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Combat Gallery Sunday: Le porte-drapeau de l’Armée

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Le porte-drapeau de l’Armée

Jean-Baptiste Édouard Detaille was born in Paris in 1848, notably while Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was President and before the aforementioned leader seized power and proclaimed himself Napoleon III, the sole emperor of the Second French Empire.

Detaille, using family connections that dated back to the original Napoleon, studied with noted military painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier in the 1860s and traveled abroad to North Africa and the Mediterranean in his late teens, which helped influence his later work.

Detalille himself had served during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, as a young man, in the 8e Bataillon d’Infanterie Mobile, later attached to the staff of Gen, Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot, commander of the 2e Armee in defense of Paris. So you could say that the artist knew something of what he painted.

A mounted officer, 1877, via the Art Institute of Chicago

His two-volume/150 plate “L’Armee Francaise. Types et Uniformes,” published in 1885 (Paris, Boussod, Valson et Cie,) on Japanese paper, is an epic work of 19th Century uniforms. Many of these images come from that volume.

L’armée française – 1.er volume by Édouard Detaille vol 1 title page showing the old Napoleanic Army meeting the 1880s modern French infantry Credit line: (c) Royal Academy of Arts

Officier Indigene de Tirailleurs Algeriens

Sapeurs du Génie Tenue de Campagne

Grenadier de la Garde Impériale Rezonville, 1870

Hussards (Hussars)

French Carabiniers, 1806

French Ecole Spéciale Militaire, 1885

French Chasseur a Cheval

French cavalry

French campement de Zouaves, 1886

Etat-major d’un général de division

French hussards de l’Armée du Rhine, 1790s

Fantasia de Spahis

‘Officier de dragons.’; Édouard Detaille, Types et uniformes : l’armée française, https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/O27687
Credit line: (c) Royal Academy of Arts

French Tirailleurs Indigènes Grande Tenue

The Defense of Champigny during the Battle of Villiers, 1870. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. MET DT259753

click to bigup

Le rêve (The Dream), above, by Edouard Detaille, painted in 1888, depicts French soldiers asleep in their camp with the first rays of dawn on the horizon. These young conscripts of the Third Republic are seen during summer maneuvers, probably Champagne, at the time it painted. They dream of the glory of the Grand Armee of Napoleon, then of taking revenge for the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870. This was one of the most popular propaganda pieces of the interwar period between 1871-1914 in France and indirectly helped stir the pot on WWI. It is currently at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

After the Russo-French Rapprochement in 1891, he took to covering the uniforms of the Republic’s newfound allies.

Carabiniers à Cheval en Russie, 1893

The Cossacks of the Imperial Russian Guard

He was busy working on uniform images right up until his last days.

Test uniforms created in 1912 by Édouard Detaille for the French line infantry. From left to right : trumpet in parade uniform, private in service uniform and kepi, private 1st class in parade uniform, private in service uniform and leather helmet, officer in parade uniform, officer in service uniform and bonnet de police (side cap), private in field uniform and leather helmet, private in field uniform and kepi. Via Musée de l’Armée/Wiki.

The artist died in 1912 in Paris, aged 64, only months before The Guns of August forever removed all of the romantic notions of beautiful uniforms with red trousers and shiny cuirasses from warfare.

Thank you for your work, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday: A Dear Visit

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: A Dear Visit

Maximilian Franz Viktor Zdenko Marie Kurzweil was born 12 October 1867 in the small Moravian town of Bisenz (Bzenec)– then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire now in the Czech Republic– the son of a failing sugar manufacturer. Once the family business tanked altogether, young Max relocated to Vienna where he attended school and later, with an eye for painting, the esteemed Academy of Fine Art (Akademie der bildenden Künste), an institution that famously twice-rejected young Adolf Hitler for lack of talent.

Obligated to perform his military service to Kaiser Franz Josef, Max in 1891 enlisted in the Imperial Army as what was termed a “one-year-volunteer” or Einjährig-Freiwilliger. A curious practise at the time in Central Europe (also mimicked in France and Russia), such a volunteer– typically an educated young man of means– paid for their own room, board, uniforms and personal equipment while serving (for free) with an active duty regiment as a nominal cadet corporal, filling their spare time studying military textbooks. At the end of the year, providing they were found to be of officer material after a review and examination administered by a board, these volunteers would pass into the reserve as a subaltern.

Max was accepted as an EF with the famous k.u.k. Dragonerregiment Nr. 3, which dated back to 1768 and had covered itself in glory during the Napoleonic Wars. Based in Stockerau on the outskirts of Vienna, the German-speaking unit was typically referred to as the “Saxon Dragoons” (Sachsen Dragoner) due to the fact that the honorary colonel-in-chief of the unit was the king of Saxony. Serving from June 1891 to June 1892, Kurzweil passed his review and moved to the regiment’s reserve list as a lieutenant, fulfilling his obligation to the Kaiser by 1902, at which point his name was put on the retired list.

