Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps: The uniforms are identified!

Thanks to some sterling research done by Edwin King, the uniforms of the various units that currently make up CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS have been identified as follows:

  • The ‘Red’ Hussars are Russian Life Guard Hussars
  • The ‘Green’ Hussars are French Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard
  • The Polish Cavalry are officers of the Russian Life Guard Lancers/Uhlans

The figure that I have not yet bought from the range that is on sale at THE WORKS is of General Murat. The uniform he is wearing is a bit too flamboyant for my taste, and might require a bit of re-painting to make is usable for FUNNY LITTLE WARS.


Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps expands!

Thanks to a visit to the branch of THE WORKS in Woolwich, I managed to buy some further painted metal 54mm-scale Napoleonic Cavalry figures for £2.00 each. As a result CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS now includes:

  • 8 x ‘Red’ Hussars
  • 8 x ‘Green’ Hussars
  • 7 x Polish Cavalry

All I need is a further Polish Cavalryman to be able to field three small ‘regiments’ of Light Cavalry in any forthcoming FUNNY LITTLE WARS battles.

I have tried to track down what unit each of the figures actually represents. As far as I can see, the ‘Green’ Hussars are – in fact – French Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard. As to the others … well that research remains a work in progress, but if any of my regular blog readers can identify them, I would be very grateful.

Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps

Yesterday I paid a visit to a nearby branch of THE WORKS … and found a whole load of painted metal 54mm-scale Napoleonic Cavalry figures on sale for £2.00 each! Needless to say I bought a few … enough to be able to form what I am temporarily calling CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS!

For the sum of £28.00 I bought the following figures:

7 x ‘Red’ Hussars

5 x ‘Green’ Hussars

2 x ‘Blue’ Polish Cavalry

With luck I hope to be able to add some further figures to my ‘Cavalry Corps’ in due course.

Although these cavalrymen are wearing early nineteenth century uniforms, cavalry across the world tended to wear similar dress uniforms right through until the First World War … and in the case of the Russian Civil War and the Russo-Polish War, some were even wearing nineteenth century uniforms into the early 1920s! As a result I think that I may well be able to field these figures in most FUNNY LITTLE WARS battles set in the period up to 1914.

Wooden Building Blocks

When I began to build my modular fortress, I started to look around for additional sources of suitable wooden bit and pieces for future projects. Surprisingly this turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. I visited several specialist toy shops, but they either did not stock suitable wooden building blocks (I wanted a selection of blank blocks, not ones that were all the same size with letters and/or numbers on them) or they were very, very expensive.

In the end I came across a company called TOYS & INTERIORS who had exactly what I wanted available online … 100 assorted wooden building blocks in a linen sack.

A set of blocks was on sale for £14.92 including free delivery (they were originally on sale for £22.95) … so I bought two sets.

One of the reasons why I found these particular sets of building blocks so attractive was their similarity to those used by H G Wells in his book FLOOR GAMES, as can be seen from the following photographs:

I am not sure how I am going to use these building block when they arrive, but when I do I will be able to think of myself as following in the footsteps of H G Wells.

Waterloo in 54mm

On Saturday I had the honour and pleasure to be able to take part in a re-fight of the Battle of Waterloo using 54mm-scale figures! Nearly 2,000(!) figures were used, and the whole thing was very well organised by leading members of the Funny Little Wars Yahoo Group (Tim Gow and Paul). We were lucky enough to be able to have access to a large lawned area in Central London, and this enabled not just the main battle to be re-fought, but also the battle between the Prussians and French at Wavre.

I was one of the Allied players, and was in command of Hougmont and the right-wing. In the centre Brian Carrick commanded the main Allied artillery and the infantry just behind the main ridge, whilst on the left Conrad Kinch busied himself fortifying La Haye Sainte, the sandpit, and several farms.

I fully expected that the French would begin their assault on my side of the battlefield with an attack on Hougoumont … so I garrisoned it with Light Companies from the Guards and Brunswick Avante Garde … and some special troops from Canada, courtesy of Ross Macfarlane.

I needn’t have bothered, as the only French troops that came close were French light cavalry (with some horse artillery), which gave the strong-point a reasonably wide berth.

In response I moved forward my light cavalry, which included (on the right) some of ‘Kinch‘s Own’ Hussars (in truth, the 18th (King’s Irish) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars)) …

… one of whom could be seen to be swigging from a bottle that looked remarkably like a Guinness one!

Both side’s cavalry then spent some time glaring at each other across the battlefield.

In the meantime, a large column of French infantry and artillery began to advance towards La Haye Sainte …

… which was heavily garrisoned.

The French advance was slow … possibly due to the rain that had occurred earlier that day.

Elsewhere French heavy cavalry was deployed …

… and a large force of French infantry began to move forward in line, supported by columns.

In response, some British infantry formed up in line. (They were later to move into square and see off a French cavalry attack.)

The farms that Conrad Kinch had garrisoned with infantry and artillery were able to pour infantry and artillery fire at the advancing French.

Whilst the situation was developing in the centre and on the left, a large body of French cavalry appeared in front of my section of the Allied line.

They moved forward slowly but surely … and I deployed my heavy cavalry in response.

