Saturday, 28 December 2013

SYW French: Volontaires du Hainaut

Back in the 1740s this unit was the Arquebesiers du Grassin, made famous by their solid performance at the battle of Fontenoy (see my post in June 2011 when I painted them). Skip forwards a few years and, after the usual amalgamations and disbandings, this was their new uniform. The blue coat and black facings remains but the exotic fur lining and hats have gone to be replaced with this more sober dress topped by a helmet a la Schomberg. These were worn by the dragoon element of the legion whilst the fusiliers wore the tricorne. They even kept the old Arquebesiers flag.

That's the last post of the year. I wish you all a happy New Year and see you on the other side of the festivities.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

SYW French: Volontaires de Soubise

This was another legion of mixed infantry and cavalry raised by the French Marshal and bon-viveur in 1761.
I rather like a mirliton on infantry. Figures are by Front Rank.

This is my last posting before Christmas so I'll take this chance to wish you all a great festive season, a big fat turkey for you and your family and lashings of christmas pud with brandy butter. Go for it and peace to all!

Friday, 20 December 2013

SYW French: Volontaires du Dauphiné

The French army had a large number of 'legions' raised for the 'little war'. Most chopped and changed their names from the WAS through the SYW and it's not easy following their course but most combined foot and cavalry units.

Here I'm showing the Volontaires du Dauphiné, which started its existance in 1749 and lasted until 1762 when it was merged with another unit. Here, for example, is its composition in 1759: the unit totalled 1,006 men (including staff) and consisted of
-a staff of 5 officers and 2 men
-1 grenadier company (3 officers and 60 grenadiers)
-8 fusilier companies (each of 3 officers and 70 fusiliers)
-8 dragoon companies (each of 4 officers and 40 fusiliers)

The facing colour is ventre de biche, a pale brown or chamois. Figures are by Front Rank. Over the next few days I'll finish three more similar legions.

Russian Jaegers 9th Regiment 2nd Battalion

Progress!! Here is another Jaeger battalion, plastics from the Perry brothers. This is the tenth done out of twelve so we are marching on.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

SYW British 12pdr Battery

A British 12pdr battery - figures by Foundry, guns by Elite. Elite make some of the best artillery pieces for the SYW and they are a good price too! I'm beginning to wind down for Christmas and getting in the festive mood.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Eureka's SYW Saxon Generals

These are lovely command figures from Eureka's Saxon range. The Saxons had established a uniform for officers of general rank in 1735, which was much earlier than most other European states, and which was based on the red coat which had been used from the 17th century.

The problem, from a painter's point of view, is the shade of red was called Ponceau Rot, a very dark shade of red. To do this justice I've had to use three reds outside my normal palette range and I'm not absolutely sure of the shade. The excellent article on Kronoskaf
does not help as the illustrations show a normal scarlet not a Ponceau Red. Still the figures are very pretty!

Schomberg Dragoons

This is the French Schomberg Dragoons in a uniform that became the model dragoon uniform that would, with minor changes, last France for over 100 years.

This regiment in fact was raised by Marechal Saxe in 1743 and, besides having both dragoons and uhlans within the regiment, looked nothing like this. This uniform dates from 1762 when it formally entered the dragoon establishment as number 17.

Figures are by Front Rank.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Russian Jaegers 9th Regiment 1st Battalion

Here is the first of four battalions of Jaegers for my Russian Napoleonic army. I have given them winter-wear green trousers because I want them to be visibly different from a distance. I've also read that grenadiers in these regiments (carabiniers) did not use their tall plumes but I may be converging all these elite companies so they need to look the part.

Perry plastics.. Nine battalions out of 12 now finished.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hanoverian Dragoons 8C Bock von Wülfingen

During the SYW there were four Hanoverian Dragoon regiments, each of 4 squadrons, and numbered five to eight. Each squadron consisted of two companies and there was an additional company of Horse Grenadiers that normally formed up on the right of the regiment.

From Kronoskaf:" At the beginning of the Seven Years' War, dragoon regiments usually formed in 3 ranks with their largest and darkest horses in the front rank. On parade each rank was 8 paces distant from the other; and each file 4 paces. A space of 25 paces was also maintained between squadrons. The grenadier company deployed on the right flank at 16 paces from the closest squadron. Column of march was 4 horses wide.
In 1758, Ferdinand of Brunswick ordered the Hanoverian dragoons to form up in 2 ranks."

