Monday, April 30, 2018

Commandant Berbegier - Franco-Prussian War Command Vignette

"Mort de Commandant Berbegier" in 28mm from Eagles of Empire
This is a nice little 28mm Franco-Prussian War command vignette - Commandant Berbegier, seen here in action leading the first battalion of the 70th Infantry Regiment during the battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat in the summer of 1870.  He is sitting atop a horse which has already fallen in battle, and continuing to sound the charge to his men. This miniature is from the amazing folks at "Eagles of Empire".

The sculpt is top shelf - "Eagles of Empire"is just great, can't say enough about them
This excellent sculpt is based on a painting by Edouard Detaille, "Mort de Commandant Berbegier".  When I saw this at the "Eagles of Empire" online store I knew I wanted to have one! I felt it would make a very cool command vignette, whether in a skirmish-style game or as a brigade-command model in a game of "Black Powder".

The poor horse!
I wish I was more cultured and could share more about art, but I don't know much about Detaille the painter or the generally amazing amount of incredible artwork that the Franco-Prussian war seems to have inspired.  The painting itself certainly paints a grim setting for the French infantry, capturing a hopeless determination in the face of defeat and destruction...
Liberal use of tufts from Tajima - no wonder I run out of them so fast...
Commandant Berbegier apparently was Chef of the First Battalion, 70th Regiment, and the scene in the painting is set at the Battle of Gravelotte-St. Privat.  I did a little research, and it seems the 70th was deployed toward the northern end of the French line in that pivotal battle, between St. Privat and Ammanvilliers - in which case they likely saw action against the enveloping attack by the Prussian Guard regiments late in the day.

The combination of excellent Chassepot rifles, strong defensive terrains and pretty uninspired generalship by the Prussians (matched only by the even limper senior leadership of the French high command) led to very, very high losses for the Prussians during the battle.  But at the northern end of the battle line the Prussians were ultimately able to turn the French right by capturing the village of St. Privat.  The Prussians managed to prepare the ground for their assault with a bombardment by something like 200 guns...the 70th would probably have been heavily exposed to this bombardment, and driven back by the subsequent Prussian assault.

For the Emperor!!!
It seems to me in the painting that Commandant Berbegier is trying to rally the remnants of his battalion to continue the fight as the Prussians seek to the roll up the French line.  Again - I don't know if my imagination matches the actual situation that the painting is portraying or not, but it will do for now! Hopefully smarter people can point you in the right direction for more accurate information. There sure is a lot of beautiful artwork out there!  But I love this vignette - it is really something, and the folks at Eagles of Empire have done a great job sculpting the figures.  I can't wait to get this out on the table for a game sometime!

7 comments:

Curt C said...

What a superb little vignette. Great work Greg!

Dallas said...

Great work dude!

Ray Rousell said...

Excellent figure and brushwork Greg.

Simon Quinton said...

Looks excellent very nicely done.

Moiterei_1984 said...

You‘ve done a fantastic job Greg! Really like how his uniform contrasts with the dead horse.

Phil said...

Inspired and wonderful job, evocative vignette of the Gravelotte-St. Privat battle...

Lee Hadley said...

What a great model.