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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

7e Chevau-Leger Vistula Uhlans

After much perturbation, I have finally gotten up the nerve to finish the 7e Chevau-Leger Vistula Uhlans.  This has always been a favorite uniform of mine, and the core of this regiment was so ably painted by Dick Tennant, that I was a bit intimidated by the idea of expanding it and bringing it up to full strength.  Most cavalry regiments in the collection consist of 18 troopers and a commander, but DT only painted 14 of these.  Probably like me, he had trouble getting the figures to do a full strength unit! I had despaired of ever finding some Hinton Hunt dismountable lancers (rare as hen's teeth I believe Wellington Man called them).  Eventually I located some, but they turned out in the end to be rather poorly cast copies.  Not to be deterred, I cleaned them up and decided to give painting them a whirl.


Five of the troopers are recasts painted by myself.  They're easy to spot if you know what to look for, but in the end I felt as though they were a pretty seamless addition to the regiment.

The intricate buckles and belts were one of those details that really worried me, especially as they were conspicuously absent from the recast figures.

Touching up the original figures painted by Mr. Tennant actually helped to make this into a cohesive unit.  While I might have been very slightly off with my matching of colors (all had to be custom mixed) on the new figures, by the time I had added washes for shading as well as highlights to the whole group, the color differences were minimal.

I wanted to add a figure with a company guidon, and fortunately the figure selected had a broken pennon, so I did not feel bad about removing it and adding the guidon.

As painted this regiment is from the period around 1811.  There were several uniform changes prior to, and after this, but the most notable in this instance was the addition of the blue topped black plume.  Mr. Tennant modelled the entire regiment with white epaulets on both shoulders, which in truth, would likely only have been worn by the elite company.  He also added red epaulets to the company NCOs, but I could find no evidence that this was ever practiced.  Phillip Haythornthwaite was kind enough to look into this for me as well and he too could find no evidence of red epaulets having been worn.  Of course that doesn't mean it could not have happened, and I decided to keep them to honor the work of Mr. Tennant.

The guidon is based on an example still in existence and described in this Napoleon Series article: https://www.napoleon-series.org/military-info/organization/Poland/VistulaLegion/c_loststandards.html 
Much work was required to touch up the carbines and saddle cloths, boots and horse legs, as they had been roughly treated in transit to the US.

The Colonel and trumpeter were not quite as well painted as is usual for Mr. Tennant and required considerable work to bring them up to his standard.  I wonder if they were early work of his, or perhaps even incorporated later from someone else's collection.  The most notable change for the Colonel was to separate the sword from the horse's ear as cast, and provide a little airspace between the two.

So glad that this famous regiment can now take its proper place amongst the collection!

Edit

These Uhlans were featured in the Airfix Guide to Napoleonic Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie.  When I received this collection a few years back, he was kind enough to send me some color copies of the original photos which you can see below.  This was absolutely one of those photos that hooked me on the idea of starting my own Napoleonics collection!

I literally just noticed that in this photo the Uhlans have yellow tipped plumes. Dick Tennant must have repainted the plumes after the photo shoot. He was working on this collection for 50 years so had plenty of time to do that! I also note that the officer and trumpeter are conspicuously absent from this photo, which corresponds well to my assertion in the blogpost above, that they may have come later or from another painter.  Dick did not texture the bases of his figures, so he and Don Featherstone must have spent hours staging all of these with Dick's buildings and then blending in the turf.



Sunday, September 18, 2022

Bavarian 5th Light Infantry Detachment

The Bavarians needed a little skirmish support now that they have artillery, infantry and cavalry, so to the rescue comes the Bavarian 5th light Infantry.  Knotel has a fabulous illustration of the 5th, which went a long way to helping me prioritize this unit, not to mention the small number of figures required!  The figures are primarily Der Kriegspieler, (2xDK 175, 5xDK 174 with plume added), though the officer is Hinton Hunt (BVN 6) and the trumpeter a converted Hinton Hunt/Dave Clayton figure from BVN 7?.







Skirmish order


Recently I was able to host a game to celebrate my birthday.  The game was an excuse to ply good friends with food and wine, and also to get all of my toys on the battlefield.  The British may a good effort to hold their own, but in truth the deck was a bit stacked against them and the French were able to gain the advantage on both flanks, rendering the center untenable.  Some nice pictures of the game can be found here thanks to David R. and his excellent camera work: 

 https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-hz8WwP/

 

The crew minus David R., our illustrious photographer.  Could not have spent the day with a better group of folks.  I only wish I had gotten a picture of Beans, the goofy pup who came to visit, smooshing his head against the back door.  I guess he wanted some ham too!





