Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dramatis Personae

How do you like that, no sooner had I started trawling through Tony Baths' "Setting Up a Wargames Campaign", than one of the OSW comes up with a personality generator!

Without further ado then, I present first the Alzheimer command:

#1Name:Oberst-Lieutenant Kinsky
Major Trait: AMBITION(4)
Other traits:
Great lover
Resolutely loyal
Not easily angered
Highly energetic
Arrogant and stiff-necked

#2Name: Gouvenor Krumpler
Major Trait: AMBITION(4)
Other traits:
Inclined to mercy
Disloyal intriguer
Somewhat lazy
Very generous
Sharp temper if provoked
Rather proud

#3Name:Von Fotze, Major of Engineers, Alzheimer Chief Engineer.
Major Trait: GOOD NATURE(12)
Other traits:
Very courageous
Usually loyal
Easily tempted
Rather proud

#4Name: Oberst-Lieutenant von Gruber, Proprieter Lieb Battalion
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(12)
Other traits:
Great lover
A bit of a flatterer
Rather proud
Mostly loyal

#5Name:Oberst-Lieutenant von Itzenplitz, Proprieter IR13
Major Trait: LOVE OF WEALTH(10)
Other traits:
Not easily angered
Great lover
Loyal intriguer
Average looks
Touchy about family honor

#6 Name:Oberst-Lieutenant von Erdmann, Proprieter IR35
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(12)
Other traits:
Inclined to mercy
Great lover
Rather proud
Very jealous of family honor
Easily tempted
Very charming

#7Name:Captain Kalnocky, hetman of the light forces
Major Trait: AMBITION(7)
Other traits:
Great lover
Very charsimatic and persuasive
Unreliable, a liar and oath-breaker
Merciless, revenge-prone

#8 Name: Georg, Ritter v. Blasthof, Colonel of Dragoons
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(7)
Other traits:
Rather proud
Thinks ahead most of the time
Very charming
Rather dull-witted

And hereinunder, The Gallispan command:

#1Name: Marquis de Gonsalvo, Commander of the Gallispan Seige Forces
Major Trait: AMBITION(7)
Other traits:
Usually loyal
Ugly temper
Holds grudges

#2 Name:Major Brunetti, Gallispan Chief Engineer
Major Trait: LOVE OF WEALTH(8)
Other traits:
Thinks ahead most of the time
Great lover
Arrogant and stiff-necked
Steadfast in danger

#3 Name:Christian de Neuvillette, Colonel of the Gardes Francaises
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(6)
Other traits:
Generous if in a good mood
Great lover
Sharp temper if provoked
Very jealous of family honor
Holds grudges

#4 Name:Col. Carbon de Castel, Jaloux, Colonel of Boubonnois
Major Trait: LOVE OF WEALTH(4)
Other traits:
A bit of a flatterer
Inclined to mercy
Very courageous
Not easily angered
Somewhat active

#5 Name: M. le Comte de Guiche, Colonel of Languedoc
Major Trait: GOOD NATURE(9)
Other traits:
Highly energetic
Rather dull-witted
Unreliable, a liar and oath-breaker
Very charsimatic and persuasive

#6 Name:M. le Vicomte de Valvert, Colonel de Berry
Major Trait: AMBITION(3)
Other traits:
Very cruel
Very wise and far-sighted
Touchy about family honor
Ugly temper

#7 Name:M. le Comte de Montfleury, Colonel de la Reine
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(3)
Other traits:
Very good temper
Somewhat cunning
Highly energetic
Steadfast in danger

#8 Name: Bertrandou, Marquis de Bellerose, Colonel of the Gardes Lorraines
Major Trait: GOOD NATURE(10)
Other traits:
Complete coward
Disloyal intriguer
Very stupid

#9 Name:M. le Vicomte de Ligniere, Colonel of Bearn
Major Trait: GOOD NATURE(8)
Other traits:
A bit of a flatterer
Loyal intriguer
Somewhat active
Inclined to mercy

#10 Name:Capitaine le Bret of the Legion of Light Infantry
Major Trait: LOVE OF WAR (PATRIOTISM if a woman)(4)
Other traits:
Arrogant and stiff-necked
Touchy about family honor
Very lazy
Very charming
Disloyal intriguer
Great lover

#11 Name:Major Nagy, the Hussards de Turpin
Major Trait: AMBITION(6)
Other traits:
Touchy about family honor
Great lover
Ugly temper
Easily tempted
Thinks ahead most of the time
Resolutely loyal

I think that ought to do for the major cast members.

I may generate more as the need arises, but for now, I suggest that in the next couple of days the first paralel will be opened.

Parenthetically it would seem that almost everyone in the eighteenth century was a great lover. Can we say the same of out own times?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Mise en Scene, Part the Second

The Marquis de Gonsalvo of the Gallispan Army had every reason for satisfaction.

The remnants of the Alzheimer rearguard had at last fled before him and run to the refuge of the small, fortified town he espied on the river. Their last encounter had knocked the Alzheimer fusilier regiment apart and their musketeers had taken grevious damage as well. So far as he knew, apart from whatever third-rate garrison troopers the Alzheimers had in the town (what was it's name again? Schnitzelburg probably, heaven only knew what that was supposed to mean in their barbaric tongue!) that those survivors of the rear-guard would be hard-pressed to man the firtifications.

He anticipated a short seige. Perhaps the govenor of the town would request a parlay after his honour had been satisfied by a brief bombardment?

It would be best if that were the case; he knew the marshall begrudged the time it would take to overpower any obstacle. He would hang back as an army of observation whilst de Gonsalvo conducted the seige operations. A kindly uncle to be sure.

The Marshal, de Gonsalvo and Brunetti, his chief engineer would talk later about what front of the fortress to open seige lines against. He touched his heels to his horses' flanks - he was hungry and wanted to see what Joachim had laid out for lunch at his pavillion. He would invite Uncle along.

Next Post: Dramatis Personae.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mise en scene*

Generalmajor von Schwerin looked wildly around him; things had gone so badly awry. Who would have thought that the enemy would concentrate his heavy batteries on the Blasthof height and then fell the woods at its’ foot into abatis. His own maneuver to envelop the enemy’s flank was failing, failing.

By God! His own men were faltering in the face of the enemies' guns. Meant to advance thereupon with shouldered muskets, they were now, their ranks shredded first by ball, and now by grape looking back over their own shoulders. The officers and NCOs were having to buffet them forward with their levelled pole arms or with blows of their sticks.

One man slipped through the cordon, then another around it and yet another again. They were starting to pile up in the scrubby woods to the rear, one behind another behind each tree as the trunks were steadily splintered by shot. The blows of the flats of their officers swords did not suffice to shift them and even as he watched, scandalised, he could not at the same time blame them as his own balls shrank up against his belly in unwonted... fear?

No. And as he watched, he saw the colours of the regiment of which he was Colonel-proprieter waver, and that would not stand. He kicked his protesting horse forward to where he could see a Junker sagging to the ground, white-faced to his very lips. He snatched the flag from the boys' nerveless fingers and hoisted it high, the textures of it so rich to his heightened sensibility – the velvet cladding of the staff, the gilt nails that held it in place.

He held the painted silk high, the sun transforming it into a glory of green and blazing white.

“Come on, my Children!” he cried, urging his horse forward.

He was deluged in a dreadful blast of grape and knew no more.

It had been two days since the defeat at Blasthof.

Alzheims army had fallen back, and back. Oberst-lieutenant Kinsky had fought a series of strong, defensive actions allowing the main force of the Army to retire in a semblance or order. Now Kinsky and his men had gained the fortress town of Schellendorf which protected the bridges on the River Schwein. The Army had already passed through and were re-assembling at the encampment at Dunzelwitz. Kinsky and his men knew they had to hang on at Schellendorf whilst the rest of the army got itself in order and brought up fresh troops and more drafts of recruits to try to make good its' losses.

