A gun crew in action

By Rob Morgan

At first sight, this painting might seem to portray a Federal gun crew coming into action in the American Civil War, but it’s far from that continent and that war. The gunners depicted here are Danish, and are serving their 12-scan0001pounder gun in action against the Prussian invaders during the First Schleswig-Holstein War in 1848. The war lasted three years. There were several hard-fought battles, and the war finally ended in a Danish victory, aided by volunteers from other Scandinavian states.

A colourful campaign in uniform terms, at least, and the war was “continued” in 1864, when the Prussians and their vassal German states finally won the disputed territories. That second war is the subject of a TV series, “1864,” which is rather better than some of the historical depictions of 19th-century conflict I’ve seen.

There’s a splendid 10mm range of figures for the 1848 Schleswig War manufactured by Pendraken Miniatures in the UK, around 30 packs in all, covering the Danes and the Germans and Prussians — artillery, cavalry and infantry, and militias.

There was only one real naval action in the 1848 war (a pity), decisively won by the Danes, but of course the Germans had no naval tradition, nor any real fleet at the time, or indeed during the Franco-Prussian War.

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