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"A quick primer on starting Napoleonic Poles" Topic

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1,248 hits since 6 Oct 2019
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setsuko07 Oct 2019 12:05 p.m. PST

While painting up my first Polish infantry, I'd thought it would be a nice idea to write a kind of primer to collecting a Polish army. It was a pretty confused topic for me as a relatively newcomer to the period, so hopefully it can be useful for people in my own situation.

It's mostly for people either considering dipping into a few Poles for their French army or embarking on a purely Polish army. So I'm covering both the Duchy of Warsaw, the Vistula Legion, the 7th and 8th lancer regiments as well as the Polish lancers in the Imperial Guard.

All of these would make for a nice Sharp Practice force, either just with Poles or with Poles combined with French or other allies of the French.

I'm mostly planning on using 28mm Murawski miniatures, but I'd love to hear about your own favourite source of Poles. :)


JimDuncanUK07 Oct 2019 12:51 p.m. PST

Is it my eyes or are the two figures on the left a bit bigger than the four on the right of the picture?

Never-the-less they are well painted.

setsuko07 Oct 2019 12:53 p.m. PST

It's a perspective thing, I couldn't get a good photo from straight ahead of the minis. :)

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2019 1:16 p.m. PST

Those look great!

Thanks for the "tutorial". I'll soon be painting up my Poles from Hinchliffe.


Korvessa07 Oct 2019 1:54 p.m. PST

I thought maybe they were grenadiers!

In my ROTC platoon we had guys from 5'05 to 6'05"
But that wouldn't look right on table

timmmy07 Oct 2019 2:18 p.m. PST

Thank you for taking the time in writting this article. Most helpful.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2019 2:21 p.m. PST

Good academic overview article I'd call it.
Devils in the details, as I find the early period (for which many figures are probably not available anyway) lacking.

I also don't see mentioned (even in passing) that much of the [early] forces came from Austrian deserters/ defectors and POW. Such would provide an 'experienced/ trained' component very necessary for successful operations under the French.

I consider there was always a bias and 'fear' held against the Poles in French service, such that a true complete command was never achieved beyond the 'Legions'. Certainly there were considered most loyal and reliable otherwise.

regards d

Markconz07 Oct 2019 2:33 p.m. PST

Nice article!

valleyboy08 Oct 2019 1:11 a.m. PST

Thank you – a nice article from another Murawski Miniatures fan

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 5:16 a.m. PST

How interesting about the perspective in the picture shown. I too was initially horrified by the discrepancy in sizes. As far as I can tell they are all grenadiers (indeed I thought only Grenadiers wore Czapkas in Vistula Legion.

The perspective effect comes with close up photography, a wide angle lens, with a short focal length (24/28mm?) and, as we are told, an angled view.

Hope he will do Polish Artillery. Those horse artillery were so well kitted out, but not Murawski's best work alas. Many problems in what is such a superb range generally.

La Fleche08 Oct 2019 5:36 a.m. PST

Is it my eyes or are the two figures on the left a bit bigger than the four on the right of the picture?

It's a perspective thing

Sorry, I couldn't help but think of this:

YouTube link

Lets party with Cossacks08 Oct 2019 12:03 p.m. PST

Deadhead I think you are right about the absence of Czapkas for the Vistula Legion ranks and voltigeurs. In any event Murawski model only their grenadiers with Czapka, and Roger's research is usually pretty good.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2019 12:32 p.m. PST

Oh I know nothing almost nothing about Poles in Napoleonic times (unless Imperial Guard Light Cavalry) I hasten to add.

The Czapka is a fine bit of rig and I imagine Duchy of Warsaw wore it at every opportunity. But, as I keep pointing out, we really must not confuse them with Vistula Legion.

and la Fleche… is not often I will scream out loud with laughter, wearing a pair of head phones, but I did at that closing sequence.

setsuko09 Oct 2019 12:06 a.m. PST

Thanks for the replies. :)

Yeah, a big mental hurdle at first was to distinguis the Polish Legions, the Vistula Legion, Polish regiments in french service, and the Duchy of Warsaw – especially as some of those would merge into each other at times!

Our British player at the club also asked me to dwelve more into the Polish Legions, as they played a big part there. Might do that in the future, as my current focus is primarily 1812 in Russia.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2019 2:41 p.m. PST

a big mental hurdle at first was to distinguis…

Yes and this is very seldom explained in sufficient detail in English books anyway.
The progression over time from ad-hoc units of the Revolution to complete regiments under French command is interesting, and complex.

What I found interesting is that the Polish units retained their manpower, it appears that not many wanted to return to the Duchy once formed, or join their 'homeland' forces but rather stay under French rule.

Napoleon for all his mistakes, was a master at getting the best out of many assets, organisationally and morally, keeping like with like and maintaining esprit de corps among foreign and French troops, and recognising their 'placement' within the necessities of the periods warfare.

The Poles in any form, I think were never just used as LOC guards.
Salut! d wine

Glencairn11 Oct 2019 2:35 a.m. PST

Think I read somewhere that the Polish Fusilier companies were issued French-style shakos, the Czapka being kept by Grenadier and Voltigeur companies.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2019 3:30 a.m. PST

That was what I had thought too. It was highlighted when folk complained that the new Warlord Poles had very few with the Czapka, despite the cover of the box (which did show the Grenadiers)

Lets party with Cossacks12 Oct 2019 1:31 a.m. PST

Voltigeur companies as well? Interesting – and could of course be the case. Would it be possible to let me know the basis? If not that's fine.
Cheers LPWC

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