Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Another year is almost gone. :-)

Hello, my friends!

Not much left of 2017. Time to make a personal figure check up, eh?
I hope that you all had enjoyable holidays and that your year was good, as well.

My year was pretty cool. It started with playing a background role in an opera (no singing involved, luckily), starting an interesting assignment at a lawyer's office, then quitting again when a far more interesting opportunity showed up in September. Changing my job twice this year, acting at the opera and writing my second novel took plenty of time. This resulted in far lesser blog entries this year. Nevertheless, I still enjoy miniature painting very much.

I have finished one figure setup for my long-term project recently. It's the command figures for my Isembourg regiment.

Bright blue. Really nice.

There's some stuff that I have painted this year but haven't presented on the blog yet. This is mainly because I haven't put them onto bases yet. I'm not quite sure how to assemble the war of 1812 american infantry. For example. But time will show. Or better said: I'll show them to you when it's the right time. :-)

Well - what was it that I put onto my 2017 list? Let's see...
  • One single or multi figure display for FIGZ - check
  • A multi-figure setup just in case I decide to go to the Lingen show - check
  • Completing Baden Jagers and fusiliers -  started the fusiliers, Jagers at 80%
  • Complete my Russian hussar vignette - *sigh* not even continued
  • Complete the SU100 vignette with tank riders - check
  • Complete the French departmental guard display (14 figures left) - check
  • Finish my Kingdom of Holland setup of Pre-Bardin units until FIGZ (only 4 figures to go) - 2 left
  • Finish the Garde de Paris (3 units left) - check
The finishing list of 2017 looks like this:
  • Baden Jagers - 8 figures
  • Isemburg command - 2 figures
  • 1812 American and Canadian infantry - 13 figures
  • 1812 US line infantry - 29 figures
  • Italian infantry of different units - 8
  • Dutch infantry - 1 figure
  • French infantry - 31 figures
  • Spanish infantry - 1 figure
  • figures for contests - 8 figures
  • British infantry - 2 figures
So that's a total of  103 figures. Less then last year.
Which means that I don't plan too high in numbers for 2018.

Plans are:
  • complete the Baden figures
  • eventually finish the Russian hussar display
  • complete all Strelets Highlanders (at ease) which I bought recently
  • paint the Dutch light infantry for having a complete unit overview of Kingdom-of-Holland infantry for this year's FIGZ
  • complete all figures for my 'deserters' project
  • finish the Boston hussars on my desk
That's not quite a lot. I guess it's better then starting with ambitions that I - as every year - won't be able to fullfill.

I wish all the best to you for 2018. May it be a successful, healthy and lucky year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

More men behind the lines - the Gardes d'honneur

When I discovered the departmental reserve troop system, I had already stumbled accross the Guards of Paris as a unit. In one of them articles, there was a remark that 'they had been in larger scale, what the honour guards had been for the smaller cities'. So I started to find out what that meant.

During my research, I found an old book on the public database of the Toulouse biblioteque. (Book: Gardes d'honneur)

And there they were - a whole lot of new uniform pictures that I had to put into my Pre-Bardin-uniform project, which backlashed to more then a hundred uniforms yet to be painted.

Garde d'honneur of the city of Rochefort

Large cities had to setup such guards for the means of internal security. They served as protectors of the cities' officials and the city infrastructure. They guarded roads and streets as well as public public buildings. Larger cities tended to have their own city guards since medieval times. Under Napoleon, they mainly had these guards because the larger cities had the financial capabilities to pay for their security on their own accounts.

And as long as they had to pay them all by themselves, the city officials were relatively free to decide about the look of their city guards - not the equipment, which was same as it was for the standing army. Some of these uniforms looked really flamboyant, while other cities decided to put their men into rather conservative coloured cloth.
Garde d'honneur of the city of Moissac

By the means of battle readyness, one might consider these troops as militia. I haven't found much evidence of city guards that were placed on the field in a real fight, except when their cities came under siege.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The 'Garde municipale de Paris'

Paris, being the heart of France, always had it's very own guards. After the revolution, this guard went through several stages of organization, slowly deteriorating in men and functionality in the latest years of the 1790s. Therefore, the Garde municipale de Paris (or 'Guards of Paris', as I'll call them from now on) where created by personal decree from Napoleon Bonaparte himself in 1802.

Members of this troop had to fullfill some interesting criteria: they had to be between 30 and 40 years old, more then 1.65m tall, able to read and write and (!) they should have to be involved in at least five army campaigns. In other words: the Guards of Paris where not some background police dudes hanging around, they were real war veterans.

Their duties were the same as for the Gardes d'honneur in major cities or the Departemental reserves - they were responsible for inner security, guarded governmental infrastructure, patrolled in the streets, guarded prisons, city gates and protected governmental officials.

The Guards of Paris were organized in two demi-brigades, totally 2154 men strong.What is a bit tricky about this unit is the uniform documentation. Due to several sources claiming this or that configuration for the same time frame, it's a bit hard to say how the uniforms really looked like at this or that time. Although the general colours are of no doubt at all, this problem mostly is about cuff shapes and bearskin/shakos. Therefore, I had to decide for a certain variation in case of the tirailleur/voltigeur figure.

The basic uniform colour of the 1st regiment was green with red cuffs'n collar. The 2nd regiment wore it's uniform with the same colours the other way 'round. For the drummers, I basically found two versions: the one with the golden rims and the reverse-colours version. Well.

In 1806, both uniforms received white uniforms. Sitting at the center of the distribution chain, it is confirmed that they really got those uniforms. The distinctive colour of each regiment - red or green - remained. After the white uniforms were abandoned, they switched back to the old ones (what a waste of money, eh?).

What makes this unit interesting for wargamers is that here you have a 'militia' or 'city guard' unit with veteran status. Plus it makes a bright and colourful appearance.

The Guards of Paris were active on the battlefields from 1806 to 1812. Two batallions were involved in the campaign against the Netherlands and later took part in the occupation of Hamburg. In 1807, they took part in the siege of Danzig and the battle of Friedland. Detachements of the guards also fought in the battle of Alcolea, Bailen and Burgos in Spain.

In 1812, the Guards of Paris got involved in the coup d'etat led by general de Malet. The coup was quickly put down, the guard's colonel and his staff were shot and the Guards of Paris were disbanded. The infantry was used to reassemble the former 134th line infantry regiment, which later took part in the battles in Germany throughout 1813, were it was utterly destroyed.