Thursday, November 15, 2018

Los Rios Regt. in Austrian Service

A ground level view of the Los Rios regiment - first battalion.


Yesterday, I finished the painting and basing of a new battalion for my SYW Austrian army. The battalion has 42 figures allocated across five bases that are 60mm frontage and 80mm depth. Normally I go with a depth of 40mm, but I wanted the battalion to match up with the Austrian regiment Lacy (2 battalions) in firing line, which had bases of the same dimensions.

The deeper stands allow me to add in a third row of file closers. Drummers were supposed to be positioned on each flank of the battalion while a row of NCOs with pole arms keep the rank and file in line.

Los Rios battalion seen from the front right flank.
Los Rios was a regiment based in the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium and Luxembourg) and it came into Austrian service in 1725. You can read the regimental history by clicking on the link to Kronoskaf.

The regiment had a uniform of green facings and until 1762, a green waistcoat, which makes it rather unique in the Austrian army of the SYW. So of course I had to have this regiment in my Austrian army to give it more variety in appearance. In an endless see of white cloth, the regiment really stands out from the other regiments.

The battalion is in the marching pose and with the extra depth of the base I was able to add a third rank of file closers consisting of drummers, NCOs and officers. I have the option of removing one of the stands if I want to use a smaller 32 to 34 figure battalion, compared to my new Prussian battalions that have 32 figures.
Here you can clearly see how the file closers create the illustion of a third rank of figures.

My original intent was to have a 40-figure battalion (8 figures per stand), however, by placing one figure on each stand in a third rank, this resulted in several stands having a configuration of 4 figures in the front rank, 3 figures in the second rank, and 1 NCO figure in the third rank. That second rank with only 3 figures did not look right to my eye, so the easiest solution was to simply add another figure (the nineth figure on the stand) to the stand in order to have 4 figures in the front rank and 4 figures in the second rank.

A front view of the battalion. The file closers are less noticeable from this angle.

Front view of the Los Rios first battalion. You can tell that it is the first battalion of the regiment because it has the white Inhaber's colour as well as the colored orange regimental flag.

Same as the picture above, only a little bit closer in view.
I will undoubtedly paint the second battalion of the regiment because I usually paint both regiments in my Austrian and Prussian tabletop armies. I really like the look of the battalion on the deeper base as the third rank of file closers really sets it off in an attractive manner.


This morning I received pictures of the new greens sculpted by Richard Ansell. The new batch of figures will include four French heavy cavalrie wearing bearskin hats, four French foot grenadiers in bearskins, and 4 Austrian horse grenadiers wearing bearskin hats. It was a bad month to be a bear apparently.  

You can see pictures of the new figures by clicking on the link to the Fife and Drum Miniatures forum:

I usually post pictures of new Minden SYW and Fife & Drum AWI figures on the forum a few days before they are posted on my blog. I would encourage readers to click on the link to see the new swag. However, if you are not a forum member, you will have to sign up before you can see all of the new goodies. There are very few rules on the forum, i.e. no requirement to post anything or comment on any of the news posts. So if you want to be one of the lucky few who get an early preview of new figures, then why not sign up for a free forum membership?

The new figures are rounded out with some personality figures for the French army, includeing Lt. General Chevert and Marshal de Broglie plus a French kettle drummer to use in your Minden cavalry regiments.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Austrian Battalion Organization (32/40/48 figures)

Austrian regiment Lacy with two 32-figure battalions


I completed the second 32-figure battalion of the Austrian Regiment Lacy the other day. The regiment has two battalions of 32 figures all in the firing line pose. The extended muskets necessitated the use of a deeper base of 80mm with a frontage of 60mm. Usually I use a 40mm deep by 60mm wide base for my figures.

The extra depth on the stand protects the leveled muskets, but it also has the bonus of providing more area on the base to add grass, shrubs or battlefield debris to tart up the stand of figures a little bit.

Here are both battalions of Regiment Lacy deployed side by side in a single line.

Just for the fun of it, I pushed some of the stands together to see what the Austrian battalion would look like with either 32-figures on four stands, 40-figures on five stands, and 48-figures on six stands. I must say that I am rather taken with the 40 figure battalion on a symetrical looking five stands. I could use this organization also for the marching pose figures. In this instance, I could use the same 80mm depth and have room for two lines of marching figures and then a third line of file closers such as the NCOs and drummers. That would look very nifty, in my opinion.

What do you think? Please leave a comment in the comment box so that I can guage the opinion on a different organization.

Here is what the battalion would look like with 40 figures.

Here is what the battalion would look like with 48 figures.

Below is a picture of one of the display shelves at the entrance to my wargame room. Among the items shown are the HMS Beagle model, a 1930s radio with bakelite case and several paintings by Chris Gregg (pen and ink on the lower shelf and oil paint on the picture on the wall).

