Sunday 2 August 2015

Rossbach French Flags Project - Swiss Regiment Salis [De Salis-Mayenfeld]

Regiment Salis [De Salis-Mayenfeld] First raised 1st June 1734 from companies recruited in the canton of Grisons, although a company of the Baron de Travers from the regiment d'Affry became its colonel's company. 2 battalions. Ranked 102nd in the Seven Years War.

In the SYW it was at Hastenbeck (where Captain Salutz was wounded); Rossbach (where Captain Castelberg and Ensign Schouhe were lost*; these relatively slight officer casualties, especially compared with e.g. Swiss regiments Planta and Diesbach, suggest it was not heavily engaged, even though the regiment was on the right of the mass of French and allied infantry where the second Prussian cavalry charge took place); Krefeld; and Clostercamp. After 1760 it spent the rest of the war guarding the coast of France.

[*Susane's volumes on the French infantry list officer casualties for all the Swiss regiments at Rossbach and it is interesting to compare them. I shall draw up a table when I have completed the flags for the Swiss units.]

Here are the flags for Salis:

And this is the uniform and flag plate from the 1757 MS:

Saturday 11 July 2015

Rossbach French Flags Project - Swiss Regiment Diesbach

First raised 1690. 2 battalions strong. Ranked 90th in the Seven Years War.

This was one of the few allied regiments to distinguish itself at Rossbach 5th November 1757, when Frederick of Prussia routed an army of French, Austrian and Reichsarmee troops twice the size of his own with minimal losses to the Prussians. There is a legend attached to their performance on that sorry day for France and the Reichsarmee. It is here recounted by Simon Millar in Osprey Campaign 113 "Rossbach and Leuthen 1757", page 35. "The two Swiss regiments [Diesbach and Planta] were like rocks in the swirling sea of fugitives and Prussians as they steadily carried out a fighting retreat. Frederick is said to have remarked, "What is that red brick wall that my artillery cannot manage to bring down?", and, being told it was the French Swiss infantry, he silently saluted them by doffing his hat as they marched off the field with colours flying and drums beating." Although he does not repeat the legend in his book "Prussia's Glory" on Rossbach and Leuthen, Christopher Duffy does commend the Swiss for their performance and says that Diesbach not only kept all its own flags but managed to retrieve the abandoned flag of another allied unit which had fled!

Susane in his history of the French infantry lists the following officer losses at Rossbach: Captain Garrigue and Lieutenants Borrer, Bury and Alion killed; Captains Balthazard and Rabel and six lieutenants wounded. Such a heavy casualty list among the officers supports the accounts that show them heavily engaged against the Prussians.

They performed dependably and often very well for the rest of the war, seeing action at Sandershausen, Lutterberg, Bergen and Wilhelmsthal.

Swiss troops served the French for several centuries, by special treaties with the Swiss cantons which were regularly renewed. During the Seven Years War there were around 20,000 Swiss serving with the French army. Unlike the native French units they could generally be depended on to be disciplined, sober and disinclined to looting. They wore uniforms of regular French cut but in red (garance for Diesbach).

And this is the uniform of the musketeer companies (unfortunately there does not appear to be a 1757 plate of this regiment):

Wednesday 3 June 2015

NBA flags in action down in Oz!

On the 16th and 17th May Chris Kendrick and others fought a large ImagiNations' battle. Many of my flags were on display and, if I say so myself, looked pretty good, as did the splendid figures.

Below is a selection of pictures by Robbie Manning and Alan Knight, via Chris Kendrick, which largely feature my flags. Click on the pictures to see them expanded to full size. To see the full posting on Chris Kendrick's blog, see:

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Trooper, British 15th Light Dragoons or Eliott's Light Horse [Updated with colour plate]

Raised 1759 as Eliott's Light Horse (or Dragoons), the regiment went to Germany in 1760 and almost immediately made a name for itself at Emsdorf, where it was claimed to have captured 16 colours, six cannon and 2600 Frenchmen. However, the battle was very costly to the regiment and it had to be withdrawn to reform and recoup its losses in Hannover. The resultant fame and publicity led to the raising of several more regiments of light dragoons and, unlike the light troops attached to the heavy dragoon units, most of them were not disbanded in 1763.

Uniform: Black enamelled cap, white metal crest and mountings (copper or brass metal sometimes depicted as an alternative), white GR cipher and crown on front, the crown showing red enamel through the gaps, turban dark green, horsehair mane red (although possibly originally designated as white over red), two white tassels at back of helmet. Black stock. Red coat with dark green collar, lapels and cuffs, lined white i.e. white turnbacks. White lace loops and white metal buttons on collar, lapels and sleeves. White tufted epaulette on each shoulder. Waistcoat and breeches white. Boots (of a lighter type than used by the heavy cavalry) black. Dark green saddlecloth with a tan leather seat joining the front and rear parts. Edging lace white with red central stripe. Full colour crown with white GR cipher at front. Rear corner red circle surrounded by wreath of natural coloured roses and thistles with LD in white. White fur cover on holsters.