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"La garde roiale- 1805" Topic

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Land of the Free: Elemental Analysis

Taking a look at elements in Land of the Free.

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Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 3:30 p.m. PST

To future proof some time I've planned for painting, but not yet found, definitive answers to these questions.

As 'organised' by Napoleon, the Imperial Guard marched to war with Austria in amalgamted battalions (formed with the new velites included); and his 'Italian' Garde Roiale in similar fashion.

The 'infantry' component was comprised of 4 battalions of Grenadiers and Chasseurs respectively, leaving 2 of the stated 10 to be Italian.

We know the same unit/ regimental types existed for the Garde Roiale; also his own quotation about having 70 gunners available "able to man a division of guns" gives a good clue.

Did this Guard Division as it was referred to include a battalion of Italian chasseurs or two of grenadiers; and what type/ uniform is likely to have been worn by the artillery? On the latter I've seen no evidence at all.

One could easily jump to horse artillery, as that is all that existed in the G.I. at that time.

The artillery equipment available doesn't quite match in returns either- two squadrons each 2 companies, 'ideally' manning 6 guns/pieces =24. Plus the 'Italians' would make 30 pieces.

But the returns and sources for Austerlitz cites 24 in number exactly; surely we are to conclude that some companies and artillery were left behind on the campaign trail before the big one?

Even though la garde impériale is modest in size compared to later years, I've opted to halve the French component in my gaming army to 4 smaller battalions (of which grenadiers are mostly done); 2 bns chasseurs and a squadron of the horse artillery also completed with one Italian grenadiers in green.

The Italian chasseurs hang in the balance.

Thoughts, thanks

Prince of Essling27 Mar 2020 1:36 a.m. PST

The Italian Guard Regiment (Fanteria della Guardia) consisted of 1 battalion of Granatieri (Grenadiers) and 1 of Cacciatori (Chasseurs). Each battalion of 5 (100 men) companies.
For uniforms go to & then click on Garde and then drill down to the individual units (tenues) : link

Stoppage27 Mar 2020 3:40 a.m. PST

Were the obices/obusiers detached?

Prince of Essling27 Mar 2020 9:25 a.m. PST

The Italian guard horse artillery wore a similar uniform to their French counterparts.

Bowden's "Napoleon & Austerlitz" page 490 has each of the 2 French & 1 Italian guard horse batteries: 4 x 8pdr, 2 x 4pdr & 2x 6inch howitzers.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2020 5:02 p.m. PST

Thank you gentlemen for the response.

PoE- the site was known to me but lost in the directory. The one definite fact cited at source about only two battalions of Italian Garde exiting is excellent.

The draft on artillery uniform less impressive. As the dates provided are wide of 1805, despite depicting standard French Artillerie a Cheval uniform initially, which may be entirely possible and/ or probable, given it appears a rather late (June 1805) development in organising 'from the top'.

I'm somewhat confused to the title "Garde de la Ligne:" as if this is a phrase to translate, not literal.

[Side Note:] Interesting to note that N. left several companies of his own Garde with Eugene after coronation/ visiting @ Milan 1805. First noted as a 'battalion of French grenadiers' but later "my guard".

Stoppage: I don't believe this is so; I've seen no instances of obusiers being stripped from French batteries (by command- not by necessity), conversely where excess ordinance was available (ie abundance of spare barrels), and pro-siege, one was formed (possibly a Spanish scenario).

Napoleon seemed, like many structural matters, to be innately aware and quite specific that even a horse troop/ peloton (half battery- 3/4 pieces) needed the presence of such a weapon.

As I've cited elsewhere, the demise of full horse companies (6-8 pieces)/ batteries @ l'Armée des côtes de l'Océan within Divisions to peloton (half battery- 3/4 pieces) over the duration of the short campaign to Austerlitz is interesting. Either attrition of train, or secondment to security of rear areas- who can say?

Subject to further information, thanks again

Prince of Essling30 Mar 2020 11:58 a.m. PST

All my books say the Italian guard horse artillery were dressed as per French Guard horse artillery but with dark brown fur colpack.

