Saturday, 12 November 2016

Airfix Waterloo Farm House - Part Three

The first Airfix Waterloo set was first shown to us back in 1975 and was called ‘Waterloo Assault Set’ where it contained the farm house and the eight boxes of figures plus the accessories which had two uncovered wagons and farm equipment. Version two came out in 2008 and was titled ‘The Battle of Waterloo Set’. This set now contained nine boxes of figures including the Prussian Infantry set which came out in 1979, two paint brushes and paints with a tube of glue. Version three came out in 2015 and was titled ‘Waterloo 18th June 1815 Gift Set’ and this re-released by Airfix to commemorate the 200th bicentenary of Waterloo. Nothing new added to this set just the same as the second version but in a different box and so this was a great disappointment.  Will Airfix ever bring out new Napoleonic figures? I very much doubt it as there are so many other plastic companies out there that are making them and are still making new sets.

Picture's from plastic soldier review site

Model: A50174 Waterloo 18th June 1815 Gift Set -Scale: 1/72

Contents of set:

- Farmhouse - Diorama Base: L580mm x W580mm
- Highland Infantry - British Cavalry Hussars - British Infantry - British Artillery
- Prussians
- French Imperial Guard - French Cavalry - French Artillery - French Infantry
- Farm Accessories
- 22 x Acrylic Paints - 2 x Brushes
- 1 x Poly Cement

‘I am often asked whether we should not now, in these days of European unity, forget Waterloo and the battles of the past. My reply is, history cannot be forgotten and we need to be reminded of the bravery of the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in a few hours on 18th June 1815 and why their gallantry and sacrifice ensured peace in Europe for 50 years’. - The 8th Duke of Wellington 2015.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Marshals and Generals


Louis Friant

Born: 18 September 1758 – Morlancourt, Somme, France

Died: 24 June 1829 – Seraincourt, France

Rank: Colonel-in-Chief

Louis Friant was born in the village of Morlancourt, 8 km south of Albert near the river Somme. He was a son of a wax-maker but not following in his father’s footsteps he enlisted in the Gardes Francaises in February 1781 at the age of 22.
Friant rose to the rank of Corporal before he left the service in 1787 but then volunteered for the Garde Nationale of Paris during the outbreak of the French Revolution in September 1789. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel of the 9e battalion de Paris in September 1792. Friant was wounded in the left leg on 16 December 1793 while leading his battalion on the German frontier under the Army of the Moselle.
On returning back to duty as Colonel of the 18e Demi-Brigade in March 1794, Friant took part in the great victory of Fleurus on 26 June 1974, a short distance from the future battlefield of Ligny/St-Amand. He was for a while acting-commander of a brigade in July and then a division in August in the same year. He was at the sieges of Maastricht in October 1894 and Luxemburg in April the following year. He was promoted to General de Brigade on 13 June 1795.
After serving as Military Governor of Luxemburg for a sort period, Friant served with the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse in 1796 along the Rhine. In January 1797 at the age of 39, he joined Bernadotte’s Division of the Army of Italy. He saw action at the Battle of the Tagliamento on the 16 March 1797 and assumed command of the 5th Brigade, 3rd Division with the 30e and 55e Ligne from June 1797.

In the Egypt campaign Friant commanded the 2nd Brigade with the 61e and 88e Linge of General Desaix’s division in Egypt, taking part in the Battle of the Pyramids in July 1798. He was temporally promoted to General de Division on 4 September 1799 and succeeded Desaix as commander in Upper Egypt after Desaix returned to France. Friant took a lead role in the suppression of the great revolt in Cairo in March – April 1800 and was confirmed as General de Division and named Governor of Alexandria in September 1800. He fought the British at the Second Battle of Aboukir 8 March 1801 and defended Alexandria in August the same year. At the end of 1801, Friant returned to France and became the inspector general of infantry. By this time General Davout had married one of Leclerc's sister’s, and with Friant also being married to one of Leclerc's sisters and they had a son called Jean Francois Friant, the two generals became brothers-in-law.
In 1805 in the Ulm-Austerlitz campaign, Friant’s Division earned reputation for rapid and effective marching. This quality was put to excellent use when the Division was sent from Vienna to reinforce the Grande Armee at Austerlitz, marching 70 miles in 46 hours and arrived just in time to counterattack the Allies at Telnice and Sokolnice on the morning of 2 December 1805. In the fighting along the Goldbach stream, Friant had three horses killed under him. He was awarded the Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honor on 27 December 1805.

In October 1806 in at the Battle of Auerstadt where Davout was in command of the III Corps of 26,000 men and defeated the Prussian main body of 63,000. Friant’s Division advanced on the right, turning the Prussian left flank. The infantry of Friant and Gudin who were standing in square, withstood and shattered a large cavalry attack led by Blucher himself.
In the Polish campaign, Friant’s Division fought successfully at the Ukra River on 24 December 1806. At the Battle of Eylau, Friant’s Division arrived to reinforce the French right on the morning of 8 February 1807, helping to turn a near-defeat into a stalemate. Friant suffered a musket shot to his right side at Eylau. Friant was named Comte de I’Empire on 5 October 1808. 
In the 1809 campaign, Friant’s Division fought with distinction at the battles of Teugen-Hausen, Abensberg, Eckmuhl and Ratisbon in April of that year.
At the Battle of Wagram on 6 July 1809, Friant was wounded in the shoulder by a shell fragment during the successful storming of the Square Tower at Markgrafneusiedl.

