Monday, November 29, 2010

Spanish WIP #2

Below is the Walloon Guards figures that I've completed so far. Still to come are the command figures and the grenadier figure. I've painted the bag of the grenadier's bearskin bag already, and while it wasn't as bad as I expected, I still wouldn't want to paint a converged grenadier battalion!

More pics to come.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Isn't the web wonderful?

I've recently had 2 experiences associated with this blog that show how small the world is becoming.

Previously, if I'd found information that I wanted to share, I'd only be able to let people I know personally. Now I put it on the blog and anyone anywhere can see it. After my last posting, one of my regular visitors, Rafa Pardo, contacted me and offered to share his knowledge of Spanish uniforms with me. This morning I find in my email inbox 4 emails with associated attachments from the other side of the world from a man I have not met in person. Even 10 years ago this probably would not have been possible. Muchas gracias, Rafa!

The second experience concerns one of my book reviews. Checking the latest comments last week, I noticed the latest concerned a post I'd made several weeks ago. It turned out that the author of one of the books I'd reviewed had found my review and posted his thanks. I'd never contemplated the possibility that this would happen when I started this blog!

It truly is a small world!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spanish WIP

Here's my latest project; Spanish line troops. It's a relief to be painting infantry again after all that cavalry. For some reason cavalry becomes so tedious after a while. With Spanish infantry I won't get bored, though: there's so many different uniforms to choose from! (You may have spotted 2 Highlanders on the end of the stick; apparently Highlander regiments had larger numbers than ordinary line battalions, so I'm adding 2 more figures to the Gordons. I'm going to add to my 71st light as well, as they definitely had higher numbers than the line regiments they were brigaded with)

Also, in the background are the buildings I've volunteered to paint for the Aspern-Essling battle.

I've discovered a book from La Trobe University, that Rafa is probably familiar with, which has uniform plates of Spanish units of the Peninsula War, or La Guerra de Indepencia, by Carrera. It's in Spanish, but easy enough to identify units. I've taken a photo of the title page and a page of units that I intend to paint using French line figures. The bottom left and bottom centre figures wear French-style uniforms which will readily translate to painting conversions. I intend to base the division on Zayas' division from Albuera, but will probably throw in a few units, like the Santa Fe regiment, which didn't fight there, just for variation.

So far I've started with the Guardias Real Walonas, or Walloon Guards, the pick of the Spanish army, in their 1808 style uniform. To follow will be the Regimento Irlandais, one of the so-called Irish regiments, then a couple of white uniformed line regiments, Regimento Toledo in their handsome yellow faced brown uniform with bell-topped shako (some conversions required there I think) and the Voluntarios de la Patria, uniformed in a green French-style uniform.

Walloon Guards and Austrian buildings

Walloon Guards

No.s 3 & 4 to be painted up

Title page of useful find

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peninsula pugilism

Last Friday saw me at the club again for fortnightly battle. I finally got to christen the new Irregular cavalry, although I hadn't quite finished the 16th Light Dragoons. They did quite well for new figures, and were still on the board at the end of the night!

As it was the club's AGM, we didn't get started til later than usual, but there was still enough time for a game. We crowded onto a board with 4 French players against 2 British. Basically, 4 French brigades against 2 British divisions. I faced Andrew S. and John R. while John W. faced Tim and Garry (that meant I didn't have to face his Vistula lancers. Hah!). The plan was that I would hold the right flank, occupy the village and set up a defensive line form the village to the end of the board, while John W. went on the offensive in the more open terrain in the centre and left flank.

I gave my heavies to John as he had more opportunity to use them in the centre, and boy, did they make an entrance or what?! John W. had posted a vedette on the ridge crest and saw the approaching French infantry, deployed into line and then charged at the beginning of turn 2. It looked like it was going to be Salamanca all over again! One battalion of infantry was squished to red jam, while a second managed to get into square just in time. Of course, being British cavalry they went battle-mad and careened into Tim's square which stood and repulsed the charge.

After that excitement, we got on with the rest of the game. I conformed with our plan and occupied the village with the Portuguese while my British units deployed in line or were held in reserve. John R. had 2 6-figure dragoon units on his left, one of which he sent on a flank march towards his centre, the other advanced to the front. This is really where I should have charged him, as his cavalry had advanced far enough to opportunity charge, and with his 2nd unit headed off to the other flank, he could have been in trouble. I hesitated because I am not the most aggressive player and I was following the plan of staying on the defensive. As it turns out I may have been in better shape to defend if I had followed my instinct! John R.'s 2nd dragoon unit then popped up in a convenient gap in his infantry line, threatening my infantry, especially the 50th foot, still in column. As my units had no way of knowing about the cavalry threat over the ridge, I had to work out a way of them finding out.

