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.