Monday, April 19, 2021

More "Guns of August" - 12mm WW1

French and German WW1 infantry in 12mm - figures from Great Escape Games.

So my hobby focus continues to be soaked up by the early weeks and months of WW1, and I continue painting 12mm figures for my "Guns of August" project. Here we see more German troops, but some Allies also make an appearance. All figures are from Great Escape Games, and are based for their "1914" rules (although this basing will work with other rules as well). 

Dismounted German Uhlans

Dismounted German Uhlans - figures from Great Escape Games.

Who wants to dismount their cavalry? That's boring! But of course the battlefield realities of WW1 were such that dismounting was often called for - when the machineguns, rifles and artillery open fire, that whole theory of "mounted infantry" suddenly, maybe, possibly, might make a little bit of sense...even though it was SO lacking in glory...

In the "1914" rules (and many other rules) the cavalry can you functionally need double the number of bases...

The upshot of this is that your Uhlans might dismount and fight on foot, and it is nice to have figures to represent this on the table. Great Escape Games has you covered...when you purchase a cavalry unit, you get figures to represent them both as mounted (glorious!) and dismounted (sigh...). 

Excellent sculpts from Great Escape Games.

Uhlans make cool-looking cavalry, even with the muted grey-green colours of 1914. But as infantry they seem pretty awkward. It makes me think of the Uhlans themselves sort of realizing that the whole ride-around-and-charge thing was probably over, even if they, or their officers, were reluctant to accept such a truth...

(Another) German Infantry Unit

More German infantry from need lots of these fellows for the game...

Not much to say's more German infantry, ready to battle through Belgium and into France! Schlieffen worked out all the timetables, right? So what could go wrong?

Each base would represent a company of infantry for the "1914" rules.

For the "1914" rules each base would represent a company of infantry, so the four bases together on the table would represent a battalion at its full right-off-the-train-from-the-depot strength, ready to continue the advance!

French Infantry Unit

Toujour a l'outtrance!

Can't play WW1 without some Allies, right? Great Escape Games offers French, British and Belgian figures for their "1914" range. The figures all look great, and I'm keen to test my brushes on each set. I had to pick one to be "first", and I went with the French.

Obviously, the uniform has a strong hobby appeal. Of all the combatants in WW1, the French army retained the most "classic" look to their uniform, with red pants and blue coats. The covers for the kepis, and the removal of the epaulettes take the "bling level" down a touch from the time of the Second Empire, but these are still fun colours to paint. 

A French company, ready to take the offensvie!

But beyond the uniforms there is just the great and compelling spirit and tragedy of the French army in WW1. The French went to war in 1914 with "Plan XVII" as their strategy and the idea of "cran" as their guide. The offensive was more than the order of the was the central spirit, a core element of cohesion to the entire French military structure in 1914, from top to bottom. 

The base at the rear has only three castings...a broken rifle on a figure has already caused some losses...

This mix of factors led to a stunning series of military collisions, the "Battle of the Frontiers", in the opening days of the war. These battles did not go well for France. The Plan XVII attacks went nowhere, and as the scale of the German right wing wheeling through Belgium became apparent, the French would be sent reeling.

I believe that is a Hotckiss MG, although I think the French army had a different MG for the outset of WW1?

The commander is ready to lead from the front...

With hindsight Plan XVII seems quite bonkers, naturally - so much of WW1 does. But there is something I cannot describe about the French army in those opening days that is a particular trigger to my curiousity - and so the French will be the first allies on to the table for this project! This one unit was a "test" - more to follow soon, I hope...

So that's all for now - thanks for reading!


Syl said...

Great work, bravo!

Phil said...

Beautiful figures...and great looking French, with lovely pants! Good luck to them, and congrats!

Codsticker said...

I am enjoying this project. Our group considered a WW1 project and 1914 would have been my preference but it went no further than "We should do a WW1 project."

Captain Smyrk said...

You are right that the French used a different MG initially, the M1907 Saint-Etienne. However that was basically a Hotchkiss Gun slightly rearranged (poorly as it turned out) so it could be made by state factories without having to pay Hotchkiss royalties.