Friday, November 28, 2014

Louis XIV, Vauban and Bayonne Part 2 by Peter Allport


You can see the first part of Peter's article here!

Peter Allport - This life-size equestrian statue of Louis XIV is in St Jean de Luz in south west France. It is rather hidden away in a narrow corridor at the entrance to the small Hotel de Ville. It is not prominently out in the square opposite the house where Louis stayed in 1660 before, during and after his marriage to the Spanish Infanta, Maria-Theresa of Austria.

To me this statue, with Louis dressed in the fashionable 17th century style of a Roman emperor, consummately displays Power – the power of unopposed Royalty – the power that comes from the successful pursuit of ‘la Gloire’.  This horse statue demonstrates the authority of a Commander-in- Chief of the greatest army in Europe, if not the known world, that would remain mostly undefeated for  50 years until its astonishing reverse on the soggy fields beside the Danube at a small town called Blindheim. 



Louis and his entourage stayed in this small stone house – the property of a local trader who had made good in the fish business. Louis  and his wife to be were only 22. The rooms are small and unpretentious. A fitting start-point for a long and happy partnership – despite a string of mistresses – Louis said of Maria-Theresa on her deathbed– ‘it is the only thing she has ever done to disappoint me…’

They were married in the church of St John the Baptist. On this altar below the couple knelt. The church and Reredos are in the heavy ‘Spanish Catholic’ baroque – with wooden galleries on either side for the men. This style is over-the-top for most north European tastes – but magnificent, evocative and inspirational to the local citizens. There is the smell of incense and the low hum of a chanting choir - today provided electronically by a cd… but now, as in the 17th century, the effect is to be overwhelmed by the painting, gilding and decoration – unimaginable wealth went into creating it…


After their marriage in this church of St John, the doorway they passed through was bricked up – so it could never be used again. The happy couple repaired back to what is now the Maison Louis XIV and stood on this balcony to throw specially-minted coins to the expectant crowds below.  A celebration of the union of the French and Spanish kingdoms and the ending of a long war which was accompanied by the signing of the Treaty of the Pyrenees on a nearby island in the river Bidassoa…


Across the bay is the small round fort of Socoa. Built by Vauban it serenely guards the harbour. Its thick walls were designed to resist the waves of the great Atlantic Ocean. Several times the town of St Jean de Luz was inundated. Now a huge beach wall has been built to defend the town and harbour. In the seventeenth century the magnificent bay of St jean de Luz was the base for Gascon corsaires  - famous pirates who were the scourge  of shipping across that gulf – the English nicknamed the bay ‘ the nest of vipers’.


Vauban was a good friend of Renau d’Elissagarray – the leader of this legendary troop…

The indefatigable Vauban had a simple philosophy of life: ‘the first of all benefits is health; the second is cooked bread; the third Liberty; the fourth good friends; the fifth a woman to one’s taste – all the rest is fantasy…!’

 What would be the League of Augsburg members list of the best 5 things in life...?


Back in Bayonne, Vauban’s legacy survives in the superbly preserved walls and bastions that surround the City. He built the citadel (seen in Part One) on the hill above the river Adour. A strong hexagon sitting separate and above the city’s enceinte...


A walk round these ramparts is a delight. They give you a sense of scale and permanence. The citizens behind these walls after Vauban’s improvements no doubt felt secure and able to resist whatever a likely enemy (always coming from the South – across the Pyrenees) could throw at them.

The route to Spain, an ancient and important corridor beside the sea to the mountains was a key artery that Vauban had to protect. He built this impressive South gateway which signals the importance of the road. 



Vauban was truly inexhaustible. At Bayonne he added Courtines and Demi-lunes. Elaborate Bastions and Ravelins – all designed to defend the city against any enemy. Today these works stand monument to the man and his efforts.


The walls and earthen fortifications are simply massive – overwhelming and powerful – able to resist whatever artillery and form of attack could be thrown at them.


Casemates and guardhouses were built. All in a consistent ‘massive’ style providing security but also 17th and 18th century proportion and architectural style.




Bastions, Hornworks, Ravelins, Counterguards, Casemates, Redoubts, Re-entrants, Places of Arms- are all visible and walkable and create an unexpected  sense of awe and majesty. Fitting memorials to the  ‘Man from the Morvan’ who supervised the building of them and his boss, the King, who caused them to be built throughout the kingdom of France.





And finally, another view of Louis. In pursuit of military ‘Gloire’ – which we all no doubt go after on the table - in 28mm or 15mm – he created so many fabulous buildings and landscapes,  and left us ‘Glory’ in the form of these monuments and townscapes  which we seek to recreate in miniature, or simply enjoy walking around, today.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Barry's little Scanian War project part 7 CHARACTER MODELS - CORNETS



This post focuses on a nice selection of Cornet character models. Under the new rules each cavalry unit can include characters if the player wishes. One of the characters available is a Cornet or standard bearer.

Only one Cornet character can be taken per unit. He affects the unit's morale by permitting failed morale checks to be re taken.

My reason for producing a positive abundance of Cornets was to allow the unit to be broken down into 4  six model squadrons each carrying their own squadron standard. During this period often each 'troop' of 30 -50 riders carried their own standard so having several standard bearers on the table doesn't really cause any problems.


The epitome of the dashing cavalryman WLOA57

My first choice was the very dashing model from code WLOA57 Enthusiastic Cavalry Command. His clothes and hair are blowing in the wind and his sense of movement is palpable.


WLOA32 one of our most popular codes

The second choice was the an oldie but goody. He is from the second most popular selling Warfare cavalry code and one of our first releases WLOA32. He is fairly conventional uniform with sash and rakishly positioned hat.



