Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Craig's Prussian 1st Brigade

My friend Craig from Oz sent me over the post below in February to help me out with the odd post while I was short of time due to overdoing it with extra shifts to help our family in the Phils. Unfortunately as it turned out I was to busy even to set the post at the time. Thankfully I am now slowing down with the extra shifts so here it is.

So less of my waffling and over to Craig . . .
  
1st brigade
  
The second brigade (division equivalent) of 1st Korps I created for the 1813 autumn campaign was the 1st brigade. It fought in most of the major actions of the autumn campaign: Katzbach; Goldberg; Wartenburg; and Leipzig. The brigade was composed of the grenadier battalions of 4 regiments (Lieb, 1st East Prussian, Silesian, and West Prussian) supplemented by two companies of East Prussian jager, and a couple of the ubiquitous Silesian landwehr regiments (5th and 13th). Comprising such high quality units (landwehr aside) it is little wonder that they became the shock brigade of Yorck’s 1st Corps. Seizing bridgeheads, assaulting towns, plugging gaps in the line – 1st brigade seems to have been the “go-to” brigade for critical tasks. I chose this brigade because of the presence of the grenadier battalions which sounded somewhat macho, and the East Prussian jager, which sounded like a smart unit. It had the standard 6lb artillery battery in support.
  
6lb foot Artillery battery No.2
  
2nd Lieb hussar regiment
  
The brigade also fields the Lieb hussars, with their Totenkopf (Death’s Head) painted on the shako cover. The Lieb hussar regiment with their Totenkopf badge on the shako is an iconic Prussian unit. Because of the size of the unit (32 figs + 7 jager) I can regularly split it into two half regiments, which is consistent with Prussian (plus Austrian and Russian) practise of the time. The 1808 regulations describe such employment. For variety, I elected to do half the regiment in full-on charge poses (a la Katzbach and Mockern), and the other half in the more relaxed pose.
  
Lieb hussars 1st and 3rd jager sqns
  
Lieb hussars 2nd and 4th sqns
  
Of course having it as two half regiments requires an additional command stand to manage both wings.
  
Hussar command
  
This unit was one of my first attempts at using Army Painter matt varnish. The figures had already been lacquered, and I sprayed them some years after with Army Painter. My technique has improved somewhat since then, but it shows the beading and greying effect it can have when not used well.
  
I painted these figures back in 2006-2007. Back then I used a standard layered block painting style over a black undercoat of enamel spray. Highlight is limited to faces. A bit heavy in some parts, making them look like they have applied zinc cream to avoid sunburn. Painting gear remains 0 through to 000 brushes, Vallejo colours almost exclusively, all targeted using the Mk I eyeball.
  
The Vanguard brigade that I deploy for 1st brigade has the Lieb grenadier battalion, 2 companies of the East Prussian jager battalion, II/5th and IV/13th Silesian LWIR. As discussed previously, these lads were leading the way, or covering the withdrawal, depending upon the week.

Vanguard deployed

An interesting aside – in the first game I fielded this vanguard, my opponent (the ubiquitous JP) thought to launch a charge into my brigade with a single battalion of his infantry. Looking at the brigade deployed – which to you seems to be 2nd line or conscript troops, and which might just possibly be something a bit more steady? Apparently it was not as obvious as it is to me. JP’s bog-standard Ligne battalion crashed into my elite Lieb grenadier battalion and it was duly routed. I have been taunted about my army of Prussian supermen ever since – notwithstanding that half my Corps is landwehr.
  

Lieb grenadier battalion
  
As almost every wargamer of the period knows, Prussian regiments post 1808 reforms were composed of a couple of musketeer battalions, a fusilier battalion, and a couple of companies of grenadiers. The grenadiers would be paired with the two companies of grenadiers from another regiment to form a grenadier battalion. The Lieb grenadier battalion was formed from the grenadiers of the 1st and 2nd Lieb regiments (which was also the Brandenburg regiment IR12). Accordingly, the battalion sports poppy red facings, but the grenadiers from the 1st regiment have the white shoulder straps of the 1st regiment, and the grenadiers from the 2nd regiment have red shoulder straps as worn by their regiment’s official uniform (IR12 being a former reserve regiment). In addition, many line units were able to attract freiwillinge jager - volunteers who were attached to the regiment, and served as light infantry. Usually these get represented by 2-5 figures, depending upon the popularity of the regiment. The Lieb regiment, being somewhat fashionable has 9 additional jager figures to serve as skirmishers. It was on the basis of the high number of jager attached to the battalion that I selected it for the vanguard. These are almost all AB, but the mounted officer figure is Fantassin.
  
II/5th Silesian LWIR
  
The third unit in the vanguard is II/5th Silesian LWIR. It wears the standard landwehr uniform of dark blue litewka (long jacket) and schmirtze (peaked cap) with facings in the provincial colour, which is yellow for Silesia. The shoulder straps are red as it is the second battalion in the regiment. The battalion is also known as Battalion Mumm – after its commander, Major Mumm. I chose to do this battalion in firing positions, but with the ability to deploy it in either a firing line, or as a column of divisions, with only 2 companies abreast. For that reason I chose to do two stands in advancing poses, as they look like they are almost ready to fire, and one each in the loading and firing poses.
  
IV/13th Silesian LWIR
  
The third unit in the vanguard IV/13th Silesian LWIR. The shoulder straps are light blue as it is the fourth battalion in the regiment. The battalion is also known as Battalion Martitz – after its commander, Major Martitz. I purchased this unit already painted by a Hong Kong service provider. I figure that with 24 x 32 figure battalions of Silesian landwehr to paint, I am entitled to outsource some small part of it. Whether I retire it and paint another one myself, is something to think about another time.
  
East Prussian jager battalion
  
Another interesting unit in the brigade is the East Prussian jager battalion. Raised specifically as a battalion of sharpshooters and skirmishers, they wore the holly green that is commonly associated with light infantry. As with other light troops, I have created duplicate skirmishing bases.
  

skirmishers
   
The command stand that I have created for the vanguard follows my practise of having a group which reflects the variety of units in the brigade. For brigade level commands this means two mounted figures, and two foot figures. This group represents Oberst von Losthin, commander of the 2nd Landwehr brigade (5th and 13th Silesian LWIR) who I have decided would be an appropriate commander of the vanguard brigade. He is accompanied by another mounted officer wearing the regulation kollett in holly green, with the orange-red facings of the East Prussian jager battalion. The two figures on foot represent an officer and jager from the Lieb grenadier battalion. Sometimes the dark green and the very dark blue can be difficult to distinguish.
   
Command stand
  
Excellent troops Craig and a really interesting read. Great to know the amount of thought you put into building your armies!