Background image is Les Dernières Cartouches (The Last Cartridges) by Alphonse de Neuville

Friday, December 30, 2016

Montmiral: One more in before the year ends

Well, I've done a good bit of gaming over the last few weeks, but not much wargaming. I did enjoy a rare visit with Mr Invisible, in which we played the first couple of turns of GMT's Caucasus Campaign, another from the stable of the accomplished Mark Simonitch. We enjoyed it, as we generally do his games, but after all the catching up we had to do (and solving all the world's problems), we weren't able to finish the game.

Apart from that, my limited effort has gone to preparing for the Montmiral game next month. But I've done sadly little actual preparing. I did pull out my Perry French, and I've gotten some of the infantry and a few officers ready for painting. But I've stalled out there. I've also (of course) picked up a few new books on the campaign, and I've been dipping into those, but only dipping.

Neverthless, I'll add a few snaps of the unpainted chaps, who have now advanced (almost all of them) to base-coated/primered status as I unleashed the wave of black gesso.

There are a couple of mounted officers, whose painting I will intersperse among that of the infantrymen as a reward for getting another batch done. Though probably company or battalion officers, these chaps on the left and right will be acting (for now) as brigade commanders. I don't think les vieux will really deserve a general officer (centre) until I have a fair number of infantry painted, plus some supporting arms.

Infantry officers (left and right) and general officer (centre)

Then there are the tête de colonne, another treat to paint as a reward, consisting of eagle-bearer, dismounted officer, drummer, and sapper.

Tête de colonne in front

There are a series of NCOs (both elite company and centre company) who I will intersperse on the group stands somewhat sparingly, so as to make their presence a little more special. Ideally, I'd like to use 28mm figures for skirmish/small-unit actions, but I've yet to find a set of rules that I think do a good job of depicting horse & musket action at that level (where the units a player commands are, say, platoon-sized groups), but maybe one day I'll find them. If those rules come along, I might pull these NCO figures out and base them as individuals; we'll see.

NCOs: elite companies (front) and centre companies (rear)

Then there are the skirmishing figures. These will get based as pairs, for the moment, as that provides a proper, historical visual cue as to how they fought and allows for dispersing them over a broader front. The simpler marching poses, of both elite and centre company figures, will get based in fours or sixes.

Skirmishers, loading and firing

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Slight diversion: The Battle of Montmirail, 1814

So, one of my local living history acquaintances recently began painting 28mm Prussian infantry and blogging about it, entirely off his own bat. :-) So, of course, I'm doing my best to suck him deeper into the realm of wargaming.

If he had picked 15mm, this would have been simple enough, given the large number of troops I already have painted in that scale. But since he picked the larger size, I have pulled some of my neglected Perry stock out of the back room and am preparing to slap some paint on it. He's got a good start on me (20+ Prussian landwehr infantry already ready to go), so I need to get going. We're hoping to have a small Black Powder set-to in January sometime, probably modeled on a portion of the battle of Montmirail, where part of the 1st Brigade of GM Otto Karl Lorenz von Pirch tried to collapse the French right flank, crashing into the Guard division of GdD Claude-Étienne Michel in the woods around Bailly. Since my friend has started off by painting landwehr, I'll paint up my French as the light infantry of GdD Étienne Pierre Sylvestre Ricard's 8th Division that were dispatched to help out Michel's Flanquers, Fusiliers, and Velites. No fair building guardsmen to fight militia! But if we stick with this battle, it would be kind of fun to produce some of the less famous regiments of the Garde that fought under Michel.

Edited to add a few links about the battle:

Wikipedia (with a nice order of battle)
History of War (passable summary but no maps, boo!)
a visit to the battlefield by my blogging colleague JJ (but he focused on the southern side of the battle while we are in the north with the Prussians)
the Nafziger order of battle
Vernet's (rather dark) painting (I mean, literally dark, hard to see)
the relevant chapter of Maurice Weil's history of the war of 1814, translated by Greg Gorsuch, from the Napoleon Series