26 August 2006

Pondering into the Wee Hours. . .

By now, you’ve seen my projected orders of battle here and noted that they are quite ambitious. The same occurred to me too, especially where the forces of the minor players in the campaign are concerned.

So, this small problem got me thinking into the wee hours late last night in bed before I fell asleep. Since my imaginary principalities (Pillau-Zerbst, Pillau-Reuss, Werben-Steinau, Tauroggen-Fiebus, and Zeller-Schwartzekatz) are sparsely populated, I’ll have each furnish just a company of infantry -- or a squadron of cavalry -- or a half battery and crew.

This neat idea developed while I was browsing through Philip Haythornthwaite’s The Napoleonic Source Book (1990) yesterday evening, reading about the numbers and types of troops furnished to Napoleon I by all of the various German duchies and principalities. Some of the smaller states furnished the French with just a company or two rather than entire battalions or regiments. It hit me like a bolt out of the blue later as I waited for sleep to arrive – I can do something very similar with my minor players here. Problem solved!

The sub-units I’ll create can combine into a single unit of infantry (four companies), dragoons, or artillery battery. Or, they can operate independently, much like the independent company of the Waldeck Regiment in Young and Lawford’s original Battle of Sittangbad in Charge! So, I can have them change sides and fight for either of my main players, the Grand Duchy of Stollen or the Electorate of Zichenau. Best of all, I won’t necessarily have to paint several additional full-strength units to represent the forces of the minor combatants.

This neat little solution will enable me to create some uniforms that are colored differently from those of my main combatants and, at the same time, allow me to complete my project in a reasonable amount of time, say 12-15 months, if I can keep up the painting momentum that I’ve managed with the Von Laurenz Musketeers. “Good luck, “ I hear many of you chuckle. . . Time will tell.

Which brings me to my next point. No, I did not actually make it to the painting desk last night. Shame on me! I’ve already set a bad example! Instead, I decided to enjoy a night off with Haythornthwaite, my sketch pad, a copy of Charge!, and Radio Havana, Cuba on my trusty bedside shortwave radio. It was just what I needed to rejuvenate me for more painting today, following a difficult first week teaching again after the long summer break. Charge!

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