Sunday 30 July 2023

Second Battalion, 55e Régiment d'Infanterie

Yet another French Franco-Prussian War infantry battalion - this is the penultimate battalion of the First Division.

The third battalion is under way and should be finished tomorrow.

I think I need a break from the French for a few days after that!

Thursday 27 July 2023

First Battalion, 55e Régiment d'Infanterie

Returning to the Franco-Prussian War French infantry, this is the start of the 55e Régiment that along with the 32e Régiment and the 3e Chasseurs makes up the 1st Brigade of Vergé's 1st Division commanded by Général de Brigade Charles R. Latellier-Valazé.

Claiming history back to 1644 as Régiment Condé, it fought in the Napoleonic Wars at (among many) Valmy, Rivoli, Austerlitz, Jena, Lubeck, Eylau, Heilsberg, Albuera, Bautzen, Deresden, Klum, Toulouse Ligny and Waterloo.

Like many of the regiments reformed in the 1820s it served its time in Algeria. Of note is that François Achille Bazaine, the future marshal and as commander of the Army of the Rhine in 1870 became the scapegoat for the defeat, was colonel of the regiment 1850-54.

Colonel Charles de Maleville took command after Bazaine and led it at Solferino, where Maleville was mortally wounded storming the Casa Nouva farm, inspiring this well known dramatic image.

Under Colonel Waldner-Frauendstein it went to war in 1870, fighting at Spicheren where it skilfully covered the withdrawal of the rest of the division at the end of the engagement, Rezonville, Gravelotte and Metz. The 4th battalion became the 14e Régiment de Marche and served in the 13e Corps in the Siege of Paris. Eight depot companies of 2nd and 3rd battalions formed the 29e Régiment de Marche, fighting in the Loire Valley.

After the war it served again in North Africa and was heavily engaged in the Great War.  Desolved after the war it was reconstituted in 1939 as 55e Régiment d'Infanterie Alpine.

Also finished in the last couple of days is the basing on the two foot command stands.

Monday 24 July 2023

French Command Figures: Back in the Red

After a few days in a Sydney I am back with the red paint, but as a bit of a break from the massed infantry I have done a couple of figures that I intend to use for command groups.

These are the supplied as Marshal Canrobert, the figure given free when you buy three boxes of plastic figures. Without the need for two marshals (and there will be another two figures coming with a future order) I will use these as divisional generals. I will need to be pair these chaps with another mounted officer, when they come available, to make the divisional command grouping, hence them being unbased.

Another two groups on foot  using some spare officer figures (with a fair bit of kit bashing) from the sprue and one metal officer from the Chasseur set will follow.

Sunday 23 July 2023

A Break From Painting Red

We had decided to 'hop across the ditch' to Sydney to catch a performance of Aida at the Opera House. It was something we had planned in 2020, but the plague ruined those plans, so when a fresh production was arranged we grasped the opportunity.

Our trip has an abysmal start. After a dream run the the airport - every green light and no traffic - the valet parking that I had thought I had booked was not valet parking, but rather covered parking half a mile away from the terminal. In a rush I drove over there, in the pouring rain, and managed to reverse into some bloody stupid planter box that badly damaged my back bumper. Wet and angry from this I returned to the terminal and the relative calm of the airline lounge. Then we had a departure delay due to an engineering issue then a further delay with a baggage loading, making us one hour late leaving. The trip across the ditch was bumpy, not severe turbulence, but still the bumpiest I had ever know over the Tasman Sea. Then there was a weather change in Sydney and they reduced operations to a single runway, so we circled off the coast for forty minutes while Air Traffic Control re-routed all the arriving aircraft. All these delays meant that there was no gate with an airbridge was available and we had to park at a remote gate and be bussed to the terminal. But the busses were slow to arrive and we lost another fifteen minutes. Then, almost as a final insult, neatly half the kiosks in the immigration hall were inoperative and standing in a queue with several hundred people I had to chortle at the sign that boasted how theses machines saved queuing times. Finally, two hours late, we hit the fresh air - well caught the train to the city more correctly...the most efficient part of the trip in fact.

Lunch allowed us to recover our shattered nerves and the afternoon was much more pleasant. A nice snooze in mid-afternoon (we had been up since 4:00 AM NZ time) was enough to refresh us prior to dinner and the show. Our hotel was just a short walk to the Opera House on a surprisingly mild evening. 

 The opera was every bit the spectacle we expected it to be - a superb performance in a superb venue.

Thankfully Saturday was a much more ordered and peaceful day. A bit of shopping, walking around the city in the sunshine...a rarity for us these days...and a nice lunch as a Malaysian restaurant overlooking Darling nice that we went back there for dinner.

We head back home today.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Second and Third Battalions, 32e Régiment d'Infanterie

Last weekend was a long one with a public holiday on the Friday. My plans (well hopes more accurately) were to do some work in the garden. What with our trips to Canada and to the South Island and the exceptionally wet weather of late things have gotten away and in 25 years we have lived in our home I have never seen so many weeds in the flower beds and the gaps in the paving are thick with moss. But my plans (hopes) were dashed by the weather again...not that is rained that much, but the ground is so saturated that garden work is all but impossible. I did manage to mow the front lawns (leaving wheel ruts and foot prints in the soft ground), but chose not to try to push the mower into the morass that is the backyard for fear that it would be irretrievably lost.

