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French Uniforms in LGDR7

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French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:24 pm

This topic is in response to requests for more pictures of French uniforms I adopted for LGDR7.

It is not a true historical record - the uniforms are based on those worn at the time by certain regiments, but my objective was to have a set of uniforms which could be identified as distinctly French. Historically the uniforms varied widely between units and were often dependent on the whim of individual colonels. The much commented upon dragoon uniform is a typical example. According to Osprey's uniform guide, the Rgt.Hautefort-Dragon worse dark green/red, the Rgt.Dragons du Roi wore blue/red, the Rgt. Tesse-Dragon wore yellow/red. With the infantry some wore red (Rgt.de Provence), others a deeper blue (Rgt.Erlach), and others a mix of a washy blue-grey verging on the white. Add in the various foreign regiments and it can be appreciated just how some standards were badly needed.

Anyway, for those who have asked to see the pictures, I hope you will enjoy them.


Last edited by The Real Louis of France on Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total

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French Infantry Uniforms

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:31 pm




The basic infantry unit is the fusilier, the most boring uniform and lowest grade equipment. Originally I couldn't decide whether to term these militia rather than fusiliers as they effectively serve that function. Each regiment has a historic name and date of foundation which are as historically accurate as I could make them.

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French Line Infantry Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:38 pm



The differences between fusiliers and line infantry are in the equipment and purpose rather than major uniform changes. As fusiliers were expected to be a source of recruits for line infantry. The new French player will know what those differences in equipment are and that the purpose of line infantry is to stand in line and engage in a short musket duel with the enemy. Line infantry should be drilled for best effect. Further tactical use of this unit (such as the number of lines deep, number of shots to be fired, distance to open fire, etc) will remain confidential.

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French Grenadier Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:44 pm



Grenadiers are the primary assault unit and the grey-blue is replaced with a much more vibrant blue set against a strong red. There are many equipment enhancements for these units. Brave troops expect to be seen to be brave. I don't see drill as being essential for these units as they are not designed to stand in line. Further tactical use of this unit will remain confidential.

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French Guard Grenadier Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:48 pm



To give the bravest of the Grenadiers some recognition, I created the Guard Grenadiers, an elite, with uniforms to match. The historic dates of these units grant them precedence. I did think about creating horse grenadiers which were around in 1700, but I was never convinced about the tactical benefit.

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Voltigeurs and Chasseurs-a-Pied

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:52 pm

The uniforms for voltigeurs and foot chasseurs have not been posted as I had intended to disband these types of units and create a generic rifle unit instead. They were originally to be rifled skirmishers, but simply didn't perform as expected.

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Musketeers Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:03 pm



The hardest uniform to accurately replicate was that of the Musketeers. The historic regiments were mounted, yet fought on foot which seems to suggest they should be raised as dragoons. This doesn't seem to do justice to what are some of the most famous units in the French army. So I've added various enhancements to them and special tactics. They fought bravely protecting Versailles against a large force of elite Austrian Cuirassiers.

The report in the Herald of June 1705 is as follows:

Back in the woods, the presence of so many hussars in loose formation forced Vaudemont to draw his cuirassiers up in battle lines while still in amongst the trees. This took a while, especially since while doing so they were being harried by the sky-blue uniformed French hussars who launched small scale raids to unsettle them. Nevertheless, lines were drawn and in a controlled manner - albeit in a looser formation than a military manual would call for - the cuirassiers moved forward, causing the hussars to fall back to the palace. Louis de France, the Dauphin, took a swig of brandy from a flask proffered by the Marquis de Torcy and then rode to the edge of the palace grounds with the Mousquetaires, who dismounted and formed up as a 3,000-strong body of infantry. Their own officers protested about this, but Louis would have none of it telling them we will beat them head-on and then pursue them into the dust! They could do nothing but accept his royal command. The cuirassiers emerged and with no time due to the proximity of the enemy made no effort to close their files up but with their heavy swords unsheathed started to get up a canter. Then the famous Mousquetaires - wearing blue jackets, red breeches, and grey-blue musketeer tabards, delivered a volley at close range into their very faces. Smoke billowed out from the firearms, and when it cleared it became obvious in the noise and confusion that the first line of Vaudemonts command had fled leaving a wreckage of trooper and horse behind, as well as a smattering of swords and helmets. Exuberantly Louis shouted at the Mousquetaires to mount up. The officers beside him again protested - this time that more cuirassiers may shortly emerge and thus catch them at gross disadvantage, but on this occasion such a thing did not happen - justifying Louis rashness! In fact Prince Vaudemont had lost control of his first line, and in the chaos of seeing fleeing troopers mixing up with the second line of squadrons in the woods he had sounded the retreat not knowing the size of the opposition at his juncture but certainly clear that it was substantial enough. His cuirassiers retired in disorder through the woods, followed by the valiant Mousquetaires and hussars who cut down many stragglers. The cuirassiers are now retreating in the general direction of Dijon!


