Saturday, April 30, 2011

French Line Chevau-Leger Lanciers

The French line Chevau-Leger Lanciers were created by an Imperial decree of July 15, 1811. The first six regiments were formed by converting the 1st, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 29th Dragoons into lancers. Quite differently uniformed, the 7th and 8th Lancers were formed from the Poles of the two regiments of lancers that were part of the Vistula Legion, and the 9th from the 30th (some say 31st) Chasseurs, who were largely German. One suspects that the prospect of facing the Russian cossacks in the not too distant future may have been a factor in Napoleon's new found enthusiasm for the lance as a weapon.

The facing colors of the first six (French) regiments were:

1st Regiment    Scarlet
2nd Regiment   Aurore
3rd Regiment    Rose Pink
4th Regiment    Crimson
5th Regiment    Sky Blue
6th Regiment    Garrance (Madder Red)

These units wore dark green coats (habit-veste) with the facing colors appearing on the lapels, collars, pointed cuffs, turnbacks, and the piping on the shoulder straps and the pockets. The buttons were yellow metal (gold for officers). Sometimes the collar was piped in dark green. Belts were in white leather, except that the 6th regiment used ocher.

Dark green trousers (sometimes grey for field service) were worn, variably with  a single broad yellow (gold for officers, as usual) stripe down the outside (full dress), or a double or single strip in the facing color. On the front of the full dress pants was decoration in yellow (gold for officers);  spearheads for the 1st, 2nd, and 4th regiments, and Hungarian knots for the 5th and 6th regiments; the exact form used by the 3rd regiment is unknown. The men of the 6th regiment was known to have worn madder red trousers at times, and officers of other regiments were also known to wear non-regulation trousers in the facing color as well.

The helmet worn by the Lanciers, which I find particularly attractive, was essentially the Dragoon helmet with a rear peak added to it, and in place of the flowing horsehair of the Dragoons, a Grecian style black wool/horsehair crest. Plumes in white or red may or may not have been worn on the side of the helmet, their use becoming increasing rare over time.

This is the 1st regiment of Chevau-Leger Lanciers, wearing their scarlet facings.

From the date  I recorded on the bottom of the Command stand, I painted these guys way back in November, 1998. At that time I was painting units like crazy to replace my recently retired vintage 1970's 1000+ figure Scruby French Napoleonic army. It kind of shows, as there is no shading on the horses at all, and as I was preparing to take these pictures, I realized I'd actually missed painting the dark green facings on the reversed colors jacket of the trumpeter! Horrors! So, I took an hour or so to do that and the mixed red and white cording on the trumpet, as well as dry brushing the helmet crests. The result was a considerable improvement in their appearance!

1er Chevau Leger Lanciers: note the white crest on the helmet of the Trumpeter

This distinction was usual for the trumpeters of the Chevau-Leger Lanciers; the trumpeters also had black sheepskins on their saddles, unlike the troopers who had white sheepskins; both had "wolves teeth" borders in the facing color. These are Wargames Foundry figures.

Rear view of the 1st Cheavu-Leger-Lanciers; note the red epaulets on the Elite company trooper's jacket.

They are carrying the pre 1811 model standard on their Eagle instead of the tricolor version, presumably a hold over from their Dragoon days... except that then it should be the swallow tailed version! The crest of the Elite company trooper is scarlet, as was the custom for the Lanciers. If I were to do them again, I might choose the 6th regiment instead with its ocher leather work and the possibility of Madder Red trousers. What thrills, LOL!

Final view of the 1st Lanciers

Although the Imperial Livery was introduced in 1812, the evidence is that, at least initially, the trumpeters of the Chevau-Leger Lanciers did generally wear reversed colors. Readers of this blog will already know I'm no fan of the later Imperial livery, and thus the trumpeter in my regiment has a scarlet coat with "reversed color" dark green facings. There is evidence that the trumpeters of the Elite Companies of the first and 2nd regiments may have initially worn dark blue coats with regimental facings trimmed in white lace, and wearing white epaulets; however, this may also be confusion with their 1815 uniform. Upon conversion to the Royal army after Napoleon's first abdication in 1814, the trumpeters adopted "Royal Livery" which had dark blue coats with white and crimson lace on the facings. To save time and money, upon Napoleon's return in 1815, the lace was changed to plain white, but the rest of the uniform was retained as is.

