Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A tale of Cantieres and Grenadiers

As some readers might recall, included in some odds and ends on my pre-Historicon painting table were a Cantiniere and her loaded pack donkey by Connoisseur miniatures, and the Molly Pitcher figure give-away figure from ? Perry miniaturizes a few years back. I had some breathing space in the painting queue, and this polished them off shortly before leaving for Fredericksburg.

Here's the Trio; I think Molly is still pretty usable as an early 19th century European woman, probably from a rural area where keeping up with the latest fashions in Paris, etc is not feasible! In any case, women are severely under represented in my collection... just as they are among wargamers!  :-)

Remember that Essex  Chasseur a Pied "casualty" figure "playing the air guitar" as James so memorably put it? I figured he could just as well look like he was accosting the Cantiniere for her wares... or her favors! 

On the other hand, our Guardsman might be mortally wounded after all; from the chapter on Montmirail in Lachouque's wonderful The Anatomy of Glory: Napoleon and his Guard, comes this poignant tale.
On this day a drummer of the Guard was among the killed. He was the legal spouse of the vivandiere Marie Tete-du-bois, famous in the battalion for her tart tongue and her bravery and kindness. They had been married in Verona. During the Marengo campaign she had borne him a son, who was now drumming in the pupilles. She had nothing left in the world except him. Perhaps the Emperor would make him a sergeant - if God permitted..."

In memory of this story, Marie, her donkey and her fallen Guardsman appeared as "extras" on the table in both of the Historicon Montmirail games. If you look carefully, you can see them in several of the shots from the 2nd game, alongside the road from the French table edge to Le Tremblay. Marie grieves for her fallen husband and hopes to approach the Emperor to ask for an imperial boon for the son of one of his beloved "grognards", fallen in his service that day. 

La Grenadière
In honor them and all of the Grenadiers, the above is "The Grenadier's Piece" (as opposed to "The Female Grenadier"), one of the better known French Napoleonic marches.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Prussian Landwehr, 1813 - 1815

The Prussian Landwehr, which saw extensive service from 1813 - 1815, was first established in East Prussia, which was occupied by General Yorck's former Prussian Auxiliary Corps and declared to be at war with France, on February 7, 1813. King Frederick Wilhelm II decreed the establishment of a militia or Landwehr throughout Prussia barely a month later, on March 17, 1813. Theoretically, the Landwehr were organized into Brigades (regiments) of 4 battalions each, each of four companies. The theoretical establishment of a Landwehr company was 150 - 200 men, including a Captain, 4 Lieutenants, 1 Sergeant Major and 2 drummers. Needless to say, few units achieved these theoretical goals, and there was severe wastage of men from disease, straggling, and enemy action over the course of the long 1813 Befreiungskreig. By the end of that year, though, the Landwehr that remained were considered virtually equal to the Line units.

The Landwehr uniform was to consist of a long, dark blue or black Litewka coat. the collar (and sometimes the cuffs or cuff piping) of which was in the Provincial color (see table below). The color metal of the buttons varied by province as well, and the jacket could be either single or double breasted. Many units had colored shoulder straps by battalion (see below) Pants were officially to be dark blue or white, but grey or brown were not uncommon either. .

A Schirmuetze cap was worn in dark blue or clack, with a band of the provincial color. Later (May 1814), piping around the top of the crown and chevrons on the sides (Stegen) were added to the regulations for the cap. The front of the cap was decorated with a white Landwehr Cross, bearing the inscription "mit Gott für König und Vaterland 1813"

The initial uniforms issued were very poor, and variations were widespread including Litewkas in brown or grey, grey or brown pants, and use of British and /or captured French equipment.

ADD 8/21/14:  Dr Stephen Summerfeld (who is the author of what iare now perhaps the definitive works on the subject, "Prussian Napoleonic Landwehr Infantry and Cavalry 1813-15: Landsturm, Volunteer Cavalry and Streifkorps" available through Partizan Press) kindly pointed out that the 1814 regulation for the Landwher called for a single breasted Kollet jacket to replace the Litweka. Doubtkless that transition was incomplete even by Waterloo, but likely many units would have made t\he transition by that time.