Old Krumpler the Gouvenor had done a good job keeping the defenses in order, and the Garrison battalion was as good as could be expected. His own couple of squadrons of Dragoons and somewhat depleted battalion would let him make a fair defense; he hoped that as the remnants of the Fusilieers drifted in that he might make a fair defense a good one.

From his vantage point in the guerite of Ravelin Kur-Prinzessin, he could see the curve of the Schwein as it made it’s loop to pass through the town and under the Charles Bridge that was it’s main crossing. He knew the enemy would have to attack up the salient formed by the bend of the river here – the nearest fords were miles away and just not practical for effective communications and that this front of the fortification would be where the main blow would fall.

He was sure that the enemy would use his army to throw up a cordon around the town first to stop him from bringing in any more supplies while they waited for their siege train to come up. He wondered how long that might take.

Still, he had a little time yet in which to gather his strength, and he was determined to make the most of it.

*I hope I got my French right..!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Solo *sigh* Seige

It looks to me as though I may have a little time to myself over the Xmas/New Year period, and naturally enough, a young mans’ fancy turns to war-gaming.

I’ve just taken delivery of a half dozen Eureka Pirate ship guns which I intend to press into use with my fortress (they really are a much quicker and more sturdy build than the Hinchcliffe garrison Artillery I own already); I painted the first pair last night and they look pretty good to me.

I have some simple siege rules I want to try out, but as I’ll be playing this one out as a solo game, I am wanting to make things a little less predictable by:

a) assigning the general of the “attacking” side a personality* that I have to keep in mind whilst making my decisions. I think I can use the rules in the Tony Bath book on campaigns to do this. Then again, I could go cheap and easy by doing a “Seinfeld” and no matter my instinctive inclination might be in a situation, do the opposite! And;

b) that old favourite of mine, using chance cards.

I’ll probably use the Charge! Basic rules for fighting our any table-top actions that arise, or perhaps even Featherstone’s “Close Wars” if there is anything I need to play out as a skirmish.

I’ll need to fake up a map, keeping in mind that the terrain had better be suitable for a fortification and I’ll need to decide on Orders of Battle. I think the attacker will need to outnumber the defender on the tabletop by about 2:1, keeping in mind that the rest of his forces are maintaining the circumvallation and contravallation lines “off the table” as it were.

UPDATE: Ahem, a little experimantation leads me to the conclusion that my fortress may be a little small...

I am thinking seriously of increasing the size of the bastions and ravelin qite considerably; perhaps by 50%.

Megalomania? Take a look at how much room the two guns take in the picture of my Ravelin.

*What is your wargaming personality? I think I'm best suited as an infantryman fighting on the defensive.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fusilieer Regiment 35

This is some of my weeks' work, a few more figures for FR35. I've another 9 on the workbench which is next weeks' labour.
It never ends.
Once I've done these, I intend to make a proper start on my Staddens. Once these are sone, well, I've another unopened bag of Musketeers that I can make a start on - I'll probably use these to round out IR13 and begin another line regiment.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Minis for Swap or Sale

I have the following samples I've bought at odd times available for swap or sale:

RSM Miniatures 7YW Freikorps Lacy - 16 figs (perhaps a few more than that). Don't forget to check out the Template on the "Not By Appointment" Blog - see my links section for the address.

Eagle Miniatures 7YW Prussian Infantry and Cavalry - unknown number of foot foot and 2 mounted figures, reviewed here: There are a few French as well. Drop me a line if interested and I'll sort out just exactly what I do have.

Elite Miniatures 7YW French Infantry - 18 foot figs plus one mounted.

Please email me at if you're interested in any of my tawdry wares.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Regimental round-outs

It's strange to say this: for someone who has a minor Everest for a lead mountain, I am running short of certain categories of unpainted figures.

I am out of Croats, there is not a spare dragoon in the house and I have only a bare handfull of French left. Rather than buy anything more just at the moment, I've been painting the remaining French as Gardes Francaises. Once upon a time I had a standard infantry organisation set at five companies of eight figures (each included seven privates and either an Officer or a musician), and a pair of ensigns and a mounted colonel for a regimental staff.

Ah, the days of youth.

Now that I am older and wiser, I find it much more appealing to equip my line regiments with four companies of fifteen figures (three of musketeers, one of Grenadiers, each with twelve privates an officer, an NCO and a Musician) as well as the staff. Thus it has been necessary to go back over my units and increase their numbers somewhat; a slow process, but a rewarding one.

The Gardes Francaises are the current beneficiaries of this scheme. I finished off a little batch of four last night and I will have sufficient time this evening to have a good crack at another five as well as a musketeer for the Austrian Regiment "Arberg".

This latter figure is part of a process of prototyping a new regiment where I paint one or two of each of the major types of figure that a regiment will need just to work out what details I'll need to include on the figure (and which can safely be left out or fudged...) - co-incidentally this leaves me with about a companys' worth of figures and a feeling of getting a little head start on the project.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I think I want to paint more Staddens

Yes, I do. If only all wargames figures were thus clean and elegant and easy to paint. It is not often that you come across a figure that was such a pleasure to paint.
I'll try for a better photo tonight.
*Thinks to himself* You know, if you tossed away the hand-spontoon part, you could put together a nice standard-bearer...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Mucking about with Paintbrush and Camera

This week more than anything else, I'm doing the toy soldier equivalent of doodling and painting little bits of this and that. I'm really enjoying painting a couple of Austrian Grenadiers from some descriptions on a Morier painting or two in the Osprey on Maria Theresa's Infantry for the 1740-48 period. This could be the start of something.
He's also a bit of an homage to Stokes Schwartz's outstanding work on his own 80-figure infantry batallion. Phew!
French Ouvrier. I intend to equip him with a mattock or pick to make the most of the pose. He may even find himself engaged in heaving on a rope or rolling something. The pose seems quite versatile to me. I also like the idea of using him as an infantrymen drafted into assisting with a regiments' batallion guns. The possibilities are quite appealing.

This is my own choice for best wargaming figure ever. He's a lovely little 30mm Stadden Prussian. Can't you just see him urging the men on as they storm the Churchyard at Leuthen?
What's your favourite?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Week That Was

I spent most of this week painting a half dozen gunners for my artillery arm. They are by RSM, the gun is a bit of a lovely monster by Suren that has been in my collection for a few years now, and looking for a role. I think it just became part of my seige train. Looking at the size of the beast, I'd guess it's an eighteen-pounder - I think if I get another few, that will see me right to be able to set up a heavy battery for some hard pounding as well as a ricochet battery to keep the enemies' heads down!
Looking at the scene being enacted, it seems to me that one of the men is sponging the piece out whilst the others train it on a new target under the beady eye of their officer. I have been painting a test figure as an ouvrier to help the gunners build their battery positions. If he works out well, then there will be more added; I expect fellows like him to be useful in future seiges.

I've finally succumbed to the temptation that began with seeing some of the figures on Jim Purkys' excellent blog. I have gone on a small spending spree on the Tradition website and bought a few command figures which I'll be taking a little time over as I paint in the next few weeks as little rewards for me as I start to gear up again to full painting speed.
Considering that at the moment my Prussian Army is no more than IR 13 (with FR35 in production), a Squadron of Dragoons and some assorted von Kleist Freikorps, it is a little like having Napoleon leading the 33rd Light Infantry but, so be it.
I'm painting Seydlitz next, using the Willie Cuirassier Officer figure. Yummy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fort George - Image Miscellany

Salient Place of Arms; an enlargement of the Covered Way, here protected by a traverse. Troops might be assembled here for a sortie against the beseigers or to make a stubborn defense of the Covered Way.
Inside the left-hand bastion. It was such a bitter, windy day I was almost blown off my feet. At the salient point of the bastion, you can make out the little stone sentry box called a guerite.

On the bridge looking toward the rear right of the ravelin. The raised area was the artillery platform that is reached by a long ramp leading from the centre of the "terre pleine" which was the main interior space of the ravelin up to it's salient (or forward) point.

