Friday, 19 October 2012

Wooden fortifications

While within the Napoleonic era, the War of 1812 was a separate entity with its unique character.  One of these was the use of fortifications which could be constructed much more rapidly and easily than in Europe due to the vast natural wood supply.  By cutting down the trees to create a open fire zone, the troops would use the tree trunks and thicker branches to create a bullet proof wall;  the smaller branches, an abattis in front to slow up any attack, such as the Americans besieged at Fort Erie in 1814 did enlarging their defensive area.

Spending a warm summer evening outside rather than watching stupid television or some such nonsense, I took some straight sticks I picked up during a walk in the local woods (a benefit of the region in which I live) and snipped them into appropriate lengths then sharpening one end with a knife to create that "axed down" look.  I then applied a hardening clay to a piece of flat board and using additional glue, placed the sharpened sticks next to one another.  The effect is supposed to be that of a quick trench dug, the trunks placed vertically within and the displaced dirt packed in supporting the created wood wall.

Any militia unit worth their salt could create such a rampart in short order!

In case you are curious, these figures are 28mm Old Glory in all their 'delightful' posed beauty (cough) depicting the "Voltigeurs" a well-trained French-Canadian light infantry unit


  1. Doug

    I used similar "found" materials for barricades and such. In my case household management required that I bake the twigs first to avoid problems from insect infestations!


    1. Whoa. Never had that problem or even thought about it. I don't believe we had a termite or similar insects here.

      However a few years ago I had a large swarm of little flying insects in the corner of my games room. I finally discovered that they had hatched from some dry (uncooked) pasta I used to make siding for one of the houses I built. The pasta, even having been painted had many small pit marks from the hatching things!

      Now I build strictly from balsa and such. No pasta please.....

  2. Replies
    1. Yes Ray, the key to good terrain building is sun and beer. That is it. Oh yes, and glue.....