Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Craig's Italians

Today I'm glad to post a load of Italian troops from my friend Craig over in Oz, if I live long enough I plan to do Italians myself at some point (but only after my Russians and Prussians are built to a very good size) so these are great to see! Craig sent me his pics and txt long ago so Craig I'm sorry for not getting to them sooner (rubbish computer problems!). So I'll let Craig's text explain his Italian army . . .

Brigade Martelli
For something different, I have attached some photos of a different formation from my collection.  As described earlier, as opponents to my 1813 Prussians I have been developing a Franco-Allied Corps from the same period.  I chose the IV Corps under Bertrand from the same campaign, as they were historical opponents at the battle of Wartenburg, and elsewhere.  The second division in the Corps is the 15th (Italian) Division under GdD Fontanelli.  The first brigade is that under GdB Martelli, comprising 5 battalions of Italian line infantry, or Linea Infanteria Italia.  These were ostensibly French citizens recruited from French lands in the northern parts of the Italian peninsula.  I relied for information principally upon Osprey, and an informative website http://napitalia.org.uk/eng/.  I painted these in 2008-9, using a block style, with a water-based lacquer finish.  Around this time I started experimenting with washes, with somewhat mixed results.  The figures are predominantly AB, although you might spot a couple of stray Fantassin figures. 

During this period the Italian troops wore a French style habite, in white.  The cockade was red, white, green, and otherwise company distinctions were as per the French style.  Facing colours followed a model similar to the French 1807 white uniforms trialled and issued on a limited basis.  The first regiment had green collars and piping – cuffs and lapels were white, cuff flaps were red. The second regiment would be the same, save that it also had green cuffs, and the third again the same, save that all collars, cuffs, and lapels were faced green.  The 4-6th regiments followed the same model, but in red.  The 7th Regiment had combinations of red, green, and white.

The first units are the 3rd and 4th battalions of the 1st Infantry Regiment (PrimoRegimentLinea Infanteria Italia).  1st Italian had been raised in 1805 and served in the 1806/7 campaign in Prussia, then under Eugene in the 1809 campaign, and subsequently in Spain.  They were recalled to Saxony after the Russian campaign, and served throughout the 1813 campaigns, heading back to Italy after Leipzig.

Photo of III/1e Italian

For the III battalion I used a slightly roughened campaign look – a mix of trousers, and covered shakoes.  I was also lucky enough to pick up a few chaps in forage cap, which I have featured heavily in this unit.  As a 3rd battalion in 1813 I rate them as 2nd line.  Italian units followed the same organisational model as the French, so this unit is fielded as 6 companies of 6 figures each.  I’ve chosen to depict the units with Italian flags on the Imperial model, rather than the coloured banners the French used after 1812.  I could find no specific detail on this, and was keen to give them the Italian flags, rather than simple banners.

IV/1e Italian

For the IV battalion I used AB figures in greatcoat, to reflect the hasty recruiting and equipping of the class of 1813 – a mix of trousers, and covered shakoes.  You might even spot a Fantassin chap in a pokalem forage cap.  The eagle bearer does not really belong in a fourth battalion, but it was a nice figure, and I was looking for some variety in a greatcoat.  I rate this 24 figure unit as conscript.

1st regiment skirmishers

In the GdB rules skirmish elements are typically represented when deployed by duplicate skirmish bases.  One of the distinguishing features of GdB is that skirmish elements (either light companies of line regiments, third ranks, or companies of light infantry) are not deployed by battalion, but instead detached to form brigade skirmish screens, which are managed as a single unit until recalled.  We like this feature.  But for the purpose of display, I have just shown the skirmish elements from the battalions of the 1st Regiment.  I have done a mix of uniforms, allowing at least one figure in habaite to be present per base, in order to assist in unit identification.