Inside one of the forts' casemates. It was meant to hold 40 soldiers in bomb-proof accomodation. The structure at the rear is a mean little fire-place.

Salient point of a bastion looking into a guerite. Note how the length of the walkway into the guerite illustrates how deep the ramparts of these kinds of fortifications were.

A nice view along the ditch to the sluice gate at the very rear that was to enable the ditch to be flooded. It only worked at high tide! The main gate is on the right, with a bastion standing in the ditch. The ravelin begins at the left of the picture.

A traverse - used to stop shot being fired in enfilade down the covered way. Note the narrow stair set in the counterscarp revetment called a Pas de Souris. It was so narrow as it is to prevent more than one soldier at a time descending into the ditch.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bridge at Strudelberg

Following some very kind advice from the Old School Wargamers* on running a participation game, I've been thinking rather on scenario design.

My preliminary thoughts (dreamt up while lying insomniac abed whilst trying to get over my jet-lag!) are these:

One idea I have found really helpful in approaching the scenario is to use Victory Points. I'm working toward the idea that the first side to hit a certain number of VPs wins the game. It seems to be a useful way of allowing me to introduce some tension for the players - a tension between means and goals.

To illustrate, I am thinking that one party, the defender, is going to have one main goal and that is to retreat over a bridge, blow it and sail off happily into the sunset. That's his main goal; if he manages that he wins the game... provided he also picks up a subsidiary goal as well that I need to think about as evilly as I may.

Anyway, to this end he's going to have to hold out against roughly 2:1 odds (that's very roughly) whilst a party of pioneers prepares the bridge for demolition. They'll be successful from move "x" on on either the roll of a value on a d6 or the draw of an event card. The spanner in the works for him may well be that as a random event, the Colonels' daughter Miffy may well decide that it's a lovely day for a trip into the countryside. Naturally Miffy's capture will be a major (say 40-60%) flow of VPs to the attacking side.

Likewise, his position will be open to a flanking movement that might put enemies in a position where they can attack the defenders' pioneers and make the destruction of the bridge difficult/impossible. This will also present the difficulty to the defender of having to detatch a sufficiently large force to defend the pioneers. Perhaps the destruction of part of the pioneers will delay the happy moment when the bridge might be blown.

As to the attackers, I want a tension between having to recklessly attack on the one hand and the knowlege that each figure lost gives the defender VPs. I think this will be created by the knowlege that any move after move "X" could yield the event card that says that "Yes, the bridge is ready for demolition". I like event cards!

Likewise, Miffy is a rich source of VPs, but is the risk of snatching her worth the expenditure of soldiers when a determined attack on the defenders at the bridge might end the game at a stroke?

That's about where I am at the moment.

*You know who you are!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Europe Wrap Up

Oh well, home again. The house is now mostly back in order and the jet-lag is mostly overcome, thanks be to Allah.

So, what were the highlights?

For me there were the museums - The Vienna Military History Museum, The National Army Museum in Chelsea, the Imperial War Museum to name a few. I was fascinated by all that I saw in these places, especially by the Prussian trophies in the Vienna Military History Museum. Seeing Frederick the Great's suit of clothes in the German History Museum nearly knocked me flat on my backside, too.

The downside to these museums is that you are generally not allowed to take photographs of the artefacts, but I got past that in most cases simply by buying the guide-books. I'm still waiting to take delivery of a number of these as I did a very big couple of mail-homes of books when Amy and I were in Hay on Wye, so they are still bobbing homewards via surface mail!

I was very interested in the Neolithic remains (although as to whether they had any wargaming potential...) in the Orkneys; especially Skara Brae on Orkney and the Broch I saw on one of the other islands. Couple this with the Housesteads and Vindolanda sites (and the inevitable purchases of guide-books) and I was pretty happy overall.

Unexpectedly for me though, I found that the museums and "sites" did not hold my interest in the way I thought they would. I'd look at an item, go to myself "Oh, 4oo-year-old armour, how interesting" and then move on. It's strange, but I was really finding that I'd rather read a book! I need to think a bit about this.

I'll put up some photos in the next few days as I get them sorted out.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Logistics Redux

The Logistic Art in the Age of Linear Warfare (as gleaned from "Supplying War" by Martin van Creveld)

Eighteenth Century Warfare was characterised by on sieges.

This was due to a number of factors operating at the time.

Firstly the standing Army; soldiers of the time were expensive to train both monetarily and in terms of time. Whether you won or lost, battle could lose you 20-30% of your troops.

In this era war was conceived of as a primarily political and economic rather than a moral or religious activity, and as such it was aimed at the attainment of concrete and limited objectives.

Unless your enemy's' will do do battle was as your own, then a strike into enemy territory was likely to fall on empty air.

The power of fortified places was very great.

Fortified places could not retreat.

On this point, it was the siege and the problem of feeding a besieging army that led to the development of the magazine system. Recognising that an army had to draw its' supplies from somewhere once it had eaten out the countryside around a fortified place, magazines came to be created near the frontiers of a state. Note that this was the problem that magazines were created to solve – it must be recognised that they could never hope to supply but a fraction of the armys' needs.

This too limited the possible duration of sieges, turning them in effect into races against time whereby the besieged could hope to outlast the ability of the besiegers to survive as they ate up the countryside – the interception and destruction of the 3000 wagons of the Olmutz Convoy compelled Frederick II to raise the Siege of Olmutz.

The armies of the time had grown to such an extent that they could no longer afford to sit still – the countryside could not support them. An army was forced to keep moving so that it could continue to keep eating; no army could ever be fed entirely from base as the quantities required for the transport systems of the time were impossible. Specifically this meant that the quantity of fodder required for the armys' horses was more than the transportation systems of the time could bear. Flour could be managed, and ammunition for the entire campaign was generally carried with the army.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vienna Army History Museum

I was just wandering around the aforementioned Museum today and what should I see, but a number of trophies taken from the late King of Prussia.

Among them I espied a pair of Grenadier caps as well as no less than five fusilier caps.


Imagine my surprise when I measured them with my beady eye and noted that the fronts of both caps were almost exactly the same height!

Food for thought for our figure sculptors, do we not think?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Freidrich Augustus in London

Nothing to see here...

Toy Soldiery activities; went to the Fusilieer Museum at the Tower a day or so back. It was OK, but not great; likewise I'll try to get to the Guards Museum, but my expectations are not too high.

There were a good selection of vehicles at the Imperial War Museum, but the bookshop had little to really interest me as it was focussed on 20th Century conflict. The "Monty" exhibition surprised me as there was no real focus on el Alamein or the controversy on operational goals for the European campaign and his eventual sidelining. I did find out that his poor wife died from an infected bug bite, though. I seriously got more from the Airfix Magazine Guide article on "24 Hours at Alamein" and the writeup on the Rapid Fire website on a scenario inspired by the same article!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

7 Day Painting Challenge - Final

Here we are at last.

I've had to stop painting - we are just about to go overseas for six weeks. IR33 has had it's faces and hats painted. Three-quarters of the mens' small-clothes have been painted (and look quite spiffy, too) but I am out of time now and have to go.

I think I have had just a few too many distractions or preparations to really have time for the paint-brush this week!

I'll be updating this blog as time permits and material allows.

If you want to follow out travels, please feel welcome to drop in here:

All the best.

Monday, September 24, 2007

7 Day Painting Challenge continued...

A very unproductive weekend has passed me by.

Family celebrations over a big barbeque (and cleaning up, and cooking) reduced my painting time severely.

I've painted the small-clothes of fourteen fusileers in their base-coat of pale-gray, that's about it. I'll try to get another few finished tonight and tomorrow morning so I can start on their blue coats.

It's not looking good.

UPDATE: The image above shows you roughly how we are going. I love the chracter that the blackundercoat technique imparts the faces. I also like how well the cartridge belt and small-clothes look with the black undercoat defining the edges of this and that. Nice and crisp, just the way I like it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 2 of... The Seven Day Challenge!