One of the display shelves in my wargame room

I am really giving consideration to building two new Austrian and Prussian armies in the 40-figure organization on the deeper bases. I know that it is crazy to have three different basing formats for my SYW armies, but then I'm retired and have a lot of time to paint figures if I so wish.

My basic armies of Austrians and Prussians are 30 figures on five 40mm x 60mm stands.

My Russian and Pommerian Corps Prussians have 32 figures on four stands.

I could end up building new Austrian and Prussian battalions in the 40-figure organization on five stands.

I can keep my same cavalry figures (2 horse per 2x2 inch squares and 24 figure regiments), but perhaps would have to add another dozen figures to the regiments to keep them proportional to the larger infantry battalions.

Good Gawd, what fun!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Prussian Raid Into Poland 1759 - Updated Information

Map showing the rout of the Prussian incursion into Poland in February 1759.


I have found some additional information about the raid that the Prussian general Wobersnow conducted into Poland in February 1759. A tip of the  tricorn goes to reader Dave Franklin for pointing out a more detailed account of the raid on the Kronoskaf website.

I have been able to fill in more details about the path taken by the Prussian forces on the return trip to Silesia, from Posen in Poland. See the blue dash lines to follow the route.

Kronoskaf details the raiding force of Prussian Major General von Wobersnow as a force of 8,000 horse and foot plus 12 artillery pieces:

Grenadieri battalion Kleist (37/40)
Grenadier battalion Carlowitz (47/G-VII)
Markgraf Karl (1 btn)
Bornstedt (1 btn)
Frei-infantrie de Salenmon (1 btn)

Szekely Hussars (250 men)
Puttkamer Hussars (250 men)
Norman Dragoons (5 sqds)
Alt Platen Dragoons (5 sqds)
Bredow Cuirassiers (5 sqds)

Artillery - 12 guns

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Maps for Raid on Posen

Map of the area around the Russian supply depot at Posen, in Poland.

Double click on both maps to enlarge for better viewing.

Yesterday's post about the February 1759 Prussian raid into Poland to destroy Russian supply depots really needed to have a map in order to follow the action. So this post rectifies that by adding an annotated map of the Silesia-Posen area. The annotations circle the towns mentioned in the Lloyd account and I added some dashed lines to indicate the path of the raiders.

Annotated version of the map

Prussian raiding force - General Wobersnow:

6 battalions of infantry
25 squadrons of cavalry = 3 cavalry regiments, each having 5 squadrons
? Artillery pieces

I would speculate that there would have been one or two battalions of grenadiers in Wobersnow's infantry forces. I could read the number of cannon that were taken on the raid because my facsimile copy-reprint has a big old black ink smudge over the area that provides the number of cannon. I would speculate that two 6-pounder cannon would accompany the task force.

Russian Defending force - General Kramachokow
The Lloyd account merely mentions that Kramachokow had a "considerable corps" that probably included a large number of Cossacks. However, Kramachokow was headed towards Pommerani and New Stettin, which is well north of Posen. Another detachment of cavalry commanded by Colonel Dalcke is mentioned as travelling on the road to Posen to intercept or scout the raiding force.

I think that a fun little scenario could be devoloped using this information.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Prussian Raid Into Poland - February 1759

I found this interesting little nugget of information in a book called, "History of the Late War in Germany" by Lloyd - Volume 3, which covers the years 1758 and 1759. I was particularly drawn to the year 1759 as I am doing some research on the battle of Kunersdorf, fought in 1759. The short piece describes a Prussian raid into Poland to disrupt various Russian outposts and supply depots. (the long run on sentences and the poor grammar are a product of the times, noting that the book was published in 1790).


All these troops (the Russians) had been in quarters behind the Vistula river, and extended throughout the kingdom of Prussia; the light troops, even in the winter, often advanced to the frontiers of Pommerania, with a view to plunder and rise [sic] contributions, in which they generally succeeded, more or less, notwithstanding the vigilence of the Prussians cantoned in that country, who were commanded by General Schlabendorf. 

In the end of February, General Platen took command, and had his headquarters at Stolpe; it was resolved by the King of Prussia to send a corps into Poland, to detroy the enemy's magazines, which lay scattered over the country, before the front of the Russians, in small defenseless towns and villages, guarded only by paraties of 20 to 30 men, contrary to all rules of prudence, which require, that no depot whatever should be placed before the front, or in defenseless towns, and well defended, for an army cannot like a traveller, find inns on the road, or refresh or nourish it.

To put the project into execution, Major General Wobersnow was ordered to assemble a corps, near Gross Glogiau in Silesia, which consisted of six battalions, and twenty-five squadrons, and on the 24th he marched towards Poland.

