A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My Peninsular War Spanish Armies (2) - Afrancesados

These are my forces to fight on the side of King Joseph. I have a brigade of the King's Guard (uniformed very like the French Imperial Guard), plus a brigade of Line troops.

Here's the Guard.

Two battalions of Grenadiers (Les Higgins figures, with the odd Hinton Hunt and mounted colonels by Art Miniaturen)...

...two battalions of Fusiliers (same mix of figures)...

...a single battalion of Voltigeurs (same again)...

...a horse artillery battery (PMD)...

...and skirmishers (Les Higgins).

Now the Line brigade.

A single battalion of the 1st Light regiment (Castilla) (Higgins figures with some Kennington command)...

...two battalions of the 2nd Line (Toledo) (Higgins with Kennington command and NapoleoN drummers)...

...a single battalion of the Regiment Royal-Etranger (Falcata figures, with a Scruby OPC mounted colonel)...

...and skirmishers from the 1st Light (Kennington).

In an ideal world, I'd like to add a hussar unit, but that is in the pending folder. I also have plans to add a standing figure (probably) of King Joseph himself, with a carriage, all ready to get captured at Vitoria. I wonder if Musket Miniatures do a 20mm chamber pot?


  1. Nice work!

    Where do you get your information re. Joseph's army?

  2. Monsieur Le Rosbif

    There's snippets of this stuff all over - Chartrand's book has some interesting bits. Problem is that many of the sources just quote each other, and some of the information is wrong, or confused because (1) regs changed, or units wore something that wasn't in the regs (2) some units were never actually raised, so existed mainly on paper. For example, general agreement on the line infantry wearing brown, French-style dress, but facing colours subject to different opinions. Don't bother with anything written by Otto Von Pivka, in any of his manifestations.

    I got some material, including dress and flag regulations, from a guy in Spain with whom I have since lost touch. The most impressive source I have seen apart from that is the series of articles in Soldats Napoliens (very expensive!) by very respected specialists such as Luis Sorando Muzas, Massimo Fiorentino, Patrice Courcelle, Marc Morillon. Vol #5 had article on cavalry, #9 on infantry, #13 on guard cavalry, #14 on the Royal-Etranger.

    Soldats Napoleoniens visible at


    ...only a tantalising glance, though!

    It's not easy to get hold of reliable info - I've usually taken a best guess based on what I've seen. My Royal Guard units are just French guard with revised flags - there are views that they should have buff lapels and/or breeches, or even aurore, but I've settled for the more versatile arrangement of being able to field them as the French guard when appropriate!

    If you've got specific questions, email me through my Blogger profile and I'll offer any help I can. I would not offer myself as a leading expert, but very few people seem to know very much more than I have read to date, so I'm sort of a lighthouse in the desert!



  3. Hi
    The definitive works about the Joseph's Imperial Guard (and also for his army) have been written by Luis Sorando and are published in the French magazine 'Soldats Napoleoniens'
    See the extra numbers
    'Hors de serie juin 2003'
    'Hors de serie decembre 2003'
    and the regular issues 1,5,9 and 13
    Best regards

  4. Meant to mention - various people, Knoetel included, mention that the Lancers of La Mancha were on Joseph's side - incorrect - this mistake has been passed down a chain. They fought with Mina for the Nationalists.

    Some nice plates in Vol.1 of Jose Maria Bueno Carrera's "Los Franceses y Sus Aliados en Espana 1808-14", but mostly gendarmes and counter-insurgency units - little or nothing on the line troops. Pretty much the same is true of Elting & Knoetel's "Napoleonic Uniforms". Easy option for all such books when discussing Spanish troops on the French side is to go into great detail about Romana's troops in Denmark etc, and the Regt Joseph Napoleon, which seems to have served only in Russia.


  5. A pleasing profusion of pink - I've only really come across afrancesados when reading about the guard at Vittoria.

    How do you rate them?

  6. Mr Kinch - the pink tinge to the photos is just because my camera is too smart to live, and corrects colour in electric light - the apparent pinks are all vivid red in reality!

    Afrancesados - the guard are good - probably rate similar to decent French line (most of the officers were French, anyway, I think). The Spanish Line units less reliable - on a good day they will fight OK, but if things go against them they are probably not very resilient. I have been thinking of how to rate them in CCN - my latest idea is that all non-Guard Spanish units get the 3 x retreat rule, like militia.


  7. Oops - sorry about that, no offence intended. I'm generally pretty poor on the French army beyond the basics and I know that several French dragoon regiments went in for pink in a big way.

    Double retreats are pretty horrific - but may not be inaccurate. We played a few Battlecry games with that as a rule and it generally meant that those troops could not be trusted outside of fortifications. I look forward to your findings.

  8. No problem - the pics do look pink - the pics of the Vorpommern Artillery also looked pink the other day. I must do something about this. I was thinking of reversing my car over my camera.

    CCN: multiple retreats also make it advisable to keep a leader and plenty of support with the shaky units. One CCN rule that it took me a couple of games to get the hang of is that you can't retreat off the table/board - units on the edge lose blocks as they can go no further. At first I thought that you could retreat them off the table, and they were gone but your opponent didn't gain a victory flag - this, as you know, is rubbish - this only applies to leaders. Militia on the edge of the board lose big time when unable to retreat.

    I am also experimenting with draft rules for Spanish guerrilla units - max 2 blocks strength - they can move 2 and still battle, they can pass freely through all but impassable terrain, but a single retreat that they have to comply with eliminates them.

    I've also drawn up some tweaked national characteristics cards for Italians and Confederation troops. They're like the French, but without the Va Va Voom.

    I'll put all this in a post when I'm more confident what I'm doing.