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"WSS query - uniforms/flags" Topic

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5,905 hits since 13 Sep 2006
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GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP13 Sep 2006 4:12 a.m. PST

Hi folks

I'm about to paint up some Baccus 6mm WSS units and have a few queries still left unanswered :

French musicians and officers – are they the same colours as the rank and file. My sources don't seem very clear on this. One implies that officers wore what they liked but most paintings seem to show officers in white or grey. I'm after details of both line and royal troops here, particularly the Garde Francaise.

Dutch officers – same as men or reversed, like the drummers or something else ?

Final one that I thought I had covered by a mate who swore he had the data and now can't find it – cavalry standards/guidons. Are there any Internet sources as I need them quickly. I have all the infantry covered and am in the process of re-drawing them to make paper flags but I can't find much at all on cavalry.

Thanks for any help.

Tony Hughes

Napoleon III13 Sep 2006 6:22 a.m. PST

Just a quick note on the French Drummers (I can't get to my sources right now for your other questions): the vast majority of the regiments would have drummers in the King's Livery ("livree du Roi"). Basically royal blue coats with red cuffs and red stockings (the fancy red/white "chain-link" lace along the cuffs, seams, etc. on the livree du Roi is probably too hard to replicate in 6mm).

Some regiments, like Conde and Borbon, had drummers in brown coats with red cuffs. Some had other arrangements, like green uniforms. But you can't go wrong with having most/all of your other drummers in the uniform described above.

Also, on the topic of flags: why not check out ""? Rather than re-drawing all those infantry flags you mentioned (ouch!), you could just right-click, save, and re-size the ones provided there. They even have a few cavaly regiments as well. For each regiment, the "evolution" of its flag is shown, so it should be easy enough to pick the one that is appropriate for the years of the WSS in each case.

"Warflag" also has quote a large selection of WSS flags, of course. link There again, you only have to save and re-size them for printing. (Just trying to save you alot of work on the re-drawing!)

Some more sites for uniform info (and occasionally flag info as well), include:
link (click "uniformes" on the left-hand index)
link (copies of the Mouillard plates – lots of cavalry flags for you, but may require re-drawing after all!)

Hope this helps.

Napoleon III13 Sep 2006 6:24 a.m. PST

<ahem> that should be "cavalry" not "cavaly", and "quite", not "quote"…

Urg Arbegag13 Sep 2006 6:25 a.m. PST

Check out Warflag as well:

Midway Monster13 Sep 2006 6:25 a.m. PST

French musicians could be in either reversed colours but were more normally dressed in the Royal livery of blue faced red with red & white lace (lots of lace).

Officers could be dressed in "civies" but more usually in the sme colour coats as the rank and file.

Dutch officers were dressed in the same colours as the rank and file.

Cavalry guidons for the French are hard to find but this is the best source for descriptive discussion:


Midway Monster13 Sep 2006 6:27 a.m. PST

Bleeped text …..Napoleon III has a much better post than me!

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2006 10:35 a.m. PST

My modest research into the WSS indicates that only French
"Royal" regiments would have been likely to use the royal livery. AT this time most regiments were still the "property" of their noble colonels and would have worn their livery or reversed colours. Same was true of the Dutch. If you can find them, I recommend the series of booklets by C.A. Sapherson and the articles in either MW or WI, sorry can't remember which, by Mark Allen. Great info, and in the Allen articles, colour pics.

Napoleon III13 Sep 2006 10:55 a.m. PST

Actually, Shagnasty, as the Mark Allen articles made clear, non-"livree du Roi" regiments were probably the ones that were few-and-far-between by this point. It did not seem to have any relation to whether the regiment was nominally a "royal" one or not. Conde and Bourbon were among the exceptions, but they were "exceptions" nonetheless.

John Hollyoak13 Sep 2006 12:14 p.m. PST

The WSS articles by Mark Allen were in Wargames Illustrated issues 62, 64, 65, 66, 68 & 77.

Quintus Icilius13 Sep 2006 2:23 p.m. PST

There was no such thing as reversed colors for drummers in the French army. As stated above, regiments originally were the property of the nobles who had raised them for service in the King's armies. Musicians were thus required to wear a coat which displayed the tinctures of the owner's livery, meaning it was quite common for drummers and fifers to wear uniforms that were completely different from those worn by the rank and file. Originally, the royal livery described above was worn only in units whose colonel was either the king or a prince of direct royal lineage. Nevertheless, as Louis XIV gradually extended his authority over the army, it became compulsory for regiments bearing the name of a French province to have their musicians clad in the royal livery – even though these units were still the property of their aristocratic colonel.

The reason why people get the impression that the musicians of most French infantry regiments wore the King's livery is that those listed in most uniform compendiums are the units that were not disbanded at the end of the war and thus remained part of the standing army throughout most of the 18th century. Bearing mostly the names of French provinces, those permanent units seldom had their musicians in the livery of their nominal owner, the exceptions being the regiments owned by powerful and prestigious households.

But the French armies of the WSS included many "régiments de gentilshommes" which were disbanded in 1713-15, and whose liveries are frequently unknown because they were seldom recorded in contemporary documents. The Osprey book on Louis XIV's army by René Chartrand list a few of them, and you might also want to have a look at the series on Louis XV's army by the same author : the liveries of the major households (Condé, Bourbon, Orléans,Cossé-Brissac, etc) remained largely the same between 1660 and 1762, so some of them would be accurate for the late C17th/early C18th.

