Saturday, June 21, 2008

From the Workbench: Appendix

End of the month

Although there is over a week to go before the end of the month This sort of wraps it up for June. I am away for the rest of the month as ‘respite care’ for my frail gran up in Yorkshire to allow my aunt and uncle to have a worry free week’s holiday. So this is the last painting post I will manage in June, although there will probably be another discussing the results of this Sunday’s Art of Command rules meeting in Salisbury.
Anyhow, wheel on the eye-candy…

IR55 “Reuss zu Greiz”

The Inhaber of this regiment was Feldmarschalleutnant Heinrich XIII, Furst zu Reuss-Greiz, from the Royal House of Reuss where everyone was called Henry. Notwithstanding the obvious confusion this would cause at a family reunion, the princes of Reuss were also part of the Confederation of the Rhine and contributed troops to the Grande Armee. But, as was the case with several German countries, the transient nature of politics was not going to get in the way of long term relationships. Also of importance was that many minor German Royals served in the armies of their larger neighbours. The most famous are probably the Leichtenstens and Hohenzollern-Hechiggen, but the Reusses were equally keen to serve in the Habsburg Army, Reuss-Greiz was joined by Reuss-Plauen who was Inhaber of IR17 (Henry again of course, this time number XV) both FML in 1809.

IR55 started life as a Walloon regiment, but the loss of the Austrian Netherlands meant that all of these units were given Polish recruitment areas to replace the lost Belgian ones. In the case of IR55 this does not seem to have worked out to well, the regiment having a mere 692 effectives in the field at Aspern-Essling, and the drafts after that battle and returning injured only brought it up to 1,056, in neither case was this very strong for a two battalion Austrian regiment. Another clue that all was not well is the consistent absence of a third battalion. This implies a shortage of manpower even before the war began, and during the campaign events in Poland would have made matters very hard indeed. It comes as no surprise to me, then, that IR55 was chosen as one of the regiments to be disbanded after the Wagram campaign was over. It remained so until after 1815.

At Aspern-Essling, though, the regiment did manage to attack Essling successfully, getting a toehold in the Churchyard on the 21st, only to be thrown out again by a French counterattack. This is generally the pattern of fighting in both villages, and we must make sure that any rules we use reflect this. At Wagram the regiment was in 5th Korps which lived out the battle on the Bisamberg and was never committed. Although only a souped-up division in reality any refight we do of Wagram should give Charles the option of committing it behind Klenau and Kollowrat, 13 battalions, 8 squadrons and 5 batteries are not to be sniffed at.

The regiment had two commanders in 1809, the first was an Oberst von Koller who had commanded since 1805, the second was an Oberst von Gober. I cannot work out when the change actually took place but I would not be surprised if it was after Aspern-Essling. Certainly Koller was promoted to GM and awarded the Ritterkreuz of the MTO again sometime 1809-1810 but the actual date is unclear. Like Oberst Frelich of HusR10, awards handed out for Aspern-Essling seem to have lacked the usual Austrian commitment to bureaucracy.

In terms of painting, as the regiment was so weak, I have elected only to do one battalion (18 figures) although I have figures for two. The second battalion may transmute into 2/IR50 ‘Stain’ as I want this regiment for Wagram as part of 6th Korps.

Carneville Freicorps

My first unit of VI Kolonne is the diminutive Carneville Freicorps. Part of the brigade of Simon Graf Carneville this is the classic light infantry officer that Austria tended to attract. Carneville had been leading light troops ever since he raised his first freicorps in 1792 from émigrés in the Austrian Netherlands. This unit fought throughout the war of the first coalition before becoming part of the 11th Light Battalion in 1798 led by the man himself initially, but he was promoted to GM July of that year. He then seems to have plateaued, as he is still at GM rank in 1809, indeed stays there until he dies in 1816.

His only benefit, therefore, may have been as a leader of freicorps and light troops but unsuited to higher command. Certainly other officers of a similar stamp went further, his divisional commander at Aspern-Essling was a fellow freicorps leader and light battalion commander, Prinz Victor Rohan. Something was clearly holding him back.

The unit itself is small, but pretty. I used Front Rank firing and loading Hungarian infantry to represent them, the poses are not only suitable for skirmishers they hide the unusual half lapels they seem to have had. The two Hussars were painted up from a few leftovers from HusR10, and also look very good. Whether the hussars in particular will be of any use is open to question. My first choice would be as recce, but at Aspern Essling we sort of know where the enemy is. Chopping up enemy skirmishers? Doubt they will deploy many. I guess it is just ‘looking pretty’ then. The infantry are of more use, especially in the swampy area nerer the river on the left of VI Kolonne.

Also a milestone: first VI Kolonne unit..yeah!