In the Russian campaign of 1812, Friant commanded the 2e Division of Davout's I Corps. In August 1812, after General Dorsenne's death, he was nominated as commander of the Grenadiers à Pied de la Vieille Garde. Friant remained at the head of his Division. He was wounded yet again at the Battle of Smolensk 17 August and severely wounded during the capture of Semenovskaya village at the Battle of Borodino 7 September 1812. Incapacitated and left behind at Gzhatsk, he was still there with his wounds unhealed when the retreating army returned to Gzhatsk at the end of October.
Friant returned to France to recover from his wounds in January 1813. He returned to the front in June 1813, commanding the Old Guard Division at the Battles of Dresden 26 August, Leipzig 16–19 October, and Hanau 30 October 1813.

In the 1814 campaign in France, Friant and his 1st Division of the Old Guard fought a successful defensive action against Gyulai's Austrians at Bar-sur-Aube on 24 January. Friant took part in Napoleon's surprise counter-offensive against Blücher's Army of Silesia, gaining victories at Montmirail 11 February, Château-Thierry 12 February, and Vauchamps 14 February 1814. Friant's Old Guard was the core and reserve of the Emperor's masse de manoeuvre. They were committed to battle in the bloody and indecisive clash at Craonne 7 March 1814, the reverse at Laon 9–10 March, the recapture of Reims 13 March, and the defeat at Arcis-sur-Aube 20 March.

During Napoleon's exile, Friant was retained as commander of the Grenadiers à pied de France. In the campaign of the Hundred Days, he was appointed as Colonel-in-chief of the first Grenadiers à Pied of foot of the old guard. His men made the final assault on Ligny as darkness fell on 16 June 1815.
On 18 June, at Waterloo Friant led his 3800 Old Guard Grenadiers in the final, fateful attack on Wellington’s Allied center, where he was wounded once again. He was admitted to retirement on September 4, 1815, at the age of 57 years where he had served in 34 years of campaigns.

He died on 24 June 1829, aged 70. His name is on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Wagons - Part One

Wagons were the most important item for an 18th Century army. Without these no supplies could be sent to the front or to keep the army on the march. The wagons would carry all sort of equipment that any army might need on campaign such as ammunition, pontoon & bridging equipment, wheelwrights, blacksmiths or even ambulances. The cargo would also be musket cartage's, power, flints, dry food, water, fodder for the horses and much more. The logistics for any Napoleonic army must have been immense with the number of men and even camp followers that went on campaign.
In the Peninsula War the Royal Horse Artillery ‘A Troop’ which was called the chestnut troop due to the colour of the horses, contained five guns and a 5-5 Howitzer with 162 men. Each of the guns needed one Ammunition wagon. Also there were another three wagons for the troop which was for ammunition, baggage and forage for the horses.

So why do we not see many wargamers using them on their battlefield tables? The answer could be one of two things the lack of space with a small wargaming table would defiantly be the biggest answer. The second answer is that there are not many of the plastic companies out there that make them for us till now. There are many metal companies that make wagons but not many for 20mm fans.

When I started wargaming back in the early 70’s the only plastic company around then was Airfix. They brought out the very first plastic wagon set which were in fact the ‘Wagon Train’ set number 01715 for the cowboys and Indian figures that they had put into production back in 1962. The set made in brown plastic contained just one covered wagon pulled by four horses which was very basic and under scale for 1/76. 

Picture from Plastic Soldier Review Site
Atlantic then brought out a ‘Pioniers Wagons’ set number 1052 sometime in the late 70’s.  This set is very hard to find as the company went out of business in 1984. So I am glad that I brought a set back then as they were my main wagon supplies for my army back then. The set contained four covered wagons made in brown plastic each pulled by two oxen. This then was a great set to have which also included barrels shovels and pick-axes and a little lantern which could be attached to the back end of the wagons which I think was a nice touch.

Imex was the next plastic company to produce wagons back in 1997 all made in light brown plastic. They produced two sets the first being a ‘Chuck Wagon and Prairie Schooner’ one wagon of each was covered and pulled by two horses and then in the same year ‘Munitions and Ambulance Wagon’ set number 514. The munitions wagon had an open top with two horses and the ambulance had a covered top again with two horses with two stretchers as accessories. Although this set was for the American Civil War. Another nice set which again I have in my collection and in the painting queue. Imex also produced to more wagon set in 2004 which was a box containing two ‘Conestoga Wagons’  and a ‘Wagon Train’ set 610 which contained 8 Conestoga wagons, one chuck wagon and one Prairie Schooner. All of the above was produced as an American History Series. These can still be brought in model shops and on the Internet.

We had to wait for Italeri in 2000 to produce the very first Napoleonic wagons with a box called ‘Napoleonic Wars Accessories’ set number 6017. This was for the French army. It’s just a shame that it only had one wagon which can be covered or uncovered. The wagon is pulled by two horses and with a driver in blue plastic. The accessories included infantry sitting around ready to move off or resting after a long march.

Picture from Plastic Soldier Review Site

HaT then in 2006 produced the best Napoleonic wagon set to date for the French. Box number 8106 ‘French Baggage Wagons’ in light grey plastic contains three wagons which again can be covered or uncovered pulled by two horses each with driver. At the same time they have produced ‘Ammunition Caisson’ box number 8101, ‘Wurst Wagon’ 8102, ‘Light and Heavy Ambulance’ numbers 8103/8104, ‘Field Forge’ 8107 and ‘Pontoon Wagons’ 8108. All of these sets have three of each.

HaT on their web page have in the pipeline sets for the Prussians including Ammunition Caisson, Baggage and Limbers for the artillery. These have been in production for a long while now but hope that these will be produced in the near future.

Picture from Plastic Soldier Review Site