Bravest of the Brave

He was probably one of the better known Marshals of France originating from modest beginnings. A son of a master cooper, later Marshall of France and duped Bravest of the Brave by Napoleon, he met his end facing the firing squad at the wall of Luxembourg gardens 7 December 1815. It was claimed that he committed a treason and by no means he was without a fault.

Today his memorial stands shaded by trees at the far end of the Explorer’s Gardens in Paris, near Port Royal metro station which I strolled by the other day.

Ney - 4Ney - 2Ney - 1Ney - 3

Posted in Locations, Revolutionary wars | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Naval Gunnery and disaster of 1628

For quite some time I have tried to find a good example for couple of friends to explain what kind of damage solid cannon ball does when fired against wooden ship of solid construction. Now I have found excellent sample at most excellent Vasa Museet, in Stockholm. There are of course cross section of the result, but also video of the shot – which highlights just how bad the splintering it really is.

It seems to be rather complicated to explain the grounds why certain aspects of naval gunnery in early days were as they were and why some rulesets get it just plain wrong. Material from Vasa Museet is extremely useful in that regard. After seeing the video recording, importance of crew morale becomes evident. No surprise that morale wavered much before significant structural damage were sustained during age of sail.

Vasa - 2

Entry wound. Two round shots were shot through the planking.

Vasa - 3

Exit wound. Notice the area of splinters, small and larger. Consider that after even slightly longer action, the planking would fracture considerably, and every further shot would cause increasing amount of splintering.

Vasa - 1

Cross section from the entry/exit wounds after the shot. Shows the hull construction and the penetration power that the shots have carried.

As it is rather well known, 10 August 1628 disaster fell upon Swedish naval ambitions.  Build to be strong vessel, and carry all of Swedes imperial prestige, foundations of Vasa were questionable. The dangerous instability was not such a surprise as believed. Tests committed by crew of around 30 men running from side to side showed that Vasa was indeed what was feared. It was the poor project management combined with overambitious direction and fast schedule that doomed the ship. At 64 guns, she would have been powerful indeed, but transitional period emphasized both, heavy board side and tall castles to aid boarding battles. Vasa’s fate was to sink after sailing of 1,3km, never seeing any action, or in fact, fire a shot. Considering that during the age only few could swim, only 30 hands of her crew were lost. Her sister ship Applet was 1m wider adding to the stability and she proved to be functional design. Vasa’s wreck was located in the 1950s and she was finally salvaged in 1961.

Below some eye candy of the Vasa reconstruction work. Indeed it is a mighty sight.

Vasa - 8Vasa - 5Vasa - 4Vasa - 7Vasa - 6

Posted in Ancient warfare, Locations, Naval engagements, Signal Close Action | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buried under…

I was interrupted when painting the Polish wing for the French, and hence did not finish the pending two squadrons of the best cavalry known during the Napoleonic era. There is to be at least two more squadrons at some point of time, but I really wish it will not be in three years time… So, for the time being they must fight depleted.

polish uhlans2 - 1polish uhlans2 - 2polish uhlans2 - 4polish uhlans2 - 5polish uhlans2 - 3

Posted in Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Painting | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment


Strong Austro-Hungarian brigade with limited cavalry support  was garrisoning two towns somewhere in rural Austria. Having fortified two towns with artillery and garrisons, and establishing defensive perimeter around well suited terrains the Austrian commanders were confident that French would not meet their objectives and capture the towns.

Total French forces consisted of three brigades, totaling 10 battalions (Q4 C4 SK2), a single medium field artillery battery (Q4) and reserve cuirassier regiment (Q3 C6) and brigade consisting two regiments of Dragoons (Q3 C5). Austrians had single brigade of 6 battalions (Q4 C4 SK2), two garrison battalions (Q4 C4 SK2) and two reserve battalions of Hungarian grenadiers (Q3 C5 SK0) and one medium reserve artillery (Q4). Additionally, there were mixed brigade of Dragoons (Q4 C5) and Hussars (Q4 C5).

Austrian commanders were usual plodders at quality of (Q5), except CinC who was (Q4). French were of (Q3) and therefore should have been far more flexible. Units had no specialities to make it easier to remember and faster to play.

Well, have to say that this game took an interesting turn…  or a few 😀

Battle of towns - 1

Quiet countryside

Battle of towns - 2

Towfolks were not about to anticipate the bloodshed they were to witness. Road among meadow and the barrier hill is to play quite a role in the game, for it is the future burial ground of the Austrian cavalry wing.

