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


Friday, 24 February 2012

Accuracy Drift - The Spanish Army


Since I am now closing down the Peninsular War Unlimited Expansion Project, I am trying to get things finished off fairly quickly, thus the flow of figures to and from the painter is faster than ever, which seems a bit strange, but no matter. Next batches will be 60 Falcata guerrilleros, which I hope to clean up and send off by Tuesday if possible, and 6 battalions of Spanish line infantry, for which I'll need to do some conversions for command figures, so they'll be a few weeks in preparation. [One of the line infantry units is to replace a Warrior battalion that I've always been uncomfortable about. I think Warrior are fine if your whole army is Warrior, but I find they don't fit in well with my armies, either for size or animation. A pity, really, because they are absolutely lovely people to deal with - and they are in Glasgow, of course, so they deserve all the support they can get.]

And in odd moments I'm picking away at limbers, carts, generals and similar - I still enjoy painting single items or very small groups, but nowadays I can't be bothered with a row of 24 identical infantrymen - my eyesight isn't terrible, but it isn't as good as it was. A daylight hobby lamp and a jeweller's optical loop have been a big help (the jeweller was furious, of course), but I have to make sure I only take on painting that I want to do.

The extra Spanish line units are planned to become Morillo's Division from Pedro Agostin Giron's "4th Army" around 1812-13 - the only detailed OOB I know of is in Nafziger's treasured collection and - as usual for Spanish records - it is full of typos and misunderstandings. Part of this is because there is always a little loss of accuracy in translation, but it's also because his sources were slightly careless army archives compiled from handwritten returns 200 years ago, and some of these returns must be a record of what somebody thought somebody else said. The scary bit is that, since information is scarce, this stuff gets recycled and requoted, and fresh typos get inserted as time goes on, and we get Accuracy Drift. I've spent a fascinating couple of days cross-checking lists in Nafziger, JM Bueno, Oman, Esdaile's book on the Spanish army, the Spanish notes in Mike Oliver's Napoleonic Army Handbook and some typed stuff I got from a friend in Madrid some years ago. This is not straightforward, since many of these sources quote each other, but I think I have now pretty much identified all the infantry units in the 4th Army. I haven't started on the cavalry yet, but the infantry is pretty tight, and I even have a good idea of the uniforms. I am so enraptured with my own cleverness that I shall have to go and lie down for a while.

I fear I may have passed the limit of your interest in this subject some lines ago, but it is easy to see why duff info gets passed on and why so many wargames armies are a bit unhistorical (is there such a word?). The said Morillo's Divn, for example, contains the line regiments of Leon, La Union (Morillo's own regt) and Bailen - that's all easy, and Nafziger gets that spot on. The roughnesses sneak in for some of the less regular, newer units. Nafziger's "Regimiento de Legion" turns out to be a light unit called the Legion Extremena, which was formed in 1811 - I know who was the colonel and have a good idea of their uniform - and his "Regimiento de Vitoria" (i.e. regiment from the city of Vitoria) turns out to be the Voluntarios de la Victoria (Volunteers of Victory), another light unit raised in Galicia in 1809. And so on.

If I get a suitable burst of enthusiasm, maybe I should stick my updated OOB in a future post. If, like me, there is anyone reading this who gets a bit frustrated by the lack of quality information about the Spanish army in the Guerra de Independencia, please make yourself known!

11 comments:

  1. Actually I'm also a big fan of Warrior and have assembled a generic French Division for use with Rank and File rules. Still have to start painting and order some artillery. They go very well with some Minifig Cav I've picked up.
    Anyway, if you need to get rid of your Warrior mini's...give me a shout, maybe we can work something out.

    Pjotr

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    1. Hi Pjotr - I only have a few Warrior figures - all Spanish - and they won't be available for a month or two, but if you want to email me through the contact address on my Blogger profile please do so, and I'm sure we can sort something out.

      Cheers - Tony

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  2. "Peninsular War Unlimited Expansion Project"

    I must admit when I read that first, I thought, "What a great name for a band". I imagine they'd be a sort of English version of Manhattan Transfer.

    Looking forward to seeing the new muster. What are you going to be using for your Spanish lights?

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    1. I'm definitely an 1812 man, so my regular Spanish units are dressed in the British made uniform with the tapered shako - I use S-Range SN1s for line or light units - the only distinction is the basing - the line units have 23 figures in close order, including a mounted colonel (with a bit of luck) and the light have 18, with no mounted figure and with 12 figures based in 6s, in close order, and 6 based in 3s, in open order. Light infantry also tend to have more green in the facings, and some of Morillo's lights may have light blue jackets - we'll see!

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  3. Sounds very interesting, this is part of the hobby I really love, trying to find info out, scouring through old books and online files. It can be frustrating, but its all worth it in the end. Looking forward to seeing your units in all their glory!!!

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  4. Well I for one would love to see the finished results of your antiquarian OOB inquiries.

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  5. Hi
    Yo can try the Data Base of Military Units in the Peninsular War from Sañudo Bayón. Is the definitive work (at the date) and contains info about the Sapnish units taken from Spanish Archives. It is cheap and can be buyed by mail:

    http://www.librosreyes.com/detalle.php?titulo=Base+de+datos+sobre+las+unidades+militares+en+la+Guerra+de+la+independencia+%28CD%29&autor=Juan+Jos%E9+Sa%F1udo+Bay%F3n

    Regards
    Rafa

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    1. Rafa - thanks very much for this - I tried to purchase it online now, and failed miserably (I think!) - combination of my very poor Spanish and unfriendly online shop defeated my attempt at international trade! I'll persist - I definitely fancy this database. Regards - MSF

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  6. Agree with your comments re Warrior - nice people but with the exception of one range never got on with the figures. That range must date back to the 80s - Greek and Persian Wars, 25mm, brilliant, long gone.

    Rob

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  7. I too agree about Warrior figures, think I was the last person to purchase their 1690 range, took ages for figures to be cast due to poor condition of aged moulds but they did complete order, kept me informed by letter on progress, very nice personal touch, it was a nice generic range but small only a pikeman, officer, grenadier,musketeer, dismounted dragoon, half a dozen gunners and two cavalry, yet another good range long gone

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  8. Someone should buy up Warrior's old ranges...They had a lovely AWI range (delicate figures, and some unusual quirky pieces) back in the 70s, long gone now and recently replaced by a nondescript 28mm range.

    Incidentally a couple of years ago the late Mike Ingham showed me the ancient Gilder era figures he'd just unearthed from a cupboard at the WHC, amongst which was a unit of Austrians (IIRC) that i recognised, but just couldn't immediately identify. Of course they were Warrior (and still available), and beautifully painted they looked great.

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