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French Dragoon Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:09 pm



The dragoon uniform has already been discussed on the France vs England thread. Yellow coats were used by the Tesse Dragoon regiment, though they had red facings and green breeches. Different coloured saddle cloths help units identify (and therefore keep) their own mounts. From memory I don't think I specified a particular colour for dragoon horses.
The tactical use of Dragoons will remain confidential.

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French Hussar Uniform

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:14 pm


The decision to include hussars as a light cavalry unit was difficult, however good light cavalry is essential and I needed some sabre-armed cavalry to balance my lancers. No missing these on the battlefield! Unlike infantry regiments, cavalry regiments were numbered. Again, their tactical use will remain confidential.

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French Lancers and Chasseurs

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:20 pm



I never understood why it took so long for lancers to return to be the backbone of French cavalry. I can see why they became less useful when the pike dominated, but as soon as the pike was phased out, the lance should have returned as it gives so many tactical advantages.

Thanks to the help of the Tsar, France rediscovered the lance and Lancers are now the backbone of French cavalry. Where ordinary horse are armed with sabres they are known as Chasseurs a Cheval, and the uniform is the same as the lancer uniform. Such tactical niceties as the length and shape of cavalry sabre, how it is used, charging depth/distance, will remain confidential.

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French Heavy Cavalry (Cuirassiers)

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:25 pm



The cuirassier is the tank of the French army: heavy cavalry (Lourde Cavalerie) mounted on specially bred heavy horses, superbly equipped they will batter a hole through the stiffest resistance. Their record needs no further justification. Such units as the Maison du Roi would be raised as Cuirassiers, though as with other cavalry units I numbered rather than named them.

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Artillery Uniforms

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:37 pm



The artillery was considered the lowest branch of the army at the time of Louis, so the uniforms are rather dowdy. There are variants on the same theme for all the main classes of French artillery: Foot Artillery, Horse Artillery, Mortars, Siege Artillery. All French artillery is militarised as is in keeping with a professional service. The tactical use of each and the enhancements built will remain confidential.

Because artillery needs protection, a special unit of Black Hussars was created. This was a unit in the French army (formerly the 9th Hussars), though similar units existed in the Prussian army and others. Their purpose is to rescue the artillery if they get into trouble by launching suicide charges against the enemy thereby buying time for the guns to limber up and escape. This regiment of hussars doesn't need a fancy uniform to boost its morale as merely putting the uniform on signifies their bravery. Black Hussars are under the command of the artillery rather than the cavalry.



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Engineer and Support Services Uniforms

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:48 pm



Any professional army needs its engineers and support units. The uniform for the Royal Engineers is also used for Pontonieres. The wide-brimmed floppy hat is similar to that used by the Siege Artillery.




And this extends to carts which have a very important tactical function on the battlefield! The same uniform is used for Sappeurs who under the direction of engineers will do the necessary mining and digging trenches during sieges.




Also medics with field ambulances. French soldiers know that they will be cared for and paid war pensions, so they have no excuse not to fight to their full ability!


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French Naval Uniforms

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:59 pm

Finally, the work in progress ... naval uniforms.

French naval ranks were quite confusing as were the French Royal Marine regiments. There was an infantry regiment known as the Royal Marine which was different to French Marines on board ships. I decided to simplify it and keep the Royal Marines as a regiment serving on ships and guarding naval installations under the command of the navy rather than the army.



Unfortunately the text side is a bit small, but the uniforms, from left to right are:
Ordinary Seaman, NCOs, Midshipman/Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, Admiral, Royal Marine, Captain of Marines.


