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"Tirailleurs du Po and Tirailleurs Corses 1809" Topic

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2,759 hits since 2 Nov 2009
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Comments or corrections?

IronMarshal02 Nov 2009 5:52 a.m. PST

What seems to be the wargamers convention for painting these units? The historians seem to be mixed. Should the TC be painted brown or blue. While the TdPo seem to be a legere type blue jacket with blue trousers.
What seems to be the wargamers's preference?

quidveritas Inactive Member02 Nov 2009 6:12 a.m. PST

TC -- Brown

TdPo -- blue -- but IIRC not a 'French Blue' IIRC the Knotle prints were a bit different. Now that said, after a few months on campaign, probably couldn't tell the difference.


Gnu200002 Nov 2009 7:07 a.m. PST

Another vote for TC in brown and TPo in blue legere style.

napoleon books Inactive Member04 Nov 2009 5:04 p.m. PST

Dear All,

I too wanted to paint these interesting units. How did two Italian formations achieve a high status that extended from Austerlitz 1805 thought Aspern -Essling 1809 I wondered? I wrote about them in my Crisis on the Danube and Napoleon Conquers Austria books and a friend, Philip Haythornthwaite, sent me a color photo of a uniform of the voltigeurs of the Tirailleurs Corse. It shows a brown uniform faced in green. I provide this photo on page 77 of my scenario booklet "Battles for Empire". So brown in was for the splendid fellows.

My house unit of Tirailleurs du Po features gray uniforms based on an article in Empires, Eagles, and Lions, that wonderful rag produced by Jean Lochet. I dutifully painted them up and subsequently learned that the gray uniform was authorized but probably never issued. Probably they fought in blue, light infantry uniforms. But my men proudly fight in gray, damn it, according to regulations!

All best,

James Arnold

von Winterfeldt05 Nov 2009 1:08 a.m. PST

Blue, Tirailleurs du Po certainly without red lapels which are a legendary mistakes of the old school of uniform experts, I recommend to read

Napoleon's Mercenaries, by Guy Dempsey Jr, where those topics are discussed ingreat detail.

Of course you can go fantasy with James Arnold as well.

Scotty the Taff Inactive Member05 Nov 2009 3:18 a.m. PST

Have look at the attached links:-


Are these correct?


Cantonese Inactive Member05 Nov 2009 4:06 a.m. PST

Hi all,

I remember reading something by Rigo (one of the official French Army painters, a true "Master" should I say) who did check the regimental archives to see if any brown fabric was ever mentionned regarding this specific unit.
His conclusions were that, under the Empire, it is likely that the Tirailleurs Corses never wore a brown uniform but the traditional dark blue one. Indeed, he found a mention of the use of the blue fabric in a 1805 inspection survey.

One could also check the regimental archives to see if any blue fabric was ever ordered in mass to replace brown uniforms when the Tirailleurs Corses joined the 11ème léger in 1811 and it seems not.

In the Tirailleurs Corses issue, the confusion may come from the fact that a similar unit called "bataillons d'infanterie légère corse" created in 1803 did wear brown uniforms. The brown fabric was a traditional corsican clothing (made of goat hair). These bataillons were then sent to Italy to form a "Corsican Legion" (1805) and later they joined Joseph's neapolitan army (to be part of the "Real Corso Napolitano"). It seems that a contemporary author saw them in their brown uniform and took them for the Tirailleurs Corses (sorry but I can't remember where I've read it).

An interesting website with a full history of the Tirailleurs Corses (in french but with illustrations) here :
Bataillon des Tirailleurs Corses (1802-1811)

Back to the original error in the illustrations, IMHO, it's probably the same story as the famous "bavarian blue" or the "French light infantry blue" (see Osprey): one day, an illustrator used a specific color and his followers simply copied him without checking the sources.
For an example regarding the french infantry blue, here are several pictures from the Army museum in Paris showing uniforms of light and line units of the french infantry. If one can make a real difference between the dying… (not to mention the numerous primary sources like Otto, Kolbe… giving the same dark blue shade for both line and light units).

Habit d'officier, 12e régiment d'infanterie légère (1804-1814)

Habit de brigadier, 1ere légion de gendarmerie impériale (1804-1814)

Habit de voltigeur, 121e régiment d'infanterie


Fusilier d'infanterie de ligne, 1804-1806

von Winterfeldt05 Nov 2009 5:50 a.m. PST

Here courtesey Guy Dempsey jr.

The definitive description of the uniforms of the Po Tirailleurs
> is
> provided in a written in 1847 by E. Hulot, the commander of the unit
> from
> 1805-1807. The letter, which is reproduced in a short biography of
> Hulot by
> an anonymous author, provides the following information (translated
> from the
> French by me):
> Quote
> You have asked me to write to you to describe the uniforms of
> the Po
> Tirailleurs and the Corsican Chasseurs so that these two corps can be
> accurately depicted in a painting concerning the Battle of Hof,
> February 6,
> 1807, that is being created by Colonel Langlois.
> These two corps had the exact same uniform as all the other
> light
> infantry of the period and the same organization -- nine companies
> (including
> one of carabiniers) and no voltigeurs [!?]. My battalion differed
> from the
> other only in the dress of the drummers. Both a drummer and a fifer
> were
> attached to each company; they carried a small carbine suspended from
> a sling
> and were commanded by a drum major. Their uniform was different from
> that of
> all other drummers and fifers in the army because the lapels were red
> and
> were cut to a point in light infantry style.
> Unquote
> The only other information I have on point is that on July 27,
> 1804,
> Napoleon ordered Berthier to make sure that the Carabiniers of the
> unit
> received the bearskin caps he had agreed they could have."

Courtesy by Guy Dempsey jr.

12345678 Inactive Member05 Nov 2009 6:01 a.m. PST

Your second link is to the alleged uniforms of the bataillons d'infanterie légère corse, not the tirailleurs corse, who wore a standard French light infantry uniform in 1805-07, as per:

Hulot, Etienne (1774-1850)
Le lieutenant-général baron E. Hulot, 1774-1850. Notice biographique. Documents historiques et militaires. Ordres du jour. Lettres (Paris, 1884) 84p.

Runicus Fasticus Inactive Member05 Nov 2009 8:20 p.m. PST

I am prtty rusty when it comes to the Napoleonic period,haveing steped away from gameing and reading about the period for about 15 years.I have just returned to gameing Napoleonics useing the new rules from Foundry.The book is full of full color plates from knotel.One of these plates has the heading "Tirailleurs Corses,Voltigeur,1809." The figure is in a Brown uniform with Green collar ,green pointed cuffs,and green lapels,and turnbacks.He is wearing the short black gaitors withwith yellow trim and tassel.Their is only one crossbelt,,,the one holding the saberand bayonet.The ammo box is on a belt on the front of the figures waste.If the coloring is true,,,he is also issued with a dark blue greatcoat.

I hope this bit helps some.

Tim Young

12345678 Inactive Member06 Nov 2009 8:35 a.m. PST

This appears to be one that Knotel got wrong; the primary sources all indicate that they wore the standard light infantry uniform.

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