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"Unknown Uniforms" Topic

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1,179 hits since 7 Jan 2013
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Comments or corrections?

Sergeant Ewart07 Jan 2013 3:49 p.m. PST

Found these two prints on a Russian website and haven't a clue as to nation, regiment etc. can anyone help?

Gerry McGinty

Hope this works:



Garde de Paris07 Jan 2013 3:58 p.m. PST

The coloring is most unusual for French troops, appearing to be black. The style of the figures in both plates is classic French Napoleonic.

The trooper of cavalry holds a saddle covered with a wool shabraque with pointed rear ends, and suggests the short-lived Gendarmes d'Ordonnance, recruited from young French nobles, and intended to be one of the Guard units.

The infantry my represent French penal battalions that went into Russia during the 1812 campaign – I believe in conjunction with the 9th Corps to try to rescue the retreating army. Again, they should be dark blue, not black.

I would be delighted to learn that they represent formerly totally unknown Napoleonic era units!


Artilleryman07 Jan 2013 4:24 p.m. PST

The first lot do look like the Gendarmes D'Ordonnance in dark green as the Garde says though the drummer seems an odd addition to a mountrd unit. However, the second lot look more like the naval artillery battalions (dressed in dark blue) which were formed from maritime gunners in 1813 when Napoleon was desperately trying to rebuild his army. They proved to be surprisingly good and effective infantry.

TMPWargamerabbit07 Jan 2013 4:56 p.m. PST

I am thinking of the 16th Chasseurs a cheval for their light blue facings. The drum is ???. Maybe just a prop for the picture?

The 2nd slide could be one of those French foreign regiments formed in 1806-07 period…? Not the Irish legion but one of the German ex-prisoner types. D'Irenbourg? The dark color could be dark green. The long coat tails suggests early period before the Penal regiments and the naval artillery formation.


gboue200107 Jan 2013 9:34 p.m. PST


Two Napoleon's guard units-Early uniforms

gendarmes d'ordonnance 1806 , they had a foot company with drummers, strange to see that only the cavalrymen are depicted.
Foot Artillerey guard first uniform 1806-1808 the first uniform was very close to Line artilllery , the bearskin was adopted for the 1809 campaign.


von Winterfeldt08 Jan 2013 3:48 a.m. PST

gendarmes d'ordonnance
artillerie de marine

no penal units

Brechtel19808 Jan 2013 7:10 a.m. PST

The first is probably the short-lived Gendarmes d'Ordnance of the Guard as they are in dark green with black leather equipment. No line chasseur a cheval unit wore aiguillettes, as that was a Guard privilege. The white plumes are also a giveaway for this units.

However, the sky blue facings were not part of the uniform of the Gendarmes d'Ordnance and that is curious and probably an error. The only line chasseur a cheval unit that had sky blue as a facing color was the 16th, but they didn't wear aiguillettes.

The infantry are most probably the naval artillery that formed four large infantry units in Marmont's VI Corps in 1813. Their uniforms, including their overcoats, were dark blue-the overcoats having them mistaken for Guard infantry (along with their sterling performance in the field) by allied units.

However, the naval artillery regiments had black leather equipment, not white as pictured here.


Sergeant Ewart08 Jan 2013 1:05 p.m. PST

Thanks gents for your help and ideas – I am going with the Gendarmes d'Ordonnance & Artillerie de Marine which seem most likely to me – pity about the black uniforms instead of green and blue.
Best regards

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 3:50 p.m. PST

It is just poor reproduction of the original I am sure. If you look closely enough, green and blue do cone through. Cannot place the source, but we have seen discussion before of how these Russian sites can exhibit what would be copyrighted in EU. The whole range of Osprey illustration is there if you know where to look.

summerfield09 Jan 2013 3:36 a.m. PST

This is poor scanning. Also the colour of the uniforms may well reflect the actual rather than the artistic colour depth. Remember that we paint figures in a lighter colour the smaller they are.

Rifle green is almost black in reality.

stephen116210 Jan 2013 4:45 a.m. PST

According to Andre Jouineau – French Imperial Guard, Vol. 4 – the Gendarmes d'Ordonnance had green facings but their musicians had the blue as shown in your link.

The Marine Artillery originally had black crossbelts, but they had changed to white by 1813 per Rene Chartrand's Osprey book Napoleon's Sea Soldiers.

So except for the darkened blue and green, I don't see any problem with these prints.


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