Friday, August 31, 2012

French Ligne, Part 4

    After I come back from Historicon each year, unpacking and reorganizing my stuff is usually a project I take a month or so to get around to. This year was no exception. However, I decided to use that to my advantage and "upgrade" my veteran French Line and Legere units with a coat of Magic Wash, and take some pictures along the way.

    I generally have my French Infantry organized into "Divisions" of 4 Ligne and 1 Legere "Regiment", each of 18 figures, which makes 1 Grenadier, 1 Voltigeur, and 4 Fusilier companies, neatly mimicing the post 1808 organization. Of course this is the Battalion organization and I'm calling them Regiments, but no matter!  :-). I usually try to have the Division modeled on a historical one, preferably based upon the 1809 campaign. There's nothing really necessary about that, nor does it have any impact upon their table top ratings... I just like it that way.

    When I finally decided to abandon the 33 battalions of Line and 9 of Legere (Scruby 25mm) that had served me so valiantly for almost three decades, I decided to redo my French with Wargames Foundry figures, and bought the whole thing at once (this was just before their prices lost contact with reality). Just as in my original Scruby army, the plan was to have the component "Regiments" of each "Division" all be in the same pose. The individual Regiments, as I have described before in Part 1, 2 and 4, would use the Fusilier company pom pom color (Green, Sky Blue, Violet or Aurore) as Regimental differentiation, that is to say, the first regiment of the Division having ALL of the fusilier stands with Sky Blue pompoms, the second with ALL green, etc. Of course, having 4 units in the same poise, if desired, the companies could easily be reshuffled to make each unit have the four Fusilier companies have the proper mix of the four colors... tricky, eh?!
    Foundy had four poses of French Ligne in the 1809 uniform, so 4 such Divisions were planned, purchased, and in fairly rapid order, painted. I have since added three more such Divisions, one of Sash and Saber figures, one of Old Glory, and the last of Old Glory figures in Overcoats. You can never have too much French Line Infantry, right?  RIGHT?! Still, these original guys have been the true "Old Guard" (if you will), of my "new" French Napoleonic wargames army. So, as I "enhance" them a bit with the wash, they'll also get some time in the sun here on the blog!

So, here they are, freshly unpacked from their Really Useful Boxes, 16 units of 18,  288 figures!

The side view demonstrates the four poses nicely - Marching, Advancing, Receiving, and Firing!

    The next step was to use the "Magic Wash" on these figures en masse, a "Division" of 72 figures at a time. At the same time, I did a very little touch up work - painting the edges of some of the flags where I had missed that, painting the buff leather tops of the Officer's boots where I had missed that, but little else in terms of prep work. 

Here's a close up of 2 units after the Magic Wash but before they are sprayed (again) with acrylic varnish.

Here are the same two units from behind. The Wash has picked out some of the detail of the straps, plumes, cords, as well as the creases in the white pants and vests without significantly dulling the figures, I think.

Here's a Group shot of my First Division. This is based upon St. Hilaire's Division during the 1809 campaign (St. Hilaire himself being killed at Aspern-Essling, after allegedly being promised his Marshal's Baton by Napoleon).

The units are in the "Advancing" pose. I have placed them side by side  here, making a sort of "column of divisions", the classic French attack column, at 1:10 scale. Interestingly, the first wargames rules I used/wrote, back in the 1970's, were based upon Frappe! by Ray Johnson, which used 1:10 scale. If you imagine the formation being the same depth but TEN times as wide, you start to see how much our warames figures distort/exaggerate the depth of field formations!

A final, rear view. The units of this Division are:  the 3e Ligne, which traces its lineage back to the Piemont Regiment of the Royalist army, raised in 1569, the 57e Ligne, which traces back to the Beauvoisis Regiment, raised in 1667 and legendary during the Napoleonic as "Le Terrible", among the finest of all the Line units, the 72e Ligne, derived from the Vexin Regiment raised in 1674, and the 102e Ligne, first raised in 1791.

My Third Division is modelled upon that of Gudin, and is here shown with its units deployed in Squares, as they might have been during the Battle of Auerstatdt in 1806. Although some wargamers don't care for the "Firing" pose, I am rather fond of it myself.

The component Regiments of this Division are the 12e Ligne, originating from the Auxerrois Regiment raised in 1692, the 21e Ligne, derived from the Guyenne Regiment raised in 1589, the 25e Ligne, tracing back to the Poitou Regiment of 161, and the 85e Ligne, based upon the Diesbach Regiment, raised in 1690.

