Saturday 25 February 2012

40mm de Ligne 1st Battalion

This fine Walloon regiment (ie raised in the Austrian Netherlands) has made many, but not all, of the official uniform changes ordered between the WAS and the SYW. Turnbacks, trousers and vests are all white but the drummer still wears reversed colours and the officer has kept his 'rosenrot' (rose red) small clothes. Even in 1762 an eyewitness commented about a dead officer he saw at the conclusion of the seige of Schweidnitz who was wearing rose trousers and a rose 'soubise' or waitscoat. I suppose this was named after the French prince and Marshal and he must have been famous for his natty dress sense!

Pink is a tricky colour to work with as there are so many variations but I have given these chaps a vibrant shade of the colour. Who knows if it was correct but I certainly think it looks rather splendid. I'm working on the second battalion at the moment.

Sunday 19 February 2012

40mm WAS/SYW Austrian IR Marshall von Biberstein

Sometimes I think 'Procrastinator' is my middle name. But then again, perhaps not. The story of my 40mm SYW armies is a case in point. I had built up a number of battalions, both Austrian and Prussian, and then I sold them for ridiculously cheap prices on eBay. Now I have started them again and you may ask why. This is why:

1) I enjoy painting them so much.
2) Chris at S&S is expanding the Austrian range at last.
3) Trident's Prussians (actually Hessians of the AWI) are magnificent.
4) Their price is affordable.
5) My table (6'x23') deserves them.

So here we go again. IR Marshall (which I have now painted in 15mm, 18mm, 28mm and 40mm – twice) features again as it was one of the smartest Austrian Infantry regiments. Red facings, the classic Austrian colour, and, because they are painted for the WAS period, red turnbacks too.
I also wanted the ability to field them in 4 ranks as well as 3 ranks and for this to be noticeable on the table. Therefore the only issue is one of frontages; a battalion in 4 ranks takes up less space than a battalion in 3 ranks. Now here I have used an unwritten convention of wargaming – that to show a battalion in 3 ranks you can portray the regiment, physically, with two ranks of figures. Therefore, by extension, to portray a regiment in 4 ranks, you show it in 3 ranks. There is a set of rules (Batailles de l'Ancien Regime or BAR for short) that fields big battalions so your 3 rank battalions might consist of 60 figures in 3 actual ranks. But I want to use both smaller battalions (20s and 24s) as well as Carnage and Glory II computer rules. So, that long explanation is there to show that my 24 figure Austrian battalions can be used for both 3 and 4 rank representation.

The top three pictures show both battalions of the regiment in '4' ranks and the bottom picture show them in '3' ranks.

But, of course, being a part-time master procrastinator, I'll go with this project as long as I enjoy it. Knowing me I'll sell it in two years time and then restart it again in five years. But I will try hard to resist this ominous prediction as Nostrodamus had little to say on the subject and only time will tell, which is the perfect cop-out.

Saturday 18 February 2012

SYW Hungarian Hadik Hussars

This rather dashing Hussar regiment was raised in Hungary in 1734 by Alexander Karolyi, changed inhaber in 1749 to Rudolph Palffy and changed again, in 1758, to Andreas Hadik. The figures are 25/28mm and by Crusader although a Front Rank horse has found his way into the ranks.

Hadik, whose portrait shows him as a Field Marshal in 1783, was a famous Light cavalry general in the SYW and, his biography, taken from Kronoskaf, is below:

"Andreas Hadik was born in a Hungarian family of lesser nobility.
In 1731, Hadik volunteered for the Ghilányi Hussar Regiment. In 1732, Hadik was given the rank of officer and became the standard bearer in the Dessewffy Hussar Regiment in the Austrian army. During the War of the Polish Succession (1733–1738) and the Russo-Turkish War of 1735–1739, Hadik fought in several campaigns. In 1738, Hadik was promoted to the rank of captain.

During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748), Hadik gained fame for his actions against the Prussians at the city of Neisse using surprise attacks and tricks under the unwritten laws of the so-called kleinkrieg (small war), relying on the excellent quality of his light cavalry hussars. During this war, he was promoted once more, this time to the rank of lieutenant-colonel by Maria Theresa, the queen of Hungary and archduchess of Austria.
In 1744, Hadik gained the rank of commanding colonel of the Beleznay Hussar Regiment.
In 1748, Hadik attained the rank of major-general and was appointed commander of a cavalry brigade. He also became inhaber (owner) of a hussar regiment bearing his name.

