Monday 30 October 2023

Civil War Action

On Sunday we fought an American Civil War game.

There were six players, three on each side. I commanded on the right with two infantry and one cavalry brigades, with the possible reinforcement by a third infantry brigade. To my left were another four infantry and one small cavalry brigades, with some reinforcements expected. Opposing us were six infantry brigades and a cavalry brigade.

The objectives for both sides were the control of the road that ran up the centre of the table.

On my front the action developed quickly. One of my cavalry regiments charged to try and take advantage of an isolated enemy infantry unit, while the Confederates attack one of my small Zouave units. The cavalry was repulsed but the Zouaves won against the odds.

The full length of the table

At the other end of the table the Union and Confederate cavalry face off. Each side rolled 6xD6 needing a 5 or 6 to score a combat point.

This was the Union roll...the Confederates failed to roll a single 5 or 6 and were scattered to the wind. The Yankees then broke through onto an unsuspecting Confederate infantry unit behind it, smashing it too...but there Union attack ran out of steam.

To my left my fellow Union commander was getting tied up in the woods.

The point of junction between my command and the centre was a hotbed of fighting.

But the Union Centre was in trouble.

Above and below two of my units.

The Alabama boys move to the attack, but two turns later were driven off.

The fight for the woods dragged on.

More Alabamians

The left centre of the Union line was in trouble.

On my front the Rebel line was crumbling. The lost right infantry regiment charges the Rebel battery and drives the gunners off.

At the crossroads a single Confederate battery holds the line, but the gunners are soon driven away from their guns.

In the centre the Union forces have been scattered and the Confederates are dominant, but the flanks are dominated by strong Union commands.

The game ended as a Union victory.

Friday 27 October 2023

3rd Battalion, 66e Régiment de Ligne

Here is the final battalion of the 66e.

And the whole regiment.

The 67e Régiment in under the brush now.

Monday 23 October 2023

2nd battalion, 66e Régiment de Ligne

The mound of garden bark that I showed in the post is distributed to the gardens.

The Blueberry garden with the cardboard layed (the cardboard blocks the weed growth). 

And with the bark spread

The front rose garden with all its weeds...

And much tidier with the bark layed 

The whole job took six hours, but while we started in overcast conditions the sky soon cleared and the day became hot. As I shovelled away these words rang through my head 🎶Breaking rocks in the hot sun, I broke the law and law won🎶 (from the song by the Bobby Fuller Four - although I prefer the Clash or Green Day versions). But it is done and the gardens are tidy again. 

The day ended with the completion of this the Second Battalion of the 66e Régiment.

 The Third Battalion is on the painting table now.

Saturday 21 October 2023

66e Regiment de Ligne

Well it's back to the red pants again. This time it is the start of the Second Brigade, Second Infantry Division, 2nd Corps. The brigade  consisted of the 66e and 67e Regiments and was commanded by General de Brigade Jacques Alexandre Jules Fauvart-Bastoul.

Son of a senior officer of hussars in the Grande Armée Fauvart-Bastoul was born at Béthune in 1814. He entered St Cyr in 1832 and joined the 28e Régiment three years later. He continued with that regiment until 1844,  promoted through the grades to Captain. He transferred to the 7e Légère in 1853 as chef de batallion and served in Algeria. He took command of the 6e Chasseurs that same year and led   them in the Crimean campaign. He was made Lt Colonel of the 14e Régiment in 1855, before transferring to the 3e Grenadier regiment in the Garde Imperiale the following year.

Made colonel in late 1857 he took command of the 36e Régiment before transferring back to the Garde in 1860 in charge of the 2e Grenadiers. Made General de brigade in 1865 he held various territorial commands until he took his brigade command in 1870. 

He was engaged at Sarrbrücken, Spicheren, Rezonville and St Privat before being imprisoned after the fall of  Metz. He served in the Versailles Army in the action against the Communards and was promoted to General de Division in 1871 in command of 18th Division. He retired from the army in 1879 and died at Paris in 1888 at the age of 73.

With roots tracing back to 1791 the 66e has laid claim to a host of honours in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, including action in the Vendée and the Low Countries. Part of the regiment went to the West Indies in 1802 serving in Guadeloupe, but the regiment’s real service in the Napoleonic wars was in the Peninsula, where it fought from 1807 to 1813, engaged in the actions of Vimeiro, Porto, Buçaco Fuentes de Ōnoro and Burgos, in Germany in 1813 at Lutzen, Bautzen, Leipzig and Hannau, in the 1814 Campaign at Laon, Reims Fère-Champenoise and Paris.

The regiment did not fight at Waterloo but had the dubious honour of offering the last resistance of the 100 Days episode when the Caribbean contingent stood against British forces that captured Guadeloupe in August 1815.

Recreated in 1830 the regiment served in Africa from 1832 to 1840, after which it returned to France. The third battalion had the honour of leading the procession that brought Napoleon’s remains back to France to be interred at des Invalides.

