores!

Moving on to the magazine rack, I picked up the June copy of Wargames Illustrated. My subscription has run out and I don't want to end my long run of consecutive issues of WI, starting with Issue Number 1. Note to self, resubscribe to Wargames Illustrated tomorrow. The current issue has the results of their reader poll which I found to be very interesting. It appears that Ancients and Warhammer Ancient Battles are both the most popular period requested and the most popular rules. WW2 came in second and Napoleonics was well down the list behind Colonials and a couple of other periods. However, I think that this may change as the impact of the Perry Plastics gathers steam.

Historical Miniature Gamer Issue No. 10 was also on the shelf and guess what? They have gone back to the MWAN style format in the digest size. I happen to think that this is a great idea because it harks back to the memory of MWAN at its best. I actually think that people will get interested in this publication again due to the format change. The articles look pretty decent, 103 pages in total. Most of the pictures are in black and white, but there are a few color pics as well. Again, I think that keeping in touch with its MWAN roots and identity can only help this publication.

And finally, I couldn't resist buying a box of the new Perry ACW plastic cavalry figures so that I could see for myself what all the fuss is about. I have to say that these are very nice figures. They have the lean and slender look that I like, i.e. they are in the correct anatomical proportions. I don't like the idea of gluing the pieces together, but that is a small price to pay for such nice figures. I could see the appeal of collecting armies of Perry figures.

Imperialist Miniatures

Imperialist 1806 Prussian dragoon (left), Stadden SYW hussar (center) and Crusader Austrian Horse Grenadier (right).

At this year's Seven Years War Association convention in March 2008, I purchased about 40 dragoons and 40 cuirassiers from Bob Haggerty and his "Imperialist Enterprises". Bob's range mostly covers the Marlbourian Period, but he also has a nice range of 1806 French in bicorn and Prussians in bicorn. Since I am building up armies for this period, I thought that I would add some Imperialist figures to my collection. As you can see in the picture above (click to enlarge), the Imperialist figures tower over even the 30mm Staddens and the 28mm Crusader figures. Oddly enough, the cuirassier figure (not shown) is smaller, but the horse would be the same. I recall that Bob used different sculptors for his figures, which explains the size differences.

Imperialist 1806 Prussian dragoon painted as DR2 (Konigin) regiment.

Rear view of the same figure.

I really, really, really like these Prussian cavarly figures. The face on the sample dragoon that I painted has mutton chop sideburns and a bushy Prussian style moustache that gives the figure a lot of character. The castings are clean and require little deflashing or preparation work. The details are average, but done nice enough so that you can paint them, yet you aren't overwhelmed by too much equipment and details to paint. To me, less is better. These figures find the right balance between too much detail (as in a Front Rank figure, for example) and too little (as in an RSM figure, for example). I'm looking forward to painting the rest of this regiment soon.

Old Glory (Alsop version) 1805 Russians

Dave Alsop sculpted 1805 Russians in 28mm.

I promised that I would show a photo of the Old Glory 1805 Russian in bicorn and so here is a picture of the one that I have painted. This fellow is the start of my Apcheron Regiment that I will be working on over the rest of the summer. I will use the Elite command figures to fill out the unit. More later as I paint more of these delightful figures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Waterloo Day & Another Milestone Is Passed

The Duke of Wellington (top shelf) comes out on top of Napoleon in Der Alte Fritz's Library

June 18th is the 193rd anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, but it is also notable for another milestone as the Der Alte Fritz Journal received its 50,000th visitor sometime early this morning, Central Standard Time in Chicago. I am humbled that so many people have taken the time to visit my musings about wargaming and other historical topics. The comments and encouragement that I get from so many of you is gratifying and keeps me wanting to post more new pictures and articles as often as I can. So thank you everyone, for helping make this blog a success.

At the top of the page I have posted a picture of one of the bookshelves in my home library. There on the top shelf sits His Grace, the Duke of Wellington, keeping a watchful eye on the Corsican Ogre on the shelf below. The Wellington piece is a Royal Dalton Toby Jug that I picked up a dozen or so years ago. I am told that they made one of Napoleon, but I have never been able to find a copy.

The next shelf features a collection of Napoleon porcelins that I've acquired over the years. The two on the left are from Scully & Scully in New York City, while the Toby Jug on the right is of unknown origin. The seated Emperor in coronation robes is one of the fine Saint Petersburg 54mm figures that I purchased in Vienna in 2005, during my tour of the 1805 Campaign battles with Todd Fisher's Napoleonic Alliance.

