Barefoot soldiers

In an effort to make my napoleonic Finnish infantry look more realistic, I tried to make a barefoot soldier. I used the lower legs and feet of a set of barefoot Madras sepoys made by Perry. The poses on these happen to be very similar (identical in fact) to the Swedish infantry by the same Perry twins. So it was relatively easy to cut off and replace the legs. I added som green stuff to finish off the ragged looking trousers. Again, this was quite straight forward. I am pretty happy with this first try, and will try to do a few more similar conversions featuring worn clothes, patches, bad shoes and ragged gaiters etc.

Plans for 2022: napoleonics

Starting off the new year away from the paint pots I have had some time to think about what to work on in the coming year. First among my priorities is more work on figures for the Finnish war of 1808. In 2022, I will try to paint up enough miniatures to represent one particular battle, namely the battle of Lappo (Lapua) in west-central Finland (Österbotten, Ostrobotnia). I am also working on figures for the most important battle of the war, at Oravais (in September of the same year). That is part of a joint effort which is aiming at a demo game at Salute in 2023. Oravais was a slightly larger battle, and it also features several Swedish regiments. I will only do some of those, and a large part of them also took part at Lappo.

Lappo is a more modest goal, but it is also a good way to get the most important units painted up. With these figures finished, I will have a good base for other scenarios for the Finnish part of the army, who did most of the fighting in 1808 (the major part of the troops from Sweden proper only arrived in the late summer).

Battle of Lappo (Lapua) July 14th, 1808

Plan of the battle, State archives (RA), Stockholm.

I have drawn up an order of battle for the “affair at Lappo”, a part of the Swedish summer offensive. Historically, this was a victory for the Swedish army, but the Russians were able to withdraw in good order and casualties were low. The armies numbered around 4000-4500 infantry, a few hundred cavalry and around 15-20 guns on each side.

The forces are described well in the official Swedish history (Sveriges krig åren 1808…, vol. 3, which can be found on google books) and wargames scenarios have previously been published on two separate but equally excellent websites:

http://the-ancientscom.virtualserver26.hosting.fi/gemigabok/suomen-sota-1808-1809/battles-we-fought/refight-of-lapua-14th-of-july-2008/

http://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/blog/2021/09/13/the-battle-of-lapua-14th-july-1808/

In other words, it was easy for me to create an order of battle to re-fight the battle with 28mm figures. To make the whole thing more manageable, I will reduce the number of battalions slightly, especially on the Swedish side. I will even leave out the Swedish first brigade entirely, as it only had a single infantry battalion.

I will also use standard sizes for units, i. e. 16-man battalions in most cases, although in reality battalions varied in size (as was almost always the case). I will probably have a single gun model with crew represent one artillery battery, at least to begin with – I can always expand with two-gun batteries later, as that does look better.

With these adjustments, the forces will look as below. As you can see, 4th brigade is done, 2nd brigade is half-way there, while 3rd brigade still remains to be painted for the most part. If my arithmetic is correct, I need to paint around 60 more figures on the Swedish side (out of a total of ca 180 or so for Lappo). I painted more than 150 Swedes/Finns in 2021.

On the Russian side I need to do about 50 figures, although I may also end up using figures already I have (i. e. using a Kaluga battalion to represent a Petrovsk), especially if that is what is necessary in order to actually set up a game and play IRL! In fact, I am already using figures painted as the Sevsk regiment to represent the Kaluga regiment – but those two regiments did have very similar uniforms, and identical flags.

Similarly, I may use Savolax jägers to represent the small units of Nyland and Björneborg jägers. For some reason I started out painting a bunch of the Savolax jägers and ended up with a disproportionate number of them. There seems to be some confusion over the colors of the Nyland jägers’ uniform and their headdress anyway, so it might be just as well.

Units given in italics are figures which remain for me to paint, while the rest is done.

Swedish forces at Lappo

Commander: major general Carl Johan Adlercreutz

2d brigade

Brigade commander, col. Georg Carl von Döbeln

1st bat. Björneborg (Pori) regiment (6/16 figures painted)

2nd bat. Björneborg regiment

3rd bat. (Rusthållsbataljon) Björneborg regiment (8/16 figures painted)

Small unit of Björneborg jägers

6-pdr. battery

Parts of the 2d brigade.

