My Kingdom of Italy army, commanded by the Viceroy Eugene himself, has a long history with WR, both on the tabletop and during several 1809 and 1812 historical simulation miniature campaigns. Sordid tales from the past attempt to explain why WR started painting this army… too many bottles of Chianti drunk… too much pasta eaten… frozen ravioli stuck on the regimental miniature flag pole to represent Italian units… couldn’t paint another blue coated Frenchman “fever” back in years past… take you pick. WR thinks the last reason has the best explanation but which napoleonic era wargamer cannot have a division of those green and white coats. So, it is time to parade the Kingdom of Italy army to the WR readers.
The Kingdom of Italy 1808-1814 army…. KOI for short, is complete except for a few 1813 era line regiments. The majority of the army covers the epic invasion of Russia time period (1811-1812), where the majority of this fine army perished in the Russian campaign. Moments of glory, like the battlefields of Borodino and Malo-Jaroslawitz (Maloyaroslavets), mainly suffered just like the larger French army from hunger, long marches, and frozen “pasta” weather.
Headquarters: KOI has two types of headquarter bases. One is Army level HQ base with three ADC’s, the other a lower KOI Corps level headquarters with two ADC’s. Each has Viceroy Eugene in a fancy uniform. The reasoning for two headquarters reflects Eugene as the Viceroy in Italy (commanding French and Italian divisions during 1809 and 1814) vs. a basic KOI only Corps attached to the Grande Armee marching about northern Europe. Commanding the lower divisional commands are five Divisional officers, a detachment of Elite gendarmerie (1×2), a battalion of foot gendarmerie (1×4), two sapper battalions (2×4), engineer officer, the Milan Fire (sapper) company and a miner company miniature (2×1).
Infantry: Italian foot guard consists of the Guard Grenadier regiment (2×8), the Guard Chasseur regiment (2×8), four battalions of YG Cacclatori conscripts (4×6), and the Guard Marine btn. Seven Line regiments, each of 4 battalions of six miniatures (7x4x6) make up the Line infantry. The four Legere regiments are organized like the line regiments (4x4x6). Converged elite battalions, especially for 1805 and 1809 campaigns, have two converged lights or voltiguer btns. and four grenadier or carabinier btns. (6×6). Various other KOI battalions include: The Venice regiment (2×6), 1st Veteran btn. (1×8), 2nd Veteran btn. (1×6), Milan “guard” btn. (1×6), the combined “reserve detachments” battalion (1×6), Customs btn. (1×6), Colonial regiment (3×6), Bersaglieri di Brescia (circa 1800, 1×6), Istrian chasseurs (1806, 1×6), and the volunteer jagers battalion of 1813 (1×6).
Cavalry: KOI cavalry is weak in number compared to WR’s other European powers of similar size. WR’s KOI painted army has: Italian Guard di Honor, Guard Dragoons, 1st Dragoons “Regina”, 2nd Dragoons “Napoleon”, 1st to 4th Chasseurs a’ cheval regiments, and the small Elite gendarmerie sqn. All cavalry regiments are five miniature strength except for the small gendarmerie sqn. of two miniatures.
Artillery: WR’s KOI army is well served by the artillery arm. Two 12lb batteries, five 8lb batteries, five 6lb batteries, three-horse 6lb batteries, the 6lb Italian guard battery and a converged howitzer battery. All crewed with artillerymen for both artillery arms (foot and horse) plus regimental artillery miniature markers for the seven Line and four Legere regiments. All foot batteries are mounted on eight cannon per battery basing while the horse batteries number six cannon each.
First photo below shows massed 8lb foot batteries backed by the two KOI Dragoon regiments; the “Regina” and “Napoleon”. On their left is the massed headquarter staffs for both KOI HQ bases. Behind them are the seven regimental columns of 1st to 7th (l to r) Line regiments. Each Line regiment has four battalions (4×6). Attached to each 1st battalion, of each Line regiment, is a regimental artillery marker to represent regimental artillery.
Opposite end of the KOI paraded front line and standing behind the massed 6lb foot batteries are the four KOI Chasseur a’ cheval regiments. Even have the 3rd Chasseur a’ cheval regiment in colpacks. Standing in formation behind them, the four Legere regiments, each with four battalions, The Legere regiments also have their regimental artillery marker miniature attached to their 1st battalion.
Behind the massed Legere regiments the converged elite battalions (6×6, 1805 and 1809 era) are ready to advance in support (l to r). On their right is the Venice regiment of two battalions (2×6) standing before the “Milan guard” battalion in blue overcoats. Further to the right is the column of 1st and 2nd Veteran btns., the 1st is larger (1×8) than the 2nd battalion (1×6) for historical accuracy. Supporting the Veteran battalions is the combined reserve company detachments formed into a single battalion (1×6). Lastly, the YG Cacclatori conscript battalions (4×6) march besides the roadway. Always need a vineyard in any Italian photo.
Balance of the Italian guard (l to r): Guard Grenadiers (2×8), Guard Chasseurs (2×8), both Guard velite battalions (2×6) behind them, Guard artillery batteries, Guard Marine btn (1×6), the Customs battalion (1×6), the Guard di Honor and Guard Dragoon regiments.
Kingdom of Italy headquarters has the Army level command base and a lower Corps headquarters base. Viceroy Eugene attached to the army base, and cross-dressed as an Italian Corps commander for the Corps headquarters. ADC’s behind the headquarter bases. Between the headquarters is the representative engineer officer. Gendarmerie sqn. and foot gendarmerie battalion at right. On the roadway are the two sapper battalions (2×4) followed by the miner company and the Milan Fire (sapper) company miniatures. Heavy positional 12lb and converged howitzer batteries front the position.
Rear and side views of the marching Kingdom of Italy army.
Storage for the KOI miniatures in my common grid apple boxes. Easy to identify, locate a particular unit, remove and then return back to storage once the tabletop action is completed. All told about 540 painted 25/28mm miniatures for the Kingdom of Italy.
Recent tabletop action using my Kingdom of Italy Corps: Italians on the tabletop
Book sources: Basic resources for a start on the KOI. Prince Eugene at War gives a good starter history and the campaign in Italy involving the KOI. The old Osprey covering the KOI gives a basic coverage for the buck, including some information on the Cisalpine republic era. The L’Esercito Italico 1805-14 Guardia Reale is very detailed in its coverage on the Italian guard. There are other books covering the standard line regiments and cavalry so this series is well recommended. Lastly, the W.Rawkins book completes the source material. WR’s copy is an old xerox from a friend since passed away.
Don’t be fooled by the blog site title, check out the Blunders on the Danube web site. Has an excellent material linked library of uniform and organization data for the major and minor states during the napoleonic wars. Kingdom of Italy section is detailed out in two sections after you get past all the French stuff: Napoleonic Uniform guides
Time to make a dish of pasta and find the Chianti bottle. Cheers from the warren.
Ps. Hmmm….One Hundred posts…. more Chianti!