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Römerfest Xanten

Römerfest Xanten

This weekend saw the “Römerfest” in the Archeologischer Park Xanten. This is the archeological park build on the remains and rebuilding the Colonia Ulpia Traiana, the second most important town in Germania Inferior (after Cologne) under the Romans. The place is always worth a visit IMHO, but this year saw them host the Römerfest again. This means the place is filled with re-enactors (mostly German, but I saw groups from Belgium, the UK and Italy as well), traders and host a number of displays, like Roman drill, cavalry display, artillery demonstration and gladiator fights. The weather was fine and the camera even allowed me a few decent photos. I will leave you with the photos and only a few comments of my own:

Up first the drill display (as this was a UK based group of re-enactors “The Ermine Street Guard”):

Xanten1 Xanten 1

The cavalry display showing 4 riders with equipment from different periods from late republican to late roman. The outfit was called Timetrotter. (Please be aware, that they do reserve the rights for commercial use of any photos showing them. While this is not legally binding, if you want to make any commercial use of these following photos, you have to contact them not me to avoid any troubles.)

Xanten 7 Xanten 4 Xanten 5 Xanten 6 Xanten8 Xanten 10 Xanten8 Xanten 8 Xanten 9

There were lots of Ballistae of different sizes on display. There is one thing I want to mention regarding this one very fine example. I was standing by when one of the re-enactors was explaining a good deal about this weapon and their own research to some visitors. When he was done one of the visitors said that they were tabletop wargamers and while this was bleeping great to see it live they did not care too much about the background and much less about the actual firing of this weapon. Not sure if you should happen to read this blog, but if you are… Next time please show some respect!!! This man was as serious and passionate about his hobby (which is not too far from yours) as you are about yours (hopefully) and he sure deserved better than for someone to tell him he did not care, because you were just after a peepshow! Imagine how he would have felt with the roles reversed!

Xanten 11

There were parades on of the main walk in the park at various times during the day, which was a good chance to see all the “Centuries” and their uniforms!

Xanten 2 Xanten 15 Xanten 19 Xanten 18 Xanten 17 Xanten 16 Xanten 20 Xanten 21

Here are some impressions from the various camps:

Xanten 12 Xanten 24 Xanten 14

These two were later used in a life firing display:

Xanten 13 Xanten 22 Xanten 23

And last but not least another drill display by a local outfit which also performed the firing display:

Xanten 25 Xanten 26 Xanten 27 Xanten 28

I assume this broken torsion arm was from an earlier use of the stone thrower, for on Saturday everything went just fine!

Xanten 3

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18 Comments

Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Ancients, Historic research, Romans

 

Star Wars Bounty Hunter Boba Fett (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #3)

So here is my entry for the second fortnight round. Believe it or not… I have not touched a single mini since the last fortnight round. So in order not to fail my sub-challenge (to enter something for every fortnight round) I sat down the day before the deadline and painted this one.
Boba Fett

Boba Fett

It is Boba Fett, the Bounty Hunter from Star Wars Episodes IV to VI. I had been thinking long and hard about the villain entry. Since I plan to do a lot of WWII minis for the Challenge, an SS officer came to mind, but honestly, I wanted to do something different here. I have had this minis for about two years now (it was a birthday gift by my better half) and I felt  it was fitting. There are few characters that scream villain in Star Wars, most either have their moments of goodness and others are too pure evil to be just a villain. But I think the Bounty Hunter makes for a good villain. While only a hired gun, if you like, in my opinion he always saw what was going on around him and always passed his chance to do something good. He always chose money and it always came from the bad guys. So I felt he was a good choice.
Boba Fett

Boba Fett

Not much to say about the mini itself. It is by Knight Models. While bleeping expensive, I felt it did not really measure up to the price. Lot of mould lines to clean off, bad fit of the part and weak detail, which got only worse due to the mini being very slim by 28mm standards. So i ended up spending more time on him than I would have liked. I still have Han Solo from them, whom I shall eventually paint, but I will not buy another minis from them in the future.
Boba Fett

Boba Fett

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.

