Friday, 3 October 2014
Grand Alliance Parade Part 1 (French Infantry)
Over the last year or so, I have managed to make a good deal of progress with this particular collection. Having started out using Beneath the Lily Banners by Barry Hilton of League of Augsburg fame, I have moved over to Piquet Field of Battle for much of my horse and musket gaming. I hope to do a more in-depth review of these rules in a future post, but suffice it to say that having tried FOB, I am completely hooked. The rules themselves are pitched at the period 1700-1900, but can easily accommodate the Grand Alliance period, with the addition of a couple of additions to cover the use of pikes. The unit sizes tend to be fairly generic and so players can, within reason, suit themselves. Having grown up with Peter Gilder's In the Grand Manner Napoleonic rules, I have always liked fairly chunky units and so decided to increase the basic infantry unit from 18 figures to 30. Whilst you can obviously get fewer units on the table, the visual effect of the larger battalions is fantastic. Based in 5 lots of 6, the command stand, each with 2 flags, is front and centre - where it should be and the units look both impressive and balanced. Each battalion has a 3 figure half-stand of pikemen. These are used to show that the unit is pike equipped. In the 1690s most were, but by the time of the War of Spanish Succession only a few year later, these had largely disappeared. By omitting the pike stand, the unit can then be used for the Marlburian period - only the informal tricorne, rather than the more formal version differentiating the two periods. From what I have read, this is, in any case over-stated as the Marlburian version would soon "wilt" in campaign conditions!
Cavalry units are 12 figures strong, with 4 bases of 3. This was chosen because it both looks good and fits, more or less with the frontage of an infantry battalion; the number of figures in a FOB unit is largely irrelevant as long as unit frontages are broadly similar. Artillery are deployed as single gun "sections", rather than the normal 2 gun battery. This reflects the way that artillery was used in smaller groupings, rather than the more formally organised batteries of later wars.
In this post, I will just show the French infantry units that are completed. Future posts will cover the cavalry and the various allied contingents of the Grand Alliance.
Most of the battalions use the old but still very nice Dixon infantryman, with head variants as the stock figure. Most battalions also include a number of the delightful Warfare Miniatures figures(another venture by the multi-talented Mr Hilton), particularly loading and firing figures, command and pike. The two ranges are an excellent match. Four of the older battalions are made up of old but equally serviceable Foundry figures.
There are 3 more battalions in the final stages of completion - one line and two of the famous Gardes Francaises. These will make an appearance in a future post.
So, there we are. I hope that I can keep to my intention of posting more regularly and that you will like what you see.