Monday 26 October 2015

French chasseurs (3)

By way of a coda to my trio of French colonels, this is my completed unit of combined French chasseurs.  Back in 2011 I painted some skirmishers and a couple of officers, using figures from the Eureka Miniatures French Revolutionary Wars range.  I also started work on a close-order unit using the Perry chasseur figures.  I completed two 6-figure stands and was painting a third when I realised I had lost one figure - so my third stand only had five figures instead of six.  I decided not to buy a new pack just for that one figure on the basis that eventually it would turn up.  Of course it didn't turn up, and four years later, at this year's Salute, I decided to bite the bullet and buy another pack.  Naturally, a couple of weeks later I found that I actually already had another unopened pack which I'd completely forgotten about.  Then after painting that pack and the missing one figure I found myself with five figures spare, so I thought I'd paint up a 4-figure stand as well.  And now I have one figure left over.  As a result of all this farting around, this unit has grown beyond what I intended and, at 28 figures, is the second-largest unit in my AWI collection (the largest is my 32 figure Black Watch).

There are 5 regiments represented here, differentiated by the colour of their facings: Armagnac (light blue), Viennois (grey), Auxerrois (black), Gatinais (violet) and Royal Deux-Ponts (blue faced yellow).  I chose the Royal Deux-Ponts because I wanted a non-white uniformed regiment and I hadn't painted these guys before; I almost decided on the Dillon regiment instead, which I painted a while ago.  I like how with French combined units of chasseurs and grenadiers you can have very colourful mixes of troops - it's not all about white coats.  The way I painted the white coats is the same as with previous French infantry: undercoat with Army Painter "Uniform Grey" spray (an almost exact match with Coat d'arms "Uniform Grey 525" which I use for touching up); then first highlight of Foundry "Arctic Grey 33A"; second highlight of Coat d'arms "Light Grey 211"; third highlight of  Coat d'arms "Tank Light Grey 526"; then finally pure white (any brand that is to hand).  I like the shading and highlighting effects that this combination produce, although I appreciate the "look" won't be to all tastes.  I think the chasseurs are supposed to have hunting horns on their coat turnbacks - I did these for the earlier figures that I painted, but forgot on the later ones.

In terms of French chasseurs in the "British Grenadier!" scenarios, the position is somewhat complex.  The chasseur and grenadier companies of French infantry regiments did not operate in formal combined battalions like their British counterparts, but seem to have been thrown together in ad hoc units as the need arose.  For Savannah, you have 3 units of 6, 8, and 10 figures.  So that's 24 in total, and you can re-arrange into different sized units if you wish.  For La Vigie, you have 1 unit of 18 figures.  The storming of the redoubts at Yorktown has 3 units of combined chasseurs and grenadiers from 3 parent regiments (Royal Deux Ponts, Soissonais and Gatinois), each of 18 figures.  What I'll do for Yorktown is to use these chasseurs here as 1 of those units and then paint up 36 charging Perry figures, mainly grenadiers but with a base of chasseurs thrown in.   You need lots of grenadiers for Savannah (24 in fact), so they are next on the French list.

28 figures.  Painted August 2011 and August 2015.

The chasseurs with their 2 officers and 8 skirmishers
If you want to know what this photo is all about, you'll need to buy the 4th AWI/"British Grenadier!" scenario book from Caliver - out now!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Lieutenant-Colonel Curt Bogislaus Ludwig Kristoffer von Stedingk

Curt von Stedingk (1746-1837) was a Swedish aristocrat with impeccable military credentials.  His maternal grandfather was Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin, one of Frederick the Great's field marshals.  Von Stedingk first experienced soldiering at the age of 13, as an ensign in the personal regiment of the Crown Prince of Sweden and served in the even Years War (on the other side to his grandfather).  After time at university he joined one of the French army's "foreign regiments", the Royal Suédois.  This regiment had been created in 1690 from Swedish prisoners taken during the War of the League of Augsburg.  It recruited in Swedish Pomerania and so many of the rank and file were of German extraction, but the regiment was only allowed to have Swedish officers.  Von Stedingk became colonel of the regiment in March 1784. (The French army's foreign regiments were disbanded in 1791 and the Royal Suédois was reorganised as the 89th Line.) 

