Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Bravest of the Brave

Hello everyone!

A quick post today. My painting mojo was strong last night and this morning and I was able to quickly finish up another French Marshal: Michel Ney, Duc d'Elchingen!

(Remember to click on the pictures for bigger versions.)

These are all lovely AB figures, and painted up very quickly. In order to fill up part of the large base I tried my hand at creating a dead and fallen tree, which is just a painted twig; I thought it turned out rather well. The base is the same size base that I placed Marshal Murat on, which gives you a pretty good indication of the differences scale-wise between 18mm figures and 1/72 figures. Ney (in the center) his joined by a mounted infantry colonel to his left and an officer of the 13th Dragoons on his right.

Ney is my favorite Frenchman of the Napoleonic Wars. I'm not sure why, but I've always been taken with his agressive leadership style, as well as the fact that, due to both his temper and red hair, he was known as the "Firey Gascon." He was also called "Le Rougeaud" (which means "The Ruddy-Faced").

Ney was born to common parents in the Lorraine region of France, where he learned to speak both French and German. Thanks to the French Revolutionary Wars, Ney was able to rise from the enlisted ranks of the 4th Hussars to a commission in October of 1792. By August 1796 Ney was a general de brigade, and he continued to rise.

Ney became a Marshal on 19 May 1804, and served all over Europe in most of France's major campaigns, including the Battles of Elchingen (for his actions there he was awarded his dukedom), Jena, Magdeburg, Eylau, Guttstadt-Deppen, Friedland, Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, the Coa, Bussaco, Pombal, Redinha, Casal Novo, Smolensk, Borodino, Krasnoi, Berezina, Lutzen, Bautzen, Dennewitz, and Leipzig. He was supposedly the last Frenchman to leave Russia after the disasterous Russian Campaign, and was called "the bravest of the brave" by Napoleon for his fearless leadership. After briefly joining the Royalist Army after Napoleon's exile to Elba, he rejoined Napoleon in the Hundred Days and fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo, where he is famously remembered for leading the massive French cavalry attack against Wellington's infantry squares.

After Waterloo, Ney was imprisioned and sentenced to be executed for treason; he requested and was given permission to give his firing squad the order to fire. Officially Ney was executed on 7 December 1815; unofficially there have been claims that Ney's death was faked (supposedly with the help of high-ranking Allied officers, including the Duke of Wellington) and the red-headed Frenchman was allowed to quietly emmigrate to the southern United States, where he lived into old age. I personally choose to believe that he faked his execution and escaped, not only because there is compelling evidence that this might have actually been the case, but also because it makes for a better story for a pretty cool guy.

Coming soon: I'm not sure. It needs to be something I can complete quickly... maybe some casualty markers?

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed and appreciated. Thanks for looking!