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Tuesday 25 February 2014

The Missing Figures

According to the superb Old Metal Detector blog site, the Douglas Miniatures Crimean War range may have included some other figures. They can be found included in the lists here;

 The Old Metal Detector

Whether these figures were planned and just listed in the catalogue, or whether they ever actually went into production is not clear. But, the above Blog certainly suggests they could have been. Comparing the list in the Blog with those now produced by John Cunningham, these are the "missing" ones:

B17 British Line Infantry Standard Bearer.
B18 British Guards Standard Bearer.
B? British Highlander Running (There is a photo of this one in the Blog)
B? British Highlander Firing.
B? British Highland Officer.
B? British Highland Standard Bearer.
B? British Hussar.

R? Russian Officer in Cap, Drawn Sword.
R? Russian Infantry Standard Bearer, Drawn Sword, in Cap.
R? Russian Infantry Advancing, No Pack in Helmet.
R? Hussar.

So, the question is, were they ever made? We know the running highlander was, and given they have catalogue numbers it is possible the British line and guards standard bearers were produced too. But what about the others? I would welcome any information, picture, or (dream on) sample of these figures. Even the catalogue numbers would be good, if there are any old lists lurking out there.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Battle of the River Alma part 3 - The 1st Division Advances

The 1st Division, consisting of the Guards and Highland Brigades, works its way around Bouliouk village and begins to cross the Alma River:

Meanwhile up on the slopes the light Division makes steady progress and drives the Russians out of the Great Redoubt, with them having abandoned the guns.

For a while it looks like the Light Division has succeeded as the Great Redoubt falls into British hands. Behind them the Guards and Highlanders form up and begin their advance up the slopes, making good progress, as most of the fire is still being rained down on the now depleted Light Division. Although, large columns of Russian infantry are moving towards the Great Redoubt in a counter attack.

The Russians fire volleys and charge into the Light Division, who are pushed back and begin to buckle under the assault:

On the British left flank the guns of the Lesser Redoubt start to cause mounting casualties amongst the Highlanders, as Russian infantry move around to take them in the flank. The Russians have retaken the Great Redoubt as the Light Division collapses and withdraws.

Unfortunately for the Russians it is too late, as the British Guards join the fight. They pour several volleys into the Russian infantry, who are still reorganizing after their charge and they take very heavy losses. Some of the Russian break and head for the rear, while the Russian Grenadiers attempt to form line to return fire. On the left flank the Highlanders repel the Russian flank attack and storm into the Lesser Redoubt. The Guards continue to fire into the Russians, who break and withdraw. By now Prince Menshikoff realizes that he cannot hold the position and orders his men to break off the action. The British take the heights and win the day, although at some considerable cost, with the Light Division having been decimated.

Battle of the River Alma Part 2 - The assault of the Light Division

Lord Raglan decides to start the battle by ordering the Light Division forward to assault the Russian positions. In reality he then gallops off to a position close to Telegrah Hill and loses touch with the action. In my battle I keep him in the area of the village where he can command the assault. The Light Division begins to wade through the Alma river and British guns deploy on the home bank.

At first the Division advances in good order but soon they come under fire from Russian skirmishers and the more deadly batteries in the redoubts; the casualties start to mount. By the time they clear the river they have lost around 200 men. The rifles engage the Russian skirmishers and a brisk firefight ensues. The Russians are armed with rifled muskets and so they hold their own for a while.

By the third move the Light Division is in trouble. the Russian guns are pouring fire into the exposed ranks struggling up the slopes and the whole Division becomes unformed.

However some respite is gained as the Rifle Brigade beat off the Russian skirmishes, who with mounting losses move up the hill. The Light Division continues its advance against a hail of murderous fire, losing over 100 more casualties.

Soon the Rifle Brigade are in range of the Russian gunners in the Great Redoubt and the suppression from their Minie rifle fire briefly silences the guns. However, some Russian infantry move against the left flank of the Division and the gunners begin to man the guns once more.

Realizing that the Light Division is in peril, Lord Raglan issues orders for the 1st Division to advance in support. (In reality Lieutenant General Airey, Raglan's Quartermaster General, gave the order - as by now Raglan had no idea what was happening).

Battle of the River Alma - 20th September 1854, Part 1

Following the small action on the Bulganak, on 19th September the allied army continued its march towards Sebastapol. However, information was soon to reach Raglan's headquarters that the Russian field army, under the command of Prince Menshikoff, had taken up defensive positions on the high ground overlooking the River Alma, where it runs into the sea. The heights rise very steeply up to around 500 feet, with high cliffs blocking approaches at the point the river reaches the coast. The Russians concentrated their main deployment inland in the belief that the cliffs were impassable for an attacking force.

The main Russian position straddled two features, Telegraph Hill and further to the east, Kougane Hill. Two earthworks had been constructed, known as the Greater and lesser Redoubts and both contained artillery. Out to the front of the Russian position is the village of Bourliok, which was initially held by Russian light troops and engineers, but then set on fire to create an obstacle.

The Allies had advanced on the River Alma, with the French on the right close to the sea and the British on the left. Initially the French started the action by assaulting the high bluffs, but soon ran into difficulty. It was at this point that Raglan committed the British Light Division to assault the heights in the area of the great Redoubt.

Here is the view that the British would have of the Russian positions:

The Russians had deployed the cavalry off to their right flank, but as the cavalry on either side played no part in the battle I have not included them in the game.

Here is an overview of the Russian deployment:

With the Great Redoubt sitting in the key position in the Russian line;

And the Lesser Redoubt on the Russian right flank:

In part 2 the British initial assault develops.

Saturday 22 February 2014

R3 Russian Infantry in Helmet Firing  

This is the last model in the Russian infantry range in the Douglas Miniatures series to be added to my collection. The figure is a line infantry soldier in greatcoat, wearing a helmet and in the firing position. I have decided to paint this unit in the fawn colour, rather than grey, that seems to have been used more frequently by the Russian forces in the Crimea. I have done this just to break up the sea of grey in my Russian army.

This unit marks a milestone for me as I have painted all of the bare metal in my Crimean war figure store. That said another order is with Old John, so the brushes will not be dry for long.

Saturday 15 February 2014

Turkish Cavalry   

There are no Turkish figures in the Douglas miniatures Crimean range, so any representation must come from other sources, however, once again John Cunningham has come to the rescue. He has converted a number of figures, which coincidentally fit the Douglas Miniatures horses perfectly.

I know very little about the cavalry uniforms of the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Crimean war and there are few reliable sources. From the information I have found the style of dress of these figures match the uniform patterns of the 1840s, which were still widely used by the time of the Crimean war. I have painted three samples based upon this information. If anyone knows better I would love to hear from them. Here are a few of pictures:

I shall have to order some more!


Saturday 1 February 2014

The Heavy Brigade

Here we have the first three regiments of the Heavy Brigade - the 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, the 2nd Dragoons, Scots Greys and the 5th Dragoon Guards.

Lord Cardigan - Commander of the Light Brigade


It has taken a while to source a suitable figure for the Light Brigade commander. In the end I have gone for plastic figure, converted from an Italeri Napoleonic French horse artillery officer. Here he is at the head of the British light cavalry