Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Osprey's Peter the Great's Army 1: Infantry

This weekend I had a chance to read through Peter the Great's Army 1:Infantry (Osprey Men-at-Arms Series) by Angus Konstam and David Rickman.

Some Osprey titles I've read have been the book equivalent of dry toast. Maybe it's my interest in the army in question, but I found this one an easy read to accompany my coffee and lazing about with my cat.

Like all Osprey titles, there are color plates to inspire the painter as well as black and white images of maps, battlefield depictions and equipment.

I found much inspiring and often stopped to pull out my laptop to look up smaller battles and skirmishes of the Great Northern War mentioned in the text (wargame scenario ideas, of course). It also got me thinking about picking up a box or two of Cossack cavalry.

The great difficulty with anything related to Russia tends to be the fact that the bulk of source materials are written, as would be expected, in Russian. Thus, I can't really speak to the accuracy of anything contained herein, but I trust that the work is at least factually correct with respect to the time of publication in 1993.

The only real downside to this title is that the bibliography is contained in the companion volume, Peter the Great's Army 2: Cavalry. If your interest is strictly infantry, or you're having a bit of difficulty locating the cavalry book for a reasonable price, you're out of luck if you hope to use this to identify primary sources.

With respect to uniforms, every source I check seems to differ (ditto for number of pikes per battalion.). It isn't helped by the fact that during the period of 1700-1720 uniforms changed multiple times, until standardization was enforced in 1720.

I made a judgement call  to utilize this book as the definitive source for the uniforms of my miniatures and barring something contained in one of the more expensive uniform books available, I have yet to find sufficient reason to conclude that was a bad decision.

One thing I am considering, however, as a result of this read through ,is sacrificing my plans to paint up the two remaining battalions as Narvski (green coat faced blue) or Kievski (red coat faced yellow) and instead, paint one that could function as 3rd battalion of Ingermanlandski/Astrakhanski/Byelgorodski, and one in the style of a battalion of guard infantry: Preobrazhenski (green coat faced red) or Semenovski (light blue faced red).

There's no rush to make the decision, although I intend to finish the 2nd battalion of Ingermanlandski/Astrakhanski/Byelgorodski tonight.


  1. Hi,

    You might want to paint a sample Semenovski figure before taking the plunge on a whole unit. I took the plunge, and have to say the uniform is not at all attractive. I know, I know, that's not much of a basis for rationalizing which unit to paint, but the color combination really doesn't thrill me. I will probably repaint the unit to make it Preobrazhenski; it's just that it's unfortunate most of the army wore green faced red anyway.

    For what it's worth.

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson

  2. Hi Chris,

    That's an excellent suggestion. One which I will follow. Aesthetics are, after all, a good part of the reason to game with toy soldiers.

    If it doesn't work for me, I'll make my guard unit Preobrazhenski, and then make the other a line unit, probably Kievski.