Well folks, here we are on Day two of the Seven Day Challenge and it's not looking too good for our contestant - Greg?

*Oh, well, you know, at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, there's no I in team and..

Did you get the hats painted?

*Yes, good-looking aren't they, nice and pointy on top...

Did you get the hats painted?

*Er, no, not entirely, I gave them a nice dry-brush of white (that's 36 hats, remember - 36!) then base-coated them orange, did some touch-ups with black and then painted on the brass mitre fronts. I washed them with some nice, thinned Windsor and Newton Sepia ink to define the detail and then i ran out of time.

A little overambitious?

*No - OK, yes, but it also painted a couple of horses. They look nice. I also realised one of the limitations of my Osprey one-and-only reference; no details on Officer and NCO hat lace! I just took a gamble on gold. It looks pretty even if it may be wrong.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Seven Day Challenge

This is a bit of a follow on from a post I made a day or two ago about building on my Prussian collection.

I've since had a good scrounge through my lead pile and have come up with enough castings to build two Fusilier and one Grenadier Company. To build this force in the configuration that I am aiming at (three companies of "hatmen" and a company of grenadiers per batallion), I'm obviously a bit short but will carry on for now with what I have for now because I'm off on holiday in a week and don't have the time to wait on a new order from the lads at DPC.

Which brings me to the title of this post.

I have 41 figures and one horse to paint. To challenge myself, I aim to paint them before I go away. To make things a little more difficult for myself, I've decided to create a little vignette depicting the death of General Schwerin at Prague.

After spending the past few days with my nose stuck in an Osprey I have decided that I will be painting Fusilier Regiment Nr. 33.

The night before last I cleaned, mounted and undercoated the castings with my favoured matt black spray paint. Last night I painted all their little lead faces and hands and this morning while I got ready for work, I put the highlights on chin, cheeckbones, knuckles and nose.

As I write this I have just finished trimming the standards for IR 33 and IR 24 (the latter for the Schwerin vignette) and tonight I ought to get a couple of hours to myself and I'll get the hats and the horse done at least and start on the vignette.

As to the vignette, I'm hoping to use the mounted French officer and a rearing horse as the basis. I'll swap his hat-holding hand for a flagstaff and try to get a couple of suitably-dismayed-looking troopers from IR24 on the same base.

I shall report again tomorow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Things to do in 2008

Just thinking out loud here, you understand. I can’t be held accountable for any of this, OK?

I’ve been thinking about where to go next with the Duchy of Alzheim. As I’m writing this, my French Army stands at nine foot units (7 Line and 2 Light), five of horse and a smattering of artillery. Now, I reckon that this is a pretty fair force for now and probably won’t be adding too much more to it for a little while, apart from the ongoing effort to round out the unit sizes to my current targets and eventually adding some Gardes Suisses to pair with the Gardes Francaises and some more gunners. Naturally I’ll revisit this at a later date and add more units, but that’s for the longer term.

I’m now looking for another project to take me through the next twelve months. I’m thinking of taking up my original Seven Years’ War project and picking up where I left off with my Prussians. I’d gotten as far as building out IR13 to my original unit standard which was about 43 figures, so it won’t take too much to build it up from there. On top of that I had about a dozen of DR5 and a half dozen of the von Kleist Horse Grenadiers and a couple of guns.

From this base I’ve been poking around at my lead stocks and think I can make a pretty good start on another two Musketeer Regiments and a Fusilier Regiment, each with sufficient Grenadiers to give me a couple of combined Grenadier battalions. I’m then wanting to round out DR5 to three Squadrons, the v. Kleist Horse Grenadiers to a similar strength(?), add a Cuirassier Regiment, a Hussar regiment, some more guns and some v. Kleist Light Infantry.

That should make a nice little force, smaller than the French, but able to stand well enough against them in the field, especially if they ally up with my Bavarians once they’ve been built up to 2 Foot and one Horse unit.

I think that’d be enough to occupy me for the next twelve months or so.

What are your longer term plans?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Wagon Hill Container

I have spent the best part of the past five or six days researching respectively the Saxon Cavalry from about 1740 to 1763 and Field Bakeries.

Enquiries in the usual places have yielded quite good results on both topics, but in the case of Field Bakeries, the process has been linguistically interesting.

The materials I have forund on Field Bakeries have been exclusively in either French and German, both languages with which I am not very familiar - although my French is FAR better than my German. As a result I have been using Alta Vistas' online translation software "Babel Fish". We are all familiar with it's limitations - it is linear, processing a sentence one-word-at-a-time and thus provides a literal translation that often lacks the sense of what the author was trying to convey. Then there is the problems with words that may have more than one meaning. I fear that this software will only use the most common meaning used for that word, thus in the fairly specialised translating required for English-speaking users the French word for "Grenadier" which has a very specific meaning in our context tends amusingly to get translated as "Pomegranate".

Then there are German compound words. I fantasised today about being a German speaker who might have been something of a military buff who wanted to find out what the amusing English term "Cartridge Case" meant. Imagine his surprise at getting back a result like "Wagon Hill Container "!

If no-one else has done it, I am going to start compiling a glossary of French and German 18th Century military jargon. If anyone wants to contribute, please email me at . We can discuss terms like "hat lace", "facing colour*" and "turn-back" and compile a list.

*OK, "coleur distinctive"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Painting Panzers - OT???

I bought a box of Armourfast PzKwIIIG this weekend and have been happily painting them in North African livery. To this end, I purchased some of the appropriate Tamiya shade and some Matt White with which to lighten it.

Assembling the kits was a breeze. For anyone who is not familiar with the Armourfast kits, they are very basic with upper and lower hull, complete track units, turret, and a vew detail units to complete a satisfying model in a simple kit that takes little time to throw together.

I halted construction when I had the hull, turret and tracks as seperate units. I sprayed these in a flat black as an undercoat and then proceeded to paint these in German Dark Yellow.

Tamiya does this colour as an attractive sort of orange-ish tan. I laid this on with the biggest, flattest brush I own. The first layer was laid down quickly and lightly over the whole kit and the idea was to get good coverage while leaving the black undercoat in all the recesses. More paint was layered on with the aim of producing on a nice, smooth coat onto the flat surfaces of the vehicles, the aim being to get an almost "enamelled" surface. The black base-coat will create shading in the recesses.

Next will be to highlight with a couple of successively lighter shades put on with a lighter dry-brushing per coat.

Finally I will give the vehicles a very light dry-brush of Panzer Gray to simulate wear on the Desert Yellow base-coat.

I will then gloss varnish the vehicles and apply decals from my spares box.

I hope to finish off by washing the tyres with a thinned gray then lightly spraying with a little Tamiya USAF Tan and then an even lighter spray of white - both to simulate dust. Finally I'll apply a coat of mat varrnish to dull down the finish of the vehicles.

I'm a bit painted out on the 7YW just now, so I'm taking a few weeks out on this project; I'm thinking of a couple of batallions of Commonwealth troops and a company of Panzers, some reconnaissance troops and a Panzer-grenadier battalion. A nice diversion courtesy of Rapid Fire.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Mustering the Forces

OK, I was mucking around with the whole of my French infantry tonight and was pretty impressed with how they look en masse. What you are seeing here is the result of about two and a half years' work; nearly as long as I've been a member of the Old School Wargamers Yahoo Group.

May I take the opportunity to thank everyone who might visit this place for their inputs - especially Stokes, Jeff and Alte Fritz - who have long been regular and supportive contributers, and to acknowlege the role that OSW has had in giving me the inspiration and ongoing encourgement to keep both this blog and this project going.

My most sincere thanks to you al,l and I genuinely hope that we all keep in touch, sharing ideas, stories and perhaps even having a few laughs on the way.

Thank you.
Now, I've got some Croats to paint, so I'll be back later...