 

 

French Napoleonic Hussars pillow fight (Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge entry #2)

As mentioned in a previous post, these are the minis I painted first for Curts Analogue Painting Challenge. But this is the entry for the first fortnight theme (non-combatants) and Curt wanted to post all those at once, so these hit the internet as the second entry. As indicated before, the non-combatants theme was giving me headaches. At first I had thought that I should do one of the battery area markers for my Napoleonic batteries. Those are supposed to cover a huge area and convey lots of little scenes, which can include non-combatants. But then again a large area would have meant lots of figures and I simply did not have the time for that. While The Challenge started on the 15th, I had my last day at work on the 17th and could not start before that date. At the same time we left for my better halfs relatives on the 20th and I did not want to take paints, minis, basing materials and my camera equipment along, so things had to be finished before that date.

So something else had to come up. After Curt squashed my idea of British WWII soldiers having a cup of tea (Thanks Curt! ;-)) I came up with these. Essentially it is a command stand for some French Napoleonic Cavalry. Now I would never assume that two officers would count as non-combatants, but I really hope the two mistresses will count. Well I hope them having a pillow fight is not too combative. 😛

The officers are from Perry. One of them is a General de Brigade, the other his ADC. I looked at the colors of the different French Hussars regiments for some time and ended up with the 5th since I really wanted to work with some light blue and was intrigued by their blue shakos. Not sure if there ever was a Brigadier that wore a uniform from the 5th, but I simply wanted to do them this way. So far so good. In the end I think I should have gone with a different unit, at least for the ADC, since well… with all this light blue they look like a bunch of Smurfs! The two ladies are from Eureka Miniatures and are painted to match, except that they are wearing enlisted soldiers jackets (yellow piping) instead of officers jackets (gold lace). Depending on what source you look at, one could use different shades of blue. For example the Histroire & Collections book on French Hussars shows them in a darker medium blue. Rousselot depicts them in a light sky blue. I felt the later was possibly the more accurate source and I wanted to try out some of the light blues I had bought last year and still had not used.

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers
(Yes, while other men march into the meat grinder, the Hussars have all the fun!)

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers

5th Hussars officers

Hope you all like this little vignette! For those of you wondering about the other FOURTY 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.

Now on to thinking about what to paint for the villain, which is the next theme and while the deadline for that is only the 5th of January, I have a similar problem with my private timetable, so I will have to tackle that first!

 

The bad, the good and help required to make plans for 2015

Delay of service (the bad):

So far June has been slightly disappointing for me. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to have the wooden floor in our flat redone, do some other remodelling work and get some new furniture. So we trashed a lot of the living room furniture, painted the living room, moved the furniture from the bedroom as well as what was left in the living to the kitchen and bathroom (including everything that was stored in those rooms), slept on an old pull-out couch in the attic for about a week while the floor was done, set up the new living room furniture (we still lack a new couch table and rug) and moved all the other furniture back where it belongs. To top everything off we had a second run of “do we really need this or can we throw it away” when putting everything back in place. We took our sweet time here. With the sudden hearing loss earlier this month, we did not want to take any chances of the situation returning (especially since doctors are still not sure yet what caused it) and made sure any stress was avoided. Under these conditions I was unable to put a single drop of paint to a mini for almost the whole of June so far, which naturally pushes my preparations for the Möckern game back from “well ahead of the timetable” to “I should still be able to pull it off”. 😦 I really hope, I can make some progress on the French infantry and push one unit out by the weekend and another before we leave for a long weekend in Edinburgh in the middle of next month.

The good:

The positive thing about this so far? Well previously we had furniture in the living room that took a lot of space, but offered little space to store things. This has now been replaced with library style cupboards. So all the novels we had stored in three rows, one behind the other, in a cupboard in the bedroom have now been moved to the living room, but more importantly… my military history library has moved from my hobby room in the cellar to our living room. Previously I often found myself too lazy to go to the cellar when I wanted to look something up, so this should be a real improvement.

2015 plans:

But with the Möckern project nearing the end, I think it is time to look at the next one… Waterloo or rather the Hundred Days for 2015. Now this has been giving me some headaches for a while now. Obviously a bicentennial is too good to pass, so I have to do something to commemorate it, but what?
The original plan had been to do the French Cavalry charge at Waterloo, but I have given up this idea since I think it would mean too many new minis (and especially cavalry which I hate to paint) and would turn the next two years into a chore instead of fun. So I am still contemplating what to do.

Mercer´s Battery (Series 3, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

Mercer´s Battery
(Series 3, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

I am leaning a bit against the Prussians. This game is meant to take place at Crisis in Antwerp, too and I want to avoid the appearance that I just recycled the minis from this years game. So it will most likely be the Anglo-Allied contingent.
So what are the other parameters I am looking at?