These spiffy fellows are the 5th Chevau Leger Lanciers

They were painted only about six months ago; hopefully the improvement in my technique is evident! I have to confess that this is one of my favorite units. In my original army, these guys were Hinton Hunt figures instead of Scruby, and they were veterans of innumerable, wildly successful charges. Just the threat of the 5th charging was enough to make opponents nervous... or at least, so I imagined! I'm delighted to have the Regiment back in my forces, and hope they will continue the illustrious tradition of their predecessors!

The 5e Chevau Leger Lanciers at the charge!

Note the yellow edging to the green portmanteau, common to all Lancer regiments. They have the proper 1812 model tricolor standard; I assume this was square and not a guidon. Wargames Foundry figures as with the first.

5e Cheavu-Leger-Lanciers from behind; the elite company figure is an officer.

Note the gold epaulets and trim on the officer's shabraque, as well as the plume. The trumpeter is once again resplendent in his stubbornly retained reversed colors, and note the black sheepskin saddle. As usual in the French army, the trumpeters ride a grey or white horse whenever possible.

The 7th, 8th and 9th regiments wore a completely different uniform (not illustrated);  dark blue kurtka jacket similar to the Polish Lancers of the Guard and the uhlans of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, as well as the czapska. The 7th and 8th regiments had primrose yellow facings on the lapels, cuffs, seams, and turnbacks as well as on a double stripe down the outside of their dark blue pants; the only distinction between the two regiments was that the 7th had a yellow collar piped dark blue, and the 8th had a dark blue collar piped yellow. The 9th regiment was uniformed the same as the 7th, but substituting buff (chamois) for yellow. The troopers of all three regiments had white buttons, and their czapskas had dark blue tops piped in white braid. The elite companies wore white epaulets for the 7th and 8th regiments, and red for the 9th. Until the Imperial Livery took effect gradually starting in 1812, the trumpeters wore reversed colors, with additional white lace around the collars, cuffs and lapels. The trumpeter's czapskas had yellow tops for the 7th and 8th regiments, and buff for the 9th.

That's it for now; hope to report on my Die Fighting playtest soon!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Die Planning

OMM Cover Shot

Well, I need to get on with the first game of Bob Jone's new rules, Die Fighting, available from Bob at Repique rules. I laid out the forces to be used in an earlier post more than  3weeks ago. As the rules have a bit of an old school feel (although they are full of new ideas!), I decided to steal the idea for the scenario from Brigadier Peter Young's classic wargame book, Charge! My copy dates back to 1970, inscribed to me by my father. I'm using the introductory scenario, the Battle of Blastoff Bridge, for inspiration.

A battered but well loved copy of the Classic!

My version, will of course, be set in 1809, with the action taking place along a fictional tributary of the Danube, the River Raub.  As the forces I set up are rather larger, the table area will be 6 by 8 feet, and the armies will set on up to 18" from the edge.  The set up of the battlefield is essentially the same as the Blastoff bridge scenario, with the farmhouse being replaced by the village of Raubersdorf (and associated fields), and the Blastoff Berg replaced by the Raubersgrube. The river Raub is fordable except within 6" of the bridge on either side, where its banks are too marshy to be fordable.

Overview of the battlefield, looking from Raubersdorf towards the Raubersgrube ridge.

 View from Raubersgrube toward Raubersdorf. with the Raub River and its key bridge between them

Each end of the bridge will be worth 30 Resource Dice. Each building of Raubersdorf is worth 10 Resource dice, as is each level of the Raubersgrube ridge. The Austrians aim to destroy the bridge before the main French army comes up, while the French aim to seize control of it so as to be able continue their advance with the least delay.

 French Army deployed, as seen from the opposite side of the River Raub.

 Closer view of the French Right at set up. The French plan to use their Legere regiments, which have two leaders assigned for 4 units, to contest the far bank. The Cavalry are ready to cross the river if need be, or support the center.

