venerdì 6 dicembre 2013

English Commanders - Part 2

An Army cannot be called in this way without his commanders.
For my army I prepared  three colonels on horse and four other officers on foot. All these miniatures are on single bases

(two mounted colonels and one major on foot)

An infantry battalion was generally commanded by its regimental colonel or lieutenant colonel.  Each companies that composed the battalion could be led by a lieutenant, an ensign or a captain.  Ideally a battalion consisted of 1,000 men but during Napoleonic wars, English battalions rarely were at full strength It was the normality that battalions were under-strength and often dissolved or merged with other units.

Unlike their enemy British did not use conscription. All British soldiers of that period were voluntary … or to use the words of the Duke Wellington: “the scum of the earth”.

A man should be a “gentlemen” to be an officer. It doesn’t mean that they were all noblemen. The large part came from local militia and only a very small number (around 5% of the total offices organic) arrived from lower rank.
Under this point of view Sharpe’s novels written by Cornwell are realistic. It was very difficult for a redcoat to raise till the officer rank.
To be considered a gentlemen it was necessary to be literate - an aspect not so easy to find in a simple infantry man – but this condition was not sufficient. It was necessary to be rich too.  In fact English army used the "sale of commissions system". It was a common practice that permits at the wealthy and noble men to purchased their rank. To be correct I have to point out that less than 20% of line promotions were by purchase, the large part was obtained by seniority.  Only in rare cases promotion was obtained by merit.

For my CIC I prepared a base with some officers and an ADC. Miniatures are Perry and – more or less – the Dutch Gen. Perporcher blister.

(Copyright Perry Miniatures)
The blister contains two ADCs, a guide, General Perporcher and Baron de Constant Rebecque.

I painted the Baron de Constant as a English colonel (the miniatures at the left that is pointing). On contrary I reproduced the right uniform color schemes for General Perporcher (the officer with the map in the middle).

A particular mention for General Baron de Constant. In 1788 he starts his career as ensign in a Swiss regiments at the service of the France only to see his men massacred by French revolutionaries four years later. He continues at the British service, after as Prussian officer and during the Peninsular again in the British army as Wellington staff officer. In 1815 he is Prince of Orange officer staff and thanks his tactical skill he avoided that Napoleon could cut Wellington lines at Quatre-Bras. In fact he decided to countermand Wellington's orders, moving troops to Quatre-Bras and not to reinforce Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Division. Without this decision it possible that Marshall Ney would have easily occupied Quatre-Bras giving Napoleon the possibility do cut the English from Prussian Army.

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