Sunday 30 November 2008

About this site

Thought you might be interested in breakdown by countries who has been visiting this blog...Iv'e had just under 3,000 hits which is surprising me by its number - I thought it would be about 15. Shows the period has a lot of interest anyway.

The French Army in Camp

I think it was the great Martinet who invented the idea of setting tents out in rows and in order. The French army at the time excelled in these huge encampments with rows of stripey tents. This small selection gives you an idea of scale as well as making wargaming in 6mm seem like a good idea.

Dragoni Rossi

Next up for my exploration of the Italian scene is the illustrious Red Dragoons - 1693 is their time period - the year of the battle of Marsaglia.


Nicely shot film of mostly Italian reenactment groups at what I thought was the Oudenaarde tercentenary earlier this year in Belgium.

Saturday 29 November 2008

Reggimento Guardie 1659-1675
When I first started this blog I wanted to encourage the 1660s and 70s as a reenactment period as there wasn't much out there but on looking around I found this Italian group doing the era very well indeed. It has to be said that Italy holds a high concentration of groups for the late 17th century/early 18thc - I will feature more in the fullness of time but check out this group as they're very good...they also have their own cavalry group Reggimento Principe di Piemonte a cavallo Website here - Gallery here

Friday 28 November 2008

More Great Northern War pictures

I don't know whether you have noticed but there has been a winter theme to some of my posts - Canadians in snowshoes, Great Northern War reenactors in the freezing cold at Narva - I hope you are enjoying it.

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Vatel (2000) trailer

If you live in the UK, this weekend sees the screening on tv of this movie starring Gerard Depardieu, Tim Roth and Uma Thurman. I haven't seen it and it's not about military history but more about lavish court entertainment but I mention it as its set in 1671 and just in case you miss it and blame me. Imdb on it says the plot is
In 1671, with war brewing with Holland, a penniless prince invites Louis XIV to three days of festivities at a chateau in Chantilly. The prince wants a commission as a general, so the extravagances are to impress the king. In charge of all is the steward, Vatel, a man of honor, talent, and low birth. The prince is craven in his longing for stature: no task is too menial or dishonorable for him to give Vatel. While Vatel tries to sustain dignity, he finds himself attracted to Anne de Montausier, the king's newest mistress. In Vatel, she finds someone who's authentic, living out his principles within the casual cruelties of court politics. Can the two of them escape unscathed?


Although its been out since 2001 the pc game Cossacks European Wars still has to be the best way to fight this era in digital form. Best played online against a real opponent - preferably one who is prepared to make it historically accurate by not using the Diplomatic Centre it is a fun RTS and if you haven't played it maybe its time.

Tuesday 25 November 2008


A winter cap worn by some Canadian Militiamen.
(Also see Karpus). 'English style cap, sometimes called Bourguignote by sailors. It is a day and night cap, with flaps that can be turned down for protection against the wind and sand' Furetiere 1690. For references to its use in New France in the 1680s and 90s go here to an excellent book by Timothy Kent.

Monday 24 November 2008

Narva in the snow

Our Great Northern War reenactment friends have just done an exciting event at Narva in Estonia - watch this clip to see how it went. I am highly impressed by the GNW scene and have great expectations for the future....and they get real snow too!

Danish weapons of the Great Northern War

If you like flintlocks - and I think you might or you wouldn't be reading this - then this page of military small arms of that era is well worth visiting here. Click on them to see close-ups. Excellent stuff. While on the subject of Denmark this page on medals of the period is also worth a look.

Great Northern War - Battle at Keksgolm (Karela)

Am I good to you lot or what? Here's a recent film of Russian GNW reenactors - location here - looks great - wish I could be there but it's probably too cold for my constitution. More here

D'Artagnan's Grave

D'Artagnan is in the news again as a historian claims to have found his grave - news item here
This image by Van der Meulen is said to be D'Artagnan - from the painting Arrivée de Louis XIV au camp devant Maestricht - explanation in Russian language here

Russian whitecoat by Nikolay Zubkov

No it isn't a Frenchman - it's a Russian of the Great Northern War - just to show you they didn't all wear green. I am quite a fan of Russian historical illustration, it generally is of high quality.

This particular pic is from Russian magazine called "Zeughaus" the artist is Nikolay Zubkov and the corporal depicted is from Smolensky IR from 1713. Apparently Nik does mainly sci-fi artwork these days but you can catch up with him on his live journal here.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Front Rank Marlburians

Well I suppose if one wanted to wargame the North American theatre in the Louis XIV era the best place to start for 28mms might be Front Rank Marlburians - here's a couple of French infantry figs with belly boxes - useful for Compagnies franches de la Marine. Other figures could be brought in from their other ranges, such as the F&I for Natives etc.
Natives have always stripped to breechclout, leggings for battle so any figure so attired would be useful. A lot of figure designers put woodland indians in coats and shirts which is fine for a modelling point of view but it wouldn't be the case in action where a layer of paint and bear grease would be the norm.