 Closer view of the French Left; a few units are detailed to seize control of Raubersdorf and anchor the French line.

 Overview of the Austrian Deployment; the Grenadier Reserve is starting in March Column on the road, hoping for a rapid advance on the bridge!

Closer view of the Austrian left; the Kaiserlicks also plan to send some of their forces to contest the far side of the river.

 Closer view of the Austrian Center, with two artillery batteries hoping to advance and site themselves advantageously.

 The Austrian right; what is that Cuirassier Brigade doing way out on the flank?  Hmmm...

As the forces will start 3 feet away, and there is also a stream involved, I'm going to add 50 extra resource dice to both sides to allow enough "energy" in the game for some advance and maneuver before the combat gets fully under way. There are probably a few too many units for the size of the table, but then again... maybe not!

I hope to begin playing the scenario later this week, and then report on it in some detail. In Die Fighting, the number of figures in a unit really doesn't matter, so I'm using my full 18 figure Infantry units for this game; definitely more "mass" than with the pared down 4 stand, 12 figure units that I use for Convention games with Field of Battle! 

Till next time,


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Grand Duchy of Warsaw: Cavalry

The Grand Duchy of Warsaw, created as a result of the Treaty of Tilsit in July, 1807, was one of Napoleon's most enthusiastic allies/satellites. The Grand Duchy, its citizens hoping for full restoration of an independent Poland,  contributed forces to his armies out of proportion to the relatively small population of the Duchy (although it was augmented by portions of formerly Austrian Galicia at the end of the 1809 conflict with that nation).  This was particularly true of the Cavalry arm.
Unlike other nations, rather than being numbered by type, all of the Cavalry regiments of the Grand Duchy were numbered sequentially without regard for type at all. All regiments ultimately had four squadrons, totalling a little over 800 men on paper, except for the regiment of Cuirassiers, which never had more than two.

These quintessentially Polish troops wore dark blue kurtka jackets, with collars, cuffs, and turnbacks in regimental colors. There was piping around the collars, cuffs, and pockets, and also on the outer sleeves of the arms, as well as the back of the jacket. Breeches were dark blue with a double band down the outside seems, also piped in colors assigned to the various regiments. These were quite complicated, and rather than trying to list them here, I'll simply note that they are referenced here, along with wonderful plates of all of the cavalry of the GDW here on the Histofig site.  Along with George Nafziger's Poles and Saxons of the Napoleonic Wars (Emperor's Press, 1991) these form the main references for the material presented here.
Th Uhlans formed the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, 15th. 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st cavalry regiments of the Grand Duchy. The last 4 regiments were raised in 1812 from portions of old Lithuania, once part of the Kingdom of Poland, "liberated" in the course of the invasion of Russia.

The first unit up is the 2nd Uhlans. These are Minifigs, probably among the last of a great many that I have painted over the years. At the advice of the late Charlie Sweet, by this time I was labeling the underside of the Command Stand of each unit with the units name, date painted, and my name, so I know these fine fellows go back to early 1997. The trumpeter in reversed colors is taken directly from an illustration in Nafziger's book.

Here are the 2nd Uhlans once again as they ride through a village in Russia. The colors of the lance pennons varied among the different regiments, and once again Nafziger's book has a listing of this information.

 A rear view of the 2nd Uhlans, as well as a broader view of the village itself. These are all Hovels buildings, with the no longer in production Flex-terrain roads.

This unit is the 19th Uhlans, with their primary facing color being yellow. Once again, I'm partial to trumpeters in reversed colors, and this regiment's trumpeter sports a rather striking yellow uniform faced in dark blue. The flag was hand painted.

Minifigs just like their sister regiment, these chaps were from Lithuania. All of the Lithuanian regiments evidently had the light blue over white lance pennons, and their czapskas had a knight in white on the brass plate, this being the ancient emblem of Lithuania.

This view of the 19th  from behind shows the top of the czapskas. Evidently the Elite companies of the lancer units often had red plumes, not shown here. Some also had bearskin around the Czapska.