And finally, the toy soldiers are "King & Country" toy soldiers painted as the Seaforth Highlanders during the Sudan war. Winston Churchill looks on from the far left. I started collecting 54mm toy soldiers long before I ever knew that the wargaming hobby existed. So I have lots of colonials and Dervish, and a smattering of Knights of Agincourt in the collection. I will have to take more pictures of the 54mm figures and post them on this site from time to time.

1806 Project Update
I have been working on the 60 figure Smolensk Regiment over the past couple of weeks and finally finished the first battalion last night. Pictures will be forthcoming later in the week. These are the original Dave Alsop Old Glory limited edition figures and they are simply sweet to paint. I have another battalion of Russians, in bicorn, that have been recently covered in primer, so as I make progress on this battalion I will post more pictures. Since these are large units, I am painting 15 figures (one movement tray's worth) at a time and this seems to make the project move along nicely.

Once I complete the bicorn battalion (as the Apcheron Regiment) then that will give me two musketeer battalions and a battalion (60) of Pavlov Grenadiers that I had painted for me a decade ago. So that will give me a brigade of three battalions of Russians to go along with my 4 battalion Prussian brigade. That ought to be enough to handle the three 72-figure battalions of French (4 if I borrow the one that Bill Protz has painted for this project) that I already have. So I am hoping that I can conduct my first play test of the Napoleonic variant of BAR in August.

I should probably be painting more figures for my Historicon games, but I finally reached the point where I decided that I had enough figures for any game and that I should just stick to painting whatever interests me, rather than feel obligated to paint a certain type of figure. Rest assured though, I am not finished with the Seven Years War as I have a year's worth of Austrian and British to paint, not to mention the continuing saga of the Jacobite Rebellion and a few more odds and ends to add to my Prussian army. With the 3rd Annual Old School Big Battalion Game coming up in early October 2008, my mind will soon turn from Napoleonics and Jacobites and focus in more Prussians, no doubt.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Battle of Oberon - Part II

Suren Uhlans de Saxe supported by Bercheny Hussars

Last week I reported on the action in the center of the battlefield, featuring the Prussian cavalry attack in the manner of Seydlitz at Zorndorf, etc. I had to leave early, but apparently the French decided to retire from the battlefield after one more turn. So with the Prussians bursting through the center, stopping the French cavalry attack on the right cold, and an edge to the French on the left (all left/center/right positions are from the Prussian perspective in this report), the consensus was that the Battle of Oberon was a Prussian victory.

Let us now take a closer look at the action on the right flank, where a brigade of Prussian infantry faced off against the mighty French cavalry. The Prussian general, von Harms, had two fusilier battalions, the von Bungle musketeer battalion, and the 66-man Protzdam Grenadier Garde battalion and a handful of field artillery. Von Harms had his right flank resting on the town walls of Oberon and he immediately moved his brigade forward to secure this advantageous protection of his flank. He detached a grand division (one stand of 15 figures) into the town. The detachment subsequently lined the walls of the town and would pour some deadly flanking fire into the oncoming French cavalry attack.

A view of the right flank after the second turn. Note the French light cavalry marching through the town of Oberon and emerging in the rear of von Harms' Prussian brigade. Two regiments of French cavalry can be seen advancing on the Prussian line. The Prussians have deployed two fusilier battalion on the left and the von Bungle musketeer battalion on the right. The Protzdam Garde formed the reserve and second line.

General de Chevert (Bill Protz) opened the contest by sending his light cavalry, consisting of the Uhlans de Saxe and the Bercheny Hussars - two squadrons in total, through the undefended town in order to see what mischief they might cause in the Prussian rear staging area. There was no Prussian cavalry deployed in this sector for much of the game, so the French light cavalry had a free run of the grounds.

Von Harms was not too concerned with this development, although he did turn and face one grand division of the Protzdam Garde to face this threat. Chevert hurried the rest of his heavy cavalry forward to engage the Prussian infantry. The white coated Commissaire-General came on first, engaging von Bungle, taking a first fire (+5 shooting bonus), and getting destroyed as a result. Note that the French cavalry attacked without any infantry support that could absorb that deadly first fire bonus. (whereas the Prussian cavalry advanced behind a line of infantry before they charged). According to Chevert, this was all planned for as his objective was to weaken the von Bungle musketeers with the Commissaire-General, and then break through with his second regiment, the "elite-rated" Rutowsky Saxon cheveau-leger cavalry regiment.