It was just after he left active duty that Max painted what I feel was his most endearing work. Ein Lieber Besuch (A dear visit), is an oil painting he finished in 1894 showing a young man, surrounded by Austrian dragoons which you take to be his comrades, in hospital being visited by what is perceived to be his warhorse. It was no doubt very familiar to the artist in many ways.

It was an early footnote in Max’s career, as he returned to Vienna, moved in the same circles as Klimt, summered on the Dalmatian coast and in Brittany, spent lots of time in Paris, helped found the Secessionist movement at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus, took a French wife, and fell in love with a pupil– Helene Heger.

Then came war.

At 46, Kurzweil, childless, listless and moody (his wife had been separated from him as she was in France when hostilities began) he was too old to lead a cavalry troop but was nonetheless recalled to active duty. Assigned to work on the Serbo-Montenegrin Front as a war artist, he returned to Vienna on leave in May 1916, where he met his lover one last time at his studio and entered into a suicide pact using his service pistol. He is buried in Vienna’s Hütteldorfer Cemetery.

A self-portrait

However, his simple but poignant horse painting had become a very popular postcard in war-torn Austria, surely evoking memories of love and loss to many.

As for the 3rd Dragoons, stationed in Krakow, then on the Austrian frontier, in 1914 as part of 3. Kavallerietruppendivision, they fought the Russians on the Eastern Front and, late in the war, lost their horses, converting to foot infantry. In 1919, they were disbanded, although, in 1967, Panzerbataillon 33 of the reformed Austrian Army adopted the old regiment’s lineage. Today, PzB 33 uses Leopard 2A4 tanks.

Ein Lieber Besuch since 1965 has been in the collection of the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere in Vienna, who have several of Kurzweil’s works. He is considered today to be one of the most important Austrian artists of his era. Additionally, his art is in the American Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia

Thank you for your work, sir.

Halloween is nearing, and some ghosts are real

There are some things that are scarier than witches, goblins, and vampires.

“Ghost Trail,” by Kerr Eby; 1944.

Drawing, Charcoal, and Pastel on Paper; Framed Dimensions 29H X 46W NHHC Accession #88-159-DZ as a Gift of Abbot Laboratories

“Specter-like in the dark gloom of the Bougainville jungle, Marine riflemen slog up to the front lines during the bitter campaign for the tropic stronghold.”– official description.

Erby was Canadian-born illustrator best known for his renderings of soldiers in combat in the First and Second World Wars. In the prior, he served in the Army as camoufleur to the 40th Engineers in France. In the latter, Eby, then aged 51, tried to enlist but was turned down because of his age. Serving in the combat artist program, he traveled with Marines in the South Pacific and witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the war, landing with the invasion force at Tarawa and living three weeks in a foxhole on Bougainville.

While on Bougainville he became ill with a tropical disease, one which weakened his health, passing away in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1946.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Cold War artwork of Pavel Pavlinov and Andrey Babanovsky

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: The Cold War artwork of Pavel Pavlinov and Andrey Babanovsky

Admiral of the fleet of the Soviet Union Sergei Georgiyevich Gorshkov, accomplished, especially considering what the Soviets had to work with, an impressive feat. Gorshkov gave his life to the Red Banner Fleet, joining at age 17 in 1927. By WWII, he was in the Black Sea and rose to command a destroyer squadron after much heavy contact with the Axis forces in the landlocked body of water increasingly owned by the Germans. He received the Order of the Red Banner twice for his wartime exploits.

Recognised as cut from a different cloth than the typical party functionaries, by just age 46 he was given command of the entire Soviet Navy by Nikita Khrushchev and spent the next 30 years building the largest fleet in either Asia or Europe and the second largest (only outclassed by the USN) in the world– seizing that cherished spot from the British Royal Navy who only begrudgingly relinquished their own first place title holder to the Americans a generation before. Had there been no Gorshkov, it could be argued there would have been no Tom Clancy and the Soviets would have been content with only a minor naval force, a role Russia had basically always fulfilled.

At the high water mark of the Red Banner Fleet’s power in 1973 came this chapbook of postcard drawings entitled, “Modern ships of the USSR Navy” by Pavel Pavlinov and Andrey Babanovsky. Sure, it was Soviet propaganda of the most obvious, but it froze a moment in time and presented it in its best light– regardless of the fact that a lot of the ships were poorly manned by conscripts simply glad to not be in the Army, officered by professional mariners that lacked the fundamental foundation of an NCO corps they could depend on, and suffered from often suicidal nuclear engineering plants and moody weapon and sensor packages.

But, you have to admit: they look pretty!

Note the Foxtrot diesel boat on the cover. The Project 641 subs were among the most numerous in the Red Fleet

Sverdlov cruiser Mikhail Kutuzov. These all-gun cruisers were obsolete when completed, but the Russians carried them on their Navy list throughout the Cold War. Packed with 1940s-era electronics, they could always serve as a flagship post-Atomic exchange/EMP!