As my table is still a mess until I finish unpacking, I have used a little photo editing, with dubious success, to block out some of the background clutter!  I have painted the edges of the stands in a slightly different shade for each Division as well, as another aid to sorting the troops out after a hard fought battle!

Next up is my 2nd Division, based upon that of Friant in 1809. Here, the units are deployed in L'Ordre Mixte, with the center unit in line supported by a unit in column to each flank as well as one behind it in reserve.

The Regiments of this Division are in the "receiving" pose, perhaps preparing to repulse a charge by some Austrian cavalry?

A rear view of the formation. It's commander, Friant, ultimately went on to command the Old Guard Division in 1813, after spending nine years under Marshal Davout.

The component regiments are the 33e Ligne, derived from the Tourraine Regiment (1625), the 48e Ligne, formed from the Artois Regiment (1610), the 108e Ligne, based upon the Regiment de l' Isle de France (1772), and the 111e Ligne, first raised in 1793. These same (numbered) regiments were part of my Scruby army, and the 48e Ligne of that force was the unit that I could always rely upon to rout the enemy!

This is my 4th Division, based upon that of Carra St Cyr. It is deployed in columns of divisions in a "checkerboard" fashion, another classic French Napoleonic tactical disposition.

The component Regiments of the Division are the 2e Ligne, based upon the Provence Regiment (1776), the 4e Ligne, derived from the Blaisois Regiment (1776), the 18e Ligne, stemming from the Royal-Auvergne Regiment (1776), and the 46e Ligne, tracing its lineage back to the Bretagne Regiment (1644).

A final parting shot of the 4th Division, composed of Foundry figures in the so-called "march Attack" pose.

I'll conclude with some shots of the combined Cavalry of the Imperial Guard, as suggested by Ashenduke on TMP following my posts on same earlier this month:

(the size difference between the (Minifigs) Mamelukes and the rest of the (Foundry) Guard Cavalry is certainly apparent here!

Back to painting Grenz and Hungarian infantry...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ten Projects for the rest of 2012 and into 2013

Having finished the big push for Historicon 2012 and Borodino, it's time to think about where I go from here for the rest of 2012, and on into 2013.

#1 Plan for HCon 2013

    This is probably the top priority, as it impacts purchasing and painting plans as well. We will likely run three games at Historicon 2013 once again, probably all Napoleonic 1813 battles. The list of possibilities include the following 1813 Battles: Lutzen, Bautzen, Katzbach, LowenbergGross-Beeren, Lowenberg, Hagelberg, Dresden, Kulm, Dennewitz, Wachau, Lindenau, Mockern, Libertkolwitz, Leipzig, and Hannau.

    I am leaning towards doing Dresden, but in a "based upon" fashion. The idea is that the overall balance and troop types will be correct, but some of the nationalities may be present in different proportions; as it was the Army of Bohemia was overwhelmingly Austrian in composition, with a small Prussian and even smaller Russian contingent. My version would have more Prussians and especially more Russians with fewer Austrians; this would be a good game to run as a test at EllisCon in November. We're leaning towards doing the cavalry clash at Liebertkolwitz prior to Leipzig. Hannau we should do as Roger has a slew of Bavarians; maybe for HAVOC in April? I'm leaning towards Gross Beeren as the third Historicon game, Lutzen would be interesting. I've done Denewitz and Bautzen in prior years, so I'd prefer to do something new.

    One way or another, this will lead to some expansion of my Napoleonic Prussian Army, which is easily the smallest of mine representing the four major continental powers, with the recent expansions of the Russians and French only serving the aggravate the disparity. Most likely I'll wind up adding Reserve and Landwehr infantry, Landwehr Cavalry, and some batteries. These will most likely be Old Glory and result in buying the "Army Card" deal. The other thing I'll definitely need for 1813 is a lot more French Young Guard; fortunately, I already have about 80 figures of  them from Front Rank , so no new purchases needed there... just paint!

#2 Assyrian fill-ins

    I have unpainted 1 unit of Cavalry (Foundry), several 4-Horse heavy chariots (Hincliffe).
I also have a raft of New Kingdom Egyptians - a small army I purchased and primed several years ago, with flesh color only painted on - so almost half done, LOL. The primary short term use of these armies would be for Hail Caesar! games as part of the HAHGS group. No lead purchases required!

