Wednesday, 25 May 2011
The Other Side of the Mountain
On Monday, the postie brought a satisfyingly hefty package, which was a pile of figures returned from David the Painter. It's always a bit like Christmas, unwrapping everything (a lot of very serious bubblewrap - and quite right too). Then follows an experience which might be described as the reverse slope of the Lead Mountain - that brief period when there is a pile of painted figures waiting to be organised and based. Since my basing standards are minimalist, this is not a huge chore, and it's really very gratifying.
Thus far, I've based three of the new units - they haven't been issued their colours yet, but that will probably be done over the weekend. No doubt they will appear here in full splendour when their formations are complete and a parade of some sort is in order. This is just a holding post, giving a glimpse of what passes for breathless immediacy in this place.
First there are two infantry units for my fictitious Vorpommern brigade. These are mainly Scruby figures, and once again I am astonished at how well they paint up, considering how unpromising they look in the metal. Since they have a pleasing "toy soldier" look, I like them a little bit shiny.
Here are the Grenadierbataillon Zum alten Greif, nicknamed Die Tulpen (tulips) by their comrades, for obvious reasons. The yellow coats are a tradition established by the old Stralsund Town Guard in the Middle Ages, and yellow and red were in any case the colours of the national cockade of the Duchy of Stralsund-Rügen.
And here is the Jaegerbataillon Franzburg. They were organised and drilled the same as the line infantry, though their light infantry pretensions extended to having carabiniers in tall bearskins and voltigeurs in colpacks. There was supposed to be a sharpshooter company armed with rifles, but this was discouraged by the French commissariat because of the lack of suitable ammunition. A number of the Stralsund-Rügen units bore the names of towns in Vorpommern, but there was no real connection - men were recruited from all over the area, including Brandenburgers and deserters from the Swedish army. There is a theory that the names were allocated to justify the raising of taxes in the relevant towns. The Jaegers had their headquarters in Stralsund, not Franzburg.
Change of army - these are the 2nd battalion of the Loyales de Zamora - Spanish volunteers - also waiting for their flag. The castings are by NapoleoN Miniatures. If they are poorly trained and equipped, if they run away in moments of duress, remember that they will be back next day. The relentless bloody mindedness of the Spanish militia and irregulars is what eventually wore away the spirit of the French army in Spain. They fought a style of warfare which the French did not understand, and which the Russians were quick to learn from. This unit, and all the many others like them, if he had only recognised it, were Napoleon's worst nightmare.