Now even though the title says that these minis are my 6th entry into the Painting Challenge, this is only half-true. These are also my entry into the 3rd La Bricole Winter Painting Challenge with the fitting title “Deploy Skirmishers”. As the title suggests, this one is about light troops. I have to admit, that it caught me quiet of guard. Usually the La Bricole Challenges run for some time, but this one runs “only” for about a month and the first I heard about it, was when it started. With the time taken by private matters (like looking for a new job) and the Analogue Hobbies Challenge I was sure I did not have the time to get the minis for a unit of my choice from storage and clean them up. Luckily I had cleaned up and primed a bunch of 95th Rifles minis some years ago and had put them away, when I concentrated on my French and Prussians for Möckern. So I only had to glue them onto the film containers I use for painting and the party could begin.
I had hoped that these would paint up a little faster and that I could paint an entry for the next fortnight theme (Hero or Heroic group) on the Analogue Hobbies Challenge at the same time, but some time last week it became clear that this was not going to happen. At the same time I was in no mood to halt work on these for something else. Thinking about the exploits of the 95th I was sure, that that could be passed as heroes. And it even got me thinking some more. Is not every soldier a hero in a sense. I mean it takes a good amount of courage to march out into a field to face thousands of other men who are there with the intention of ending your life. I think to do that takes courage and heroism. And since Curt allowed them to be entered, I can not be that wrong!
2007 Royal mail stamp showing a rifleman form the 95th Rifles
Now on to the Rifles themselves. The unit was created in January 1800 as the “Experimental Corps of Riflemen” to provide sharpshooters, scouts and skirmishers. They were renamed the “95th Regiment of Foot (Rifles)” in 1803 (in between they were also renamed “The Rifle Corps”). In 1805 and 1806 they were sent to Germany to liberate Hannover from France. Five companies had a brief stint in South America where they were surrendered by their commanding officer, but after negotiations they were allowed to leave. At the same time the rest of the Regiment accompanied Athur Welsley (the later Duke Wellington) to Denmark. They were also send to Schweden, but never left their vessels.
Their real rise to fame began during the Peninsular Campaign. Here they fought in every major engagement and served right from the landings at Mondego Bay till the advance into France. As part of the Light Brigade they were always in the thick of battle. One of their most heroic feats (here we come full circle with the fortnight theme) was the battle of Battle of San Marcial where a company under the command of Captain Daniel Cadoux held off an entire French division at Vera before withdrawing. They inflicted 231 casualties and suffering just 14 killed, unfortunately including Cadoux.
After Napoleons first abdication, they returned to England for R&R and indeed many men who saw their enlistments end, left the regiment. But with Napoleons return to power, many of them returned to the unit and the unit returned to Europe to fight again, seeing action at boy Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
For those who want to get some idea of their exploits during the Napoleonic era (and not only from a TV series starring Sean Bean [I like him as an actor and always did, but I simply do not believe in Bernhard Cornwell or Hollywood teaching history]) there is a very good book by Mark Urban simply called “Rifles”.
OK, enough of that and on to the minis, shall we! All of these minis are Perry Miniatures (two of them plastic, the other metal). There is twenty of them in total, which under the Republic to Empire rules (1:20 ratio) will allow me to field them at full strength for Quatre Bras or if I remove a few minis, for Waterloo as well. I did this with my Black Watch and I am going this with all my Napoleonic British, since I do not play the Peninsular and this will allow me to replay either battle.
I have to say, they are some of the Perrys best minis, since each and every one has lots of character (often you only find that with the command packs or special packs). None the less the casting quality still was bad, as usual. I simply cannot understand how they can sculpt such nice minis and be so horrible on quality control. I know these came from one of the first batches, so they should have been good, but even though I took great care to clean them up, I still found some flash or chimneys where I did not expect them and had to remove them during painting. All in all I went and did a fast job on these to be able to finish them in time (and still had to pull a night shift on the last night), so they might now look as nice as my other Napoleonic minis. But before anyone asks… yes the numbers on the backpacks are freehand!
95th Rifles (front view)
95th Rifles (rear view)
95th Rifles (command stand)
95th Rifles (officer and bugler)
95th Rifles (front view)
Again they were based on half bases (except for the command stand) to allow me to use them in full skirmish deployment as well, just like what I described with my other light troops.
95th Rifles (skirmish formation)
For those of you wondering about the other entries, here is the link to the special page
Curt set up for the first fortnight theme and for people to cast their votes for favourites.
Up next we shall stay British, but this time we will be back in WWII.