Tuesday, 28 April 2020

British Light Infantry

The light company of the 49th Regiment of Foot was part of the 2nd Light Battalion formed in North America by General Howe's order of 14th May 1776. The other companies came from eight other regiments. They kept the uniform of their parent regiments, so we find a number of different facing colours within the battalion: buff (40th and 52nd ), white (43rd), deep yellow (44th), deep green (45th and 63rd), full green (49th), dark green (55th),  and black (64th).
I decided to have the light company of the 49th because they had red feathers o their caps respectively hats. This was to commemorate their leading role in the Battle of Paoli on September 14th, 1777, when they slaughtered about 60 American troops and wounded and caught 200 in a 1 o'clock night attack on the American camp. It certainly was a bloody affair, though it can not be called a "massacre" as the Americans did. In the darkness the soldiers seem to have got out of control, many of the corpses showed up to nine cuts and stabs from bayonetts, and the British are said to have refused to give quarter. It was one of the many war crimes in the American Revolutionary War, which were untypical for the warfare of the 18th century.
I bought the British infantry set by Warlod Games, assrembled them, adding a few parts from my spare parts box. And then I painted them using the Royal Warrant as a guide line.
There I read: "those regiments which have buff waistcoats, are to have buff-coloured accoutrements. Those which have white waistcoats, are to have white."

My first attempt
Having finished the painting I realized that in the picture The Battle of Paoli by the Italian painter Xavier De la Gatta the troops are wearing black acoutrements. I exchanged views with my playmates, and painted my white belts black. I couldn't deny the fact that De la Gatta's painting The Battle of Paoli is regarded as depicting the affair quite accurately. This was possible through the eyewitness help provided by a British officer, Richard St. George, who took part in the battle.
And the painting showed quite clearly black shoulder belts.
Detail of the painting by Xavier De la Gatta (1782)
So I painted the accoutrements black.

Thinking that I had now finished my figures, I was confronted with an addendum of the Royal Warrant of 1768. It says:

"N.B. Since these regulations have been issued, a light company has been added to each corps of infantry, and, I am informed, have the following appointments:

Jackets; black leather caps, with 3 chains round them, and a piece of plate upon the centre of the crown; in the front, G.R. a crown, and the number of the regiment; small cartridge boxes, powder-horns, and bags for ball; short pieces, and hatchets
However, there are no hatchets on the sprues! (Nor are there any sabres for the grenadiers. Someone must have forgotten to read the Royal Warrant.)
First I couldn't think of any solution. But then, in the early morning hours, when my brain is most productive in solvings problems which bothered me the previous day, I got the information to have a look into the box of cut-away parts of my flats. And there they were: all kind of pole arms with blades and  axes that could be cut to hatchets. I glued them to my figures, painted them, and my light company was properly equipped. 
The troop consists of an officer, a sergeant, and twelve men. All are wearing hats with red feathers, and I used all kinds of arms to produce a variety of postures. So I had to add the missing wings with oil filler. I would have liked a different type of leg-wear, but the figures are clothed in white breeches, stockings and short spatter-dashes. That couldn't be helped. 

firing and loading figures

NCO commanding
Officer and hornblower

Then I thought I should add some dirt splashes and green stains on the knees from kneeling in the grass. They looked just too smart in their white netherwear.
slightly stained wite uniform