Compagnies franches de la Marine

Picture source and more info here
If I lived in North America I think I would be inclined to reenact these colonial French troops in America - hell I did it in the UK for the 1750s back in the 90s so I have an interest in these regulars.
As you can see from this pic from c1700 they used a belly box - gargoussier, made of calf-skin.
As to what extent they would have dressed as Canadians during campaigns I don't know - probably depended on the season and the nature of the terrain.

King William's War - the New Englanders

Carrying on the theme of warfare in the American continent in the age of Louis XIV I thought I'd better feature some of the Anglo-American forces.
Massachusetts troops from around 1690 by David Rickman - source Canadian Military Heritage

Wednesday 19 November 2008

The 'Hero' - Joseph-François Hertel de La Fresnière

(image Fort Lachine - key and source here)
In order to encourage an interest in the frontier warfare of the era of Louis XIV I thought it might be useful to publish a link to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography's entry on the man known as 'the Hero' to his contemporaries. He is credited with the creation of Canadian surprise tactics - learnt from his experience both as a captive of the Iroquois and as an Indian fighter.
Canadian Military Heritage has some interesting stuff too
Hertel de La Fresnière believed that a mixed force, consisting of men familiar with the climate and accustomed to long, exhausting journeys across woods and rivers, could deliver blows deep within enemy territory. The ideal war party was composed, he believed, of Canadian officers with an excellent knowledge of the country and Amerindian customs; a few hardened, elite soldiers from the regular troops; coureurs de bois; "Canadian voyageurs" (as the canoeists and transporters were known); and allied Amerindians. Finally, the commanding officer of this corps should adopt a flexible form of command, while preserving its military form. It should not be forgotten that the Amerindians were allies, not subordinates. They could change their minds at any time. It was therefore necessary to employ diplomacy in order to maintain their enthusiasm and respect.

French fusils for the frontier - 1690s and beyond

An ideal gun for the 1690-1700s Canadian militiaman or allied native is the Tulle Fusil de Chasse - available from Loyalist Arms
Another suitable fusil is the Boucanier - a very long barrelled musket often used on ships as well as on the frontier.

Monday 17 November 2008

Canadien Milicien

This image c1700 of a Canadian Militiaman is interesting but what sort of headgear is he wearing? Certainly not the knitted cap or 'tuque' as one would expect - could it be a variant of the karpus?
Learn more about Canadian warparties at the excellent Raid on Deerfield site.


These caps worn by Russian and Swedish troops in the Great Northern War look very similar to the cap known by the French as an 'English cap' (bonnet a L'angloise) - worn by fishermen and those in exposed conditions.

Coureurs de Bois of New France

An attractive reenactment persona for New France in the late 17th century/early 18thc is a Coureurs de Bois. These 'woods runners' were fascinating - the below quote from an excellent article on them gives you an idea of what these capot-wearing fur traders were like.
“Since little time is required to carry out this trade the life of the coureurs de bois is spent in idleness and dissolute living. They sleep, smoke, drink brandy whatever it costs, gamble, and debauch the wives and daughters of the natives. They commit a thousand contemptible deeds. Gambling drinking, and women often consume all of their capital and the profits of their voyages. They live in complete independence, and account to noone for their actions. They acknowledge no superior, no judge, no law, no police, no subordination.”

Sunday 16 November 2008

Pomeranian campaign of 1715/6

This campaign looks colourful with an interesting mix of nations Prussians, Danes, Saxons, and Norwegian under the great Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau (ideal maybe for the Zvezda PTG figs) against the Swedes. See D Schorr's battles and campaigns for a breakdown on the major battles of the campaign here. Wiki on the campaign in German here

Early 18th century Germans by Knotel

I started looking around at some of the options for converting the Zvezda Peter the Great Infantry and started looking at Knotel for inspiration. Although archaic they capture the era well - their influence can still be seen in military illustration today.

Saturday 15 November 2008

Trip to the model shop

I'm a bit of a fan of 1/72 plastics. Probably something to do with my childhood but I still get a kick out of going into my local model shop, in my case Frome Model Centre, perusing the boxes and finding something I was looking for. This time it was the Zvezda Peter the Great infantry - no surprises there - partly inspired by reading some other blogs and wondering if said infantry would do as generic Marlburian/GNW figs and I think they do. The Swedish uniform is less typical of the time in my view whereas the Peter the Great infantry have the basic coat and more or less typical equipment. Ideal for all the minor states caught up in the Great Northern War, and there were quite a few - here's an article from Nick Dorrel's Guide to the GNW that gives you an outline of some of them - also of course the invaluable

I suppose the next thing to do is to buy about another 4-6 boxes of them and start building units.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

New 15mm Marlburians

From Black Hat Miniatures. Available from Scale Creep in the US. I wonder how they match up to Dixon's 15mm Marlburians/GNW - the best early 18thc 15s in my opinion (reviewed here).