Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mustering the British Army: Part Four

The First Cacadores

These are Revell 95th Riflemen, given a lick of paint by Mark Bevis and transformed into "the fighting cocks of the army." The command figures are like my 60th Royal Americans, Italeri figures.

Another view of the Cacadores

Very sharp eyed readers will note that one unit is painted as Tiradors. These chaps have done good service, but I've failed to finish the basing on the last unit as well as losing a few to straggling. Definitely a rainy day project to fix that.
One of my numerous Spanish/Portuguese militia units

These boys are HAT Spanish guerrillas given a particularly generic uniform so that they could stand in for Spanish or Portuguese line infantry. I'm less satisfied with the fix than I was. The uniform isn't completely correct for any unit in particular. I'm scratching my head to remember when I got it from originally, I think one of the Ospreys on the Portuguese Army. I painted these myself, but I think I'll be doing some further research once I've added a few more units as the one size fits all solution is sitting less well with me.

My Luso-Hispanic Brigade

As I said above, the chaps in the front rank do duty as Spanish or Portuguese, but the lads in the rear are definitely part of my Spanish army. Led by the gallant General Romana, they will be taking the field in a series of purely Spanish battles once I get some Grenadiers.

The Regiment Del Rey

These are SHQ/Kennington figures painted by a cousin of Mrs Kinch. The First Regiment Del Rey is apparently the oldest military unit in the world. To qoute no less a source than wikipedia.

"There is certain proof of this and according to what the chronicles mention, King Ferdinand III, "The Saint," in 1248, during the conquest of Seville, with some of his men-at-arms, assaulted and took a tower. Seemingly, with such boldness and bravery they gained the admiration of the King. The campaign finished and with the consequent disbandment of troops, King Ferdinand decided to permanently keep with him said force, giving origin to the permanence of the Armies, that is to say, the origin of itself."

Suffice to say, I could not bring myself to gainsay such a claim and have cheered on the gallant Dons whenever they take the field. 

The Regiment Irlanda

These boys are close to my heart, painted by Mr E, a frequent visitor to the Kinch household and a much beloved fellow cigar smoker. These are Falcata figures and only recently rereleased. I recommend getting ones paws on them. I have prattled on at length about these boys here.

An overview of the artillery part

You'll notice that this shot is mainly dominated by HAT caissons. I haven't come across anyone that makes British caissons, so I decided that my British forces would have to make do with ones captured from the French. They look well don't they?

I'm not entirely sure where my obsession with collecting tail units and logistical support came from - pseudo-psychological explanations in the comments section please.

My only RHA limber

I love the RHA, I think the uniform is especially smart and I find the idea of hurtling around the countryside dragging a crazed beast of a gun behind you to be a thrilling one. The gun pictured is a Hinton Hunt nine pounder I think. I don't deploy guns with a full team anymore, but even so it makes me happy just to look at it. The joy of the thing is the thing itself. I have some RHA crew, the kind gift of an American friend, which will be joining this lot very shortly.

RHA in the field

These chaps are Newline Designs RHA crew and gun with a suitably converted Light Dragoon as a mounted officer. I was finding it difficult to fit entire gun teams into a five inch hex, so in a rare concession to practicality, I decided that I would represent Horse Artillery by the addition of a mounted officer rather than a mounted team.

The Old Corps

My oldest British artillery, which I made up and painted myself, from the now defunct Revell British Foot Artillery set. These fellows have seen some service with the more modern Newlines, most notably during a brief campaign played using the Games Workshop Legend of the Old West Alamo rules. They were part of the garrison of Craggy Island off the west coast of Ireland. They blew a mounted charge of French dragoons all to blazes during the French attempt to stirr revolution in the country in 1796 by making off with the Holy Stone of Clonrichert. It must be remembered that at the time, the stone was but a lowly class three relic, rather than the glorious class two it is today.

Another shot of the Artillery park

A Strelets officer pausing to have a conversation, 
I suspect about fishing, with the chaplain.

Beyond knowing that there were few chaplains with Wellington's army I know very little about spiritual affairs in the Pensinsula. I know Gleig of "The Subaltern" fame (of which I hold a much treasured 1854 edition) became a clergyman in later life as did William Hamilton Maxwell, whose "Wild Sports of the West" is a brilliant description of pre-Famine Ireland as well as being screamingly funny.