It should obviously be an interesting (or decisive) part of either the battle at Quatre Bras or Waterloo. No more than eight to twelve units per side. It could be virtually any Allied unit, since I have enough unpainted minis for British, Dutch-Belgian, Hannover, KGL or Nassau Usingen lying around. British 5th Division (or at least 9th Brigade) would be nice bit not a must. I am also intrigued by the Black Brunswickers and Ompteda´s Brigade.

Ompteda´s Doom (Series 3, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

Ompteda´s Doom
(Series 3, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

I think my wish to use the 5th Division / 9th Brigade is complicating matters for me right now. I think at Waterloo they were too much in the thick of things and would feel strange in a game of my scope and going larger would break my timetable. Same applies to Ompteda. Quatre Bras should work out for the former formation, but I feel I am not really getting a feel for that part of the battle.

So… what do you think? Would the 5th Division / 9th Brigade at Quatre Bras fulfil my needs and how could it be done. Any other part of either battle that would make a good game within my scope?

La Haye Sainte (Series 4, Waterloo Collection) © http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

La Haye Sainte
(Series 4, Waterloo Collection)
© http://www.waterloo-collection.com/

In case anyone wonders… the images on this page were used with the kind permission of Stephen Stanton from the Waterloo Collection. I think his paintings are some of the nicest renditions of the battle of Waterloo. So if you are interested go and drop by. All his paintings are available as prints and some even still as originals!

 
 

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Birthday giveaway

As announced in a recent post, I was going to do a birthday give-away on this blog.

So what are we celebrating? Well, three things actually. For one this blog turned two last month. Second this blog reached 150 followers (actually this figure was actually breached this week, so welcome to the two newest followers). Third we breached 150.000 hits. So with three such benchmarks within 1 1/2 weeks I feel it is time for a giveaway.

Wappen (groß)

So what is up for grabs?

Well as some of you may have noticed this blog is mainly about historical wargaming. You may also have realized that for me, historical wargaming is not just about taking stats out of a rulebook or army book, but about getting a feel for the background and understanding the history behind it. Obviously one needs to do some historic research for that and for me, the best thing to do that are still old-fashioned books. So I am giving away books and in this case from my most played eras. So in historical order:

First up there is “1815, The Waterloo Campaign, The German Victory” by Peter Hofschröer. (Paperback, read once in good condition). I like Hofschröers books. They are off the beaten track when it comes to the Waterloo campaign. since they do not just focus on the view of things based on Wellingtons memoirs, but try a broader approach. Especially taking into account the German perspective of things. I often feel that this makes sense, since the majority of Allied troops actually came from Prussia, Hannover and Brunswick or in other words… what is now Germany. The nice thing about this particular book is, that it also goes into what happened after Waterloo when the Allies marched on Paris.

1815, The Waterloo Campaign, The German Victory, Peter Hofschröer

1815, The Waterloo Campaign,
The German Victory
Peter Hofschröer

Up next is “The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg, Volume II: The Americans” by Roland Gaul. (Hardcover, unread [for some reason I bought this one twice, so I am giving away the mint one]). Gaul, a historian from Luxembourg , covers the events from the American perspective, breaking the events down to into small actions. The book is ripe with first person accounts and photographs. I think this offers great ideas for skirmish games set during the Battle of the Bulge.

The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg, Vol. II, Roland Gaul

The Battle of the Bulge in Luxembourg, Vol. II
Roland Gaul

Up last is “American Soldiers” (Paperback, unread). This one features excerpts from a number of books outlining the actions of American elite forces during the last two decades. While not a coherent book, this should also give people a good inspiration for small unit actions.

American Soldier

American Soldier
[various authors]

Now what do you have to do to get into the draw?

  1. Comment on this post If you prefer one of the above books above, mention it. If it is still available at the time your name gets drawn, it is yours.
  2. Be a subscriber to this blog. There are essentially four ways to do this. (i) If you have a WordPress account you can follow this blogs, via WordPress. (ii) You can subscribe via eMail (first option from the top on the right). (iii) Or you can be part of my Facebook friends list. (iv) The fourth option is to have this blog on your blogroll on your own blog (I know there are people who follow blogs that way). You need to be a subscriber at the time of the draw obviously, but I would be happy if you remained one after it, too!
  3. You do not need to post about this give-away on your blog. But if you do, you get a second ticket in the draw.