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Colonial Uniforms

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:06 pm

Additional uniforms were designed for foreign units in French service, such as Walloons, Irish, Italian, German, Swiss, but these were not ordered and so don't appear here.

Colonial forces also had various uniforms designed. Some of these have been ordered, including this one for the Caribbean Mounted Militia:



Note the parrot-green colour in honour of the Duc de Bourgoyne, who is Viceroy of the 5 Dominions of the French Colonial Empire, and brown replacing black for the shoes and leggings.



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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:09 pm

I hope you've found this thread entertaining. Further uniforms can be posted on request, but I think I've covered the basics.



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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Stuart Bailey on Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:14 pm

Really like the design and cut of the French Uniforms posted.

But I am not so sure about the amount of pink in use..........clearly Louis XIV very young mistress has an influence on matters other than French Foreign policy.

Ref the interesting point raised about is Cavalry better equiped with Lance or Sword.........this was one of the great debates between Cavalry Officers for most of the 1700s, 1800s and even into the 1900s and various Armies inc the French, Spanish & Prussians attempted to reintroduce the Lance.

Reading the accounts (mostly Napoleonic French & English in India) of Officers who fought both with and against Lancers they seemed to favour the Sword over the Lance in a Cavalry fight but also stressed that Lancers who were to be feared were those who had been brought up with the Lance from Boyhood. Basically it seem you can teach people how to use a musket in few months but the mounted Lance like the Longbow seems to me a weapon you have to be breed too otherwise it just gets in the way.

This certainly seems to have been the experience of Napoleon......most of his best Lancers were Poles.

Where the Lance does seem to have had a clear advantage over the Sword esp in the wet was for fighting infantry. After the end of the Pike there are various examples of French & English Squares which could not fire due to the wet withstanding normal cavalry then being broken by Lancers.

Will be interesting to see how the Grand Douphin copes with his Dads Royal Mistresses and if he is a Lancer or a Swordsman?

But if he wants my advise it would be "ditch the pink"
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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Deacon on Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:05 pm


I actually applaud it for not falling into modern conceptions about the colour. Pink as a feminine colour is a modern construct.

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:11 am

Well spotted Stuart! The pink on the cravat, hat and epaulettes for some uniforms is replaced in practice by regimental identification colours. So yes, the pink is supposed to clash with the overall design. Sorry Deacon.

However, just in case you are referring to the naval uniforms, the pinkish-rose is actually salmon-red, which was the closest shade I could find to historic colours. Similarly the grey-blue for the coats is close to what history intended but the dyes didn't fix that well so after heavy use they became closer to a grey. The stronger the colour the more dye was needed, but some colours still faded through use.

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Lance vs Sabre

Post by Guest on Sat Jul 14, 2012 1:08 am

The Lance vs Sabre debate is fascinating.

It took a great deal of research including some rather strained sessions on horseback, to see how easy it was to control both horse and sabre/horse and stick. It is tough! If you don't ride, then you can read some of the old British army cavalry training manuals which make it look far too easy. Both lance and sabre have very practical problems. I can only write of my own experience, but I found that if you are comfortable controlling your horse, then lance is easier than sabre. That probably sounds counter-intuitive.

With a lance, it is the shock impact which makes the difference and it is relatively easy at the trot (though harder at faster speeds) to knock your opponent off his horse. Accuracy (hitting the part of the body you are aiming at) with the lance is very difficult because that demands a finely balanced weapon and a great deal of physical strength. In short, I couldn't hit targets with the kind of accuracy required and have a great deal of admiration for those who can collect loops on the end of their lance at anything approaching combat speed! So for the novice it is simply a case of charging towards your opponent, knocking him off, then moving the horse to a position from where you do the same again. Control of the horse was much easier for me than keeping the lance at a useful and consistent angle whilst the horse was moving.

