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"Hussars wearing pelisse and covered shako" Topic

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Paskal Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2023 11:40 p.m. PST

Hello everyone,

In which battles would the French hussars have fought in wearing pelisse and covered shako?


advocate13 Nov 2023 1:48 a.m. PST

Winter battles?

Glengarry513 Nov 2023 2:11 a.m. PST

The battle of Eylau, retreat from Moscow, the 1814 winter campaign in France for example.

Mark J Wilson13 Nov 2023 6:07 a.m. PST

Since you seem to think this sort of thing matters you need to consider that the two would not automatically go together. A covered shako is to protect from rain, wearing a pelisse is a cold weather or rain option. Also have you allowed for the fact that certain commanding officers can be, let's call it idiosyncratic, about dress; maybe he won't allow shakos and plumes in any circumstances except parades in front of the emperor, because he's a bit of skinflint and doesn't want these expensive items damaging. Alternately he's a cockscomb, everyone wears full dress and pelisse on the shoulder regardless, because I'm the colonel and that's what I say. Of course colonels change so you need to know who was who when. Brigade and divisional commanders might also interfere in what was worn of course.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2023 7:24 a.m. PST

Thanks to all three, what great ideas!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2023 8:28 a.m. PST

Paskal, you are looking for more order in appearances than actually existed.

4th Cuirassier13 Nov 2023 9:30 a.m. PST

Bear in mind that a lot of pelisses would not have fitted over a lot of dolmans if you tried to button it up. It would be one or the other.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 1:28 a.m. PST


I don't know, I wasn't born at the time.

@4th Cuirassier

The pelisse being lined, they wear it and put their dolmans in their coat racks if there is space?

But did the hussars also have capes and overcoats?

Mark J Wilson15 Nov 2023 2:57 a.m. PST

4th Cuir, do you have evidence for "a lot of pelisses would not have fitted over a lot of dolmans", and if this is ones you've found in museums, can you be certain they were originally a pair. It seems nonsensical for a tailor to make an overcoat that doesn't go over.

4th Cuirassier15 Nov 2023 4:40 a.m. PST

Hi Mark

Haythornthwaite has artwork of hussars with only the top few buttons of the pelisse done up over the dolman.

On campaign my understanding is that they wore one or the other. The pelisse was worn slung over one shoulder in full dress because it could not actually be worn over the dolman.

These uniforms weren't designed to be practical, they were designed to look Hungarian…

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2023 1:07 a.m. PST

@Mark J Wilson

Well seen !

But did the hussars also have capes and overcoats like this Chasseur cheval figurine who in this outfit could very well be a hussar ?


@4th Cuirassier,

Yes, ultimately Mark J Wilson is right!

Because it seems absurd for a tailor to make a pelisse that could not be worn on a dolman…

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2023 1:41 a.m. PST

The Pelisse was worn over a sleeveless waistcoat, which was often laced and could, superficially, look like a Dolman.

The pelisse was not fur lined. It only carried fur on the collar, cuffs and margins of the coat. There are many pictures showing hussars in caped cloaks or overcoats, as in your chasseur a cheval.

Rosenberg16 Nov 2023 2:35 a.m. PST

Sure some pictures, figures had Prussian Hussars maybe only officers with both but the Pelisse was unbuttoned. Presume officers of all nations could afford to have uniforms taylored to their requirements subject to regulations?

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2023 12:00 a.m. PST


If the Pelisse is worn over the sleeveless vest, where is the Dolman meanwhile?


Of course, it would be completely stupid if the fur coat was impossible to put on.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2023 12:30 p.m. PST

The question about the dolman and where was it, if not worn. What does it matter to any modeller? Was it in the portmanteau? Surely not, no room. Was it kept to the rear? Doubt that, more important things to transport on campaign. Back in the depot for next spring, surely. But honestly, why ask? I honestly cannot see the point, with all due respect.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2023 11:39 p.m. PST

@ deadhead

This is so that we finally admit that the dolman was worn under the pelisse, even if the latter was worn as in the first photo!

Trockledockle18 Nov 2023 7:02 a.m. PST

79thPA is right, there was less order than we think. The French Hussar Osprey mentions in a couple of places that on campaign, either the dolman or pelisse was worn with the other being left in the depot. Inspection reports in 1809 on detachments joining the Grand Armee had dolmans and breeches, dolmans and overalls and some in pelisses. There are many contemporary pictures of hussars with buttoned up pelisses e.g the 2nd, 5th and 7th in the Otto Manuscript in 1807.

Here is a picture (not contemporary) from 1807 and a further reference.



There are also contemporary pictures of hussar troopers wearing plain coats like the chasseur a cheval.

In summary, on campaign, they wore what was comfortable, available and what the colonel liked. I suspect that a loose pelisse draped elegantly over the shoulder would be a distinct disadvantage in a sword fight and buttoned up pelisses were worn in many battles all year round. Probably more often in winter.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2023 1:44 a.m. PST


So the pelisse can be worn and buttoned on the dolman.

Were the capes and overcoats all the same model in the French cavalry?

So that my French Chasseur Cheval figurine could be that of a French Hussar.

But can a French rider fight in cape and overcoat that he would wear because the atmospheric conditions would require it?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 Nov 2023 3:00 a.m. PST

The pelisse was only worn over a laced waistcoat. That waistcoat may then look like a dolman if it is exposed, but the sleeves of a dolman would not fit into those of a pelisse.

The original cloak was a massive thing that covered the rider and much of the horse. It had a cape over the shoulders. It was replaced by a sleeved overcoat, again with the cape as per your Minifigs figure.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2023 2:07 a.m. PST

@ deadhead

If the pelisse was only worn over a laced waistcoat, why wear the pelisse like that since it was not lined.

Was the model of sleeved overcoat, always with the cape worn by this French Chasseur Cheval Minifigs figurine, common to all the French cavalry?

4th Cuirassier22 Nov 2023 1:50 a.m. PST

Probably the dolman did not fit over the waistcoat, so if you wanted two layers, it was waistcoat plus pelisse. If you wore the dolman that was all you wore.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2023 12:26 p.m. PST

Sob. OK, let me try again. 4th C has it right.

The pelisse was not a sheepskin flying jacket. Over the laced waistcoat it was slightly warmer than the pelisse alone. But the fur you see was a trim only. Any museum from Paris, to London to Leningrad (OK St P's) will show you it was trimmed with fur only. The lining had no fur. The sleeves were too tight and fashionable to fit over another set of sleeves eg on a dolman. So it was a reasonable cold weather rig.

Summer outfit was a dolman worn over the baggy cotton vest that was the thing then.

The sleeved overcoat replaced the huge cape for all mounted folk (therefore train as well as cavalry) but caution with date remembering kit was not dumped without good reason.

Paskal Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2023 11:04 p.m. PST

@4th Cuirassier
All right

Sob. Okay, Sob. OK, there was no point trying again. Thank you, I understood.

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