Berry Regiment - 95%

The Berry Regiment as of the weekend - almost done barring three NCOs, two musicians, an officer and a little terraining.
Establishment is set at a mounted Colonel, two ensigns and three "companies" , each of an officer, a drummer, an NCO and 12 musketeers. A total of 48 figures.
I've about another campanys' worth of French figures on the pile. Now, I know that I was speaking last week about usuing them to kick off another regiment, but I'm thinking of using them to round out a couple of the other existing regiments.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What's on in the Duchy

UPDATE 22 August:

I wrote this to a friend today and thought it germane - it's slightly edited to conceal some identities:

(Replying to a query about the Strudelberg Game)

Very slowly; I got all distracted by Bill P in the US wanting to do a Ticonderoga/Carillion game for the 250th Anniversary next year and have been madly painting my commitment of French troops to send him (about 100 figs) whilst also helping out a little with some bits of research for the scenario.

In the meantime, I've also gotten involved with Andrew from the group that did the super Gallipoli game at CanCon who it turns out is also a fan of the Australian Colonial scene and doing a "The Russians Are Coming!" scenario at some stage soon - so it seems I must also paint 80-100 British/Victorian Infantry in Home Service Dress at some stage in the not-too-far future. Blimey.

Still, I've managed to finish a Hungarian regiment, a Bavarian regiment (each about 50 figs) and another 50 Grenze and 20 Mounted and 10 dismounted Dragoons. I've still got plenty of unpainted Grenze and Bavarian Dragoons to be getting on with though.

And Austrian hussars, too.

Forgot those.

In the meantime Amy and I are off to Europe on the 27th September for six weeks. Decision time when I get back.

I've just ordered a TSaTF unit of Sikhs and a representative sampling of the rest of the Castaway Arts NWF ranges which I'm meaning to review for Battlegames. Can I say that they were launched with a bang at Historicon? It makes for good copy..!
PS: Do I sound like I'm a little over-committed?


I’m delighted to report that I’ve just laid my hands on a nice hard-back copy of “Setting Up a Wargames Campaign” by Tony Bath. I’m just in the process of absorbing it now and am loving every minute – thanks to Paul and Teresa Bailey of “The Keep” via eBay. They give excellent and speedy service for those who are interested.

The “Berry” Regiment is coming along very nicely and ought to be pretty well finished by the weekend. This is going to bring my French infantry up to 7 battalions: The Gardes Francaises, the Gardes Lorraines, La Reine, Bourbonnois, Languedoc, Bearn, and of course, Berry.

I’m keen to keep going and I think I might make a start as soon as these guys are finished on another unit of infantry, perhaps one of the senior regiments – Picardie, Normandie or Champagne? I’ve also a few more Bavarians to paint before I can sign off on the Leib Regiment. Not sure which just yet. I’ll follow this up with some more cavalry – I have some stockpiled that I am itching to get started on just now.

On another note, I've just bought a laptop with on-board WiFi and have finally gotten around to buying a 1GB card for my camera. I've loaded up Photoshop on the device to pretty the piccies up, so I'm looking forward to doing some mobile blogging from the six weeks starting 27th September when my partner Amy and I go off to Europe. Whoopee!

Monday, August 13, 2007

NCO for the Berry Regiment

The figure – on the right in both images has been converted from the RSM French NCO on the left of both images.

Basically I’ve cut off the right hand, the left arm and the hat from the original figure. The right arm has been bent into a posture more suited to a walking or “advancing” pose, whilst the left arm has been bent a bit and glued on so that he might credibly be thought of as carrying his pole-arm. The amputated hat has gone onto the carefully sawn-off top of his head. I think this really changes the look of the figure, giving it a much more erect carriage than the original.
UPDATE: The figure also converts nicely to make a gunner hauling on a wheel, I've since found. I think I'll paint mine up as an infantryman pressed into serving a gun. I think the figure could also be capable of wielding a variety of artillery tools.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

NCO and Colours for the Berry Regiment

More infantry need painting up today to glear the goals I set myself for the week. I've nearly finished converting the NCO, as you can see here. He looks pretty good so far - I'll need to patch him up with some Green Stuff where his hat meets his head and his re-positioned left arm meets his shoulder. I'll also need to re-model that part of his coat I had to saw through to get his hat moved!

From the Warflag site with a little re-touching done in Illustrator. I like to make my flags a bit over-size so they stand out more on the table. These are 35mm square.

I need to cut the flag-poles down a little and add finials. Perhaps I'll add the cords from fuse-wire or the like.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Eagle Miniatures - review in brief

UPDATE 13.08.2007 : Added image of an RSM French and an Eagle Prussian Infantryman.

Recently I laid my hands on some samples from Eagle Miniatures. They are a company trading out of the UK with a small-ish number of ranges covering NApoleonics, ACW, Moghuls, 7 Years' War, 100 years' War, and a few Hadendowah in 28mm and in 15mm range covering Napoleonic Russias and the Franco-Prussian War. These ranges are all fairly eclectic and incomplete, the 100 Years' War range amusingly containing a King Arthur, a Knight returned from the wars and a Welsh Spear-man.

I ordered some sample French and Prussian infantry, a personality figure of Frederick the Great and a Prussian Dragoon.

Well, what a mixed bunch they were. Overall the figures are quite nice, really. The cavalry sit their horses well (unlike say, Elite!), the infantry are quite pleasing in their way too, although some more than others.

I would rate the animation of the castings as being a cut or two above Old Glory. What I mean by this is while the figures have some of that OG liveliness, they still maintain a certain stately poise. the sculpting of the figures themselfes is somewhat unrefined, perhaps even a little crude by todays standards. the figures are not "fine" in the manner of Staddens or RSMs, and to me represent a couple of paces down the road that leads to the Foundry stable of figures.

The figures have a few neat touches. I like the way the prussian dragoon had a notch cut out of the front of his shoulder so hos sword-arm (cast pointing out from his body) could be bent forward and secured with super-glue. The marching Prussian infantryman with shouldered musket is a gem, as is the Grenadier in the march attack pose. I was especially impressed by his mitre. Lovely, and I'd love more to create a grenadier batalion.

On the downside, I understand that this is an older range of figure and that there would be some flash from the review of another OSW-er. Fair enough, and this was removed with a sharp blade. Why though was I as a customer who clearly stated that he wanted some samples (the implication being that I wanted to test the waters before I dropped hundreds of dollars on a few 60-figure batallions) would you as a manufacturer supply imperfect castings? The Prussian Dragoon was missing most of his musket, and if you look at the secoind figure from the right in the picture of the Prussian infantry, you'll see the Ensign was missing the top half of his flag-pole!

And please, if you are going to market a personality figure as Fredrick the Great, it'd be nice if he looked like him!

The French infantry were OK, but nothing to set my world on fire. I'm sorry to say that my benchmark for French infantry is the old "Willie" range ang these suffer by comparison looking, simply, crude.

I'll paint these to solidify my view, but for now, I'd create a batalion of Grenadiers and a Dragoon Regoment with these figures, but probably stop there and carry on with my RSMs.


I've been on a bit of a book-buying spree recently.

As a result of my recent interest in logistics, I went and bought Martin van Creveld's "Supplying War". I'll report back as I get through it. A quick scan looks fascinating - thanks to those who put me onto it.

Recent eBay wins have put me in posession of a number of new Blandford uniform books which I always treasure for their lovely plates.

Another gem was the Ian Weekly book on building wargames terrain. A cut above the "Touching History" series, I think!

Furthermore, I've also acquired about 30 White dwarf mags from all stages of their first 140 issues and so I feel I have the best of the series - certainly WD isn't really what it used to be.

Introducing the Regiment de Berry

Here is the first company (plus a few extras) of my new regiment, that of Berry.

Note that I have finally (!) gotten around to making a start on terraining the bases. I'm using a gap-filler, plaster-in-a-tube sort of a preparation - it's easy to use, dilutes with water and requires only a wet sculpting tool or finger to shape it.