3rd brigade

Brigade commander, col. Hans Henrik Gripenberg

1st bat. Tavastehus (Häme) regiment

2nd bat. Tavastehus regiment

Jäger bat. Tavastehus regiment

Jäger bat. Nyland (Uusimaa) regiment

6-pdr. battery

4th brigade

Brigade commander, col. Johan Adam Cronstedt

1st bat. Savolax (Savo) regiment

2nd bat. Savolax regiment

1-2 (small) bat. Savolax jägers

1 small bat. Karelian jägers

1-2 3-pdr. batteries

The 4th brigade is pretty much complete.

Cavalry

1 sqdr. Karelian dragoons

1 sqdr. Nyland dragoons

The beautiful Finnish cavalry is all done.

Russian forces at Lappo

I am not sure of who commanded what on the Russian side yet, Ill have to look into that. The Russian “brigades” were more ad hoc-groupings as I understand it.

Commander: lieutenant general Nikolaj Nikolajevich Rajevsky

1st brigade

Brigade commander

1st bat. 23 jägers

Grenadier bat. Kaluga regiment

1 3-pdr. battery

2nd brigade

Brigade commander

Grenadier bat. Petrovsk regiment

3rd bat. Petrovsk regiment

(small bat. Kaluga regt.?)

1 6-pdr. battery (almost done!)

3rd brigade

Brigade commander

Grenadier bat. Velikie Luki regiment

3rd bat. Velikie Luki regiment

1st bat. 26th jägers

1 6-pdr. battery

1 3-pdr. battery

Cavalry

1-2 sqdr. Grodno hussars

1 sqdr. Cossacks

Sdkfz 251/1

Just finished a Hanomag sdkfz 251/1 half-track, another of a pile of ww2 vehicles I have assembled and primed. This one is by Blitzkrieg miniatures. Its a resin kit, which needed very little assembly, but it did need some cleaning. I will try to work my way through the rest of the pile over the holidays. Now that Salute 2022 has been cancelled I dont need to focus exclusively on the Napoleonic stuff.

Sherman tanks and dismounted crew

I have had these Warlord Games figures and the tank models (Sherman M4A3 resin and M4 plastic) stowed away in a drawer for some time. I finally got round to finishing them and I am really happy with them. I prefer Warlord’s older resin models to their plastics. People say the plastic sets have better detail, but that doesnt seem to be true of Warlord’s kits. The main thing though is that resin seems to me to be easier to paint with the kind of techniques that I use on figures. Resin models also have a great feel to them with such nice weight in the hand. The plastic kit was fiddly to put together. The tracks (in two pieces) in particular were difficult to get to “meet up” at the ends – is there no better way to design the tracks on this kind of model?

WW2 Germans again

My main focus right now is napoleonics. But I also have piles of WW2 stuff, a lot of it half-finished or at least assembled and primed. So now and then I take out some of those figures and paint a few here and there. WW2 games in this scale have the advantage of using a lot fewer minis than napoleonic games. So getting playable units ready is not a huge project. Unfortunately, I tend to jump from one project to another in a very unsystematic way. With the Germans I have several different types of figure representing different units of different periods of the war. Not all of them work well together… Anyway, these are Perry Afrika korps figures that I have painted as GD division panzergrenadiers ca 1943. The MG42 team is by Warlord.

Hälsinge regt.

An update on these with WIP on the officers, which are conversions based on Spanish napoleonics by Perry. Perry have a number of different command packs for the Spanish which can easily be converted to look like they are wearing Swedish uniform, either the m/1802, the m/1806 or m/1807, with or without plastrons (the Spanish uniforms seem to have gone through similar changes during these years).

I will do enough for at least two 24-man battalions of the Hälsinge regiment. These have a very simple blue and white color scheme, which is good as I need to do so many of them. Thanks to Chad for the templates for the flags!

Fighting retreat at Kauhajoki

Finally the Swedish and Russian armies met on the field of battle last night. We created a highly fictional game based on the Fighting retreat scenario in the 1st ed Black Powder rule book. We were rusty on the rules, the board was clutterered with slightly too much terrain, and Napoleon and Ney had to fill in as commanders on the Swedish side (partly due to an unfortunate loss of figures through crashing on the floor…). But it was great fun to be back around the games table! The game also demonstrated that 10-12 units a side is more than enough for a standard sized table. Hopefully we will be able to re-fight this one soon with some tweaks here and there. As I have planned to paint at least 4-5 more units for each side in the coming months, a scenario for a larger battle is also likely – although I dont know how that can be done without a significantly larger table!

