Tuesday, August 11, 2015

French Light Cavalry Brigade

En avant mes braves!
Welcome back for another irregular blog update. They do seem to have been getting rather irregular of late, I can't believe it's been three months since my last post. Full time teaching commitments have meant that i've had to be quite strict with my hobby time. While i've not had much time for browsing and blogging, I have managed to fit in quite a bit of painting time. Painting is my wind down time, where I can put on some music, a podcast, or a good audiobook, and let the worries of the day evaporate. I guess it's similar to meditation, and I find that a half hour at the painting desk can restore a bit of balance after a busy and stressful day.

Consequently, i've not only managed top work my way through the entire series of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe audiobooks (thanks audible!), but have been smashing through painting and now have a very sizeable Napoleonic French army. I'll be posting photos of these over the next weeks.

Having completed the Frenchies, i'm now working on another project, 20mm ultra moderns based around Afghanistan for the soon-to-be-released Fighting Season ruleset by Leigh Neville and Rich Clarke. I've got ADF (naturally), Brits, US Marines, and Taliban on the go, along with a bunch of terrain suitable for games in Urzugan or Helmand provinces. So
expect some musings on this as i proceed. Multicam in 20mm anyone?

I've also managed to get in a few play test games of the up coming Lardies Napoleonic divisional level rules, along with a game or two of Chain of Command.

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the beau sabreur arm of my French army, the light cavalry brigade.

Division Command - General Saint-Hilaire 

First off, the divisional command stand representing the exceptionally skilled but ill-fated General Louis-Vincent-Joseph Le Blonde de Saint-Hilaire. Saint-Hilaire commanded his powerful division of Davout's corps during 1809 with expert skill. His performance at the Battle of Eckmuhl was such that Napoleon said to him 'Well, you have certainly earned your marshal's baton today, and you shall have it.'

Unfortunately for Saint-Hilaire, fate was shortly to intervene in the shape of an Austrian cannon ball which took off his leg during the battle of Aspern-Essling. The unfortunate General passed away fifteen days later. Together with the deaths of Marechal Jean Lannes and General d'Espagne, Saint-Hilaire's skill and ability could never be replaced. Saint-Hilaire is flanked by a senior officer of the 11e Chasseurs and a divisional aide de camp.  All 18mm AB figures.
General Saint-Hilaire flanked by an officer of the 11e Chassuers

... and a divisional ADC

Brigade Command - General Lasalle

Next, the cavalry brigade command. This is the superb General Lasalle figure from AB. I really love the flamboyant Hussar general, his pipe held aloft. It just exudes the devil may care attitude of this famous beau sabreur. Now as much as possible I try to avoid biographical overviews in this blog, but as Lasalle was the archetypical light cavalryman, I can't resist.

Antoine-Charles Louis de Lasalle lived his life on and off the battlefield with reckless abandon. This attitude was shown again and again, such as in Salamanca in 1800 when he took a fancy to General Victor's mistress and paraded outside her apartment with the regimental band of the 10e Hussards. When the General and lady emerged, the General applauded, thinking this impromptu concert was in his honour. Lasalle bowed his horses head, and proudly stated 'it is not for you, Sir, but for the fair lady".

Among his many other exploits was the crashing of a grand ball held by the Prefet of Argen. Lasalle had been intentionally left off the guest list, so he arrived with his regiments officers, bursting through the doors and causing much chaos, even throwing food out the windows. Napoleon's reply to the Prefet's complaint was that 'It takes just a signature to make a Prefet; it takes 20 years to make a Lasalle.' Lasalle was also a fashion trend setter, and the large red trousers he fancied became a craze for young cavalrymen trying to emulate the General. Marbot includes an amusing story where one young Lasalle wannabe has his horse shot from under him, and then keeps falling over being tripped by his ridiculously oversized 'Lasalle' pants.
Lasalle famously said Tout hussard qui nest pas mort a 30 ans est un jean-foutre! (Any hussar who lives to be thirty is a jackass!). While he was 33 at the opening of the 1809 campaign, it was to be his last. The night before Wagram he had a presentiment, stating to an aide that 'This battle will be my last.' He was to be proven correct, and in the closing stages of the great battle he was shot by an Austrian Grenadier. Lasalle's last note to his wife, penned the night before the battle, seem a fitting epitaph for such a man. 'Mon cour a toi, mon sang a l'Empreur, ma vie a l'honneur.' (my heart is yours, my blood the emperors, my life for honour. )

I've chosen to depict Lasalle in command of the 'Brigade Infernale', the 7e and 5e Hussards. He is dressed as a colonel of the 7e and is accompanied by a senior officer of the 5e. Both are 18mm AB figures.

5e Regiment de Hussards

Next, the 5e Regiment de Hussards. I've got a long history of trying to paint up this regiment, and the first 28mm figure which I ever painted was one of the Perry sculpted Foundry hussars. A mere decade and a half later i've finally gotten around to painting them, admittedly in a smaller scale. The former Hussards de Lauzun of AWI fame, the 5e was involved in every major campaign of the Napoleonic wars, but as for the rest of my army these guys are painted in their 1809 era uniforms. So here they are, led by their illustrious Colonel Pierre Cesar Dery. These are 18mm AB figures.
Colonel Dery's command stand
The Compagnie d'Elite

11e Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval

Next up are the 11e Regiment de Chasseurs a Cheval, formed from the pre-revolutionary Chasseurs de Normandie. Again, i've a bit of history with these, as I have their compagnie d'elite painted up in 28mm for Sharp Practice.  As with the 5e Hussards, the 11e Chasseurs were engaged in each major campaign of the Napoleonic era, usually tied to Marechal Davout's 3e Corps. In 1809, the regiment was commanded by Colonel Desirad, who had only just taken over command when hostilities opened against the Habsburgs. Again, these are 18mm AB figures.
Colonel Desirad's command stand
The compagnie d'elite

Casualty base

Finally, a shot of the brigade in full. I dare say i'll eventually add another regiment, probably the 7e Hussards, but at the moment this is more than i'll need for my gaming purposes.