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"French bicornes?" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

BorisTheSpider02 Sep 2018 6:52 a.m. PST

Excuse my lack of knowledge…I know virtually nothing about Napoleonics. Would the French infantry have worn bicornes fighting the Prussians in 1806?I

Thanks in advance!

Battle Phlox02 Sep 2018 7:57 a.m. PST

Short answer: Yes

Long answer: The official headgear was now the shako but they had only been distributed to a few units. And those units wore white jackets.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 9:12 a.m. PST

So (all sentences recently start with that for some reason…and it is not even US girl-speak) have to ask, why the question.

Intrigued that, if you are so new to this era, why the question?

God help you if you are trying to recreate that look. Three Armies will tell you that anything before 1815 (and 18th June at that) simply did not happen.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2018 9:17 a.m. PST

The 1809 campaign was the first in which all the infantry finally wore shakos. Before that, I would put my French line infantry in bicornes. The only exceptions would be leger regiments and the regiments in the new white uniform of which there were only 12 (3, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 21,32, 33, 46 and 53) and they were back in blue after 1808.

von Winterfeldt02 Sep 2018 9:50 a.m. PST

Yes, but they are no bicornes, they still had a sort of frontal tip like in the Revolutionary Wars, the shako appears gradually in 1807 – that is for line infantry, light infantry did wear shakos in 1806

nsolomon9902 Sep 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

And I'll add that 1806 is a great place to start Napoleonics!

You have a range of actions of different sizes. You have a French Army probably at the height of its prowess and a Prussian Army with great potential in the rank and file but hampered by outdated tactical doctrines and low quality senior commanders.

Both armies look spectacular when painted and laid out on the table top. Figure ranges for both armies are pretty complete and readily available for both armies plus the Saxon allies of Prussia, in both 15/18mm and 25/28mm.

And its central europe so good terrain and buildings are also readily available.

Some good rules systems out there to reproduce the fighting.

Great period to wargame. Welcome to Napoleonics.

4th Cuirassier03 Sep 2018 3:44 a.m. PST

That's handy to know, about the light getting shakoes first. Good way to distinguish them on the table top…

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2018 3:22 p.m. PST

And the lights would more than likely have the plume on the left side of the shako, not the front. But you can have a mixture of both because as with everything French in this period – it depends.

Three Armies09 Sep 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

I couldn't agree more with 1806 being a perfect place to start. i have a fast growing range of French and Prussians for this period really looking forward to adding Artillery and cavalry by the end of the year. Now to answer the question, YES many units still had bicornes but the shakos had only just been issued, and initially only to units that were supposed to have the new white uniforms. I have no evidence of the white coats by Jena, but we do see evidence from Napoleon himself that soldiers had white coats by 1807 when they were fighting the Russians.

18th Century Guy Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2018 4:30 p.m. PST

Three Armies, I love your French & Prussians for 1806. Very nice figures you have going there.

Widowson19 Sep 2018 9:25 p.m. PST

I have studied the uniforms of the French army for many years, and never heard of an association of shakos, coming into use in 1806, and white uniforms, issued during the same period.

Trace the actual issue of white uniforms, some in those units wore shakos, others wore bicorns. Likewise in units in blue uniforms wore both headgears.

That's just my impression. I can be corrected.

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