Von Stedingk arrived in America in 1778 with the first French force under the command of Admiral D'Estaing.  After the failure to capture Newport in August, the fleet moved off  to the Caribbean and in December the French fleet under D'Estaing began a series of attacks on British possessions.  The French seized first Saint Vincent in June 1779 and then Grenada, which was captured on 3 July.  Von Stedingk appears to have been present either at the seizure of Grenada or the fleet action between D'Estaing and Admiral John Byron that followed.  At the seige of Savannah in October he commanded the left column of the attacking force. His column lost some cohesion during the advance, which was undertaken under severe fire, but the French managed to capture a section of the British earthworks. Apparently von Stedingk managed to plant an American flag in the British trenches, but he was then wounded and a counter-attack by grenadiers and Royal Marines forced the French to retreat.  After the unsuccessful siege on Savannah, D'Estaing and his force returned to France.

George Washingting recognised von Stedingk's contribution to the war effort by making him a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati.  This society, the brainchild of Major General Henry Knox, was founded in 1783 to maintain links and friendship between officers of the Continental Army.  Other original members also included Louis de Nouailles.  Unfortunately, it seems that the King of Sweden, Gustav III, told von Stedingk that he could not wear the insignia of the Society as the award cam from people who had revolted against their king.

Von Stedingk remained in the army and participated in the Russo-Swedish War of 1788-90, a rather inconclusive affair which Gustav III began to distract attention from domestic issues (he was assassinated in 1792), and was promoted to major general.  He then served as Sweden's ambassador to Russia before taking to the battlefield again in the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809.   That war has some important effects on Sweden: Finland was lost and fell within the Russian Empire, and King Gutav IV was deposed and the House of Bernadotte became the new ruling family of Sweden.  Von Stedingk was the commander of the Swedish army at Leipzig in 1813 (which only participated in the action rather late in the day), following which he was promoted to field marshal.  He died in 1837, aged 90.        

The uniform took a bit of research.  From about 1750 onwards the regiment seems to have had dark blue coats with buff or yellow-brown facings, so resembling traditional Swedish infantry uniforms.  I found conflicting information about the colour of the blue - whether dark blue or a lighter colour.  In the end I went with a more medium/light blue, in part because the uniform would then resemble that of the Royal Deux-Ponts regiment and I could therefore use this figure as the commander of that regiment as well.   The Perry sculpt looks a bit older and more portly than you'd expect of a 35 year old.  I gave von Stedingk a powdered wig because that's what he wears in the various portraits of him that I've found.

1 figure.  Painted August 2015.


Monday 19 October 2015

Colonel Louis Marc Antoine de Noailles

Louis Marc Antoine de Noailles was born on 17 April 1756 into an established, very well-known aristocratic family.  The family held a dukedom, created in 1663, and it produced a long line of soldiers, which included several marshals of France - the French army defeated at Dettingen in 1743 was commanded by the third Duke de Noailles.   The family's links to the monarchy (one of the senior female members was a maid of honour to Marie Antoinette) ensured that it suffered during the French Revolution.  Some members were executed and others were forced to emigrate.  One of the grand-daughters of the fourth Duke escaped the guillotine only as a result of the personal intervention of the American ambassador, James Monroe - she was the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette.  

The family's future misfortune could not have been imagined when young Louis Marc Antoine arrived in America in 1780 with Rochambeau's expedition, preceded by his friend and brother-in-law Lafayette.  At this time, de Noailles appears to have been colonel of the Soissonnais regiment (at the age of 24).  He participated in the siege of Yorktown and helped arrange the terms of Cornwallis' surrender.  By all contemporary accounts, he was a brave, energetic and intelligent young man.  Like the Marquis de Rostaing, de Noailles was elected to the Estates-General in 1789 and was at first a keen supporter of reform.  However, the increasingly violent and extreme nature of the revolution persuaded him to leave the country, as he emigrated to the United States.  There he became a partner in the Bank of North America in Philadelphia.  This was the new nation's first central bank, given its charter by Congress in May 1781; it was liquidated in 1908.  De Noailles seems to have grown bored with life as a banker as he accepted an offer to join the Vicomte de Rochambeau's expedition to Haiti (then called Sainte Domingue) in 1802.  That expedition was intended to deal with the ongoing slave revolt on Haiti, but in May 1803 war broke out again between Britain and France and Rochambeau's force found itself in combat against a British squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir John Duckworth.  De Noailles acquitted himself well in the ensuing battle, but while travelling to Cuba afterwards his ship was attacked by and English frigate and de Noailles was severely wounded.  He died of his wounds in Havana on 9 January 1804.

