Thursday, September 27, 2007

Von Reusch's Black Hussars

HR5 Von Reusch Hussars - 30mm Staddens (by Der Alte Fritz)

Click on pictures to enlarge.

A Little Interlude In The Colonies
The past week has been rather busy, so Der Alte Fritz has not been able to post anything lately. Last Saturday, Bill Protz and Randy Frye visited Schloss Seewald for a game with my American Revolution figures. I set up a small 3-player game on the McPherson's Ridge Gettysburg terrain and was quite the gracious host in allowing my guests to win the game. The scenario sort of mimicked Buford's delaying action against Henry Heth's Confederates, only with Continental Dragoons filling in for Buford's boys and the British standing in for Mister Heth's lads. This time, there actually was a lot of militia at Gettysburg (which I called Chester Courthouse for this game).

So two brigades of British (one comprised of regulars, and the other comprised of Loyalists, Light Dragoons and the converged Light Battalion) advanced on the town and rather quickly blew right through the dragoons and the militia. Then General Weedon's brigade of Virginian Continentals arrived in the nick of time and just as quickly, they departed rather unceramoniously. It was a convincing British victory, to say the least. We used my own "Sons of Liberty" rules for the American Revolution (that would be the AWI to our British cousins across the pond), which are a variant of my "Alte Fritz SYW Rules" . The rules are printed on one side of a regular 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. I have also used the same mechanical system for "Age of Rome" and "Age of Napoleon". I will talk about the rules and this game in a future post, but for now, enough of the AWI. Let's get back to the Seven Years War.

The Black Hussars
One cannot help but find an attraction for those handsome rogues dressed in black with a skull and cross bones symbol embroidered on the front of their mirliton. This is Hussar Regiment No. 5, von Reusch, in the service of King Frederick II of Prussia. The regiment was formed in 1741 and recruited from East Prussia.

As Christopher Duffy puts it:

"They were renowned for the wealth of their officers and the ferocity of their hussars. Distinguished at Hennersdorf in 1743, and three squadrons distinguished in western Germany in the Seven Years War."

As noted by Duffy, Frederick sent 3 squadrons to fight in Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick's army in western Germany, along with 2 squadrons of the Yellow Hussars (HR7) and Dragoon Regiment (No. 10) von Finck. The remaining squadrons of the Black Hussars fought with Lehwaldt's army in East Prussia and were faced with the task of holding back the Russians. There is a rather famous picture drawn by Adolph Menzel which depicts a squardron of HR5 cleaving its way through a Russian artillery battery at Gross Jagersdorf. Such things warm the cockles of Der Alte Fritz's heart.

HR5 On The Tabletop
The figures shown above depict two squadrons of 12 figures for our Batailles de l'Ancien Regime ("BAR") rules. The castings are from the 30mm Stadden range. I think that they are rather handsome figures, don't you? The swords have all been replaced by pin swords so that they won't break off. I simply clip off the original spindly looking sword at the hilt and file it flat with a small file. Then with an Exacto knife, I poke an indention into the center of the hilt and use this as a guide for my pin vise. The pin vise is a miniature hand drill used by jewelers and hobbyists and everyone should have a pin vise in their tool kit. Once the hole is drilled, I select a common sewing pin for the sword. I smash the sucker flat as a pancake with a hammer and then clip the flat pin head off with tin snips. Then I file the silver plating off the pin at the base, where I intend to insert it into the hole that I've drilled into the hilt. A dab of super glue, and voila! Instant pin sword. The filing of the pin is important because it scrapes off the plating and allows for a bare metal on metal bond with the glue. You don't have to solder the pin swords on - super glue works just fine.

I also have a set of dismounted Black Hussars (Foundry figures) that I use in case I want to dismount a squadron or two and fight on foot. This can come in handy when they have dashed around the enemy's flank and are trying to secure a key town or bridge. This might be a reason why they seem to vex my regular opponent, Monsieur le generale de Chevert (Bill Protz). They are rather hard to catch, although I can recall several instances where they were virtually wiped out after running into heavier French cavalry. I addressed this problem by adding a third squadron recently (they have yet to be based as of this date) and they will make their debut in the Big Old School Wargamers Game on October 13, 2007.

I have rather fond memories of the Black Hussars' performance at the Battle of Pettstadt at last year's Old School wargaming event. They were capably commanded by George Rust and rode rings around the French all day. By the end of the game, they were happily riding through and over French infantry in the rear areas of the French army that day. Ah yes, what fond memories.

Painting Update
I completed the second half of the Prussian grenadier battalion Jung Billerbeck (5/20) this evening. I had previously completed the 24 figures from the IR20 regiment that comprise this converged grenadier battalion. Now the grenadiers from IR5 are completed and the two halves can be combined to form one big 48 figure battalion at 1:10 ratio. These will also make their debut at the Big Game on October 13th. I have a lot of figure basing ahead of me, so the painting poduction will probably be on hold until after the Big Game is completed. I'm getting excited about this year's game. We have 17 players signed up for the game, compared to 12 at last year's event. It should be quite a spectacle with 20 plus battalions per side for this grand BAR game, to be played on two 6ft by 25ft tables (with an imaginary aisle in between).


  1. Using day1 at Gettysburg sounds like a great idea for an AWI battle, thanks for that. Chester courthouse sounds a good name too, particularly as I've just been sitting as a juror in the "original" courthouse in Chester UK.

    Fire at Will

  2. The black hussars are ace - they look fantastic. Nice one.

  3. Good Morning Jim,

    I've been waiting for you to post some cavalry! And your hussars are just what the doctor ordered. Beautiful figures and an East Prussian regiment to boot!

    Best Regards,


  4. Second all the previous comments - lovely, lovely figures... there's something intrinsically grim about black in uniforms - one of my favourite British Dragoon regiments in the WSS is Schomberg's because of the black facings...

  5. Your site is becoming some sort of addiction...everytime I visit there something exciting to see and read. Your notes on attaching sabers was very helpful, I've been having a heck of a time attaching them to my RSM hussars. Thanks for another great post!

  6. Great Stuff Jim,

    You are a wonderful host, I enjoyed myself the other day! Currently I can not wait till our next game to see everything new in action.

    Best, Randy

  7. Lovely job on the Hussars again Jim and a handy tip regarding the swords. That "Big Game" sounds like a blast and I wish I could be there, as I bet is is some spectacle to behold.


  8. I will see if I can find my photos from last year's Big Game and post them over the weekend.

  9. Yes, please do find pictures of last year's "Big Game". I'm sure that we would all like to see them . . . and it would inspire those who will be fortunate enough to take part in this coming game.

    The hussars look great . . . do you also have the "Yellow Hussars"? A side-by-side photo of the two would be fun to see.

    Good hint on the swords, I'll have to try that.

    -- Jeff

  10. I have the Yellow Hussars (Foundry) painted as a 20 figure unit for my other SYW rules (using a 1:30 ratio). I haven't decided on whether or not I should add 30mm Yellow Hussars as well, probably not. I'd increase the Black Hussars by 2 more squadrons before taking on the yellows, I suppose.