10 October 2018

British SYW Artillery

This is now the start of my earlier expressed intention to arrage a number of scale drawings illustrating British ordnance fielded during the War of Austrian Succession & Seven Years’ War period. I hope to manage presenting a number of pieces, by focusing on the heavier position guns that saw service in the WAS campaigns in Flandres & Germany, as well as with the British contingent of Prince Ferdinand of Brunswicks’ Allied Army in Germany 1758 through 1762.
The light 6 pounder battalion gun will likely to be the last piece to present, for many illustrations are available already & also many original and replique pieces exist to the present day. Hence, this one is well known.
Identifying the heavier position guns recommended for Field Service from the gentlemen of his British Majesties’ Royal Board Of Ordnance will be more of a challange.
John Armstrong, appointed Surveyor-General of the Ordnance (1722–1742) designed 3 ranges of ordnance during the 1730’s that were fixed in what I understand to be his 1736 Regulation. It should mark the starting point for all gun constructions up to 1762. Here, general Armstrong specified the basic construction principles for a Heavy, Medium, & Light range of guns. This 1736 Regulation by itself would already result in a wide range of different pieces. But even worse, it appears to have been employed as no more then a loose guide line, for I already found quite a few pieces that are clearly offside the 1736 Regulation figures when looking at the barrel weigths. A mass calculation of the sort John Muller provides in his “A Treatise of Artillery” on p. 49-50 of the 1768 edition has now become an important tool with my search to find the right constructions. Anyone who wants to try good fun mathematics for himself—watch out for the typo on page 50. A cubic foot of gun metal weighs 549 pounds, not 459! See page 3 in the same book. Took me a while, till I found the annoying error here.
My first arranged sheet illustrates the Armstrong 1736 Regulation heavy 12-pounder battery or battering gun


I continue to believe the cannon seen in David Morier’s painting can really be identified as an authentic piece from among the range of ordnance fielded during this period. 
By placing the Cannonier from the Morier painting next to my 12-pounder barrel, it is obviously too large a construction. The diameter of the base ring is certainly bigger than that of the cannon seen in Morier’s painting. Another heavy range 12-pounder construction—a barrel 7 foot 6 or 8 inch long—would arrive at about the same diameter. Somewhat slimmer was the 6 foot 7 inch Armstrong construction of his Medium range of ordnance. But this barrel would be too short. We clearly see a long barrel here. The only piece left would be the ‘Long 6’ with a barrel 8 foot long. Here it is. 
Now lets have a closer look. For a quick check, I needn't bother to draw its carriage. It already exists. John Muller provides the illustration, presenting it as the type of carriage that was in use by the time of his books 1st edition in 1757.

