Friday, July 10, 2009

All brave Prussians rally to the Cause!

Way, way back in time, my first ever order for metal wargames miniatures was for some Russian and Prussian Napoleonics from Minifigs, including this one;

Times have moved on, as has wargame figure design. But I want in part to celebrate these early-and much beloved- figures, by reproducing a Prussian line infantry battalion. In this case the 2/1st East Prussian Infantry, along with an attached company of volunteer Jäger.

The Calpe website on the Prussians contains a lot of fascinating and useful information, but I don't find it the easiest to wade through when it comes to putting an order together! I rather wish they had battalion packs that would make the ordering easier. Still, I persevered and I've decided that I should make a start with the following:

Ist East Prussian Infantry Regiment:

Volunteer Jägers

x1 PJ11 Volunteer firing. Breeches tucked into boots. Belly pouch
x1 PJ12 Volunteer holding fire. Breeches, boots, belly pouch
x1 PJ13 Volunteer loading. Taking round from pouch. Trousers rolled up, belly pouch
x1 PJ14 Volunteer loading. Ramming rifle. Long trousers
x1 PJ15 Volunteer advancing, trail-arms. Trousers, belly pouch
x1 PJ17 Officer advancing, holding sword up


x4 PM18 Long pace, left leg forward bent at the knee, right leg back
x2 PM18b As PM18 head turned left.
x3 PM19 Legs almost together, bent at the knee
x3 PM20 Long pace, left leg forward but straight, right leg back
x2 PM20b As PM20 head turned right
x3 PM21 Long pace, right leg forward, left leg back both knees bent
x1 PM22 NCO
x2 PM23 Standard bearer holding colour on right shoulder
x1 PM24 Drummer holding strap and sticks with one hand and drum rim with the other
x2 PM25 Version of PM19 wearing forage cap
x1 PM26 Version of PM21 bareheaded
x1 PM27 Enthusiastic figure looking over left shoulder left hand raised
x1 PM28 Casualty figure falling back
x1 PM29b As PM29 but wearing officer’s cap
x1 PM30 Officer taking long pace, sword on shoulder
x1 PM31 Mounted officer, sword by his side, looking right
x1 P Flag 2 Ornate spear point for flag staff with cravat. (£1 for a pack of two)
x1 PM Falling Casualties

I've decided to go with the "tail arms" pose for the reasons that Peter mentions on his site, but also because they look cool. My current thinking is that other battalions will be in firing line, march attack or advancing poses for variety and for ease of telling units apart.

Here is a picture from a German site of re-enactors in Prussian uniform, advancing at what looks like trail arms position.

I'm guessing the fellow in green with black cross-belts is a Volunteer Jäger, but how he expects to hit anything with that enormous shako brim pulled down over his eyes beats me!

Prussian uniforms are simplicity itself to paint, and should prove to be a nice change from the relative splashes of colour and frippery that is French infantry of the time.

The figures will be based for the General de Brigade rules, and Im going for about 28-30 miniatures to a batallion (between 7-8 figures a company). Number of figures per base are not that critical to me, as I always use rosters anyway.

Tentatively Tackling the Teutons

Royal Arms of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

I have been thinking of adding another nationality to my 28mm Napoleonic wargaming collection, and after some consideration decided that the best route would be to go for those fun-loving, cheerful, and laid-back practitioners of warfare, the Prussians!

Okay, I may have been misinformed about the happy-go-lucky part, but the Prussians are a good choice on a number of levels.

First, they are easy to paint. There is also a lot of uniform information available. They are also easy to paint. Fine, easy-to-paint miniatures are available for them from Calpe in 28mm.

The Prussians formed a large part of Blucher's Army of Silesia, which also included the Russian 9th Corps- which happens to be the contingent I'm fielding for my Russians.

And did I mention that Prussians are easy to paint?

I've decided to go for the Prussian 2nd Brigade of Yorck's Corps, under the command of the rather resoundingly-named Generalmajor Prinz Karl Freidrich August von Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

According to Nafziger's Napoleon at Leipzig- The Battle of Nations, 1813, this brigade consisted of the following regiments;

2nd Brigade- Karl-Friedrich-August, Herzog von Mecklenburg-Strelitz
  • 1/ 2/ Fus. Batts. East Prussian Infantry Regiment Nr. 1 (1,840 men)
  • Combined 1 &2 Battns. East Prussian Infantry Nr. 2 (614 men )
  • 2/ Battn. Silesian Landwehr Regiment Nr. 6: (680)
  • Mecklenburg-Strelitz Hussar Regiment: 4 squadrons
  • 6pdr. Foot Battery #1
Taking a historical "snapshot" at a time when the brigade has been weakened considerably due to attrition since the campaign opened, this makes for a total of five battalions at a 1:20 ratio. So I'm looking at around 30 miniatures per battalion which makes it very "do-able" as a wargames project for me.

Figures will be from Calpe Miniatures, flags from GMB. The Calpe range is undoubtedly the best available- even Front Rank, my pushers-of-choice for Napoleonic miniatures, acknowledge this and have never bothered doing Prussians themselves.

A minor problem is that Calpe does not currently have on-line ordering for the Prussians (though that may change), and given the variety available, it takes time to sit with a pen and paper to decide what figures to get!

I may well start with a squadron of hussars and a battalion of either fusiliers or landwehr.