Commanders, a wargame digest

Commanders, a wargame digest


1809 Project

Napoleonics - French V Austrian

For my Napoleonic 28mm armies I have been buying plastic and some metals that will allow the building of a French and an Austrian with an initial intention to game some 1809 actions.

I am not firmly set upon a set of rules yet, so will be exploring various systems and basing styles.

While visiting a wargame show, I bought a painting by Chris Gregg, covering the advance of 9th Cuirassiers towards Eckmühl, with jaegers retreating in the background. This has moved me to get on with this project and to include a unit of the 9th.  

The 1809 Project starts

I have recently been reading Neil Thomas’ book - Napoleonic Wargaming. He includes rules and a scenario. The rules require that armies are always constructed of eight units and his associated scenario, based on French / Russian armies, assumes that.

I am taking all of the basics of this, moving it to 1809 and constructing two forces, an Austrian and French army, each of the required eight units.

I am building all the unit bases necessary to reflect the forces and then a game will go onto the table in January 2024, largely with unpainted figures.

In January 2025, I plan to again be able to play the scenario, but this time with all units painted. So this ‘Pocket Army’ project is being framed by this 12 month period. 

There is a blog article on this with some more detail. LINK

Below - I have drawn up a roster for each force to map out the project and direct me where to build and paint next. This is going to need around 200 infantry, 32 cavalry and 4 gun models with crew.

Some initial reading

Good old Osprey! These two books arrived today. Between the two of them, they should give me a good feel for the campaign and all of the illustrations and photographs that are typical of Osprey publications, should help with army and scenario building.

Superb on line resource

Someone at The Lead Adventure Forum posted a link to this amazing PDF resource.

The Austrian Imperial-Royal army 1805 to 1809, by Enrico Acerbi, is a 198 page book covering uniform plates, facings and orders-of-battle, together with information on reform and organisation etc.

2 gun Austrian battery

These metal Perry 28mm napoleonic Austrian 6 pdrs roll off the painting table. They just need a quick blast of matt varnish to tie in the flocks and dampen down the light gloss on the figures.

These have already had a gloss varnish, followed by matt and being metal, I don’t think you can ever have too much varnish on them! 

Each gun frontage is 60mm, so the total of 120mm will look right against my other planned units.

Overall a nice addition to the ‘Pocket Army’, which slowly - slowly moves on.

The first line unit

The First infantry unit to make the French Pocket Army actually comes from an-ebay buy.

These were 24 based on 40mm x 40mm bases in fours. My own basing is to be an 80mm frontage with 40mm depth, with figures set out in two ranks of 5, so I rebased and luckily the figures were only lightly held onto a plasticard base, so they were removed without any damage.

I want 3 more French line infantry bases before moving over to doing Austrian infantry.

The above mentioned light infantry should become the next addition some time during the next 7 to 10 days.

The second unit

Below - These Are Warlord Game figures - their light infantry, but for late war. However, that doesn’t bother me too much and they will do their duty in 1809 as 14th Light Infantry.

Austrian Cavalry

The time has come to start something I don’t like ….. putting multi-part napoleonic cavalry together.

In this case it is the Perry miniatures Austrian Napoleonic Cavalry 1798 - 1815 box.

It has 14 figures, but I am creating units of 8 figures on 2 x 80mm bases, so to make this work effectively, I will need to get a second box at some point, which will allow me to make three full units.

The box allows the gamer to make either Cuirassiers, dragoons, Chevauxleger or light dragoons, the last two being pretty much the same thing by all accounts, though the Chevauxleger were more likely to be deployed with the advanced guard..

Anyway, I put 8 horses together for the 1st unit, which was to be heavy dragoons and made my first cock-up. I had mixed the horses heads. Apparently the harness for the heavy dragoon gives the horse an open face, but on the light dragoon, you choose the horse head with a crossed harness over the face. Anyway, it appears that I have made 4 of each.

So in the first instance I will make up 4 heavy dragoons and paint the uniforms white and 4 light dragoons, painting their uniforms the darkest of greens.

Initially I will use them as one unit, but the next time I get a new box, I will again make 4 of each and then they can properly be put into two complete units.

I do at least have the helmets right, which are similar, but the crest on the light dragoon is less pronounced. It will be interesting to see which I prefer after painting.

EDIT - I made another batch of 4 up, so I have enough correct figures for a single unit. they have been sent off to a painting service. this is the first tome that I have done anything like that - so some excitement surrounds what will come back.

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