Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Light Division

I've been listening to Sharpe's Battle (audio book) whilst painting Romans recently and it's had the predictable effect of once again piquing my interest in all things Napoleonic. I've even been re-reading the Foundry 'Napoleon' rules, which I like the look of but some of the rules need a bit of clarification.

Anyway, the Sharpe book has a marvellous description of the Light Division coming to the rescue of the 7th Division at Fuentes de Oñoro, after Wellington had sent the 7th too far south where it was subjected to the vigorous attentions of the French.

This then led me to look at the Light Division in a little more detail ... Like all military formations the structure and content of the Light Division during the Peninsular Wars varied during the course of the campaign. However, this seems to be a reasonable description

1st Brigade
o 1/43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry
o 1/95th Rifles
o 3/95th Rifles (HQ & 5 companies)
o 3rd Portuguese Caçadores
2nd Brigade
o 1/52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry
o 2/95th Rifles
o 1/17th Portuguese Line
o 2/17th Portuguese Line
o 1st Portuguese Caçadores
Divisional Troops
o 1 troop, Royal Horse Artillery
o Part of the 14th Light Dragoons
o Part of the 16th Light Dragoons

Assuming each unit consists of 20-24 figures, that would mean purchasing and painting a total of around 200+ infantry, let alone the artillery and cavalry! Clearly this is not feasible (not for me at least). If we assume that for many actions, some elements of the division would not be available, i.e. on other duties, etc, then the following might still be considered a reasonable approximation of the Light Division.

1st Brigade
o 1/43rd Monmouthshire Light Infantry
o 1/95th Rifles
2nd Brigade
o 1/52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry
o 1/17th Portuguese Line
o 1st Portuguese Caçadores
Divisional Troops
o 1 troop, Royal Horse Artillery
o Part of the 16th Light Dragoons

That's around 100 infantry, 2-3 guns and 12 cavalry, plus some skirmishers (which I already have painted). Now that does seem more achievable...!? Plus it's not all redcoats. The 95th are in green, Caçadores in brown and the Portuguese Line are dark blue.

I may have an outbreak of common sense and return to all of my other projects, or perhaps my enduring interest in the Napoleonic wars will win out and I'll start painting up figures for more than just a skirmish?

In the meantime have a look at the galleries at http://quindia.com/studiogallerynapbrit.htm for some excellent examples of Napoleonic British.

Oh ... and case you're interested, it will probably be Front Rank all the way. The new plastics from Victrix are very good but putting them together is just too fiddly. Not sure about the dipping either - seems to make the figures look too brown. One reason I like the figures is the splendid uniforms.

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