De Noailles is painted here as a senior officer in the Soissonnais regiment, which had maroon facings.  I haven't yet painted that regiment and it doesn't seem to feature in the "British Grenadier!" scenarios.  As for de Noailles himself, in the published "British Grenadier!" scenarios he appear as a brigade commander in the Savannah scenario (with a "poor" rating, which seems a bit of a shame).

1 figure.  Painted August 2015.


Saturday 17 October 2015

Colonel Just-Antoine-Henry-Marie-Germain de Rostaing

This is the Marquis de Rostaing, the first of a trio of French officers for the AWI who I'll be posting about each day from now to Monday.  He is from the Perry Miniatures set AW148, "mounted French colonels", and I have painted each of the 3 figures as a specific individual. 

Born on 24 November 1740, Rostaing was a page of Louis XV and joined the army in his late teens, joining the cavalry as a lieutenant.  He then transferred to the infantry, becoming colonel of first the Auxerrois regiment and then the Gâtinais regiment in 1778.  His service in the AWI and, in particular, during the Yorktown campaign earned him promotion to brigadier rank in 1781 and then to marechal de camp.  After the war Rostaing, along with many senior military officers, was elected to the Estates-General of 1789, a meeting of France's three "estates" (i.e. the clergy, the nobility and the general populace), which was summoned by Louise XVI to help resolve France's financial problems.  This blog is not the place to go into the how's and why's of the French Revolution, but the meeting of the Estates-General in May 1789 was not a success and the Third Estate, representing the commom people, broke off to form a National Assembly with a view to governing France.  Two months later the Bastille was stormed.   Rostaing may not have been a fervent revolutionary, but he was clearly a man who saw that things had to change.  He served in the National Assembly and was appointed to the important Comité militaire  which supervised the new Republic's military affairs.   In 1792 he was promoted lieutenant general and seems to have retired soon afterwards.  He died in 1826.

I have painted Rostaing as a colonel of the Gâtinais Regiment (which I painted in 2011 - see here), hence the purple facings.  He remained colonel of the regiment until 1782, by which time it had been renamed the Royal-Auvergne regiment, as recognition for its heroics in taking Redoubt No.9 at Yorktown (the regiment eventually became the 18th Line).  Rostaing and his regiment were present at Savannah and Yorktown, so at the former battle he would have been 39 years of age.  This Perry sculpt looks about right for that age, I think.  I will be using these three mounted officer figure for, in effect, brigade commanders.  In the "British Grenadier!" scenario books Rostaing appears as a brigade commander in the Yorktown redoubts scenario (in the forthcoming 4th "British Grenadier!" scenario  book from Caliver).

1 figure.  Painted September 2015.


Wednesday 14 October 2015

Général de Brigade Baron Pierre-François Bauduin

Bauduin was born on 25 January 1768 and joined the French army in September 1792 as a sous-lieutenant with the 59th Line.  He was present at the siege of Toulon and fought with Napoleon's army in Italy, serving on the staff of General Herbin.  Bauduin distinguished himself at the battles of Montebello and Marengo, where he was wounded, and was given command of a battalion for his troubles.  He fought in the major campaigns of 1807-1809 and was created a Baron of the Empire in 1810, by which time he was colonel of the 93th Line.  He was wounded again at Borodino but survived the retreat to be promoted to Général de Brigade rank in 1813.  During the final campaigns prior to Napoleon's abdication, Bauduin commanded a brigade attached to the Young Guard.  He was decorated by Louis XIV but re-joined Napoleon for the Hundred Days, which saw him in command of the 1st brigade of the 6th division in Reille's II Corps.   It was in that position that he was mortally wounded while leading an attack on Hougoumont at Waterloo. 

This sculpt of Bauduin was a freebie at this year's Partizan wargames show (and many thanks to John "Levied Troop" Francis for giving this to me).  It's a nice little figure (sculpted by Bill Thornhill, I believe), although with minimal uniform detail so you have to paint on all the fancy general's braid.  His companion is a light infantryman from Perry Miniatures.  Bauduin's brigade consisted entirely of French light infantry (from the 1st and 2nd regiments).  I don't know exactly how he died, but leading a charge seemed an appropriate use of this figure.  I was going to have two infantrymen with him, but the base looked a little crowded so I stuck with just the one.  It will be a good while until I get around to painting up this chap's brigade.  Next up are a series of posts on more AWI French.

2 figures.  Painted August 2015.