Napoleon III13 Sep 2006 3:45 p.m. PST

An excellent point about the regiments which were disbanded during/after the WSS, Quintus. I had forgotten about those. As you mentioned, sadly, we will never know the liveries many of them may have worn, as they were not recorded at the time. A good reminder about the Osprey Louis XIV book, too, as it will give GildasFacit a few more non-"Royal"-liveried drummers to choose from.

andygamer13 Sep 2006 4:20 p.m. PST

And I'd point out that the Irish regiments' drummers wore red coats with regimental lace if you're painting any of them.

Napoleon III13 Sep 2006 5:30 p.m. PST

andygamer : are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure the Mark Allen articles had them described as reversed-coloured coats for the drummers of the Irish regiments in French service.

Quintus Icilius13 Sep 2006 6:11 p.m. PST

Actually, there's a distinct possibility that the Irish troops in French service retained the practice of clothing their musicians in reversed colors – though Dillon's drummers almost definitely wore red later during Louis XV's reign.

The French army's foreign regiments – and there were lots of those – are an even more complex matter than the native units. Apart from Alsace, which had its drummers in the King's livery, all the German units had their musicians in their colonel's livery : a few such as Lenck and La Mark are recorded, but most are unknown. The same applies to the Swiss regiments : since they belonged to the Maison du Roi the Gardes Suisses obviously wore the king's livery, and Courten's drummers may have worn blue coats with unspecified lace, but that's about all we seem to know at the moment. Ditto for the Walloon units, whose liveries do not appear to have been recorded. With its light brown coats faced red and its drummers in the King's livery, Royal-Italien would be an attractive option, though.

Regarding the native French units, if you are not doing a specific orbat, here are a few interesting possibilities : Lyonnais (Villeroi livery of light green faced orange, orange and gold lace, white crosses on chest and back), Orléans (Orléans livery of red faced blue, white and blue lace with red and white checks), Vendome (Vendome livery of red faced blue, yellow lace bordered blue en each side), or St Germain Beaupré (yellow-buff line blue, blue and buff lace, white cross on chest and back).

That said, you have my deepest sympathy if you're trying to paint uniform lace on 6mm figures…

andygamer13 Sep 2006 8:25 p.m. PST

I'll check, NapIII. I admit I was thinking of later uniforms.

andygamer13 Sep 2006 10:22 p.m. PST

Yes, the Irish did wear reversed colours per Mark Allen in WI No.54 and maybe even the Dillon regt as there are two drummer illustrations from contradictory sources. If you are painting any Irish, let me know which units and I'll describe their uniforms (assuming you can't get a copy of WI No.54).

I believe that the other WI issues that have Allen's Grand Alliance and WSS articles are: 27 [timeline & background]; 32 [regt'l theatres etc.]; 36 [cavalry tactics and theatres]; 41 [dragoons and theatres plus infantry addenda]; 49 [start of infantry regts with most senior; first illustrated part with all illustrated from this issue onward]; 51 [inf cont. including a section on liveries]; 52 [non-Irish foreign troops]; 54 [Irish incl. Jacobites from Ireland]; 59 [French inf]; 61 [much more junior regts almost all just have flag illustrated]; 62 [French and foreign inf specifically for WSS; incl. theatre list]; 64 [more junior inf regts and a few foreign—mainly just flags except for the foreign]; 65 [ditto 64 but with more foreign]; 66 [Grand Alliance and WSS Maison du Roi: inf]; 68 [Grand Alliance and WSS Maison du Roi: cav]; 77 [Grand Alliance and WSS Maison du Roi: cav cont.]

These are all of the French ones that I have, but I believe that there are a couple of more (between 68 & 77?) that are about the Maison du Roi cavalry that I didn't bother buying as the M du R is easy to find information about (and there were probably no other articles that appealed to me enough to buy the issue). Later on Allen begins covering the Dutch too if you're interested.

Napoleon III14 Sep 2006 3:08 a.m. PST

andygamer, thanks for the listing of the additional Mark Allen articles. I may have missed a couple along the way somehow. What a great and informative series that was! His stuff on the Dutch was terrific, too.

Quintus Icilius16 Sep 2006 10:04 a.m. PST

One minor quibble with Mark Allen's otherwise excellent piece on late C17th Irish troops in French service is that he doesn't quote his sources when it comes to specific uniform details. That said, I would tend to agree with his depiction of drummers in reversed colors.

CooperSteveatWork17 Sep 2006 2:05 a.m. PST

This is a moot point. I like the idea of doing WSS but am put off by the prospect of spending a small fortune to find out the details of uniforms and flags… I sent Wargames Illustrated a cheque for the CDs with those back issues a year or 2 ago and never heard a thing.

Quintus Icilius19 Sep 2006 4:04 p.m. PST

Try to contact WI through their website : I hear the person who's running it is much more efficient and dependable than DM ever was.

As for research, well that's half the fun of a wargames project. I believe you can get dependable uniform info without paying through the nose for it : I don't know if they're still in print, but the Raider booklets were unbeatable as far as value for money was concerned. Also check out Dan Schorr's site at : he has a series of CDs on armies of the period. I haven't looked at them in detail, but from what I've seen the research work looks sound and solid to me.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2019 9:24 p.m. PST

Those looks good!…





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