Commissaire-Generale can be seen engaging von Bungle near the town walls. The second wave of red-coated Saxon cavalry prepares to follow up and destroy von Bungle. The blue coated Regt. Royale regiment (2 by 36 figures) advances towards the fusilier battalion in the center of the Prussian line.

The Saxon Rutowsky cheveau leger cavalry (4 squadrons of 12 or 48 figures) waited for Commissaire-Generale to clear out of the way, and then they launched an attack of columns of squadrons into von Bungle. The Rutowskis took some murderous flanking fire from the grand division of von Bungle musketeers manning the town walls. The first squadron fell back in a rout. At the same time, the French light cavalry charged into the rear of von Bungle with the hope of finishing them off. In Batailles de l'Ancien Regime (BAR) rules, we allow the third rank to turn about and fire at cavalry charging from the rear. Why? Because this is exactly what 18th Century infantry was trained to do. Examples include the British infantry at Dettingen and Minden, the Prussian Garde at Kolin and numerous other examples.

The Protzdammers unseated many of the Uhlans de Saxe from passing fire as they attempted to charge into von Bungle, while the Bercheny Hussars became disordered from musketry. Nevertheless, the Bercheny Hussars continued their charge into the flank of von Bungle and proved to be the final straw that broke the camel's back, for von Bungle broke and routed to the rear.

A thinned out von Bungle musketeer battalion awaits the next cavalry onslaught.

The Bercheny Hussars continued to pursue the routing Prussian infantry, and captured two flags in the process. The second squadron of the Rutowsky horse rallied and retired back to their lines rather than pursue the Prussians. The third and fourth squadrons of Rutowskys remained back at the French lines in reserve. Chevert then retired the entire unit back to his lines, for now he could see that the Prussian Garde du Corps (CR13) was riding to the rescue from the center. The Garde du Corps were incensed that mere hussars had run roughshod over the Prussian musketeers and wanted to recapture the flags. The French light cavalry prudently retired through the town. Their lighter horses were still too fast for the heavier horses of the Prussian cuirassiers.

French Regiment Royale charges into the Prussian fusilier battalion in the center.

To the immediate right of Chevert's Saxon cavalry, the brigade of 72 Regiment Royale heavy cavalry charged into the Prussian fusilier battalion in the middle of von Harms' battle line, and the weight of numbers took out this battalion, albeit at heavy loss of horses. The Royals could not exploit their success due to the fact that von Harms had his crack unit of Protzdammers waiting for them with a nice first fire bonus at the ready. The Royals prudently retired back to their lines.

For all intents and purposes, the action on the right flank of the table had come to an end, with the French cavalry repulsed by the Prussian infantry and with 48 elite Prussian Garde du Corps lined up and ready to stop any further French cavalry forays. Chevert reports that he wishes that he had brought a detachment of light infantry with him in order to run into the town and keep the detachment of von Bungle musketeers busy. Instead, the von Bungle detachment was free to shoot into the flank of every French squadron that charged past it and into the rest of the von Bungle regiment.

The Action on the Prussian Left Flank

I have no idea what went on in this sector of the field. Here, a brigade of Prussian infantry faced off against an equal number of French infantry. Things seemed to be at a stalemate until the Prussian general realized that the Arqubusiers de Grassin had quietly marched around the Prussian left flank and were positioned to fire into the flank of the surprised Prussians. Since the Prussian player didn't realize the ground rules (that a unit can shoot across the table gaps) the French player graciously allowed the Prussians to turn one battalion to the left flank. This precluded the "crossing of the T " as it were. The action closed at a stalemate in this sector.

Prussian Black Hussars (Staddens) in the left center attempt to charge down the road and take out a battalion of French infantry. It didn't work.

In the above picture, you may care to witness the Prussian Black Hussars charging (on the center-left part of the field) to their doom into a well positioned battalion of French infantry. This undoubtedly made General de Chevert feel much better about his own cavalry difficulies, as Chevert has a deep seated dislike for the Black Hussars.

And so the lessons learned from the Battle of Oberon would seem to be that cavalry attacks against infantry are nearly futile, unless supported by infantry to some degree. In part one of our report, we saw how the Prussian cavalry attacks were somewhat successful because they had supporting infantry weaken the French battalions with musketry, before the cavalry charged in to finish them off.

On the Prussian right flank, we saw how the French cavalry achieved a degree of success charging into formed infantry, but at great cost. In addition, there was no friendly infantry nearby to exploit the success gained by the French cavalry, while the absence of supporting light infantry proved costly to the French, in terms of having to take deadly flanking fire from the town walls.