Boisselier gouache (which has a black colpack):


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2020 1:52 p.m. PST


Boisselier gouache (which has a black colpack):

Colour me suspicious. Normally in French terms I'd believe a Boisselier print. I guess I'm unusually sensitive to information overload now.

Although this correlates with the Smith/ vonPivka Italian Book, that tome appears to rehash the same data for both pre (Empire) and post 1805 (Kingdom), which just isn't possible.

However, the watercolour shows a blue lace/ piping to the flamme where none existed for the French, except officers lace, and eagles on sabretache, a feature I believed N. did not allow to the Italian coat of arms. Missing are the cords on the canonier colpack.

Does the scarlet of Trompette represent crimson as used by the French? If we are to believe the 'borrowing' of Imperial Guard uniforms (as these are all blue, not green manufacture), then why would scarlet appear- unless 'adopted' from the chasseur a cheval perhaps?

Can anyone speak to the accuracy of the apparent source "Recollection of Col. Darbou(sp?)" ? Or the drawing source?

These could all be legitimate and worthy amendments, making a small unique unit.

Interesting aside: The Osprey quoted above expands the Garde Roiale to two 2 battalion regiments and everything else duplicated identically from the La Gde. Imp.
Gardes d'honneur from main cities in Italy were only company strength (+/- 100) yet the book quotes them as squadrons. The variance increases with each facet examined.

But certainly thanks for the illustration- one of the clearest available when you don't own them!
Regards dave

Prince of Essling31 Mar 2020 5:27 a.m. PST

My notes on the Italian Royal Guard from various sources (obviously numbers are authorised not actual):

Royal Guard (Guardia Reale)

Reggimento Fanteria di linea della Guardia Reale (Line Infantry Regiment of the Royal Guard) comprised 2 battalions – 1st battalion Granatieri, 2nd battalion Cacciatori (1810 retitled Carabinieri); Battalions comprised 5 companies, each of 100 men.
March 1808 Regimental HQ 50 men, each company 105 men.
January 1813 became Reggimento de Granatieri a Piedi della Guardia Reale (Regiment of Foot Grenadiers of the Royal Guard) – Carabinieri were disbanded – with 2 battalions.

Reggimento Veliti Reali della Guardia Reale (Velites Regiment of the Royal Guard)
3 battalions of 4 companies each (100 men). Regimental HQ 50 men.
1st battalion Granatieri; 2nd & 3rd battalions Cacciatori (in 1810 retitled Carabinieri).
April 1807 1 company added to 2nd battalion;
June 1807 all battalions now had 5 companies each of 120 men.
September 1810 reduced to 2 battalions of 5 companies each of 140 men, HQ 50 men.

Reggimento Coscritti della Guardia Reale (Conscripts Regiment of the Royal Guard) raised 4 October 1810 with 2 battalions each of 5 companies (140 men per company; regimental HQ 40 men;
1813 retitled Reggimento Cacciatori a piedi della Guardia Reale (Foot Chasseurs Regiment of the Royal Guard) with 4 battalions each of 5 companies.

Reggimento Guardie d'Onore (Guards of Honour Regiment)
4 companies (1st Milan; 2nd Bologna; 3rd Brescia; 4th La Romagne; each of 100 men – 60 mounted & 40 on foot);
1806 5th company (Venice) authorised.

Reggimento Dragoni della Guardia Reale (Dragoon Regiment of the Royal Guard)
1 squadron of 4 companies , each of 100 men (60 mounted & 40 on foot);
1808 became 2 squadrons of 2 companies (104 men each), regimental HQ 20 men.

Artiglieria della Guardia Reale (Artillery of the Royal Guard)
1 compagnia d'artiglieria a cavallo (company of horse artillery);
1812 augmented by 1 compagnia d'artiglieria a piedi (company of foot artillery)

Gendarmeria scelta della Guardia Reale (Gendarmerie d'Elite)
formed 6 September 1808 with 1 company of 73 men.

