Thursday, August 9, 2007

A holiday in Italy

New Period

I have been toying over the past few months with a new period. So far you would get the impression that I only have an interest in Napoleonics. This is not true. I have a sizeable and well-used collection of 1792-97 French and Austrians and there will be more about those later. I also have a good collection of 15mm Marlburians, and more of both periods that need painting somehow! I also own a good number of Essex 15mm ACW, but this is all Confederate and I never use it. Off to ebay it will go I think.

Spanish Field Gun with gunners and
helpers from Hibernia and Lombardia Regiments

Instead I was looking for a good period, Horse & Musket, to get into where the battles were not too large and there was not a lot of expensive cavalry. After a little bit of research I decided that the War of the Austrian Succession in Italy would be ideal. Numbers are relatively few, cavalry is not terribly dominant and the countries represented are unusual. I did not want to get bogged down into an Austrian/Prussian or British/French campaign, I might as well do SYW then.

WAS Italy: Countries involved

The campaign in Italy stretched from 1742 to 1748 and involved a number of countries. On one side Austria and Savoy faced the combined strengths of Naples, Spain, Modena, Genoa and France. Units are varied, from Grenz and Albanian skirmishers to 12 battalions of Spanish Guard, and the number of cavalry regiments is few, as Italy was never good cavalry country anyway. I have also decided not to get involved in the campaigns in Savoy, which rules out much of the Piedmontese army and the French for several years until Genoa enters the war. Also, in August 1742, the British compelled Naples to withdraw its troops from the Spanish army by threatening to bombard the city itself.

Deadey Dick, from IR Andrassy

So, in 1742 that really leaves the Spanish versus the Austrians plus a few Piedmontese (Modena having been totally overrun earlier in the year). This, to me, seems a good place to start, adding troops as the years go on. So I will start by looking at the orbat for Camposanto.

Figure scale and rules

I had initially thought of doing the figure scale at 1:50, but a look at how many figures some of the Spanish would be down to forced a re-think. The Spanish Guard battalions were under 400 strong each when they landed at Ortobello in 1741. The regular battalions were equally weak in some cases whilst the foreign troops started off better by 1743 they looked considerably worse. I also wanted to use Age of Reason rules, with some of the additions for 4 rank line from the Marlburian amendments, and having 6 and 7 man battalions running around did not appeal.
So I have decided that 1:33 is more workable. As the Austrians are not the massive formations of the SYW and later this is workable. It also means that Spanish Guard battalions are now 10 or 11 figures strong which makes them a realistic prospect in AoR.

I want to use Age of Reason because I like them, have played them before and found them able to deliver a decision. I have adopted the slightly different basing system suggested in the Marlburian Supplement on the warflag website


this allows me to rebase on the 4-rank line bases as suggested. I will also tweak some of the fire bonuses a bit, particularly giving a bonus if Grenadiers are kept with their parent battalions. I am sure that, as I go along, I will adapt and add stuff specifically for the WAS and the Italian theatre or simply write my own. But I also want to try the computer moderated rules to see if that gives any radically different results.

"Begorrah, all the way from the Emerald Isle and they give me this bucket"
Soldier from the Spanish 'Hibernia' Regiment


This is a bit tricky as proper WAS figures are like rocking horse droppings. Unless you want to mess around with Jacobites you struggle. But some figures from SYW ranges, particularly Front Rank and Crusader, can be pressed into service. Some concessions, of course, have to be made. The pictures on here are both figures from the Crusader SYW range: Austrian Grenz personalities and Austrian gun crew. The former I wanted to try out as regular Hungarian infantry and are painted up as IR Andrassy. There are concessions: no turn backs, wrong type of musket, but nothing too radical. Equally I painted the gunners up as Spanish, and the major problem is that the figures are in boots rather than gaiters. The infantry ‘helpers’ though look fine: one painted as a soldier from the Lombardia Regiment (but I foolishly did the turnbacks in red, they should be white) and Regiment Ibernia. As they had no lapels they worked nicely, although they lacked a cockade.

I will get some more samples as the months wear on and continue researching and painting and I will keep you posted.


No comments: