Search This Blog

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Baccus FPW Infantry Review. Part Deux.

So the photo of the infantry in the first part is pretty useless as you cant seem to enlarge it- no idea why- Blogger seems to do some strange things to me sometimes! Nevermind and do not despair for I have more photos. These are of Prussian line infantry after an undercoat so you should be able to see them in much more detail! Here we go...

Baccus FPW Infantry Review

Well, what can I say, the Baccus FPW infantry for both sides are beautifully crafted miniatures with high levels of detail that make them both a joy and easy to paint. Having just gone cold turkey on a 20-a-day smoking habit, Im finding that painting these infantry is very therapeutic and helps keep my mind off those little cancer death sticks!

The proportions and detail mean that even my amateurish painting techniques can make these infantry look half decent on a 60x30 base and there is nothing better than painting up some figures and feeling satisfied that you have achieved what you set out to. Obviously there is nothing more frustrating or off putting for a new project than if the opposite occurs and the likelihood of completion of said project is negligible if this occurs. Anywho without further ado's, behold some more pictures (Rhysius, with these photos you are really spoiling us, no (to be said in a German/Swiss accent)). Above is a picture of uncoated Prussian infantry.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Not Yet Demoralised French Are Here

So without further ado, I give you the first French battalion painted and basted lol!
Now, I have the rest of both initial armies to crack on with, then making/scratch building a load of terrain, then another couple of armies to get painted up and based then scratch building a load of terrain and gaming board, then a couple more armies to paint and base up, then... Well you get the idea. This is a solo project as my club is 28mm WAB dominated and has been for a number of years now and it all looks like the same old few puny miniatures huddling round 1 or 2 bits of terrain on an over sized gaming board that still doesnt look adequate for the 28's! Most frustrating.
However, no longer will this be the norm once I have enough stuff for my Gravelotte St. Privat table top re-enactment. This is a battle where either side could have easily won at any point by using that cunning thing otherwise known as tactics.
Gravelotte St. Privat 18th August 1870 & the end of the second French Empire
On the 18th August 1870 a massive Prussian allied force advanced on a much smaller dug in French Army with the intent of striking a decisive blow against the second empire. In this the Prussians succeeded. However, Prussian casualties were high and the French put up a stalwart and determined defence against a blundering and overly aggressive Prussian allied advance.
Only numbers really won it on the Prussian side coupled with French in action and a failure to commit the reserve artillery and even the French Guard from whom a determined counter attack could so easily have turned the tide of battle and won the French an important and morale boosting victory having already received several initial defeats in the opening of the Franco-Prussian war. A victory here would have given the French the breathing space they so desperately needed to regroup, re-organise and re-think the campaign. However, due to a lacklustre approach by French high command and no overall strategy or war objectives in place, French high command significantly failed its often determined and courageous troops who so outclassed the Prussians in terms of infantry firepower with the French Chassepot rifle. The Chassepot far outclassed the Dreyse 'needle' rifle in terms of range and reliability which the Prussians further compounded by advancing in close order ranks across French fields of fire from dug in and well prepared positions.
However, by the same token, the Prussian artillery, primarily equipped with the 4pdr breech loading Krupp artillery piece far outclassed the French artillery, the majority of which were muzzle loading 4pdr's (not actually 4pdr's- the shell itself weighed over 8lb's!). The Prussian artillery were aggressive in doctrine and deployed in close support despite devastating Chassepot fire. The Prussian artillery was also re-supplied where it stood on the field whereas the French had to limber and withdraw back to their supply depot to re-arm. The Prussian artillery also had a greater rate of fire and was also more numerous and accurate, using impact detonation fuses whereas the French suffered from unreliable distance fuses which left most French artillery shot acting as solid shot rather than explosive, accurate artillery fire. French artillery doctrine was closer to that of the age of smoothbores and more closely associated with military doctrine of the 1st Empire.
However, the French had another card up their sleeve- the Reffye Mitrailleuse. This was basically an early 13mm machine gun. Unfortunately, due to these machine guns and their development being kept a secret even from most French high command and officials, when 144 or so were rushed to the front in 1870, the French didn't really know how to use them effectively as they hadn't had a chance to consider or develop an effective role and deployment of these early machine guns. Therefore, they were deployed in 6 gun batteries (one battery per division) and unfortunately commonly deployed as artillery rather than being deployed as close infantry support weapons and so initially had little impact where their impact should have been significant. Also, no sooner was their rattle heard on the battlefield than local Prussian Krupp artillery would concentrate their fire on these machine guns until the battery was quieted.
In a nutshell, the Prussians continued all day, on the 18th August 1870, to bumble into strong French defensive positions, get shot up, retire, decide it would be a good idea to let the artillery arrive to give fire support, bumble into French positions again, repeat, then the French sit there and do nothing whilst being blasted by accurate, destructive artillery fire. The Prussians then make a forlorn hope style charge having rallied after taking 50% casualties and the French are by now too mutilated and dismembered by artillery to put up much of a fight and allow the Prussians to finally sweep the position.
This is only my brief initial overview, and is only designed to give you a very rough idea of what happened with what weapons and why its gonna be fun to re-create because both sides had a fighting chance!