You would think the sabre is easier, but here the problems are switched. Horses don't like distractions and their instinct is to flee (to prevent this blinkers were invented). Even so with the clash of sabres and noise it makes it very hard for a horse to stand still. And of course you don't have the momentum you do with a lance so you have to do all the fighting yourself. Then there is the physical difficulty of actually hitting your opponent with the sword. It is a bit like fencing when your feet are stuck to the floor. You can only bend at the waist, yet your opponent can attack you at any angle and your own 'legs' literally have a mind of their own. I found it very hard not to hit my own horse as naturally enough he wouldn't keep his head down! The worst thing to do from a control perspective is to shorten the rein as that makes the horse more tense and liable to kick when under stress. You can control the horse using your legs, but that doesn't always mean you can position yourself against your opponent to deliver a blow in combat.

When applying these lessons in the game, I assumed that as French knights were the acknowledged masters of Jousting Tournaments, the training techniques would be well known. But this proved not to be the case. The Medieval lance is a completely different weapon to the shorter lance in use by 1700.

However, what subsequent book research suggested was that the lance is nearly always superior against sabre provided the right tactics are used. This is because the lance has reach which the sabre doesn't. The lance is vulnerable in subsequent melee, but that is where tactics comes in. The exception is in lance vs cuirassier combats for reasons which are obvious: the armour of the cuirassier requires heavier horses with more substantial saddles and the confidence of the rider to withstand the charge. After the initial charge the lance is at a disadvantage. However, if any cavalry regiment is charged in the flank or rear by lancers, the lance will win. If a cavalry regiment which is disordered or currently engaged in combat is charged by lancers, again the lancers should win.

With lance vs infantry combat, the lance wins again irrespective of the weather unless the infantry is in square or in defensive terrain like woodland or rocks. True, some squares were broken by lancers, but such occurrences were still rare and I wouldn't like to try it. The lance's advantage is in speed and shock so unless the horse can cover the ground quickly and hit the target without suffering serious damage, the cavalry is at a strong numerical disadvantage. A more useful tactic would be to engage the enemy infantry with an expendable unit and then charge into flank or rear in which case even a small number of lancers would cause devastation. Of course, the same advantage applies to sabre-armed cavalry, but the lances' greater length means it can kill an infantry opponent at distance and ride quickly to safety when threatened.

I was still learning how the lance is best used in combat in LGDR as some proposed tactical innovations need testing.
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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Basileus on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:01 am

I think one of the advantages of a heavy cavalry saber is that it is a weapon with a cutting edge. This means that the horseman can make a sweeping blow and does not need to be so accurate. The principles of the lance have to be the same as an epee which is a "pointy" thing and needs far more accuracy.
I do ride, and also fence, but not but not both at the same time pirat
Give me an epee every time over a saber if on foot. Its quicker and will always get the point on faster, put me on a horse and I think I would rather have a saber over a lance, epee would be impossible on horseback. But if you miss with your lance you are going to be done for, wouldnt it be easier to knock out of the way with a sword?

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:25 am

By my research the lance seems to have a clear advantage during the initial charge, but after that I agree with Basileus that the lance is at a disadvantage. It is easy enough to slash around with a sabre, but a great deal of energy is wasted unless the blows are able to land on the opponent.

The other thing to consider is that there are so many different designs of cavalry sabre which favour either the point or the edge, so I don't think it is a simple choice. Skirmish cavalry tended to use shorter curved sabres which clearly are weapons of the edge. They could move in, slash away, then have the speed and flexibility to ride off again, and of course the curved sword helped avoid the horse's head! However, such weapons are very close quarter weapons. Heavy cavalry (both British and French) tended to use longer straight swords where the wielder had the choice of point or edge. If armoured then they were more able to remain in combat for longer and make more of a fight of it so needed that protection. A curved sabre against the straight blade of a Cuirassier would see the Cuirassier win, but whether this was more because of the armour than the design of the sword used I can't be sure about. When British heavy dragoons met French Hussars, I suspect the British dragoons would cause greater casualties.

Whilst I'll defend the lance over sabre, I can see advantages to both types of sabre in certain situations and as they were historically applied to different types of cavalry.

In G7 I encountered a lot of resistance from the senior cavalry units who were determined to retain the Caracole manoeuvre over more modern tactics. Interestingly, the Caracole was originally employed as a way for sabre and lancer armed cavalry to attack together. It looked pretty and required a very high standard of equitation, but I doubt its effectiveness.

