zaterdag 7 april 2012

SYW – French Light troops and artillery

During the reign of Louis XV, the organization of lights troops was somewhat unique from corps to corps. Those raised from the mountainous regions were Frenchmen, but mostly, recruits came from Germany, Flanders, Austria and the Balkans. After 1758, regulations were set in place to standardize the organization, but for my order of battle, only three units were present at Hastenbeck; Volontaires de Hainaut and Flandre plus the Volontaires de l’armee. The first two are documented at, but the last mentioned were an ad hoc group representing companies from selected regiments present during the battle of Hastenbeck. This allows for the possibility that each figure would have a different uniform. As the first two mentioned had blue coats, I opted for white coated miniatures for the “volunteers of the army”.

Light Troops

The majority of the Volontaires regiments had mounted units. Following the Seven Years war, these would provide the foundation for the Legion (mixed lights) formations of the 1770. Again, provides uniform details of the mounted arm and these will be collected in the second phase of my SYW French project.

For the moment, my mounted light troops are represented by the two double sized hussar regiments; Bercheny and Pollereskey. Unfortunately, figure manufactures producing suitable Hussar uniformed figures fall slightly short of the mark when offering musicians, notably musicians with tricorne and not mirliton or fur hats with bag. I am not bothered by this and I doubt if any of my opponents would point this out.

Prior to the outbreak of the Seven Years war, French artillery were deemed the best in Europe. France was quickly overhauled by the artillery reforms implemented by Liechtenstein for Austria. France noted the need for reform as the losses of artillery was quite heavy during the early years, not only through the defeats the army experienced, but the encumbrance of heavy 16 and 24 pounders trying to negotiate a less than optimal road network. Luckily, one Frenchman followed Liechtenstein’s reforms and implemented these for France; Napoleonic gamers certainly would recognize the name of Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Baptiste Vaquette de Gribeauval.

By phase two, the artillery park will be doubled, but for a BBDBA-HX, six pieces are sufficient. I am pleased how these turned out.

Following exchanges at the SYW Yahoo group with Christian Rogge, a regular contributor at, I painted my French artillery carriages blue in place of the red which seems to predominate the war game tables. In addition to the blue carriage, I used a variety of paint to simulate the bronze barrel, that is correct, no metal paint. Since the start of this year, I have stopped using metallic paints. Simulating silver, gold and brass with other paint was far more satisfactory than using metallic paint.

I mentioned in my initial writing of the SYW French, that the collection would be broken into two phases, such that the completion of these three groupings has finished phase one; now phase two will resume in the latter part of May. I will then add more cavalry, line troops to include grenadiers and the transport. Between now and then, I will busy myself with refurbishing my terrain and building new BUAs to include farms and villages for western Europe.


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