donderdag 26 april 2012

SYW French Grenadiers, Heavy cavalry and Hussars

Continuing the French project, I am working on a further 25 elements of grenadiers, heavy cavalry and hussars. Taking an inventory of my Prussians and Austrians I had created an “excess” list from which I could expand the French. 


The year 1757 marked a transition in headwear for the grenadiers as the Grenadiers de France wore bearskin caps in a fashion similar to the Austrians. It would not be until a year later that this fashion would become standard for men of the grenadier companies of the line battalions.

At Hastenbeck, there were three units present, Grenadiers de France, Grenadier Royaux de Solar and the converged companies from 12 battalions. Trademark of the grenadier was the wearing of a moustache and by a stroke of luck, my extra Hungarians would fit the bill; all wore moustache, poses exhibited a lot of panache, and the grenadiers had the right cap. Eureka!

In the photo, the first three columns (left to right) represent the four battalions Grenadiers de France, the converged grenadier companies and the two battalion strong Royaux de Solar. The black gaiters for all the figures were given an undercoat of beige. With white as a second coat, the presence of the ankle boots would not be seen and outlining the gaiter with dark grey would strengthen the illusion of a gaiter in place of tight breeches characteristic of the Hungarians. The only evidence of an older uniform were the Linzen on the coat lapels and these like the gaiters were given an undercoat of beige and covered with the lapel colour.   

Foreign troops and mercenaries

The vast Austrian Empire still retained a presence in the Netherlands and during the opening campaign of 1757 granted France the assistance of an Austrian brigade of four battalions, de Ligne, Sachsen-Gotha, Los Rios and d’Arberg. The first two listed were present at Hastenbeck.

In the photo, the middle column represent the two battalions and the keen viewer may note the flag is not the standard yellow field with black eagle. In various forums we had many discussions about regimental flags for both the German and Hungarian regiments. Further detail, I would recommend the reader to the section on flags at Line Infantry colours.

 We do know the dates when the flags changed design, but do not know when each regiment received them. We know however, newer models were issued when the older flags deteriorated or were lost in battle. Another significant item, each of the regiments present at Hastenbeck were the third or depot battalion which would more than likely retain an older model of flag. The one pictured here in the photo, was taken from the famous painting by Carl Rochling titled After the Battle of Hohenfriedberg.  

The next two columns are the brigades from the Palatinate Electorate. The Palatinate were one of the few German states to have a sizeable standing army and through a subsidy contract with France supplied two brigades present at the battle. These were positioned in the third line before Hastenbeck and as the figures for the converged grenadiers these are former Hungarian. These will have blue coats, white waistcoats and breeches. I am painting only two flags, one for each brigade, but these will not be easy. See here for an interpretation of Palatine Line Infantry colours.  

The last two columns in the photo are the brigade du Roi and the Hussar regiment of Bercheny. The Cuirassier du Roi are wearing tricorne and not the bearskin cap. The German cavalry regiments in the French army did wear bearskin caps, but my reading have the Cuirassier du Roi following the fashion after 1757. The other regiments within the brigade are not “identified” which offers me a Pandora’s box. In a recent TMP topic, the question was asked if the French heavy cavalry wore their cuirass outside or under their coat.

If you scroll down,  it was suggested the coat may not have been worn during hot weather which would expose the front plate worn over the buff waist coat, essentially making the trooper devoid of any regimental identifiable feature. I love this.  

Although the two hussar regiments, Bercheny and Pollereskey were with the army, they were not engaged at Hastenbeck. Call this future planning, as the campaign develops, I shall be adding more light troops for “le  petite guerre”.   


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