Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Heavy Horse, Light Guns...

Given my overall aim as my main wargaming priority over the next few years is to wargame the major events of the Napoleonic wars on their 200th anniversaries, the pressure is off for the rest of this year until action recommences in the Peninsular and on the Russian steppes next year...

So I have been easily distracted into various rabbit holes, such as raising a few units to contribute to my mate Jason's Sudan campaign which will start next year, and joining in some Ancients game at my FLGS, 'the Hall of Heroes' since the release of 'Hail Caesar', from the same stable as 'Black Powder' has resurrected my latent interest in this era.
But in the background painting continues to be focussed on Napoleonics, with the need to expand both my British and Portuguese forces, as well as build up my Russians.

Hence the latest units to roll of the stocks are my interpretations of the 6th Inniskillen Dragoons, and a supporting unit of Royal Horse Artillery. I was originally intending to do a Dragoon Guards unit, but when the package arrived from the nice chaps at Perry Bros I was heartbroken to find no guidon/color bearer, so relegated the models to a Dragoon unit, of which the 6th seemed the best candidate. Some research and assistance for the gents on TMP revealed that British Heavy Cavalry seldom took their colours into battle, hence the Perry's deliberate ommission. However I like my models at the pretty end of the pretty or realistic spectrum, since if we are going to be realistic then all British figures for Waterloo should be a overall pink thanks to their dye running in the torrential rain preceeding that battle, if not covered head to toe in mud! My thinking is that when I do my next British Heavy Cav unit I shall use Front Rank figures which do incorporate the standard bearer in question.
The Inniskillings themselves, named after Enniskillen Castle in Ireland where they were oringinally raised in 1689, known as the 'Black Dragoons' presumably after their mounts, no doubt all beautiful black Irish hunters. They then had a succession of names after their Colonels, of which they seem to have more of there fair share of those 'foreigner-unfriendly' names that are pronounced so differently from what the spelling might suggest, so that they were both Cadogan's Horse (pronounced Kerduggan) and Cholmondley's Horse (pronounced Chumley's)! But in 1751 they assumed the name that would be inscibed so gloriously into the pages of history books, as the 6th Inniskillen Dragoons, known by the rest of the army as 'The Skins'. Their most epic adventures were at Minden, Waterloo and Balaklava. They did not serve in the Peninsular campaign, but that will not prevent them from making regular appearances in our refights of that campaign! At Waterloo, of course, they took part in the charge of the 'Union Brigade' as the Irish element of that eponymous union.

At Balaklava they took part in the less famous Charge of the Heavy Brigade, and a quotation from a Captain of the 'Skins who survived is the stuff of legend:

"Forward - dash - bang - clank, and there we were in the midst of such smoke, cheer, and clatter, as   never before stunned a mortal's ear. it was glorious! Down, one by one, aye, two by two fell the thick skulled and over-numerous Cossacks.....Down too alas! fell many a hero with a warm Celtic heart, and more than one fell screaming loud for victory.."

The modern British Army Regiment whose lineage incorporates the Skins is of course the illustrious Royal Dragoon Guards, who have just returned from an OpTour in Afghanistan.

No Heavy Cavalry unit is too effective against steady and prepared infantry without timely artillery support, so my next priority was some Horse Artillery, again from the Perry range.
The Royal Horse Artillery were of course a less venerable unit, only being formed in 1793, pretty much at the start of the Napoleonic and Revolutionary wars. In many ways their lineage from those wars to today are much stronger than many other regiments, since 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery still maintains evocative sub unit titles such as G (Mercer's Troop) Para Battery, H (Ramsay's Troop) Para Battery, and so on. Mercer of course was present at Waterloo and wrote his stirring memoirs of that occasion, and it was Ramsay's troop who made a unique, for artillery, charge against French Cavalry at Fuentes' d'Onoro.
Actually, despite the title of this post, the model figures I ordered from the Perries was for the 9 Pdr model gun, so strictly speaking it is a medium gun, but by the time of Waterloo most RHA batteries were so equipped.

With the Black Powder rules I use, whilst they are fairly mellow about base sizes and figure representation, since you allocate unit size to a unit prior to the game, you are supposed to represent an unlimbered battery with a single gun model and have a limber model to attach to it. However I prefer to have a minimum of two gun models to represent an unlimbered battery, and I use a seperate model to show the limbered battery, but this time just with a single gun. I feel that putting a bit of effort into the limbered version of the battery unconsciously encourages the player to hold it in reserve, where it should spent much of its time as a force multiplier, not blatting away throughout the game as just another battery.

Although the Perry package comes with 3 ridden limber horse and 3 unridden, to save depth on the table I have only used 4 horses drawing the limber. But I do like to garnish my limber model bases with additional figures to show clearly whether it is a horse or foot battery. In this case I have used the Captain Mercer figure from the Perry range, and one of the unemployed limber riders, from the Corps of Artillery Drivers, which of course may look slightly odd, but as yet no-one produces single Horse Artillery mounted figures it seemed the best way of representing the additional horsemen that would be around such a unit. 
As can be seen I have used plenty of Siflor tufts to adorn the bases of all of these models, since I do not have great modelling skills I have found these to be a great boon.
So I guess my next logical unit to be painting is the other heavy cavalry unit to make up a Brigade...However Warlord games have released their 1812 Russian Infantry, so these are now my priority so that we can commemorate 1812-2012 in the 'Grand Manner'...So my next post, God willing, will be about the men from the Steppes...


  1. Great job - it fills my heart with joy to see such nice gunners :-D

  2. Great post! Great figures and info too!

  3. Great painting..only wish I had the time

  4. Yes, great looking Gunners, and the Cav are nice too, well done.

  5. Dragoons and RHA are brilliant. Very nice basing too. Totally agree regarding standards too, I always aim to have my units carring their colours no matter what.

  6. cracking Sparker!

    keep focused so my French have a opponent!


  7. Superb figures,
    I don'tthink I will have my Russians done for the 200th anniversary :-( maybe I can make it for the 250th?

  8. Beautiful unit mate! Those dragoons are so nice!