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"French Flags in the Franco Prussian War" Topic

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986 hits since 3 Feb 2022
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Comments or corrections?

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 8:24 a.m. PST

Did the French army carry flags into the field during the Franco Prussian War?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian03 Feb 2022 9:38 a.m. PST

Mine do evil grin

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 9:52 a.m. PST


I dont have a great source for you

What I believe is that Imperial Army under Napoleon the III had a unique standard for him and the army.

I believe that it was a very patriotic time and there are references of lots of flags being used at the time in cities etc

Art and other references like this refer to instances of unit standards link

With the Garde Mobile and newer recruits with Imperial Army – I suspect that flags would have been a key way to organize forces

Martin Rapier03 Feb 2022 11:46 a.m. PST

Mine do as well. So do the Prussians, Bavarians etc.

irl, who can say, but they look vey heroic.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 12:26 p.m. PST

Thanks for the help!

Perris070703 Feb 2022 12:55 p.m. PST

Yes they did. Regiments had three battalions and if I remember correctly the 2nd battalion carried the regimental colors with the 1st and 3rd battalions carrying a small fanion. One was red and white and I don't recall what the other was off the top of my head.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 1:12 p.m. PST

All my battalions, French and German, carry standards. Except for the jager/chasseur ones that is.

You can download flags for self-printing from WarFlags -- link


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 2:29 p.m. PST

Of course, all the eagles--except, as I recall, for the regiments which had been garrisoning Rome--would have been with besieged Imperial forces or disused once the Third Republic had been proclaimed. This also applies, I think, to epaulettes.

You can only imagine how much the thought of fighting late war battles with troops wearing epaulettes and carrying eagles haunts me.

Perris070703 Feb 2022 6:56 p.m. PST

Good one! I imagine that there are quite a few who really would be bothered by that. Maybe the upcoming Perry French infantry will have glue on epaulettes?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 7:02 p.m. PST

Oh, Perris! SO 29th Century! Think epaulettes and eagles with little rare earth magnets so you can swap them out between games.

Should be especially fun for those of us with 5mm FPW armies.

Sarcasm aside, my program is simple: artillery, engineers and troops which are expected to hide behind trees or rocks do not carry flags. That's regular light infantry who deploy habitually as skirmishers, almost all militia light infantry, cavalry normally employed as scouts, and everyone since about 1915. Soldiers who form ranks and fight in a civilized manner--regular heavy infantry and cavalry and the sort of militia who might form up on the village green and exchange fire with redcoats--get flags. If a standard is known, they carry it on my table. If a standard is not known, I take my best guess. My troops, my table, my rules. And if it doesn't look good, why are we doing it with miniatures?

Mr Steve04 Feb 2022 3:29 a.m. PST

according to my copy of Cassell's History of the War Between France and Germany which was published shortly after the war , it mentions some figures of the number of prisoners, guns captured etc compiled by the Germans.

"The Berlin Staats Anzeiger (States Gazette) published some statistics on the war…….. 120 eagles or standards were captured "

NapStein04 Feb 2022 4:33 a.m. PST

I started a TMP discussion about the French cavalry standards – cf. TMP link … the infantry took their eagles into the field, and even the newly formed regiments of national guard, mobiles and, yes Franctireurs too, also got flags – mostly delivered by the cities where the units were risen.

The "master" of French military flag/standard history, Pierre Charrié published a comprehensive list of the known eagles/flags in his book "Drapeaux et Étendards du XIXème siècle", Paris 1992.

After having published a larger article about the German flags and standards on my site at link I will start to publish more articles about the French weapons and flags/standards.

But first I want to finish the studies about the German armies, which couldn't be added to our large book about the uniforms and equipment of these troops during the FPW.

Greetings from Berlin
Markus Stein

Jcfrog08 Feb 2022 9:32 a.m. PST

Sehr Gut.

Stalkey and Co05 Mar 2022 11:38 p.m. PST

"Regiments had three battalions and if I remember correctly the 2nd battalion carried the regimental colors with the 1st and 3rd battalions carrying a small fanion. One was red and white and I don't recall what the other was off the top of my head."

Was just trying to figure this out!
I'm liking the idea of 3 BN Regiments, and having one with the Eagle/regimental colors, and 2 with a small fanion.

The question is "are all the fanions the same colors in every regiment?

And what did the Prussians and Bavarians do? I bet it is the same.

Appreciate the info!

Stalkey and Co07 Mar 2022 1:08 p.m. PST

I emailed Bruce Weigle, the 19th C. Wargame Guru, and will post if he knows!

Mollinary10 Mar 2022 9:28 a.m. PST

Stalkey and Co. The Prussians and Bavarians certainly, indeed I believe all the German states, had one flag per battalion. These were not necessarily of the same pattern within a Regiment, and many of the Prussian flags from those regiments whose founding dated back to the Napoleonic Wars, were ,mere shards of silk nailed to the poles.

Stalkey and Co10 Apr 2022 3:49 p.m. PST

For the French the second battalion carried the regimental eagle. First and third line regiment battalions carried a porte fanion standard. One was yellow and one white and red at a diagonal: it is white OVER red from the pole.

Took a while, but I got the answer. In this case from Bruce Weigle of "1870" rules fame.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2022 6:46 p.m. PST

The 2nd Battalion of each Line and Guard regiment carried the colors. Chasseurs did not carry flags. Cavalry carried flags.

NapStein14 Apr 2022 10:47 p.m. PST

As we discussed earlier the french cavalry didn‘t carry their flags Into the campaign and left them in the Depots – Look at TMP link

Greetings from Berlin
Markus Stein

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2022 10:34 p.m. PST

Well my French Cavalry has flags.

Stalkey and Co19 Apr 2022 2:37 p.m. PST

@ Old Contemptible
Well! how contemptible!

Seriously I don't understand why cavalry regiments would not carry a flag….

NapStein20 Apr 2022 4:40 a.m. PST

@Stalkey: hm, you're 150+ years too late to ask for the reason – perhaps the French general staff had a certain feeling of a "bad end" and so they wanted to preserve the colors

But of course you may also keep your cavalry with flags like Old Contemptible does … taking up that idea it would be nice to see the different units in a kind of fantasy uniforms – thinking about violet chasseurs à cheval fighting khaki camouflaged Prussians ;-)

So it depends on yourself how "historically accurate" you want to show your armies … and in case of the French cavalry 1870, sorry, without flags – but I'm looking forward getting some proofs for their use in the field/battle.

Greetings from Berlin
Markus Stein

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