The elite company of the 7th charging forward
Dear readers trust this update finds you all well. The Black Powder Games Blog have for some weeks now been resting quietly in the cool shade, while yours truly have been out and around getting either scorched or drenched by the rather extreme summer weather we’ve experienced in Europe.
French Dragoons - Funcken plate.
The elite trooper is seen forward left.
This year’s summer holiday took us through some of France’s finest wine regions. Most notably we visited Alsace to get our hands on some good Riesling. While in the region I managed to persuade my fiancée to spend a day with me walking the historic grounds around Woerth, the site of a mayor Franco-Prussian battle in 1870. As it turns out, the Alsacians have not forgotten this part of their turbulent history – but more about that in a later post.
"Russia against Napoleon" by Dominic Lieven.
In my opinion the best book, not only on Borodino, but on the complete 1812-1814
joust of giants between the two "eagles" the Tzar and the Emperor.
One of the books I enjoyed reading, as I was sweating it out in the poolside umbrella shade, was the excellent “Russia against Napoleon” by Dominic Lieven.
Recently published (2009) I found it a very refreshing and detailed source, taking Russia’s perspective on the 1812 campaign, and subsequent defeat of Napoleon in 1814. The book covers the total spectre of this timeline, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone interested in this part of the Napoleonic Wars and the spectacular Russian army of 1812-1814.
The bugler - characterized by the different colors worn on
Colback, Habite-veste and Chabraque.
But now it’s time to get back to the painting table and to the blog.
Freshly inspired by the Lieven book I threw myself at some Elite Dragoons constructed from the Perry French Dragoon box.
Borodino or as the French call it "The Moskova"
As my collection is aimed mainly at Borodino and 1812, this unit is fielding the flag of the 7th Dragoons, which would put them in Thiry’s brigade, part of Grouchy’s 3rd Cavalry Corps. A veteran unit of Austerlitz, where their Colonel was awarded the Legion d'honneur for capturing the Austrian General de Wimpfen, the 7th was again in the thick of it at The Moskova. Grouchy’s Corps was one of many sucked into the fray at the Great Redoubt, where he made several charges at the Russian infantry squares formed behind it.
The regimental standard - the 7th made several charges at Borodino,
so I spiced up the ranks with a wounded hero.
The Elite Dragoons were men of certain merit, drawn from the ranks to form a crack elite company within the regiment. They were distinguished by the bearskin “Colback” and the red epaulettes, similar to those of the sapeurs.
"The capturer of de Wimpfen"
The Colonel of the 7th was awarded the Legion d'Honneur
for capturing the Austrian General at Austerlitz.
Their uniform had been almost unchanged since 1791, but in 1812 they were issued the new habite-veste, which was close to that of the infantry in cut and design. Weapons-wise they carried a sabre, a pistol and the model 1777 musket (1,41 m) to which they were able to attach a bayonet. This mix of cavalry and infantry weaponry was a testament to the tactical DNA of the Dragoons, meant to fight one moment as mobile light infantry and another as formed cavalry.
Another shot of the bugler.
The Perrys know how to make them, a pleasure to paint these.
Their chabraque was made from sheepskin lined with tags carrying the regimental colour (Key colours were yellow, orange, red and purple). In order to have the bugler stand out, he would be saddled on a black sheepskin while wearing habite-veste and Colback in complementart colors to the rest of the unit.
Shot from above to reveal the Colback top detail of the white cross on red.
With 30 regiments raised in total, the French Dragoon force proved a vital component in Napoleon’s Spanish campaign, and would later win further glory at Nangis and Provins during the desperate fighting in France in 1814.
Thank you very much for reading!