Meanwhile, Andrew S. put in a charge against my 6lber foot gun battery on the ridge. As they approached outside the guns' arc of fire, I volunteered to abandon the guns in order to attempt to regain them later. Andrew's charge led him across the face of my troops in line which enabled me to pour a flank shot into him. Andrew's charge had actually gone out out of control, and with their blood up continued across the face of my line allowing me another free shot into the column's flank, which this this time caused them to retreat with losses. At this point, the retreat seemed to block the oncoming dragoons from any action, but in the process of taking photos, I missed the process that allowed this retreating unit to end up in front of John R.'s infantry leaving a clear path for the dragoons. I'm sure nothing fishy occurred, but from seeing the cavalry threat neutralised one minute to seeing it open again gave me a bit of a fright!

In retrospect, I should have detached skirmishes who could then have alerted the parent units to the cavalry danger, but I thought that if I advanced the line that had just seen off the infantry charge, they would be outside the cavalry's charge arc. They weren't :-( Instead of having the column of the 50th foot being the only ones in danger, both the line which advanced and the coulumn got plastered by the dragoons! After the dragoons tore a hole in my centre I moved the 71st Glasgow HLI into line to cover the resulting gap. I didn't want to be caught in square by infantry ahead of me, and planned to rid myself of the pesky dragoons anyhow. My reserve came up on the dragoons flank and fired, which pushed them back, but not far enough, now exposing the light infantry!

I then tried putting my light dragoons into echelon to be able to cope with danger from both directions, but only ended up triggering an opportunity charge from John R.'s other dragoon unit. This was more successful, though; He only won a minor victory and was left stranded behind my lines; anything he tried would result in me charging him. I did charge him after he tried to retrieve them and won a minor victory.

On my other flank I had taken the Portuguese out of the town and formed square with one battalion and taken the other to support the Highlanders who had deployed beyond the town. On this flank, John W.'s battalions that provided the link between my division and the rest of John's division had been broken by Andrew S. This left my left in the air. John had been having the best of his battle for the ridge, especially against Garry, but this event created the crisis of the night. He lined his troops for a death or glory 11pm charge which unfortunately was repulsed.

Another victory to France!

The heavy cavalry reserve

John R.'s troops

John W.'s infantry

Andrew S.'s French

Allon sie!

Who's pretty boy, then?

The British from right to left

The French from left to right

I set up my guns on the ridge with infantry and cavalry support

Deployed into line from village

Reserve moves up

John W. moves to take the central ridge

Andrew S.'s troops advance

The ridge is ours!

Andrew's troops skirt the vineyard

Tim moves a batallion up the hill and is charged by the heavy mob. No time to form square!

They carry on to the next batallion in square who stop them in their tracks.

Repulsed with loss and disorders, but still a job well done!

Guns and infantry advance

The view from the village

The British foot guns on the ridge prepare to unlimber

John W.'s line appears on the left in Andrew's flank

John R.'s forces in front of my right flank

Garry and John W. face off on the left flank

Tim's French advance in echelon up the ridge while John W. advances on the other side


The gunners flee their guns, while the lead elements of Andrew's column pass their flank past my line. Blam!

Run away!

Andrew reforms his troops to patch up the damage from his failed charge. Note the position of the retreating troops blocking the cavalry. Hmmm!

John W. and Garry come to blows. KGL infantry and Hussars against French line and Vistula lancers.

The Hussars chase off the Vistula lancers. Huzza!

The growing stoush on the ridge

The French withdraw

The foolhardy victorious British line follows up by advancing up the ridge to be met by.... dragoons!

Run away!

The dragoons crash on into the column!

Run away, too!

Help is on the way! The column arrives to deliver a flank shot.

I try to shore up my defence by moving the light dragoons into echelon, but the change of formation allows John R. to charge!

The gun takes a French dragoon out during the charge, but my lights are caught flat-footed and repulsed.

Luckily it was a retire and not a retreat, so they still face the enemy. John's dragoons are now stranded.

Portuguese leave their buildings.

The line at the base of the ridge in a pickle while the column, after seeing off the dragoons, are placed awkwardly with their flank to the enemy.

Andrew's troops massing while his gun plays along John W.'s line.

John W. stretched by Tim's advance in the centre and Andrew's threat at the right

Tim's main attack in the centre

Andrew moves in support of John R.'s guns

Let me at zem, zose dastardly Eengleesh!

The thin red line (in kilts)

Here's trouble!

My attempt at forming a defensive line, with the 2nd Portuguese unit moving in column to fill the gap between John W.'s line and my Highlanders.

John W.'s battalions break to the rear after Andrew attacks. The breach is made!

My successful cavalry charge sent John's dragoons packing!

Preparations for the last roll of the dice (literally!)

The charge goes in....

...but is repulsed!
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