And as the catalogue staggers on, it appears there will be a part five.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

His Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick

Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 
by Johann Christian August Schwartz (1809)

The Duke of Brunswick cuts a somewhat eccentric figure. He ruled the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel which was a patchwork of lands, much like most of Germany in the eighteenth century. His father, Charles William Ferdinand, a man of considerable military experience in the Prussian service, had raised the standard against the Republican government of France and missed a vital opportunity to crush in its cradle at Valmy.

Frederick William, the Duke pictured above, was one of Frances bitterest enemies during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic. After the battle of Jena, in which his father was killed, his home was made part of France and become part of the Kingdom of Westphalia. When the War of the Fifth Coalition broke out in 1809, he raised a corps of light troops (his father was acknowledged as an experienced leader of light infantry) in the Austrian service. He managed to liberate Brunswick briefly, but was forced to withdraw to England, where he and his men joined the British service.

Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel 
by Art Minaturen & Krisztian

They did however unlike many foreign corps (i.e. the Chasseurs Britanniques) keep their own uniforms; all in black in mourning for their homeland. They also wore skulls on their hats, without being the baddies. They served,  despite a habit of desertion, creditably in the Peninsula, including at Salamanca, the Pyrenees and Orthez.

Much like Claude Rains in Casablanca*, the romantic in me is attracted to the Brunswickers. Though the corps was marred by its spotty record of desertion, which was mostly a result of recruiting of prisoners of war when they were in the field, there is something deeply personal about their struggle with the French. It reminds me of General Thomas Graham, who only took up arms against the Republic after their soldiers had broken open his wifes coffin and interfered with her.  

The Duke & a horses ass

Brunswick was liberated by the Prussians in 1813, but the Duke did not live to appreciate his return home for very long. When Bonaparte escaped from Elba, he took up the sword again and led a small division of troops to join the Anglo-Dutch army that was to face the French at Waterloo. Sadly, he was slain at Quatre Bras, being killed by a musket while leading a charge. 

Curiously enough, the title lives on in an unusual way - in The Duke of Brunswick vrs Hamer 1849. This is a ruling in the English Law courts (and which has been used for precedent in Ireland) that each instance of a libel constitutes a seperate offence and that a non-resident may sue for libel in Britain. There is reason to believe that this law may be overturned in the near future.

*A shiny sixpence says Stokes knows the line I'm talking about.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Officially, unofficial.

I've been reading with interest in the blogosphere the reactions to the news that Games Workshop will no longer be supporting Warhammer Historical.

I'm not familiar with the personalities involved or the reasons that the decision was taken. I quite liked their Old West game, but beyond that I can't really comment. I am relatively sure the Games Workshop are not actually the Devil and generally these decisions are made on a
hard headed financial basis.

What does interest me is the attitude in some quarters that this marks the end of the game. This strikes me as beyond bizarre - the books still exist, they are presumably still have words in then and the dice roll today in much the same way they rolled yesterday. If you want new material you can write it yourself or use one of the any number of amateur work that chaps have been churning out since the game was released for the fun of the thing. Though I suppose it will lack that official imprimatur.

Suffice to say that here at Joy & Forgetfulness - we fully support the right of any chap to indulge in Wargaming of whatever sort behind closed doors. So long as no animals are harmed and you all wash your hands afterwards.

Entirely unofficially of course.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Page: British Peninsula Battles

  "Gentlemen, I think we can all agree it's gone a bit pear shaped."
The Battle of Albuera by Woolen 

Gentlemen, the more keen of eye and wet of nose amongst you have noticed the addition of a new page to the top of this blog.

Oh, you didn't? Well, I'm still working out how to make it bigger, but bear with me. It's the chap with Peninsula Battles (British) marked on it. I've consolidated all the battle reports that I've written to so far onto one page. It's part of my project to play all the scenarios in the Command & Colours basic set and write a battle report for each one.

Each battle is listed in chronological order, along with links to the battle report, the scenario as set out in the book and lastly any additional information I've come across while scavenging around the Internet, like interesting articles, photographs or poetry.