It was not engaged in the Crimea or Italy, serving instead in France then in Africa until 1867, before returning again to France. 

In 1870 it  served at Saarbrücken (losing 5 officers and 40 men), Spicheren (losing 12 officers and 212 men), Rezonville (where it suffered the loss of 16 officers and 575 men) and St Privat (2 officers and 27 men). It served the early part of the war under command of Colonel Charles-François Ameller, about whom I haven't been able to find much other than in 1857 he was chef de batallion in the 4e Zouaves and at that point, after 17 years of service, he had served in seven campaigns and been wounded twice.

When the regiment surrendered at Metz, the depot companies formed the 44e Régiment de Marche and fought in the Armée de l’Loire and the Armée d’Est. 

After the war the regiment was back in Algeria again in 1888, but returned to France shortly after. In the Great War it served in the Marne and Verdun sectors for much of the war. After the war it was posted briefly at Constantinople before it was disbanded in 1923.

Reformed in 1939 it fought in the 18th Divsion in the battle of France.

Dissolved in June 1940 it was briefly reactivated between 1963-66.

Also completed are two more generals. These are again the Marchal Canrobert figure that ships free with three boxes of plastic figures. To get a bit of variety I have done a little Frankensteinian surgery on them. Both were decapitated and their heads were replaced by those from the plastic command sprue. At the same time I removed the right hand of each figure that was waving the troops forward and replaced them with more plastic parts - one with a hand with a pointing finger and the other one pointing with a sword. Both the hands a heads were fixed in place with pin and glue. The horse's mane was damaged when the hand and the kepi it was holding were cut away, but a bit of GreenStuff was all that was needed to repair it.

It is Labour Weekend here and it is a tradition with us to use the long weekend to get the gardens in shape and they certainly need it  after the wet year we have had - in the 25 years we have lived in this house  I have never seen so many weeds growing. So early this morning, while I was watching the All Blacks play the Pumas in the Rugby World Cup semi-final, three cubic metres of bark arrived and was dumped on the driveway 

I am in for a long tiring day.

Wednesday 18 October 2023

5e Régiment Chasseurs à Cheval

Many French regiments, infantry or cavalry, manage to find some tenuous link back to regiments of the ancien regime. The 5e Chasseurs à Cheval  is no exception tracing their lineage  back as far as 1675 from a number of Gascon irregular units. Over the next one hundred and eleven years it served as dragoons named after ten different colonel patrons. In 1788 it was converted to Chasseurs à Cheval as the Chasseurs du Hainaut. Renamed the 5e Chasseurs à Cheval it served in the Revolutionary Wars, earning honours at Valmy, Zurich and Hohenlinden. Under  Napoleon it fought at Austerlitz and Friedland. It served in Spain from  1808-1813, returning to serve with the Emperor again at Leipzig and in the 1814 campaign.

After the Hundred Days it was renamed the Régiment Chasseurs du Cantal, before regaining its name as the 5e Régiment and serving in Spanish expedition of 1823. A brief period of service in Algeria followed in the late 1840s, but it saw no service in the campaigns of the Second Empire until 1870 where it was lightly engaged at Saarbrücken and Spicheren. The regiment took part in the counter-charge at Rezonville that repelled von Bredow's charge, and it recovered the standard of the 93e Régiment that Bredow's uhlans had taken during the charge.

Not engaged again until 1914 it earned honours at l'Ourcq in 1914 and l'Avre and la Marne in 1918.

Colonel Gombaud de Séréville

Commanding the regiment in 1870 was 48 year old Colonel Gombaud de Séréville. A graduate of St Cyr he served in the cavalry during his entire career, commencing as a lieutenant in the 8e Chasseurs à Cheval in 1844, then transferring to the prestigious Carabiniers four years later. With the rank of major he served with the 11e Chasseurs à Cheval before promotion to chef d'escadrons in the 1er Hussars in 1865, with whom he served in North Africa and was wounded twice in the Combat at Ben Attab, in Oran Provence. As lieutenant colonel he served in quick succession in the 6e cuirassiers and then back with the 1er Hussars before taking another prestigious post with the Empress Dragoons in 1868. Made colonel in 1869 he took command of the 5e Chasseurs à Cheval for the 1870 campaign in which he was awarded the lègion d'honneur. Captured at Metz he returned to his regiment from internment in Lubeck at the conclusion of the war and participated in the suppression of the Commune in Lyon in 1871. Made general de brigade in 1875 he retired from the army in 1881 and died in 1892.

For my 5e Chasseurs à Cheval I had to convert the headgear again to give them  the talpac instead of the kepi. They also wear the green jacket instead of the light blue 1868 jacket. 

The completion of this regiment finishes Valbrégue's Brigade and marks the end of work on the French cavalry until the dragoons and Cuirassiers are released.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Le Mitrailleuse

Just a quick post today to highlight the last of the artillery units for Second Division, Captain Dupré's 9th Battery, 5th Regiment of mitrailleuse.