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by J Flower on Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:51 pm

There is also the cultural side of using the lance, in Eastern Europe it was seen as a shock weapon, put only in the initial encounter. Then after the initial charge, it was discarded, and swords were drawn. Western armies with there need for accountability were against casting weapons aside. So the poor lancer had to cling onto his weapon with all its problems after the inital impact.

There is also the problem of the skill level required to be a decent Lancer. Once again the semi nomadic lifestyle of the east scores, over that of the western powers.

On the point of the cavalry sword, there is also a great deal of debate that can be had, the doctrine is also important, either the point or the slash. the scabbard could also play a part, the Britisch scabbard was a simple metal one, which unfortunatly took the edge off the blade. Whilst the French one was lined with wood.

The Cuirass was proof against many things, but was it worth it, a more expensive horse was required, which was harder to keep in the field. They are also very restricting, plus in summer you cook & in winter you freeze.

each type of cavalry has its strengths & weaknesses. don't just look at the battle field, what about scouting duties, routine patrols, raiding etc.

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:25 pm

Very interesting Jason. The idea of dropping the lance after the initial charge could give an advantage. I don't see any reason why lancers couldn't also carry sabres for close combat, then perhaps have spare lances stored in the baggage? Certainly the plains of Eastern Europe and the semi-nomadic lifestyle you refer to allowed the development of some superb cavalry. These replies have certainly stimulated a few new thoughts on the problem. There was for instance a way that even relatively untrained lancers could use the lance in close combat to beat the sabre, which to my mind seals the case in favour of the lance. Of course, whether it would work in LGDR or not I don't know. All these things have to be repeatedly tested in combat.

I had not considered the scabbard at all. As I understand the sword itself, a curved blade causes damage only by slashing whereas a straight blade either thrusts or cuts rather than slashes.

I have read of accounts where cavalrymen did find the cuirass uncomfortable and restricting, but perhaps the main benefit was psychological? I would rather put up with the discomfort for the additional protection it provides against sword and lance. Perhaps there were some practical ways the soldiers could adapt their cuirass to make it more comfortable?

Your point about different types of cavalry being suited to different duties underline the approach I took to the French army in G7: specialist types of units to perform specialist tasks. The cuirassiers were the heavy combat cavalry which would be ruined if sent off scouting. Those kind of duties were performed by light cavalry, generally hussars; patrols by dragoons etc. I remember reading somewhere that it was the light cavalry that worked hardest in Napoleon's armies for scouting, screening, foraging, even covering retreats. And of course different types of cavalry need different tactics and commanders with different strengths. So perhaps choosing officers with certain skills, equipping my units with appropriate kit and uniforms, then determining how they should fight was not as pointless an exercise as some have made out?

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

Post by J Flower on Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:56 am

The Sword shape itself does have a fole to play, one advantage of the curced sword is that in a Melee, you need less room to use it, however the staighter blade gives a better reach, especially in hte initial contact.

There are reports of eastern Cavalrymen being amazed that Lancers from Western armies would try an recover there Lancers, it seems the fear of the quatermaster and having to pay for a new lance was the reason for this, the Eastern cavalry considered a lance that had killed an opponent had done its job and recovery was not a priority.

As to the Cuirass, the steady increase in its reintroduction in the French army of the Napoleonic wars along with the reintroduction of battalion artillery pieces, go hand in hand with the decline in the general quality of the army, it could be argued that they were there to boast the Morale of the troops. It is lined with wool at the neck and arms to help improve comfort, Having spoken to men who have srved in the Lifeguards ceremonial squadron, It is safe to say that the whole thing isn't comfortable. Then again if you had to wear it every day for years on end then maybe you would get used to it.

The Austrians tried to save money by giving only the breast plate to there cavalry, French Light cavalry were able to exploit the weakness on there more nimble mounts.

Heavy Cavalry can be seen as the queen of the battlefield, however drill is also important. A compact formation is also important, the speed of the charge, and holding formation during the charge.

Something that I beleive is not done on any wargaming table is the scouting of the ground over which a charge is to place. this was normally done by outriders to ensure there were no hidden surprises. these men could warn commanders of any problems ahead with regards to the ground.

In game I have given orders for rolled greatcoats to be put over the shoulder, thid also gives a degree of protection from sword cuts at least, especially as in period most swords did not hold an edge.

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Re: French Uniforms in LGDR7

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