Thursday, 7 January 2010

Taking a plunge

So I went the North Sea. Big deal...

Today my regiment, the glorious 1ste Regiment Jagers te Paard/Gidsen, organised its annual New Year's Dip. -3° C, an ice cold wind and water temperature around freezing point. To make matters worse it was low tide, meaning a 500m run to the sea and back. They didn't say I had to do that when I joined the army.
Let's just say it was rather chilly on the way in and bloody cold on the way out.

And introducing a few links.

I would also like to put a couple of links in the spotlights.
First of all -in the favourite places section- you'll find two of my prefered uniform guides. One is the site "Grosser Generalstab" which displays -I think- the complete collection of known Knötel plates. I named by it's title: Richard Knötel's Uniformenkunde. The other is the "1789-1815 Revolution et Empire" site, showing the work of Bernard Coppens on Napoleonic uniforms, concentrating on the 100 days campaign and Waterloo. Click "Bernard Coppens Napoleonic uniform plates" in the favourites section. On the left side of this site, click on Uniforms for the general uniform plates and click Waterloo on the left and then uniforms in the main page for the specific Waterloo uniform plates. These plates are intended as old style "paper soldiers". They are also available as prints.

Next , under the same section, is  a link to the "Kabinetskaart van de Oostenrijkse Nederlanden", also known as the Ferraris map (after the author: Count de Ferraris). The link will bring you the the introduction page of the NGI website. Here you can order fascimile, an atlas, plots or a digital copy of said map. In the right upper corner, click "bekijk hier de Ferrariskaart" to bring you online to the map, which you can scroll and enlarge. I find this map important for several reasons. First of all, it shows the lay of the land in the 18th century. Ideal for drawing maps for campains set in Flandres and much better as a source than modern day maps. It also gives an idea how the 18th century and Napoleonic battlefields looked like as most of the woods and roads or tracks are pictured still in their original state. On some battlefields you can still see where Ferraris drew redoubts, now vanished, but then still recent remants. So if you would like to take a look at the fields of Oudenaarde, Rocourt, Neerwinden (Landen), Waterloo, Wijnendale...this is the place to be. The maps are incredibly detailed, so if you look at the vauban or older defence works and then go to google earth you can really trace the fortifications, especially in  places North, North/West of Brugge, near the coast. It's a thrill to then find these places in the field. I own four fascimile sheets of this map and they are treasured items.
If I read correctly, only four copies of the original map were ever made. Napoleon is supposed to have been in possesion of one of these copies during the 100 days campaign. Needless to say the DDU also has a copy of this map.
If you want to order the complete Ferraris atlas, it weighs in at 12 kg, could be some expensive postage...

Hoping this is usefull and not only "old news". If anybody needs translation, I'll be happy to oblige. The NGI site can also be visited in French. Now I think of it, they also sell a map of Belgium with all possible military historical sites: war cemetaries, statues, remnants, fields of battle, museums, ...from early history up to the Second World War. Could be useful to anybody wanting to tour Belgium.

Happy gaming



  1. They once made me (and some others) run 10 miles carrying a telephone pole...easy.... except that every mile some poor soul had to hang from the pole for the next mile.

    Now I am 1.9 metres tall (6'4") and was not very popular even when I was young, light and fit!

    The military are evil, especially as I was simply a Part-Time /Territorial Army/Reserve/National Guard soldier.

    Yet I look back at those years with fond memory and wish I had kept it up rather than join the civilian could never get a civilian to jump into freezing water/run a mile etc etc. without getting dragged through the Courts for compensation!

    Keep it up-the world needs more frozen soldiers hanging from telephone poles (even if we/they do not realise it!).



  2. Alas, I'd love to go to the NGI site ...
    but you didn't list the URL?

  3. Yes , I did. As I (tried to) explained in the text, look under the my favourite places section on the left of the Chronicles and click
    * Kabinetskaart van de Oostenrijkse Nederlanden.


  4. The North Sea? IN WINTER??? As Obelix would say "You Belgians are crazy"

  5. You have to do something in order to earn all that beer and chocolate for the rest of the year...


  6. Thanks for the link to the maps site. Very interesting to see what northern Europe looked like 250 years ago. The site will be useful for ideas on terrain set-ups.

    Best wishes, keith.