I'm using some GW "Scorched Grass" for vegetation; I just pop a dot or two of superglue on the base and dunk it in the pot and it's ready to go. A quick zap with the spray-on varnish and it's (hopefully) there forever. I think that the varied colour of this mix looks rather better than the electric green also available from GW. I definitely think that "less is more" with this material.

I am painting another company currently and hope to have them finished off for the weekend. At the same time I'm also terraining the bases of my large company of Compagnies Franches de la Marine. Furthermore, I'm thinking of converting the fairly useless French NCO figure into something a little more NCO-ish.

You know, looking at the lads as I am just now, I really want to do a 2-3 figure command vignette.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Cavalry Melee

The weather here is a little unseasonably spring-like and this young man's fancy is turning toward... the Cavalry Melee.

My thoughts currently stand at this point, but I recognise that this is very underdeveloped.

Now, I do seem to remember that this topic was discussed at no small length on the OSW site in times past.

I think what I'm wondering is how in many of even the most terrible cavalry fights, there was often relatively little blood was shed, but a decision of sorts was reached. Ultimately, I'm looking for a mechanism whereby we decide that Side 'A' bottles out and runs even though it has taken very few casualties - and indeed they ought to be hard for cavalry to inflict upon each other, as opposed to what happens to disordered Infantry once the Horsemen get among them.

I suppose it's all about the unit which maintains it's integrity, but how do we portray the loss or maintenence of this?

Another consideration is how to represent cavalry haring off into the ountryside after a charge and what mechanisms might be emplaced to make it possible for cavalry to reform after a charge and to become a potent force again?

I could just go and buy a copy of BAR, I suppose..!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Following a post at the OSW Yahoo Group by BP, I've decided to flesh out some of the characters from the Duchy of Alzheim.

Augustus II Rex - also known as Augustus the Fat. An enormous and impulsive Prince, he is known as the King in Alzheim on account of his being King to a 25-square-mile patch of Italy that he inherited from his second cousins' uncle in 1738. He enjoys eating, cuckoo clocks, lock smithing, international intrigue, eating, playing with the Meistersilber toy soldiers he was given as a boy, cheating at cards, eating and drinking.

He is certainly not gay*, but has little interest in HM the Queen. His own secretary may be forced to secure the sucession - ahem - for him.

It is said that his best friend, Dogge, was excecuted in front of him buy his humourless father. Rumour has it that they were to elope together, but by G_d it's a brave man who'll repeat the rumour.

Bauer - A2Rs amanuensis, dogsbody and general fixer. If Augustus is Prince George from Blackadder the Third, then Bauer is possibly being played by Rowan Atkinson. Were it not for him, well, whoknows the state Alzheim might be in. Perhaps a better state altogether?

von Browne - one of a prolific tribe of Jacobite emigres who settled in Alzheim aftere the Glorious revolution. He's somewhat elderly, but still spry. He is a straight arrow and views Bauer with the deepest suspicion.

*Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Update to "The Fight at Neumarkt"

From the Seven Years' War Project wiki:

Sunday December 4 at 4:00 AM, Frederick marched from Parchwitz straight towards the Austrian camp. The vanguard consisted of ten battalions with 800 volunteers from the whole army at their head, all the foot jägers, all the freikorps, all the hussar regiments (to the exception of Werner Hussar Regiment), the dragoon regiments of Czettritz, Normann and Jung-Krockow, and a battery of 10 heavy 12-pdrs. The army followed in four columns by the right flank. The first column consisted of the cavalry of the right wing of the first and second line. The second column was composed of the infantry of the right wing of the first and second line. Their rearguard was formed of the three battalions of Ostenreich, Plötz and 1/Prinz Ferdinand, which covered the baggage. The third column consisted of the infantry of the left wing of the first and second line. The fourth column was formed of the cavalry of the left wing of the first and second line. Werner Hussars had the rearguard. The heavy artillery were divided into two brigades and moved behind the second and third columns. Frederick himself was in the vanguard, he planned to establish his quarters at Neumarkt (actual Sroda Slaska), a little town about 22 km from Parchwitz.

Early in the afternoon, while Frederick was only a few km from Neumarkt, he learned that there were 1,000 grenzers and hussars in this town, with the Austrian bakery at work there and engineer people marking out an Austrian camp. Therefore, before entering Neumarkt, Frederick sent a regiment to ride quietly round it on both sides and to seize a height he knew of. Once this height had been seized by his troops, Frederick bursted the barrier of Neumarkt with the hussars, volunteers and freikorps of the vanguard, and dashed in upon the 1,000 light troops, flinging them out in extreme hurry. The light troops then found the height occupied and their retreat cut off. Of the 1,000 light troops, 569 were taken prisoners and 120 slain. Better still, the Austrian bakery in Neumarkt delivered 80,000 bread-rations, prince Charles had exposed his bakery too far ahead of his army.

Meanwhile, fearing that Frederick would move on Striegau (actual Strzegom) to cut his line of communication with Bohemia, prince Charles had come across the Weistritz River (more commonly called Schweidnitz Water), leaving all his heavy guns at Breslau, and lay encamped that night in a long line perpendicular to Frederick's march, some 16 km ahead of him. Prince Charles had now learned with surprise how his bakery had been snapped up by the Prussians.

Sources Quoted:

Public domain sources:
Carlyle T., History of Friedrich II of Prussia vol. 18
Donnersmarck, Victor Amadaeus Henckel von, Militaerischer Nachlass, Karl Zabeler, 1858
Relation de la bataille de Leuthen, Vienna, January 1758, pp. 472-477
Relation de la bataille de Lissa, Berlin, January 1758, pp. 477-483
Tempelhoff, Fr., History of the Seven Years' War Vol. I pp. 121-147 & 176-188 & 190-, as translated by Colin Lindsay, Cadell, London, 1793

Other sources:
Cogswell, Neil, Journal of Horace St. Paul 1757: The Advance to Nismes, Seven Years War Association Journal Vol. XI No. 3 and Vol. XII No. 2
Fuller J. F. C., The Decisive Battles of the Western World, Granada Publishing Ltd, 1970, pp. 571-576


Note that after using one of his Hussar Regiments to seize the height behind the town that "Frederick bursted the barrier of Neumarkt with the hussars, volunteers and freikorps of the vanguard". This suggests to me that Fred at Neumarkt had considerably more forces at his disposal than just a couple of regiments of Hussars. Perhaps we ought to include 800 volunteer infantry and a company or two of Foot Jaeger in the Prussian OOB?

It makes their beating up of 1000 Croats and a couple of regiments of Austrian Hussars seem a little less a formidable acheivement, though.
The images at the start of this article are of Hussar regiments 2 and 4

Thursday, July 19, 2007

For Jeff - RSM Dismounted Hussar

There you go!
He's not too useful for anything more than being in a command vignette, or so he seems to me. I've another floating around somewhere that i ought to paint just to see how my painting skills have progressed.
I've ordered 10 in Mirlitons from Garrison and am keen to see how they look. Pics to follow the minute they arrive!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Fight at Neumarkt

I was reading my new old copy of Duffy’s “Frederick the Great: A Military Life” whilst on my lunch-break today and I came across what might be an interesting little action that took place at what was evidently a walled town called Neumarkt.

It took place on 4th December 1757 in the days leading up to Leuthen. Frederick was with some Hussars in front of his Armys’ avant-garde when they received reports from local peasants that the town ahead held an Austrian field bakery as well as stocks of bread and flour.

As I read the action, it seemed to me that some of the hussars went to envelop the town from the rear whilst others dismounted, smashed their way in through the town gates with axes and then, using their carbines, winkled the enemy out.

Apparently two regiments of Austrian Hussars make their escape but 100 Croats were killed and another 500 were made prisoner.

I assume the Austrians had at least two regiments of hussars and a battalion of Croats while the Prussians must have had at least one regiment of their own Hussars.

Minor Update: The Prussians had 2 regiments of Hussars; HR2 (Zeiten Hussars) and HR4 (Puttkamer Hussars).