In October 1757, the already famous Hadik conducted a raid on Berlin while the main Prussian armies were busy fighting the Austrian in Silesia and the Franco-Imperials in Thuringia. With a force of 5,000 men (mostly hussars), Hadik occupied Berlin for a day and obtained a negotiated ransom of 200,000 tallers before leaving the city. For this brilliant action, Hadik was promoted lieutenant-fieldmarshal and received the Great Cross of the Maria Theresien Order.
In 1758, Hadik was promoted general of cavalry. He fought with the Reichsarmee.

In 1763, after the war, Hadik was made count and governor of the fortress of Ofen .
In 1764, Hadik became governor of the Siebenbürgen, then president of the Congress of Karlowitz. He later received the estates of Futak. In 1772, after the partition of Poland, Hadik became governor of the part of Poland attributed to Austria (Galicia and Lodomeria) an office that he assumed until June 1774. In 1774, Hadik was finally promoted Fieldmarshal.
In 1776, emperor Joseph II made him count of the Empire. Hadik also assumed the office of president of the Hofkriegsrat (Court War Council) until 1790. In two occasions, in 1778 and 1789, Hadik took the field at the head of the main Austro-Hungarian army."

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Prussian IR40 Fusiliers Kreytzen

I have always wanted to paint this Fusilier Regiment as it is one of the most colourful in the Prussian army. Three regiments in the Prussian army used pink as a facing colour - this one, 40, and Musketeer Regiments 7 and 18, but 40 was the only one with pink trousers as well. The figures are all Crusader but the sharp-eyed amongst you will spot two Foundry chaps lurking in the ranks.

When building a Prussian army of the SYW one needs to consider ratios of various types of infantry.

1) There were 33 Musketeer Regiments of two battalions (actually No 3. had 3, No. 6 had one and No.15 had 3) making a total of 67 battalions.

2) There were 16 Fusilier Regiments of two battalions making a total of 32 battalions.

3) There were 23 Converged Grenadier battalions.

4) There were six Standing Grenadier battalions from garrison troops.

5) There were 10 regiments of Fusiliers (each of 2 battalions) made from Saxons captured at Pirna.

6) There were 5 battalions of Converged Grenadiers from the new Saxon Regiments.

Frederick, when making up his own army, tended to pinch the best troops for himself - the best Musketeer regiments and many of the Grenadier battalions. He would leave the rest to other commanders looking after other fronts - like Prince Henry in the west watching the French and Reichsarmee or General Lehwaldt watching the Russians in the East.

Do you make up a Frederickan army of good quality or do you make up a far less capable army as might have been commanded by another General? Most people do the former, but it would be an interesting experiment to have an army with a number of Saxon Fusilier regiments as, in reality, these ran away at the first chance. The choice is yours but I suggest that an army commanded by any General other than Frederick II will prove to be a greater challenge to command.

Prince Henry was, in many respects, a better commander than his elder brother - he was more caring of the conditions of his soldiers and he was less prone to taking extreme risks. He also had worse troops under his command so his achievements were perhaps the greater. This is just a plea to consider other options besides the obvious army commanded by Frederick II.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Ottoman Janissaries

Wanting a change I decided to paint up a battalion of Ottoman Janissaries from TAG. As there is very little hard information on uniforms of this corps I have gone for an unusual combination of grey, turquoise and orange. Also I have given the unit two flags as two always look better than one.

I have an osprey on the Ottoman Empire as well as a small yellow booklet by Johnson and Bell called 'The Ottoman Empire and the Napoleonic Wars'. In the latter it says that there were 196 Ortas (or regiments) of Janissaries divided into three classes – Djemaats - 101 Ortas responsible for guarding the frontiers and, presumably, serving in the regular army. These were distinguished by red boots. The second class were the 61 Ortas of Benluks who garrisoned the capital and the Sultan and wore yellow boots. The third class were the 34 Ortas of Segbans, Keepers of the Hounds, who, in the field were responsible for guarding the camps and supply routes. I have decided to paint one of these Ortas of the Segbans and have, fictionally, decided to call this unit the 44th Orta Segban Sari Kopekler or 'Keepers of the Yellow Hounds'.

The last thing I wanted to mention was the sheer versatility of having an Ottoman Army. This one is designed to fight the Poles of my Renaissance collection, but there is no reason why this army could not fight either SYW/WAS Austrians or Russians and indeed even Napoleonic foes. So with one army ( and small changes) you can cover a period from the 1600s to 1800s. And they are rather colourful!