II/4e Italian

The other three battalions of this brigade are from the 4e Italian Regiment.  Their facing (or highlight) colour is red.  For the II battalion I used a more regular appearance, although still allowing a bit of campaign latitude through the use of a variety of trousers and headgear.  I also gave them an eagle.  For these uniforms, I used ivory over a buff undercoat.  I then used off-white for the belts to make the leatherwork pop out a bit more from the pale background.

III/4e Italian

For this 3rd battalion I again used a slightly roughened campaign look – a mix of trousers, and shakoes with and without covers.  When planning this battalion I imagined the ability to have up to half the battalion in firing poses, with alternate companies in loading poses, to capture the volley firing by peleton, as was the practice.  This would also permit a second rank in loading or advancing poses behind it if required.  As mentioned earlier, this results in a formation with a 3 company frontage which is historically inaccurate.  I don’t think I would do this again.  I started experimenting with a pale wash over the white jackets and trousers with this unit.

IV/4e Italian

This is again a fourth battalion in greatcoats to reflect their lower morale status (conscript).  And by now I have given away my internal turmoil over eagles in only the first battalions.  After all, they are Italians.  At this point I am still highlighting faces with white, which in close ups gives them that sunscreened look.

4e regiment skirmishers

I also have skirmishers for the 4e Regiment.

General de Brigade Martelli

For the command element of this brigade I have created a small base which adheres to my standard two mounted/ two foot figures for brigade command bases. I’ve included a grenadier figure from the 1st Regiment, in bearskin on this base.  The central mounted figure was painted by my friend John Baxter, gifted to me in 2003.  It only took me a 5-6 years to figure out how to use it.  You might say this was the catalyst for me finding an excuse to do Italians.  Thanks John!

Complete Brigade

So that is my first Italian brigade.  The skirmish screen is in the foreground, in the centre of which you can see the voltigeur officer and hornist command base.  To their rear left is the pair of battalions from the 1stRegiment, and to the left and centre are the three from the 4th Regiment.  GdB Martelli is to the centre, behind the battalion deployed in line.  You can see one of the Italian batteries to the far right flank, but I’ll show that another day.

Excellent Italians Craig, a fine speed bump for your Prussians!


Phil said...

This was y first Nap period army (so many years ago!)...and yours are much better! Love them!

Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) said...

Truly an array of very impressive work. Congratulations.

John (VonBlucher) said...

Craig, Great looking group and nice to see someone elses earlier efforts.

Jonathan Freitag said...

Fantastic collection of Italians. I like the uniform mix.

Well done!

Ray Rousell said...

Excellent looking troops, its always nice to see French allies rather than just the Frenchies.

Craig said...

Thanks Lads. While it is nice to see one's own work on display (rather than living in a box in a cupboard), receiving warm appreciation from colleagues who themselves are talented collectors and painters is both thrilling and humbling. Thank you.

Gonsalvo said...

Fine group of Italians; they saw a LOT of action and were generally good troops. My own Itlian contingent has seen much action over the years as well.

MiniMike said...

Excellent army and that last picture is top notch

Gary Amos said...

It was a good solid army, but seems strangely less popular than the various German outfits. Nicely done and will hopefully give a shot in the arm for this army's popularity.

Rupert Lane said...

Lovely to see some of the less publicised nations getting some airtime, together with JJ's Spanish and German Division. Like your idea of representing the volley fire; just hard to capture a moment in time that doesn't look a bit strange the rest of the time, especially in column! Great work

Michael Peterson said...

Lovely to see Italian troops from this period. The final photo of the brigade is the piece de resistance. They are brilliant figures, and as JF says, a fine mix of uniforms, especially for conscripts. Now I'm inspired to do some 6mm chaps as Italians

Sun of York said...

Great mix of troops - really gives them an Italian flavour. I used Old Glory 15mm French for mine. One of the first 15mm Napoleonic units I painted (actually I am pretty sure it was the first). You can see them here: http://onesidedminiaturewargamingdiscourse.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/french-napoleonic-allies.html

DeanM said...

These are great; I always liked the white coats in French cut.


That is looking might fine. Great to see a load out together.