Sunday, 17 November 2013

SYW Allied Generals

Graf Wilhelm zu Schaumburg-Lippe is shown here with three allied artillery officers. The Graf was the ruler of a tiny state allied to Britain and he supplied the alliance a single battalion of infantry, a handful of cavalry and jaegers and, most importantly, a major artillery park as well as his personal expertise in this field. Artillery was his personal hobby and he established a specialist training school within his territory. Eventual his artillery train grew to 29 x 3-pdr, four x 8-pdr, two x 12-pdr, three x 18-pdr cannon, three howitzers and four heavy mortars. Given his rank and the fact that he was the son of an illegitimate daughter of King George I, he often commanded allied artillery on the battlefield.
I've used a Fredrick II figure from Front Rank as I've seen the Graf portrayed in a very plain blue coat and there are physical similarities in their faces. Figures are a mix of Front Rank, Foundry and Crusader.

Here are two bases of cavalry lieutenant-Generals. On the left, a Hessian set, and on the right a Hanoverian group. Neither state had a regulated uniform for generals in this period so they all wear cavalry regimental uniforms (of Horse) – white coat with assorted coloured facings, Hessians with lapels, Hanoverians without. Figures are a mix of Front Rank and Foundry.

Lastly we have five more assorted Major-Generals or lesser ranks. Reading left to right, we have:
Hodenburg, a Hanoverian Major-General of cavalry and Busche, another Hanoverian Major-General of cavalry (in Dragoon uniform). These are followed by two British officers – an Infantry Major-General and an Artillery major. Lastly there is Einsiedel, a Hessian dragoon Major-General. Figures are a mix of Front Rank and Foundry.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

The confusing story of Saxon Grenadiers in 1758

Before I discuss the pictures above I need to recap the situation of the Saxon Army in the early part of the SYW. This war had started with Prussia's invasion of Saxony and the capitualtion of most of the army at Pirna (most but not all – some elements of the army were serving in the Kingdom of Poland and so were not party to the sorry event). On Saturday October 16 1756 the capitualtion was signed and it's terms were as follows:
  1. Kettle-drums, standards and other insignia (and presumably grenadier mitres) had to be carried to Königstein which was be a neutral fortress throughout the war.
  2. The King of Saxony would retained his liberty of movement.
  3. Officers were allowed to leave providing that they gave their parole not to serve against Prussia during the war.
  4. The rank and file and NCOs of the army (some 14,000 men), with all its equipment and munitions, was compelled to surrender (and eventually to join the Prussian army).
Most of the infantry were simply formed into new Prussian regiments, against the advice of Frederick's generals, who suggested, rightly as it transpired, that they would just desert en-masse.
The cavalry, on the other hand, were distributed amongst the Prussian cavalry regiments. An interesting side-question is what happened to their original uniforms? Were they allowed to retain them or were they all confiscated?

During 1756-57, the Saxons started to desert, some in entire regiments or battalions, some in bits and pieces, and they started to rally in Austria and later Hungary. The so called REVERTENTEN
(mentioned in my previous post) mustered about 7,300 men by October 1757. With a subsidies contract dated March 11 1758, the Saxon army was taken into French service. To avoid further contact with the Prussians, it marched through southern Germany and had assembled in Strasbourg by July 1758. It had then joined Contades army in Westphalia by September 1758. As part of Chevert's and Fitzjames' divisions reinforcing Soubise's army in Hesse, the Saxon contingent first saw action at the battle of Lutterberg (October 10 1758) where it's determined attacks decided the day for the French army. The Saxon contingent had a total book strength of 10,000 men. Organisation slightly changed during the course of war, but its book strength remained at 10,000 men. Effective strength was often far below as a result of continued desertion and recruitment difficulties, especially during the latter campaigns of the war.

Now to the question of converged grenadiers. Firstly, I assume that they had lost their exotic headwear which was, presumably sitting in the fortress of Königstein, and so they were all issued with tricornes. Then some of the 'new' regiments had grenadiers that were formerly infantry while some had grenadiers that were formerly cavalry and wore a semi-cavalry uniform. I say semi-cavalry because the coat and small clothes would have been 'cuirassier' whilst the straps and other leather equipment would probably have been fresh issue suitable for infantry use. Another assumption is that the ex-cavalry were not formed into cavalry units because of a shortage of mounts.

So I'm showing two converged grenadier battalions here with assorted mixed companies.
The first battalion (middle picture) shows three companies of the Leibgrenadiergarde (red coats, yellow facings – true infantry) and two companies of the ex-cavalry regiment Gardedukorps (red coats, blue facings ).

