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"La garde roiale- 1805" Topic

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SHaT198426 Mar 2020 4:30 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 2:36 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 4:40 a.m. PST

Were the obices/obusiers detached?

Prince of Essling27 Mar 2020 10:25 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.

SHaT198427 Mar 2020 6:02 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 12:58 p.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):


SHaT198430 Mar 2020 2:52 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 6:27 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.

SHaT198431 Mar 2020 2:24 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 2:25 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 5:57 a.m. PST

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



SHaT198401 Apr 2020 1:37 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 12:25 p.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:






SHaT198402 Apr 2020 2:48 p.m. PST

Nice collection!
Molte grazie !

Prince of Essling03 Apr 2020 2:54 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."

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