1st Russo-German Legion Horse Battery

I have actually had this painted for some weeks, but have kept it quiet as it is a surprise present. Our host at Salisbury is David from the Nap200-ers and this is a gift for his son, Alex. This is not just a whim. When we refought Eylau and I got captured early on, much of the ‘blame’ can be laid at Alex’ door. Inexperienced and out of his depth he had been put in charge of the whole Russian left flank. Attacked by the French cavalry in an outflanking move he went to pieces in the face of a very bad situation. In fact he owed this to his performance at our previous battle, Jena, where he had commanded a small division and done some useful work. It just goes to show that one good performance does not make a good wargamer, and I noticed that at Friedland he was in the centre were his dad could keep an eye on him.

Anyhow I was very gruff and short with the poor lad. OK I had been captured and his mis-execution of my plan led to catastrophe, but you should never, ever, ever do anything to discourage young people from taking up the hobby, and being anything less than encouraging to young players is so uncharacteristic of me I must put it down to stress. So the RGL Horse Battery is by way of an apology to the lad. Although David has thousands of figures himself, there is nothing like owning your own kit and using it in battle. I just hope he becomes more comfortable around me in the future.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

From the Workbench


This week I finally finished two significant units from IV Kolonne: HusR10 ‘Stipiscz’ and IR22 ‘Coburg’. These are significant milestones and I am very happy to be past them. Already underway is IR55, which only fielded less than 700 at Aspern-Essling, so although I have figures for two full battalions I am only looking at doing one for the time being. I will get round to doing the second battalion when things are a little less focussed on A-E and Wagram, also on the stocks is ChlR6 ‘Rosenberg’. In fact, for IV Kolonne, that only leaves the 3 battalions of IR9 ‘Reuss-Greiz’, 6 guys from ChlR6 and two 6lb cannon plus my figure for GM Neustadter. Our next battle, Vimeiro, is on 8th August and I would really like to have all of IV Kolonne finished by then.

IR22 ‘Prinz zu Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld’

Even more so than IR8, IR22 is a pretty average German infantry regiment. The Inhaber of this regiment was General der Kavallerie Prinz Friedrich-Josias zu Sachsen-Coburg-Saalfeld. This gentleman was a General of considerable experience, having led the Austrian army in the Austrian Netherlands in 1793 and 1794. Very much an 18th Century figure he was still wedded to the campaigning principles of cordon and siege. Still, both Mozart and Haydn composed music in his honour.

The Regiment was German in style, originally recruited from Illyria, but by 1809 had become a Moravian-based regiment. As a whole the unit put some 2,500 men into the field at Aspern-Essling, giving fairly strong individual battalion strengths, presumably helped by the units close proximity to its depot in Moravia. At Wagram it is still able to put over 2,100 men into the field. The facings were Imperial Yellow, with pewter buttons. The Colonel-commandants for the regiment in 1809 were initially Oberst Wenzel, Graf Vetter von Lilienberg (whose relative, Major Graf Vetter, was commander of the 2nd Moravian Volunteers) giving way to Oberst von Watzl, who commanded the regiment through to 1813.

HusR10 ‘Joseph Freiherr Stipiscz von Ternova’

HusR10 is a good representation of what was an excellent mounted arm, namely the Hussars of the KK Armee. All cavalry unit raised in Hungary were hussars and for the Hungarian gentry they were a very prestigious posting to be sent to. Stipiscz himself had been awarded the Knights Cross of the Order of Maria Theresa in 1794 when he was colonel of ChlR7 ‘Graf Kinsky’ from 1794 to 1797 and rose up the chain of command, eventually ending up as a General of Cavalry. However, this eminent solder had to make way as Inhaber in 1814 for Frederick William III of Prussia. He remained, however, second Inhaber and for practical purposes his duties probably did not change that much.

HusR10 is a very pretty unit, light blue overall with the grass green shako. It had at one time been commanded by that stalwart of avant-garde commands, the Freiherr von Kienmayer, and the 1813 brigade commander the Freiherr von Mecsery. In 1809 at Aspern-Essling it was part of FML Klenau’s Armee Avantgarde which formed part of IV Kolonne. It’s colonel, Oberst Franz Freiherr von Frelich (later GM) commanded a brigade made up of his own Hussar regiment and IR3 ‘Erzherzog Karl’. It fielded 861 men at Aspern who, on day two of the battle, were one of the regiments that repulsed the charge by Lasalle’s cavalry.

At Wagram the unit was part of Nordmann’s Avantgarde and had received new drafts of men, now fielding 968 troopers. On the extreme left of the Austrian line they crossed sabres with the cavalry of Montbrun’s light cavalry brigade, although other sources place this unit with the main Austrian attack against Grouchy and Pajol. At Wagram Frelich was already a newly-promoted Generalmajor and the new colonel-commandant was Anton Gundaker Graf von Stahremberg, who would retain command until 1811. Frelich was also awarded the Ritterkreuz of the Maria Theresa order, presumably for his performance against Lasalle at Aspern-Essling, but it is unclear whether he was officially awarded it in 1809 or 1810. In 1812 he goes into Russia with Schwarzenberg commanding a brigade of Hussars, but I cannot find any trace of him in 1813 and`1814, maybe due to ill health brought on by the retreat.