And finally, we saw how the Prussian Black Hussars charged in on a single battalion and were easily repulsed. I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions from the examples cited in this report.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Battle of Oberon

Von Seydlitz leads attacking columns of squadrons into the center of the French line, a la Zorndorf.

On June 7, 2008 gamers from four states converged on Brown Deer, Wisconsin to fight another epic battle in the Wars of the Saxon Duchies. Host Bill Protz staged a morning game featuring the British amphibious landing at Gabrous Bay, outside Louisburg. I arrived late so I have no idea of how the landing fared, but everyone was all smiles when I arrived, so I can only assume that it was a good scenario. The afternoon game was a more traditional Seven Years War era game between the French and the Prussians.

I decided that I wanted to experiment with using heavy cavalry to spear head the attack on infantry, so there wasn't any real strategic purpose to the battle, other than to have fun. Each side had about 12 battalions of infantry and about 300 cavalry figures, give or take a few horses.

The unlucky French target of the cavalry attack in the center. Two Prussian infantry battalions would screen the advancing Prussian cavalry.

So my plan was to deploy a pair of infantry battalions in the front line, and then line up two heavy cuirassier regiments in a column of squadrons, and then see if I could burst through the French lines with the cavalry, in the manner of von Seydlitz at Kolin and Zorndorf. I ordered the Prussian infantry commander to move forward with all speed and engage the enemy infantry, without regard for what would happen to his battalions. Their purpose was to draw the French battalions' first fire (+5 on the firing charts) after which a veritable tidal wave of cuirassiers would overwhelm them.

Two Prussian battalions advance toward the ridge in order to draw the French first fire. Cavalry squadrons are moving up in support.

The Prussian infantry commander did his job all too well. As you can see in the picture above, the terrain seemed to limit the French to a frontage of one battalion, whereas the Prussians could move two of their battalions into the same area. Two battalions against one is a rather unfair firefight, so the odds were very much in the Prussians' favor. Add in the fact that the Prussians drew the first fire card, and the results were deadly for the French. The first French battalion was blown away by the musketry of two Prussian battalions. So the French brought up their second line of the Grenadiers de France to plug the gap.

Prussian musketry finishes off the first French battalion.

Grenadiers de France plug the gap caused by the destruction of the first French battalion. The light blue coated Royal Deux Pont regiment can be seen in the background side slipping to their right to support the Grenadiers de France.

Those French sent in a 60 figure battalion of grenadiers to plug the gap in their line, but nevertheless, that was not going to stop the Prussian attack. By this point in the game, things were looking very promising for a complete Prussian cavalry break through in the center of the French line. The Prussian infantry battalions were holding their own with minimal casualties so far and the cavalry hadn't been needed so far.

The destruction of the Grenadiers de France by the combined arms infantry and cavalry attack. The Royal Deux Ponts form the third and final line of defense in the French center.

The Prussian battalions of IR25 Kalkstein and IR34 Prinz Ferdinand (Minden Miniatures) were doing most of the heavy work against the Grenadiers de France. At this point, cavalry general von Driessen sent in a squadron of the CR2 Prinz von Preussen (gelbe reiters) cuirassiers to finish off a French artillery battery supporting the Grenadiers. After they rode down the artillerests, they turned into the Grenadiers and routed off a grand division of this battalion. The rest of the unit was being finished off by musketry.

At this point, I had to leave the field of battle to join the Prinzessin von Hesse Seewald for an evening at the opera (to see a chick flic, whose name I shall not mention - oh the humanity of it all!). So I have no idea of how the battle turned out. I yielded command of my cavalry to the plucky Prussian infantry commander in my sector, John Poor and told him what my plans were for the cavalry. If you look at the first picture at the top of this page, you will see the state of forces and their deployment in the center at the time that I had to leave the battle.

Tomorrow, I will post a few of the pictures of the action that took place to my right. Here, the French cavalry seemed to have the same plan as mine, an attack in force on the Prussian infantry. However, they went in without any infantry support and my wingman on the right flank was able to fend off the entire French cavalry command with relative ease.

On the way home from Milwaukee, I had to drive through one of the worst monsoon like thunderstorms that I have ever seen. I was driving on the interstate highway doing a sporty 35 miles per hour and praying to all of the saints that I would make it home safely. Thankfully, I arrived home safe, but mentally drained from the drive. The movie was actually OK, but I would have rather seen the Indiana Jones movie.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

1805 Russians

Dave Alsop-sculpted 1805 Russians painted by Der Alte Fritz. Includes Elite Miniatures mounted officer, standard bearer, drummer and foot officer. Smolensk Regiment flag from GMB Designs. Click on all pictures for an enlarged view.

