Sunday, 9 October 2011

Yeletz Musketeers / St Petersburg Grenadiers

Regiment of the Day

Today we look at the Russian army prior to Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia.

After the devastating French campaign against Prussia in 1806, the Russian army went on the offensive driving west through East Prussia. Napoleon reacted, and soon the 2 armies were to clash at Eylau.

Russian regiments were relatively small throughout this whole period, so on the field they are usually brigaded together with other regiments to form larger  units of command. Here we have the Yeletz Musketeer regiment and the St Petersburg Grenadier regiment.

All figures by warrior miniatures 15mm napoleonic range. Again, nice simple figures that are well proportioned, clearly detailed and fast and easy to paint.

Warrior Miniatures Russians come in 2 main variants - the earlier pattern Shako, and the later period Kiwer for armies post 1812. Here of course, we are using the early pattern Shako.

Yeletz Musketeer Regiment - 3 bases of line.

One massive headache with this brigade is the flag.  Where to begin on this one ?  If I can summarize from the excellent  Napflags Site
"There were several different designs of flags in use by the Russian Army during the Napoleonic Wars Period. The first issue with which we are concerned was made in 1797.

This was followed by further issues of new patterns in 1800, 1803 and 1813. Old patterns were not always promptly withdrawn and therefore some regiments were still carrying older issue patterns of flag long after the date of their official 'retirement'. In addition to the above, the Guards units always had slightly different designs of flags to those carried by the Line regiments.

Also from 1806 some regiments were rewarded for deeds of valour by the award of 'Colours of St George', these were basically the 1803 pattern flags with extra gold inscriptions around the outer edges of the central cross. Throughout the period various flag staff colours were used, sometimes to denote specific regiments, I have included what information I have on this in the relevent sections."

So here we are in 1807, with a unit made up of both line and grenadier regiments from the St Petersburg inspection military district. Thats right in the middle of the interim period of changing over to Inspection series flags instead of regimental flags .. and possibly before the time that they changed back to newer again regimental flags.

Ive made an educated guess then, and gone with the flag for the St Petersburg inspection. If anyone was actually there on the day, and can recall clearly exactly which flags these units used at Eylau ... please let me know ;)

Anyway - red and black it is, very simple design to translate onto canvas, and it looks superb at this scale. Probably my favorite flag so far !

I am very much liking these warrior minis 15mm figures !  Whilst the details are simple - as seen here on the rear of this unit, all of the right bits are there, and the sculpting lines are very deep and clearly delineated. Each piece of equipment has a wide gap between each other piece. The combination of all of these points means that the figures are not too tricky to paint well, and the deep creases pick up the glazing medium very very well. Very forgiving to the painter. I like.

St Petersburg Grenadiers. Most Grenadier regiments had replaced their Mitre caps with the new Shako and thick plume by this stage. Sky Blue facings, and red shoulder straps denote this unit. I have also gone with an exposed brass band fitting around the top of the Grenadier Shako. Dont quote me on the accuracy of that, but I think it looks the part. The Russian army of this period is a difficult one to research, and any written references to regulations may be entirely at odds with reality on the field. Still, the figures are very clean and presentable, so Parade Ground look it is !

In the field at Eylau, both of these regiments were brigaded together to form a single combat command. So this fights as a single 5 base unit.

Down with Boney ! In reality, the Russians at Eylau did manage to give the French their first real bloody nose of the series of wars. It was a blunt slogging match - more a slugfest of attrition than a daring battle of movement. It is never a good idea to try and match the Russians in a slugging match.  A portent of things to come perhaps as the war inevitably spiraled towards total war.

Russian Grenadiers with Mitre hats :

Warrior also do some grenadiers with the old school Mitre, which I will be using later for the Pavlovsky Grenadiers. Most other Grenadier units had swapped over to the Shako by this stage, but the Pavlovsky Grenadiers kept their mitres as a mark of honour.  Stay tuned for that unit - its in the queue somewhere.

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