Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Russian field fortifications at Borodino

I still remember two great influences of my wargaming interest as a kid.  A book on Waterloo which I still own and a relative's novel "War and Peace" with very moody painting of battle scenes which I still have in my memory.  No, I have not read the novel, well except those chapters about the battle itself, of course! But those illustrations still stay with me thus, I guess, my obsession to game this battle.

Of course one of the most important focal points was the main Redoubt the Russians built. The other, the Fleches, I think would make good victory points in recreating the battle.  Russians have them, the French need them for the points.  While historically the battle became pointless, for wargamers it is pride in that of the taking, just as it was in real life.

So without further ado, my Raevski's "Grand Redoubt" ......

Raevski's Redoubt .... 

Yeah, not all that grand, eh?
Well, in size, it really wasn't.  While I have seen very large renditions with 8 or more model cannons, those were for battalion scaled games and might well have been even overlarge for that.  Indeed the redoubt was only less than 200 meters (~200 yards) in length and having only 18 guns or 1.5 Russian batteries within.

I viewed several maps and have made the tabletop scale approximately 1 foot of table to 1 kilometer (0.62 miles). The table will be only 8 by 5 feet.    So at 200 meters the redoubt is about 1/5 of a foot which, if all my math is correct - never a sure bet - is about 2.5 inches or under 6 cm.   So my redoubt at 4 inches is oversized!!  Yes, the vertical and horizontal scale problem of wargaming rears annoyingly again.
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Obviously I did not plan all this out while starting the building.  I simply just took an available piece of hardboard for the base and started cutting hard insulation foam to shape.  With such a small footprint I decided on a more abstract creation knowing I could not possibly get all the correct details within. I did elevate it a bit as to give it more imposing character.  In the game,  as historically, it may well become an important focal point.
The French attack in masse.  The Pavlovski Grenadiers help defend.

The Fleches are similar in their small footprint.  Rather than have the proper three separate earthworks in the correct configuration - resulting in a model more suited to 6mm than our 28mm - I went for only one earthwork, not particularly tall,  to portray the rather inadequate protection it offered.  Due to its open nature, in the game it will offer no combat protection at all and only to forward fired cannon shot.
The Fleches

Again, as historically, it becomes a focal point, a marker almost, to be fought over.

The models have the necessary dice frame holder for the rules however the crew are detached to allow placement on other stands should they be required. The figures are Foundry and were acquired from MikeB who got them, poorly painted, in an ebay lot but he did not require.  So with a quick repaint, their small bases are ideal for these field fortification models.


  1. A great and creative job on the redoubt!

    1. It is certainly not accurate by any means however it will play the part for the game.
      Thanks for the kind comment, Phil.

  2. The models are great for the scale of your rules. A scale representation that gives the "look of the thing" as the late Charles Grant used to say. I love the way you re-painted those Foundry Russian artillerists.

    1. Yeah Bill, I really tried to keep my OCD reined in and only do the minimalist approach.... < grin >
      I am an old Grant follower, of course
      Thanks again for the kind comments.