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"Late War France Flag Query" Topic

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138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2019 6:23 a.m. PST

This is a specific wargaming question, not so much a military history question.

I am expanding/replacing my French infantry. Previously I had these figures painted for 1808-1811 with the
central white diamond.

Now the rules I use work with individual battalions.

Since I'm mostly gaming the late war period I've gone over to the 1812 tricolour, or Tricolore if you prefer.

This gives me a problem. Do I give every battalion a Tricolour, which is ahistorical. but appears common in wargaming. Or do I go for 1 Tricolour/Eagle and say 3-5 extra battalions with Fanions?

I acknowledge that the Tricolours look better but I'd like to give the feel of a late period French army. So what have you done?

Old Peculiar01 Aug 2019 7:00 a.m. PST

Personally I have fanions for the non Eagle battalions, but I like the variety.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2019 8:34 a.m. PST

Everyone gets eagles for me.

Even a unit as small as Gendarmes d'Elite has three! One eagle bearer is Gringos40, one Perry bearskin and one Perry Helmet.

They just look so good with an eagle and the cords/cravate.

Challenge for you is which Tricolour? Late Empire or Hundred Days. Former much more ornate, latter that bit bigger

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2019 8:59 a.m. PST

Strictly speaking, it should be one eagle with tricolour with the first battalion and fanions with the rest. Regiments were only supposed to take one eagle on campaign from 1808 onwards but many ignored this (possession is nine tenths of the law). After 1812, when the tricolour came in, only one eagle was issued to each regiment for new units and to replace those lost in Russia. Therefore, I think the one eagle rule is more likely after 1812 and I would go for that.

Marcel180901 Aug 2019 9:02 a.m. PST

You will have to compromise, because if you want to be truely "correct", when you go for fanions for 2nd etc btns. you cannot really use the eagle bearers of the late period, Eagle bearer was an officer, faninion beareerr an NCo, one of the reasons why a lot of my btns have eagles, i hate to throw away a perfectly good figure and i am not very good at conversions. If you use Perry mini's they have some very good command sets foor 2nd etc btns.

Widowson01 Aug 2019 11:57 a.m. PST

Technically speaking, the eagle was a regimental asset, not associated with the first battalion. So the first battalion should also have a fanion.

The Tin Dictator02 Aug 2019 6:11 a.m. PST

Actually, you could do a Regimental command stand with a couple flags and give all the battalions fanions if you want to try and be as historically correct as a you can. But where's the spectacle in that?

I'd go with flags for each battalion. It may just be a Wargames thing but it looks better on the table. And it also provides you with an easier transition to other rule sets in the future when you have to rearrange your units.

The more flags on the battlefield, the better.

Marcel180902 Aug 2019 9:32 a.m. PST

Widowson,Ii understand your reasoning but I am not sure whether the 1st actually had a fanion (carried next to the eagle?) all I ever came across is references to 2nd , 3rd etc battalion fanions. I did see an illustration(modern) in Osprey campaign 48 Salamanca where the eagle and fanion are shown next to eachother, If you have info on first battalion fanions please share. For purely wargames purposes maybe not so interesting as you might get to much flags compared to the actual soldier models.

Widowson02 Aug 2019 11:45 a.m. PST

I was just thinking that the eagle did not neccessarily move with the first battalion. What if the first battalion is resting, or on a special assignment? Or if first and second battalions are advancing, the eagle might be between them.

The funny thing is that the second battalion eagles were removed in 1808 when the army went from a 2 battalion structure to 3. But in the later years, Waterloo springs to mind, nearly all the regiments only had 2 battalions anyway. Funny, that.

La Fleche02 Aug 2019 8:49 p.m. PST

I think initial consideration should be given not to the eagles but to your "battalions" of miniatures, scale, rules and organisation.

By that I mean, are your "battalions" actual battalions or manouver units that could represent any actual battalion; or are they the representative of an actual regiment?

For example, is that "battalion" of miniatures you're looking at, the say, "1st battalion of the 37th Ligne" or "a battalion of the 37th Ligne" or is it just a generic French line "battalion" that could represent the aforementioned actual battalion/ regiment or any other line battalion?

What I'm getting at is that due to scale and space constraints no game or set of rules has the scope to represent every unit of an historical battle on the table. The two compromises are: having the units represent larger formations (a "decimated" approach to representing armies regiments represented by 1st battalion (or 2nd, 3rd etc), divisions by senior regiments etc) or reducing the number of higher level units (say, for example, a Battle of Waterloo with the French represented either by say, Donzelot's Division and some cavalry, or a composite division or corps comprising actual units that were historically in different divisions or corps).

I guess the crux of my argument is, as others have said, that your decision will be made when you have resolved the tension between historical accuracy and unit variety and balance, dictated by scale and ruleset, and to some degree whether you're fighting from an historical OOB.

If the scales tip towards historical accuracy then 1 eagle per regiment; if they tip towards variety then every battalion gets an eagle.

However, a four battalion 37th regiment with 1 eagle and three fanions could be divided to represent four different regiments (1st battalion 37th and 2nd, 3rd, 4th battalions of other regiments, if desired. That gives flexibility to move between the "decimated" and composite approaches to higher level representation.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 11:07 a.m. PST

My opinion it's Napoleonic, go for the spectacle. Then you can at a later time switch to units as regiments.

Both fancy and practical, every one is a winner.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP08 Aug 2019 4:45 p.m. PST

La Flache, no one battalion historical battalion is represented by one unit of four stands, or 24 figures. Most of the games I play have 24-30 such units.

La Fleche08 Aug 2019 8:28 p.m. PST

138SwuadronRAF said:

La Flache, no one battalion historical battalion is represented by one unit of four stands, or 24 figures. Most of the games I play have 24-30 such units.

Ok, it sounds like your units are generic French infantry, not organised on a historical OOB. I would go for the "everyone get's a flag" option, since you "only" have 30 units. Though not historically accurate, it is more visually appealing.

Timbo W10 Aug 2019 2:47 a.m. PST

Somewhat related, did the old diamond flags persist when the tricolor was introduced? Ie is a mix acceptable for rg 1813

huevans01119 Aug 2019 8:21 a.m. PST

Technically speaking, the eagle was a regimental asset, not associated with the first battalion. So the first battalion should also have a fanion.

I have never read any description of how / what colour the 1st bn fanion was supposed to have been. Plenty to describe 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc bn fanions.

I deduce therefrom that the 1st bn had the Eagle

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