Friday, February 4, 2011

Austrian (German) Line, part 1

In 1809, the Austrian Army had a total of 61 Line Infantry regiments, of which  15 were Hungarian, and the remaining 46 "German", although their recruitment might in fact include such diverse regions as Italy, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Galicia along with Inner, Upper and Lower Austria. A "German" regiment had six companies per field battalion, plus a 4 company depot or garrison battalion, which was expanded to a full six companies. Nominally, each company had 4 officers and 180 men, although those numbers were rarely achieved, especially in peacetime.  There was also a 720 man invalid "reserve division" per regiment, and, . Finally, starting in 1808,  just to make things more confusing, each German regiment also had 2 "reserve battalions" per regiment, consisting of men whose conscription had been deferred and remained at their peacetime occupations until called up when needed. Each regiment also included 2 grenadier companies of (theoretically) 145 men each.

Each regiment had a supposedly unique combination of facing colors (no less than 24 different hues - see the histofig site for examples of the various shades  as well as the facing an button colors (white or yellow metal) assigned to each regiment. There is also a complete table of the Line regiments with their recruitment and individual uniform distinctions in Osprey Men at Arms #179, Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars (1): Infantry by Phillip Haythornwaite.  For me, having all of these facing colors to play with are a big part of the attraction of raising an Austrian Napoleonic wargames army!

This unit is Infanterie Regiment (IR) #42, Graf  ("Count") Erbach. Austrian regiments are denoted both by their numerical designation, and the Inhaber, or proprietor, who had wide latitude in the internal administration, promotion, etc within his regiment, but who also generally did not in fact command the regiment himself in the field. As the Inhabers changed with some frequency, so did their designations!

The helmet, or Casquet, which I think is particularly attractive as well as distinctive, was introduced in 1798. In late 1806, a new "double billed" shako was authorized to replace the helmet, but was only introduced gradually over time, starting first with the Hungarian regiments; thus, most German regiments in 1809 are generally depicted as still wearing the helmet. This regiment was recruited in Bohemia, and has orange-yellow (orangegelb) facings and white metal buttons.

The next regiment is IR #38, FM Herzog ("Duke") Ferdinand von Wurttemburg, and was of Walloon recruitment. It has rosenrot ("rose-pink") facings with yellow metal buttons.

This rear view shows the flag nicely; this is the yellow Ordinarfahne. It was essentially identical for all regiments, although starting in 1806 some regiments had their number and an abbreviated regimental title inscribed on their colors. As a purely wargamer's device, I restrict the white Leibfahne for use by my Grenadier and Cuirassier units.

This slightly blurry photo is of  IR #35, Graf Argentau. The unit was recruited in Bohemia, and has krebsrot (crab red) facings and yellow buttons.

This shot shows the drummer nicely. Compared with other armies of the time, his uniform distinctions are limited to shoulder "wings" with white lace borders and central white lace "rosettes"; the lace could also appear on the collars and cuffs. The drum has regulation black and yellow striped rims (the colors of the House of Hapsburg). Rare variations in the rim colors are known, and at least one regiment, that whose proprietor was Erzherzog Karl himself, known to be a stickler for adherence to regulations, had Blue crests to the helmets of its drummers (matching their facing color). Woo-hoo!  :-)

The final unit is IR #24, Baron Strauch. Recruited in Lower Austria and later Galicia, it has kornblumenblau ("cornflower" or dark blue) facings with white metal buttons. This picture shows well how I paint these guys - pure white on the coats and pants, then wash with a light blue-grey (I use Delta Ceramacoat "Wedgwood Blue"), and paint over the crossbelts again with pure white. I think it's very effective, and really, what could be easier to paint than that?

Note the black/very dark grey coat on the officer, the Oberrock. this double breasted coat had the collar and usually the cuffs in the regimental facing color, and regimental colored buttons as well. Officially to be worn when the men were wearing their greatcoats, it was probably the most popular dress for company level officers at any time. note also his gold and black sash, the mark of Austrian officers throughout the Napoleonic wars. All of these units are Sash and Saber figures. Beautiful sculpts, aren't they?  Full of life and animation, especially the NCO's!  as I've remarked before, I selfishly wish their 40mm stuff was less successful so that they'd focus more on adding to their 25mm ranges!

That's it for now; future posts will cover the Hungarian regiments and the Grenadiers, among others.

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