Things will take a bit of a break from Sunday for a week or so as I am away for a bit, but there may be more eye-candy before then, if only a little.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Diary of General Ramble

Back to the Future

I have been pondering what to do with the Austrians. My instinct is to look forward to 1813 and get as much in shako as possible, but then you look at it and other than Dresden and Leipzig there were not many smaller engagements you could use them for. It is not like the Russians or Prussians where you can look at 1813 and do a lot. So I have been looking in more detail at the 1799/1800 Italian campaign instead. There are quite a lot of do-able battles, the sides are tactically even and there are plenty of maps. French in Bicorne will be a better fit for my 1806 Prussians as well.

So that means getting as much as possible in helmet. I know that in reality the troops in Italy continued to wear the old Kaskett rather than the Raupenhelm but this is no more oxymoronic than having all my 1809 stuff in Shako. Certain things will 'have to do'. The shakoes on the Hussars are bell-topped rather than the more cylindrical peaked Klobuk and the cavalry helmets will have higher Raupes and so on plus the gunners will be in bicorne rather than helmet or corsehut (for the most part at least) but this really is nitpicking. This is, after all, primarily an 1809 army that I am looking at stretching backwards rather than forwards. Given the infantry is the same and most of the cavalry will serve there only need be a few additions or replacements, such as different Grenzer, Light Infantry Battalions and theD' Aspre Jager. These can all be 'filled in' after the Wagram refight.

The French will, more-or-less, be started from scratch. Not much in my current French force will reasonably serve with the exception of the artillery equipment but the French do field some interesting units: the Helvetique and Polish Legions, Piedmontese Infantry and so on. The charm is that there is not a great deal of French cavalry making it cheaper than doing the equivalent period in Germany.

The loose cannons are the Russians, not many of them, only cossacks as mounted troops, and no idea about artillery at all (will SYW pattern guns do?). But who is going to resist all those Grenadiers in Mitres and powdered queues? Although a lot is said about the Russians in terms of publicity, mostly because of the larger-than-life figure of Suvurov, it was the Austrians who provided the bulk of the troops and did the bulk of the fighting.

Samples from Wurttemberg

One of the things I did this month was order some samples of Wurttembergers from the Connoisseur/Bicorne range. These are much less bulky than the FR stuff I am doing now but are 28mm and will fit in. The overall design ethos is different too, with less crisp detail and more 'rough' sculpting. But I am satisfied with the figures as they have painted up so far. The fact that they are all in overalls with rolled g/c means they are far simpler to paint than anything I am used to, even the French in campaign dress. Meanwhile the artillery uniform is really cool and stands out nicely. So, now that I have finished my 1809-14 French (in terms of buying if not painting) then this looks like the next 'pro-French' project. It is not one, though, that will seriously start until after the Wagram refight. Until then it will be a tide of Kaiserlicks.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Ole, Senor and Costa Brava....

Just a short post with a bit of eye candy. These are two Spanish cavalry regiments that I have painted up for my fellow 200-er, Trevor. Trevor builds all the terrain and organises the scenario for whatever battle we are going to fight. It does not sound much but his sculpting of the individual battlefields is painstaking and detailed and takes considerable time and effort. Like many 200-ers he is ex-military and this whole project can be dated back to his time in Germany, presumably with BAOR.

Line Cavalry Regiment 'Infanta'

The regiments are the Spanish Line Cavalry Regiment 'Infanta' and the Guard Hussar Regiment of King Joseph. Like all other Spanish cavalry regiments they match their prettiness with their dubious military ability. I suspect Joseph's Hussars in particular had a cossack-pesqu reputation based on random executions and looting, but the Peninsular is not really my field.

King Joseph's Guard Hussars

The figures, as you can see, are Minifigs. For someone used to painting Front Rank and Elite they were a major shock; true 25mm. Detail was lacking in most cases, the sculptor himself seemed to be in two minds as to whether he should indulge in any at all, the lines being so faint in many cases. I did put them next to my Front Rank Stipiscz Hussars that I am still painting and the difference was acute. But Trevor has a very large wargames figure collection dating back to the 70's and it is all Minifig, and anything else would stand out like a sore thumb so there is no real choice here. Indeed I can compare the figures today, but back then there clearly was no choice and technology when it came to figure design and manufacture has moved ahead light years.

And this completes my first painting commission for many years. Hopefully there will be more, as this has paid for some Grenz and some Chevauleger from Front Rank for the ongoing 1809 project. More of that in another post.