In their way the Prussians took Prince Salkowski in his palace, and carried him and his guard (about 200 men) into Silesia on the pretence that he was connected with the Russians. From Lissa in Poland the Prussians marched to Posen, where they found a magazine, which they destroyed; at the same time General Platen sent a detachment of cavalry under Colonel Platen, along the Wartha towards Meseritz, where they destroyed a considerable magazine; after which the Prussians who began to want provisions, on the fourth of March quitted Poland, and having accomplished in a great measure their object, returned to Silesia.

The Russian account of this transaction says, that Colonel Dalcke who had been sent, with a detachment on the road towards Posen was informed, the Prussians had entered Poland in several columns, one under the King in person, another under Count Dohna, and were advancing towards the Vistula, all which, however false, was believed, upon which Colonel Dalcke was reinforced, and ordered to follow and observe the enemy in his retreat, but nothing happened worth mentioning.

This alarm obliged the Russians to take precautions, in case the enemy did really approach the Vistula, and the better to observe the enemy, a considerable corps under Kramachokow who commanded the Cossacks, was sent towards New Stettin in Pomerania, where a very sharp encounter happened, in which Captain Hohendorff, who had three hundred men infantry and (illegible) cannon, and captain Wussow with one hundred dragoons, had the advantage, having forced the Russians to retire with loss. Wossow was killed, and much regretted. The disposition made by these two captains would do honor to any general officers, one does not find many such captains. I mention this affair, in itself of no great consequences, to show there are men of genius in the lower rank of officers, whom a general should know, protect and employ.


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Another New ACW History Buff Joins the Ranks

Lelia at Fort Donelson National Battlefield Park

My daughter, Lelia, could have knocked me over with a feather recently when she informed me that she was interested in history. More precisely, she is interested in the American Civil War. Hoorah!

Dad & Daughter at Fort Donelson

She is going to school in Carbondale, IL and I said to her: "You know, Lelia, that your are living within a 2-hour drive of one of the most important battles of the Civil War. It's called Fort Donelson."

Lelia was excited to hear that and she asked if we could visit the site, just Dad and Daughter, the next time that I was visiting her in Carbondale. So we were visiting her on Parents' Weekend on the weekend of October 20, 2018 and I made arrangements to rent a car and drive to the battlefield on Sunday the 21st.

With a drive of about 2.5 hours one-way, we had a lot of time to catch up on things and have some lively discussions and debates about the state of the world today. That is priceless, as they say.

Lelia and a 12-pound Napoleon
When we arrived at the battlefield the first thing that we did was to stop in at the visitors' center so that Lelia could get a good background and overview of the battle and of General Grant's 1862 Campaign. We talked to one of the park rangers and he was envious that I had a daughter who was interested in Civil War history. "I hope that my kids will like the Civil War too," he said.

So we did the driving tour of the battlefield, stopping and getting out of the car at various places along the route. We got to see some very well preserved entrenchments and quite a good collection of artillery pieces. 

Lelia's favorite spot in the park was the view of the Cumberland River at the Lower Battery. I explained how Captain Foote tried to pass his flotilla of ironclad gunboats by the fort and reduce it with artillery fire at close range. This tactic had worked at nearby Fort Henry (which guarded the Tennessee River), but not so much at Fort Donelson. The battery of ten giant 30-pound Columbiad fortress guns pounded Foote's flotilla so hard that they had to turn around and retreat.

The lower river battery overlooking the Cumberland River.

Park display sign that provides information about Foote's attempt to capture the  fort from the river,
in the same manner as used to capture nearby Fort Henry.

I think that this is a 20-pound Parrot.

A view of the 30-pound Columbiad fortress cannon in the battery overlooking the Cumberland River.

I have visited the battlefield three times now and I had yet to see the Dover Hotel, where Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner surrender his army of 13,000 to Union general Ulysses Simpson Grant. When Buckner asked Grant what the terms of surrender would be Grant replied,"I have nothing to offer but complete and unconditional surrender of your forces."  Grant made it clear that if Buckner did not surrender, that he (Grant) was prepared to assault the fort with his army within the hour. Buckner accepted the terms.

Since Grant's initials were U.S. Grant, the Northern press took to calling him "Unconditional Surrender Grant."

It was late in the afternoon by the time we reached the Dover Hotel and discovered that it closed at 4PM. We arrived there at 4:15PM. So I have still not seen the hotel, at least from the inside, but I was able to view it from the outside.

Lelia at the Dover Hotel, where General Simon Bolivar Buckner surrendered to  Unconditional Surrender Grant.

The following Monday, we took the Amtrack train from Carbondale to Chicago and returned home. Lelia had developed a case of bronchitis and so her school recommended that she go home with us and get well for a week.

On the way home on the Amtrack train.

I have now taken the train on this route three times and I still am in awe of the sight of the Chicago skyline as the train rolls towards the final stop at Union Station.

Home is in sight - the impressive Chicago skyline from the south of the city.