Now this seems to make a charming match. I believe the piece we see in Morier’s painting is with near certainty the 8 foot heavy 6-pounder. The Imperial & Allied Army’s Order of Battle for the year 1747 lists 26 3-pounders for 14 British battalions—possibly mounted on ‘Galloper’ carriages, 27 6-pounders of which a number must have been of the light 4.5 foot construction. John Muller mentions in his book that such a piece, employed at the battle of Laufeldt July 1747, was testet at Woolwich in the early 1750’s. The guns seen in the painting must be more then a dozen heavy pieces, but only 6 British 12-pounders were fielded that year. Hence, a many of the big guns we see here must have been ‘Long 6’ guns.
The piece also seems to have seen service in the Seven Years' War. With the commencement of the 1761 summer campaign, Prince Ferdinand's staff papers have a detailed record of the British artillery. Apart from the British line artillery brigades consisting of ‘Light’ 6 & 12-pounders along with some 5.5 inch howitzers, there had also been 3 heavy brigades of the artillery park. 8 ‘Heavy’ 12-pounders, 8 ‘Medium’ 12-pounders (the ones that were at Minden 1759 with a 7-horse draught), & 8 ‘Heavy’ 6-pounders. The ‘Medium’ 12 & ‘Heavy’ 6-pounders reinforced Granby's hard pressed division July 15-16 on the Dinker-Berg in the battle of Vellinghausen.
Earlier this summer I researched this battle in more detail together with Charles Grant, as he is writing on his next volume of his "Wargaming in History" series. We had a wonderful time here. Charles provided me with the following interesting bit. Its from Walter Evelyn Manners, "Some account of the military, political, and social life of the Right Hon. John Manners, marquis of Granby", 1899. Loosely quoting: The Scottish officer "Sir James Innes Norcliffe observed a ‘serjeant’ of Campell's Highlanders serving a ‘Long 6’ which the serjeant had carefully masked with boughs. The Highlander surveyed the effects of his excellent practice, ejaculating: Now a round !—Now a grape ! at intervals, as he varied his load." It must have been the severe cannonade in the early morning 16 July. Gun crew killed or disabled. The couragious Highlander served the piece instead. Sir James added that after the action he noticed grape-shot sticking in some of the dead Frenchmen like grains of Indian corn in the cob, and the round-shot had occasionally taken two or three of the enemy in a line. It is speculated if it was the Highlanders piece which wrought such havoc among the French [high] aristocracy, for 3 generals—all related—were killed with a single round very near Vellinghausen. That's where James Innes must have had its battle position as there used to be a ground feature on the slope of the Dinker-Berg facing towards Vellinghausen, that has been known among the locals as "Sir James Innes" since the days of the battle. Now it is gone. It was a fold in the ground with much the character of a sunken road. A natural trench much like the Bloody Lane at the Antiedam battle of the American Civil War.
Now back to the subject. There have been other 6-pounder constructions. The 1754 Regulation lists a 5 foot 1 inch piece—that’s only 7 inches or two shot diameters longer then the 4.5 foot Light 6-pounder battalilon gun. I wouldn’t entitle a 5 foot 1 barrel a ‘Long 6’, but I might be wrong here.
Since the death of John Armstrong 1742, and well into the 1750’s, the gentlemen in Woolwich tested a great number of various designs to find the best length & metal strength for its gun constructions. The 1754 Regulation shows the ones that seem to have been accepted for service in the field. The question remains: how many of the new pieces would have been cast to be fielded in the SYW? Possibly not all that many as milord Sackville had difficulties finding enough light guns with no more then a 6 horse draught earlier in 1759. Possibly those old 8 foot 6-pounders—tested in Flandres in the preceeding war—had to be fielded for lack of alternative in 1761. So much for the ‘Long 6’
More on the 12-pounder position guns within short… along with some nice scale drawings of the pieces mounted on their carriages.

The below Medium class Armstrong pattern 12-pounder is of great interest here.
image published here with kind permission of Bill Maloney http://www.williammaloney.com

Its a cast of 1760, weighs 21.5 hundretweights. On display at Fort George, Upper Canada. I take it to be the 6 foot 7 inch piece. Will have to have a closer examination of this one. Possibly the construction  of the 10 pieces capt. Mcbean commanded in the battle of Minden 1759.
We'll have to find out.

To be continued within short… 

09 June 2018

Refighting the battle of Lauffeld, 2 July 1747 in Flandres


Enjoy some images of our groups recent refight of the battle of Lauffeld. A hard fought French victory in Flandres, summer 1747 during the War of Austrian Succession. A great game it was. Its main purpose - to me - was to set up a scenario that would field my entire French Army for a nice display on my tabletop. Lauffeld – the battle with the many names (spelling wise) – turned out to be just right. Researching the historic battle wasn't so easy in parts due to the different spelling in French, English, & German, as well as the fact that there seems not so much literature availabe nowadays. My special thanks go to Charles S Grant, who generously provided me with great detailed informations. His Vol.2 of his series "Wargaming in History", Ken Trotman Publ. 2010 should provide the best scenario information in English language. It is based for good part on the orbats provided with the German language I.&.R. Austro-Hungarian General Staff History of the WAS publ. in 9 vols before and after 1900. Vol 9, publ. 1914 – very rare – has all the campaigns in Flandres 1745-1748. No reprint availabe to me & no copy in google library. Its the best coverage of the battle I came across. Very detailed. Many thanks to a colleague contributer from Poland to the kronoskaf SYW-Project (http://kronoskaf.com/syw) who took the effort to scan the many pages of this book for me, found in the university library of Poznan, Poland.
The first images show the initial deployment of the two rather large Armies. You are looking into a Sea of Flags. 
Above see more of the entire table. Both armies are deployed as per the situation at around 08.00 in the morning.