#3 Entomalian Starships for Starfleet Wars/Galactic Knights

    I got Joe and Roger started (indirectly) on the GK rules, all of which I have, but haven't yet played a game... maybe I can draft Barry? Anyway, as posted already, I have lost of painted Avarians, Carnivorans, and a few less Terrans. I have at least as many Entomalians, but they all need painting. The detailed way I do them, they can be somewhat time consuming, but I'd like to start making headway on at least some of them!

#4 Other Napoleonics

    I have the lead for a number of Austrian units that need to be painted as fill ins - 1 unit of German Grenadiers, 1 unit of Hungarian Line, 2 units of those OG Grenze in capes, 2 new units of Foundry Hussars (need command, maybe Alban?). I'd also like to add another 4 units of German Line in shako and a Jager battalion - thinking about Alban Miniatures for these. Nothing that I have to have to do for any given project though, but I do like painting Austrians!

    I have a dozen or so figures already primed to beef my two Hessian infantry units up to a full 18 figures, plus plenty of spare Russians left over to paint. I need to add probably 4 more units of Line infantry, possibly "Marines" (just because they have green colors and cuffs piped white, an "exciting" variation from the sameness of Russian infantry in general. Another option is troops wearing the forage cap; we'll see, should paint the leftovers first!

#5 Tyrolian rebels

 I will need to add more figures (Eureka); In a post earlier this year I figured about another 70 figures to make enough for the Bergisel scenario. Still, I might vtry painting up a few units from what I have and see how that goes...

#6 HYW English, ? French

    I will need to add more figures (Perry) to those I have in order to have table top ready armies; this is probably a project more for 2014 unless something motivates me to move it up in priority (hibt, hint).

#7  Ratskania Campaign (Napoleonic Imagi-nations)

    We should be kicking this back off with a vengeance shortly, once Joe gets done reformulating the rules to a somewhat larger time horizon/distance scale more suited to countries than provinces. My own  nation,
La République de Bénéfice, which has a decidedly French Republican flavor, headed by none other than
Premier Contrôleur Rob S. Pierre, managed gain some modest territorial concessions from Ratlandia (including some much needed farmland) despite having suffered a minor loss in all the battles fought; the fact that my ally, Fartengas and I had ganged up upon Joe's country to the point where he must have conscripted every able bodied male in the land to hold us off for as long as he did was probably a factor in the allotments resulting from the Continental Peace Conference that ended the War of 1800. Of course, lingering resentment, avarice, and the need to play some games will likely soon lead to hostilities breaking out once again, perhaps in new configurations...

#8 Pike and Shot

    Thomas is proceeding apace with his TYW armies, and several of the HAHGS guys have ben talking about the Great Italian wars, so some P&S action may return. The nice thing here is that, while I do have some unpainted lead I could add to my collections, I have plenty of troops for the Renaissance and ECW, so no real need to paint to play!

#9 Wash Days

    I have started the always painful process of reorganizing my troops after bringing more than 1,200 of them to Fredericksburg and back. In so doing, I have been using the "Magic Wash" on some of my older Foundry troops, and it is proving a quick and easy update to those ealier paint jobs. You'll see some pictures of that next month, most likely. I may try it on a test unit of Minifig Austrians as well; the sculpts are quite different, so I dn't know if it will really work well on those older figures.

#10 Snappy Nappy Campaign in a Day, 1813

   I still really want to tackle doing one of these grandiose multi table, multi room things (actual figures required is fairly small), and 1813 is probably the perfect setting. This would be a pretty full day affair, probably commandeering Thomas' home for the purpose (Hi Thomas!). The main thing is, to be worthwhile, you'd really need at least 6-8 players in order to really get the "Fog of War" effect, and of course then the date has to work for enough people to be able to come. May even be a post Historicon project for next Fall, but I think it would be a blast if enough people are interested!
   So there you have it; just a short list, LOL. Anybody care to try to convince me where I should place the priorities?  :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

French Imperial Guard Cavalry, part 2 (Dragoons, Lancers, Honor Guards)

The first unit of Guard cavalry formed without antecedents dating back to at least the Consulate was the Empress' Dragoons, formed by decree in April, 1806, with the troopers drawn from each of the line Dragoon regiments on the recommendation of their colonels. The regiment initially had 2 very large squadrons plus one of velites; 2 more squadrons were added after the Battle of Friedland in 1807.