Prussian Landwehr Distinctions, 1813 - 1815
Regts Raised
East Prussia
Orange Red
West Prussia
Black #
Brick Red
Light Blue
Crab Red
* Additional Provinces added 1814 - 1815
# The black facings didn't show well on the dark blue coats,. so it seems some units may have used the crimson facing color of the West Prussian Line units instead.
The exact shade for the East Prussians is unclear, probably somewhat redder than that shown above. 

Shoulder Strap Seniority Colors
Battalion #
Shoulder Straps
Light Blue

As I was painting other troops this winter, I discovered that I had enough leftovers to make a new Prussian Landwehr unit. It languished partially completed until after Historicon. I finished it off last week while on vacation. It is painted as the Erstes Westpreussisches Landwehr Regiment.  Flag is a free download from Warflag for the Landwehr of the Saganer Kreis (district). Technically that was a Silesian outfit, so purists will have to cringe a bit, but I wanted another, different design for the flag of this unit!

I find it a bit odd that the authorities chose Black as a facing color with dark blue uniforms; the Crimson used by the West Prussian Line regiments would have been both more logical and shown up much better. Maybe there was a shortage of red cloth?

To make the black facings more evident, I highlighted the outer edges of the collars with Hippo (dark) Grey, as well as the inner sleeve edge of the cuffs. I think that worked. The NCO (pointing in front rank) has Prussian rank indicator of white/black piping on the collar and cuff edges. 

The Drittes Ostpreussisches Landwehr Regiment (3rd East Prussian). I've used a fairly bright only faintly orange shade of red for the provincial color. the flag is more proper as a speculative variant for that carried by a Brandenburg unit (Kurmark and Neumark were both parts of the territory of the original Margravate of Brandenburg).

Aside from the Schirmuetze cap, the uniform of the officers of the Landwwehr was officially the same as that for Line officers, including the silver-mixed-with-black sash.  This outfit has dark blue pants. 

The cloth haversacks were characteristic of the Landwehr. For some reason these OG sculpts have short jackets more proper to the early Reserve regiments than the long, tail less Litewka usually worn  by the Landwehr. Eh, was kann man trun? Thankfully, Landwehr uniforms seldom conformed to the regs, and often varied even in the same battalion!

This is the Viertes Schlesisches Landwehr Regiment (4th Silesian). The Silesian Landwehr regiments in particular seem to have usually worn white pants.

The drummers (officially) had red (rather than provincially colored) wings with white lace ornamenting their jackets. Drums were more often wooden than brass, and usually had red rims with or without white triangle decorations. 

This time a correct (speculative) flag is in use appropriate to a Silesian regiment!

The Viertes Westpreussisches Landwher Regiment. Their district has substituted Crimson for the official regulation Black facings seen on the 1st Regiment.

I gave some of the officers and men grey hair, as the State was scraping the bottom of the barrel for troops and especially, officers!

The regiment carries what was probably one of the most common variants of the (officially prohibited) Landwehr flags, patterned on the Landwehr Cross. 

The Drittes Pommersches Landwehr Regiment (3rd Pomeranian).  The Pomeranians in particular often seemed to have dark grey or black coats, as seen here. I used Payne's Grey as the base paint color for their coats. 

Te white facings look good with the dark coats, and the combination also echoes the white/black colors of Prussia itself. 

They carry a "Landwehr Cross" inspired flag as well, but with the colors reversed from the earlier example.

All five Landwehr Regiments together.

Group shot!

Nash, David, The Prussian Army, 1808-1815 Almark publications, London, 1972.
(my copy is literally falling apart after heavy use for the past 40 years, but I wouldn't give it up for anything!)
HOfshroer, Peter, Prussian Reserve, Militia, & Irregular Troops 1806-1815. Osprey Publishing, london, 1987.
The Prussian section of the Uniform Evolution Site (an amazing online reference): LINK.