Battle of towns - 3

Meadows and rolling hills, quiet roads… soon to be drowned in blood of brave lead men… For this is the scene to remember…

Battle of towns - 4

Until Austrians arrived, and hastily rised fortified locations…

Battle of towns - 5

French lining up for the battle – a bloodshed about to begin…

Battle of towns - 6

Austro-Hungarian forces marching forward to take defensive positions

Battle of towns - 7

Battle of the meadows, dooming the Hussars in hands of Cuirassiers

Battle of towns - 8

In the town the Austrian bastion holds out and repeatedly pushes back French…

Battle of towns - 9

French prepare for bloody frontal attack…

Battle of towns - 10

A moment before roar of thousands of muskets fill the air…

Battle of towns - 11

French push hard and relentlessly against the Austrians…

Battle of towns - 12

Until Austrian line is nearing collapse… Many little lead men fell here, resolve wavered.

Battle of towns - 13

French pushed back by Austrian last hurrah!

Battle of towns - 14

French Dragoons, weary of the fight before decide to end it for once and for all! Ramming straight on to the Austrian line – nearly broken and this would be the last straw.

Battle of towns - 15

Against all the odds, Austrian line stands firm and defeats the French Dragoon regiment at last moment. French morale is utterly broken, Austria emerges victorious!

Posted in AAR, Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Scenery | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Prussian Dragoons

Prussian Dragoons entering the fray. They have been quite long time in making, as have been some other cavalry squadrons since I changed the layout from 2 bases per regiment to much more realistic 4 bases per regiment. Good news are that it is far easier to show depleted regiments, and calculate strengths in squadron basis. Incidentally Napoleonic regiments tend to have around 4 squadrons each.prussian dragoons - 1

In Prussia like in many other countries, dragoons were considered universal cavalry capable of taking any role in the battlefield. At the time of Napoleonic wars, of course the “any role” was somewhat diluted by the fact that cavalry always had a higher standing than infantry but there were genuine instances where Dragoons actually fought on foot. Technically not light, nor heavy they were equipped with saber and around 20 per squadron with carabiners. Their military and social standing were probably a bit less than diminishing cuirassiers.prussian dragoons - 2

Dragoons would of course be the cavalry trump card in future conflicts until cavalry arm died in all intents and purposes around 1920’s. Pretty much no other cavalry formations would survive Napoleonic wars intact. This epoch was to become the wansong of hussars, cuirassiers and other exotic formations.prussian dragoons - 3

Final real fighting of Dragoons came finally in 1970’s in Angola.

prussian dragoons - 4prussian dragoons - 5

Posted in Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Painting | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Westphalian Battalion

Reinforcements for DSLB are due. This time it is turn to bring in first of few Westphalians. Exact number is not known at this time, but I guess I will come up with some nice figure. These are actually some older versions retouched. I do like Westphalian uniforms, and would also like Bavarians but unfortunately the Baccus Bavarian line will not see rework in some time – or so I heard.

I am, however looking to make little Italian contingent, especially the rather heavy emphasis on the Austro-Hungarians. So many interesting possibilities…

Ruled by Napoleon’s brother, Jérôme Bonaparte, Wesphalia was a kingdom that lasted from December 1807 to October 1813.  During the brief period of existence, Wesphalia contributed to Napoleon’s grand tour not only money, but also troops and supplies. Regardless of Napoleons demands, Wesphalia was quite successful enterprise – probably because young Jérôme was far better administrator than general. 

Large quantity of Westphalian men perished in the Napoleon’s Russian tour. After the Battle of the Nations Westphalia fell again in the Prussian hands and the kingdom was abolished. After losing his kingdom Jérôme went out to become Prince of Montfort. Finally on 24 June 1860 he died in natural causes, having lived interesting and eventful life.

dsbl-westphalians - 4dsbl-westphalians - 5dsbl-westphalians - 6dsbl-westphalians - 1dsbl-westphalians - 2dsbl-westphalians - 3

Posted in Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Painting | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Acquisition – Minor Scenics

This will probably take a while to complete and explain but what is a game without sheep grazing in meadows or cattle just being cattle? Another day I went on to see the Perfect Six not to look for anything particular, but then realizing that he has few things I really needed. Graveyard bits, which I was too lazy to do myself, and cabions which I have found immensely irritating to do. Then I realized that I could certainly do with few barrels, sacks and barricades – and then some sheep and cattle. Some of the stuff is of course for the 10mm folks, but some are, and can be used for pretty good effect on the DSLB as well.minor-scenics-1.png

It seems that besides of quite agreeable postage rates, Perfect Six does pretty good job with sculpts and cast. Models are very nice and crisp for the scale. Here’s some shots of the items. Delivery was quite fast and there were nothing missing, damage, or miscast. I can recommend.

minor scenics - 4

10mm Frenchman guarding barrels with 6mm Westphalian support.

minor scenics - 3

Barricades – they are good size for both 10mm and 6mm.

minor scenics - 5

Cabions are very crisp and very good indeed!

minor scenics - 2

DIY graveyard. A bit of flash on the stones but nothing dramatic.

minor scenics - 6

Scale is pretty good. However, now that I am thinking of it, memorial statues would be nice – for example Ney 😉

Posted in 10mm, Drums and Shakos Large Battles, Impetus, Review, Scenery, Sharp Practice II | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments