Friday 16 July 2010

A couple of Bull Run links

Here's a useful site on the campaign and here's a useful blog full of the stuff of this fascinating battle.

Franco-Prussian 10mm figs

Gallery of 1870-1 figures made by Pendraken.

Bersaglieri 1859

By Orlando Norie.

39th New York - Garibaldi's Guard

This Union regiment was inspired by the Bersaglieri and Italian events. Image from here

Bull Run

This battle was fought today in 1861. Here's a clip from Gods and Generals a 2003 movie which was in my opinion equal parts great and rubbish. Great battle scenes rubbish dialogue. Still worth watching though.

Origins of the Bersaglieri - inspired by the Chasseurs

The famous Bersaglieri and their running is a remnant of the Chasseur craze - this is from the wiki. Image is Bataille de Traktir sur la Tchernaïa Gosselin, 1855

The relatively poor Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia could not afford large numbers of cavalry, so a quick-moving infantry corps of marksmen was needed. These troops were trained to high physical and marksmanship standards. Like the French chasseurs à pied who inspired their creation, a level of independence and initiative was encouraged so that they could operate in looser formations where direct command and control was not required. They fired individually and carried 60 rounds instead of the standard 40 rounds of traditional line infantry. The first uniform was black with brimmed hats, called "vaira". These were intended to defend the head from sabre blows.

The first public appearance of the Bersaglieri was on the occasion of a military parade on 1 July 1836. The First Company marched through Turin with the rapid, high-stepping gait (130 paces/minute) still used by the Bersaglieri in World War II and later. The modern Bersaglieri still run both on parade and even during barracks duty - on penalty of punishment if they do not. The new corps impressed King Carlo Alberto, who immediately had them integrated as part of the "Armata sarda" - the Piedmontese regular army.

Throughout the nineteenth century, under La Marmora’s leadership, the Bersaglieri filled the role of skirmishers, screening the slow-moving line and column formations, but acting as special shock troops if required. They were originally intended to serve as mountain troops, as well; the climber Jean Antoine Carrel was a Bersagliere. When the Alpini Corps were created in 1872 a strong rivalry arose between the two elite corps.

General Clers


Formerly commanding the Zouaves'. I am not sure if this is the same man as below - but it certainly is a fine portrait by Cadogan.

Thursday 15 July 2010

Reminiscences of an officer of Zouaves

Translated from the French. 1860. By Jean Joseph Gustave Cler. In the 2nd Zouaves I think.
Covers the Crimea and much more. I think we had the same work in its French form a few days ago but this edition would have been read in the Americas in the run-up to the Civil War. Just to give you a little taster:
Lord* Frederick Paulet, colonel of the Coldstream Guards, whose tent stood close to the bivouac of the Zouaves, said to Colonel Cler, as he sorrowfully shook his hand, " No later than last night, there were three fine fellows in it, all three of whom have honorably fallen upon yon bloody field. To-night, I am all alone; —come, then, and share my tent with me, and let me flatter myself with the hope, that I have at least gained a new friend, in lieu of the three whom I have lost."
Photo of Cler here

19th century popular art

Those Russian helmets

I don't know the name of this piece of headgear (helmet 1844?) but it is striking and I've been very impressed by the repro ones I've seen Crimean war reenactors wearing. Must be very hard to make. Piece on them with more info here

Alma Figures - 1/32 (54mm) Crimean War

I like the look of this range of figures. They are metal kits sculpted with a toy soldier aesthetic and they often come with variant heads and so forth recreating British, French Russian and Turkish infantry plus some artillery. They cost 8 Euros for foot figures, 12 for standard bearers and 16 for cannon. They are beginning to produce gloss painted versions for sale - so far Zouaves and British Guards are available. Check them out at the new under construction website which has the listings and plenty of images. I think they'd make great skirmish figures - maybe get some Armies in Plastic Crimean cavalry to go with them.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

Chasseurs à pied in various shooting positions

Interesting depictions of the origins of the Chasseurs in their role as sharpshooters. Thanks Andre for finding these.
(Source, Magasin Pittoresque, 1841)

Images of Russians

Been trying to find interesting images of the Russian forces in the Crimea but it's pretty hard as I don't speak Russian. I was looking for the pictures of

Alexander Viskovatov (1804—1858) for the period but with no luck but came across this photo. I think it's from the 1860s - there's another one and a description here

Sebastopol Sketches Leo Tolstoy

(Image - Tolstoy in 1856)
I haven't had much from the Russian side of the Crimea - mostly as I don't speak Russian but some works are such that they are translated - one being this series of short stories by the famed Leo Tolstoy who commanded a battery at the siege of Sebastopol. Google books version (limited preview). Printed copies of this book are pretty cheap so maybe track one down if you fancy a classic read.

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Illustrating the speed of Chasseurs

Thanks again to Andre for sending this image to illustrate the speed of the Chasseurs a pied and their new drill. If you look closely you can see two Chasseur buglers in the centre.
La bataille de Montebello, le 20 mai 1859 Philippoteaux Henri-Félix-Emmanuel (1815-1884

Crimean War by Paul Kerr

Soldiers playing boules (Protais)
This and the below images come from a book brought out for the Channel 4 series a few years ago - it is a visual feast though the pictures are quite small. The good thing about this book is it's very cheap - if you want a paperback it'll only set you back a few quid and it's worth it believe me. A good introduction but much more than that. A mini coffee table book at a pocket money price.

More by Carol Szathmari

This photographer was able to capture both sides in the early part of the conflict - here are photos of Turkish artillery and infantry and military musicians plus a camp of Russian Lancers at Craiova.


Turkish cavalry 1854

Carol Szathmari (Hungarian: Szathmáry Pap Károly; Romanian: Carol Popp de Szathmary; 1812 - 1887) was a Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian painter, lithographer and photographer. He is considered the world's first combat photographer as he took pictures in the battlefield, during the first year of the Russian-Turkish War, later known as the Crimean War (1853-1856).
More on the photographs here

Pictorial history of the Russian war 1854-5-6: with maps, plans, and woodcuts

Interesting period history of the Crimean war with pleasant woodcuts. Here's an image from it of Bashi-Bazouks.
Book here

Battle of Guaymas 1854

Fought today in Mexico. General Jose Maria Yanez stops the 'French' invasion led by adventurer Count Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon. Can't find much about it but it sounds interesting. There is a book 'The French in Sonora (1850-4) the story of French adventurers from California to Mexico'.

Greek Legion

Russia had its allies in the Crimea though I haven't found much on them. The Greek Legion are depicted here by Cadogan at a scene of fraternisation similar to the WW1 Christmas truce with a horse race at the Tchernaya but there was also 7000 Bulgarian troops allied to Russia and if what I googled is correct the Russians also had American volunteers. Thinking about it the Bulgarian Legion might be the French looking fellows some of you asked about on the comments about Russian allies at the Alma reenactments? I think Georgi Rakovski - Bulgarian revolutionary was also involved in the Crimea.

Monday 12 July 2010

French infantry book

Been enjoying this English language book on the French infantry that Andre of the Chasseurs a Pied sent a link to - lots of useful information on everything like meals and the content of the knapsack - author was in the Royal Welch Fusiliers and it's amusing to see his horror at some of the French habits.

Boxer Rebellion

Over on Scott's blog he's got photos of the Boxer Rebellion in 1/32 scale. Nice.

Portuguese North Africa

Uwe over at the History in 1/72 blog is looking for any information on the 1890s - early 20th century Portuguese North Africa. I've had a look and can't find much - I thought maybe someone might be reading this who speaks Portuguese and might be able to find out something.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Light Drill in the French army

United Service magazine article from 1866 describing in English the new Chasseur drill and how it differed from the norm. Also this article from 1863's Atlantic Monthly tells the story of the Chasseurs a pied and how they evolved - I must admit I thought they were a continuation of the leger regiments of the Napoleonic period but apparently not.

Ardant du Picq

Military theorist and writer this was an important figure who fought as a Chasseur in the Crimea and eventually was killed leading his regiment, the 10th of Line in the Franco-Prussian War. Read his work online.


Thanks to Scott again here's some images of the Sardinian-Piedmont contingent in the Crimea. The page is part of this reenactment Brigade de Savoie group's page. Thanks again.

Turkish Army in 1/72

If you do this period in 1/72 scale you probably realise there aren't many Crimean Turkish troops on the market and as the Turks fought the Russians much longer than anyone else this was an oversight in which a group of German enthusiasts wanted to rectify by having new figures cast and made available to fund future projects. If you are interested in getting some or seeing them then pop over to the History in 1/72 blog. Artillery has been the first I think.

Mercenaries in the Crimea

This article looks interesting - on the various legions in British service - in particular German, Italian and Swiss. The National Archives say
The Enlistment of Foreigners Act 1854 allowed the government to recruit foreign mercenary troops to make up the low number of British men being recruited during the Crimean War. These mercenaries formed the British German, British Swiss and British Italian Legions, often collectively called the British Foreign Legion. Recruitment began at the beginning of 1855, and eventually 14,000 men joined the legions. None of these men saw active service, although a number of regiments had arrived in Turkey when peace was signed. At the end of the War the Legions were disbanded. Men were encouraged to emigrate to the colonies and many from the British German Legion went to Cape Colony.

Sardinian capote

I must admit to having got a little interested in the Sardinian-Piedmont army - and in particular the capote which they wore in the Crimea. This Italian site which is very good talks about Descrizione del cappotto di Fanteria, modello 1854, confezionato con panno dell'altezza metri 1,300, sulla base della seconda taglia. But no image or pattern - well you can't have everything - but is this image from Battlefield anomlies depicting one? Probably a tunic - which they didn't take to the Crimea according to McClellan.

Armies of Europe 1855 - Frederick Engels

Another review of some of Europe's armies this time by the famous Socialist writer Engels writes about Britian, France and Prussia and also some of the lesser known armies such as Sardinia and other Italian states and many more including Turkey. See them here