On mature reflection, the battles from the Hundred Days campaign probably justify their own page, but I'll burn that bridge when we come to it.

Until then, enjoy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

General Romana

I'm not as well up on the Spanish struggle against Napoleon in the Peninsula as I should be. However, one chap you may be familiar with from your Patrick O'Brian is General Romana. I'm not giving away any state secrets when I say that the fictional Stephen Maturin steals another real man's glory.

Romana was born in the Spanish colonies and originally joined the navy. He was educated in France and studied at the university of Salamanca, which goes to show that he was quite a cosmopolitan chap. He served in the American war against the British and finished his service on the blockade of Gibraltar. He then left the service to travel Europe.

Rejoining the colours, though on land this time, he fought against the French revolutionary government in the war of the First Coalition.  He remained in uniform, achieving general rank, and later being assigned to lead "The Division of the North". This ill fated formation was sent to Germany where it served as part of the French occupation forces, garrisoning Hamburg and later Denmark in the period 1807-1808.

The Napoleon Series has a rather fetching set of uniform plates depicting the Division of the North.

With the outbreak of hostilities in Spain, Romana communicated with the British and managed to get a substantial number of his men back to Spain on British ships. On arrival back in Spain, he took part in several rearguard actions assisting Moore's retreat to Corunna. In 1809, he led several limited attacks against French forces with rather more success than the more grandiose schemes of his Spanish colleagues.

Romana was later appointed to the Central Junta and fought under Wellington until his death in 1811 of dyspnoea, shortness of breath. Romana was unusual amongst Spanish generals of the time, for his willingness to work under Wellington and to set aside his amour propre in order to kick Frenchy in the pants. His death was considered a great loss.

A longer, much more scholarly article by Jose Manuel Rodrigeuz, from which the above was culled is available on The Napoleon Series.

This is a Falcata Spanish Officer from a set of Spanish infantry that I got from John Cunningham. The arm holding the hat is a seperate piece and was the very devil to get a good join on. Kristzian despite all his protestations that he is not really a painter of Napoleonics, has done an astonishingly good job on this fellow. I had told him that a generic Spanish uniform would do, but he got in touch with Uwe and produced this wonderful piece of work, which is quite literally a portrait of Romana (and his horse).

History does not record the name of his horse.

This chap will be doing duty as Spanish general for my Command & Colours Napoleonics Spanish in the very near future. I took delivery of some Spaniards from Mark a few days ago, so expect to see some Spanish battles relatively soon.

Really wonderful work. Very, very happy. I hope to see General Romana back on the field of Mars before too soon.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mustering the British army: Part three.

The 15th Light Dragoons. These are Italeri figures painted by Mark Bevis. These are the chaps that charged with Paget at Sahagun, a battle which I first came across in the pages of the Mathew Hervey books. They've seen much hard service over the years and with the 18th, they make up the majority of my British lights. Given the option, I may supplement them with some troops in tarletons before too long, also the sabre scabbards stick out quite a bit and as a result it can be hard to rank them up properly. Not my favourite figures, but serviceable.

The 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars). These are Crimean British Hussars given a bit of a paint conversion by Mark Bevis. They're probably not the best figures in my collection, but I'm very fond of them. They've done some service and are more usually known as "The Drogheda Cossacks" because of their devotion to looting and rapine. You can find out a little more about that here.

The last squadron of the 15th, lurking next to some Portuguese infantry.

The 7th Portuguese Line. These are definately warriors for the working day. I needed some Portuguese infantry and I picked the regimental number out of a hat. The figures themselves are Ykreol plastics and they are awful. The Colonel is an SHQ British officer given a paint conversion. I think if I get any more Portuguese, they'll be HAT Peninsula War British conversions.

 The Connaught Rangers. These didn't actually start out as the rangers, but when I first started painting Napoleonics, I just followed the instructions on the back of the box. When I finally reached a point where I actually knew what I wanted rather than just painting figures for the hell of it, I then started reaching about for a regiment that fit the bill. I had attended a wedding in Clonmel which has a long association with the Rangers and decided that was as good a reason as any. As it happened the chapel contained a monument to General Sir John Gough of Corps of Guides fame.  The chap out front is a MARS British mounted officer, though I think he's a pirated Revell figure who base I've neglected. The rest are a motley crew of HAT British Light infantry, MARS knockoffs with headswaps, a stray HAT Peninsula War British infantry officer I see lurking in the supernumary rank and some Italeri chaps.