Rules-wise, we decided to use as few special rules as possible. We counted line infantry as just that with no additional special traits. Jägers counted as rifle armed, and as skirmishers and sharpshooters. The cossacks were counted as unreliable. We did follow some of the suggestions from the Rebellion supplement book. That meant that infantry did not use squares, attack columns or mixed formations and that brigades would break only when more than half of their units were broken. As can be seen jägers formed separate units in skirmish formation.

These changes (compared to a normal Napoleonic game) reflect the form of warfare which was typical of the war in Finland. What we need to work on for the future is how to deal with wooded areas, cover etc. There are some suggestions in the Dark and Bloody Ground supplement that perhaps are worth looking at, such as a type of open woodland category of terrain. Many battles in Finland were fought on terrain which was at least half-covered by woods, just like in North America in the 18th century.

The armies were composed as follows:

Swedish 1st brigade and cavalry

Swedish army

1st brigade

2 battalions of line infantry (Björneborg & Åbo)

2 small units of jägers (Karelian jägers)

1 6-pounder gun

2nd brigade

3 battalions of line infantry (Savolax & Västmanland/Hälsinge)

2 small units of jägers (Savolax jägers)

2 3-pounder guns

3rd brigade (vanguard posted at the Russian end of the board)

2 small units of jägers (Savolax jägers)

4th brigade (Cavalry brigade)

1 squadron light dragoons (Nyland dragoons)

1 squadron light dragoons (Karelian dragoons)

Russian 1st brigade and cavalry. The artillery, the commander of the Russian cavalry and the dragoons are all in 1812 style kit. Grodno hussars would have been more appropriate, but they are still a WIP!

Russian army

1st brigade

2 battalions line infantry (Petrovsk & Sevsk musketeers)

2 small units of jägers (26th jäger regt.)

1 6-pounder gun

2nd brigade

2 battalions line infantry (Velikie Luki & Mogilev musketeers)

2 small units of jägers (23rd jäger regt.)

1 6-pounder gun

3rd brigade (cavalry brigade)

1 squadron of dragoons (Kargopol dragoons)

1 squadron Don cossacks

Obviously, the Russians were severely outnumbered, but their objective was to move at least half of their units off the table at the Russian end of the board (past the two small units of Savolax jägers posted on the road).

A handful of jägers stand between the Russians and their escape!

The game opened with a surprisingly strong advance by the Swedish 1st brigade, while the 2d became bogged down in the wooded hills on the right flank. The Russian 1st brigade tried to hold off the advancing Swedes, while the 2d tried to dislodge the Savolax jägers who were guarding the road. However the jägers held out for 3 turns of fighting, partly due to the fact that the Russian cossacks proved unable to follow their orders to charge them. By that time the Russian 1st brigade were already wavering in the face of the Swedish assault. We decided to call the game a draw, as the Russians had not withdrawn any units from the table, but neither had the Swedes succeded in really breaking the defending Russian infantry.

Nyland dragoons

Finished with the first six figures! I will probably never do a large number of Finnish cavalry. These were the most numerous of the Swedish cavalry in the Finnish war of 1808. On a whole, there was very little cavalry, especially on the Swedish side, with about 750 dragoons out of an army totalling almost 20 000 (the army of Finland) at the outbreak of hostilities. The miniatures are Perry 28mms.

Grodno hussars 1808

Here is a first attempt at a Grodno hussar for the war in Finland in 1808. The miniature is a Perry hussar in 1812 model uniform, but with a head from a Brigade Games russian 1805 musketeer added. I also added the shako cords with green stuff. In this way the model looks pretty close to what they would have worn in 1808, I think. By that time, the carbine had been dropped, and it seemed appropriate with the “campaign look” of the Perry figures. I am slightly unsure about the color and look of the shako cords; in some pictures they look more like a colored band around the top of the shako. I reckon this will have to do: the conversion was relatively simple, and should not be that hard to replicate on the rest, which means no more than 5 or 11 more figures like this one.

Västmanland regt.

Work in progress on the Swedish Västmanland regiment. As you can see, the Swedish units wore different colored uniforms compared to the Finnish regiments. Västmanland’s is a bit extra difficult because of the white piping on the yellow on the cuffs, collar, turnbacks and plastron. However, despite these details, these are still easier to speed paint than the Russians from Brigade.