Saturday, October 10, 2015

Carthago renatus est! Part 1 - Infantry

    My Carthaginian army is both the largest of all my ancient armies, and the one that I started painting first. Who can resist the romance of the story of Hannibal Barca, arguably the greatest general of ancient times, and the epic struggles of 2nd Punic War? Obviously, not I! The collection is so large and varied, in part because it was almost entirely a polyglot army of mercenaries... which makes the achievement of Carthage and Hannibal all the more remarkable, despite their ultimate defeat by equally amazing determination and resiliency of the Romans.

Much of the economic and military strength of Carthage during the Second Punic War came from her extensive possessions and trade with Iberia (Modern day Spain/Portugal). Pictured above are some Spanish (Celtiberian) Caetrati.

They wear typical Celtiberian attire - a white tunic with purplish borders, and red lather boots. 

The Caetratus was a skirmisher, armed with javelins, small shield , and swords. 25mm Minifigs. 

Next up is a horde of Libyan Javelinmen.

These troops were recruited form North Africa, in the territories not distant from the city of Carthage itself. 

Their armament and battlefield function were similar to the Caetrati. Ral Partha 25mm figures. 

Here are some more light infantry found in the ranks of Carthaginian forces. in this case some Numidians. 

I have followed the (likely incorrect) wargamer's convention of depicting them as being quite dark skinned. 

Once again, they were equipped with Javelins, a small shield, and sword. 25mm Minifigs.

Although longer range missile fire was not a big feature of the battles of the second Punic Wars, Carthage did employ some slingers in her forces.

These men were trained specialists and generally recruited from the Balearic islands off the coast of Spain. 

One suspects these Balearic Slingers might have seen greater use in sieges. 25mm Ral Partha figures. 

Libyan spearmen. These men were again recruited from North Africa, and were initially equipped in a fashion similar to the Greek Hoplites. 

Their equipment consisted of a large shield and a long thrusting spear.

Over time, many of them probably acquired captured Roman armor. 

A second unit of Libyan spearmen. 

These men often formed the seasoned, sell drained core of Hannibal's infantry. 

25mm Minifigs.

Some more Libyan spearmen. this time form Ral Partha. I love the big  spears provided with them!

At the Battle of Cannae (216 BC), the Spearmen were placed at either end of the infantry line, as Hannibal trusted them to hold their own against the Romans, who would probably push back his other, less reliable infantry

Of course, Hannibal's stratagem worked perfectly, leading the to the double envelopment and destruction of the Romans, who lost 8 Legions, and probably 40,000 - 50,000 men that day.

Carthaginian Sacred Band infantry (or, less glamorously, Militia spearmen raised from the City for emergency defense purposes)

I usually treat them as Elite, as they stand out from the Libyans, but the reality was probably the opposite!

The back rank at least look the part of Elite troops! Once again, 25mm Minifigs.

The "circle with streamers" motif is one educated guess as to possible Carthaginian standards. 

These next are Celtiberian Scutarii.

A scutarius was equipped with a large shield or scutum, hence the name.

They carried heavy throwing spears of soft iron, the effect of which is felt to be similar to that of the Roman pilum. Ral Partha 25mm figures./

This is the Minifigs take on the Spanish Scutarii. 

They wear the white tunic with purple borders characteristic of the Celtiberians. 

The long black cloaks were also typical of the dress of a Scutarius. 

Finally we have the Ral Partha take on the Scutarii.

Once again the white tunics with magenta borders, but no black cloaks.

These Ral Partha designs stress the Celtic appearance of the troops.

Now for some "real" Celts - from Northern Italy (Cisalpine Gaul)!

The Romans seem to have referred to them all collectively as "Gauls", and had been trying to push them out of Piedmont and the rest of Northern Italy.

I  spent a lot of time doing the designs on the cloaks of these 25mm Minifigs, which came out quite well, I think. 

The nuisance factor of doing those cloaks, though, meant that I wasn't eager to paint more of them, though. Eventually, I realized I really did need more Guys form Gaul!

These perhaps overly colorful fellows were the result, and joined the ranks less than 10 years ago. 

The plan originally was to overlay the bolder colors with stripes or checks in shades of dull reds, greens, yellows, and blacks.

Ultimately, I just couldn't face doing it, so they just got some Magic Wash, LOL!

The figures are Old Glory 25/28mm with some Eureka command figures thrown in a few places.

The Gauls were armed with large shields, javelins, and long cutting swords made of relatively soft iron. 

Just like those of the miniatures themselves, their swords were prone to bending!

These figures have the "white washed hair" (using Lime) that some tribes used before battle to make them appear fore fearsome. 

Among the many Gallic tribes that supported Hannibal were the Boii, the Insubres, and Ligones. After the Roman defeat at Cannae, many Southern Italian allies joined Hannibal, notably the Samnites and the city of Capua, the second largest in Italy. 

Map of Roman and Carthaginian teerritories (from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The British Life Guards

    The Life Guards had their origin in three troops of cavalry raised by King Charles II while he was in exile in the Netherlands in 1658 - 1659. The troops were composed exclusively of Gentlemen of his court. Upon his restoration to the throne of England in 1660, these troops accompanied him and became his bodyguards, confusingly with the title of  troops of Horse Guards. A fourth troop was then raised. but was soon disbanded (1683). They fought  during the 3rd Dutch War (1672) and at Sedgemoor (1685).  Two troops of Horse Grenadiers were raised in 1678. The Horse Guard troops  fought at Dettingen (1743), and their recruiting base was widened  beyond the nobility 1750, marking the first time the unit had non commissioned officers. By 1750 there were only 2 troops of Horse Guards left.

    In 1788, these troops were used to form the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. At the same time, the troops of Horse Grenadiers were disbanded, and much of their personnel were taken into the  two Life Guard regiments. Thereafter, the majority of the rank and file were now commoners. Both regiments of Life Guards fought in the Peninsula in 1813 - 1814. The Life Guards were part of a famous charge at the Battle of Waterloo, along with the rest of the Household Brigade of cavalry.

1st Regiment, Life Guards. The second regiment's uniform was apparently identical, save perhaps for a red patch on the front of the collar. These are Old Glory 25/28mm figures. 

The Lifeguards went through a series of uniform changes during our era, from a rather old fashioned uniform with long tails and a Bicorne hat, to (1812) a helmet with a long horsetail mane. to the above helmet version adopted in 1814 with a black over red crest and short jacket. 

The Lifeguards are the senior regiment of the entire British army. The white pants were worn for parade duty; otherwise grey with a red stripe down the outside seams. A GMB flag for the regiment  is on order!

British trumpeters of this era had little distinction from the troopers; the trumpet cords were one of the few bits of military bling they had!

My regiments have 8 figures, and the Old Glory packs have 10 figures. so I painted the extras as officers to use for possible brigade commanders and/or staff officers. For parade wear, officers had a sabretache coated in blue fabric with a gold Garter star. 

Officers also had black sheepskins instead of the white used by the men. The edging to sheepskin may have been different (red or dark blue) for the 2 regiments.  I have done these officers with the undress grey pants (withe red and gold stripes) and grey saddle blankets. 

Epaulets evidently were not worn by officers of the Life Guards. Unlike most other countries, British cavalry generally used natural leather color for their horse tack. From some illustrations, it appears that the Household Cavalry might be an exception to this using black tack, but I could find nothing explicit one way or the other, so I went with the light brown of natural leather.

The yellow of the sash and breast lace should really be Gold for officers. 

Part of a BBC Video on The Queen';s cavalry - the modern day Household cavalry and its ceremonial and combat roles.