1870 FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR: FRENCH INFANTRY
FRENCH INFANTRY PAINTING GUIDE
These notes do not pretend to be exhaustive but are examples for painting guides. Note where ‘strapping’ on trousers is mentioned this was an imitation ‘boot’ of leather which acted as a form of leg guard to prolong life of trousers.
Line infantry. Red undress kepi was normally worn. This had a blue band bearing red regimental number (except officers). From 1867-68 a double-breasted tunic was blue with yellow collar piped blue and blue cuffs piped yellow. On the collar grenadiers had red grenades and voltigeurs a red horn. Buttons yellow metal. Epaulettes red including for elite companies. Greatcoat dark blue with epaulettes same. Red collar patches & shoulder straps. Red trousers, white gaiters, black shoes & leather equipment, white haversack. Off white/buff tent folded around cowhide knapsack. Officers 1 to 4 gold rings on lower sleeve indicated rank. Some officers had black frock coat with gold epaulettes but otherwise quite plain. Gold kepi piping, including edges of blue band, & light blue or red waist sash as did some other ranks. These were unofficially adopted. Trumpet cords red, white & blue. Chasseurs blue kepi & band with yellow piping & regt. number. Tunic (including collar & cuffs)blue piped yellow, again inc. collar & cuffs. Trousers blue or grey-blue with yellow piping. White gaiters, black leather equipment. Marine Infantry tended to wear the 1867 greatcoat with red anchor design on collar (& on front of kepi, piped red). Epaulettes yellow. Trousers blue with red stripe. Black cravat. Gaiters white, leather equipment black. Models without epaulettes can be used for the ‘Regiment de marche’ (provisional regiments), or ‘Garde Mobile’ units. Standards - from Jan. 1852 the eagle was ordered to be reintroduced. The flags were similar to First Empire except they now had Napoleon III in gold letters. Poles were dark blue. In regiments of 2 battalions the eagle was carried by the first, in 3 or 4 battalion regiments by the second battalion.
FRENCH FOREIGN LEGION
Use models as for line infantry
The dark blue 1867 tunic had a red collar.
Blue kepi piped red. Dark blue uniform with collar patch & double trouser stripes red. Belts & gaiters white. Blanket roll dark blue. Officer wore habit (tunic) with plastron, the latter piped red, as was kepi. Black leather equipment.
FRENCH IMPERIAL GUARD
(for Guard Zouaves use figures as Turco/Zouaves below)
Imperial Guard infantry comprised 3 regiments of grenadiers, 4 of voltigeurs, 1 of Chasseurs & 1 of Zouaves. Grenadiers had black bearskin, brass front plate. Tunic dark blue, with red collar, cuffs, piping on front & epaulettes. Collar had white front patch & cuffs white slash patch. Tunic loops / lace white, as were gaiters and waist belt. Other leather equipment black. Trousers red, with blue stripe. Bonnet de police blue with red piping & tassel. Officer tunic piped red, with gold collar patches. Kepi piped in gold. Guard Voltigeurs had yellow loops and piping on tunic. Crescents on red epaulettes were yellow as was piping on bonnet de police. Otherwise uniform similar to grenadiers. Leather equipment as worn by other infantry. Guard Chasseurs similar to Voltigeurs but epaulettes green with yellow crescent and trousers grey-blue with yellow knot designs on thighs. Guard Zouaves blue zouave jackets and waistcoats with yellow lace and red pointed cuffs. Trousers red with yellow Hungarian knots on trousers, and waist sash of light blue. Fez red with yellow tassel & white turban. The musicians also had thin blue & red stripes on white turban. Drum body brass, rims blue, tension straps white.
Remnants of the Guard units were incorporated into line regiments in 1871.
American Civil War packs also provide alternative models.
Turcos - by 1870 Regts. comprised mostly Algerians with some of NCOs & the officers French. Light blue jacket (shama) & veste with yellow piping, edging, cuff ‘stripes’ (like inverted chevrons) & jacket design. The false pocket (tombo) in these designs were coloured according to regiment 1st - red; 2nd - white; 3rd - yellow. Cap (chechia) was red with light blue tassel. Sash red. Trousers/pantaloons were white in summer, light blue in winter. Gaiters white, leather equipment black. Above the gaiter top was usually attached tan coloured ‘jambieres’. White turbans, often discarded. Officer light blue frock-coat with yellow collar & piping on leading edge. Gold Hungarian knots on sleeve reached to mid-upper arm. Kepi red, with light blue band edged gold & gold stripes & design on top. Trousers red with light blue stripe. Leather black.
Zouaves similar style uniform but dark blue tassel on chechia, & jacket. Edging on jacket red with ‘tombeaux’ similar to Turcos, except 4th Regt. were dark blue. Sash light blue. Trousers red with light blue stripes forming part of Hungarian knot design. White gaiters. ‘Caban’ (cape/mantle) in grey-blue worn folded on pack as was woollen blanket wrapped inside white/light grey tent. Black leather belt & straps on pack.
FRENCH GARDE MOBILE
Dark blue uniform with red collar, cuffs, band & piping on kepi, and broad stripe on trousers. Cravat light blue. Officers (use line infantry officer) would have gold edging to red cuff and red kepi band. Piping on kepi also gold, piping on shoulder strap red. Leather equipment, boots black. Garde Mobile were not officially entitled to standards but frequently acquired / made one.
Cap dark blue with red pompom (some illustrations show red/blue mixture) & red ‘band’ with central thin black line. No ship identification as this was a working cap. Blouse & trousers dark blue. Collar light blue, edged white. Under-shirt blue & white horizontal stripes. Gaiters white. Shoes & leather equipment black. Canvas knapsack.
Brown leather jerkin with woollen edging commonly worn in cold weather. Officer dark blue with gold rank insignia on shoulders & rings on cuffs.
American Civil War packs also provide alternative models.
Volunteers, some of the original units were based on members of shooting clubs. Their quality varied greatly. Usually employed in hit & run tactics, some units did however fight alongside the regular army. Others were little more than brigands. Some adopted uniforms similar to regular army units. Garibaldi led a force which included various ‘francs-tireurs’ units in the east of France, once the Republic was formed. Size of units also varied greatly from as little as 25 to units of battalion strength. They were not just infantry, there were cavalry and artillery as well. Typical type of dress green felt hat, grey uniform with green collar, cuffs, shoulder straps & trouser stripe. Blue or red sash.
Models in our Darkest Africa Range can also be used, and many from our extensive Old West range, particularly men with caps or bowler hats.
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