Friday, 26 February 2010

Régiment de Walsh 1779

Unfortunately no regiment of the Irish Brigade was present at Yorktown - at least on land (there were some soldiers serving as "Marines" on ships of De Grasse's fleet, though). They were only involved in the ill-fated Savannah expedition of Vice-Admiral Charles Hector, Comte D'Estaing in 1779. Among them one battalion of the Régiment de Walsh.
But fortunately my fellow wargamers are not so much inclined to re-write history by sticking to historical battles and find out what the world would be like if...
So I was free to re-create one of my favourite Irish regiments in service of the French Crown, the Régiment de Walsh. As it was present on North-American soil with only one battalion, I saved myself having to paint the whole regiment. But one battalion with 532 soldiers is still quite a number of figures at a ratio of 1 : 20. .

I chose the "French Revolutionary Army" range of Foundry figures, and gave them the Drapeau d'Ordonnance with its St. George's Cross. What might the British have felt being confronted with this symbol carried by Redcoats?

The figures are well sculptured and paint easily . They are a bit smaller than the AWI figures, though. But as a unit that doesn't matter so much.
I didn't bother to pinch off their plumes - the hats are a bit too "modern" anyhow.

So here they are, giving some colour to my French troops.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mortar Battery

Ever since I had modelled my French 12lb mortar, I had wanted to construct a "véritable" mortar battery. I knew from Jean-Louis Vial's website NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR (http://vial.jean.free.fr/new_npi/revues_npi/1_1998/npi_198/1_bart_mort3.htm) what the dimensions of the parapet were.

It was so high as to hide the pieces and their gunners from enemy view - and of course protect them from enemy fire. For the construction I did some research on the internet and soon found two useful sites: http://www.nwta.com/couriers/8-97/fieldfort.html and http://151ril.com/content/history/french-army/14. The first one deals with "Making Field Fortifications - A Fascine Battery", the second one - though admittedly dedicated to Great War trenches -, with "French Trench Construction Methods". There I found the information I needed to build my mortar battery.
I altered Vial's construction scheme in rounding the top and slope of the wall as I knew that sand and soil tend to flow down. Then I started my building process. The basic structure consists of plywood and styrene which were cut into their appropriate forms with a jigsaw and a very sharp knife.

The rear part of the parapet was built up using fascines that were "nailed" to the ground with stakes.


So I sculptured the surface of the fascine wall and the "claies" (wattles or hurdles) on the flanks with some modelling compound.
Then I applied the soil (with filler).

After drying, I drilled small holes into the structure, and glued in some toothpicks to represent the stakes keeping the fascines in place. The same was done with the tops of the flanking claies. And I didn't forget the aiming sticks on top of the parapet. Finally I painted the whole thing with acrylic colours, spread glue were needed and strewed these parts with my sand mixture. As I personally had the idea I would have liked to look over the parapet from time to time, I leaned a ladder against it (made of split barbecue sticks and wire).
My mortars were individually based with a crew consisting of SYW Prussian Artillerymen by Minden Miniatures. I like these figures very much. I am aware, though, that they don't really fit my period. The canteens on the baldrics are wrong, and the threecornered hats are a lot too old-fashioned. Only the Prussian cut of the uniforms is OK, I think. But I really had not other choice. And they give an idea of the busyness in the mortar battery, especially as Frank Hammond gave me two officers to supervise the work.
So here we are: Fire!