I regret to say that I have yet to read William Grattans "Adventures with the Rangers". I'll have to add it to the list. 

 Another shot of the Connaught Rangers. It was around this time, when I began to realise that just collecting random figures was a poor choice and that I should give some thought to how to rank them.
 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards. I needed some Peninsula war British heavies and no-one made them in plastic, so I turned to Newline Designs. These are nice figures, though I think the arms a trifle short. Mark did a very nice job on them. The 4th did not have a particularly glorious Peninsula, but my affection for Irish regiments guaranteed them a place and so here they are. This habit has led to some odd situations, where on one occasion the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, the Connaught Rangers, the Legione Irlandais and the regiment Hibernia in Spanish service all ended up in melee together. Both sides expressed their desire to fight to the last Irishman.

I really must get around to shorting out that chaps flag.

Another shot of the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards. I really like the bicorne worn athwart.
The last squadron, these were my first metal cavalry figures and I think they convinced me that Newline Designs were people worth dealing with.
 The 7th Portuguese Dragoons. These have had something of a pillar to post sort of existence as to the best of my knowledge there were cavalry regiments in the Portuguese service, but no distinction between the lights and the heavies. Command & Colours makes a distinction, so I generally attach a differant label to the base as and when required. Eagle eyed readers will no doubt have spotted the few mistakes that indicate that these are not actually Portuguese dragoons, but in fact Dutch-Belgian horsemen, given a paint conversion. My second metal regiment from Newline.

A picture of the horse paraded together.

Another shot of the brigade, note the brothers and medical staff doing their best for the wounded at the rear. More of them later.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mustering the British Army: Part Two

 And the road goes ever on. On the left, the 60th Royal Americans. These are Revell 95th Rifles with a Dutch King Billy by Waterloo 1815, painted by Mark Bevis. The Officers and NCOs are Italeri figures, click to get a closer look. I love the Italeri Rifles officer with his pelisse.
 Another angle on the rifles, I think I picked the 60th because everyone has the 95th and I'm prone to an odd sort of reverse snobbery. This is probably why I have so many fictional regiments on the strength.
 The 6th Light Dragoons, Mathew Hervey's boys. I painted these chaps quite a while ago. I worked quite hard at the them, though to be honest, I would have prefered chaps in tarletons as being more representative. It's just a fantastic hat. I may revisit this regiment in metal.

 The Fighting Fourth, the only regiment with blue facings in my army - so they occasionally substitute for Guards on occasion.  When I ran my Napoleonic roleplaying game, "The Halberdiers", they were the main baddies, vying with my chaps for honour and preferment. These are HAT Peninsular British plastics, with a metal Colonel from SHQ. The subalterns are also from SHQ, while the pioneer is a conversion of a MARS figure (I think a pirated Revell?) who I added a stovepipe shako to.

 The Argylls, I'm very, very fond of this regiment. I was the first that Mark ever did for me and they've seen some service. Astute observers will note the beards and minor details of dress that mark them as Crimean Highlanders. I didn't like the Italeri set and couldn't afford metal, so I plumped for these fellows and wonderful they are too.

 Another shot of the Highlanders. I use these chaps to represent British Guard units, mainly because my players were have difficulty differentiating between blue and yellow facing in 1/72. Shocking behaviour.
 With the exception of the mounted Colonel, who is by Waterloo 1815, this is one of the most consistent regiments in the army as all the figures are Strelets.

 A very recent addition to the army. These are Revell Life Guards painted as "The Blues". I choose these fellows because unless I have to, I don't like seeing cavalry in red (unless of course, they are French in which case they can be red if they want), blue is by far the more natural colour to my eye. 

