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.
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.