Marinai della Guardia Reale (Seamen of the Royal Guard)
1 company of 60 men raised 13 June 1808;
increased to 90 men in March 1810;
increased to 152 men in October 1810.

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2020 1:24 p.m. PST

>>My notes on the Italian Royal Guard

You are a scholar my dear Sir.
Way more info than I will ever need but others will use it.
Thanks for your hard work,
regards d

Prince of Essling31 Mar 2020 1:25 p.m. PST

Colonel Darbou served on the Committee of Le Passpoil at the same time to name a few of the greats: Messrs Lachouque, Boisselier, Rousselot, Bucquoy, Leliepvre, Vicomte Grouvel and others.

Prince of Essling01 Apr 2020 4:57 a.m. PST

The other Boisselier gouaches for the Italian guard horse artillery are below:



Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2020 12:37 p.m. PST

Thanks PoE,
I'm still concerned that:
- the blue is still used years later? All (virtually) other Italian state troops went green.
- the use of the French Imperial eagle on sabretache, simply not the Italian state device used elsewhere.

Another strange factor: Pierre Charrié is completely silent on Eagles or flags distribution (1804) for the Garde [du President] Roiale. (I realise this [statement] is contradictory somewhat, but given the wide spread application to 'non'french' units, seems strangely absent.

Prince of Essling02 Apr 2020 11:25 a.m. PST

I can understand your circumspection.

Luca Cristini & Guglielmo Aimaretti "L'Escercito del Reggno Italico 1805-14: Corpi Speciali" has the Italian guard horse artillery in blue, but says the decree of 24 March 1813 imposed some variations and secondly the reconstructions by Forthoffer, the general colour went from dark blue to dark green.

Another source I saw suggested 1812 for the change.

Based on your circumspection the other unit that had the same uniform as the French Gendarme d'Elite was the Gendarmeria scelta della Guardia Reale which also changed to green in 1813. More Boisselier goiuaches:






Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2020 1:48 p.m. PST

Nice collection!
Molte grazie !

Prince of Essling03 Apr 2020 1:54 p.m. PST

Further on the guard horse artillery extract from the Cenni collection (in a book about the armed forces of the Italian Republics) – the Presidential Guard horse battery is shown in dark blue and red (admittedly with a shako and tall red plume) – with the text "the dark blue is an exception to Italian troops."

LeopoldKrantz27 Oct 2020 5:15 p.m. PST

Do you by any chance have Discord? I'm trying to research a bunch about Italy, and I have some form of a team together but not entirely.

Regardless, is there a better way to contact you?

Prince of Essling28 Oct 2020 5:08 a.m. PST


Do you have the full title of Discord and author so that I can check if I have it (or can access)?

If you need to contact me, you can do so via prinzessling at


LeopoldKrantz28 Oct 2020 12:30 p.m. PST

@Prince of Essling

I sent an email to *hopefully* the right gmail address.

In case it was the wrong one, I meant discord as a communications app/site. It's my fault if it wasn't interpreted like that, but regardless I sent an invite link to the email.

If I sent an email to the wrong person, I'll leave my gmail below.


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 12:51 p.m. PST

>>I'm trying to research a bunch about Italy,

Using private "social media" chats will disenfranchise forums like this- ok as an alternative to discuss in depth but why deprive everyone of the opportunity to learn and/ or participate.

Prince of Essling28 Oct 2020 1:17 p.m. PST

I am willing to assist people where I can (have already provided a shed load of help in private on TotalWarCenter, apart from standard postings there. I don't see this as being any different. Anything of general interest will be reposted as I did there.


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2020 7:21 p.m. PST

@ Prince of Essling
Me too- I have my own groups where friends of some longevity share.
Just pointing out the distraction that sideays moves can cause unintentionally, to 'public spaces' like TMP.
Happens a lot too on other model sites, :~|

von Winterfeldt29 Oct 2020 5:59 a.m. PST

please consult


Prince of Essling29 Oct 2020 12:48 p.m. PST

Also "L'esercito del Regno d'Italia 1805-1814" by Gremese Giorgio

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2020 3:48 p.m. PST

Thanks for replies.

