Friday, March 20, 2009

The Edelweiss Division

Collar flash of Austrian mountain troops

National holiday here in Japan today, and the weather is cool and cloudy with some rain. Perfect for staying indoors and working on hobby stuff!

So I cut out the base for the Collino della Formica this morning, glued it to a layer of insulation board and after having now weighted it down with a ton o' minis to prevent warping, I will have to give it 24 hours or so to dry out and cure. In the meantime, this means I can take a close look at those Scarab Austrians.

As with other nations in the First World War, Austro-Hungarian uniforms were pretty standard from one branch of the service to the next, with regimental distinctions- especially on a 28mm miniature- being minimal, in the case of Austrian infanry regiments being pretty much limited to the colour of the collar flashes, and even these were simplified by 1917.

Nevertheless, even at skirmish level I like to have a force representative of a historical formation (the only exception being my French, who are modelled on the fictional 701st Regt. from the movie "Paths of Glory"). In the case of the Austrians, I was looking on the Internet for orders of battle and 'Lo and Behold, one came screaming out at me- the Edelweiss Division from an order of battle published in the last summer of the war. It was part of the VI Korps of the 11. Armee.

This grabbed me as first of all it seems to be the only "named" division in the orbat, and it served in Italy at least as early as Caporetto. Not only that, but it contains two of my favourite regiments, IR14 and IR59.

Clearly the Austrians were traditionalists, as these two units had been brigaded together at least as far back as the Napoleonic Wars, where they served in the Leipzig campaign and as part of the Austrian contingent at the Battle of Hanau in 1813. In fact, this was the brigade that I have been slowly collecting as part of my 28mm Napoleonic force. On top of that, IR 14 appears to have been a very highly decorated formation in the war, it is only natural to choose to recreate their counterparts from a hundred years later.

So here is what I'm planning my Austrian force to look like, using the Through the Mud and the Blood rules.
  • One company of the Xth Battalion, K.u.K IR59
  • Assault Company Nr. 14. (Sturmtruppe formed from K.u.K. IR. 14)
  • Gebirgs-Minenwerfer-Abteilung 298
  • St. Johann Freiwillige Gebirgsjager Co. (Kaisershutzen)
(Don't try to look this one up in any regimental history! Not part of the Edelweiss Division, but I like the minis from Brigade Games so I shall play loose and easy with the history.)

A good article on Austro-Hungarian Assault battalions can be found

If I can find a model of a Skoda gun, I'll also field a Feldartillerie-Abteilung as well. In the future I will probably add a section of German Mountain troops, but for now I'll concentrate on the Austrians.

Anyone know if these are available in 28mm?

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