Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cavalry Pose Ideas

Prussian Garde du Corps painted by Leuthen Studios. Minden figures.

I was having a conversation with some friends about our favorite figure poses, so the topic naturally turned to cavalry poses. The consensus seemed to be that light cavalry should be charging and waving their swords while the heavy dragoons and cuirassiers should be on trotting horses, swords shouldered, getting ready to prepare for the charge.

Warnery describes the Prussian charge thusly:

“The troopers of the front rank raise their swords to the height of their faces, the arm extended in tierce, the point against the eyes of his enemy, and the hand a little turned, that the branch or guard of the sword may cover his own; they must raise themselves a little in the stirrups, the body forward, and aim to place a thrust with the point against the man or the horse opposed to him; in a word, he must do his best, either by thrusting or cutting, to disable his enemy; thus the shock or charge is soon finished.” (Warnery E von. Remarks on Cavalry. Constable London 1997)

The Kronoskaf SYW Project describes a similar drill for the French cavalry

Aligned, ready for the charge, cavalrymen carried their sabre to the shoulder, sword knot at the wrist. When the charge was sounded, cavalrymen set off, starting at the walk, Then a second bugle call made them pass to trot; a third at the canter. At 90 paces from the point of impact, cavalrymen pointed their sabre (arm raised at eye level, almost fully extended, wrist in tierce) with the point slightly inclined downward and they raised themselves on their stirrups, crouching forward. They passed at full gallop at 20 or 30 paces from the enemy. Finally, it was the shock.

Also from Kronoskaf:

To conclude, here is Frederick II's conception of the cavalry charge. The young Comte de Gisors, son of the MarĂ©chal de Belle Isle, went to Silesia in September 1754, at the invitation of the King of Prussia. During one of their conversation, Frederick exposed to him his vision of a cavalry charge:
“I put my officers in front, out of the rank, because being in the rank they are simple cavalrymen and obliged to let themselves be carried away by the torrent of the squadron. I put others behind to fall on those who would like to flee. I do not let any interval between my squadrons, because squadrons separated from each others present as many flanks to the enemy. I make them charge at full gallop because fear lead poltroons froward, certain as they are, inasmuch as they stop in the middle of the charge, to be crushed by the next squadron. I want that the impetuosity of their charge forces the enemy to give way before they could melee with him…”

So am giving thought to adding a heavy cavalry pose to the Minden range, one that would have the trooper raised slightly in his stirrups, leaning forward, with his sword at eye level pointing straight ahead to simulate the final charge. This might require several additional heavy charging horse poses as well.

This would enable the collector of Minden figures to pose his cavalry either at a standing position with swords drawn, at the trot with swords shouldered, and finally at the charge with swords on point.

So, I'm wondering what everyone thinks about this idea? Are these poses that would interest you enough to buy, or do you prefer the existing (and somewhat standard) shouldered sword at the trot pose?

Please feel free to state your opinion in the comment section of this post. There is no right or wrong answer, so anything is on the table for consideration.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Half A Million Visitors Milestone Is Surpassed!

On March 31, 2014 the 500,000th visitor to the Der Alte Fritz Journal blog paid a visit.

When I started this blog on August 28, 2007, I had little idea of where this blog would go or the many paths that it would lead me, but I have to say that writing this blog is one of the most enjoyable activities that I do in my spare time.

Here is a link to my first blog posting:

I am very appreciative of the support that everyone has given me and I especially enjoy reading all of the comments that readers post on the blog. The comments are probably my favorite aspect of this blog as it gives me some insight into what you are thinking.

Hint, hint: please feel free to leave comments on this blog. 8^)

Another interesting thing can be found by clicking on the tiny "Sitemeter" icon at the bottom of each page. Sitemeter tracks statistics on the number of visitors, the number of page views, where the visitors come from. Clicking on the little map in Sitemeter shows me where the last ten visitors have come from, in terms of their country location. It is fun to see how many different countries are represented in my blog readership. I have the feeling that I could visit almost any civilized country in the world and probably find a viewer of the Der Alte Fritz Journal.

There have obviously been a lot of changes for me since 2007, the most obvious ones being the start of the Fife & Drum range of AWI figures in 2010 and the subsequent acquisition of the Minden Miniatures range from Frank Hammond in 2013. I want to thank Frank and sculptor Richard Ansell for having the idea for creating a range of figures in 1/56 scale and I cannot think of a better historical period for this concept than the Seven Years War in the middle of the 18th Century. To me, Richard's sculpting style has been the perfect antidote to the trend of oversized, caricature figures with over sized heads and hands and, as one person put it, "strong faces".  

I think that the pendulum is swinging back the other way towards more realistic figure poses and body proportions. All figures, even the caricatures, are good for the hobby because they give us a lot of choices, but to have those choices and have realistic looking figures, well that is a combination that is hard to beat, as far as I'm concerned.

And finally, this blog is all about having fun with historical wargaming and having respect for your fellow gamers. In my minds eye, people such as Hal Thinglum, Bill Protz, Charles S. Grant and Dean West (among many others too numerous to mention on one page) set the tone for me, my blog and how I present myself at conventions and in public forums. I only hope that I have been able to live up to the standards embodied by these fine gentlemen.

At the end of the day, if a gamer comes up to me at the end of a convention game and tells me what a good time he had playing in my game, then that is all that I can ask for. It is what keeps me coming back to do it again.

Best regards,

Der Alte Fritz