This brisk-seeming episode might make the basis of an interesting little game, and I wonder if anyone has any more detail on force composition. And what a good opportunity to get the Old Fritz onto the table-top for a minor action!


Taken from "History of Friedrich II of Prussia" Frederick the GreatChapter IX. - Friedrich Marches for Silesia by Thomas Carlyle

Found online here.

Sunday, December 4th, at four in the morning, Friedrich has marched from Parchwitz, straight towards the Austrian Camp; [Muller, p. 26.] he hears, one can fancy with what pleasure, that the Austrians are advancing towards him, and will not need to be forced in their strong position. His march is in four columns, Friedrich in the vanguard; quarters to be Neumarkt, a little Town about fourteen miles off. Within some miles of Neumarkt, early in the afternoon, he learns that there are a thousand Croats in the place, the Austrian Bakery at work there, and engineer people marking out an Austrian Camp. "On the Height beyond Neumarkt, that will be?" thinks Friedrich; for he knows this ground, having often done reviews here; to Breslau all the way on both hands, not a rood of it but is familiar to him. Which was a singular advantage, say the critics; and a point the Austrian Council of War should have taken more thought of.

Friedrich, before entering Neumarkt, sends a regiment to ride quietly round it on both sides, and to seize that Height he knows of. Height once seized, or ready for seizing, he bursts the barrier of Neumarkt; dashes in upon the thousand Croats; flings out the Croats in extreme hurry, musketry and sabre acting on them; they find their Height beset, their retreat cut off, and that they must vanish. Of the 1,000 Croats, "569 were taken prisoners, and 120 slain," in this unexpected sweeping out of Neumarkt. Better still, in Neumarkt is found the Austrian Bakery, set up and in full work;--delivers you 80,000 bread-rations hot-and-hot, which little expected to go such a road. On the Height, the Austrian stakes and engineer-tools were found sticking in the ground; so hasty had the flight been.

How Prince Karl came to expose his Bakery, his staff of life so far ahead of him? Prince Karl, it is clear, was a little puffed up with high thoughts at this time. The capture of Schweidnitz, the late "Malplaquet" (poorish Anti-Bevern Malplaquet), capture of Breslau, and the low and lost condition of Friedrich's Silesian affairs, had more or less turned everybody's head,--everybody's except Feldmarschall Daun's alone:--and witty mess-tables, we already said, were in the daily habit of mocking at Friedrich's march towards them with aggressive views, and called his insignificant little Army the "Potsdam Guard-Parade." [Cogniazzo, ii. 417-422.] That was the common triumphant humor; naturally shared in by Prince Karl; the ready way to flatter him being to sing in that tune. Nobody otherwise can explain, and nobody in any wise can justify, Prince Karl's ignorance of Friedrich's advance, his almost voluntary losing of his staff-of-life in that manner.

Likewise, from Henty:

At four in the morning on Sunday, December 4th, Frederick marched from Parchwitz; intending to make Neumarkt, a small town some fourteen miles off, his quarters. When within two or three miles ofthis town he learned, to his deep satisfaction, that the Austrians had just established a great bakery there, and that a party of engineers were marking out the site for a camp; also that there were but a thousand Croats in the town. The news was satisfactory, indeed, for two reasons: the first being that the bakery would beof great use for his own troops; the second, that it was clear thatthe Austrians intended to advance across the Schweidnitz Water to give battle. It was evident that they could have had no idea thathe was pressing on so rapidly, or they would never have established their bakery so far in advance, and protected by so small a force.

He lost no time in taking advantage of their carelessness, but sent a regiment of cavalry to seize the hills on both sides of the town; then marched rapidly forward, burst in the gates, and hurled the Croats in utter confusion from Neumarkt, while the cavalry dashed down and cut off their retreat. One hundred and twenty of them were killed, and five hundred and seventy taken prisoners. In the town the Austrian bakery was found to be in full work, and eighty thousand bread rations, still hot, were ready for delivery.

This initial success, and the unexpected treat of hot bread, raised the spirits of the troops greatly, and was looked upon as a happy augury.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

More on Logistics

In the Austrian service, soldiers generally carried up to four days’ supply on them. Baking companies supported the army with ovens that were built up with brick over iron hoops that could be assembled and broken down with relative ease and were thus relatively mobile. This stands in fairly stark contrast with the permanent structures erected by the French.

More generally on food, the Austrian soldier was allowed 1 pound of meat (which he had to purchase for himself from regimental butchers - albeit at a reasonable cost) and 1.75 pounds of bread per day. In February of 1760, the Austrian troops in Saxony would work their way through 300 oxen per week, and the army as a whole would consume 700 in the same period.

Some notes on supply and Transport in the Bohemian, Silesian and Saxon areas.

The Prussians had certain logistic advantages:

*Easy river transport down the Oder and the Elbe Rivers.
*Strongly defended forward fortress depots at Cosel, Breig, Schweidnitz, Neisse and Glatz that could be replenished either directly from water transport or via short overland haulage.

The Austrians laboured under corresponding disadvantages:

*They had no secure magazines near the theatre of operations. Both Prague and Olmutz ware deep within Bohemia and cannot count at “forward” depots on the Prussian model. Dresden was more conveniently located, but was not always in Austrian hands!

The Austrian response was the creation of filial or ‘flying’ magazines of no fixed location which were established and re-established throughout the war in various locations in Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia and Saxony as was convenient.

Leitmeritz and Lobositz in Northern Bohemia, were convenient to the headwaters of the Elbe as depots, although they themselves had to be laboriously stocked via overland routes running the four wheeled horse carts used by the Austrians. These carts could each carry a load a little short of a ton. The Danube was useful from bringing supplies out of Hungary, but was prone to icing in the winter months.

Source: primarily Duffy's last book on the Austrian Army.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Painted Eureka Saxons

I'll get some better photos up in the next day or two. More painted figs to follow as I complete them.

The blue-faced troops are from either the Prince Xavier or von Frankenburg Regiment, whilst the Fusilier is from the von Rochow Fusiliers. This last unit was created when the artillery protection troops went into the line in the 1730s, hence the colour of their coats and facings being the same as those of the gunners.

UPDATE: Ahh, that's a bit better.

A Wargamers' Progress

It was about 1985.

I was of about school-leaving/university beginning age.

Since about 1982, I’d been a fan of Military Modelling Magazine and was buying it regularly. I’d even gotten my toes a little wet by buying (with an IRC) by mail order my first order of RSM Miniatures (Mounted General, Mounted Officer, four fusiliers marching, two “Lorraine Grenadiers” Marching, an Officer a Highland piper and a woodlands Indian) at ruinous expense.

I had discovered my local Mind Games store in town. Mind Games sells to this day all sorts of SF, Fantasy and Historical games, mags, RPSs, chess-sets, Cleudo box sets, you name it. They were also the only stockist for White Dwarf Magazine and GW/Citadels’ products.

By the time White Dwarf had hit the mid 130 issues, I was thinking, wow, could things be any better? There were the earlier amazing issues – ohh – say, 30 to 100 with Dr Who, Judge Dredd, Paranoia, Call of Cthulhu, and too many other brilliant things to mention. Even by 135 or so we were getting neat stuff like Mad Max – err – GorkaMorka, but what really got me going was the Brettonnians.

Beautiful models and great for the 100 Years’ War, too! I’ve still got stacks of them either part or fully painted. I’m sure I painted more men at arms than Knights as I could never get the hang of painting all that heraldry.

Weren't the figures terrific though? The foot knights, the archers (one giving the "two-fingered" salute), the arbalastiers, the gunners and their groovy guns, the cool and (importantly) easy to paint men at arms. I want more and constantly haynt eBay, looking, looking...

At about this time too I also came across “The Courier” a wonderful American magazine which happened to be running a nice little series of articles on the French and Indian War that year. Having read the “Action at La Belle Famille” article and pored over the grainy black-and-white photography, I was lost.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Logistics - The French Army

I’ve started doing some research on the logistics of the Eighteenth Century.