Our one year old Golden Retriever, Zoe, out for a boat ride on Bantam Lake this weekend. The yellow facing color on her life preserver suggests she is serving in a Silesian regiment.  :-)

Annie, my younger daughter's 8 month old "English Cream" Golden, was not intimidated by the boat or the lake at all. She jumped off the boat to swim along with us when we we did!

Zoe, Annie, the Empress and myself - group photo!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Index Page for Napoleonic Uniform Information Posts added

One of my several objectives in starting this blog originally was to not only share pictures of my own figures, both old and new, but to combine that with a pretty comprehensive guide to organization, uniforms and flags of the various armies that fought in the Napoleonic Wars, at least at the level that most of us Wargamers would need to paint our armies. After three  and a half years, the number of posts covering uniform information has become quite extensive (over 80 posts covering 13 different nations), and it can be hard, even for me, to find a given guide despite the use of multiple tags. Thus, I have added a new page that will serve as a linked index to all of the posts covering Napoleonic uniforms, organization, and flags.

Just click on the "Napoleonic Uniform Guides" tab on the blog header to access it, or use this Link!

Arms of France during the 1st Empire

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Historicon Loot

I'll conclude my post Historicon series with a short "show and tell" of my purchases, which this year included no troops whatsoever! I started to sit down at the booth to order some Perry metals (Napoleonic) but was pressed for time and didn't have my list on me, so after a brief perusal of the catalog I gave up and decided to do it all mail order! Thus, no budget busting purchases this year. The Empress approved of that!  :-)

It rapidly became apparent that I needed a lot more D10's for my Galactic Knights games; Will of Monday Knight Productions ran out and got the first bag for me, which I later purchased from him, and then I went back and got some more dice (seen in the second bag) in the Dealer Hall before I headed out Sunday morning. By the way, MKP also just came out with some nice decals for use with the Galactic Knights ships, one set for each fleet, and available in white, black, blue, green, and red!

I only made it to two of the Flea Market sessions, but I found a number of  useful second hand Ospreys at good prices on Sunday AM. This one should be useful for some additional inspiration for an actual Egyptian vs. Canaanites game next year.

With Waterloo in the plans for next year, the utility of this volume is obvious!

While I have other Napoleonic flag references, the chance to pick up all three of these volumes at a very attractive price was not to be passed over!

I picked up these two volumes for "In Her Majesty's Name" from Lon at the Brigade Games booth, as several of the Hartford area guys are planning some action using these rules (see Joe's Landshark faction, for example). Just need some pulp inspiration to go with the everyday Portuguese Colonials that would form the backbone minions of the Company!

I picked up a few minor items at Sgt Major Miniatures; I pretty much ran out of Vallejo Bronze between the Egyptians and the Entomalian ships, and I want to try to Vallejo red and Yellow to see if they have better coverage  than my normal craft paints when applied over dark colors, especially dark blue. I've had a hard time getting decent red sable brushes lately, hence the above purchase of some Army Painter brushes (which can also be ordered from Sgt Major above).The brushes have "names" - the white brushes with triangular handles seen here are from their 'Wargamer' range and are called (from larger to smaller) Character, Detail, and Psycho, LOL, instead of using the normal brush sizes, which is mildly annoying. They will be put to the test soon!

I liked these many wagon variants so much that I bought 4 different ones!  Just what I need to run my Klagenfurt 1809 scenario in the future...

All of these are from the quite extensive 28mm "Wagons Ho!" range by Blue Moon/Old Glory. Check them out!  The OG Army card discount applies to these, too!

Another picture of me at Tim's Latema Nek WW1 game. I think I'm smiling because I haven't yet figured out that Tim will be drafting me to command those darned Khaki clad Rhodesians!  :-)   Now Jared's going to have me play in a Russian Civil War game (with FoB2), and in 15mm no less. You stretch the rules once, and before you know it , whoops, there goes the neighborhood, LOL!

The above picture came from Gabriel's Historicon 2014  blog post, which has many more excellent photos. He is a MUCH better photographer than I will ever be! 