Saxe & part of his escort seen here well ahead of the army reconnoitring the situation from the heights south of the burning village of Vlytingen. See below for the scetch of our scenario with both sides initial deployment & my orbats for both armies.


My scetch of the scenario is loosely based on the situation illustrated in one of the maps found in the Austrian General Staff book. 

 
As usual, I inserted my units into the Volley&Bayonet breakdown of the historic orbats. 85,000 French with 110 position guns versus 71,000 Allies with 70 heavy guns. This is the biggest scenario I ever fought with my miniatures! A near 2,000 were on the table. I loved it. My display rooster sheet layout truely arrives at its limit, I must say.
A number of Austrians were fielded by fellow gamer M***, while F*** provided a French artillery stand as well as a stand of the regiment Auverge with his 3-d miniatures (by Warlords foundry). See below:



The view accross the Allied starting position.
Detail of Wolffenbuttel's troops occupying the village of Groot Sprouwen.
Below see the burning village of Vlytingen now being abandoned by its garrison – the Kings Regt, representing the British Foot Guards in my scenario.
The French go into the attack. Below see elements of the French right wing under d'Éstrées' & Clermont-prince tasked to seize the villages of Lauffeld, Montenaken, & Wirlé.
The French centre is advancing to support the French right.



Intermingled with the dense masses of French troops note my newly painted French artillery draught horses, guns and wagons. I'm particulary fond of this 24-pdr barrel mounted on an extra carriage for the march. This beast is now nicknamed the "Ark of the Covenant" by my French troops.
Below see some more pics of my latest paint job.


Now back to the battle. Below see the Austrians under Daun on the far right of the Allied position.
The Allied centre.
Auvergene again.




Detail of the Franch capture of Lauffeld. This time it was Belsunce – or Monaco in 1747 – that kicked the Allies out. Montenaken and Lauffeld were atacked and captured each 3 times. The Allies managed to recapture it 3 times. A really hard fought affair it was.
Below see the regt Dauphin inside Lauffeld the moment before the Allies prepared for another counter attack.
Below see the Dutch and Bavarians under Waldecks' command seizing Lauffeld, evicting the French for the 3rd time. 
My V&B scenario demanded for only two Dutch infantry regiments. Mine are really Brunswickers. I only took the effort to paint two flag bearers replacing the Brunswick flags. This worked out rather well, I believe. If you dim down the light a bit, the Brunswick yellow drummers dress will look perfectly orange, I'm sure. Also my Waldeck command stand isn't really Dutch. Its the command stand of my recently painted S.A.R. le marcgrave Charles de Brandenbourg-Schwedt – a Prussian, I only replaced S.A.R. with an Austrian general leaving his original entourage. It includes his servant named Pietro, a black, dressed in orange livery. Now if this isn't a dead on match with "te Zwarte Piet". The two other figures are a calvinist field chaplain (fine match as well) & an officer of the Prussian Garde-Du-Corps (borderline admitted).
Now back the the battle. Finally, the French had ran out of troops. All were found exhausted. Senneterre, with his left wing troops amusing the Allied right wing and the Gardes & Maison du Roi was all that was left. Not enough to punch a hole into the still solid Allied line. The Allies remained masters of the villages, hence, this refight turned out to be a clear Allied victory. A Cheers to Cumberland & his brave troops. But no more then one - after all, I played on the French side, of course.
Above see the situation around Montenaken at the end of the battle. Below see French dismounted dragoons & volontaires closing in on Montenaken after the French ran out of infantry to mount a another attack.
Now – whait a minute. The battle of Lauffeld an Allied victory? Silly Cumberland alongside (historic) alltogether inactive Austrians versus Splendid Saxe at the head of a French Army at highest spirits, thanks to the presence of Sa Majesté?
Now, how could this happen?
Well, I must say, the French attack was really rather ill coordinated. I played on the attacking French right. My numerous & superior artillery was quite behind and only managed to sustain the 3rd attack on the two Allied strongholds of Lauffeld & Montenaken. A big mistake. Also my co-player A*** commanding on the left, was unwilling to support me with 1 or 2 units of the French heavy guns, that were all under his command. He preferred to concentrate them all in the centre in a giant battery that soon ran out of targets and, as a result, spend most of the day doing nothing. The cavalry could have been employed better as well. They didn't do all that much that day. Another reason for the French failing to crush the Allies' lines was the early activation of the Austrian forces. In the historic battle Bàtthyànyi's Austrians did very little to support the hard pressed Allied left. In my scenario the Austrians needed a die roll to be activated – i.e. allowing them to engage in offensive moves or move any closer then 12 inch towards enemy units. Unfortunately, the Austrians passed the die roll in turn one. I'll have to rethink that for our next Lauffeld refight.
For a summery, I would say, the game worked really well. It will be played again. I'm sure.






05 June 2017

My most recent & earlier paint jobs since Nov 2016

I wanted to share a couple of pics with my paint jobs done November 2016 through May 2017. I haven't managed to post much during that time, besides our Hochkirch Refight. I continue to pursue my self chosen mission to complete at least a 100 miniatures in a year from among my drawers pile of unpainted miniatures left. I wasn't idle, really.
During May, I finished a battalion of Prussian Grenadiers. Converged IR 13 & 26. For the first time, I added a battalion gun with an infantry stand. I'm very pleased with the result. After all, I found a good use of my various flat gun models that I have.


These firing grenadier miniatures are a real treasure. Very rare old pre WWII casts of Kieler Zinnfiguren. I'm afraid you cannot buy them anymore. Really wonderfully sculptured or better engraved casting moulds were mastered here. The gun model is a Berliner Zinnfiguren 6-pounder model - their take, I should say, but quite fine dimensionwise.
During March and April 2017 I did two infantry regiment stands. One is the Prussian IR 18 Prinz von Preussen, or Prince Royal, with my units throughout French language labeling. The other is the Hesse-Cassel regiment Mansbach (IR 8). The miniatures are a mix of various foundries. Mostly Scholtz – i.e. Berliner Zinnfiguren.

Earlier in February I painted another battailon or Prussian converged Grenadiers. Its the elites from among the Prussian crack regiments Garde IR 15 & Prinz von Preussen IR 18. Miniatures are mostly Hamburg based Herbu foundry. The smart looking mounted officer is from Scholtz, Berlin.






In January, I painted a nice set of French dismounted dragoons. Its the regiment of d'Apchon, I did here.
Really smart looking lads.
I had this set of figures on my must-have-list since the 1980's! Believe it or not, but I only managed to buy them last year. I never had any use for dismounted cavalry in my rules, until my research on the French 7YW army during the early 2000's revealed that French dragoons had been seen fighting dismounted moreoften during the war, as they were more seen as light troops rather then cavalry of the line.


Finally, during Nov-Dec 2016 I painted a whole load of Russian Cannoniers. They are mostly figures from my late friends collection that I inherited. My now completed range of rather authentic looking 7YW Russian gun models, that I had done during the previous years demanded for equal looking Russian Cannoniers. Only thanks to a present by Jim Purky, the gun models could be completed with three more of his wonderful Fife&Drum Foundry Russian Unicorn models. I now have 7 gun models completed. Two more of the F&D Unicorn models & a Foundry medium cannon I still need to do. The Cannoniers I did in rather short time. Its 58 men total. Enough to man my gun models. Most are Kieler Zinnfiguren, a number are conversions of mine & 6 rather obscure figures seem to originate from a Russian foundry – not a German one.
#
The Fife&Drum Unicorn is the mosle left model in above image.



Two Foundry Schuwalov secret howitzers seen here. The gun crew of the front piece appear to be figures from a Russian based foundry. Very nice figures. They were already painted rather nice. I just added a bit more highlights and shading. I'm not so sure about the head gear. These mitres look more like Viennese gondolas. Apart from my frew grenadiers intermingled with my gunners, they are the only ‘real’ Russian miniatures. Bombardiers they are, rather then Cannoniers. All other figures are Prussian gunners, really. No German foundry supplies Russian models, as far as I'm aware.