Saturday, 27 September 2008

Bob's Picton Project (Napoleonic GdB)


As our group's current focus is on Napoleonics, and the General de Brigade rules, I thought I'd chip in with a bit about what I'm proposing to do, Napoleonics-wise.
Until a couple of years ago my knowledge of Napoleonics started, and stopped, with the Waterloo movie, and it wasn't until a couple of the club members mentioned the Napoleonic Principles of War rules that I actually took any real interest in the period. I decided, initially, just to "dip my toe" into Napoleonics, and picked up a couple of "easy" reads; Mark Urban's Rifles, and Adam Zamoyski's 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow. Both are great books, and I found myself becoming interested in putting together a wargames army for both the British and the Russians; unfortunately, the PoW rules weren't, for me, the greatest and failed to fire my imagination. So, for the time being, that was that!
After the initial interest in PoW had waned, we found ourselves playing AWI battles, using the British Grenadier! rules. Here was a ruleset that grabbed my imagination, and I was quite excited to discover that they were derived from a successful set of Napoleonic rules; General De Brigade. I ordered a copy, read through them, then set to convincing the others in our group that they were worth trying out. Our games so far have involved a mix of nationalities; Russians, Prussians, French & Austrians - with 2 or 3 players contribuitng all of the figures.
Anyway, the rules played as well as they read and I decided, after some deliberation and consideration, to start with a British Peninsular force - I reckoned this would give me a nice mix of troops with the opportunity to field some Portuguese Battalions and some Rifle companys as well as British Redcoats, giving me a nice mix of troop types, grades and uniform colours. From a miniatures perspective I was more than happy to go for Peninsular Brits - the small numbers of cavalry meant I wouldn't have to paint lots of horses (a pet hate of mine) and I preferred the aesthetics of the Stovepipe Shako over the Belgic shako - silly perhaps, but a definite consideration if you're facing the prospect of painting hundreds of figures...!
I managed to pick up Haythornthwaite's Napoleonic Source book - known affectionately in our group as the "bumper book of Napoleonic goodness", and borrowed a couple of Osprey titles - the most useful of which is Wellington's Army in the Peninsula 1809-14 from Osprey's Battle Orders series (thanks Robin). After reading this I've decided to assemble Wellington's 3rd division - The Fighting Division - as it was under Maj. Gen. Sir Thomas Picton circa February 1810. This was to be the core of my force, and I decided I'd research any cavalry and artillery that might have been attached, at a later date.
The organisation is fairly straight forward, and pretty much follows the pattern, as I understand it, of the rest of the Peninsular army.
Anyway, without further ado, here's my interpretation, in General de Brigade terms, of The Fighting Division.

CinC - Maj. Gen. Sir Thomas Picton

Mackinnon's Brigade

1st/45th (Nottinghamshire) - 30 figs
1st/74th (Highlanders) Light Infantry - 40 Figs
1st/88th (Connaught Rangers - "The Devil's own") 30 figs

Lightburn's Brigade

2nd/5th (Northumberland) - 30 figs
2nd/83rd - 30 figs
5th/60th Rifles - 3x Coys - 12 figs? (I'm still having slight difficulties following GdB's Coy sizes)

Champelimaud (Portuguese)

1st/9th (Viana) - 30 figs
2nd/9th (Viana) - 30 figs
1st/21st (Valenca) - 30 figs

I'm still figuring out the gradings for these troops, and the battalion sizes may well change as I do more research. I think though, that this division makes an excellent starting point whilst leaving room to add further units at a later date - For example, I know the Portuguese brigade had some Cacadores, the 12th I think, in 1812.

This division will be assembled using AB figures, and I'm hoping to stay disciplined enough to paint it up a Brigade at a time!! I have 2 battalions worth of figures already, and will be placing an order with Fighting15s for enough to do the first 2 brigades (and officers) over the weekend.

thanks for reading
Bob Mcleish

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