See some of you next year at Historicon 2015!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Galactic Knights at Historicon #4: Defending the Phoenix

This was the last of the four scenarios I ran using the Galactic Knights rules, and was played out on Saturday night. It featured the Entomalians ATTACKing a Terran held planet, defended by a Space Station and supporting ships.

Entomalian Ships - played by 

Squadron 1: Dreadnought, Attack Carrier, Battle Cruiser
Squadron 2: Battle Cruiser, 2 Cruisers
Squadron 3:  Destroyer Leader, 2 Destroyers
Squadron 4: Destroyer Leader, 2 Destroyers

Terran Ships - played by Trond

Squadron 1: Dreadnought, 2 Cruisers
Squadron 2:Attack Carrier, 2 Destroyers
Squadron 3: Destroyer Leader, 2 Destroyers
Space Station Phoenix


The Terrans have a mining colony on resource rich epsilon-Fermi, near the border of Entomalian space. The Entomalians plan to seize the outpost for their own use, and as a stepping stone to a broader invasion of Terran space. 

Set Up

I used a playing area 5 feet wide by 6 feet deep. The Phoenix starts 12" (6 hexes) onto the table on the middle of the North side. The remaining Terran ships also start up to 12"/6 hexes onto the table at locations of the owning player's choosing, with an initial Drift of up to 1/4 of the Thrust of the slowest ship. The Space Station cannot move but can rotate its facing as much as desired during the Move phase of the turn. 
Carnivoran Squadron 1 starts up to 12" (6 hexes) onto the table anywhere along the Northern edge, with an initial drift pf up to 1/4 the thrust of the ship with the lowest thrust in the fleet. 

The Entomalians enter anywhere along the Southern table edge, up to 12' (6 hexes) on, with an initial drift up to 1/2 of the thrust of the slowest ship in the fleet. 

Victory Conditions

The Entomalians must destroy the Phoenix. (the Phoenix is roughly equivalent to a Dreadnought in armament, with some additional weaponry, etc as it does not need either engines or Jump drive. 

The Entomalians closed on the Phoenix as quickly as possible, in order to bring their Grav guns to bear. These shorter range weapons ignore the Terran shields. The Entomalian ships lack shields of any kind, but are heavily armored, and take more critical hist than average to destroy, so they are very tough in combat!. 

"Scramble all fighters!"

The Terran warships have maneuvered their way to the rear of several of the Entomalians; their armor is weaker and no weapons bear directly to the rear.

This achieved some success, but the weight of the Entomalian firepower, especially once their Grav weapons came in range, proved to be too much for the Phoenix which was destroyed, although at a heavy cost to the bugs. 

Here is the control sheet for the Phoenix as of the next to last turn before its destruction. I used the template in the Files section of the Galactic Knights Yahoo group. Rotating the station would have given it a bit more life by presenting a fresh armor zone to the majority of the attackers! If I were ti run the scenario again, I'd probably make it even a bit stronger, basing the design upon that of a Galactic Dreadnought, or perhaps even a Super Galactic Dreadnought (in the later case with some decreased escort forces)!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Montmirail Historicon AAR #2: Deja vu all over again?

This was the second running of this scenario at Historicon, played on Saturday morning. It played differently from the game the evening before, as well as the original playtest.  I must say it was far easier running the game back to back than running two separate engagements - after game time Friday night as only about 20 minutes, no set up time at all Saturday AM, usual take down time Saturday afternoon, but sped by help from the players (especially Gabriel), and Barry packing up his own troops. Once again, the troops are 28mm, and the rules are Piquet: Field of battle, 2nd edition, by Brent Oman.

The Combatants:

Allies: from their Left to Right  Prussians (Peter), Russian Cavalry (Bob), Russian Infantry Corps (Dave Sweet), Russian Infantry Corps Kristina Young.  Allied  assistance by Barry

French: from their Right to Left:  Young Guard Cavalry (Noah), Middle/Old Guard Cavalry (Tim, Noah's Dad), Old Guard Infantry and Artillery (Jared), Middle Guard Infantry (Gabriel - arrives move 1), Ricard's conscript Infantry Division and The Guards d' Honneur (Phillip - cavalry arrives move 2). Advice and pithy comments by Tim C. of London!

