Wednesday, 3 February 2010
British Auxiliary Legion Artillery (2)
As stated in my previous post on British artillery in the First Carlist War, the prohibition on regular army units serving in Spain was relaxed in order to provide the British Auxiliary Legion with trained artillery and engineering specialists. The legion did raise its own artillery crews, but these were supplemented by men from the Royal Artillery and the Royal Marine Artillery. The figures here are the Perry Miniatures pack of a Royal Marine rocket troop.
The Royal Marine Artillery was formed in August 1804, allegedly as a result of legal proceedings which held that Army officers were not subject to the Navy's orders. Its immediate purpose was to serve in bomb-vessels and gun-/rocket-boats (previously functions of the Royal Artillery) and to teach other marines and sailors how to operate guns. However, the men soon found themselves deployed in action on land at sieges and other engagements. 3 companies were raised initially but a 5th was added at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The corps was reduced to 2 companies in the early 1830s but expanded significantly in the following decades due to the demands of the British Empire and the need for trained artillerists on ships of both the Royal Navy and the merchant navy. By 1859 the Royal Marine Artillery comprised 16 companies and was formed into a separate division. In addition to Spain in the 1830s, the artillery saw service in the Crimea, Canada, China , New Zealand, South Africa, Egypt, the Sudan and Burma, usually as part of a naval brigade. The division was particularly heavily engaged in the 1882 Egyptian campaign and the Sudan. The marines seems to have specialised in capturing enemy guns and then turning them on their former owners - they did this at Kassassin and El Teb two years later. The Royal Marine Artillery's life as a separate division ended in 1923 when it was amalgamated with the rest of the Royal Marines.
These figures and equipment were painted the same way as before - Foundry "British Gun Grey 108" for the rocket launcher and "British Royal Blue 74" and "Deep Blue 20" for the crew. It seems that the men of the Royal Marine Artillery were called the "Blue Marines" because of their uniforms. I think this is an excellent set - certainly something you don't see on the tabletop that often and adds colour to the period. Again, I imagine that it's use is not limited to the FCW.
Painted January 2010.