The positive side of the weekend was that I was able to work on the FPW French and have completed the 32e Régiment. 

This regiment had a hard fight at Spicheren where it held the left flank of the French line in the iron works, along the railway line and in the streets of Stiring Wendel successfully defending against the turning movement in the Prussian 28th Brigade, losing 20 officers and 310 men of the 1,708 that took the field that day. It fought equally hard at Rezonville,  counting losses of another 15 officers and 333 men. It was only lightly engaged at Gravelotte, losing 3 officers and 87 men. In those three engagements across twelve days regimental losses totalled 38 officers and 730 men.

The Second battalion

The Third Battalion 

The whole regiment.

Waiting in the wings, assembled and ready for undercoating is the next regiment, the 55e.

Saturday 15 July 2023

First Battalion, 32e Régiment d'Infanterie

This post sees the start of the next brigade in my Franco-Prussian War army, the First Battalion, 32e Régiment d'Infanterie and this unit sees the first of the figure conversions using heads, arms and weapons from the spares box to provide some variation. But is there no end to their sea of red pants? Well, not for at least another month.

As John pointed out a few posts ago, the history of most FPW French regiments can really only be traced back to 1820 when the army was rebuilt after the 100 Days and the regiments were raised afresh. So the honours carried on the flags were claimed, but did not accurate reflect the service of the new regiment. The 32nd Regiment is no exception, but its pre-1820 history is so impressive that I can't ignore it and will describe it briefly here.

Formed as early as 1625 it began life as Régiment d’Anuis, then Régiment Bassigny. In 1791 it became the 32e Régiment de Ligne and six years later the 32e demi-brigade. If fought in campaigns in Germany in 1791-92, then in the Vendée before fighting under Bonaparte in Italy. It went to Egypt in 1799, fought at the Pyramids, participated in the Syrian Campaign and fought in the battles in front of Alexandria. With the surrender of French forces in Egypt in 1801 it was repatriated to France.

It was engaged at Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland, before going the the Peninsula where it participated in the invasion of Portugal and later fought at Talavera and Toulouse.

It was renumbered 31e régiment de ligne after the fall of Napoleon in 1814, but recovered the 32e title during the 100 Days. From 1815-1820 it was know as the 61e Légion de Calais before the title of 32e was restored. In the Royal army it served in Spain and then in North Africa.

Under the Second Empire it participated in the campaign against the Roman Republic at the Siege of Rome. In the Crimea saw action in the Siege of Sevastopol and fought at Inkerman and Chernaya. It did not participate in the Italian Campaign.

In 1870 it fought under Colonel Merle (in Latellier-Valazé’s First Brigade, First Division, 2nd Corps) at Spicheren and the battles around Metz, surrendering when the fortress fell, although the troops managed to conceal the regimental standard and prevent its capture. The depot troops formed the 13e Régiment de Marche and served in the 13th Corps in the Siege of Paris.

After the war it was posted to Africa and participated in the Tonkin expedition in 1883-85. It was heavily engaged in the Great War and of the numerous actions it fought in earned honours for Ypres-Artois 1914-15, L’Aisne 1917, Le Matz and La Marne 1918. 

Above and below, 32e WWI posters

It fought in northeastern France in the Second World War. It was re-formed for participation in the closing stages of the war and was formally disbanded in 1991.

Thursday 13 July 2023

A Quick Parade

As promised in my last post here is a parade of my Austrian light brigade consisting of, left to right, the Grenz Sankt-Georger Regiment, the jäger battalion, the Hessen-Homberg hussars and a horse battery.

Monday 10 July 2023

Hussar Regiment 4, Hessen-Homberg and a Bit of Gaming in Spain

Having completed six battalions of French FPW line infantry I needed a break from blue coats and red trousers. So I have been working on a regiment of Napoleonic Austrian hussars, the final unit for my Austrian collection. This is the 20th hussar regiment in my possession, but perhaps the most important because Austrian hussars have to be the hussars of all hussars, don't they?

The regiment before being based

I chose the Hessen-Homberg regiment because I liked the mix of colours - light blue, bright green and red. 

Strangely it wasn't until I was half way through the first three figures that the realisation that I was still painting red trousers struck me!

This completes the light division that comprises of the hussars, the Grenz Sankt-George's Regiment, Number 6 and a horse battery, which will appear in a parade shortly.

This finishes the Austrian Napoleonic project...maybe…although I was thinking today that a few battalions of grenadiers wouldn’t go amiss...

Because the box contains 14 figures rather than the 12 figure I usually have in my cavalry units, these two loose figures can either be used as a part of the unit to form a large regiment (Austrian light cavalry regiments were large anyway), or can be detached as skirmishers or videttes. 

Sunday saw us play a Spanish Civil War game using one of our group's beautiful collection. Keith at Bydand Blog has a better recollection of the events than me so I will refer to his description here, while I just post some eye candy that differs from his. (Note that the majority of images shown here are supplied by John L. who had a more central position in the game than me).