March 18, 2010

A Method to My Madness

I wrote a post a few months back on modeling your Napoleonic forces without the crutch of using army lists (No Army Lists? No Problem!) and I felt like it was time to look at the concept again, this time using a slightly different approach. Sticking with my 'Combat on the Coa' theme, let's look at my French wargames army for REPUBLIC TO EMPIRE based on the 6th Corps under the command of my favorite French Marshal, Michael Ney.

My list is drawn from Donald Featherstone's book Campaigning With the Duke of Wellington & Featherstone. This is one of those treasured volumes that I have returned to over and over for wargame info on the Peninsula theater. Again, I don't have detailed brigade strengths for the Combat on the Coa, but other sources show the French battalions to be quite small. If I stick with my 1:30 ratio that I used for the Light Division, I would end up with units or 16-20 models! That's not really what I want, so my solution is to reduce the number of battalions on the historical order of battle and increase the number of models per unit. Below is my ultimate goal, with the units I have finished in red.

Loison's 3rd Division

Brigade Simon
26th Ligne (2 battalions of 36 models each)
Legion du Midi (24 models)
Legion Hanoverienne (2 battalions of 30 models each)

Brigade Ferey
32nd Leger (24 models)
66th Ligne (2 battalions of 26 models each)
82nd Ligne (36 models)

Loison's Divison did the brunt of the fighting at the Combat on the Coa battle. All of the line regiments were made up of 4th, 5th, and 6th battalions and should probably be rated as Recruits, but it's hard to play a game a fielding an entire division of such troops. When I amass more troops, I would field them that way, but for now they get to be elevated to Drilled, with only my poor allied units - the Legion du Midi and the Legion Hanoverienne - suffering the yoke of the Recruit rating. Just for the sake of balance, I've rated the 32nd Leger as Veteran for no reason other than the e'spirit de corps such units tend to display. The 32nd was also severely understrength (or maybe present as a half battalion?) but I added a few models to bring it in the line with the rest of my Division. The 82nd Ligne is on the painting table...

In the future, when I go to add more troops, I will draw from the following units from the 6th corps, building one brigade at a time, with strengths again built on numbers near the battle rather than those actually present on the day: 

Mermet's 2nd Division

Brigade Bardet
26th Leger (36 models)
27th Ligne (2 battalions of 36 models each)

Brigade Labassee
50th Ligne (2 battalions of 36 models each)
59th Ligne (2 battalions of 30 models each)

Marchand's 1st Division

Brigade Maucune
8th Leger (36 models)
69th Ligne (3 battalions of 24 models each)

Brigade Marcognet
39th Ligne (2 battalions of 30 models each)
76ht Ligne (2 battalions of 36 models each)


Lamotte's Brigade
3rd Hussars (12 models)
15th Chasseurs (12 models)

Gardanne's Brigade
15th Dragoons (12 models)
20th Dragoons (12 models)

The cavalry strengths are based purely on what works best on my small game table. I have two boxes of the Perry Dragoons on order and they will be added to my army soon, possibly appearing at Historicon in support of my French!

I'll more on the subject of army lists in a few days...


  1. Sounds good, but why do you like Ney? He was pretty inconsistent if you ask me.

  2. Hi, ColeF!

    Sorry I missed this - I don't think Ney was the best general! He certainly had his share of failures. I think he was better with brigades and divisions rather than corps and armies. I just love the stories like being the last Frenchman to leave Russia during that disastrous campaign or the report that he had five horses killed from under him at the battle of Waterloo.