Monday, October 18, 2010

Polish Winged Hussars Ready For Action

Finally, my Polish Winged Hussars are complete.

From the front, it's hard to tell that there are four ranks of them, so I also took an aerial shot.

While I have been able to find plenty of references to the actual soldiers, I have found little reliable information abut their organization, uniforms etc.

My understanding is that they were formed in regiments, comprising four "banners", each of 300 men. My armies are built on a scale of one figure represents 20 men, so each "line" (or "Banner") comprises 15 figures, and the four banners - 60 figures - represent a full regiment. I've painted them in Polish "red and white" - with white ostrich feathers forming the "wings" they wore on their back.

The Winged Hussars were the backbone of the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from the 1500s through to the "demise" of Poland as a eastern Europe superpower in the late 1700s, with the Commonwealth then being carved up between Prussia, Austria and Russia.

The hussars fought as heavy cavalry, initially held back in reserve while the infantry and artillery softened up the enemy, then launched their (hopefully) decisive charge. The large "wings" they wore on their back were ostrich feathers, mounted on a wooden "board" and made quite a noise when the wind blew through them as the unit charged at full speed towards an enemy. The noise, plus the added appearance of height, must have presented quite a fearsome prospect for any foe charged with stopping them.

The hussars would typically "charge through" the enemy line and continue forward, rather than stopping to clean up. Thus, my first banner is charging with it's lances down, striking at the enemy; the second line also has lances which will be used to dispel any remaining resistance as it follows up the work done by the first banner, and the third and fourth units have turned to their swords to perform the final "clean up" as they rush through.

Now I just need to get the infantry and artillery done to support these guys on the battlefield!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Polish Winged Hussars - Almost Finished

Another project that has taken a bit longer than I expected!

But, my 60-figure regiment of Polish Winged Hussars is almost ready for battle, and I also have a batallion of infantry almost finished to back them up. (Will do a few more of those next year - Zvezda's Austrian Infantry from the period look real nice painted up!)

These figures will also push my collection up over the 10,500 figure mark!

Also, my presentation to Mike Kracium's history class at Bluffton High School on early Russian history went really well thanks to the new Smartboards they now have there. My figures looked really good on the big screen, and the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Now we know what works with the kids, I think I can do a lot more to help their history lessons really come alive.

Hopefully, I'll have some pics of the hussars in about a week.