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Friday, 28 April 2017

(P)Russians


 The Archduke correctly deduced that my new flag was intended for the Russo-German Legion, or Russisch-Deutsche Legion (RDL) to give them their proper title.

The idea of painting the RDL came about thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Mark S in the US, who contacted me early this year with  an offer of some Der Kriegspieler Russians which were surplus to his requirements. All Mark asked in return was that I cover the postage.

The RDL was raised in  Russia in 1812 by the exiled Graf Peter of Oldenburg at the instigation of the Tsar Alexander I. Its ranks were filled with German prisoners and deserters taken during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It eventually rose to a strength of 10,000 men and included cavalry and artillery units as well as eight battalions of infantry. Its early adherents hoped that it would be the revolutionary vanguard of an all-German uprising against Napoleon. Its paymasters, however, were British, and Britain wanted it to form the backbone of the new Hanoverian army that was raised in North Germany in 1813.

It is not known if flags were ever issued to the infantry of the Legion but it is known that one was proposed for them by Ernst Friedrich Graf von Münster, an influential Hanoverian member of the British cabinet. Münster proposed St George as the central motif, accompanied by an inscription calling on all and sundry to join in the downfall of the "Dragon". Other sources mention that St George was to be surrounded by oak leaves.

It was a logical proposal. St George already appeared on the Russian imperial coat of arms, and the white horse would also appeal to Hanover. The colour scheme, however, is entirely my own invention, although with inspiration taken from other Russian flags and the arms of the Moscow Governorate, which also features St George and oak leaves intertwined by a scroll.

The figure I've converted to carry the colour is a Der Kriegspieler from Set # 55: Russian Line Infantry 1812, At Ready. He is painted to represent a soldier of the 1st Brigade of the infantry of the legion, which had red facings. The 1st Brigade would eventually be absorbed into the Prussian Army as the 30th Infantry Regiment and it would fight in this guise during the 100 Days. One can be sure, however, that the Prussian authorities would have ditched the flag!

Most of the rest of the battalion will use Russians from another DK set, # 191: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Attacking. I've modified these by removing their plumes and turning their heads slightly to the left in order to give them more of a charging appearance. Also pictured is my drummer conversion, who was made by soldering an old Hinchliffe drum to his leg and replacing his musket with stainless steel pins for the drum sticks.


The last variant I've used, pictured left, is the charging Russian line infantry officer from DK set # 57: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Command.

 To finish off, the last shot shows the 15 figures I've completed so far. The complete battalion, plus their commander if I can make up my mind about who this should be, will feature in the next post.


My thanks, once again, to Mark.

WM

Friday, 21 April 2017

Dubious Standards

The completion of the Field Battalion Bremen has brought my coalition army up to parity with the Franco-Bavarians. Next off the blocks, I've decided, should be another Allied battalion. I may even follow this up with more Allied units in order to give my honourable opponent, JC, a decisive advantage in our next encounter.

The only thing I've got to show at the moment is the flag, which is another of my coke can efforts. It's rather speculative, but not entirely so.

Can anybody guess who might have carried it?

All will be revealed in the next post....

WM


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Rid Jarmins




Having failed to deliver a completed Field Battalion Bremen as promised last week, this week's post comes with a bonus Hanoverian general. He is Hinton Hunt BN 254: Lieut-Gen. Charles. Count von Alten, in General's full dress uniform, on horse BNH 11. Both figures are David Clayton castings, I believe, but are very fine.

Marcus Hinton clearly based him on the magnificent portrait of Alten that hangs in the Bomann Museum in Celle. The painting even provides an intriguing little peek at the decoration in the corner of his general officer's shabraque, which one only very rarely gets to see as paintings from the era always seem to show just the plain blue-grey shabraque cover used by British general offciers on campaign. I liked this detail so much that I even had a go at incorporating it on my figure.



Alten is to command the now completed Field Battalion Bremen, with whom I am really quite chuffed, having wanted a 'thin red line' of my own for about as long as I can remember. Less successful, however, is the new shade of green I've been trialling for my tabletop. As in previous attempts, it's played havoc with the colour balance on my camera. The last shot, taken with the flash turned on, is the closest I could get to capturing anything like the actual tones. It may pay to invest in some whiter light bulbs, perhaps.





In other news, I'd like to say a big "hello" to David C, who has now embarked on his grand design to refurbish an army of Der Kriegspielers and Hinton Hunts. If you haven't seen them already, do take a look at the splendid first results on David's Miniature Minions blog.

Even more Hinton Hunt goodness is also now on show on Mark Dudley's Ilkley Old School blog. Mark's Austrians are simply stunning.

Finally, Rob G has sent me some photos of his absolutely spiffy Spencer Smiffies in action during a recent game. Further photos and one of Rob's uproariously entertaining write ups of the game should be appearing in a forthcoming addition of the Wargamers' Notebook.



Happy Easter everyone!

WM

Edit: I've added an extra shot of Alten to show his nearside. The resemblance to the painting is a lot clearer from this angle!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

At The Sign of the White Horse

As promised, I present the Field Battalion Bremen's command group and their ever-so-slightly speculative flag.

