It was just a matter of time before I finally got round to buying and painting up some Russians to accompany my Austrians and Prussians for the
Autumn campaign of 1813. That said, it has actually taken me eight years to do so. My regular gaming mate Max Maxwell has oodles of them
already but I wanted some to complete my own collection. I already had four regiments of cossacks, bought a while back to add than extra
interesting something to my Prussian Vs French games. The July 2011 edition of Wargames Illustrated had an article on Borodino which finally
pushed me over the edge, and before I knew it I was reaching for the credit card.
I wanted some Essex Russians really as all my other Napoleonics are by that manufacturer and wanted them to 'fit in'. However a look at the
Essex catalogue online revealed some very dodgy looking poses for firing and charging Jagers and limited ones for line infantry too. Truth told,
this put me off for years but when I seriously got round to looking at figures and at uniform books I realised I could infact use the Essex castings
as Russian infantry uniforms differed only in minutiae, particularly in 15mm. So, I used their line infantry as Jagers, and by removing a plume
and filing away the cartridge box plate on their Lifeguard and Grenadier figures, I could use them as line infantry.
No Guards, Grenadiers or Kurassiers for me as per usual as I much prefer 'typical' troops rather than elites. So, I decided to model my force on
3rd Division, Eugene of Wurttemberg's Russian II Corps, and added elements of Pahlen III's Cavalry Corps namely Rudinger's detached Hussar
brigade and Lissanevich's Tchougouiev Uhlans. I also decided to add the Kargopol Dragoons for a bit of extra colour and flexibility and as they
were brigaded with the Uhlans at Bautzen.
The Russian line infantry and Jagers in 1813 for 'Le Feu Sacre' have little to offer the gamer; no Stoic troops as per the 1812 campaign, none
with Elan and 50% of them D Class but if you are serious about 1813 you just have to have Russians. Although Russian troops fought with both
the Army of Silesia and the Army of the North, Wurttemberg's Corps were part of the Army of Bohemia and in the thick of it during 1813. By the
time of the battle of Leipzig the regiments were well below 50% strength. This meant that I could actually expand the Division and field the entire
Corps of two small understrength divisions. In total I have four Jager battalions and eight line infantry battalions.
One of the main attractions of using Russians is of course the large number of guns available. Guns are the real killers no matter which rules
you use for your Napoleonic wargames and the Russians can cause real problems in this department. I have three double sized foot batteries
and three double sized horse batteries to accompany my cavalry and act as a reserve. Essex don't make horse artillery for the Russians so I got
some Old Glory/Battle Honours ones from Timecast. My infantry will be there primarily to protect the guns whilst I plan to use my Prussians
with their Elan for the assault.
The biggest appeal to me of the Russians though is their cavalry, and not just their cossacks but particularly their light cavalry. I am quite vocal
about my love of light cavalry in all periods but Russian light cavalry of the late Napoleonic wars are so damned attractive. They are also
damned effective too. In LFS they rate as C Class with up to 50% of the Hussars being able to have Elan, and are twice the size of French
cavalry units. They should be more than a match for the forces of the Emperor (or his misguided minion, the evil Marechal Cunard - Clive) . Time
will tell however.
A few spare figures can be made into an interesting command vignette.
The Priest is from Peter Pig and the religious banner from Little Big Man Studios
Jager Infantry Regiments
Murom Infantry Regiment with Reval Infantry Regiment in Support
I decided to give the first battalion in each regiment the white regimental flag and the third battalion a 'coloured' flag.
Second battalions were often the depot battalion.
Chernigov Infantry Regiment in line with Selenguinsk Infantry Regiment in Columns of Support
Foot Artillery Batteries
Soum Hussar Regiment
Grodno Hussar Regiment
The Grodno hussars were by all accounts one of the best cavalry units in the entire army.
Tchougouiev Uhlan Regiment
Kargopol Dragoon Regiment
I added this unit to my collection as they were brigaded with the Tchougouiev Uhlans at the battle of Bautzen (20th/21st May 1813).
I have plans to do some games in the spring campaign of 1813.
Horse Artillery Batteries
These are Battle Honours available from Timecast
Did I mention, I absolutely love cossacks?
After years of not getting anywhere their moment of glory came two years ago when against Nigel's Poles they charged a unit of Polish
Lancers in their exposed flank and routed them, along with four Battalions of Polish infantry who were caught in the flank and rear.
They then captured a Polish artillery Battery and killed the Polish Division's commander.
Since then I have had a couple of smaller successes but cossacks have become a great favourite of mine.
These are suitable really as 'Peasant Cossacks'.
These are Old Glory Don Cossacks and better suited for my 1813/14 games than the Essex peasant cossack types.
The horses are much smaller than the Essex ones but do look more like how I imagine cossack ponies would look.
Essex cossacks look far too well fed for me.
I've got five units of these differentiated by their lance pennons; red over white, blue, yellow and purple respectively, and plain red.
I decided to give each Don Cossack unit its own standard and added another to my Cossack commander.
Little Big Men Studios make an excellent sheet of Russian Banners which are full of the religious icons often associated with Russians.
Beautifully produced, and lavishly decorated, they add a welcome dash of colour to otherwise quite drab figures.
The Don Cossack commander below is an Essex figure.
My Entire Don Cossack Host
Five regiments waiting to fall on the flank and rear of the detested French and their lackeys.
I've tried to make them as colourful and irregular looking as possible, despite the fact that they are all wearing a similar uniform.
There are five differing shades of blue ranging from Dark Prussian Blue (Vallejo) to Shadow Grey (GW).
All figures Essex Miniatures unless specified. Owned and painted by yours truly.