Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The basing queue lengthens.

We are moving house on 2 March so I have been making a vain attempt to box things up, throw out unwanted stuff or put it on eBay, or trying to finish off what’s on the painting and basing desks so packing up and moving will be easier. (I wish).

The units below (like those Prussian cavalry on one of yesterday’s posts) are finished but require their bases doing. Just in case I don’t get round to them they’re already boxed up ready to travel. Again, hasty photos using my phone but I think you will get the idea.

This and the three that follow it are the beginnings of my 1806 Prussians (that I will unashamedly use for Valmy at some point too!). The infantry are from Forgotten and Glorious Miniatures of France that were on sale again briefly about 18 months ago at 50% off the marked price! Very nice but the muskets are a bit fragile. Flags by Adolfo Ramos.
These gunners are old Wargames Foundry. The commanders are more FG Miniz.
Two combined grenadier battalions.
These are some more Prussian cavalry. There is a squadron each of cuirassiers and dragoons (old Foundry figures)
The hussars are a mixture. The seven at the back are Foundry and the dozen closer to the camera are more FG Miniz.

I had some 'spare' Foundry/Casting Room Miniatures early Napoleonic Saxons (and I can't think why I had them in the first place its been so long since I bought them). So they're painted up as five battalions of Dutch for the War of the 1st Coalition in Flanders. Purists would say that the figures are not quite right but at least they are being put to good use. I have little in the way of information about flags for this period. Jan (of the Alde Garde club/blog) tells me they had changed from those carried in the mid-18thC and has sent me a few pictures but I might just cheat and use the older designs as I have a few WAS Dutch flags knocking around somewhere.

I doubt any of these will get based before we move, if only because I will need to buy some more tufts and static grass if I am to get them and about half a dozen other units all done and battle ready.

Monday, 15 January 2018

1806 Prussians, and some French

A few hasty photos of the latest candidates for the basing department. 1806 Prussians. Why not? A four-gun battery of 12pdrs, 36 cuirassiers (8th and 12th regiments) and 36 dragoons of the 5th regiment. These were all painted by my mate Barry and they are wonderful. I like my figures to have a gloss/satin shine (like they were when I were a lad), hence the shine. The figures are Elite; marmite to many but I love them, and the flags are from Adolfo Ramos, who supplies them ready made up for crazily cheap prices. 

This next couple of shots are not in the basing queue but they were temporarily residing in that part of the 'studio'. This is the French 23rd Cavalry of the early/mid French Revolutionary Wars era, painted for me by Mark Allen. Lush or what? Figures are Eureka.

Royal Navy boats

I picked these up off eBay months ago. Several of the oarsmen need adjusting as they appear to be 'catching a crab'! I think they are old Britannia Miniatures figures and boats. The big gunboat is rather wonderful I think. Accompanying the above were around 40 sailors (gun crews, ships crews and shore party) and another 30 or so Marines that I plan to use to crew my other Revolutionary War/Napoleonic vessels once I have finished them. The uniforms for the Marines is a year or too late for my 'period' but they would do nicely for Egypt or maybe even North America in the War of 1812.......Mmmmm? No! I have the hull of another of the gunboats that is slightly damaged but should be easy enough to patch up to add to the 'fleet', which is now getting rather large and just what I need for several ongoing projects and games I have in the pipeline.

French Revolutionary War mini-campaign part 2: More background - the Republicans

The Republican army and dramatis personae.

Lieutenant General Jean Baptiste Camille Canclaux, commander of the Republican Army of the West

Lazarre Hoche, second in command of the Republican forces in the region

The last post covered the background to the campaign and my thinking behind it, as well as outlining the forces available to the British and Emigres. The number of Vendean or Chouan units will be determined randomly by me, if indeed there are to be any present at any engagement. Republican forces will also be subject to ambush as they traverse the countryside, and small garrisons may be attacked.

The Republican forces have a significant numerical advantage but their troops are initially largely dispersed around the area in garrisons. Some have been sent north to deal with the diversionary attack at Quiberon, but doubtless return at some point. The quality of the Republican troops is mixed at best. At least 50% of all their infantry is classed as newly raised ‘levee en masse’ conscripts. 20% will be veterans and the remainder average troops. The artillery is average at worst, but the cavalry of the early/mid revolutionary period were notoriously poorly mounted and relatively few in number so this will be reflected in their unit statistics. Again, as with the British and Emigres, the French force composition will be dictated by the figures I have in my collection, but as I can put the equivalent of around six demi-brigades on the table I doubt I shall be short of figures.

Map 1 shows the general area of operations and Map 2 more detail including the locations of garrisons. A field army under General Canclaux will also enter the region at some point to put down the rebellion and drive the invaders into the sea, again when, and where it appears and how strong it is will be randomised. Republican commanders will, like their enemies, be either real characters historically involved against the real Quiberon expedition or inventions of my own making. One fabricated character will of course be the radical Jacobin General Jean 'Le Rouge' McCann, descendant of one of the 'Wild Geese'.

General de Brigade Jean Joseph Amable Humbert

General de Brigade Emanuelle de Grouchy

Map 1: A map of the coast of France showing the location of the diversionary landing at Quiberon and the main landing under this narrative at 'A' near St. Nazaire. One can readily understand why the historic landing on the Quiberon Peninsular 'C' was doomed to fail.

