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Austrian cuirassiers; you little beauty!!
Not to spoil anyones enthusiasm for Austrian cuirassiers, but their alleged use of lobster helmets in the WoSS is probably a myth perpetuated by somewhat sloppy researchers and very good painters:
"Hat and Fatigue Cap
WESTERN European theatres: black TRICORNE laced white reinforced with an iron skullcap for combat.
Eastern European theatres: round helmet of wrought iron with neck and nose protection.
There are many contemporaneous paintings by Degen, Laguerre, Huchtenburgh and an unknown artist illustrating Austrian cuirassiers wearing tricornes at the battles of Chiari and Turin. However, we know of only ONE painting (Paritius in 1708) illustrating Austrian cuirassiers wearing iron helmets."
So if you value historical accuracy best use these as Bavarians if only because they are far less well documented. Apart from that, it's still very much everybodies own collection so if you use them Austrians, why not?
The evidence that I have from sources such as Mugnai's recent book suggest a mix of both (also my preference from the look of things). I think that is what is coming, from the previous masters that Strelets have shown us. If not, easy to mix and match using other figures.
my information is from contemporary paintings of the relevant battles in Italy and Germany/the Low Countries, none of which - except one - show cuirassiers in helmets. Most important here are those by Jan van Huchtenburgh, who actually accompanied Eugen on his campaigns. This is not a very well documented period and paintings are the closest to the real thing that we have. Literature is full of mistakes mostly copied from older authors as are modern uniform illustrations which often simply copy from painters like Ottenfeld or Knötel which while often well researched are not without errors. Just saying, what you make of it for your own collection is entirely up to you and I certainly won't critize anybody for including Austrian cuirassiers in helmets if he likes to do so, well at least as long as he doesn't mix in French Napoleonics ... :yum:
It is funny that you should mention Napoleonic cuirassiers...
If there were nothing better available I would happily convert Airfix French cuirassiers into Austrian/Imperials for the late 17th early 18th C conflicts that I am interested in, viz. Great Turkish War and Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718), along with conflicts between Hungarian 'rebels' and the Hapsburgs (my interests being rounded out by the Ottoman/Tartar conflicts in Poland plus the Lithuanian Civil War and Great Northern War). I would do this because the figures are a representation for me and I want to use them over this range of periods. I like to clearly be able to see what the figures represent, I research and paint them to the best of my ability, but, if something ain't quite right, it is not the end of the world for me. On the other hand, far more critical to me are that the representation of the battles, the forces present and having a game/simulation/recreation system that is a reasonable representation of the era in question and so adds to my understanding of the history and events.
I appreciate that, for others, having figures that are as accurate as possible is key. I am therefore grateful that such figures are produced and crass conversions such as what I suggested above are not required on my part! Plus, I enjoy collecting them and enjoying them for what they are. :grinning:
Bruno Mugnai's book "Wars And Soldiers In The Early Reign Of Louis XIV: Volume 2: The Imperial Army, 1657-1687" is brilliantly researched (as is volume 3 about the Ottomans). I appreciate that the period covered by this book is earlier than most are looking at when considering these figures, but it suits my purposes well. He refers to a range of sources including contemporary prints, iconography and items from museums, many of which are reproduced in the book. One such is a print of the Battle of Párkany 1683 (the October one) showing a cuirassier officer in broad brimmed hat and another wearing a zischögge helm. In the text of this chapter Mugnai notes "Margrave Ludwig of Baden recommended a lobster helm against the Ottomans and other 'light enemies', but in several contemporary pictures broad-brimmed hats appear also when the cuirassiers are engaged in fighting" (p. 223). HIs own plates show cuirassiers in hats and an officer (quite early: circa 1658–64) in fancy helmet and full upper body armour. In his notes on the plates he states that the use of metal protection was usually worn in the eastern theatre of war but was declining in western battlefields (late 17th C). This book, the info. on the Xenophon site and other info. that I have leads me to the conclusion that there is much uncertainty, but a mix is quite likely. This conclusion is also influenced by my preference for such for my units (ha, ha).
I am 'raising' Austrian/Imperials for the Great Turkish War and will use them, with a few minimal adjustments, for Eugene's later campaign in 1716–18. I'll be happy to use the same cuirassiers for both and will adjust the infantry (chiefly by eliminating the pikes). So, I am a classic example of your observation "...what you make of it for your own collection is entirely up to you..."! :+1:
Agreed. Seems I have to buy yet another book on top of the many nice Strelets minis ... As opponents vs. the Ottomans these cuirassiers may be more suitable and even Strelets pikemen might be useful - though I'm not so sure about their cuirass. The Bavarians under Maximilian seem to have used pikes against the Ottomans.
that's an entirely valid point of view. I just put the information here for people who may be interested in it, what people do with their own stuff and how they use it is up to everybody himself. In the end it's about having fun.