This side view shows the attractive uniforms of the regiment, officially renamed the Regiment des Dragons de L'Imperatrice, and presented by Napoleon to his wife, Josephine, in 1807. The men of the regiment formed a deep attachment to the Empress and her cause, and were very distraught, as were many in the Army, over the Imperial divorce in 1810. Josephine was allowed to retain the title of "Empress" even after the divorce, and I have little doubt that the Dragoons continued to see themselves as "her" regiment, rather than that of her replacement, the former Hapsburg princess, Marie-Louise!

A rear view of the regiment; which wore a somewhat more elaborate version of the helmet worn by their line counterparts, adorned with an imitation leopard skin fur turban. Chestnut mounts were used for this regiment whenever possible, aside from the trumpeters, who were mounted on grey or white horses as usual.

A side view showing the regiment's standard (by GMB designs once again), and the officer's substitution of gold for all the aurore items of the troopers (aiguillette and saddle blanket edging, mostly). 

This frontal view shows that the full dress habit coat was very similar to that of the Grenadiers a Cheval, aside from substituting dark green for the dark blue of the Grenadiers. These are Foundy figures once again; one of their best, in my opinion. I painted this unit about 4 years ago, using staining techniques and some black lining, and was very happy with the result; thus no Magic Wash seemed necessary, so I spared this unit the indignity!  

    The next regiment of cavalry added to the Imperial Guard was the Polish Light Horse (Chevau-Legers Polonais de la Guard), organized in 4 squadrons in April 1807. In 1809, they became the Regiment de Chevau-Legers Lanciers de la Garde, following the Battle of Wagram. With the addition of the Dutch Lancers (see below), the regiment was renamed the 1er Regiment de Chevau-Legers Lanciers de la Garde. In 1811, the regiment added first a 5th squadron, and then  2nd regiment (mostly recruited in Lithuania), named the 3eme Regiment de Chevau-Legers de la Garde, was raised. As a result of the disaster in Russia, in 1813 the 2nd regiment was disbanded, but the original 1st regiment added first a 6th and then a 7th squadron; ultimately the first three squadrons were designated Old Guard, the next three Middle Guard, and the last, Young Guard; by the end of that year the regiment was back down to four squadrons once again. 

A rear view of the Polish Lancers of the Guard; note the crimson portemanteau and the blackened wood of the lances; the lance pennons were always crimson over white.

This side view shows many details of what I think is arguably the most elegant uniform of the entire Napoleonic Wars; the blue is considerably darker than it appears in the pictures. Once again, an application of Magic Wash to these figures, which I originally painted more than a decade ago, really brought out the details, especially on the white cords and plumes.

The opposite side view shows the uniform of the trumpeter well; a white jacket with crimson facings, crimson pants with white stripes, and the top of the czapska white with crimson cords, and a white over crimson plume, as contrasted to the troopers who have crimson tops to their czapskas, with white cords and plumes.

The frontal view shows additional details; the aiguillette was moved from the left shoulder to the right when the lance was adopted. These are Foundry figures with a GMB flag once again. The short lived 3rd Chevau-Leger Lanciers (Polish/Lithuanian) regiment evidently wore an identical uniform to the first, except with yellow lace/piping and yellow metal buttons in place of the white ones of the 1st regiment.

    The next unit to join the Cavalry of the Guard came by a rather circuitous route; the Grand Duchy  of Cleves-Berg was bestowed upon Marshal Murat in 1806; inn 1807, Murat ordered the formation  of a cavalry unit, the Hussars of the Grand Duke of Berg. Having three squadrons plus an elite company of Garde du Corps, the unit underwent a further series of name changes including Regiment du Grand-Duc de Cleves, Chevau-Legers de la Grand Duchesse, and then Regiment de Chevau-Legers du Grand Duc de Berg. In 1808, a fourth squadron was added, and the first squadron entered the Imperial Guard. Two squadrons of the regiment were transferred to the newly formed Chassers a Cheval du Grand Duc de Berg. In January 1809, the Chevau-Leger regiment was disbanded, and the men sent to the Chasseurs a Cheval of Berg and the Guard Cavalry regiments. The unit adopted the lance in late 1809, and joined the Imperial Guard in December, 1809. In March of 1812, a second regiment was raised; both regiments were disbanded at the end of 1813, when their territory was over run by the allies and the Confederation of the Rhine dissolved. 