Monday 12 October 2015

3rd New Hampshire

This is my second unit of American troops using the Perry plastic Continentals set.  I have a finished third, a South Carolina regiment, but I need to sort the flag out.  With each unit I've tried out a different set of hats.  The first, the 10th Massachusetts, used round hats and the Carolinians wear peaked caps.  These New Hampshire chaps have tricornes.  I painted the 2nd New Hampshire almost 8 years ago and decided to paint the 3rd simply because I liked the look of the uniforms.  The uniform leaflet in the Perry box shows this green coat and breeches outfit for the New Hampshire regiments and I thought it looked rather neat - it certainly makes a change from brown or dark blue coats.  Online references include brown faced red coats (which were issued at the end of 1778)  and even blue faced green, but I'll happily go with the Perry/Brendan Morrissey information, which I think works for the pre-November 1778 period.  I particularly like the yellow coat of the drummer. 

New Hampshire raised three infantry regiments in 1775 from the state's existing militia, which were quickly taken into the Continental line.   Then, in November 1776, the regiments that had become the 5th, 8th and 2nd Continental Regiments reverted back into being the 1st to 3rd New Hampshire Regiments.   The 3rd Regt saw heavy action during the Saratoga campaign and was present at Monmouth in 1778.   The regiment was disbanded in January 1781.

The standard bearer is a Foundry metal figure, but all the others are Perry plastics.  The green coats were painted with the Foundry palette "70 French Dragoon Green ".  The reason why some of the figures are "march attack" and others are "marching casually" is simply because I wasn't paying attention when putting all the figures together!  For the flag, I used one of my left over 2nd New Hampshire flags - in the relevant GMB pack you get a blue flag and a buff one, and I'd already used the former.  Quindia Studios have a very nice 3rd New Hampshire flag which I should have used (had I spotted it earlier)!

I've just emerged from 4 of the most difficult weeks I've ever had at work, and posting has suffered as a result.  I have a massive backlog of stuff now so I'm making a firm attempt to post at least twice a week.  So coming up are lots and lots of AWI French and Napoleonic French generals.  I've just finished the 2nd Continental Dragoons and currently on the workbench are the loyalist Emmerich's Chasseurs. 

18 figures.  Painted March-May 2015.  Flag by GMB.


Friday 9 October 2015

Mameluke Band

Napoleon's Mamelukes need little introduction.  Upon his escape from Elba, Napoleon ordered the reformation of the Mamelukes, to consist of one squadron to be attached to the Chasseurs of the Guard.  Sources appear to disagree on whether this squadron fully materialised and, if it did, whether it was actually present on the Waterloo battlefield and, if so, in what capacity.  120-odd Mamelukes may have charged with the Guard Chasseurs...we can't say for sure.  If they did, it's highly likely that the men were French rather than Turks or other men of Asian origin.   

These rather lovely figures are from Gringo40s, who have a small range of off-beat Imperial Guard types (I recently painted some of their engineer figures).  The also do Mamelukes and I believe Lithuanian Tartars are forthcoming.  The Mameluke figures are on a mix of walking and charging horses.  The walking figures include various musicians and I thought it would be fun to put together a small band.  The figures aren't cheap - the kettle drummer costs £5.95 and the other ones are £4.50 each, but I think they are beautiful sculpts and make a nice little vignette.  The other figures in the range include a "normal" drummer, an eagle-bearer, a standard bearer and a charging trumpeter.  I wanted the kettle-drummer to be centre stage, and thought another drummer figure would look a bit odd so I bought the cymbalist and the chap with the "jingling johnny".  This Asian instrument was used by Ottoman armies from the 17th century and made its way into European bands in the mid-1800s.  Apparently it is still carried by bands in the German Army and the French Foreign Legion.

For uniform reference I used the Osprey MAA on the Mamelukes and the relevant volume of the Histoire et Collections series on the Imperial Guard.   I didn't want the figures to be identically uniformed, but I used the same general scheme of red trousers and light blue to tie them together.  I decided to paint each of the horses as slightly different greys, given that the riders are all musicians.  The horses are all in the same pose, although the kettle-drummer's horse has more furniture and ornamentation.  By 1815 it seems that most, if not all, Mamelukes were actually Frenchmen, but I decided to use the Foundry "Mediterranean Flesh 125" palette to suggest some sort of different skin tone.  These were fun, if complicated, figures to paint.  The sculpts have lots of detail which makes them somewhat fiddly to paint, but I'm pleased with how they turned out.  Did Napoleon have a Mameluke band at Waterloo?  I've no idea, but if some Mamelukes were there I'm sure they would have had some musicians...

3 figures.  Painted August 2015.