Monday, 14 March 2011

At Last- Pictures

So here are the pictures that I promised. This is my first Prussian line infantry battalion painted and based. Now starting work on a French battalion. It took a bit longer than expected to do the first unit but hopefully the French battalion wont! Fingers crossed. Once I have done a unit of each I will do a more comprehensive blog.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Tell Me Why- I dont Like Mondays

Well, I wasnt looking forward to Monday as no one ever does even though i quite like my job (yes i am one of those sick people). However, rthis week and next week I am on a training course or at least supposed to be, starting today. However, I drove 70 miles this morning to the regional office and got there for just before 9am (starts at 09.30) only to be told the training course had been bumped by a day and actually starts tomorrow. Apparently we should have got a memo to tell us this but my line manager has had nothing and immediately Led Zeppelin sprang to mind- "communication breakdown, its always the same..."

So we then drove 70 miles home- although i am effectively being paid for today as well as mileage, for, effectively what is a day off- every cloud and all that. But on a brighter note, my FPW French and Prussian armies arrived from Baccus on Saturday but i was at work until 19.30 so the wait at work to open my parcel was a little frustrating. However, i got home and there they were, ahh.

Unfortunately my girlfriend had been complaining recently that i wasnt spending enough time with her so my day off on Sunday was lost to "us time" and all i wanted to do was get to grips with my new Baccus minis. Nevermind, sacrifices have to be made and compromises drawn up. So I got the Sunday evening to myself after kicking my girlfriend out using the line " I need my rest before the course begins babe, otherwise im gonna be knackered". So at last i got to grips with my new miniatures.

And wow! What wonderful miniatures they are, the detail, the proportions- they were totally worth the wait and i cant praise Peter @ Baccus enough for his superb sculpting and figures and i will never complain about rising costs again, honest guv!

So I am now going to get a unit of each painted and take a photo along with the rest of the stuff- there will be photos soon i promise. Despite the 1870 rules recommendations for the sizes of the battalion bases infantry are 1 1/2" x 1/2") Im going to use the 60x30mm base sizes that Baccus recommends as it looks much better and the armie compositions from Baccus are purposefully designed for this. It just works so much better all things considered.

So, on with the painting and then photos will be posted i promise.

Kind Regards


Friday, 4 March 2011

TFI Friday

Well its Friday at last although this means little to me now it used to mean alot to me and still does to most of you. The reason for this- i have a very challenging job that works on a rolling rota system and i have had Thursday and today off, working a long day Saturday, then Sunday off! I guess its not all bad then.

However, what is bad is that i still have no figures having ordered them on Monday afternoon. I know, Im impatient- i hate waiting for things so this is a heartfelt plea to Peter at Baccus:- please get my mega micro minis to me as soon as possible, i hate waiting for things in the post- i dont sleep properly if im expecting a package imminently.

Anywho on a lighter note my Osprey campaign book no. 21 Gravelotte- St. Privat arrived on Thursday with the 1870 rules which i cant wait to play test, after which i will do a proper review. However on first inspection i really like the overall feel of the rules and for once (this happens extremely rarely for me) i feel entirely confident and happy with how these rules will work. I am very much looking forward to using them. Im even contemplating purchasing the 1859/1864 rules and the 1866 rules thanks to the wealth of information and historical backgroumd contained in these rules. Not only that but there are scenarios with full orbats for each of the major engagements, of the 1870-71 war between France and Prussia. In a nutshell, at first glance- fantastic!!! I have already read the Osprey book cover to cover and although it is extremely well written, and laid out the colour depictions/plates of various infantryman, artillerists and cavalryman is poor, which is disappointing. Despite this a very good read and an excellent source of information.

I will do another update with photos once my figures arrive and i can get painting. Please stay tuned.

For the future i plan to collect an Austrian army as well for the battle of Koniggratz between Austria and Prussia and use the 1866 rules.

Thanks also to Caliver books for their help and expediency.

Kind Regards