My Scenario for Montmirail has been posted to the blog previously.

The game started out with a big run of impetus. Given the situation, the French opted to let the Russians go first, hoping they would exhaust many of their reload cards before the French had to move to the attack across the gap between the armies and all those nasty Russian guns! This is always a calculated risk; I well remember the Piquet Pickup game of FoB at Histioricon ? 2008, where Jimmy Mauro and Jeff Valent took complete advantage of such a gift, using skill and luck to defeat us pretty much before we ever played one of our nine cards! Here, had the Russians turned most of their Artillery Firepower cards, they might have completely destroyed the French artillery before it was able to "fire" more than once in return!

The Allies promptly turned a MOVE card, and Bob's Hussar Division rolled up a triple move, and sought to take the battle to the French!  A bold stroke indeed. Would it prove to be too bold?

The French won the initiative on an Allied "LULL", card and used a MOVE ONE COMMAND card to bring on the Middle Guard. Another Allied LULL card and another French won die roll resulted in a French MOVE card, and the Old and Middle Guard were launched at the surprised Russians!  Heavy Russian Artillery fire routed one Middle Guard unit, but the rest shook the fire off and kept on coming!

Meanwhile, Tim's  Old Guard Cavalry charged home into the Russian Dragoon Division.

Bob's Russian Hussars taunted Noah's Young Guard cavalry. Noah had cold dice most of the day; next time make sure he gets the Jalapeno dice, Dad!

The French Guard infantry of Jared and Gabriel close to engagement range with the defending Russian Infantry. 

Noah has better luck with his small Guard Lancer Division; here the "Hand of God" removes a Russian horse battery over run by them. 

Bob's Hussars are flanking and grinding up Noah's Young Guard Cavalry (disguised as French Line cavalry, and performing about the same!)

Meanwhile, not one to sit back and wait for the battle to come to her, Kristina realizes that Ricard's conscripts are at a decided disadvantage when facing her veteran Russian infantry, and moves forward to exploit her own advantage in both numbers and quality. 

Phillip has a fresh French battery slogging through the mud to reinforce his shaky conscripts, plus the Gardes d'Honneur (disguised as French Hussars) to provide Kristina's Russians with to reason to ponder the benefits of Square formation!

"Where are the Prussians?", the other Allied players ask. Sorry Guys; I couldn't roll a Triple Magic Move at the start of the game the way General Ken von Baggenstein did the night before!

Mon Dieu, that is a lot of Guard Infantry. They are soaking up Russian gunfire, and then shooting back, devastating their crews!

Facing fierce fighting in the towns, Dave's Russian Corps still has to be concerned about the threat to its flank posed by Tim's victorious Old Guard Cavalry.

Heavy fighting on the Russian Right!

The village of Les Genereaux has fallen to the Guard! On the right, Unloaded Russian Artillery semingly attempting to act as melee troops! Let me know how that works out for you...

Not too much left of Noah's Young Guard cavalry, as Bob's Russian hussars begin to threaten the right flank of the French army. 

Never lacking in pluck, some Russian Jagers attack a Middle Guard battalion. "This one's for making Moscow into a barbecue pit, Francois!"

Tim's Old Guard Cavalry have destroyed the Russian Dragoon Division; even their Divisional commander is a casualty of  War!

Threatened by the Imperial Guard Cavalry to their flank, some Russians seek safety in Square formation. They manage to repulse an Old Guard battalion, but there are more where they came from!

The Prussians  finally deploy to support the Russian Hussars. 

Overview of the French Right - some of the Old Guard Horse Artillery and cavalry have been detailed to prevent any real attempt at a breakthrough by the persistent Russian Hussars.

Fierce fighting between Phil's Marie-Louises and their supports, and Kristina's Russians! Meanwhile, the village of Marchais has now fallen to a unit of Middle Guard.

Out of Morale Points, the Allies turn an ARMY MORALE card. Sacken's D8 is unable to beat the opposing D12 roll, and the Allies quit the field. Victory to Team Napoleon, and glory for La Garde!