Thursday, 24 July 2014

Portuguese Lagos and Freire Regiments

Here are the first two regiments of my 15mm project completed. Firstly, two battalions of the 2nd Lagos regiment:

Essex figures again, but there is a lot more variety in their Portuguese poses than with their Spanish range. Some of them are almost AB in appearance and are well-proportioned, although still shorter at a "true" 15mm in stature:

It was nice to have finally put some paint on these as they have been lying around for the best part of ten years:

I have also managed two battalions of the 4th Freire regiment:

All the figures wear the distinctive Barretina shako which is probably good up until 1810, or 1811 at a push, until the British-supplied uniforms with the stovepipe shako gained predominance. I have always found it ironical therefore that the British ended up introducing the Belgic shako from 1812 onward, which itself was almost undoubtedly modelled on the Barretina. Personally I have always preferred the Belgic and Barretina for their respective armies, rather than the more plain stovepipe:

Portuguese line regiments typically consisted of two battalions, which would usually be found together. Both battalions of the Lagos and Freire regiments were in Beresford's army at Albuera. Regiments were also organised into three main divisions, with the 1st being the "Central", the 2nd the "Southern" and the 3rd the "Northern" division.

These were essentially distinguished by their respective piping and standards, with the Central division being white, the Southern red, and the Northern yellow, which also extended to the shako chords. In this case the Freire regiment can be recognised as belonging to the Southern division:

Friday, 11 July 2014

Spanish Guard

I used standard Essex Miniatures 15mm figures for the guard battalions. Even though they had a longer coat than the standard line, at 15mm I really don't think many will be able to tell the difference, especially as the tails on coats of the Essex figures come down to back of their knees anyway:

The Walloon Guards are in front, with a battalion of Spanish Guards to the rear. Both flags are from Adolfo Ramos. Great flags, although you do have to be careful to correctly position them at the first attempt as they are more porous than, for example, those from GMB or Maverick models:

A second battalion of the Guards is to the left, and carries a Maverick Models flag:

Spanish Guerrillas and Urban Militia

No Spanish army would be complete without a band of guerrillas in my opinion, and those from Essex have a fair bit of variety:

As with my 28mm efforts I tried to restrict myself to a predominance of a variety of browns rather than try to splash around too much colour:

The same figures double up for urban militia, which are still loosely-based but in a slightly tighter formation than the guerrilla units:

There is a common perception of guerrilla units lurking around French supply lines, ready to cut down stragglers or intercept communications. This is probably true for the most part and they played a vital role in continually harassing the French and inflicting some fairly substantial losses, and also augmenting allied intelligence with regard to French movements.

I remember being quite surprised to read about the deployment of Julian Sanchez's guerrillas on the British right or Southern flank at Fuentes de Onoro, however short-lived that deployment may have been. One of Sanchez's men rode up to the French to taunt them before the battle, but some British light troops apparently mistook him for a French officer and shot him. Sanchez was (probably not unreasonably) upset, and quit the field of battle.

The British did manage to subsequently convince Sanchez to redeploy behind the field of battle and defend some of the approaches to the town of Fuentes do Onoro. I personally find the episode interesting because it confirms the potential for guerrillas to be deployed in the line of battle, rather being relegated to skirmish games.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Spanish Converged Grenadiers

I've always wondered whether the line battalions were tempted to say "Where did they go?" when the grenadiers were pulled out of their respective line battalions to form "converged" units. I have tried to keep them in the same facing colours as the main units from which they were they were notionally drawn:

The Spanish grenadiers are among the most distinctive of Napoleonic uniforms in my opinion, using seal-skin for their distinctive caps. Obviously not the most environmentally-friendly of headwear and it is difficult to imagine this being put forward as a good idea today but, that said, cultural mores were much different in the late 18th century when they were first adopted:

I have probably gone a little heavy with the black between the waistcoats and crossbelts, and could possibly have put a bit more into the design on the cap bags, but am still quite pleased with the overall appearance: