Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Petrograd Hussars and the Completion of the Russian Napoleonic Project.

Although the dragoons were the most numerous of all the Russian cavalry types in the Napoleonic Wars nothing speaks of eastern European cavalry more than the hussars. There is something inherently romantic about hussars, especially Russian hussars. Any mention of them sets my mind racing with those spectacular movie scenes with the dashing hussar officers at the grand balls in the St Petersburg palaces. 
When I came to add a regiment to my Russian Napoleonic army, choosing which hussar regiment to do was never really an issue. It was always going to be the Petrograd Regiment and there were three reasons. First, it was the regiment I painted way back in the 1970’s for my original Russian army and sold some time in the 90’s. As I have mentioned before that 1970's army, made up from Hinchliffe figures, provided the inspiration for creating this one. Second, it was the regiment in which Nicolai Rostov served in Tolstoy’s War and Peace – and who can forget the imagery of that charge after Kutuzov (or was it Bagration) ordered “...send in the Petrograd Hussars”? Third, it was the uniform - green breeches and dolman, turquoise facings and pelisse, yellow braid and red houndstooth edging on the shabraque.

As usual these are the Perry figures. In service most units dispensed with the shako plumes and the pelisse, but what is a hussar without the plumes and pelisses? So my hussars are in full dress.

So the army is complete…well maybe. There may be a "need" for a few more units (perhaps some in the 1809 uniforms since many units did not receive their 1812 issue uniforms until as late as 1813) and maybe some limbers and supply carts at some time in the future, but for now at least it is finished.
And the final count:
1 High Command Group (8 foot figures)
1 Infantry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
3 Infantry Brigadiers (3 mounted figures)
8 Musketeer Battalions (192 foot figures)
4 Jäger Battalions (96 foot figures)
1 Artillery Commander (1 mounted figure)          
2 Field Batteries (16 foot figures, 4 guns)
1 Position Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
1 Cavalry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
2 Cavalry Brigadiers (2 mounted figures)
2 Cuirassier Regiments (24 mounted figures)
2 Dragoon Regiments (24 mounted figures)
1 Hussar Regiment (12 mounted figures)
1 Horse Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
All in all that is:
328 foot figures
70 mounted figures
8 guns
Laid out in their Divisional Review they look an impressive force.

The Infantry Division, the artillery, two musketeer brigades and the jäger brigade (rear)

The First Musketeer Brigade

The Second Musketeer Brigade

The Jäger Brigade

The divisional artillery

The Cavalry Division, the cuirassier brigade (left), the horse battery and the dragoon brigade, with hussars attached (right)

The Cuirassier Brigade

The Dragoon Brigade

The high command group
But they pack away neatly into four plastic drawers...

...that in turn slide into a stacking case.

This week also sees the finish of the base for the Russian winter church, the completion of which closes out another project.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunday Napoleonic Game

Today we played our regular Sunday game. This time it was a Napoleonic extravaganza with a force of  Bavarian and Wurtemberg force against and Austrian force.

The scenario was designed around a large, steep hill - Abbey Hill after a large abbey at its foot - that separated two roads. The objective of each side was to secure the opposing road, while not losing control of their's.

The Initial Austrian Deployment, the Right Flank 

And the Left Flank

I played on the Austrian side. We had two divisions: one (mine) contained 12 battalions, three batteries  and two regiments of cavalry; the other had six batteries, 12 battalions and a single cavalry regiment. In truth I didn't pay too much attention to the strength of our opponents, but they were relatively equal.

The Germans got the jump and  started up the hill. The Bavarian artillery, all six batteries, engaged three Austrian batteries in a counter battery battle that would last all day, while their infantry negotiated the difficult passage between two large woods.

The Bavarians start their manoeuvre around the woods, their artillery mass on the right.

Then the Austrians stole the initiative  and gained the crest of the hill first. Then they stormed forward and drove three of the Wurtemberg battalions from the hill, but could not drive off the critical fourth unit. Their attack had cost them some heavy losses. 

Above and below, the battle for the hill 

The Wurtemberg infantry regrouped and held the Austrians in check, while they brought up reinforcements. They then pressed forward and drove off one of the Austrian brigades. Things began to look very shaky for the Austrians on the hill.

The Wurtembergers reclaim the crest

On the left of the Austrian line the Bavarians slowly managed to get their lines formed and came forward. They made three separate attacks and where repulsed in all of them. The Austrians then counterattacked and drove the Bavarians back.

The Bavarians attack, but (below) are driven back

Suddenly the Bavarians rolled two bad activation rolls and six of their disrupted and shaken units quit the field. The Austrians then pushed further forward and secured the road, the objective of the game.

The Wurtemberg troops had secured part of the hill, but with out the Bavarian support had little chance driving off the two remaining Austrian brigades that secured the other road.

The Austrians claimed the day.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Winter Village - Part 4 ... and more

SeIt has been a sort of bitty week this one. I started off working on the final strucure of my winter village. This time it is a Russian church, much smaller than the one I made at the beginning of last year, but an interesting model all the same.

I chose a log and finished timber exterior for this model. The logs were made from bamboo skewers, cut to length and then glued to a cardboard form. The finished timber is largely matchsticks with some pieces of balsa where larger boards were required.

The roof is sculpted foam board, covered with fine sand. I opted not to have a dome on this model, but did put a cross on top of a stack of spheres.

I have yet to instruct the base. This will  be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Another item worked on during the week is a batch of nine Indian troops for East Africa required to complete a battalion for use in a game in October. These are Brigade Games figures. They don't match the Woodbine Figures that make up the rest of the battalion, but they are such lovely figures that I am happy to live with this. 

Also included in the parcel from Brigade Games is a set of War of 1812 American generals - a mounted and dismounted officer. This is the advanced guard of a new project that will kick off properly in late-October. These are great little figures designed by the talented Paul Hicks, my only complaint is that the horse in way too skinny - it looks to me as though the person operating the casting machine has applied too much pressure on the moulds.

Then on Friday night we played a Dark Ages-Early Medieval game based around the Battle of the Standard, or the Battle of Northallerton, between English and Scottish armies on 22 August 1138. The rules used were To The Strongest.

Starting at around 5:30 we played until about 9:30 with a break for dinner. 

It was a hard fought action that at the dinner break saw the English army with the upper hand. But fortunes changed after dinner and the Scots rallied and came forward again.

But the English, led by Ralph of Durham, held and drove off several of the best Scottish units.

Then in one devastating move the English fortunes changed and the Scots reversed history.