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Thread: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleonics

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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Vienna, Austria

    Re: A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured lead. - Sigur's Napoleon

    Hello one and all! Hope all of you made it well through the holidays and on into 2017!

    Happy New Year!

    Over the holidays I managed to get quite a lot of stuff done, among it the last glaring omission for my 6mm French army: The Cuirassiers.

    Cuirassiers were straight-up, just like their sabres. They wore steel helmets and steel cuirasses (breast- and backplate). The usefulness of those already is a matter of ongoing discussions as many European armies got rid of the actual armour and helmets on their Curiassiers over the course of the 18th century. Cuirassiers in the 18th century only (if at all) wore breastplate and cross-shaped reinforcements undeneath their hats. Napoleon increased the number of Cuirassier regiments remarkably when the came to power, introduced new (and dead cool looking) steel helmets and reintroduced the full cuirass (front and back). Quite to the contrary of most other European armies of the time. The Austrian cuirassiers for example only wore breastplate, British to my knowledge didn't wear armour at all (but household regiments were issued cuirasses after Waterloo). So the breastplate must have impressed in some regards. In hand to hand combat it undoubtedly had its uses whereas protecting against musket fire (at close distance at least) was out of the question. Apart from that the horses were vulnerable to fire anyway, so it seems like the purpose of the cuirass was to deflect enemy blows in hand to hand combat.

    The steel helmet was similar to the Dragoons' helmet in design, but made of steel with a black fur turban instead of a brown one.

    The uniform was the usual French dark blue with red details around the cuirass. Regimental colours were to be found on the collar, cuffs (often covered up by the big white gloves though), turnbacks and sheepskins on the saddle.

    (note the cornet's flag compared to the ones on my minis. Mine display the later version.)

    Cuirassiers were big, burly guys on the biggest and burliest horses. If possible darker horses were issued this heavy cavalry.

    The main weapon of the cuirassier was the straight heavy cavalry sabre which was designed for thrusting rather than slashing. They were also armed with two pistols and later on were issued carbines, but neither found much use and after being issued cavalry carbines cuirassiers went out of their way to get rid of them as soon as possible. Even the pistols weren't used much to the point that many cuirassiers didn't even care to carry ammunition for them. The single purpose of the cuirassier was the shock charge en masse, break infantry formations and through enemy lines and make their battle line collapse.

    The great advantage of the French cuirassiers was the good training and solid tactics. While British battle cavalry was usually pointed somewhere, then went off to hack away passionately at the unfortunate target and either shot off to find the next target or chased routing enemies the French cavalry was much quicker to reform into a body again to prepare the next charge.

    Of course the thing was to find opponents to charge. Linear infantry tactics of the time had formations vulnerable to flank charges or frontal charges (given the defensive fire didn't break the attacker). Once the line had been broken, the formation dissolved in a mess and wasn't fit to work any more, usually with horrifying consequences for the infantrymen. Kinda like it had always been with infantry vs. cavalry. For protection against cavalry attacks infantry formations would form the famous square formation.

    by Mike Switek

    This formation was used by all nations involved in the Napoleonic wars. The idea was pretty much the same as the Hedgehog formation used by Landsknechts and in the 17th century. Problem: Infantry is vulnerable to flank attacks by mobile cavalry. Solution: have no flanks!

    The infantry forms a square (often hollow to protect vital personnel, officers, baggage, ...), in two or more ranks, being able to fire in all directions and deploy bayonets which would make horses shy from charging. The firepower of the formation is not massed in one direction as with the line, but it's very, very hard to penetrate for cavalry (always depending on the training and morale of the infantrymen of course). On the other hand the square is vulnerable to infantry attacks (again: not enough massed firepower for effective defensive fire) and very vulnerable (due to lots of soldiers being huddled together in a tight, deep space) to artillery fire.

    With breech-loading rifles emerging in the second half of the 19th century the square lost its importance to combat cavalry as rifle ranges increased dramatically as well as volume of fire did.

    Yeah, so much for cuirassiers. Apart from that I got the rest of the bases, so I was able to base the Voltigeurs in Greatcoats, do some more blank filler bases as well as filler bases with officers on 20x20mm bases.

    Basically I got all the necessary parts done. I think I could do with some more artillery on foot, but let's see. From that on, everything pretty much is just a cherry on top: Imperial Guard Grenadiers, Guard artillery, Lancers, Napoleon, more infantry, ...

    Oh, and I have to get quite a lot of micro dice holders done. Those will be bases going on the magnetic sheets in the back. In the photo of the cuirassiers I painted the strips of basing in the back will be gone for gaming and replaced with a micro dice holder and a strip of magnetic paper with info on the unit, which corps it belong to and so on.

    I'd love to do army shots soon, but first I should see where I can take them (usually outside, but currently the great outside is all full of snow. ). I should get hold of a background of sorts and last but not least I wanted to get some forests done before I take army shots.

    So yeah, lots of stuff to do.

    edit: If you're on FB - I entered in a GW store painting competition. Not a big thing as winners for the first round are determined by Facebook Likes and I'm pretty sure there's nothing to win but bragging rights. Anyway, if you want to go there, have a look at the entries and maybe shoot your favourite a "Like". ( *cough* I entered the Landship. *cough* )

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