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"SYW French Command Stands" Topic

29 Posts

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2,310 hits since 3 Mar 2010
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

BF Mark03 Mar 2010 10:13 a.m. PST

I am painting French SYW command stands (2x2) on a 3/4" by 1" base. What figures should I use and in what arragement?

Should the front rank be officer on the right, standard bearer on the left – second rank, NCo on the right, drummer on the left?

I am setting up for battalion level rules, but also intend to play Age of Honor.


Brett181503 Mar 2010 10:54 a.m. PST

Each infantry unit had two colours, so why not put the officer in between them? I have my drummer behind one of the colours, but that's just me!

BF Mark03 Mar 2010 11:19 a.m. PST

I thought the colonel's color would fly from a separate battalion of the regiment. I am, however, new to the Seven Years War.


ge2002bill Supporting Member of TMP03 Mar 2010 8:18 p.m. PST

Drummers were not posted with the flags. They were to the sides of the battalion.

Cardinal Hawkwood04 Mar 2010 2:39 a.m. PST

White colour always to the right of other cplours drummers to the rear of the colours , their job was to transmit instructions to the unit from the senior officers who rode up and down behind their respectiv half of the battalion , meeting behind the colours to confer and issue instructions via the drummers..

Demaratos04 Mar 2010 3:25 a.m. PST

I based my colours the wrong way around. Are you sure Hawkwood?

Oberreifenberg04 Mar 2010 3:42 a.m. PST


Pretty sure Hawkwood is right – think of it this way… the 'King's color' is on the right hand side just like the right flank was the position of honor.

Demaratos04 Mar 2010 3:53 a.m. PST

Funnily enough, I just based them following examples on 2 quite well respected sites. I have just confirmed that they have them the wrong way around as well : )

Time to rebase….

abdul666lw04 Mar 2010 5:00 a.m. PST

According to French drill regulations, the drummers (with the possible exception of the grenadiers' one and the one alloted to the 'piquet') were gathered behind the colours, to be close to the colonel: they were the signallers of the time,remember.

Musketier04 Mar 2010 6:19 a.m. PST

My understanding was that French drummers formed in two groups behind the wings of the battalion, rather than one block in its centre?

The colonel's colour certainly belongs on the right, with a battalion colour to its left. It seems that the colours actually were carried one each in the two middle platoons, i.e. at some distance from each other, and only gathered in the exact centre when about to advance. Whether and how one might wish to represent this is another matter…

Not sure whether its possible on a base 3/4" by 1", but putting the colonel on horseback may solve the problem of having a "lesser" figure next to him. The ensigns could squeeze in to either side of the horse's rump. Sergeants could go to either end of the line, keeping things together.

ge2002bill Supporting Member of TMP04 Mar 2010 12:05 p.m. PST

1755 Odonance places the drums on the sides/wings.
Odd – I know but perhaps not?

Cardinal Hawkwood04 Mar 2010 4:35 p.m. PST

not odd at all if you consider that the two senior officers were mounted and stationed on either wing moving around to meet and confer.. most diagrams I have seen of others than the French have the drummers and hautbois grouped behind the colours..thats where I put mine..

Demaratos04 Mar 2010 6:04 p.m. PST

Thanks guys!

Arteis05 Mar 2010 12:23 a.m. PST

Oh oh, I think one of the offending "respected sites" Demaratos mentioned might be mine:


I can't remember what criteria I used for the flag placement. I'm sure I wouldn't have done it willy-nilly, but looks like whatever source I used might be wrong.

This is going to bug me now, but darned if I'll reflag or rebase!

Demaratos05 Mar 2010 3:35 a.m. PST


I didn't wish to name names : )

At least I only have 3 regiments to do!

BF Mark05 Mar 2010 8:08 a.m. PST

Thanks guys. I appreciate the help.


Arteis05 Mar 2010 3:44 p.m. PST

In my defence, this picture (my favouritist war painting of all time) was my source for my placement of the flags (see far right of painting):


But I accept that I am wrong – as is this painting (or has it been reversed perhaps?).

As mentioned above, that is the way my flags will stay, though. A great talking point, anyway.

Demaratos05 Mar 2010 5:05 p.m. PST

The Brit colours seem reversed as well in the pic….

Arteis05 Mar 2010 7:44 p.m. PST

Yeah, well, the photo is definitely not reversed. The swords are being worn on the correct side, and the shoulder straps are right. So either the artist (who was not comtemporary)was privy to some other info, or he was wrong.

Arteis06 Mar 2010 3:33 a.m. PST

I've put some thoughts (and pictures) about the matter of the flags onto my 'Dressing the Lines' blog today:


Demaratos06 Mar 2010 3:35 p.m. PST

Thanks Arteis.
I have started removing flag poles from figures today : )

Arteis06 Mar 2010 3:49 p.m. PST

Dont' be too hasty, Demaratos. Look at this:


I think this issue requires a bit more research.

Demaratos06 Mar 2010 7:19 p.m. PST

I was just about to rebase. Thanks!

Arteis06 Mar 2010 7:27 p.m. PST

The problem may be that the way we set up a 24-figure wargames unit doesn't equate to how a real battalion would be set up.

As I understand it, the first battalion had the two types of flags: one colonel's and one regimental (or 'ordannance') flag. The other battalions had only two regimental flags.

In the first battalion, the colonel's colour was carried by the senior company. The regimental flag was carried by another company altogether.

So, if I am reading correctly between the lines, the flags were not usually carried side by side as we portray them in our units.

However, not being an expert in this, I'm happy to be put right by anyone who knows better. Maybe the subject of the flag positioning now needs its own discussion thread to try and attract some expert opinions.

Demaratos06 Mar 2010 10:01 p.m. PST


I think you are correct. The wargames set up seems to be the problem. 24 figues? I only have 16 in mine : )

Musketier08 Mar 2010 5:18 a.m. PST

@Bill: Is the 1755 Ordonnance available online somewhere? As summarised by Jean-Louis Vial,
it doesn't mention the drummers' place unfortunately.

Concerning the colours, I read it as follows (describing a 12-company battalion of 6 platoons):

"The two colours of each battalion shall be placed, one between the two centre files of the 5th platoon, the other between the two centre files of the 6th platoon, between the second and third rank.
In the Swiss regiments, they shall be in the centre of the first platoon of each company
When the regiment is to fight, the ensigns' post is in the centre of each b attalion, between the second and third rank."

Hence my earlier mention of the colours being kept somewhat apart from each other fully 1/6th of the battalion frontage actually until the regiment was to enter combat.

Musketier08 Mar 2010 5:39 a.m. PST

@ Arteis: Being based on the 1776 organisation with five companies and one colour per battalion, I'm not sure the re-enactors' text you provided can be made to relate to your favourite picture (and a glorious one it is, too!)

In the 1776 text, the terms "left" and right" would seem to refer to the colour squads' place within their parent comapny and battalion, not to the relative position of the two colours?
Also, the squad carrying the colonel's colour is "to be made part of" the Colonel's company, in other words, "counted as", which would indicate that they weren't actually taken from that company. In fact the preceding Article 7 would seem to indicate that the colour guards were deliberately drawn from all companies of a battalion?

The mystery continues…

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP10 May 2010 8:28 a.m. PST

I know that one of my Prussian regiments has the flags out of position, but hey, it's just wargame unit, so I'm not going to clip off the GMB flags and rebase them. Sorry.

timurilank10 May 2010 12:16 p.m. PST

A cunning general could claim his battalion is in feigned retreat or tactical withdrawl. pourquoi pas?

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