The flag design is based an illustration in an article by Ottfried Neubecker in Die Fahnen und Standarten der Armee des Koenigreichs Hannover, which was published in several parts in the Zeitschrift für Heereskunde (Berlin) in 1934, A flag of this form, according to Neubecker, was carried by at least some of the field battalions, although it is unclear whether they were actually carried before 1816.

Neubecker also doesn't specify any of the colours on the flag, so what I have presented here is an educated guess based on other Hanoverian flags and heraldry.


The figure is a Der Kriegspieler British line or guard infantry regimental colour bearer from the set # 150: British Line/Guard Infantry 1815, Command Group.

The first task was to rub off the original British regimental colour markings using a steel burnishing tool from a ceramic arts set. I then inscribed the roundels using another steel ceramic arts tool. The roundels are a little larger than they ought to be as I wanted to give myself a little space to work with and to help fill up the huge expanse of white on the rest of the flag.

The officer is from the same set #150. I've pictured him next to an original unpainted example to show how I've modified him.  That right arm was so horribly modeled that I simply had to do something about it.

One of the interesting things about this figure is that it is not based on the Hinton Hunt British infantry officers, but on the British Royal Artillery officer instead. Whoever made him evidently forgot to remove his sword hilt from his left hip!

I could have used British light infantry officers for this battalion, but went for the line infantry variants as it seems fairly clear that the Bremen battalion's officers wore Belgic shakos. There's a very good illustration of one (albeit in his original light infantry green) in the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, here.




The rest of the battalion is past the halfway mark and should be ready to put on show by next weekend.

Wir sehen uns dann!

WM


Saturday, 25 March 2017

King George's Other Army

The first half of my first Phase-Two infantry battalion is ready for inspection. It is the Field Battalion Bremen, one of the regiments of King George III's Hanoverian Army.

Strengthened with a sprinkling of British troops and German freikorps units in British pay, this new army sprang into existence in 1813 following the collapse of French power in Northern Germany. After campaigning in Germany in 1813 and 1814, the Hanoverians would eventually march to the Low Countries and were still garrisoned there when the Napoleonic Wars broke out afresh in early 1815.

In its early days the Bremen and Verden Battalion, as it was originally called, was dressed as light troops in stovepipe shakos and Rifle green. By the time of Waterloo, however, it had been re-organised and equipped as a redcoat battalion. Opinions differ about the other details - some sources suggest they were also issued with new Belgic shakos, for example, and had blue rather than the black facings I've given them here. However, most agree they retained their distinctive dark blue trousers and black leather equipment. Whatever the details, they're certain to brighten up my Prussians a bit, and provide a brilliant excuse for adding all sorts of other weird and wonderful units.


The figures I've painted so far for this battalion are taken from the Der Kriegspielers sets:

# 153: British Light Infantry Battalion 1815, Firing x 11; and
# 154: British Light Infantry Battalion Command Group, Drummer, x 1.



The next post will feature the rest of the command group and an ever-so-slightly speculative flag!

Have a great weekend,

WM

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Onwards and Upwards

Now that Phase One is complete I thought I'd set everything out again and have a think about where the Hinton Spieler ought to go from here.

The task in Phase One was to produce two starter armies of five infantry battalions, two cavalry regiments and two batteries each. I also wanted to get in a good mix of different types, including guard, line and militia units, exotic foreign regiments, skirmish battalions and a balance of heavy cavalry and lights. The result, I hoped, would be armies that were not only fun to paint and play with but which would serve as a call to action. What I actually achieved, however, was slightly more than this due to the unscheduled appearance of the Bavarians.

The Prussian Army
The Prussian Army Order of Battle:

2nd Neumark Landwehr Infantry Regiment
2nd/21st Infantry Regiment
10th (1st Silesian) Infantry Regiment
1st Foot Guards
2nd Silesian Schutzen Battalion

2nd Leib Hussars
Garde du Corps Cuirassiers

1 Line Foot Artillery Battery
1 Guard Foot Artillery Battery
1 Line Artillery Limber


The Franco-Bavarian Army
The French Army Order of Battle:

3rd Swiss Infantry Regiment
13th Light Infantry Regiment
Combined Voltigeurs
45th Line Infantry Regiment
1st Chasseurs a Pied

7th (1st Vistula) Line Lancers
Dragoons of the Imperial Guard

1 Line Foot Artillery Battery
1 Guard Foot Artillery Battery
1 Guard Artillery Limber

The Bavarian Army Order of Battle:

4th Bavarian Line Infantry.

The obvious thing to do in both cases (Plan A) is to simply double the Prussians and the French. This would create two-battalion guard, line, light, reserve, landwehr and foreign infantry brigades and also light and heavy cavalry brigades. However, there is the small matter of that extra Bavarian battalion which would start to look increasingly anomalous.

An alternative plan (Plan B) is to regard the Bavarians as the beginning of phase two and to embark on two allied forces. The result would be very colourful, but wouldn't get me very far towards a coherent order of battle.

Plan C is to do a bit of both!

No prizes for guessing which one I've decided to go for. The first battalion is now half finished and will be the subject of the next post.

Till then,

WM

Onwards!