We both had a great time on our first battlefield visit. I told Lelia that Fort Donelson was the very first Civil War battlefield that I visited with my father. So history seems to be going in full circle. She wants to see more battlefields with me, and soon. Given Carbondale's proximity to Franklin and Shiloh, I would imagine that one or both of those sites will be the location of our next battlefield tour. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Painting Tutorial: SYW Austrians

I was starting a new battalion of SYW Austrians so I thought that I would take a dozen figures aside and illustrate a step by step tutorial for how I paint Austrians. The Russian painting tutorial was well received so I hope that you will find this one useful too.

Twelve steps from primed figure (left) to finished musketeer (right)

Steps 1, 2 and 3
Steps 1 to 3: I start all of my painted figures with a coat of grey primer. I don't like how colors work with black primer and white primer oftentimes shows through for lighter colors such as red. Grey primer is a happy medium and works well for me.

I start the Austrian uniform with a coating of Ral Partha (or Iron Wind Miniatures - IWM paints, 77-707) "Light Grey" for my base coat (step 2). Next I apply a red brown color (IWM 77-713) for the flesh areas as the undercoats (step 3).

Steps 4, 5, and 6
Steps 4 through 6: The next step in the process (step 4) can be tediously time consuming and cause you to lose your will to live. However, it is probably the most important step in my painting procedure. I use a common craft paint black to black in the equipment on the figure. I apply black paint to the tricorn hat and the gaitors. I also apply black as an undercoat for all equipment items such as the musket and the fur pack. Remember how I don't like black primer? Well in this case, equipment items look much better underneath brown, which I use in step 6 for the musket stock, hair and fur pack.

Step 5 is the application of the red facing color on the cuffs and lapels. I use Reaper Pro Paints "Blood Red" (19002) for my basic red color on all of my figures. Through step 6, the figure still looks rather rough, but now that all of the base colors have been blocked in on the figure, the pace will pick up considerably from here on and make the painting of the figure fun and relaxing for me.

Step 6 is the application of all of the brown color (Reaper Master Series #09109) onto the musket stock, the hair and the fur pack.

Now the figures are starting to look like Austrian musketeers -
the transition from Step 7 through completion in Step 12
Steps 7 though 9: Now on step 7, I use some regular grey, mid-tone color for the hat lace and all of the cross belts. The grey is a common craft paint color. I also block in the dark yellow (P3 Rucksack Tan 93062) on the hat pom.

Step 8 is when we start to work on the final white uniform color of the Austrian coat. The white (P3 Morrow White 93073) is thinned down a little bit with a small drop of water to make the color flow that gives the coat color a consistent look. When I use the white paint straight out of the bottle I find that I sometimes get globs of pigment sticking to the figure in an uneven coat. Thinning down the white fixes this problem. I use white straight from the bottle for all of the cross belts because the thinning method doesn't work very well for smaller areas on the figure. I finish off the hat lace by using IWM Light Grey again - this time making small hash marks along the rim of the hat lace so that the darker grey underneath gives the lace some definition.

Step 9 is the application of red highlight color to the base red. I use Reaper Master Series Paint "Fire Red" #09004 for the highlight which helps to make the red "pop"!

Steps 7, 8 and 9.
 Steps 10 through 12 - finishing the figure

Step 10 is another one of my least favorite steps, the application of the metallic musket barrel and bayonet. I have yet to find a color that I really like, but for these models I used Reaper Master Series "Aged Pewter" #09196.

Step 11 is the application of brass (Valejo "Old Gold" #70.878) to butt of the musket, the buttons on the coat and the gaitor buttons, the hanger sword, the scabbard tip and any buckles that might appear on the figure. The gaitor buttons can be a bit of a pain to paint, but the Minden figures have raised buttons that are easy to paint by simply running the edge of your brush along the row of buttons.

Step 12 is when we add flesh highlights (Reaper Master Series "Dark Rose Skin" #09067), just dabbing a single dot on the tip of the nose, on the chin and on each cheek. I apply a couple of lines across the wrist of the figure. I don't paint knuckles, but some people like to do so. I also paint in the eyes by making a pin prick of white paint on each end of the eye socket, which I have previously painted black on Step 9. The final step is to paint the base of the figure dark green. Sometimes I will add some wood grain to the musket stock using Reaper Master Series "Oiled Leather" #09110 and use the same color as a highlight for the hair and fur pack.

Getting to the finish line: Steps 10, 11 and finally, 12.
In recent times I have stopped adding highlights to the muskets and fur packs on the theory that you can't discern the difference from afar. Also, I only use 2 colors rather than the triad paint system. One less color saves me a lot a time.

Steps 4 through 12 shows the progression of the painting after the initial base coats are painted.

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and that it will help you with some of your own painting projects. At a future date I will do a Prussian tutorial.