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"Late 18th Century Papal States army information?" Topic

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TMPWargamerabbit27 Feb 2016 10:22 a.m. PST

Question for the gamers and researchers with the odd bits of information on the late 18th century Papal States army.

Does someone have information on the Papal States and Roman Republic armies during the 1780-1801 time period? Any pointers where to look? I have the odd uniform plates and and national colors but my library has stumped me for the finer details.

Organization information? I think somewhat Austrian for the Papal States and of course French legion styled organization (I, II, II Legions) or demi brigade for the Roman Republic period. The Roman Republican army during this period must have been the worst for all time… The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies at least showed up for marches and parades.

Regiment names? Types of infantry or cavalry? They had some artillery… Austrian cannon handoffs? 6 cannon per battery or bring what you have available organization? Battalion cannon I expect for the per 1799 Papal states.

Looking specifically for information on the Battle of Faenza (also called Castel Bolonese or Imola) fought on Feb 3, 1797. Planning a WR tabletop scenario. Historically was a quick French romp but still a very rare battlefield action between the French Republic and the Vatican. Have exactly one period source with a brief information prior to, the paragraph for the battle movement and setup, and then pages of the afterwards French march to victory and forced treaty signing (Peace of Tolentino).

Anyone have the French order of battle for Victor-Perrin's column? I know it included the Italian Legion and some of the French grenadiers from Lannes command?

In summary: Organization or structure. types of units, unit strength or manpower if known, uniform data would be great to hopefully fill in the many gaps I have. Generals of note…. not the Cardinals. And any info on the Battle of Faenza / Castel Bolognese / Imola fought on Feb 3, 1797.

Early thanks to the worldwide TMP.

Michael aka WR

KTravlos Inactive Member27 Feb 2016 1:24 p.m. PST

Hmm, you might want to try Hanlon's masterpiece of a book though it will not have all the information you want


Actually Guissepe Rava, the illustrator, is on Facebook and on TMP and he has been posting a lot of illustrations from the Venetian conflict with Rev.France. He might be able to give you pointers of where to look.


Camcleod27 Feb 2016 11:33 p.m. PST

Not much info .
The Greenhill Databook mentions the Clash at Castel Bolognese and Capitulation at Ancona, the only two actions against the Papal Forces.
The reference is given as Bodart, Gaston. Militar-Historisches Kriegslexikon 1618-1905.
See the copy on p. 319 :

wangrin Inactive Member28 Feb 2016 8:13 a.m. PST

You could find some informations in this booklet : "Uniformi militari italiane del settecento"
by Massimo Brandani, Piero Crocianiand Massimo Fiorentino, edited by Rivista Militare, 1978.

It give informations (italian) and plates about uniform (infantry, cavalry and milicia): link

You can also have a look to this wikipedia page : link

TMPWargamerabbit28 Feb 2016 9:14 a.m. PST

KT, Cam, Wgin. Thanks all. Your help is appreciated. I will have to read your book KT. WGin the uniform plates confirm I painted my old Papal States units somewhat correct. Will have to clean up and get them on the tabletop soon. Didn't think of Italian based Wikipedia….. must drink some more Italian wine.

For the Battle of Faenza Feb 3, 1797…. I only have the following description apart from the results stated above by Camcleod:

From the History of Campaigns in the Years 1796, 1797, 1798. and 1799 in Germany, Italy and Switzerland…. in four volumes. Volume I I think, pages 354-367.

" On the 1st of February, Bonaparte made himself master of Imola; and marched the next day to attack Faenza, in front of which the Papal troops were entrenched, behind the river Senio. These troops, which had never before been in action, ventured never-less to wait the conquerors of the Austrians, and were desirous of showing that report had not done justice to them. As soon as the French appeared on the left bank of the Senio, they were cannonaded from the batteries which the troops of the Pope has erected on the opposite bank. Bonaparte brought against them a legion of Italians, which he had raised in Lombardy (Lombardy legion): this body of troops, which, like its opponents, had never been before engaged, but which was supported by the French, attacked, in concert with them, this little army, which was quickly broken and put to flight. It lost 14 pieces of cannon, 1000 prisoners, and 400 killed or wounded. the French lost only 40 men, such, at least, was the account of Bonaparte, who also asserted, that several priests had been killed in the field of battle.
After the easy victory, then French arrived under the walls of Faenza, the inhabitants of which assembled at the sound of the tocsin, and flew to arms. Bonaparte forced the gates of the city with cannon; he had not the barbarity to put in execution the threats contained in his proclamation, and did not give up the town to pillage….."

The story goes on for the march further into Papal territory and the surrender of the Papal states.

Well, I guess I will have to develop the scenario with the information so far learned and flesh out the tabletop action.

Thanks all.

Michael aka WR

Eclipsing Binaries06 Mar 2016 5:14 a.m. PST

Great info guys, thank you. I may now add to some of my Italian regiments now that I'm inspired.

wangrin Inactive Member17 Mar 2016 11:46 a.m. PST

I was thinking you could find some informations in the following book :
Insegne Militari Preunitarie Italiane
By Stephano ALES
Stato Maggiore Esercito Ufficio Storico

It give informations about OOB for :
Savoy (Esercito Sabaudo, 1671-1848)
Napoli (Esercito Napoletano, 1734-1860)
Papal States (Esercito Pontificio, 1690-1870)
Toscana (Esercito Toscano, 1700-1859)
Lucca (Esercito di Lucca, 1700-1847)
Venice (Esercito della Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, 1693-1797)
Genoa (Esercito della Repubblica di Genova, 1702-1797)
Parma (Esercito del ducato di Parma, Piacenza e Guastalla, 1700-1859)
Modena (Esercito del ducato di Modena, 1700-1859)

And, of course, several flags (colonel and ordinance) for these Italian States.

About Papal States from 1793 to 1798 :

Infantry :
- battaglione delle Guardie, di Castello, dei Corsi, dela Marca, di Ancona, di Romagna, di Civitavecchia
- reggimento di Ferrara e Bologna, di Contestabile Colonna (1796)
- compagnie autonome di Terracina, di Perugia, di Ascoli, di Senigallia

Cavalry :
- 3 compagnie di dragoni (1793 : 2 stationed in Roma and 1 in Civitavecchia and later in Romagna( 1794)
- corpo dei Distinti Volontari di Cavalleria (1796)

Artillery :
- 2 artillery companies (1792) : 1 stationed in Roma, the other stationed in Civitavecchia
- 2 bombardieri companies (1793) by amalgamating these from Castel San Angello, Ferrara, Bologna and Ancona
- companies amalgamated in 1796 to create the battaglione di artiglieria, maestranza e bombardieri

In 1797, the infantry was reorganizated in 2 legioni di fanteria :
1st legioni was composed of Guardie and Civitavecchia regiments.
2d legioni was composed of Colonna and Marca regiments and a garrison regiment.

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