Accuracy within the hobby is a varied thing, which certainly divides opinion.
I am someone who wouldnt call himself a "button counter"....but I do insist on the basics being correct. So the main points of a uniform, correct equipment etc etc.
So if these guys are not ment to have helmets, then that for example would be a problem for me if I was doing the era. But if there is plenty of doubt as to what was worn, then it wouldnt bother me.
As for French Nap fusiliers dressed in coats or tunics....I dont mind how they come, so long as they are done correctly equipment wise, (single combined cartridge box and bayonet belt for fusiliers but seperate belts for flank etc), and if they are flank companys, then they have the epaulettes on their shoulders as well....coat or no coat.
I appreciate Flambeau & others offering the information on various subjects. It is indeed up to the individual whether they are that bothered. Its just simply putting the info out there for those who want it. For those who arent worried in terms of their figures, it can still be interesting reading and knowledge. And for those who like some "mini realism", it is obviously extremely helpful.
As for the old Airfix French Cuirassiers being converted, i often flirted with the idea of using them in some form, but what I couldnt get away from was the fact that they just dont seem to have the "presence" of what was heavy cavalry. Then the sabre sheaths were missing which is a real pain.
I still use the old Airfix British hussars as 7YW Austrian Hussars :sunglasses: as well as for Waterloo, never liked the Esci hussars that much. They may be a wee bit too big, but they still are ok - well, minus the kettledrummer, the "lancer" and perhaps the trumpeter. And they're pretty easy to convert into hussars with shakos.
Yes, the Waterloo British Cavalry set had/has its virtues; the sculpts are robust and half of the poses are quite good. The horses are not great, but even so. Employing these as SYW hussars is a good use for this veteran set.
There are so many 'If only...' questions with the Airfix Napoleonic/Waterloo range, that are now disappearing into the mists of time. If only they had made the Hussars set to the same scale/style as the Cuirassiers; or in fact preferably, made the Cuirassiers to the chunkier style of the Hussars. if only they had made a decent set of French artillery; if only there had been at least one officer on foot in the British infantry set, and a standard bearer. If only the French infantry set had had some much better poses (proper march attack, proper marching with musket on left shoulder, proper advancing with levelled musket, better drummer, better bugler, proper Porte Aigle and Eagle.....and not been so 'chunky'.
But we did what we could with them...and, I have to admit, I still use the British infantry set as part of my 1815 Hundred Days Anglo/Dutch/Belgian/Hanoverian army.:blush:
I think the mention of London also served to drive my mind toward ECW at first, then thought "ohh, this must be WoSS related."
As you guys have stated I think this chap will be useful in some fashion, whether as an Austrian or something else. Maybe WoSS archaeological evidence can help? Albeit battlefield archaeology for that was is in its infancy. Maybe government written records? Because yea, paintings are pretty unreliable, sadly.
I would like to sympathise with Flambeau's statement and mention that Strelets does have a bad tendency to give too much armour to its sets in general. Not every Roman has to have armour, armoured Dacians were rare, ship borne Vikings as well as Ancient Germanics were almost entirely u armoured, and WoSS French pikemen with breastplates were rare (at best). They are all still useful in the right contexts, but for future reference it is ok to eschew the armour and focus on their clothing.
Sorry for the typos... I am not smart with smartphones! :joy: :sweat_smile:
Yeah well, as to the reliability of sources: paintings, when were they executed? 20 years after the event? Was the painter present? Did he paint to show how things actually looked or just to please the eye of his patron? Uniform regulations? Were the items ever issued and if when? Memoirs? Were they written 20 years later when the authors memory was already fading? No source is actually 100% reliable. The best thing we get is probability. Even battlefield archeology won't help much, as the fields were usually scrupulously plundered. And: a fancy helmet might survive in the ground whereas two thousand tricornes just rot away. So you find the surviving helmet and deduce that's what everybody was wearing ... I think the pictures are a good starting point if we keep in mind they probably show just a part of the truth.
An prudent archaeologist would hypothesise the presence of a single helmet example on a battlefield means one guy, or at most a mix of guys in the pertinent units, wore them.
A combination of as many sources as possible of course in most cases ideal, which seems to be the way forward here.
Anywho, sculptors of Strelets, consider sets with little to no armour or helmets in the future please. 😎
As soon as I get my hands on them they will be painted up as Brits, this guy is straight out of Osprey and works for me, right number of buttons or not.