Chasseurs a Cheval
The Polish Chasseurs at first wore a dark blue kurtka jacket until it was changed to dark green in 1808; the 5th regiment evidently retained the dark blue coats until 1810. The regimental facing colors appeared on the cuffs, collars, piping and turnbacks, and were Poppy Red for the 1st Regiment, Orange for the 4th Regiment, and Crimson for the 5th Regiment. In 1813, the 1st Chasseurs were equipped with lances and the 4th regiment converted to Uhlans.

These figures represent the 5th Regiment, which had Crimson facings. I've interpreted that here as a more mauve/raspberry "Polish Crimson" hue. The uniform was very similar to that of their French counterparts, aside from having yellow metal buttons, etc., in place of white.

The troopers here are Old Glory, while the Elite Company and the Trumpeter figures are Foundry. Flag is GMB. Unlike the Uhlans, I stated these horsemen in November and just finished them this week; they'd been about 80% done for several months while I worked on other things.

 The white uniform jacket of the trumpeter with the same facing color as the rest of the jacket is taken directly from the plate on Histofig; they show a white colpack, and as I didn't have a suitable figure for that, I went with a white shako with speculative crimson trim. Definitely makes the unit stand out a bit from its French counterpart. Note also the elite company figure in colpack with red plume, cord, and epaulettes, the bag or "flame" on the colpack being in the facing color, here Crimson.

 One last picture of the 5th Chasseurs a Cheval, perhaps looking for informants in the village?

There were two regiments, the 10th and 13th. Both wore dark blue dolmans, with red collars and cuffs. The 10th regiment had yellow buttons and cords (gold for officers) and black fur on the pelisse, while the 13th regiment had white buttons and cords (silver for officers), and white fur on the pelisse.

This is the 13th Hussars of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. I painted this unit up in just barely a week! I got started on it because we needed a unit of Polish Hussars (and one of Chassuers) as part of the huge Borodino we're planning for 2012, under the guidance of Czar Barry.

When I read up on the Hussars and saw the illustration of the uniform in Nafziger's book, I knew I *had* to do the 13th regiment with their light blue shakos (the 10th has boring black). Nafziger's illustration has one error in that it shows the trooper with the black fur worn on the pelisse of the 10th regiment, rather than the white fur, as seen here, appropriate to the 13th.

The uniform of the Trumpeter (spectacular, isn't he?) is from the Histofig site, except that they again show a colpack, dark brown fur this time, with white over light blue plume. Having no trumpeter figure in colpack, I substituted a shako with a bit of extra trim and a light blue over white plume. Note the mixed red and white cording in his shako, pelisse, and dolman, again following the illustration on Histofig.

One final view of the glorious 13th Hussars. The Elite company is wearing the red plume. These are Old Glory figures (French Hussars Charging), painted as Poles.  GMB flag once again.

CuirassiersThe Polish Cuirassiers were numbered as the 14th Regiment, and were raised from the Cuirassier regiment of the Galician- French army. Initially they wore white breeches and a white coat with poppy red collar, cuffs, and turnbacks, the first two only piped in white. The helmet was similar to that of the French Cuirassiers. By December, 1809 they were wearing a uniform all but identical to that of the French units, with a dark blue coat faced red. The buttons were yellow metal/gold for officers, with that and the gold epaulets worn by officers being the only obvious difference from their French counterparts. From December 1810 to April 1812, it was converted to a Chasseur a Cheval unit at the order of he King of Saxony, before being returned to Cuirassiers again at the order of Napoleon. And no, I didn't paint up a unit of these guys!


We had a good time running the Gorodetschna scenario (using Field of Battle) at HAVOC in Massachussetts a couple of weekends ago; there is an illustrated account on Czar Barry's blog at . I do have to give special thanks to Convention Director Bruce Carlson, as I managed to leave my camera behind, and he and his staff were able to find it for me and mail it back, enabling me to take the picture you see here now. Thanks again, Bruce and all the guys from Battlegroup Boston, for a great convention!