And this is it. The draw will be held on the 12th of this month 0800h CET, so make sure you toss your hat in the ring by that time! Good luck!

 
32 Comments

Posted by on May 1, 2013 in Books, General, Historic research

 

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A fine piece of French military music

Now the riddle about the onion for my second mystery entry to the La Bricole painting competition, prompted Jason (aka Der Feldmarschall) to suggest that it would be French Imperial Guard based on a battlesong that were quiet popular with them. While the nationality is right, it was no hit. But I had not known this song and wanted to share it with you, since I found it ridiculously funny!


By the way, if you want to know what it means and your school french is no good… the subtitled version starts at 1:05!

 
 

Some notes on Napoleonic Russian uniforms

Some notes on Napoleonic Russian uniforms

Now my recent review of the Perry brothers latest plastic offering has caused some feedback from a TMP member (Seroga) from Russia. It all started off with a few comments regarding the uniform information on the sheet included in the box. He stated that much of the information on the sheet is based on Vislovatov, which has been disputed by Russian historians in recent years or in his words (all quotes in this post are copies of his posts on TMP):

The problem with the Vislovatov (basis for almost everything about sub-unit distinctives until recently) was initially surfaced about 12 years ago by the authors of the 300-years History of the Russian Marines.
The had found something “non-standard” for the Marines in 1811 – not according to Viskovatov. Upon further research, they found that Viskovatov was really quoting a proposal that was not formally adopted until early 1817. And the correct distinctives were as I have given them (very slight modifications from the 1809 order, to accomodate the new organization).

Their work was publicized first in a symposium in Kaluga (maybe about 2002) and then publihed in Tseykhaus – and also appeared in Vol. 1 of the work on the Marines. As a sidenote, one of the authors was the very same guy who had, in the early years of Tseik, publsihed the Viskovatov version.

Other reasearchers, for example Ilya Ulyanov, author of the 3-volume Russian Infantry series and his more recent Russian Infantry at War, have agreed.

So here we go (please note that I can neither confirm nor deny the information given, but it is everyone’s own choice what to make of it anyway):

The painting instructions could use some corrections/editing. For examples ….

The pompoms are partially wrong:
1st battalion is shown correctly
2nd battalion
grenadier platoon and marksmen platoon : OK as shown
center platoons : green with yellow center [correction]. However, the green with white center shown was correct per the prior regulation of 1809 and would again be correct from late 1816 or early 1817. It is possible that some units did not correctly follow the change to green with yellow center in 1811.
3nd battalion
grenadier platoon : red over yellow [correction]
marksmen platoon : yellow over red [correction]
center platoons : red with yellow center [correction]
Note : 1st and 3rd battalions typically served together as “the regiment”, with the 2nd battalion typically serving elsewhere in various “combined” formations.
Note : The NCO’s pompom is shown as quartered orange and white, but the orange part was really a mix of black and orange and would likely appear darker than shown.

The shoulder straps have 2 errors and 2 omissions:
– The division number should be in yellow [correction] for the green piped red shoulder straps.
– The division number should be in yellow [correction] for the blue shoulder straps.
– Grenadier regiments all had the red shoulder straps, with a letter (in vintage Russian cursive style) from their name instead of a number. [omission]
– If there were more than the usual 4 Infantry regiments in a division, the fifth Infantry regiment of the division by seniority had the blue shoulder straps, like the junior Jäger regiment, and the sixth Infantry regiment had drab tan-grey shoulder straps. [omission]
Note : The numbers also should be vintage Russian cursive style, although you would have to be a great painter to really capture this – see link for a sample.

Rankers in the center platoons of Jäger regiments were not equipped with infantry short swords. If musket-armed (as they were supposed to be), they had only the bayonet. So, you might want to slice off the short sword for them, if all the sprues have included it. [possible correction] If someone in the lower number Jäger regiments was using a left-over rifle, it would be shorter than the musket and would have a longer sword-bayonet. Some higher-number Jäger regiments were recently converted Infantry regiments. They could still have white belts, and even “incorrectly” could have kept their short swords for rankers in the center companies.

