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"War of Austrian Succession French Artillery Drivers" Topic

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Rod MacArthur28 Mar 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

I have come across these prints of French Artillery Drivers in the period 1740-45.



They are wearing grey smocks and some form of cap with a red "flamme".

I cannot tell whether the cap is cloth (black or blue), like a "bonnet de police", or fur, like a French Dragoons one. Does anyone know?


Wargamorium28 Mar 2017 10:23 a.m. PST

That is most interesting.

As far as I know such drivers were civilians but it seems from those pictures that they may have been supplied with clothing.

Time for figure manufacturers to get busy!

Chokidar28 Mar 2017 11:23 a.m. PST

Don't get me started on this one again… yes they were civilians in the sense they were not enlisted.. but that is where it stopped. They were not part time but served for the duration of a campaign or even for a period of years… by this period practically every country was supplying them with some form of standardized kit if not exactly a uniform.
Don't forget that in Britain at least it was not until way into the 18th century that the artillery came under the army at all.
The notion that we should have them looking like farmer Giles is so wrong.. but apparently impossible to kill…
Bar Humbug…
Nice find by the way…

Wargamorium28 Mar 2017 11:38 a.m. PST

Sorry for upsetting you Chokidar – that was not my intention. I didn't realise you had such strong views on the subject.

Chokidar28 Mar 2017 11:51 a.m. PST

Not directed against you Wargamorium and in turn I meant no offence.. I was just having my rant in general on the subject. Nurse has now brought my medication and done up all those nice buckle things down the back…

And I really am sorry if I appeared to join the offensive here who enjoy being abusive.

It is a VERY interesting subject and if our little exchange has done even a little bit to set the record straight we shall have had a particularly constructive day.

No hard feelings – (and if you are interested in the Austrian equivalent they appear in the Thummler work on Austrian uniforms… fascinating they are too.


Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Wonder if the smock was worn to protect a uniform? In the second print, we see over the knee gaiters being worn, which I doubt anybody in civilian dress would do. Plus, the fellow in the wagon wears the same type of fatigue cap and gaiters, but no smock, revealing a red waistcoat and breeches.

Rod MacArthur28 Mar 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

When I originally asked the question, I only had low resolution copies of the two prints. In order to post links on TMP, I searched for the original prints in the outstanding New York Public Library collection.

The links are much higher resolution than my original copies. On viewing these, I have effectively answered my own question, in that the headgear looks like caps with leather brims, and red "flamme" bags.


Rod MacArthur29 Mar 2017 5:15 a.m. PST

Extrabio1947 wrote:

Wonder if the smock was worn to protect a uniform? In the second print, we see over the knee gaiters being worn, which I doubt anybody in civilian dress would do. Plus, the fellow in the wagon wears the same type of fatigue cap and gaiters, but no smock, revealing a red waistcoat and breeches.

I have had a thought. In the Funken "Lace Wars" Part 2 book, page 41, at the top of the picture there is a member of the Artillery Train in 1745. He is wearing a red uniform with red breeches, white knee length gaiters and a tricorne hat. His train horse is identical to those in the NYPL collection above.

I wonder whether the Funken plate shows their full dress uniform, whilst the NYPL prints show that same uniform with a protective grey smock worn over it, and a "working hat".

I will be modelling some French Artillery soon, and intend showing the drivers just like those in the NYPL prints.


Musketier Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

Could the fellows in red waistcoats and breeches not be gunners, or artillery labourers in fatigues? In which case the drivers may have been supplied with the same fatigue cap for purposes of uniformity. The smock would have been standard for civilian teamsters.

Rod MacArthur12 Apr 2017 12:40 p.m. PST

Well, I have made my models now, and they can be seen here:



Maxshadow25 Jul 2017 1:44 a.m. PST

Extremely well done Rod. I'm amazed how close you got to the original prints.

Stephen RA Inactive Member31 Jul 2017 3:10 a.m. PST

A quick note on over the knee gaiters. These were in agricultural use in the Belgian Provinces of the low countries from the early 1600s. There usefulness seems to have been noticed by the military of various countries during the Marlburian period. It's natural, I suppose, that agricultural workers employed by the armies as artillery drivers would have continued to use the gaiters as their normal work wear.

Stephen RA Inactive Member31 Jul 2017 3:12 a.m. PST

P.S. very nice models, Rod

Monsieur de Chevert Inactive Member02 Aug 2017 3:15 a.m. PST

More info

Until the end of the 18th century, the service of the artillery train and supply corps was provided by civilian companies . The contract is awarded for a campaign, from may to october, after the company was dissolved. It concerned mens, horses , harness, caissons, wagons …
From Louvois (Louis XIV) the company had to wore their crews. Crews were organized into brigades.]




According to La Chesnaye (1759 ): « les valets des équipages des vivres sont habillés à l'imitation des troupes et la valeur de cet habit est pris petit à petit sur leur paye. Ils ont tous un habit uniforme excepté les parements des manches afin de distinguer chaque brigade, les couleurs sont: bleu foncé, bleu pale, rouge foncé, rouge clair, blanc, brun, vert, gris, jaune minime, feuille morte, amarante… suivant le nombre de brigades. On se modèle sur l'habillement des soldats et consiste en: un juste au corps, culotte, bas, chapeau ou bonnet à la dragonne, souliers de cuir fort avec des clous dessous. On délivre ces habillements aux charretier et muletiers à l'entrée d'une campagne…
Le munitionnaire se pourvoit pour l'entrée en campagne d'un nombre suffisant de sarrau et de bonnet de treillis blanc croisés, bordés d'un galon de laine bleue, garnis de boutons de cuivre dont deux par devant et trois à chaque manche, le bonnet à la dragonne ayant un W sur les replis du devant et une houppe à la pointe; le W et la houppe de laine blanche. »
Or in Aulnay , Traité des Subsistances militaires – 1746 « Comme les charretiers et muletiers des vivres doivent avoir l'uniforme, les munitionnaires se pourvoient pour l'entrée de la campagne d'un nombre suffisant de sarraus et de bonnets de treillis blanc croisés , bordé d'un gallon de laine bleue, garnis de bouton de cuivre, dont deux par devant, et trois à chaque manche; le bonnet à la dragonne ayant un W sur les replis de devant, et une houpe à la pointe, le W et la houppe de laine blanche. »

sarraus = smocks, generally blue, with two cupper buttons on collar and three on wrists, over a waist
They wore hat or a fatigue cap « bonnet de police with a white W for the équipages des vivres (and probably a double A for the artillery train) in front of the cap .


Monsieur de Chevert Inactive Member10 Aug 2017 1:06 a.m. PST

I have to correct

Artillery cap had a saltire of two cannons « deux canons en sautoir » as wrote d'Aulnay (1746), probably yellow (gold).
And the neck collar of draft horses was blue painted with a double A crowned, as had painted Blarenberghe.]




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