Sunday 20 June 2010

SYW French artillery

I’ve sold off all my Pragmatic Army battalion guns because a) they are not needed by my rules, C&GII and, b) because they looked rather silly next to Elite’s French 4pdr guns.

C&G II allows you to have battalion guns attached to each battalion but, rather than field them, they are simply noted when the orders of battle are drawn up. Now I may still have them, purely for aesthetic reasons, but I have to justify the cost of buying a further 5 guns (I already have 5 Front Ranks ones) as well as extra crews. That is a decision I will postpone until the armies are finished.

The French will not have battalion guns although sometimes they are shown in OOBs of the period (WAS and SYW) and sometimes they are not. It would appear that often the French massed their 4pdr guns into batteries and that is what I plan to do. Now Elite make some extraordinary (as in wonderful) 25mm SYW guns – a 4pdr Swedish, a 4pdr Vallière, as well as 8pdr and 12pdr Vallières. These guns are large and one can quite see from the size of the 4pdr Vallière how difficult they would be to maneuver around the battlefield. I plan to see this reflected in the rules. In terms of compatibility with other manufacturer’s guns, they are slightly larger than the chunky Front Rank pieces but not so much so that the two could not be used together. But they tower of the Foundry guns which, besides being an absurd price (£11 a gun v Elite and Front Rank £5), have tiny toddler wheels. So, if you want my advice, buy Elite’s!

As for gun crews, those of all three manufacturers work reasonably together and, in the pictures above, of a 4pdr Vallière six-gun battery, there are crewmen from all three. My least preferred are the Foundry ones as they are all without coats - except for one splendid officer (not pictured) with a telescope.

Lastly, why have I painted my guns blue? Twenty years ago I had a 15mm French army and painted my guns blue on the basis of my research at the time. Then TMP led me to believe that they were red which came as quite a revelation (read that as ‘shock’) to me. Then re-reading the Kronoskaf sources, the view there seems to be that blue was the correct colour. This is based on near-contemporary paintings showing a medium blue. Thus I have come full circle, and reverted to my original view that French artillery carriages were painted blue. Argue with me ‘til the cows come home’ if you like but I’m sticking to my guns on this!

PS: If any of you collect 15mm buildings, I have dozens of card ones to sell - all of which are very nice indeed, even if I say so myself. I've put a sample on eBay to see if it sells - reference 110548993009.

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