All elite companies were called Grenadier, including for Jâgers. [correction]
Center companies were called “Fusilier” in Grenadier and Marine regiments, except in the Life-Grenadier regiment, where all companies were callled Grenadier. [omission]

The company numbering shown is correct only for the 1st battalion. The 2nd battalion had the 2nd Grenadier and 4th, 5th and 6th center companies. The 3rd battalion had the 3rd Grenadier and 7th, 8th and 9th center companies. [omission]
The forage cap bands for Grenadier companies did not have any letter or number per regulations [correction]. This likely included all the companies in the Life-Grenadier regiment. Center companies had the company number followed two dots, then the Russian cursive letter for “R” (for “rota” or company) and two more dots. Something like ” 1 : Р : ” ” 2 : Р : ” ” 3 : Р : ” – if you can paint this, that is. Also, the number should be yellow per regulations. [correction]

Jäger Grenadier company cartridge boxes had the regiment number, like center companies (and there were no Carabinier companies or platoons …. there were Karabinier regiments, but only after 1815).

Jäger musket slings are black, others had “red” (vermillion based dye/paint)

This goes to the sculpts ….

The rolled greatcoat lower end, where it is tied together, should correctly lie to the front of the leg, so that the right hand holding the weapon at “attention” is behind the greatcoat and its tie, close to the leg.
However, images drawn from life show that putting the tie of the greatcoat at the side of the leg, behind the right hand at attention, was tolerated in some units (we assume more easy-going company sergeant-majors).
It is actually easier to get the cartidges from the box if you wear the tied greatcoat correctly (I have tried it).

Flags …,

For Infantry, Grenadier and Marine regiments :
1st battalion : 2 different flags, which are often called in English “colonel’s” and “regimental”
2nd battalion : 2 identical, “regimental” – used with the center companies, which typically took the field with smaller 3-company organization
3rd battalion : 2 identical, “regimental”

Combined Grenadier battalions : composed of three 2nd Grenadier companies taken from the 2nd battalion of three regiments : no flags
Jäger battalions : no flags

Forage caps ….

This is more of a clarification than correction.
Note that the were two bands of piping : one around the top edge of the band – “lower”, one around the crown – “upper”.

For all center companies (including the Life-Grenadier regiment) :
1st battalion : both white
2nd battalion : both green (easiest to paint – it is the same color as the crown, not lighter)
3rd battalion : both blue

For Grenadier platoons in Grenadier companies :
1st battalion : both red (although I am sure some regiments did upper white, lower red)
2nd battalion : upper green, lower red
3rd battalion : upper blue, lower red

For Marksmen platoons in Grenadier companies :
1st battalion : both yellow (although I am sure some regiments did upper white, lower yellow)
2nd battalion : upper green, lower yellow
3rd battalion : upper blue, lower yellow

In general, as forage caps were a fatigue/undress item, and were made locally from scaps and worn-out uniforms, greater than normal variation vs. the regulations was possible.

Swordknots ….

If you look at the painting instructions, the sword knot is shown as an upper-knot, a mid-section, a lower-knot, and the fringe. The fringe was white, as shown. That’s was easy.

The upper- and lower-knots were the same, and were supposed to be colored by the company :
Grenadier company : red (both platoons)
1st, 4th, 7th center company : white
2nd, 5th, 8th center company : blue
3rd, 6th, 9th center company : yellow
NCO swordknots, by regulation, should have had only the lower-knot in mixed orange and black. However, it appears that they had botht he lower-knot and upper-knot in the rank distinctive orange and black.

The middle-section was colored by the battalion:
1st battalion : white
2nd battalion : yellow
3rd battalion : red

=============================

The tassles (only) of the shako cords for NCO’s were a mix of white and orange and black.

Pants ….

For other ranks, the pants or trousers for Grenadier, Infantry and Marine regiments were white wool in winter and white Flemish linen in summer. The black items called gaiters are actually sewn-on leather leggings for the winter pants. If you do them with paint, as suggested, it will take a couple of coats to get the correct effect.

For fatigues, undress and often when on campaign, gray-ish or off-white loose pants (stuffed into the shank or top of the short boots used as footwear) were worn, sometimes called “bloomers”. The sculpts are actually a little tight for the regular pants (Russian pants had looser fit than French breeches), and you would need to add some milliput or similar to get the baggy look of the bloomers.

For officers, the white pants were reserved for parades and mess-dress occasions. They wore gray “riding trousers” (wherher or not mounted) or dark green pants for most occasions. On campaign, company grade officers might also were the “bloomers”.

For Jägers, the winter wool pants were dark-green.