    The evolution of the uniforms of this unit was equally complex, but it always featured facings in amarante ( a light purplish pink hue), Murat's favorite color. This is nicely detailed on the Histofig site, including 2 plates illustrating the various changes. Suffice it to say that the original unit wore white (cream for the elite company), with amaranth facings and pants, but the uniform changed to a dark green jacket and pants with amaranth distinctions when it was transformed into Chasseurs a Cheval, and when the lance was adopted, a czapska with an amaranth top (and amaranth over white lance pennons) was adopted. The Lancers of Berg spent most of their existence fighting in Spain, but the second regiment participated in the 1812 invasion of Russia, and both regiments fought in Germany in 1813.

    With the dissolution of the Kingdom of Holland in 1810, and the incorporation of its territories into metropolitan France, the former Dutch Royal Guard Hussars became the 2eme Regiment de Chevau-Lager Lanciers de la Garde Imperiale in September, 1810. The regiment had 4 squadrons at its creation, with a 5th squadron added in 1812. In January, 1813, the regiment was increased to 8 squadrons, and then 10 squadrons in March of that year; at that point the first five squadrons were designated as Old Guard, and the second five as Young Guard. 

A rear view of the 2nd Light Horse Lancers of the Guard, often referred to as the "Dutch" or "Red" Lancers.; note the czapska of the trumpeter on the left; white top with scarlet piping and cords. Foundry figures.

A lateral view of the regiment shows the light blue jacket and pants (faced red) of the trumpeter, adorned with  mixed red and yellow cords, aiguillette, etc.  Standard once again is by GMB designs; Foundry figures. 

A view from the other side highlights the contrast between the dark blue saddle blankets with yellow edging, and the red uniform faced dark blue. This unit has also benefited from delayed application of the Magic Wash. ** 8/1/14:  Deadhead on TMP kindly pointed out that the lance pennons for the Red Lancers should be white over scarlet, the opposite of that pictured above. I'm not sure why thaty is, buit I checked several sources and he is inded correct. 

The head on view captures the full splendor of this magnificently attired unit; the "sunburst" brass plaque on the front of the czapska has a white center with a brass "N" in the center.

    A relatively obscure unit of the Imperial Guard were the Lithuanian Tartars of the Guard, raised in July 1812. Although a regiment was planned, only a single squadron was ever raised. There is a decent brief (if nationalistic) history and illustrations here. The remaining men were absorbed into the 3rd Scout Lancers of the Guard in 1813 (see below).

   Faced with the desperate need to rebuild his cavalry after the debacle of the Russian invasion, and yet severely short of both horses and funds, in 1813 Napoleon ordered the formation of four regiments of Gardes d"Honneur. These were to be raised from the sons of noblemen and the wealthy, and were to equip and mount themselves at their own expense; in return they would receive Guard pay and guaranteed promotion to 2nd Lieutenant after a year's service. "In the Guard, but not of the Guard", they were resented by the other guardsmen, and many were unwilling soldiers, deserting at the first opportunity, although they evidently fought well enough upon encountering the enemy. The Army reportedly nick-named them "The Hostages"! The four regiments wore an identical hussar style uniform, with a dark green dolman (faced scarlet) and pelisse (trimmed with black fur), and scarlet pants. The buttons, cords, and lace on the pelisse and dolman were white, as were the decorative knots on the front and the piping on the outer seam of the pants. The shako was scarlet with white upper and lower bands, cords and tassels, and white metal chin scales. The sole distinction between the four regiments was their plumes; all were dark green on the bottom, with the color of the tip varying by regiment: red for the 1st, blue for the 2nd, yellow for the 3rd, and white for the 4th regiment. Trumpeter's dress was uncertain; reversed colors, Imperial Livery, and also sky blue pelisses and dolmans (sky blue uniforms being common to most of the trumpeters of the Guard, see examples above) with scarlet pants and black fur colpacks all being possible - perhaps all three variations may have existed, especially with the men equipping themselves!

   In late 1813, three regiments of Scout Lancers were added to the Guard, named the 1er, 2e, and 3e Regiments d’Eclaireurs de la Garde Imperiale. These were a deliberate attempt to counter the marauding Cossack hordes. The First regiment was attached to the Grenadiers a Cheval, the Second to the Empress Dragoons, and the the Third regiment to the 1st (Polish) lancers of the Guard. Each unit's uniform was quite different from the others.