I thought I’d share what seemed to me to be some of the more thought-provoking things I’d come across.

Just for a start, it’s all about bread. The horses could be fed from whatever fodder could be scrounged, munitions were probably one of the least bulky and troublesome things that could be transported, but without bread your army starts to starve.

An army of 100,000 men consume, in the French service at least, 200,000 pounds of flour per day.

The bread ration was issued every four days. Bread was nominally edible for nine days after it had been baked, although I imagine it’d be good only for toasting, and that after the mouldy bits had been cut out.

Again in the French service, the practice of the day was that field ovens were constructed no more than three days march from the grain stores and only two days’ march from the Army. Consider what this means for the French Army; the bread was baked in brick ovens. It was reckoned that 40 ovens were needed to bake the bread for 100,000 men. At times houses had to be demolished to provide the necessary raw materials. Construction of said ovens took as long as two weeks.

For these reasons it must have taken little to upset ones’ plan of campaign! Imagine your army leapfrogging in carefully planned steps from one laboriously constructed set of field ovens to the next, they themselves built laboriously at least two weeks beforehand and no more than three days from your magazines. You yourself, on receipt of your two-day-old bread knew you could march for no more than seven days before your bread became inedible and that your troops at the outset would have to hump the lot on their backs.

The upshot of all this is that ultimately, the French Army of the day could be no more than about five days from their magazines. An unexpected retrograde movement could send the Army along paths unprepared from a logistical point of view and this lack of supply could lead to every evil attendant upon maurauding, breakdown of discipline and desertion.

Almost entirely culled from Lee Kennetts' book "The French Armies in the Seven Years' War" - rarish and not too easy to obtain, but highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Review of Eureka 100 Club Saxons

Ordinarily I'd pop this one on "Rants Raves and Reviews", but this is just a sneak peek for now.

I ordered a fairly huge number of Eurekas' 100 Club Saxons.

Basically I ordered Musketeers, Grenadiers and some Fusiliers with which to make up the von Rochow Fusiliers. I ordered some other bits and pieces, more on which later. I left off ordering the Leibgrenadier Garde figures because I couldn't afford them and also because my RSMs were filling that role quite nicely. I may order some later.

Initial impressions are good. Excellent sculpting as ever, fine finish to the miniatures, no mis-casts, some difficult castings were pulled off with characteristic aplomb. I ordered way too many of everything as usual and find myself with enough lead to build four and a half battalions of Musketeers, a battalion of Fusilieers and one of Grenadiers. Each troop type comes with Officers, NCOs and Drummers appropriate for their arm. The Musketeers and Fusilieers include standard-bearers; the grenadiers do not as they were the converged companies of several different regiments and as such did not bear colours. Great faces on the figures too, who seem to be marching along with every evidence of zesty panache.

One small quibble here is that half the command figures are marching along in poses similar to the private soldiers, while the other half are at the halt, standing at attention as though accompanied by an as yet non-existent firing line. This kind of makes fully half the command figures I was supplied with look pretty odd. What are they doing? Directing traffic?

The best thing about this range is it's completeness. There are extras over and beyond the normal 100 Club ofering; Eureka have really pulled out all the stops here it seems to me. There is a mounted General, there are mounted regimental Officers; afoot there is a pioneer, complete with axe and leathern apron. Did I mention the oboist and hautbois? They are there. There are gunners for the battalion guns, albeit in somewhat static poses.

Did I mention the battalion guns? It seems to me that Eureka are offering the light artillery left over from their old "Countess Sandra" 7YW Amazons as battalion guns. They fit the bill well enought it seems to me. Nicely cast little weapons they are too.

Now I come to the problem that I perceive with the range. I have to make a rather large confession here: I assisted the commisioning party with some of the uniform research. As I understood it, the range was to be of Saxons of the Seven Years War. The army that was reconstituted after the Saxon army was impressed by the Prussians after Pirna in 1756. To that end I provided my materials which convinced me that the Saxon Army of the time wore collars on their coats.

I can see my girlfriend rolling her eyes at this point, but bear with me, I'm anally retentive on these things.

The Eureka castings do not have collars on their little coats. Nor are there lapels visible on their waistcoats. To me this does not read as the Saxon Army of the 7YW, but rather of the 1742-45 period of the War of the Austrian Succession. My Stephen Manley booklet and my book on the Saxon Army by Wolfgang Friedrich suggests to me that the Saxons of the time were adopting a collarless, unlapelled coat. My Sapherson, Pengel&Hurt and (again) Wolfgang Friedrich lead me to believe that a collared coat was worn in the Seven Years' War.

I ought to note that Richard Knotel disagrees and is with Eureka on this one! Who am I to argue? I do think that there ought to have been made some attempt to reconcile the different indications provided by the sources.

It does I suppose highlight a problem that Eureka have with these 100 Club projects. They have to rely on the research of the people proposing the projects. They've been caught short before with their AWI Marbleheaders, I seem to remember, which is a pity.*

I'm not sure what the solution is, perhaps Eureka need to do some independent research on the projects their commisioning parties put forward, perhaps.

All this being said, I recommend these figures most heartily, especially if you are - as I am - rather more interested in the War of the Austrian Succession than the duller Seven Years' War!

If you do take them as being of the WAS, then please do remember that the Fusilieer castings will serve as Grenadiers in the earliest part of the conflict.

Hohenfreidburg, Soor/Sohr and Kesselsdorf await!

*They were missing pikemen and African-American soldiers, I believe. "Caught short" is a bit harsh. Rather say they've been let down in the past by the standard of research by some of those comissioning some of their 100 Club projects.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Hey, I’ve been uncommonly quiet over the past week and a bit.

I’m sort of in between orders from RSM – having run out of Dragoon castings to paint - so I’m painting a few other bits and pieces.

Speaking of that latest RSM order (which went out on June the 15th), it looks like a very cavalry-oriented time is coming on for me. I’ll discuss them in a little detail:

3 x S1-105 English Trooper Charging (I like to use these as my squadron-officers these will be for the Bavarian Dragoons)
12 x S2-109 French Light Dragoon (I’ve finally caved in and admitted to myself that I desperately want a squadron of Schomburg Dragoons)
4 x S5-022 Prussian Gunner in Waistcoat (I’ll be painting these as some Infantry regiment or other to assist a couple of gunners manning a battalion gun – a bit of an experiment, we’ll see how it goes)
6 x S5-101 Prussian Hussar in Mirliton (I decided I wanted to paint that snazzy-looking Prussian Hussar Reg’t who were all dressed in black)
11 x S6-104 Austrian Hussar in Busby (re-inforcements for the Croats, and the first of two squadrons)
8 x S6-105 Austrian Dragoon Trooper (to become the residue of the second Squadron of my Bavarian Dragoons)
26 x LH-005 Galloping Horse - Legs Spread (I’ll be painting a lot of horsies!)

I have alluded to this a bit in my previous post where I seem to have a lot of French odds and ends on the table. I’m working up toward a commitment I made to Bill P to get some troops painted for a 1:10 Fort Ticonderoga game that he and some other fellows are putting together for 2008, being as it is the 250th anniversary of the battle.

This project will let me paint up a whole pile of castings that were just gathering dust and give my French and Indian war collection a bit of a kick on – which it has been needing for ages now. I’m quite excited by this one, and I’m thinking I really ought to get the new troops blooded before they climb into a big cardboard box and fly to the US!

I’ve really been looking closely at my RSM French castings. I think they could easily stand in for some Spanish and Italian regiments of the Italian phase of the War of the Austrian Succession. Just thinking and imagineering as I flip through the pages of my Stephen Manley booklets…

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Recruits. Breakers of the peace beware!

Alzheim troops experiment with the newfangled three-deep firing line while the Grenadier Company of the Languedoc Regiment practices it's bayonet drill.
Some of the men appear to be training in their waistcoats only!
For shame! Whatever next? Gunners shedding their coats in the Service of their Pieces?