Number three is a bewigged and rather splendid looking chap from WLOA50. He is wearing a cuirass front plate only.



The final choice is also in only a front plate but this time with a hat. He is a well dressed gentleman from WLOA44 which is another popular selling code.

I am very pleased with the scope and versatility of the cavalry command options available. As senior officers and gentlemen often clothed themselves the scope for uniform colour and dress style is almost limitless.

Of course, all of the flags are available in the LoA shop!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CHRISTMAS CHEER FROM WARFARE MINIATURES - POSTAGE DEAL!

JACOBITES - BATTALION PACK B7
We are delighted to announce that Warfare Miniatures want you to have a very Merry Wargaming Christmas!
Any orders to the value of £50+ will be post free ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD from November 25 till December 31 2014.

Swedish Lifeguards CUIRASSIER CODES
Just  go to the League of Augsburg website, click on the postage option - CHRISTMAS OFFER 2014 and your order will be charged at £0.01.

If the international shipping charges we are being forced to apply have been putting you off, then now is a great chance to get a hold of our range (books and flags too) at less than 2US cents postage  if your total order value is over £50.00 GBP in value.

 If you are a domestic customer... pile in!
  
MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ade's Aughrim - the topography of a wargames table

Looking northwest from beyond the Tristuan stream toward Aughrim

Since Adrian Howe forsook the uncertainties of the financial markets to literally build his new career in the wargaming world (or is that.. build the wargaming world?), he has been a  very busy man.

As his mates we have watched his progress with interest and admiration as he powers through an enormous quantity of projects and ideas. When we have run our wargaming weekenders most of the terrain has been provided by the smouldering furnace's of Grimsby's Andrew Carnegie.

looking southwest across the Melehan towards Kilcommadan

Having decided on the Aughrim scenario he immediately set to building the green bogs of Co Galway in his inimitable style. Several of us have made the journey to the battlefield and got the feel of the land. When we saw what Ade had made, we nodded in appreciation. The overall feel of the table was just right. The relative heights, the proportions and dimensions told me immediately that the battle was going to be balanced and that enough ground was available to make the visuals look correct.

Looking south from Aughrim castle along the line of Kilcommodan

Ade used terrain builder's licence here and there and no harm in that at all. He built up Aughrim castle's ruins into a Gothic style pile but it was all the better for that and highly photogenic. He put a hard wall across the length of the Causeway to mark it out. Of course it did not exist and in gaming terms we ignored it as a linear obstacle but it looked pretty.

The hedgerows around Foats complete with Jacobite musketeers

He represented the Melehan fairly faithfully but widened the Tristuan stream to something more substantial. The main reason for this was to provide a setting for one of his dramatic bridges which was to present Attibrassil bridge. Attibrassil is a very modest construction and in scale would not even merit a special representation but, Ade makes nice bridges so, we got a bigger than normal bridge and a wider than historical river which looked great.

We applied the same common sense to linear obstacle crossing for the Tristuan as we did for the Melehan so the difference was only cosmetic.

Looking south east across Aughrim village

Apart from that, the battlefield is a true representation of what was there on 12th July 1691. Compare it will my home table representation which ran in the 16 part saga of our refight.



Join us again for a much shorter tour through the League of Augsburg Derby Re fight which will feature on the blog soon.




Friday, November 21, 2014

2nd despatch from Crisis 2014

I make no apology for showing these wonderful images from an Eastern Front game run by the Dortmund Wargames club. It is a 20mm game and the pictures speak for themselves.

WW2 has never before appeared on this blog but I really feel that this game deserves to be shared.

No more words from me....









Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Barry's little Scanian War project part 6 - CHARACTER MODELS - COLONELS

WLOA57 The Colonel

Character models are integral to the new rules. For cavalry these include Cornets who affect morale, Sergeants who affect fighting ability and trumpeters who affect movement. The Colonels and their personalities are a key feature of the rules.

I wanted a wide selection of characters for this very large unit and so painted extra senior officers together with four cornets.

This post focuses on a nice selection of senior officers and the Warfare Miniatures packs from which they originate.

Nice side view of the colonel encouraging his regiment
This fine chap I had picked to be the Colonel of the regiment when used in its largest incarnation. He of course can be used to lead a smaller version or even a single squadron but for me, he definitely is 'The Man'. He is from code WLOA57 Enthusiastic Cavalry Command. I decided to paint him in light colours including his hat. Although the paint job took less than 30 minutes including the horse, he looks very fine in his prominent role leading the regiment.

A dashing bewigged senior officer WLOA44

The next choice of Colonel/Officer is from code WLOA44. This bewigged officer has a cuirass front plate only and was originally designed to fit the role of Danish Horse who followed this dress fashion. He has been given a light blue coat which may have been acquired privately.

Nice detail on WLOA44

The third senior officer is from WLOA50 and is bareheaded with a rather tremendous periwig flowing in the wind. As the arm is separate the choice I made in the outstretched sword arm. The pose is rather dramatic.


WLOA50 a definite senior officer

The last of the four is one of Warfare's most dramatic cavalry sculpts. It is Patrick Sarsfield from pack WLOA21. Although the original brief to the sculptor was create an Irish Hero on horseback he can be used for any officer in any army well into the 18th century.


WLOA21 Patrick Sarsfield.. a perfect Swede!



Colonels can have any of 16 different personality characteristics in the new rules and this adds colour, period flavour and unpredictability(in some cases!) to battlefield performance.

More on both the rules and the Scanian War forces in the next post in this series.

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