With reference to uniform plates and 'history', in re-looking at the 'Cacciatori de la garda reale', I note Boisellier cites for 1805 an illustration with scarlet epaulette fringes, the body and strap invisible.

Of course the [change to] 'red' fringe was decreed for the French Chasseurs á pied in mid-1805, to replace the green fringe formerly worn since 1800 and/or before.

However I'd doubt that any were actually issued in 1805 and even less chance, being on campaign (as the Italian 'regiment' was with the Imperial Guard), until such troops went into garrison/ depot (de Paris) and were re-equipped in 1806.

regards dcup

Prince of Essling02 Nov 2020 1:44 p.m. PST

@SHaT1984, Interesting – have been looking hard at my copies of the planches as only red shoulder straps I can see are for the Carabinieri in 1812 not the earlier Cacciatori (who have the classic green shoulder strap with red fringes)? So wonder what am I missing….

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2020 4:23 p.m. PST

hi Ian
That red fringe- is by my reckoning 1806- like when the French got theirs.
Ok I'm being contra- I 'claim' Voltigeur uniform distinctions for Austerlitz- well because there were so many 'light companies' well before 1805;

but a 'decree' of September 1805 (campaign under way) giving the garde (both) red replacement epaulettes! I suppose it may have been possible… given they were such a minor piece of uniform!

But I 'prefer' the green fringing as it immediately distinguishes the Chasseurs/ Cacciatori if you can't see their plumes! These are 'WIP' right now daily, so will have a newish unit completed soon…mixing veterans and velites this time.

I was gonna buy a pair of Legion Etrangere epaulettes in Paris- there's a civilian run shop near the 'Mars' that provides extra kit for them. My god they're all big fellas!

;-) pleasantly coffee'd up

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2020 7:12 p.m. PST

I'm throwing this up to get an idea what you think.
Is this any way to 'organise' a guard battalion?

IMG_4880b WIP-Gd Roi_b .

by DaveW, on Flickr .

The script goes "A proposal for basing using different troop figures on hand. As the 'garde' included a youth corps called 'Velites' after the Roman example who were then incorporated into active 'war' battalions, why not show this composition as well?

My nearly last unit for the 'Garde' comprises Minifigs old French Guard Chasseurs (painted), converted Grenadiers and 'elite' line troops (in bicornes as required for 1805-07 campaigns) as the velitii, as well as pre-painted command (also converted from grenadiers from 15 years ago- they've waited all this time to 'get active'!"

Artillerie legere:
Boisselier gouache… Looking at them again, the cords on the colpack definitely speaks to 1805 as the French also wore them, till removed 1806/07? I had to add thread to my chaps as they're made without them

And the Gendarmes do look nice, I may just have to have a 'Eugene' in my future, perhaps…

- end of trail

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2021 2:01 p.m. PST

- end of trail?

While they are 'marching off', figured I should close this thread at least with another view and description of who and why.

Well, nobody commented on my 'mixed' looking battalion, and despite my best efforts to find a better solution, this is it.

by DaveW, on Flickr.

As foretold in the preamble above, a mixture (handful) of existing painted French chasseurs and Italian Grenadiers formed the cadre and etat-major.

I modified the 'new' Grenadiers in 'ordered' pose to match chasseur uniforms (bearskin/ cuffs/ cartouche etc.); as well as the existing painted grenadiers very carefully and slowly, and added the 'line' elites in bicornes; just as the 'Velites' wore in Paris. As 'juniors' they only got a green houpette or pear shaped pompom.

Yes I agree I am compromising my own strict principles not making them just bearskin wearing, but I'm sure at some point the velites continued to use the bicornes as normal dress, and perhaps on campaign! [Under the rules, they had to 'graduate' to obtain the honour to wear bearskins].


I made the uniform green a touch lighter than my Grenadier battalion- partly because I've none of that brand of paint any more, and secondly I wanted them to be slightly more 'obvious' as not French blue. The chasseur attributes of scarlet and a lighter green plume do match the French Chasseur battalions.