The French shock themselves into line and both side’s cavalry advanced, resulting in a massive melee.

By the end of the fighting, the Allied cavalry was thoroughly beaten and those that had survived the battle were withdrawn to safety. Their sacrifice was not in vain, and the remnants of the French cavalry were too blown to be of further use on the battlefield.

Whilst this was going on, the situation around La Haye Sainte was coming to a climax …

… and in the sandpit a French cavalry charge overwhelmed the Riflemen stationed there.

At this point the fighting ended, and the umpires adjudicated that at that point in the battle, the French were winning by a narrow margin … but that the arrival of the Prussians (they had held the French at Wavre and had been moving a large number of troops towards Waterloo for quite some time) was likely to sway the result against the French in the long term.

99p Store find

During a recent trip to a local shopping centre, Sue and I visited a branch of the 99p Store … and I happened to see some very cheap plastic doll’s houses on sale. (The doll’s houses were actually half buildings, and came with some rather poorly moulded plastic furniture.)

Although the buildings are moulded in some very un-warlike colours (cream and pink!), it immediately struck me that they had potential for use with 40mm and 54mm-scale figures … so I bought two.

It was only when I got home that I realised that they were different and that they were designed so that the two half-buildings that could be clipped together to create a single building.

I am not sure when I will get around to repainting these buildings so that I can use them, but at a cost of 99p each I will certainly think about buying some more when I see them.

Funny Little Wars battle

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in a FUNNY LITTLE WARS battle in central London. It was originally planned to fight the battle outdoors, but thanks to some inclement weather it took place in a large carpeted room instead.

Paul acted as umpire and the two sides (Army Red and Army Dark Green) each had two commanders. Mike and Andrew commanded Army Red, and Tim and myself commanded Army Dark Green. (It should be noted that half of Army Dark Green were actually Scottish troops who were more than willing to serve under the Cross of St Andrew, as were the Royal Marines who served as the crew of one of Army Dark Green’s field guns. It is not for nothing that the Royal Navy has the nickname of ‘The Andrew’!)

Army Dark Green defended a town and its outlying hamlets. The main body of their troops (two battalions of the Black Watch, a battalion of Tratvian infantry, two Tratvian machine gun detachments, two Tratvian medium artillery guns, and two field guns (one crewed by Tratvians and one Royal Marines) were in positions within the town and three small pickets of three men each (two drawn from the ranks of the Gordon Highlanders and one from a Tratvian Cossack unit) were deployed where they could give warning of any enemy attacks. A Tratvian assassin was also concealed somewhere on the battlefield … but nobody (except the Tratvian commander) knew where.

The town.

Another view of the town.

A view of part of the country over which the battle was fought.

The old factory.

The battle began when Army Red decided to attack the town from two opposite directions.

One half of Army Red advanced from the left ….

… whilst the other half moved forward on the right flank..

Although one might have thought that this pincer movement would have been intended to overwhelm the defenders by making them split their firepower, it didn’t. In fact it proved to be a double-edged weapon, especially when the artillery of one half of Army Red started overshooting the town and began hitting troops in the other half.

The pickets proved their worth, and managed to hold up the Army Red advance on one flank and cause Army Red to concentrate their fire on an empty building on the other flank.

Army Red’s Riflemen engaged the Army Dark Green picket in the Old Factory …

The pickets were eventually destroyed …

… and eventually wiped them out.

… but in moving to attack them Army Red became exposed.

One of Army Dark Green’s Black Watch battalions deployed to meet the advancing Army Red troops.

Army Red’s mighty cavalry force moved forward …

… supported by infantry and artillery.

Army Red was poised to mount a major attack on the town.

Army Red’s artillery fire was very effective, and tore holes in the ranks of the Tratvian infantry.

On one flank the Tratvian infantry and machine guns and Royal Marine artillery managed to cause so many casualties on an Army Red cavalry unit that it had to retreat …

Army Red’s cavalry commander learned the hard way that attacking steadfast infantry and machine guns …

… was an easy way to empty the saddles of your own cavalry …

… and cause them to retreat!

… and disrupted the units through which it had to pass. Their machine gun detachment also proved to be very deadly, and depleted the ranks of one of Army Red’s infantry battalions. On the other flank an entire regiment of Army Red lancers were shot from their saddles when they rode across the front of one battalion of the Black Watch in order to charge the other.

The Army Dark Green defenders prepare to see off another Army Red assault.

By this point in the battle the entire Army Dark Green was visible to the commanders of Army Red.

The Army Red lancers prepare to charge the battalion of the Black Watch who are not behind a wall. Now you see them …

… and now you don’t! Yet another lesson in the vulnerability of cavalry to close range rifle fire.

In the end numbers began to tell, and although Army Red’s artillery fire managed to destroy their main objective (Army Dark Green’s HQ … which they were supposed to capture!), the day ended with a depleted Army Dark Green still holding the town.

The town at the end of the battle.

This was a fantastically enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The company was excellent, everyone enjoyed themselves, and the rules (which included a couple of tweaks regarding artillery ammunition) worked extremely well. My thanks go to Paul and his wife for providing the venue and the afternoon tea, and to my fellow ‘generals’ for being all-round good chaps.

Here’s to the next time we meet!