I have had bucket loads of these Old Glory 1805 Russian infantry stashed away in a box for at least ten years, gathering dust. They were sculpted by the late Dave Alsop, so they look nothing like the current range of Old Glory figures. Alsop also designed the limited edition range of 1805 (bicorn) and 1809 (shako) French infantry, a limited range of 1805 Austrian infantry, and his rather extensive American Civil War range (which is one of my favorite ranges of all time for any historical period - exquisite sculpts they were).

Alsop never got around to making the necessary command figures, so back in 1994 (or so) I asked Old Glory to cast me approximately 900 of the Russian figures. I had intended to use the figures to build up a Russian army at Austerlitz, with the goal of conducting a re-enactment of the battle on the 200th anniversary of the battle in 2005. I came very close to completing this project - the French were completed and the Russians were only missing some of the cavalry. I was going to borrow Austrian figures from other gamers. However, Fate had different plans for me and the project got derailed (you know, marriage, kids a new job, etc). Mind you, I rather like the path that I took in life, but it didn't include completing the Austerlitz Project.

Those figures have all been sold off and I start anew with virtually no Napoleonics in my collection these days. So I am starting over at a 1 to 10 ratio of castings to real men in 28mm and my intention is to develop a rules system based on Bill Protz's Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR"). The initial pair of armies will be the French in bicorns and the 1806 Prussians. I figure that the Russians will dovetail nicely with the Prussians, under the assumption that the remnants of the Prussian army retreated into East Prussia and linked up with the Russians. On the otherhand, if the Russians really take off in my collection, then I can do some 1805 battles as well. I don't know if I will ever paint the 1805 Austrians though.

Elite Miniatures command figures that I am using with my Alsop Russians.

I am using George Nafziger's book, The Imperial Russian Army (1763-1815) volume I, as my guide for the organization of my 1805 Russian army. The Russian army underwent an endless series of reorganizations, and the one that is applicable to the Austerlitz army occurred in 1802. Grenadier regiments (of which there were 13) consisted of one grenadier battalion and two fusilier battalions. These units wore a SYW Prussian inspired mitre (tall for the grenadiers and a short mitre for the fusiliers).

The musketeer regiments had one grenadier and two musketeer battalions. Jager regiments had three battalions. All three infantry types had four companies. Each company was further divided into two platoons. With this in mind, I plan to organize my Russian infantry on four stands of 15 figures in 3 ranks. Each stand will represent a company of two platoons.

Old Glory only, without the command figures.

My initial thought is to paint all three battalions in each musketeer regiment and then add a jager battalion or an "orphan battalion" of musketeers from another regiment in order to give each player four battalions to command. Eventually, this might be enlarged to a brigade of two regiments, or six battalions in total. Barclay de Tolly, Minister of War, wrote to the Czar that the proponderance of grenadiers in the musketeer regiments had diluted their quality and that they were not as elite as one might imagine. He clearly stated that there was nothing elite about them.

So borrowing from a suggestion from one of the lads on The Miniatures Page (TMP), I am thinking that the grenadiers in the musketeer regiments (are you following this so far?) will wear the shako and busch plume and have a troop quality that is no better than a musketeer. For the designated grenadier regiments I will kit them out in the older mitre cap and they will be elite. The mitres will easily identify them as real grenadiers.

A closer view of the Alsop Russians. Note the NCO pointing, the only command figure in this range. Alas, the figures are no longer available.

Wouldn't you know it that all of the close up pictures of the Old Glory figures that I shot last night turned out blurry, while the close ups of the Elite figures were nearly perfect? The Elite figures are very nice, much better than his 1806 Prussian range. The anatomical proportions are very good and human looking, so Fritz likes them a whole lot. The Elite command figures seem to fit in well with the Alsop Old Glory figures.

I really like the Old Glory Russians and enjoyed painting them over the past week. I have 24 figures in the Smolensk regiment so far, and plan to increase this unit up to 60 figures. All of my flags will be from the exquisite GMB Designs range.

As for my painting points total in May, I finished up with 129 Olley Painting Points (1 point for each infantry and cannon casting, 2 points for each mounted figure with horse). The tally includes 24 SYW Prussian dragoons, 1 SYW Hussar, 2 Napoleonic chasseurs a cheval, 1 Russian mounted colonel, for a total of 28 mounted figures or 56 points. On the infantry side, I painted 19 Napoleonic Highlanders, 30 Atholl Jacobites and the 24 1805 Russians for a total of 73 points.