And another sin, I messed up the flag. Already painted and mounted, it was quite a nice 'grenadiers' flag. I tried to add a little silver to form 'horns' in the corner wreaths only to apply way too sloppy a mixture that flowed over the grenades and around the wreaths. Given I couldn't rapidly remove damage from the curved surfaces of the flag, I bit the bullet and 'filled in' the rest. It now looks like a French style legere standard, but with green and red. I'm not 100% comfortable but have moved on to oher projects.

Well thus ends the nearly year long tale of a battalion started 20 (not 15) odd years ago; it waited two additional months for final colour tweaking and then varnishing in warmer (above 20degC) weather and sunshine!

That SN25 Spanish officer still looks the most impressive figure no matter how he's painted to me! Several others will lead units soon enough.

Another vanity unit completed! Only a couple more to go… perhaps the artillery company will squeak out this year!?
Vive l'Empereur!
regards davew

Art06 Feb 2021 11:56 p.m. PST

G'Day Dave,

How many figure are you using to represent a battalion 10 or 12?

Best Regards

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2021 2:56 a.m. PST

Hi Art
(Just been reading some premium missives from your historical posts- whew)!

Well, as most rules use a 'bases' system, a full battalion is 6x bases @ 24 figs, maybe.
However, in economy of scale and figures- I've reduced elite French companies [in line battalions] to only 3 figs per base- they look better IMO.

For these guys, well you see 2x3 and 2x4, so they are a small battalion. They have been on parade with the rest of the guard infantry and I'm not sure 4 is enough after all!
That's because the French Guard all have 5 bases, 4 combat and one command, with mounted officers.

The two French Chasseurs became the colour guard NCO's due to their aggressive pose; the commander with sapeur just fitted, if he didn't go to the colours 'base'. Just the way i fitted in the figures on hand. First time I've ever split colours from the command base!

If you want the short story- I gave up on figures scales/ dimensions/ ground scale etc. years ago. If it looks right, I'll take it! And my friends are generally happy with that. We 'balance' forces in our games and barely compete at all.
regards d

Art07 Feb 2021 4:35 a.m. PST

G'Day Dave,

I was just curious because I was wondering if your officer was included in the count.

From 1808 to 1815 my French battalions normally have 7 fusiliers, 1 voltigeur, and 1 grenadier. In other words you can say that my battalions are 9 figure strong.

But there are times when I have to change things around.

As an example my 2nd Swiss battalion of 1815 has 7 figures; 4 fusiliers, 1 voltigeur, 1 grenadier, and 1 foot officer on the flank, making it a 7 figure battalion.

I grew up on 25mm figures…too late to change now…and I wouldn't even if had the money… but most importantly my eyes have also informed me which size of figures I am now best suited for ;-)

Best Regards

Art07 Feb 2021 7:01 a.m. PST

G'Day Dave,

You are also a better man than I…

I use French in greatcoats (figures) for Italian troops and Neapolitan troops…to include a few other nationalities ;-(

Best Regards

Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2021 12:41 p.m. PST

Thanks Art,
We each follow or devise standards to suit ourselves- me I'm not much for rules when I want to play games- history is the rulemaker.

I guess I should be honest and say I'm not a fan of the 'petit' battalions. I just don't get the spirit of 'mass' from them. But i understand people who want decoratove models and representation is less imortant.

I agree on the eyesight front- my own eyesight has dropped dramatically over recent years and I cannot tell a figure at arms length without glasses, or play games without them.

Yes I disposed of my multiple game-convention 15mm armies (though all fabricated around known OB) many years ago just to see them get used, and for economic and space reasons.

I do have a number of 'greatcoats' waiting in the wings, including conversions, just for the right units to show some 'campaign' variations. As I've changed my own 'standards' to advance my 1805 army to include some '06/'07 these will come to light.

If you've seen my other threads, in conjunction with M. Soults corps and the broader format of la grande armée, I've developed a small allied enemy starting with Austria (who else?) and just now beginning on some period Russians.

So I'm busy doing my stuff ;-)
regards d

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