Things are beginning to firm up now, with regard to how I'm going to approach the Order of Battle for the 2mm Colonial Project I spoke about in my last post. Working with the 1882 Campaign in Egypt as a background, I've decided what units I'm going to tackle, and am now in the planning stage as to how these will appear on the tabletop.
This is a stage that I find is quite interesting, as it means sitting down and working through various combinations of real-world organisation alongside the minis available from Irregular, and above all, how these will combine to look good on the table top.
Did I just say interesting? What I actually mean is sometimes frustrating; in that there is always some element of compromise required to balance practicality, playability, and realism to make an effective whole.
Frustrating because this process rarely turns out the way you originally conceive it.....is that why so many of my projects go, to some extent or another, unfinished? :-)
First off, I've gone with a 40x20mm basing style, which is rather smaller than I have previously used with 2mm figures, but this is mainly so that I have some flexibility in depicting various formations on the tabletop. Principal amongst these is that emblem of the Colonial era, the British square, as seen in the photo above.
With British regimental organisation at this time favouring eight companies of around 120 men, I've decided to use a single Irregular Miniatures BG33 infantry in 2 ranks block on a 40x20 base, to depict a two Company frontage, so that the Regiment can be depicted as four two-company bases, which neatly combine to form the square as you see.
In terms of figure scale, this is of course, a bit of a fudge, in that the BG33 depicts 52 'figures', for 208 men, so I suppose 1:4.6-ish figure to man ratio, although in the field the total would have varied widely anyway, so I am trying to concentrate more on the sub-unit itself rather than the numbers that go to make it up.
The regimental bases will have an officers block in attendance, although in the final cut, this may be various combinations of the BG13 we see above with single standing figures cut from the ever-useful RBG11 Dismounted Dragoons strip.
For Cavalry, we have an organisation of four Squadrons, each with four Troops of approximately 40 men each. This translates to four strips on a base for each Squadron, giving four bases per Regiment:
Above we can see BG10 Lancers, with 6 figures per strip, giving a total of 96 figures. This may be out ratio-wise if compared to the infantry bases, but as I say, I'm moving away from that to concentrate more on how the sub-units can interact on the table top this time around.
The balance as above, I think, should work well, breaking down into individual Squadrons if needs be, and allowing depiction of line, column etc, alongside the infantry.
A couple of Squadrons will even fit inside a Regimental square, just ready to break out when the enemy line wavers!
Moving on to the Artillery and support troops bases, there are some further complications, in that although a gun based singly would fit nicely at each corner of a square, I think to show something that looks like a Battery, a pair of guns and limbers is the minimum.
Furthermore, in order to show troops such as Rifles, and in particular the Naval Brigade, I would like to introduce some measure of 'irregularity' to their ranks so as to contrast them with infantry of the line, and reflect their ability to skirmish.
Above, lower left, we can see a deployed infantry base, made up of a single BG14 infantry in two ranks block, and three each of BG3 skirmish figures, backed by a standing line of the RBG11, to give a firing line in front.
This should hopefully look more offensive and business-like for troops that might be deployed on the flanks, or for skirmishing in front of the main line. I see the 60th Rifles and the Naval Brigade with at least four of these bases each.
The Artillery has a Royal Artillery Battery of deployed guns, with two BG19 side by side, whilst I think the Royal Horse Artillery to accompany the Cavalry will best be shown limbered, with a transverse base as seen behind of two BG25.
These then, will be the basic building blocks of the project, that will see the addition of irregular infantry and cavalry which might support the Egyptian regulars, or be proto-Mahdists; probably using some horse units from the Ancients range, and the BG23 Loose Order Infantry stand of 10 men. These could be based on double depth bases to give more of a horde-like appearance.
The overall Order of Battle will be as follows:
Egyptians: 2 Infantry Regiments, 1 Regiment of regular Cavalry, a battery of guns, auxiliaries
British in red tunics: 2 Infantry Regiments, 3 Squadrons of Household Cavalry
British in Khaki: 2 Infantry Regiments, 1 Regiment of Lancers, a Mountain Battery
British Cavalry Regiment (Hussars) in blue tunics.
The Naval Brigade, bluejackets and maxim guns; siege train
6oth Rifles in green tunics
2 Batteries Royal Artillery, 1 Battery Royal Horse Artillery.
Hopefully this will give a flavour of the era of Tel-El Kebir 1882, whilst retaining the ability to be used in both earlier and later conflicts.
There should be some test stands done over the weekend, to see how all this will shape up when painted and based, so stay tuned for some photos in the near future...