Help support TMP


"War of First Coalition organization and uniforms?" Topic


11 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the 18th Century Discussion Message Board

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board



Areas of Interest

18th Century
Napoleonic

615 hits since 5 Jan 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Prince Alberts Revenge05 Jan 2019 12:34 p.m. PST

From 1792-1796, how would the French infantry look? Would there be a complete mix where old Royalist uniforms with tarletons be side by side with volunteers in Phrygian caps and bicornes? I've read that sometimes a former unit of the royalists would be grouped with and used to stiffen volunteer units, how would these respective units have looked? Do we have any clear evidence? I realize that the answers me be lacking but I'm trying to avoid getting the look of my revolutionary French completely wrong.

Is there any uniform and organizational information online or in book form on the Austrians and their allies (specifically Sardinians and other smaller states). Thanks so much!

Nine pound round05 Jan 2019 12:53 p.m. PST

A good reference is Philip Haythornthwaite's book on the uniforms of the French Revolutionary wars. This is a complex subject, because of the combination of the existing regular army with the hordes of volunteers raised through the "levee en masse" and other voluntary or coercive measures.

Eventually, the old regular regiments were broken up and distributed as stiffeners to newly raised formations, a process known as the "Amalgame" (and there were several). The volunteers frequently wore the tricolored "national" uniform pioneered by the National Guard, while the regulars wore their old white uniforms. The basic cut of the two uniforms was the same, but the coloring was very different (and led to the perorative use of the term "bleu" for French conscripts). The blue infantry uniforms evolved only slightly into the uniforms worn from 1805-1812; the white uniforms disappeared fairly rapidly.

Within these broad parameters, there was a LOT of variation, in both infantry and cavalry, particularly for hats. Best recommendation is to start with Haythornthwaite, who provides a surprising amount of information.

Nine pound round05 Jan 2019 12:55 p.m. PST

I would add, Haythornthwaite's book has a lot on the Austrians, too.

Terry3705 Jan 2019 3:22 p.m. PST

The time frame you are looking at was one of considerable change. It was not unusual to see white coated infantry with a variety of facing colors wearing the Tarleton style helmet still in the field, or the new blue uniform that is so typical of the French of the Napoleonic period in either the Tarleton or chapeau (tricorn style hat). Plus it is very appropriate to add bits of civilian clothing with parts of their uniform as they wore what ever they could find when their uniform began to wear out. But keep in mind this is only for the line troops.

Many of the light infantry were supplied by Legions and unique units, so there's wide variety of uniforms there.

Most of the Heavy Cavalry stayed loyal to the King so most heavies during the period were pretty new and dressed in blue coats with a variety of facing colors. Only one regiment wore the Cuirass – the 8th I believe, going from memory. All wore the chapeau.

The book referenced is OK, but you can do better I think searching on the web, and also with some other sources, depending upon your budget.

Here's a start.

link


Also, if you will give me an email address, via PM I will try to share some of my research with you. The French during the revolution is one of my favorite periods and can be great fun!.

Terry

Prince of Essling05 Jan 2019 3:45 p.m. PST

Best site for Sardinian uniforms is at link

Best book on the Sardinian army is the Stato Maggiore Dell'Escercito – Ufficio Storico's "Le regie Truppe Sarde 1773-1814" author Stefano Ales, illustrated by M. Brandani

In 1792 National Order Regiments comprised 2 battalions; it appears that a battalion had 4 Fusilier companies, 1 Granatieri (grenadier) company & 1 Cacciatori (Chasseur/hunter) company; each regiment also had a depot company.
In 1793 theoretical regimental strength was 1,385 personnel; reduced to 1,156 in 1796.

In 1793 all Foreign Order regiments had 2 battalions; with theoretical regimental strength of 1,385 personnel; reduced to 1,156 in 1796.

Provincial Regiments were named after the province in which they were recruited. They had 1 battalion of 6 companies (4 fusilier, 1 grenadier & 1 cacciatori).

In 1792 all cavalry regiments had 4 squadrons (bar Light Dragoons of Sardinia which had 2 squadrons) – squadron strength was about 100 personnel.

Prince of Essling05 Jan 2019 3:48 p.m. PST

Best site for Sardinian uniforms is at link

Best book on the Sardinian army is the Sato Maggiore Dell'Escercito – Ufficio Storico's "Le regie Truppe Sarde 1773-1814" author Stefano Ales, illustrated by M. Brandani

In 1792 National Order Regiments comprised 2 battalions; it appears that a battalion had 4 Fusilier companies, 1 Granatieri (grenadier) company & 1 Cacciatori (Chasseur/hunter) company; each regiment also had a depot company.
In 1793 theoretical regimental strength was 1,385 personnel; reduced to 1,156 in 1796.