 

The real impetus for the celebration was a giant Serrano ham accompanied by Spanish tapas - We are still working through the leftovers!

 Lastly a small teaser for my next post - the 7th Chevau-Legere / Vistula Lancers





Saturday, July 16, 2022

Napoleonic French Combined Grenadier Battalion and Medieval Russians for Giggles

The French Commander, Junot, for the battle of Vimeiro in the fall of 1808, combined the Grenadier companies of his various battalions to form a reserve.  General  Francois Kellermann commanded the reserve and was to go on to be a famed cavalry commander at the battle of Waterloo.  Junot eventually threw his reserve at the British regiments defending Vimeiro in a desperate last ditch attempt, without success.


The battalion is made from Garrison Grenadiers with a Lamming drummer (cast with the drum upside down!) and a Hinton Hunt Colonel of Grenadiers.  Many thanks to Wellington Man for the gift of the Garrison and Lamming figures!

The company fanion was a little custom addition just to add something unique to the unit.  The Grenadiers were my addition to the collection, while the Colonel was originally painted by Dick Tennant.

Have to love all of those moustaches!

To the left!


Drilling out the musket barrel to house the company fanion was a challenge.  Fortunately I had some uber tiny drill bits left over from my model railroading days.

I was worried the Garrison bases were going to be too big for my movement stands, but they fit beautifully.  The stands themselves are a bit thinner than usual to help disguise the increased height of the Garrison figures.  Of course, the Grenadier companies were made from the tallest men, so they are supposed to be bigger!

For something completely different, and painted in a different style, I was finally able to finish the painting of  some Smolensk Cavalry for the battle of Grunwald.  They are dirty grimy medieval Russians charging into battle against what will be even dirtier Teutonic Knights for use with DBA or its variants, Triumph and L'Art de la Guerre.

These are lovely Testudo figures which are unfortunately no longer produced by their amazing sculptor.

This unit will play as medium cavalry horse archers.


The heavy cavalry horse archers

I just love the style of Russian armor that changed very little in the early to late medieval period.

The bases will get textured once the army is done for the sake of consistency, as it may take years at the pace I am moving.

Next up on the painting desk: Bavarian Jagers and the Polish Vistula Lancers

Monday, July 4, 2022

1/72 French Artillery Model Comparison

Thanks to one of our readers I have some measurements to complement the British artillery description posted earlier on this blog:  https://miniatureminions.blogspot.com/2021/02/updated-172-british-artillery-model.html - The diagram below (click to expand) shows how the measurements are taken and a description of how they are designated A-F.  Thanks to some techno-wizardry in Excel, for which I am not responsible, the cells highlighted in yellow show measurements that are within an accepted tolerance (10%) of the prototype, scaled down to 1/72.  The big surprise for me was the DK 12 pounders which are not far off the mark.






Many thanks to Goya who took the time to put this together!  Measuring these little buggers is a bear, so there may be some variability in the measurements presented.  If you have any additional models with associated measurements from other manufacturers, or note anything egregious as an error, let me know and I will correct/add.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Vimeiro: An International Battle Done in the Old Style


 Vimeiro: An International Battle Done in the Old Style

The Northern battle between the French brigades of Solignac and Brennier and massed brigades of the British and Portuguese under Wellington in 1808.

https://www.napoleon-series.org/military-info/virtual/c_vimeiro.html

The battle was staged in the United States, with players hailing from Scotland, England and New Zealand.  Players received "bird's eye" photos from their commanders perspective and submitted orders via email.  Many thanks to Stryker, who provided his home grown set of old school rules called Muskets and Marshals, which were slightly modified to accommodate the bigger battalions of the Tennant/Crenshaw collection.  Typical battalions are composed of 24-36 figures, with skirmishers operating in detached groups of nine figures.


A period map showing the entire field of the campaign

The battle presented was part of the conflict to the north of Vimeiro on the rolling hills of the Portuguese landscape.  The actual battlefield was scaled down so that the area of the model battlefield was equal to the section presented above - roughly 1.1x0.6 miles.  Terrain features are roughly equivalent, though the farm of Ventosa is likely over-sized in comparison.  The length of the deployed battalions is roughly equivalent to the scale, though as in most wargames, the depth of the formations is greater than the actual footprint would have been due to the size of the figures themselves.

