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"Which ones are the grenadiers?" Topic

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Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2022 6:07 p.m. PST

I bought a couple packs of the Old Glory 15s French SYW Musketeers & Grenadiers Front & Back Turnbacks (SYF03). I was going to use these to expand some of the Irish and French regiments which went to Scotland in 1745-46, but it turns out I bought the wrong miniatures, so I'll just paint them as other French units instead.

I know nothing about SYW French. In the few paintings I have on hand, French grenadiers appear to be wearing the big bearskin hats typical of their status, but all of these miniatures are in tricornes. How do I tell which ones are grenadiers? Were the uniforms identical in the SYW period?

I'm hoping someone here can tell me more quickly than I can buy books to research the topic.

- Ix

Zagloba05 Nov 2022 6:42 p.m. PST

They should have a box attached to their belt at their front (the 'bellybox') in addition to the regular musketeer equipment, but otherwise no real change at 15mm


cavcrazy05 Nov 2022 7:34 p.m. PST

None of them seem to be or look like grenadiers.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP05 Nov 2022 10:05 p.m. PST

As Zagloba said, the French line regiments' grenadiers continued to wear the tricorne, not the bearskin, and only the belly box distinguished them. From roughly 1759 some regiments started to adopt the bearskins for their grenadiers (Dillon, the regiment in your photo, probably didn't), with the German and Swiss regiments seeming to be the first units (there's a painting of a grenadier from Jenner wearing a bearskin in 1757). To confuse things further, some grenadiers may have worn a bonnet, not a bearskin.

The easy way will be to pick the regiments you want to build and then check Kronoskaf to see if they may have adopted the bearskin.

RittervonBek06 Nov 2022 2:43 a.m. PST

Kronoskaf shows all the Irish regiments' grenadiers as wearing tricornes.

42flanker06 Nov 2022 4:13 a.m. PST

The Grenadiers de France, formed in 1749 from the grenadier companies of disbanded line regiments wore bearskin caps. Whether the caps came with the the men from their former regiments, I couldn't say. By contrast, as I understand it, the Grenadiers Royaux, a composite corps formed from militia regiments did not wear bearskin caps, the title being more honorary.

See TMP thread here: TMP link

I believe the key distinctive mark of a grenadier until the general assumption of bearskin caps was a shoulder knot.

FWIW, as I recall, Mollo & McGregor 'Uniforms of the Seven Years War' show line grenadiers in bearskin caps.

Valmy9206 Nov 2022 6:51 a.m. PST

I also recall them being distinguished by having moustaches while fusiliers didn't.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2022 10:19 a.m. PST

The mustache thing is exactly right – during the SYW French grenadiers wore a variety of headgear; at the start of the war I believe only the Grenadiers de France wore bearskins which the line infantry regiments had their grenadiers in tricornes (and mustaches – fusiliers were supposed to be clean shaven) – after 1759 a number of the line regiments started issuing bearskins to their grenadiers

Phillius Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Nov 2022 12:46 p.m. PST

According to Kronoskaf – link – line regiments began to transition grenadiers to bearskins from 1759.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2022 12:50 p.m. PST

I also recall them being distinguished by having moustaches while fusiliers didn't.

Good catch, Phil. I forgot about the mustaches.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2022 12:46 p.m. PST

WSS grenadier figs had a large bag on the right hip for grenades, I presume. Later periods may not have them.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2022 4:10 p.m. PST

Thanks all. This is exactly the kind of discussion I hoped to elicit.

AFAICT none of the OG15s miniatures have any differing equipment.

I don't see anything like a belly box. All these have the same box and pouch.

A couple other differences mentioned by Kronoskaf:

  • French grenadiers had sabres, the fusiliers started the period issued sabres and ended the period without them. All of these figures seem to have the same short sword, so I guess they're all early SYW troops in parade ground regulation kit.
  • Grenadiers may have a white cockade. All the figures seem to have a hint of a cockade, not very pronounced.

I guess differentiating some figures into grenadiers can be done by paintbrush – if I want.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2022 6:53 p.m. PST

WSS grenadier figs had a large bag on the right hip for grenades, I presume. Later periods may not have them.

Correct, mate. Grenades were used in sieges, etc, but the grenade bags and match holders had basically disappeared by the WAS.

42flanker08 Nov 2022 12:23 p.m. PST

"Grenadiers may have a white cockade"

Was the white cockade not the symbol of the House of Bourbon worn by all in the cocked hat?

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2022 9:50 p.m. PST

Kronoskaf seems to say the white cockade was only consistently part of the French grenadier uniform, and maybe not even there. I don't know any more than that.

- Ix

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2022 11:07 a.m. PST

Two comments firstly at 1 company of 9 you hardly get enough figures in the grenadier company to bother differentiating them in a 24 figure battalion.

Second most ordinary French infantry did not wear the double turnback uniform. Most of the Swiss, Irish, Germans did but if you want French regiments you need to check link fairly carefully.

Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2022 12:37 p.m. PST

I bought these to be Irish and Scots, so I'm glad to see I guessed correctly. Now that I'm not using them for that, I'll have to examine the Fontenoy OOB to see who else these figures could be.

I'm making 6-stand units of 36 figures:

    1 stand command
    1 stand grenadiers
    4 stands hatmen

That both over-represents and over-concentrates the grenadiers, but… miniatures are more platonic than realistic, and having something distinctive at one end of each unit really helps find the units on the table when they're all in a long line together. Also, I expect to play a lot of these units at less than 6 stands (depending on the rules in use), so the grenadiers will often be left garrisoning the box.

I expected to follow the same pattern with the French, but since French grenadiers aren't so easy to see anyway, I may not bother. Mustaches and cockades on 15mm miniatures are probably too subtle to be much help in a big game with old guys. My players will just be intermixing French units willy-nilly like they do with my AWI troops already. <sigh>

- Ix

42flanker10 Nov 2022 8:42 a.m. PST

In the venerable 'Casques et Coiffures Militaires'(CHRISTIAN TAVARD 1981), it is stated that French grenadiers did not have distinctive hat ornaments until the official adoption of the bearskin in 1767-68, which in their case seems to have been a red or red and white plume or 'tuft,' being especially useful during the fifteen year period 1776-91 when, officially at least, the bearskin had been abolished

Mark J Wilson Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2022 3:34 a.m. PST

@ Yellow Admiral

I commented only the other day on another board about the effort we put into our units only to see other people using them without 'due regard' and had a lot of sympathetic feedback. As to mustaches on 15mm's my rule for all painting is 'Does it show on the table from 2 feet away'; if not don't waste your time. Sadly I don't follow it as often as I should.

PS, If you want to do Fontenoy then no French troops, even Swiss etc. have turnbacks, at least according to Funken

von Schwartz ver 213 Nov 2022 6:47 p.m. PST

Most French grenadiers in the SYW didn't have bearskins except for the Grenadiers de France and the Grenadiers Sol. Line grenadiers started getting some late in the war.
Also the moustache, but it must be a "FIERCE MOUSTACHE".

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