The second battalion (bottom picture) shows one company of IR Xaver (pale blue facings – true infantry), one company of IR Prinz Friedrich August von Sachsen (yellow facings – true infantry),
one company of Grenadierbataillon Kurprinzessin (pale blue facings – true infantry), one company of IR Minckwitz-Vitzthum (blue facings – ex-cavalry regiment – the first name being the infantry designation, the second the cavalry regiment from where the uniform came) and one company of IR Rochow-Plotz (green facings – ex-cavalry regiment). The exact pairing is difficult to be sure of and that combination is my speculation.

I've had to make quite a few assumptions here so I hope you will bear with me. Maybe if I can get my hands on the German book I've previously mentioned, some of these can be resolved. Confused, hmmm, so am I!!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

SYW Saxony: IR Kurprincessen

Another Saxon regiment painted as it might have looked in French service. Pre-Pirna this was a single battalion regiment called Grenadierbataillon Kurprinzessin which was brigaded with converged Grenadier battalions. It featured lapels (unusually in this period) and the entire battalion wore Grenadier mitres.

But after the troops had deserted en-masse from Prussian service, they formed a two battalion regiment and dropped the Grenadierbataillon designation. I have still retained red sword knots for the whole battalion on the assumption that elite troops liked to retain their distinctions even after they had been 'reduced in status'. Note that although they lost the designation as a Grenadier regiment, according to Kronoskaf, they retained the right for their regimental band to play the Grenadiermarsch. For the actual Grenadier company I have given them moustaches, which is again conjecture on my part. Besides the lapels this regiment's main difference from Xaver (which you have seen in a previous post) is that Xaver had gold coloured buttons, while this had silver.

There is quite a story to be told about the wholesale absorption of the Saxon army into the Prussian (Frederick II created new regiments against the advice of his generals who wanted the personnel packaged out in small parcels amongst the other regiments) and their subsequent mass-desertion to be reformed in Hungary (equipped by the Austrians but at French expense?) and then for them to march over to Western Germany to join their new paymaster, the French. Kronoskaf calls this
process 'REVERTENTEN' but Christian Rogge told me in an email “Refertenten is a funny outdated German term. Not sure what it means. Possibly English "revertents" "reverters" or in more recent English "returnees".” so I'm not sure. What I do know is that there is a book produced in German by Marcus von Salisch called “Treue Deserteure. Kursächsischen Das Militär und der Siebenjährige Krieg” and I've asked the author if he would do an English precis of his book. If I manage that you will hear of it first here.

Sometime soon I'll be painting up some rather exotic Saxon Grenadier companies – exotic because many of them wore their old cavalry uniforms!

Monday, 21 October 2013

Tchernigov 2nd Battalion

Here is the second battalion of IR Tchernigov - well it is the 3rd battalion actually but the second of what was fielded - I hope you know what I mean! That now completes eight battalions of musketeers and I've just got the Jaeger Brigade to do. I have not decided for sure on how I intend to paint the Jaegers but I'll probably give them their winter green trousers only because that makes them instantly recogniseable on the war games table.

When I have a minute I'll take pictures of each of the completed brigades. Figures are Perry plastics.

So there is progress, I hope you will agree, on this Napoleonic 1812-14 project.
Phase One is finished - 10 battalions of French (each 36 figures plus 6 skirmishers so the light company is effectively duplicated), a battery of artillery and 4 squadrons of hussars.

Phase Two is in progress. The plan is for 12 battalions of Russians (a division) plus a battery and a couple of squadrons of cossacks/opolochenie. Phase two needs to be finished by the late spring of next year.

Phase Three (some time next year) is to paint another 6 battalions of French to make up two full French Divisions, another battery and 4 squadrons of Chasseurs-a-cheval.

Phase Four will be a Prussian Brigade, more Russian artillery and cavalry and a French Cuirassier brigade. Then a rest!