French OOB

 Units engaged are not accurately represented as I was restricted to those available in the collection at the time of the battle.  The numbers engaged are relatively equivalent however.

Solignac's Brigade

2 battalions 69th Ligne (30 figures)
1 Battalion 6th Legere (30 Figures)
3 guns at Ventosa, 3 more on the way south east of Ventosa.
2 skirmish units of detached Voltigeurs


Brennier's Brigade

2 Battalions 39th Ligne (36 figures each)
2 Battalions 6th Legere (36 figures each)
1 Regiment Dragoons (18 figures)
May detach Voltigeurs from three of the four battalions to make up to two skirmish units.
 
 

British and Portuguese OOB

Units engaged are not accurately represented as I was restricted to those available in the collection at the time of the battle.   The numbers engaged are relatively equivalent however.

Divisional Command - Miles Nightingall

Forward Brigade:
Brigade Command - Alexander Howard
3 Battalions: 1/92, 1/71, 2/58
2 detached skirmisher units
 
Reserve Brigades
Brigade Command - Lt. Colonel Lord Blantyre (Nightingall's ADC has taken over command of the 88th, releasing Lord Blantyre for command of the reserve brigades)
4 Battalions: 1/50, 2/42, 1/88, 2/24
Artillery reserve – Battery of Royal Artillery (foot) 5-9pdrs and 1 howitzer
 

Ready for the troops

The initial engagement of the battle found three battalions of French under General Solignac, surprised by 3 brigades of British deployed for battle.

One of the first casualties of the game; Lieutenant Col. Cameron goes down with a direct hit from a French canon ball.  General Howard would take over command of the Gordons, but he too would be wounded later in the battle and carried from the field having received a gun shot wound in the arm. 

British Advance

Artillery and reserve battalions swing to the French right flank.


British charge the French line despite heavy fire.

2/58th struggle to advance

First French line begins to crumble.

1/71st Highlanders give the French 1/69th the bayonet and decimate them.

2/6th Legere flee the field as the Gordons show good order and attempt to reorganize after melee.

General Brennier arrives with his brigade and cavalry - but is it in time?

The 88th form square and the French Dragoons, after loosing their Colonel, think better of it and reposition toward the center of the battlefield.

The British line reorganizes as Brennier's columns approach.

A massive firefight ensues.

The French view from the 3/6th in the middle of the field toward Ventosa.

The French 3/6 Legere looking directly ahead.  The British battery to their right was able to hurl canister into the French line, yet they stubbornly returned fire.

General Solignac tries to rally the shattered remnants of the 69th.

The dragoons charge through the tree line near Ventosa, hoping to catch the Black Watch unaware.

The highlanders are just able to form square, and suddenly it is the dragoons who find themselves in a world of trouble and are repulsed with heavy casualties.


The British Highland battalions of the Black Watch and Gordons have taken heavy casualties, but the French column  is shaken by their fire and the loss of the 3/6 as it starts to come apart on their flank, stalling the French attack.

The 88th on the British left flank remorselessly closing in on the remnants of the French attack.

Trant arrives with the Portuguese directly behind the French!

The only hope for the French is now escape via the road south of Ventosa.  The 1/6th Legere presses forward against the 1/71st Highlanders blocking the way, pouring a desperate fire upon them.

Carnage in the center.

The pincers close in on the French

The 1/6th punches a hole in the British defenses as the 71st flee from the French fire, creating an avenue of escape.

The French battalions in the center break and run to escape the trap, with the British in good order just behind them.

After holding the British Right flank for the entire battle, the 71st rout to the rear - the French fire was just too much and less than half of the battalion escapes.

The 2/39th is captured to the man.

The Portuguese and Black Watch chase the French from the field in disarray.

Conclusion

The battle progressed largely along historic lines, with aggressive British attacks chasing the French from the field.  That being said, the British paid for the victory with very heavy casualties (especially among the high command) and at the end of the game (Turn 14 - just prior to the French fleeing the field) the score was only 5-3 in favor of the British (each army received one victory point for each battalion in good order).  Thanks to Ian, Matthew, Rob and Aly for a great time that got me through two months of recovery from heart surgery.  You guys are the best!