I think this is it, unless there are questions …

Final clarifications :

The tall thin plume was in use from 1811, even with the older (1809) shako. Only the Grenadier platoon had them – not the Marksmen platoon.

The top-band around the top of the 1809 shako is sculpted very heavy. You might thin it a bit, or be careful in paining to not high-light it too much.

The scupts are really early war, summer 1812 looking to me.

Especially after Borodino, and through the long march to Paris, it became rather common for Jäger rankers, without the infantry short sword, to just fix their bayonets and “lose” the shoulder-belt and frog for the bayonet.

The French “furry” knapsacks were much prized (and with lots of dead French, it was easy to get one). French muskets and low shoes were not much prized. With their non-combatants, regiments could make-up boots locally if they found some leather. Similarly, they could make-up ammunition from raw materials or captures.

The pre-war shakos were pretty much used-up by late 1812. Forage caps were pretty common unless a unit got re-supplied. The uniform coats had turned to rags by Spring 1813, but the greatcoats lasted quite well. Some captured cloth of some dark color could be made-up into new uniform coats.

The men that made it to Paris barely looked like uniformed solders by the time they got there. Everyone was in bloomers. Scandals resulted, when they had to parade after the peace. Richer officers ran to the Parisian tailors. But I doubt that the parades mattered too much to the veteran rankers.

Hope this information proves useful to some of you!

In case anyone wonders, the portraits shown in this post are from the Replace Face blog. Steve Payne has taken paintings by the English portrait artist George Dawe who painted 329 portraits of Russian generals active during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia for the Military Gallery of the Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

He is using digital copies of these paintings as a basis for his work which involves incorporating his friends, family and even some celebrities into the paintings using Photoshop. If you do not know it, go and check it out… I have only used some of my favourites here.

 

 

D-Day

D-Day

Today sees the 68th birthday of D-Day. We had originally planned to do a game (the Ranger attack on Point du Hoc in 28mm) today to commemorate the day, but in the end my mate could not make it, so we will shift that to a weekend later this month. Maybe that is just as well, since the table would have required an outdoor set-up and well… it is raining cats and dogs! But stay tuned… this should be a cracker!

American Landingcraft aproaching one of the landing beaches on June 6th 1944

American landing-craft approaching one of the landing beaches on June 6th 1944

Some of you might have noticed, that there have been fewer posts then usual in recent days and I wanted to warn you, that this might stay this way for the near future. There are some personal issues right now and those shall take up most of my time in the near future. Wish me luck… I can use it!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in General, Historic research, WWII

 

Victory Europe Day

Last summer I was on a business trip to Berlin and staying in a hotel on Alexanderplatz. Now my room was in the twenty-sometingth floor and offered a magnificent view to the north and east since there were no taller buildings in those directions. I had to get up early the next morning and was able to see the sun rise over Berlin from my room. And I could not help thinking how different this vista must have looked in early May 1945. OK, only birds would have the same vista since the building had not been build back then, but you know what I mean. The fire, the smoke, the explosions, tanks advancing over the wide avenues. It is strange how such a nice view can give you such strange thoughts if you are historically educated. And how much our lives have changed over the past 67 years.

What I was reminded of were the photographs by Sergey Larenkov. He took photos of Berlin in 2010 and combined them with photos taken by warphotographers (from the same spots and angles). I decded to share them with you on this day and here are his works:

Берлин, 1945/2010. Плоцадь Большой Звезды. Berlin, 1945/2010. Grosser Stern platz

Берлин, 1945/2010. Плоцадь Большой Звезды
Berlin, 1945/2010. Grosser Stern Platz

Берлин, 1945/2010, Мехрингдамм. Berlin, 1945/2010, Mehringdamm

Берлин, 1945/2010, Мехрингдамм
Berlin, 1945/2010, Mehringdamm

 Берлин 1945/2010 Бой у станции метро Франкфуртер аллее.  Berlin 1945/2010 Fight at U-bahn station Frankfurter Allee.  Berlin 1945/2010 Der Kampf bei der U-Bahnhof Frankfurter Allee


Берлин 1945/2010 Бой у станции метро Франкфуртер аллее.
Berlin 1945/2010 Fight at U-bahn station Frankfurter Allee.
Berlin 1945/2010 Der Kampf bei der U-Bahnhof Frankfurter Allee

Мир — добродетель цивилизации, война — ее преступление. Виктор Гюго  Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime. Victor Hugo [Infront of the Reichstag]

Мир — добродетель цивилизации, война — ее преступление. Виктор Гюго
Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime. Victor Hugo
[Infront of the Reichstag]

Берлин 1945/2010. Солдат-победитель.  Berlin 1945/2010. Soldier-winner. He walked to victory four years, he lost many comrades.

