|1812 Spaniards in bicornes?|
As ever, I find myself going about with a head full of plenty of half-formed ideas, but very little that is clear enough to do much about. It helps when a particular thread is hit simultaneously from two different directions – then there is an implication that a bit more focus is needed.
is one such area at the moment. I had another friendly poke from Martin by email, asking me when the
solo campaign is going to come out of the freezer and get moving again – which
is a good question, pertinent, even, and I shall come back to this in a moment
– and then I was doing some more clearing of the spares boxes and I came back
to the old question of what am I ever going to do with my 1808-style Spanish
infantry. Let’s have a look at this second bit first, just to be awkward.
I have a fair mound of unpainted Baylen-period Spaniards with nothing to do. Because my French and Anglo-Portuguese Peninsular armies are dressed for the later stages of the war (originally because of availability of figures, but now simply because that is what I have, and the momentum is established), it made sense to add Spanish forces from the same period, so my Spanish Nationalist line infantry have the post-1811 British style uniform. Blue jackets and shakos and all that. A sprinkling of white-clad chaps from 1808, in bicornes, in what was an old fashioned uniform even in 1808, would not sit well. They might look nice, but the anachronism would grate with me. Mind you, they would look nice...
This is how it always goes. This is not helped by the fact that my existing army contains a good proportion of milicias and voluntarios in round hats, not to mention guerrilleros, all of whom could be comfortably wheeled out at any date from 1808 onwards. Which, in turn, got me thinking that maybe I could make up some 1808 line units which could be combined with the irregulars to make an alternative Spanish army, for earlier in the war. Hmmm.
Mind you, they would have to fight Frenchies, some of whom are wearing distinctly 1812-style uniforms – I could just about live with that. But then, if they fought alongside the Brits, there are a good few of those who are straight from
and that would be upsetting. Worst of all, I would have difficulty combining
the two alternative Spanish armies into one big one for special occasions,
which you can see would be a disappointment at a more childish level.
The alternative approach is to go back to studying the various books and bits and pieces and see if I can identify any units in bicornes which could justifiably be added to the existing 1811-12 army. JM Bueno’s Uniformes Espanoles de la Guerra de Independencia is always a treasure trove, and I turned up various odd militia units raised from colleges and academies who seem to have dressed in a rather outdated style, but they may be a bit rarefied. They might have been drinking clubs rather than regiments (no – I don’t mean it, I’m sure these guys fought like heroes).
The two Bueno pictures at the top of this post look more promising. The soldier on the left is from the Milicia Nacional Urbana de Madrid of 1812 – apparently, as soon as the French evacuated
Madrid following the Battle of Salamanca,
the local movers and shakers raised 8 battalions, no less, of these fine chaps,
plus an attractive-looking unit of cavalry. Now you’re talking. Unfortunately,
JJ Sanudo’s database of service records makes no mention of such a unit (or
maybe I just missed it), so maybe they were disbanded, smartish, when Wellington
went back to Portugal after Burgos. The jury is out
on the Madrid
boys – they are interesting, though.
The other soldier is from the line battalions of the Voluntarios Distinguidos of
He is in parade dress, but apparently this unit was dressed like this throughout
the war, and they have a very long and worthy record in Sanudo. They look good,
too, eh? Sadly, they were, of course, rather stuck, not to mention besieged, in
Cadiz, and would not be a convincing addition to
an army in Castile.
I am continuing to ponder the matter. There must have been other, similar,
units which I could utilise.
The solo campaign. I have waffled on about how I was disappointed with some aspects of how the rules worked, and have been gently accused of putting the campaign on hold in a fit of petulance, which I would protest is only partly true. The campaign had reached an interesting phase, and I am determined to get back to it when the Autumn comes (which may mean when the lawns no longer need cutting). It would certainly be a pity to abandon it, and I have received an extra boost from the imminent arrival of some Spanish light cavalry (at last!), and a couple of new general figures, of which you will hear more. Admittedly, the acquisition of new toy soldiers does not make a very good reason to fire up the campaign again, but it all helps. Watch this space.
There you go – another entire blog post which doesn’t quite say anything.