Map 2: Sketch map of the area of operations. 'A' denotes the main landing on the beach west of Pornichet. 'B' shows the secondary invasion at St Brevin les Pins.

French garrisons:

Nantes (Hoche): 2 demi-brigades, 1 demi-brigade legere, combined grenadiers, 1 cavalry brigade (Grouchy), 1 battery foot artillery, 1 battery horse artillery.
St Nazaire (Humbert): 1 x demi-brigade, 1 btn legere, 1 regt. light cavalry, 1 battery guns
Pornichet: 1 regt. light cavalry
La Plaine: 1 demi-brigade, 1 btn legere, 1 battery guns
Pirlac: 1 demi-brigade
Le Croisic: 1 light cavalry regt, 1 demi-brigade

Each 'fort/battery' marked on the map is garrisoned by a battalion of infantry of very dubious quality and a battery of coastal guns. 

The main army under Canclaux is to the north. 

Part 3 to follow soon.......

Thursday, 11 January 2018

French Revolutionary War mini campaign in the Loire estuary. Part 1

As mentioned in an earlier post, I thought I would kick off 2018 with a linked series of games framed around a totally fictitious and quite probably unlikely scenario set  around about the time of the real Catholic/Royalist uprisings that took place in the Vendee and Britanny starting in 1793. This is my back story so historical facts may, er .... definitely have been slightly twisted to fit in with it.....but not as bad as Mel Gibson might do! Place names are mainly real but many of the protagonists' names have in some cases been changed/made up. The emigre units are those that I have in my collection and include units that in reality operated under Dutch, Russian or Austrian command nowhere near this area of operations and in some cases weren't even raised in 1795. Similarly, not all the real allied commanders named in the narrative actually saw any action in Europe in 1795, but they could have. Does it matter? Non!

It is 1795. Unrest is again fermenting in the staunchly Catholic areas of western France, which have barely recovered from the  ‘terrors’ of the Revolution visited on the region at the close of the last uprising in 1793. The levee en masse and anti-church moves by the ‘government’ in Paris are still deeply resented. Many of the local provincial aristocrats and landowners are well liked and in their deeds and behaviour are a world apart from their counterparts typically seen in Paris before the revolution. Many of the local aristocrats and senior Royalist commanders are also dead, killed in action, died of wounds or executed by the Republicans in 1973.

In London Emigre leaders have approached His Majesty’s Government asking for help in launching an invasion in the region of the Loire estuary area in support of the soon-to-erupt uprising in the Vendee.   Several thousand French emigres are currently under arms in a significant number of regiments, all kicking their heels on the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands, and anxious not to be sent to the West Indies, a death sentence even more likely than if they were to be captured by the despicable Jacobins as a result of any failed European venture. HMG agreed to supply and transport the emigre army to France.

A British expeditionary force will accompany the emigres, with rather more limited objectives i.e. seize at least one deep water harbour, capture and/or destroy as much shipping and merchandise as possible within the area of operations and generally play merry hell with the Frenchies’ ability to react effectively to the uprising and the emigre incursion. Obviously, capturing and seizing ships and merchandise will be preferred to sinking and burning....a little matter of prize money of course. Privately the British have little confidence in the potential for the expedition succeeding beyond their material objectives but with nearly 10000 emigres eating up supplies in England the expedition will at least get them away for a bit on a bit of an outing. Several of the British regiments (the Guards excepted) have been brought up to strength by volunteers from the Militia so are not 100% fit for active duty but needs must.  In the historical timeline the emigres army landed in Quiberon Bay, and were joined by Breton Chuoan insurgents. In my version the Quiberon landings go ahead but only as a diversion to be withdrawn once their objective of drawing French troops away from the Loire has been achieved. The main army has landed in a far more sensible place to the north of the Loire Estuary, the objectives being the cities of St Nazaire and Nantes and to link up with remains of the Catholic and Royal Army of the Vendee.

The forces being assembled are as follows:
Comte Joseph de Puisaye

Comte Joseph de Puisaye and Comte Louis Charles d'Hervilly
Hussars de Rohan, 4 squadrons
Hussars de Damas, 2 squadrons
Dragoons Chevaliers Noble, 1 squadron

Royal Emigrants
Regiment de Bourbon
Mirabeau Legion fusiliers
Beon Legion fusiliers
de Watteville regiment
Chasseurs de Beon
Chasseurs de Lowenstein
Damas Legion Chasseurs

Salm Horse Artillery, 2 guns
Rotaliers' French Emigrant Artillery, no guns (expected to use captured pieces)

General Cyrus Trapaud as a young man. He is now 80!
General Cyrus Trapaud and Major General Sir George Assheton
Brigade of Guards (Abercrombie): 4 btns incl 1 of combined Guards' grenadier/lights
Moore's Brigade: 5 btns
Fox's Brigade: 4 btns
10th Light Dragoons, 2 squadrons
19th Light Dragoons, 2 squadrons
Marines and seamen from the fleet.
Royal/Royal Irish Artillery, 16 guns
Major General Sir George Assheton

Part 2 to follow soon.......