Friday, May 31, 2013

Command & Colours Napoleonics: The Austrian Army

Archduke Charles, considered one of Napoleon's most formidable opponents

Despite what has felt like an interminable wait, the Command & Colours Napoleonics expansions are beginning to arrive at last, the Austrians will be out this year and given that I have not yet done justice to the Russian expansion; it is probably no bad thing that it will be a few months before the Kaiserlicks are knocking at my door.  The Austrians put in Trojan work against the French during the Napoleonic wars and are little credited in English language texts. Though the immortal Peer will always remain foremost in my affections, I found David Rothenberg's "Napoleon's Greatest Adversary" a particularly well written and concise summation of the Austrian contribution. 

I was lucky enough to learn from Tony at GMT games what the block composition will be for the new expansion - so I've started collecting for the new army, though realistically I'll have to get the War Room up and running, play through the Hundred Days, the Spanish and the Russian campaigns first.  I'm nothing if not optimistic. 

Looking at the scenarios below, I was torn between Austrian infantry in helmet and those in shako, but given that assembling a suitable number of helmeted Austrians from the Italieri set would be problematic, I think my 1805 battle will have to be a little anachronistic, at least until HAT releases the appropriate set. 

The expansion will include the following scenarios. 

Wertingen - 8 October 1805
Günzburg - 9 October 1805
Haslach - 11 October 1805
Elchingen - 14 October 1805
Verona - 18 October 1805
Caldiero - 30 October 1805

1809Eckmühl - 21/22 April 1809
Ratisbon - 23 April 1809
Ebelsberg - 3 May 1809
Travis - 17/18 May 1809
Aspern-Essling - 21/22 May 1809
St Michael-Leoben - 25 May 1809
Wagram - 5/6 July 1809
Stockerau - 8 July 1809

1813Dresden - 26/27 August 1813
Leipzig (Liebertwolkwitz) - 14 October 1813
Hanau - 30-31 October 1813

Arcis-sur-Aube - March 20/21 1814

The army makeup for the expansion will be as follows. 

Line    11 units with 5 blocks each

I'll be using HAT miniatures infantry for these fellows, mainly I as have them already (due to a chance encounter with a bargain bin a couple of years ago). I was surprised to see them rated so strongly. 

Light     2 units with 4 blocks each

Not entirely sure what I will use for these fellows, if memory serves they have a sort of turned up hat. I may have some Hinton Hunts that will do the job, though it remains to be seen whether I'll have enough. 

Grenzer    4 units with 4 blocks each

HAT have a set for these fellows and while I shall struggle to fill the supernumerary ranks, they're not bad. 

Grenadier    5 units with 4 blocks each

Again HAT come to the rescue, their box of Austrian infantry grenadiers is lovely and I can bulk it out a little with some of the Italeri figures. 

Militia    3 units with 4 blocks each

HAT again do a very nice box of marching militia. There isn't a huge amount of choice here, but given that they do the job so well - what matter?
Leader - 5 blocks

I have two Austrian general from Italeri's box of Russian and Austrian generals. They are very good and I'm particularly taken with them, however, I think I'll fill out of the last three slots with metal figures. 

Light Cav    4 units with 4 blocks each

I have absolutely no idea. The HAT chevauxleger are just damnably ugly and I couldn't bring myself to play with them. I suppose this will mean that I shall have to use metal figures, though perhaps the Italeri French hussars could be pressed into service. To be fair, it would be a pretty poor show if the Hungarians didn't make an appearance, given that they are the original hussars. 

Lt Lancer    1 unit with 4 blocks each

I have no idea what to use for these, I didn't even know the Austrians had lancers.  I'll have to check the Osprey on this one. 

Heavy Cav    1 unit with 4 blocks each

Austrian Dragoons look remarkably like cuirassiers, but without the cuirasses. I suspect I'll be going metal for this one. 

Cuirassier Hvy    4 units with 4 blocks each

To be perfectly honest, I don't think HAT did a particularly good job on this set, but I was persuaded when I saw the amazing job my friend TK did on them.  We shall see. 
Foot Arty    3 units with 3 blocks each

It was supposed that Italeri were going to release a set of artillery for the Austrians, but at present only HAT have done so. It's not an inspired set by any means, but it does the job. 

Horse Arty    2 units with 3 blocks each

HAT do a nice set for these fellows, but it doesn't include the crew in action. We'll see. 

So the long and the short for 1/72 players is that HAT do most of the Austrian stuff you require. It may not all be perfect (particularly the cavalry), but for the most part they look well and do the job. 



  1. Conrad - I have vast quantities of plastic Austrians in helmet from the Esci and Italeri sets, if you are interested


    1. Thank you Clive, I'll contact you by email.

  2. I agree with you that the Austrian Army of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars has been largely short-changed by history. I have recently discovered that the Good Archduke Charles was not the only able commander the Austrian Empire could boast.

    General Kienmayer's handling of the opening attacks in the Austerlitz battle might not have been exemplary in brilliance, but his independent command in Bohemia in 1809 was very successful though outnumbered in that theatre by about 5:2. He even inflicted a sharp reverse upon Androche Junot in a small action involving fewer than 10,000 men on a side. Junot was apparently handicapped by the poor quality of his available cavalry in that action. Kienmayer had no such handicap. He had no cavalry at all.


    1. I shall bear that in mind Ion, thank you. I suspect it will be quite a while before I get to play the Austrians, there are too many Spanish and Russians games before me yet.

  3. I've not yet played any of the Russian scenarios yet -we only played the first of the Spanish games this week! Happily, I already have loads of Austrians!

  4. I don't get it... the ones with the plumes on their hats are the... lights, right?

  5. You have just given me an idea for my next step in 6mm. I've always liked the Austrian helmet chaps.