Operating in the polar cap

Looks to be a Kresta-class cruiser

The Soviets were serious when it came to amphibious light tanks and landing vehicles, fielding the PT-76, PTS, and BTR series vehicles along with lots of Polnocny-class and Alligator-class LSTs to truck them ashore. While not capable of large-scale landings, this capability still gave Baltic and Black Sea-based NATO allies heartburn

Moskova-class helicopter carrier Leningrad. The three 17,000-ton Moskovas, the first Soviet helicopter carriers, could tote almost two dozen Ka-25 or Mi-8 aircraft and were seen as big medicine to help curb the NATO hunter-killer threat in SSBN Bastion areas.

The Soviets built 32 Gus- and 20 Aist-class LCAC’s, the former, shown above, capable of carrying 25 troops, while the latter were capable of carrying 200 troops or 4 light tanks. They would later be carried in the carried by the Ivan Rogov-class dock landing ship, the first Soviet LSDs, which were under construction at the time the book came out.

Osa class fast attack boat. Those big SS-N-2 Styx missiles had been proved in combat just a few years before. Egyptian Komar-class missile boats used the Styx to splash the WWII-vintage Israel Navy destroyer Eilat during the Six Day War in October 1967

Beriev Be-12 Mail flying boat seaplane

As for Gorshkov, he only stepped down from commanding his fleet at age 75, reluctantly handing the reins to Adm. Vladimir Chernavin, who, less than a half-decade later, preside over the force’s break-up and spiraling demise which was to endure for two decades.

Thank you for your work, Mr. Pavlinov and Babanovsky

Combat Gallery Sunday: Sons of Empire

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Sons of Empire

Here we see the 1899 Boer War-era poster “Defenders of the Empire” showing a great selection of British Commonwealth military 1899 unforms by artist Harry Payne. It is for the 1914 National Relief Fund.

The poster was published by Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd and also billed as “Sons of the Empire,” for the benefit of the Transvaal War Fund for Widows and Orphans.

It shows 23 assorted figures ranging from Grenadier Guards and Gordon Highlanders to the 5th Royal Irish Lancers. Overseas units from Australia, New Zealand, Rhodesia and Natal are also present as are men from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy.

A better image with a different background, omitting Indian troops to the right and adding more Naval gunners, to the left:

And last but not least, the key:


Born in 1858 at Newington, London, Payne was a noted military illustrator who notably also made an extensive series of oilette uniform postcards for Tuck & Sons that typically sell today for less than $20.

HARRY PAYNE MILITARY Postcard c.1910 TROOPER 3rd PRINCE OF WALES DRAGOON GUARDS

1914 Raphael Tuck, Harry Payne Artist-Signed Postcard Royal Scots Greys

Payne died in 1927 but his voluminous work will no doubt live on.

Thank you for your efforts, sir.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Historic gendarmes a go-go

Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sundays (when I feel like working), I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, photographers and the like that produced them.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Historic gendarmes a go-go

The following provosts, military police, Feldjäger, and gendarmerie unit portrayals, principally from the 19th Century, come from the New York Public Library’s Hendrik Jacobus Vinkhuijzen collection of military uniforms.

Enjoy!

French Gendarmerie, 1833. A pied et à cheval.

Gendarmerie à cheval (grande tenue). 1860

Kolonel de Gendarmerie. 1862 Spain

Luxemburg Gendarmerie, 1899

Luxemburg Hauptmann der Gendarm. – 1898

MilitairPolizey-Wach-Corps in Wien Austrian Army 1869

Mil. Gränz-Gensd’armes

Gendarmerie Républicaine Renre Paris Eh Bien! Et Nous. 1874

Gendarmerie. 1896

Bauern ; Gendarme Zu Pferd ; Edelmann ; Offizier. 1913 print. 17th Century uniforms (?)

Lombardi Venet Gensdarmes

Seressaner, Austrian army

Italian Carabinieri

Gendarme Maure, French North Africa

Luxemburg Gendarmerie, 1869

A military policeman from Kachin Hills, Burma. NYPL

North-West mounted police, trooper, working kit. Royal Canadian Dragoons, trooper, review order. 1910 NYPL collection

Cyprus military police.

Combat Gallery Sunday: Repin x3

In 1891, Ilya Yefimovich Repin completed his giant 6×11 ft painting “Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire” after an 11-year effort, selling the piece to Tsar Alexander III for a princely sum.

Hung in the Tsar’s Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.at the time, the painting is still there, although the palace is now the State Russian Museum.

The Zaporozhye Cossacks Writing a Mocking Letter to the Turkish Sultan *oil on canvas*358 × 203 cm *signed b.c.: И.Репин 1880-91

It depicts the popular legend of the 1676 cossack reply to an ultimatum of the Ottoman sultan, Mehmed IV, that these autonomous border people submit to Turkish rule. The reply, as the story goes, was one of insults with each rough steppes horseman striving to outperform his buddy. A lot of references to Mehmed’s mother and at least one goat were mentioned in the reply.

Since then, the painting has been updated a few times with the same Russian patriotic tendency.

Zaporozhian have been swapped out for Red partisans in WWII

Note the M1910 Sokolov machine gun, captured German MP40, and at least one Red Cossack

This most recent example, by Vladimir Nesterenko, is set in Syria with the modern Russian military, complete with 30mm grenade launchers and AK74s.

The next one will probably be set in space.

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