Since then I have been busily reading and refurbing and painting - all good fun, but no games yet.
My original plan was to attempt to develop the Bavarian and Austrian armies at equal pace, so that I could start playing with them as early as possible, and develop my rules as I went along. That's what I did, with some success, for the ECW a few years ago. So for the WSS I started off like this, but it soon became obvious that I could make quickest progress if I concentrated on the Bavarians first.
Various reasons, in no particular order:
(1) The miniature Bavarian army, for some reason, was in better shape - less breakages, less paint deterioration, less men AWOL.
(2) The Bavarian army seemed a lot less complicated - less daunting - organisationally and as a painting challenge. Also, the Bavarian troops I had bought in represented just about the whole of the historical army, so there were no tricky decisions about an OOB. The Imperialist set-up is a lot more tricky, I would have to make some decisions about the OOB, to give some kind of historical context (though in fact my planned OOB has more to do with the facing colours of the existing collection!).
(3) There are some aspects of the Austrian organisation which I haven't yet got a grip on - though I am acquiring some impressive-looking books. I just have to read the beggars now.
(4) The whole subject of WSS flags is a lot more complicated for the Imperial side. This may seem trivial, but for me it isn't.
I've now reached a suitable moment for a bit of a sanity check. I have two big batches remaining of troops to refurb for the Austrians, then my Phase One plan is pretty much complete, if I can get the numbers of staff figures up to scratch. I'm due to start painting again on Thursday, and I'm not sure that painting and thinking at the same time is as easy as it used to be. There is, though, a need for me to do something about grenadiers.
So today's subject is grenadiers. How did the Austrians arrange their grenadiers? How shall I paint and base the grenadier element in my Austrian army? I'll start this by interrupting myself, and returning briefly to describe what I'm doing for the Bavarians.
|Bavarian Leibregiment grenadier - plate by Anton Hoffman|
OK - good so far. In 1703 or thereabouts, a regiment of (supposedly) French emigrés was to be set up, organised the same as the Leibregiment. According to the autobiography of Jean-Martin de la Colonie (who had expected to be the colonel of this new unit, but eventually was appointed lieutenant colonel), the fusilier battalions were never formed, though the grenadiers certainly were, and can be found on the OOB for Schellenberg - the Boismorel Grenadiers. The inhaber, Monsieur Boismorel himself, was a Frenchman (his name, I think, is a kind of forest mushroom, which is not important at this point, but is the kind of nonsense that interests me), and his personal ambition, according to Colonie, was to stay as far from any warfare as he could. The Boismorel boys have the appeal of offering some variety in the uniforms - dark red, in this case. Some of them wore grenadier caps, some wore tricorns - a welcome bit of colour on the wargames table and - again - they were a distinct, permanent grenadier formation with their own flag.
Righto - so that's what I'm doing for the Bavarians, now, for goodness sake, let's get back to the Austrians.
|Austrian Grenadier on the left - image used without permission|
So my first question for this new Age of Reason is, did the Austrians organise their grenadiers by brigade, in this way? Am I right in assuming that the battalions thus formed would have no flags of their own, since they were informal groupings? Which leads me on to the practical issue of how I should base such units. My Foot battalions for the WSS are organised as 3 bases of 6 figures - each base is two rows of three men, the centre base holds the command presence - colours, mounted officer, drums - while each flank base includes one officer on foot. The bases can be used to denote the formation, but they do not operate independently, and are not removed for losses.
This is now getting into thinking out loud (or in print), but if I were to combine the grenadiers from two regiments for a brigade, for example, I could have one base of grenadiers painted for each regiment (I could even include a drummer in each such base) - not sure if I need a command base, nor how such a base would be made up, but now we are getting into fiddly detail. I could make a grenadier battalion from just two such bases - I'll have a look at the numbers in the books and see if that would make sense.
At that point I think I've conveyed the nub of the problem. Beyond that I'm going to embarrass myself with my own lack of knowledge! If you have experience of the WSS on the tabletop, I'm keen to learn how you think the Austrians organised their grenadiers, and how you set this up in miniature. All ideas welcome!
If this goes well, my next questions will be about the nippy issue of Austrian flags in 1703!...