Monday, 11 January 2010

8th Division, IIIrd Corps- revisited!

I have been working steadily on les bleus, but progress slowed down somewhat due to a return to work after the holidays, and painting the ironwork on the 6pdr gun carriage is taking more time- and patience- than I had anticipated!

Nevertheless, the last two companies of the 1/28eme are just about ready for varnishing and basing.  I always paint the metallic parts-  musket barrels and bands, shako plates, sword hilts, and so on- last.  And this takes time, concentration, and steady nerves.

In between the nerve-wracking bits, I've been working on my next French infantry unit.  I was going to work on the 2/28 Legere. But after all those advancing figures in dark blue I felt it might be time for a change. 

For variety- and balance, as I need line as well as lights- I decided that instead I would work on the famed "Soixante-neuf"- the 69eme Regiment de Ligne.  

Veterans of Jena, Eylau, Wagram and Spain; and famous-in my mind at least- for their presence in a whole series of mid-19th C. wargames which we had fought back in Vancouver before I came to Japan.
The "Soixante-Neuf" (Maybe I should go for thinner bases?) 

This will be a change in that these figures- almost all Front Rank (but can you spot the stranger in the back row?)- are in march attack pose. My idea is that all the light infantry regiments will be in advancing poses, while the line will be in march attack. Put it down to greater élan on the part of the lights.


In trying to decide on a suitable line battalion which would be carrying an eagle (as I had already mounted one on the standard bearer's pole), I spent some time again going over the orders of battles which I had to hand for Brayer's 8th Division.  

Now, French orders of battle for 1813-1814 seem to be somewhat akin to snowflakes; no two are completely alike.  

So I set myself the following strict academic standards in order to better evaluate which order of battle to rely on:
  • Which order of battle is based on the most verifiable historical primary sources?
  • Which source is given the most credence by  learned, highly-respected military historians and experts?
But after considerable research, reading and thought, I decided that two further criteria were needed. Criteria which would trump all other considerations: 
  • Which lets me field the coolest units?
  • Which gives me the excuse to field the most eagles?
Not a lot of fun, after all, in having a force consisting mostly of duffer 4/5/6th battalions, all carrying nondescript battalion flags on plain poles.  Think about it; where would be the literary appeal of a title such as; "Sharpe's Battalion Flag Mounted on a Pointy Stick"

No; to me a French force needs eagles; Eagles are NapoleonicLes soldats courageux fight- and die- for their eagles, as much as they do for their Emperor.   

Eagles ARE France.   

Therefore, mesdames et messieurs, eagles I will have.  

With that in  mind, I made the decision to go with the order of battle found here, and to make the blithe assumption that all the battalions referred to are first, second and (in the case of the 22eme de Ligne) third battalions.  All first battalions will carry eagles, as will my light cavalry.  End of story.

To some, this may seem like heresy, fantasy, disrespect- or even criminal.  Should my taking such liberties with History bother them too much- well, they may feel themselves free to leap into the River Seine in outraged protest. 

The new order of battle for my 8th Division can be seen on the sidebar at right.  The nice thing is that it includes the names of the regimental colonels.  I always like to be able to personalize my wargames figures!

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