Берлин 1945/2010. Солдат-победитель.
Berlin 1945/2010. Soldier-winner. He walked to victory four years, he lost many comrades.
[Again infront of the Reichstag]

 Берлин 1945/2010. Подбитый танк "Тигр" в парке Тиргартен.  Berlin 1945/2010. Wrecked tank "Tiger" in Tiergarten park.

Берлин 1945/2010. Подбитый танк “Тигр” в парке Тиргартен.
Berlin 1945/2010. Wrecked tank “Tiger” in Tiergarten park.

Регулировщица на площади у Бранденбургских ворот.

Регулировщица на площади у Бранденбургских ворот.
[Unter den Linden]

Штурм Рейхстага

Штурм Рейхстага
[Reichstag]

He has done similar shots from Moscow, Leningrad / St. Petersburg (his hometown), Normandy, Prague, Vienna, Vyborgand other places and cities from the WWII era. I highly recommend checking his site out, but here are some of my favourites (which are milestones on the way to VE-Day, so they are fitting IMHO)

1941/2010 Москва. "Националь". 1941/2010 Moscow. Hotel National

1941/2010 Москва. “Националь”.
1941/2010 Moscow. Hotel National

:

Выборг 1944/2011 Пересечение проспекта Ленина и Ленинградского проспекта. Танк Т-34 с поврежденным катком. Vyborg 1944/2011 T-34 tank with a damaged roller is moving on the street.

Выборг 1944/2011 Пересечение проспекта Ленина и Ленинградского проспекта. Танк Т-34 с поврежденным катком.
Vyborg 1944/2011 T-34 tank with a damaged roller is moving on the street.

Санкт-Петербург 1910-е/2012 Боровая улица St.Petersburg 1910/2012 Borovaya st.

Санкт-Петербург 1910-е/2012 Боровая улица
St.Petersburg 1910/2012 Borovaya st.

Гатчина (Красногвардейск) 1942-2011 Соборная улица Gatchina 1942-2011 Sobornaya Street

Гатчина (Красногвардейск) 1942-2011 Соборная улица
Gatchina 1942-2011 Sobornaya Street

1941/2010 Москва. Большой Устьинский мост 1941/2010 Moscow

1941/2010 Москва. Большой Устьинский мост
1941/2010 Moscow

Терийоки / Зеленогорск, 1939/2011. Разрушенный железнодорожный мост. Soviet-Finnish War(1939-1940). Destroyed railway bridge in Terijoki / Zelenogorsk, 1939/2011

Терийоки / Зеленогорск, 1939/2011. Разрушенный железнодорожный мост.
Soviet-Finnish War(1939-1940).
Destroyed railway bridge in Terijoki / Zelenogorsk, 1939/2011

Оборона Москвы, 1941/2009. Ленинский, 28. Противотанковые надолбы. Defense of Moscow.1941/2009. Anti-tank obstacles.

Оборона Москвы, 1941/2009. Ленинский, 28. Противотанковые надолбы.
Defense of Moscow.1941/2009. Anti-tank obstacles.

June 6, 1944, D-day, Normandy. The landing of US troops on Omaha beach. Нормандия, 6 июня 1944. Высадка американских десантников на пляже Омаха.

June 6, 1944, D-day, Normandy. The landing of US troops on Omaha beach.
Нормандия, 6 июня 1944. Высадка американских десантников на пляже Омаха.

 D-day, June 6, 1944, Normandy. The landing of US troops on Omaha beach. Monument "Les Braves", Omaha beach, 2010. 6 июня 1944, Нормандия. Высадка американских десантников на пляже Омаха. Памятник на месте высадки, 2010.


