Saturday, 11 April 2015

Russian Jägers – Borodino 1812

Russian Jägers 1812.
Minis by Perry.

After plenty of additions made to my World War One projects, I thought it was time to sneak in a unit for my ever growing Borodino 1812 collection.

At the battle of Borodino, fought on September 7th 1812, Russian commander Mikhail Kutuzov made extensive use of elite Jäger battalions to cover his left, around the city of Borodino and the river crossing there, situated to the north-west when looking out from the Great Redoubt in the centre.

Jägers. Note the different trousers and boots.
The Perry minis offer the version to the left.

With no less that 50 Jäger regiments in the Russian army at the time of this great battle, one would have to include a few of these iconic units into the collection for variety.

Another view at the Jägers as they skirmish forward.

Like most of my 1812 Borodino collection, I’ve opted for the excellent Perry Miniatures for this unit. Basing consists of 3 x 40/40mm bases per battalion, my standard for large battalion games in 28mm.

Guard Jägers.

The Russian infantry had undergone some renovation since the somewhat unsuccessful track record of the Wars of the Third and Fourth Coalition. In addition to incredible efforts made to refine grenadier battalions into elite troops, the number of Jäger regiments in the army had also been upgraded from 22 in 1805 to numbering more than the said 50 regiments in 1812. 

The Russian uniform of 1812 is one of my favorites.
The white trousers and the dark green jacket is very a pleasing color-scheme. 

With Kutuzov’s guidance, the training emphasized physique and marksmanship, resulting in a new breed of quality in the Russian ranks. Something the French would note from 1812 and forward.

Russian Infantry putting up a fight at Borodino.

During Borodino, the Russian infantry was credited for fighting like lions. A compliment they had enjoyed before, but again there was something new stirring under the surface. In previous battles, it had been normal practice to bring out the booze before a big fight, to “strengthen moral”. At Borodino this was not allowed. Instead the holy icon of The Black Virgin of Smolensk was paraded through the ranks, transmitting a sobering feeling that the fight was for nothing less than the fate of Holy Mother Russia.

Kutuzov kissing the icon of the Black Virgin.
A scene from Soviet film director, Sergei Bondarchuk's 1966 7hrs opus "War and Peace".
An absolute "Must see" for any Borodino enthusiast.  

Confidence in the Russian ranks had indeed grown since they were thrown off the Pratzen heights in 1805. I’ll end this account by a quote from the marching song by the 26th Jägers: “We are not afraid of Marshal Oudinot, he is nothing but a piece of shi…” 

Thank you very much for reading!

28 comments:

  1. Another excellent post with splendid Jagers, love the diversity of the poses, the paint job and the realistic bases...and War and Peace is one of my favourite books, a "Must Read"!
    Cheers,
    Phil.

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    1. Thanks Phil - yeah, War and Peace is a great opus on 1812. The Bondarchuk movie was sponsored by the Soviet government, and up to recent the most expensive movie made - I mean, just look at the battle scenes filmed in the 1960ies, with no animation available at that time, they used 11.000 extras!

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  2. Great work! I love the white gaiter-trousers and the basing.

    In your 1812 project, will the Russian jaegers always be fielded in open/skirmish order?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jonathan, I agree - the white gaiter trouser for me really signals 1812.
      After consideration I decided that I'll be basing all Jägers, Voltigeurs etc like this (also to underline their formation into battalions), and via the Black Powder rules give them sharpshooting abilities/skirmishing abilities with improved fire accuracy of +1, while making them harder to hit by the enemy and at the same time giving them a reduction in hand-to-hand combat strength and no first fire or other perks enjoyed by dense formations. We've used this setup a few time earlier for dismounted cavalry in ACW black powder games, and it works really well.

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  3. Excellent painting on these Russians Soren, and cool basing too!

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    1. Cheers Chris, it was nice to do some Napoleonics for a change. I'm planning more 1812 for the spring/summer!

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  4. Superb figures & love the basing ;)

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    1. Thanks Mike - I quite agree, the Perry minis are excellent stuff to work with at the painting table. Thanks for your kind comment on the bases. I prefer these Victrix 40/40mm ones with rounded edges to give them some character.

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  5. Excellent painting as usual and my favourite battle of the Napoleonic Wars.

    Christopher

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    1. Thanks Christopher - my favorite too. Borodino is epic, just think of the speech Napoleon gave to this soldier before the battle. Literally the stuff of legends!

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  6. Impressive brushwork again, Soren. A great period to work on uniforms too!

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    1. Cheers Dean, yeah it was actually a nice change to go 100 years back in time from WW1. I'm drafting more Russian infantry and also French lancers from the lead pile to mix in with my 1914 projects just to give diversity at the painting table.

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  7. Lovely painting and agree that the white and green colour scheme is rather nice.

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    1. Thanks Steve, really appreciate it! Yeah, the Russian 1812 uniform is very visually appealing, but I'm also developing a fascination for the earlier ones for Austerlitz, with the great grenadier plumes. That battle is now shortlisted for a 2016 project!

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  8. Your superb painting is always matched by a great historical write up!

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    1. Cheers Monty, glad you took out time to give it a read! Thanks:0)

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  9. Excellent additions, Søren :-)

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    1. Thanks Stephen, they'll be boosted with some sharpshooter abilities from the Black Powder rules, and should be an effective addition to the Tzar's army.

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  10. Replies
    1. Cheers Jonas! Holy Mother Russia will be putting up a fight with these guys at the front!

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  11. Very well done! They do look splendid in their uniforms. I'm not really into napoleonics but your Borodino stuff looks great.

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    1. I'm very glad you think so, a great compliment coming from someone not initially draw to the period. In turn, I'm drawn to the Völkerschlacht at Leipzig in 1813 - there are some great German antique books on this, published during the hay days in the 1890ies and 1900hundreds. This Borodino collection would fit right in, adding some Prussians and Austrians. Tempting, tempting...

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  12. Exellent paint work Sören and love your Historical recaps !

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    1. Thanks Micke - glad you like the little write-up on these guys!

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  13. Coming late to the party. Beautiful brushwork and a great read aswell! I really like your napoleonics. And wouldn't mind a shift towards Leipzig 1813 at all! Do it, you know you want to. ;-)
    /Mattias

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    1. Thanks, and you're right Mattias - Leipzig would be an obvious extension for any 1812 collection, and something I really want to do. Let's talk some more when we meet up, maybe an afterwork beer someday soon?

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    2. I'd love to. I'll get back to you .

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