Thursday, 23 February 2017

French Conquest of Algeria 1830s-40s IV

A drawing I did way back when first considering this period - one of the early Turcos uniforms.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

French Conquest of Algeria 1830s-40s III

Just found my ms notes, made many years ago in my own handwriting but a style I hardly recognise, from Blunt, W S, Desert Hawk, 1947:

'Abd el Kader's regular army consisted, Daumas tells us, of 8,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 240 regulations were elaborately drawn up...greatly assisted by French and other European deserters who had joined his ranks.

"Officers and soldiers of various arms had  uniforms of different colours which were exactly described" said Azan. "Everything was fixed down to the smallest detail, even the quality of the the cloth being stated. The usual headdress was a red chéchia (a kind of tarboosh). Badges included epaulettes, crescents worn on the chest and stripes on the sleeves. inscriptions on the epaulettes or the crescents of various ranks were also fixed. Often they were pious invocations, but commanding officers (raís) had on one of their gold epaulettes 'With those in authority, patience is the key to divine aid'. Any officer or soldier who left off his uniform was rigourously punished."

"The Arab artillery was feeble and antiquated, and consisted of some 20 field pieces and a number of old bronze and iron cannon...three...mounted on poor carriages with solid wheels, the fourth in the European manner. On one...(were decorations of) drums, turbans and crescents.'

All were carried on mule back.

'Cavalry wore baggy trousers and a red jacket covered with a haik and burnous (ssc); the infantry a woolen vest and trousers and a black, hooded jacket.'

Sources quoted (from bibliography):

Daumas,General M. Moeurs et Coutumes al l'Algerie. 1847.
Azan, Paul. Sidi Brahim, 1905; L'Emir Abd el Kader, Hachette 1925; Les Grands Soldats de l'Algerie, 1930; Bugeaud et l'Algerie, 1930; Conquéte et Pacification de l'Algerie, 1931; L'Armee d'Afrique, 1930.

Anybody come across these books and can provided more details from them?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

French Conquest of Algeria 1830s-40s II

I have been pointed at an excellent blog about this, all in French but Google translates it in seconds, by Al Maurer on the Colonial Wars Yahoo DG. It really is the DBs for basic info and some wonderful illustrations - lots of odd variations of uniforms...Here’s a link to part 1; from there you can find the rest:

For the Algerians I found the chapter on Chris Flaherty's wonderful Ottoman Uniform site - splendid stuff as always from this chap enhanced by illustrations his own unique style which are just perfect for painting to find some figures!

The other great source is the entry for Algiers in Matt Bevins excellent self-published 'Tangier to Tehran: A Wargamers Guide to Middle Eastern Armies of the Napoleonic & Pre-Colonial Period c1770-1830', originally published 1994, but there is an updated version 2013 (I think I did a google on Mark Bevis, got an email address and contacted him, but Micro-Mark may have the book?) Splendid information, with lots of naive but very helpful b&w drawings.

I have also had a go at the first unit of French infantry form Conte figures - one painted entirely. I like to do tis as a guide to how they will look so I can change anything which doesn't 'work', colours etc. Will post a photo.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

French Conquest of Algeria 1830s-40s

I've come back to this one, inspired after a couple of games (FFL in the 1950s and WWII LRDG) on some simply beautiful scratch built terrain by Lucky Pete Reynold of the Skirmish Wargames Collective. The buildings, city walls, gateways etc, with his lovely big mosque and minaret just cried out for red legged French infantry and multicolored Algerians to be whirling bayonet to scimitar!

I have my box of Conte, CTS etc Mexicans out and am about to start on my first unit of French infantry. I am going for 12 figure units, 4 grenadiers, 4 voltigeurs and 4 fusiliers. (I know this is not historical but it will look great IMHO, so please no pedants). Wrong belting detail doesn't bother me either (sorry) but I will replace weedy pompoms on helmets, and add epaulette fringes.

I think a unit of FFL, either from the Conte but with casquette d'afrique in place of the shako, or perhaps AIP FFL with the kepi built up ditto and a unit of Light Infantry (probably anachronistically in the 1834 regulations uniform rather than 1830, which is too like the line IMHO, to distinguish them more, ie all dark blue with yellow trim) should be enough for the 'ordinary' infantry.

I have some AIP Zouves left from previous projects, but am picking some bargains from Andy Harfield in his Retiring Sale to do some more infantry. I reckon 1 unit in the earliest Tirailleur Algerien 1831-41 red fez, brown trimmed black jacket and shirt and grey trousers; 1 in the 1841-5 uniform of green jackets (shirt colour?, and red trousers; and 1 of Zouaves with red turbans should be the next tranche.

Does anyone have a source of especially inspiring visual eye candy?

4th Rule of Wargaming?

"cheap", it either works way better than expensive, or is a flop, but usually worth trying out! Just be careful what you try it on...

Is this the 4th law/rule of Wargaming?