Napoleonic Command


For both my Napoleonics and 18th Century set-ups, I have used the same command structure. All of my mounted commanders and staff officers are on oval bases, 20mm wide and 30mm deep, as the Duke of Wellington is here.  I normally only use figures looking through telescopes as artillery officers, but I made an exception for the Duke.  He is a converted from a French Airfix Infantry officer on an Airfix British RHA Officer’s horse.  I use that horse for a lot of senior commanders, since it looks imposing.





Brigade Commanders are represented by a single figure, such as General de Brigade Baron Husson, who commanded one of the Brigades of the French 5th Division at Waterloo.  Again he is a French Airfix Infantry officer.





Divisional Commanders are represented by two figures, mounted onto a 50mm diameter sabot, which can have the commander figure slid in from the front and his staff officer from the back, such as Marshal Beresford and his ADC, Major Warre, shown here.  Beresford commanded a Portuguese Division in the Oporto Campaign, and later a Corps at Albuera, so for the latter role he could be moved up to a larger 3 figure command base.  Beresford is a French Airfix Infantry officer and Warre is an Airfix British RHA officer on an Esci/Italeri Polish Lancer horse.

At the end of the Oporto Campaign Warre himself commanded a force of Ordenanza (Portuguese Home Guard, but lacking any uniforms), trying to cut off the French Army trying to escape back into Spain.  His poorly armed troops delayed the French, but he could not stop the entire French Army.  He can therefore be represented as a Brigade Commander in that role.

Warre is one of my favourite Napoleonic characters.  He was born in Oporto to a British Port Wine making family (you can still buy Warre’s Warrior Port today, and it is very good).  He was educated in England at Harrow School (as was Sir Winston Churchill and Benedict Cumberbatch much later).  He then joined the 23rd Light Dragoons and was also one of the first British Officers to have formal training at the newly created Staff College at High Wycombe.  He was completely bi-lingual in English and Portuguese and was therefore an excellent choice as a staff officer for Beresford.  Warre personally translated the British Infantry and Cavalry Tactical manuals into Portuguese, which enabled the Portuguese Army to  operate so effectively with the British.  His memoirs are excellent reading.


Corps Commanders are represented by a sabot of three figures, such as Wellington is shown as here, in the early part of the Peninsula, before he formed a Corps structure.  He is accompanied by his Deputy QMG, Colonel de Lancey (who is an Airfix AWI George Washington’s Army mounted figure) and his ADC, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon, who is an Airfix Napoleonic British Infantry mounted officer.


Wellington has an escort Troop of Royal Staff Corps, converted from Airfix Napoleonic French Cuirassiers.  I have two squadrons (8 figures) of these.



Army Commanders should be represented by a 70mm sabot of four figures, but I have not got around to making any, so here is a picture of Napoleon on a 60mm Corps sabot.  He is accompanied by his Chief of Staff at Waterloo, Marshal Soult (who is who an Airfix AWI George Washington’s Army mounted figure), and his ADC Col Gourgaud (a French Airfix Infantry officer).

Napoleon has an imposing escort of a detachment from each of his four Imperial Guard Cavalry Regiments.  The Guard Chasseurs á Cheval are Airfix Napoleonic British Hussars, the 2nd (Dutch) Lancers of the Guard are Esci/Italeri Polish Lancers, the Horse Grenadiers of the Guard and the Empress Dragoons are both Esci/Italeri French Cuirassiers, the former with heads from Airfix French Imperial Guard Infantry.

Soult of course commanded a Corps in the Peninsula so, because the figures are all removable from the sabots, his figure can be used in that role, with his own Chief of Staff and ADC.



I have made models of a number of French Peninsular commanders, such as Junot (Airfix British Hussar), Bessieres and Massena (the latter both Airfix French Infantry officers).






I have also made models of Prussian commanders, here we have Blucher, his Chief of Staff, General Gneisenau, and his ADC, Colonel Grolmann.  They should be on a four figure Army Command sabot, but I have not yet made any.  All are converted from Esci Polish Lancers.  I make all of my ADCs carrying their sword in a “ready” position, so as to easily identify them as ADCs.




All of my Napoleonic Artillery Commanders are currently mounted, as is General de Division Sainte Maurice, Commander of the French Imperial Guard Artillery (shown here).  He is a converted Airfix British Hussar on an Airfix French Infantry Officer’s horse.  Like all my artillery officers, he is looking through a telescope.  I do plan to have some foot figures as Fortress Artillery Commanders.