D-day, June 6, 1944, Normandy. The landing of US troops on Omaha beach. Monument “Les Braves”, Omaha beach, 2010.
6 июня 1944, Нормандия. Высадка американских десантников на пляже Омаха. Памятник на месте высадки, 2010.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Historic research

 

Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

Orders of Battle for Möckern (16th October 1813)

After all those posts about my Möckern / Völkerschlacht von Leipzig project, I felt that now it is time to go into some detail. In the fall of 2010 the only thing I knew was that I wanted to start with some Prussian forces for the Völkerschlacht von Leipzig (Battle of Nations). The books I had read so far did not really give me an idea what would make a good wargame or not. So I approached Martin Kelly (http://befreiungskriege.wordpress.com/) about some suggestions. His first idea was Möckern (and reading up on it afterwards a good one, too). It is not an obscure part of the battle, but rather one that many historians say was decisive for the whole battle. It featured a nice mix of units for the Prussians and some interesting ones for the French. The battle for the village itself and adjacent fields had a small enough footprint, but can easily be expanded. And if you only start with the first two attack waves it means a manageable amount of minis.I decided to depict just the action inside the village and east of it and only the first two attacks, which took place between roughly 1300h and 1500h. If I should find the time to paint the minis from 2nd and 7th Brigade (1st Prussian Army Corps) in time for Crisis 2013 I might replay the whole battle, but I doubt I shall.

Prussian Infantry at Möckern

Prussian Infantry at Möckern

Finding the basic numbers and units involved was easy enough, especially with the Nafziger Collection (Nafziger Collection at the United States Command and General Staff College) being public domain these days. What proved much more difficult is finding out the command structure of the Prussian units involved. The Prussians practiced something that would be the hallmark of any German army till the present day… the ability to form battle groups as need be, which would be led by the most capable officer for the job regardless of rank. In this sense a unit commander would at times command the whole brigade while the commanding officer on paper would command units outside his command or just part of his command. In this case it was aggravated by the fact, that the units involved came from von Yorcks Advanced Guard, which was a huge body of troops (ten infantry units, five cavalry units and two artillery batteries) nominally under the command of a Oberst (Colonel). This confusion only improved a couple of weeks ago when I got into contact with Wolfgang Meyer, who is doing research on the very same part of the battle as part of the Croebern Project (www.croebern-1813.de / this is one massive diorama of the Battle of Nations that you really must check out if you have not already seen it!!!). He was able to provide me with the after action reports of the units involved. Reading those gave me a clear idea how units were subdivided and who commanded what.

A few words before I go on to show you the “rosters”. The number of miniatures refers to the number of men in the unit divided by 20 (we will be using the Republic to Empire rules which work with this ratio). You will notice that sometimes these numbers have been rounded up or down to create units without odd numbers of mins where possible. Within a brigade  or detachment this equals out.

The number of skirmishers is dictated by the rules. Some units are too small to deploy skirmishers, so they have none. Neither do the Prussian Jäger or French Légère, since they are allowed to deploy the whole unit as skirmishers if they like. Numbers underlaid in green denote units that are already painted and finished (still a lot to do :-/).

I have not assigned unit qualities yet. If you read accounts from either side, you will find that they all praised their own units and those of the enemy (although the French were not always too kind with their own officers). Since I do not want superman battling each other, this will be ironed out in a few test games later on.

So on to the Prussians:

Prussian OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

Prussian OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

The units above are grouped together as they were during the battle. The detachment (not an official term, but the way I chose to call it) under Major von Klüx was involved in the first assault on the village. For the second it was reenforced by the Leib-Grenadierbataillon.

As you can see the official commander of the whole Advanced Guard chose to lead the cavalry during this battle.

I am not sure if I will paint the Ostpreussische Nationalkavallerie. Right now there are no suitable minis from either Calpe or the Perrys on the market. If it remains like that, the scenario will have to make do without them or see them replaced by the Lithuanian Dragoons from the cavalry reserve. Not that it really matters since the cavalry did not take an active part in the battle at this stage, but was kept in reserve. As a result players will only be able to make limited use of them in the game.

For those interested… I was also able to find out who commanded which unit for most of the formations involved:

Prussian Commanders at Möckern

Prussian Commanders at Möckern

Now on to the French:

French OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

French OOB at Möckern (1300h - 1500h)

As you can see… a much simpler command structure. Although both Générals de Brigade have to command pretty large formations (seven and six battalions). So I might have to add sub-commanders to make them manageable.

For the Marines from the 2nd Brigade I will use normal infantry units as stand-ins. As you have seen in earlier posts, these men had pretty special uniforms and I can not see painting another 136 minis on top of the 66 I already have, that will only be useful for this game. I hope this can be forgiven!