Friday, 18 October 2013

SYW Saxony: IR Prinz Friedrich August

Another colourful Saxon regiment, this time Prinz Friedrich August - the same figures from Eureka and the same regimenatl composition as the last one Xaver. Yellow facings on a white coat is very rare in this period (I think the only other 'state' to use this colour combination was Lorraine) and this is rarer still as it has yellow buttons as well. So the drummer's coat was a challenge - a yellow coat with yellow lace. There is another Saxon regiment with yellow facings (Lubomirsky) but it had white buttons. With yellow flags as well this is certainly a vision in yellow. I've used Army Painter again to dampen down the impact of yellow on white but even so it is a startling combination.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

SYW Saxony: IR Prinz Xaver

Here are some 25mm SYW (mid-war) Saxons from Eureka in Australia. They are two battalions of regiment Prinz Xaver plus a grenadier company with each battalion. They are in their post-Pirna disaster uniform with the only difference being the grenadiers who have lost their mitres and now wear the plain tricorne. This is how they looked in French service in the Western theatre (at Minden for example). After Pirna they had been conscripted en-masse into the Prussian Army, which they promptly deserted, so they could only serve with the French without breaking their parole. By 1761 they appear to be serving alongside the Austrians and their grenadiers had been issued Austrian style Grenadier bearskins.

In French service the only distinction I can find for the grenadiers might have been red sword knots and, perhaps, moustaches, but this is conjecture on my part.

Eureka are to be congratulated on making Saxons as nobody else does. But there are some small errors in the uniforms and I can only wonder whether Kronoskav was available as a source when they produced this range. The details are all small and don't detract from the figures but I'll point them out anyway – there should be a pompom and a cockade on the tricorne and there isn't. I've painted the cockade in. The cuff buttons are horizontal on the figures and should be vertical.
Despite these small matters the figures are charming with lots of character.

These were painted a few days ago but I've been waiting for a tin of Army Painter to arrive which it has. A few months ago I decided to try to make my own as the tins kept on drying out but the experiment was a failure so I'm back to using this product which, for white uniforms, really makes a difference. I've decanted the tin of Army painter into two glass jam pots in the hope that I can keep this product useable before it dries rock solid – I'll let you know if that works. On the same subject, I've used this product very sparingly (almost a dry-brush) over the white coats and trousers only so perhaps you will let me know what you think and whether it is worth all the trouble!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Tchernigov 1st battalion

This is the seventh battalion I have finished for my 12 battalion Russian division - IR Tchernigov. They are Perry plastics and I've given them the 1809 shako and the grenadiers have the tall busch plume. I'll finish the second battalion this month and this will complete two brigades of musketeers leaving only the Jaeger brigade to do. Then all I need to do is duplicate the Strelki platoons, paint a battery and give them some cossack cavalry.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hanoverian Horse Grenadiers

One of my all-time favourite regiments of cavalry from the Lace Wars period. I know where this came from - my dog-chewed John Mollo "Uniforms of the Seven Years War" part of the Blandford series. Illustration 64 from this little book shows a magnificent mounted Horse Grenadier with a frown and I think I have now painted this small unit (it was only one squadron strong) about six times in 15mm to 28mm. By the way, if you ever see this book for sale, buy it as it is a treasure.

Front Rank produce a figure but holding a carbine in one hand so these are conversions. I'm now finished with cavalry for a while and soon will be starting on Saxon infantry.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Hanoverian Horse Alt Bremer

Another Hanoverian Horse regiment, this time 2CA Alt Bremer. Rather subdued colours here, facings of apple green, so unusually discrete by Hanoverian standards. Figures by Front Rank.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Hessian Leib Cavalry

This is the last of the late-uniform Hessians for a while - the Leib Regiment, a crack unit. The figures are from Eureka. There are very few options, in terms of figures manufactured, when it comes to fielding a cuirassier regiment that was not issued with cuirasses. Besides using a 'dragoon figure' and being creative with the painting, your best option would be to use a Prussian Cuirassier figure and say that they were issued with cuirasses.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Hanoverian Walthausen Cavalry

Another Hanoverian Horse regiment, this time, numbered 4-CA by their system (or the 7th of eight)Walthausen.
I'm not sure about the fighting quality of these Hanoverian cavalry units. On the one hand, they were probably the best mounted in all of Europe as the stud-farms for the best 'heavy' horses were around Celle in Hanover. But on the other hand, see the Kronoskaf comment in the last post plus I have seen comments by other people rating the Hanoverian Horse regiments as being less capable than their Hessian allies. This may have been a matter of doctrine rather than courage in the early part of the war but I am not sure and I would appreciate comments from other people on this subject.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Hanoverian Heise Horse

Each Hanoverian Horse regiment consisted of just two squadrons and there were eight in total. All wore white coats without lapels and used a wide variety of facing colours on cuffs and turnbacks - in this case orange. They also had very elaborately decorated horse furniture which is tricky to paint.