   On might also briefly mention the Gendarmerie d' Elite of the Guard, which had a mounted arm. The police of the Guard, these men seldom saw combat on the battlefield. This earned them the nickname of "The Immortals"! There uniform was reminiscent of that of the Grenadiers a Cheval.

This concludes our whirlwind tour of the Cavalry of Napoleon's Imperial Guard; see part 1 for the Chasseurs a Cheval, Grenadiers a Cheval, and Mamelukes of the Guard.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

French Imperial Guard Cavalry -Part 1 (Chasseurs and Grenadiers a Cheval, Mamelukes)

   Napoleon's Imperial Guard was of course the direct descendant of the Consular Guard, which was established only 18 days after the coup d' etat of 18 Brumaire (November 10, 1799)  which resulted in General. Bonaparte ultimately becoming 1st Consul (December 24, 1799); it was regularized by decree on January 3, 1800. The cavalry complement of the initial formation of the Garde Consulaire was 2 squadrons of  "light cavalry", and a company of Chasseurs a Cheval. The Chassuers a Cheval were themselves descended from the Guides of the Army of Italy (later, the Guides of the Army of Egypt).

    The Chasseurs a Cheval were increased to full squadron Jan 13, 1800, then 2 squadrons August 6th, 1801, and 4 squadrons October 1, 1802. They officially became the Chasseurs a Cheval of the Imperial Guard on May  18, 1804. The regiment continued to grow, adding velite companies and later Young Guard companies to reach 8 squadrons by 1813. Probably the most famous regiment of the Imperial Guard cavalry, it ordinarily supplied the personal escort for the Emperor and his immediate entourage. Napoleon's often depicted green coat was the undress uniform of a Colonel of the regiment.

Here is the famous regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval of the Guard in full dress uniform. Note the white fur trim to the officer's pelisse, his leopardskin shabraque, and the green leather boots.Being an officer in the Guard was an expensive proposition!

Rear view of the Chasseurs a Cheval de la Garde Imperiale. Note the trumpeter, mounted on a grey horse (the troopers were all supposed to be mounted on dark bays). The trumpeter, instead of reversed  colors, wears a sky blue dolman dark red/maroon pelisse, a white colpack with a dark red over sky blue plume; the trumpeter's lace and cords are all red mixed with yellow. 

This side view shows the shabraque better (dark green, edged with aurore, with a red border) as well as the red trimmed aurore bag or flamme of the Chasseur's fur colpacks.

A frontal view of this elite regiment. Note the sumptuous trumpet banner; figures are Foundry, flag by GMB.

    In 1799, General Kleber, left behind in Egypt by Bonaparte, formed a company of Syrian Janissaries to which were later added Mamelukes; they later became the Mamelukes of the Republic in July, 1800. A Squadron was ordered added to the Consular Guard in 1801, later reduced to a company, and attached to the Chasseurs a Cheval. The officers were French, and over time, more and more of the troopers were as well. The fashion conscious Parisians loved their exotic costume, and along with the passion for Egyptian themes spurred by collections and writings of the savants returning from Egypt, costumes inspired by the Mamelukes became the rage among the women of the capitol. 

Here's the small unit of Mamelukes that form part of my guard cavalry. The specifications for their uniforms were much looser than for standard European cavalry. Originally, the "cahouk" or cap that the turban is wrapped around was supposed to be green, "the color of the prophet", but by 1805 and later it was most commonly bright red or crimson. 

The sleeved chemise shirt could be in a variety of colors including shades of blue, green, red, yellow, and/or white, and was usually worn with a sleeve less waistcoat, heavily embroidered with decorations and piping, which could themselves be in a variety of colors, including black.

The baggy pants were invariably either red or amaranth. Note the color and design of the saddle blankets; these were fringed, rather reminiscent of an oriental rug.

In addition to a standard, the Mamelukes had four troopers bearing horse tail queues, two black, one red , and one yellow. The figures are Minifigs.

    The  "2 Squadrons of Light Cavalry" established at the formation of the Consular Guard in 1799 were swiftly transformed into the Grenadiers a Cheval de la Garde des Consuls in December, 1800, and then the Grenadiers a Cheval de la Garde Imperiale in May 1804, at which time the regiment had 4 squadrons and a strength of a little over 1,000 men of all ranks. At various times squadrons of velites and later Young Guard squadrons were added, but the regiment never had more than 6 squadrons total

We start with a rear view of the Grenadiers a Cheval; this shows the red patch on the back of the bearskin headdress, which bears an aurore cross, as well as the cords of the aiguillette, worn on the right shoulder, in common with all of the remaining French Guard Cavalry regiments. 