The scenario book, 1809: Blunders on the Danube, is completed and awaiting final cover designs, after which it can hopefully be printed soon. I'll share more when there is something more definite.

Good Gaming,


Saturday, April 16, 2011

French Ligne, Part 3

As we've discussed before, if you're going to play Napoleonic Wargames, it's pretty hard to avoid having quite a few of these guys. I think the standard French Line infantry uniform is quite elegant, actually. It's also kind of a pain in the butt to paint, too, LOL!  I mean, lapels and turnbacks white piped red, collars and cuffs red piped white (except the Voltigeurs usually have yellow or buff collars piped in blue, red or even white), cuff flaps, pockets, and shoulder straps blue piped red - it can get to be a bit tedious at times, especially when you paint 72 at a time like I do!  Then throw in the different colored plumes and epaulets for the Greandiers and Voltigeurs, not to mention the officers and drummers - I can see why one might have at least some of these units done by a painting service, or even bought ready-painted. Not me, though! I'm a glutton for punishment, heh. Well, and also I enjoy doing some of the myriad minor variations of this uniform, many of which existed

Anyway, this set of four regiments forms Molitor's Division of Massena's Corps, which saw some of the bitterest fighting of the entire 1809 campaign, in and around the village of Aspern on May 21st. These guys have been very slowly working their way towards completion since I first started work on them in late November 2010, and literally just completed them yesterday. This is the 7th, and for now at least, last Division of my French Napoleonic army.

 First up is the 2e Ligne. This regiment traces its lineage back to the Provence regiment of the old Royal army, formed rather late, in the year 1776. They are standing in front of an apple orchard...   one from which Calvados is made, perhaps?  That would be terrain worth fighting for!

A somewhat blurry photo of the 2e. I like the officers in Bicorne, as appearing in this unit. Note also the red lapels on the drummer, a whim of the Regiment's colonel.

A final, rear view of the 2e Ligne. These are Old Glory figures, and the pose they are in is described as "receiving". It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but I think it still works well.

 Next is the 16e Ligne. Its lineage stems from the Agenois Regiment of the Royal army, also first raised in 1776. The flags are by GMB; they come with 2 flags per regiment - the "2" is awfully prominent; I may have to paint it out, and either leave the wreath blank or try to paint in a 16! Note the tricolor rims on the drum, a less common variant than the usual solid dark blue.

 Frontal view of the 16e Ligne.  I like the dynamic pose of the officer, leading this attack column!

Evidently the 16e had to ascend a small slope to reach the apples. I'm sure the veterans would know how to make good use of them in their stew pots!

 The third regiment of Molitor's Division is the 37e Ligne. Its ancestor was the Marechal de Turrenne regiment, formed in 1625. Here they are deployed in line, perhaps preparing to fire on some poachers?

 View of the 37e Ligne from behind, also showing the entire orchard. For these regiments, I did the Voltigeurs with yellow plumes with a green ball at the base, and green cords on the shako, one of many possible variants.

 A final view of the 37e Ligne. The drummer has bright yellow lapels, collar, and cuffs, all piped in white. Once again, these kinds of nor regulation uniforms were common for drummers and other musicians, as well as sappers and especially the Drum Major of each regiment! The split rail fences were handmade from chopped up flat toothpicks, although more in the style commonly seen in the United States during the Civil War.

 The final regiment of the Division is the 67e Ligne. The Languedoc regiment of the Royal army, raised in 1672 was the lineage that this regiment descended from. It is formed up in square, some enemy cavalry evidently having appeared nearby.

Very nice animation on these Old Glory figures, I think. If you look closely at the Voltigeurs, you can see that the collars of their uniform coats are buff in color, with dark blue piping, one of many possible variants.

I decided that this Division, which fought so hard against the Austrians at Aspern despite being heavily outnumbered, would have a bit of residual Republican flavor to it - hence the drum rims are tricolor instead of the usual plain blue, and in this regiment, the officers even sport tricolor plumes, common during the Revolution, but quite rare by this point in the Empire. Doubtless a hotbed of Jacobins!

Well, that's it for today; it's been a while since I posted due to other demands; hopefully it won't be as long until the next one!