Saturday, 10 February 2018

A Confederate Army for the War of the Spanish Succession 1

In the latter part of 2017 I found myself in that common wargamer's situation, that of pondering what to do next. After all, I only had 3 major projects on the go and they were all nearing completion (or at least what would pass for completion until I saw something new and shiny for them). So I decided to construct an opponent for my War of the Spanish Succession French army. There was no desperate need for this, three guys at my local club have opposition armies, but, having been caught out in the past, I now make it my policy to have a usable force for both sides in any period/scale I collect. all three opponents were geared towards the Northern European theatres, being an Anglo-Dutch army, an all-British army and an Imperialist army. After staging a re-fight of the Battle of Almanza earlier in the year, I was rather taken with the somewhat neglected Spanish theatre for this war, so decided to base my new army there. The Confederate effectively had two field armies in the peninsular, one based in Portugal and one based in Catalonia. I decided to go for the army based in Catalonia, as I had already had 5 battalions of Catalan infantry.

Compared with Marlborough's army in Flanders, sources for the Spanish campaigns are scarce (at least in English) but I did find the excellent book by Nicholas Dorrell "Marlborough's Other Army, The British Army and the Campaigns of the First peninsular War, 1702-1712". Despite the title, this does not concentrate on the British forces in Spain, but covers all the Confederate units fighting there. It is almost an ideal wargamer's book, as it details the war year by year, with extensive orders of battle by regiment and battalion, maps of all the major engagements and organisational and uniform guides (where known) for each nationality involved. All that is missing is a few Osprey-style coloured plates for uniforms and flags. I also had already discovered the wargaming guide "Catalonia Stands Alone" by LluĂ­s Vilalta. This superb little pdf booklet really covers the period 1713-1714, but was still a very useful guide, plus it included a sheet of 10mm flags!

The Confederate forces in Catalonia consisted of a fascinating mixture of nationalities. At the start of 1710 the total forces comprised of 51 infantry battalions and 60 cavalry squadrons. Their break-down was  as follows:
Imperialist 14 battalions, 6 squadrons
Spanish (mainly Catalan and Aragonese) 15 battalions, 12 squadrons
British 13 battalions 10 squadrons
Dutch 2 battalions, 6 squadrons
Portuguese 2 battalions, 18 squadrons
Palatine* 5 battalions 8 squadrons
As the war progressed the Dutch became increasingly reluctant to commit troops to Spain, so hired units from the Electorate of the Palatine to fulfill their obligation to provide troops.

I decided I was not going to create an army for a specific battle, but a more general one to cover the campaigns of 1709 and 1710. The figures are going to be from Pendraken, mainly their Marlburian range, supplemented by figures from some other ranges, like the Great Northern War, Seven Years War and League of Augsburg. The latter range are absolutely gorgeous little models, probably some of the best Pendraken produce.

So on to the first units, these are Catalan infantry. Due to real-life pressures I have found a lack of painting time of late so I have had some of the figures painted for me. These five battalions were painted by Turbil Miniatures.

                                                              5 Infantry battalions

                                       The foremost battalion is from La Ciudad Regiment

           The battalion on the left is from the Reales Guardias Catalanas - The Catalonian Guards