This side view nicely displays the uniform of the trumpeter, resplendent in sky blue jacket faced crimson, white bearskin with gold mixed with crimson cords and sky blue over white plume; note also the saddle blanket in crimson trimmed with gold, and the officer, whose uniform has gold items where those of the troopers were aurore.Their standard had a somewhat unique design (flag by GMB once again). 

A head on view of the Grenadiers a Cheval of the Guard; the trumpeters aside, all the men were mounted on black horses. NCO's (not shown) had the cords on the bearskin, sword knot, trefoil epaulette and the aiguillette all with mixed scarlet (2/3) and gold (1/3), similar to their foot guard equivalents.

    I painted all of these units more than 10 years ago, and my painting has improved considerably since then. A few months ago, I applied Magic Wash to these figures, and it really improved them a lot, nicely picking out the detail in the cords and especially the white bearskin and colpack of the trumpeters. The Grenadiers a Cheval also have black lining of the saddle blankets, which was done when they were originally painted. Together, they are much closer to doing justice to these very fine figures.

   Part 2 will cover the later additions to the Cavalry of  the Imperial Guard, including the various Lancer regiments, as well a a few odds and ends in passing. Until then... shout "Vive l'Empereur!"


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maloyaroslavets, 1812 (Historicon 2012, pt 5)

     This game was run on Saturday afternoon; the scenario and playtest were previously posted. Walter, Jamie, and Gabriel played on the French side of the "Traffic Jam" as Gabriel so aptly put it, while Tim was one of the Russian players; Dave and Michelle later took some of the Reserve commands, if I recall correctly. There was one error in the deployment that effected the game; the Russian Reserve Artillery shouldn't have entered until late in the game (the 5th Russian MOVE card, I think), but instead started on the table in March column at the start of the game!

The French start with just a single Division over the sole bridge and deployed in the village of Maloyaroslavets; The river is class III (hardest to cross at baseline) but only for Infantry, and even then the units have to roll for failed crossing and Unit Integrity losses due to hypothermia, and are all Out of Command when they finally do reach the far bank. In addition, the bulk of the table is Class II rough terrain for Movement only, reducing the rate of advance by 50% for all units not moving on a road. 

The French get lucky and turn a LOT of MOVE cards early on; note the laggard French line unit stuck in the stream with the pig (Out of Command) and the rock (one UI lost) from a failed attempt to cross this MOVE.

The Russian forces, by contrast pulled very few MOVE cards all game; however, their artillery was unlimbered, and what they *did* turn instead was a ton of ARTILLERY FIREPOWER cards; especially with the addition of the Reserve batteries, the Russians really pounded the French units as they each crested the ridge and showed their face, so things were actually working pretty well for them despite their relative immobility!

A horde of Cossacks cross the stream, at the bridge and otherwise (the stream was merely class II, a minor obstacle only), threatening the French right flank. 

The French pour reinforcements into the battle quite rapidly with all of the MOVE cards they turned, but the terrain is still making their advance very slow...

This was about the forward point that the French got all games; now some fresh Russians are starting to arrive as well, including... still more Russian artillery!

The French have little success in expanding their bridgehead beyond the village, and especially are finding it hard to deploy their own Artillery units!

The Russian Infantry advances to engagement range on their left, but seems content to just support their Artillery in their right.

Walter has set up a defensive line in the woods on the French right flank. 

Overview of the battle at this point, the French have sole control of Maloyaroslavets itself, but can do little else except bring on more reserves!

Gabriel's French commands try to extend the French left flank and thus threaten the Russian right flank without enduring the heavy artillery fire.

The view of the Battlefield from the French left flank; almost all of their forces are finally deployed, but still very crowded. The pounding inflicted bu the Russian artillery means French Morale Points have dwindled rapidly! 

The Russians launch their first assault on the village, as still *more* of their artillery comes on!!

Walter's Italian Cavalry defeats several units of Cossacks; Dave M has assumed their command, and on the next ARMY MORALE card rolls a D20 for officer survival... and rolls a "1". A field ambulance is seen picking up the wounded general, and all of his troops become Out of Command!

It is too little, too late, and the French Army reaches zero Army Morale. With little prospect of overcoming the huge deficit in Morale points, the French concede, dooming the army to the Northern route over lands already picked clean, and the bitter cold of the Russian winter to come...