In 1793 all Foreign Order regiments had 2 battalions; with theoretical regimental strength of 1,385 personnel; reduced to 1,156 in 1796.

Provincial Regiments were named after the province in which they were recruited. They had 1 battalion of 6 companies (4 fusilier, 1 grenadier & 1 cacciatori).

In 1792 all cavalry regiments had 4 squadrons (bar Light Dragoons of Sardinia which had 2 squadrons) – squadron strength was about 100 personnel.

Chad4706 Jan 2019 9:05 a.m. PST

Prince Albert

Initially the Royal Regts we're deployed sepately form the Volunteers and their organisation changed to the 9 company battalion. The Grenadier companies were detached to form Combined Grenadier battalions.

During 1793 the battalions were were brigaded in the field; the Embrigadement. During that year new recruits were incorporated into both types of unit; Incorporation. finally at the end of that year and into 1794 came the first Amalgame. This involved creating new Demi-Brigades from the companies of both Royal and Volunteer battalions. There were Demi-brigades which consisted entirely of volunteer battalions.

As to Austrians W J Rawkins produces an e-book covering the army which contains organisation and uniform information.

Hope this helps. There is also an Osprey book, The French Revolutionary Infantry' I think is the title.

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 3:03 a.m. PST

A good impression of the diversity of clothing- uniform is not perhaps the best word- seen in the Armee du Nord at the tail-end of the 1794-95 campaign can be found in this extensive set of images from 70 aquarelles by Auguste Hauk.

link

(The Bibliothèque National catalogue says 'Types de l'armée de Pichegru à Rotterdam en 1794' which can't be accurate, since the French didn't reach Rotterdam till Jan 1795)

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 4:39 a.m. PST

On the amalgamations:

There was much wastage, inefficiency, and disorganization when the wars began when a greatly enlarged French army took the field.

The term ‘demi-brigade' was prompted by the amalgamation of the regular battalions and volunteer battalions, one regular and two volunteer, and there weren't enough regular battalions to brigade with volunteer battalions. There were more than twice the number of volunteer battalions than regular battalions. Therefore, there were some demi-brigades without regular battalions in them.

One of the reasons for this amalgamation was to destroy any trace of Royal Army traditions and loyalties, many of the former being kept alive in the units anyway.

The first attempt to rectify the mess that the army had become was in 1793 for not only were there volunteer as well as regular infantry battalions, but also federal, legionary and free corps units of varying strengths.

And this amalgamation, common sense on paper, but fouled up in application as there was a war on. The entire process was not completed until mid-1794 and even then the entire process was a mess. There were no official tables of organization and equipment before June 1794, and the units' records were a jumbled mess.

This amalgamation resulted in demi-brigades that were authorized but not activated. Sometimes two or three of them had the same number. Both auxiliary and provisional demi-brigades were formed as were new legions and independent battalions, which supposedly had been absorbed into the infantry demi-brigades.

By 1795 it was utter confusion. There were now a total of 209 ligne and 42 legere demi-brigades, many of them understrength. The authorized strength of 2,400 had been reduced in some to 300; some actually had only 50 men around the colors.

The second amalgamation in early 1796 was a consolidation of the existing demi-brigades to 110 ligne and 30 legere demi-brigades. Battalions were now to have a strength of 1,067 all ranks.

This amalgamation hurt morale in many of the demi-brigades. Officers were transferred as there was now a surplus of officers and NCOs. Units that had been developing unit pride were either abolished or consolidated with other units. The 18th Demi-brigade for example represented the survivors of two regular and fourteen volunteer battalions.

An excellent reference for the changes and amalgamations in French infantry organization for the period can be found in JB Avril's Avantages du Bonne Discipline. It is in tabular form and is easy to follow. It was published in 1824.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2019 4:50 a.m. PST

Many of the light infantry were supplied by Legions and unique units, so there's wide variety of uniforms there.
Most of the Heavy Cavalry stayed loyal to the King so most heavies during the period were pretty new and dressed in blue coats with a variety of facing colors. Only one regiment wore the Cuirass – the 8th I believe, going from memory. All wore the chapeau.

Do you have a source stating or demonstrating that most of the heavy cavalry 'stayed loyal to the king'?

The Royal Allemand and the Hussards de Saxe (4th Hussars) lost most of those units to desertion to the allies, but the number of enlisted men that actually emigrated was comparatively small.

The light infantry arm came from the original 12 battalions of chasseurs a pied which eventually became the senior light infantry regiments.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.