Tuesday, 3 April 2007

British artillery (1)



One point of difference between the AWI and other 18th century wars is that the AWI was not a particulary artillery-heavy war. A gamer does not need to amass large numbers of guns and crews before he can refight historical engagements. Flicking through the "British Grenadier!" scenario book (published by Caliver), I note that the later southern campaigns require much less artillery than the larger northern battles of 1776-8. The Camden scenario, for example, requires 7 guns in total (at 1:10 scale), Cowpens requires just 1 gun for the British, Hobkirk's Hill 3 in total and Guilford Courthouse 2 for each side. So 6 or 7 guns and crews will be more than enough for most battles. The largest battles of course need a lot of cannon. The most guns a gamer would ever need (at 1:20 scale) would seem to be 26, if you wanted to game the whole of Brandywine yourself. The Monmouth scenario calls for 8 British guns and 9 American ones. I currently have 13 crews in my collection and will be restructuring and adding to these as I paint up the new Perry packs.

One complication is that there are various callibre of cannon. The scenarios variously call for 3-pounders, 6-pounders, 12-pounders and howitzers, so if you want to have exactly the right type of gun on the table you are going to need lots of spares (also, the woodwork on British guns was usually painted a blue-grey colour, whilst that on American guns were natural wood, apart from captured artillery). Luckily, Front Rank sell individual cannon in their 18th century equipment range, but beware: these guns are huge when compared to those from the Foundry and Perry ranges. As those latter ranges do not (as yet) have a 12-pounder, I bought the cannon in these photos from Front Rank. But these are their 6-pounder guns, not the 12-pounders, which are almost as large as the 24-pounder siege gun in the Foundry range! The 3-pounder is a tad larger than the Foundry/Perry 6-pounders.

Collecting artillery is helped by the fact that the uniforms of American and British artillerymen were very similar: dark blue coats faced red, with yellow facings. Given that the British often removed the lace from their uniforms and no doubt shifted into shirtsleeves and other campaign modifications, one can easily mix and match and use the same figures for either side. I have been doing exactly that with some of the Foundry packs, using the colour of the woodwork on the guns to differentiate the two sides. The new Perry packs, however, allow you to be far more specific, as they have produced different varieties of campaign dress for the British. More on those anon. In these photos, the yellow lace and tricorne-tape mark the troops out as the Royal Artillery in Royal Warrant service dress. The grey woodwork on the guns is further evidence of a British battery.

This battery was painted for the National Army Museum refight of Brandywine in November 2005. Their commanding officer, Brigadier Samuel Cleaveland, can be seen in the background in the first photo. The bronze metalwork was painted using the Foundry "Gold" and "Burning Gold" palettes with extensive washes of brown and chestnut ink and some GW Copper colours. The blue/grey woodwork was painted with a combination of GW greys and Foundry blues. Mounted on 60mm x 70mm bases. The crews are Foundry, guns Front Rank and Cleaveland and his aides are from the Old Glory "Dismounted General Staff" pack. Painted September 2005.


1 comment:

Artilleryman said...

I agree about the difference between the Front Rank guns and the Perry/Foundry ones. However, I do like the Front Rank guns for their very bulk. I can't quite figure if the others are perfect to scale, but they don't seem to give the impression of the bulk and weight of guns of the period. Front Rank do, and you can buy them seperately without a detachment to serve them which is actually an advantage.