 Another shot of the Blues, I would have prefered an entire unit at parade rest, but I was lucky to get the box at all, it was a find in the bargain bin of a model shop. They look very elegant to my eye - just the short of slim patrician fellow that graces the pages of Punch. Fortunately, there have been no instances of the "Guardsman's defence" thus far.
 My special fellows, The Kings Royal Halberdiers. I number them the 42nd, but truth be told they are chocolate soldiers and never existed outside the pages of Evelyn Waughs Sword of Honour trilogy. These are HAT British Light infantry, which I used as Peninsular infantry for a long time. I always painted wings because I didn't know any better and the Halberdiers were converted to a light battalion once I found out. There are a mix of other figures in there, mainly officers from Strelets command sets and Strelets Crimean British Line infantry which I put in for added variety. They match up rather well if you're willing to carve off the rear peak of the shako.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Muster the British Army: Part One

It occurred to be that despite my plans to photograph my entire collection for insurance purposes some time ago, I haven't really followed through.  I had been doing it regiment by regiment, which is a laborious process and the thread I started on TMP had descended to ad hominem attacks and moronic name calling, which always puts me out of sorts and kills enthusiasm.

However, having an idle evening recently I set out my British army. Though I say British, they are brigaded with my Spaniards and Portuguese, but it was ever thus. The Dutch, Nassauers and Brunswickers didn't make it onto the field, but that was mainly because I was running out of room and I will attend to them in due course. A rough sort of seniority was followed, as set down in Rory Muirs article on order of battle in "Inside Wellington's Peninsular Army", but was abandoned when it interfered with the business of assembling the troops in such a way that they could all be seen.

I may repeat the process, once I've used this preliminary sketch to work out what I actually have, which was a bit of a mystery. 

The army entire, though I can think of a few pieces that are currently with Krisztian that will make this muster out of date, but such is the way of things. What began as a project to get a photograph of everything, turned into the closest thing to a diorama that I've made in quite a while.

The army from a differant angle, for the most part the line infantry are in the centre, cavalry on the wings, but behind the Rifles and the Guards. I'm not entirely sure why I did that. Spanish and Portuguese at the rear of the infantry and the guns behind them. Baggage to the rear right and hospital to the rear left. Staff and other such harmless persons to the front.

The staff, Wellington (blue coat, large nose) discusses with Picton and a chap with a letter (Harry Smith perhaps, I'm not sure I recognise him without his Spanish bride. A private of the Kings Royal Halberdiers watches the horses while the officer (including a second Picton discuss).

Wellington and his mounted officer are from the rather wonderful Italeri set. The umbrella wielding mounted Picton is by Waterloo 1815. The foot figures are mixture of Strelets, Italeri and HAT, while the private is a HAT British light infantryman. The standing horses, which are so small as to be effectively ponies are by Irregular Miniatures.

A rather badly focused picture of the HAT ponies, from their Second World War range. I bought these in 2002 when I needed dismounts for my German Don Cossacks in a Second World War roleplaying game. The light infantry (note the shoulder tufts) was the first Napoleonic figure I ever painted.

An Italeri Wellington, discusses with an Italeri mounted ADC. The chap in the middle (foxed by my seeming inability to properly manage depth of field) is by Strelets. Picton looks ready to lay about him with that umbrella.

Another shot slightly better. The figure with the sword under his arm was painted by my good chum General Creanor and he was used in a short lived Napoleonic roleplaying game I ran called "The Halberdiers". He is hands down one of my favourite figures.

A close up short, again with shocking focus of the command group. The supercillious looking adjutant fellow with the swagger stick is from HAT Peninsular British infantry and wonderful figure he is too.

Staff Cavalry Corps dragoons - I used to use them as couriers when I played rules that needed such figures. These are actually Stelets Crimean dragoons, but they were a good match for George Scoville's boys and I've always had a fondness for that mathematician cum frustrated cavalryman. I blame Mark Urban. The dastard.

Household cavalry and Scots Greys. These are Hinton Hunt figures, part of a collection that I part purchased as part of a consortium masterminded* by John Cunningham.  They are lovely little figures, but there aren't enough of them to form a unit. I think I'll be using them to guard the peer for a while.

And that gentlemen, is all there is for tonight. I have to be up and doing in five hours so I must to bed.

*And I do mean that, I can only presume he was stroking a large white cat when he called me.