Thursday 31 July 2008

French Grenadiers

A few people have been interested in reenacting French grenadiers - I don't know much about the various dates when certain equipment was used - when was the socket bayonet adopted? I think it was suspended from the cartridge box strap but I am not sure. Also the sling slivel - presumably a gunsmith could easily make a barrel band as below. Swords... I see a lot of images of grenadiers with straight bladed ones... when was the hatchet carried?

Monday 28 July 2008

Battle of Cassel/Bataille de la Peene 1677

This battle between the Dutch and the French near Dunkirk is well remembered with a local museum with diorama - see news article on it here. French wiki on the battle here

Art of War

I made another slide show to promote the period - the music is 'Marche du dragons du roi' by J B Lully.

Sunday 27 July 2008

French infantry c1696

By Pierre Giffart these images of the Garde Francaise show the style of the elite regiments at the end of the 1690s.

Images of Louis XIV's infantry

I am in hog heaven, Thanks to a tip-off from a pal I found these images of Louis XIV's army on this site Reunion des Musees Nationaux which contains many paintings and engravings from the era of this blog. These are all from A M Mallet. There's something of a thrill to be had to find pictures that you haven't seen may have already encountered them. All these images are quite early from the look at the clothing and equipment.

Saturday 26 July 2008

Princes, Posts and Partisans: The Army of Louis XIV and Partisan Warfare

By George Satterfield
Published 2003. This is my book of the month, without a doubt. I'm not much good at reviewing books but this one tells the story of Louis XIV's war with the Dutch and much more. It is a great military history of the campaigns and the diplomacy behind this great negelcted era of history. I recommend you consult the preview here. The bumph reads
This volume explores French partisan warfare in the Spanish Netherlands during the Dutch War (1672-78). It considers such practices as contributions, fire-raids, and blockades before sieges. The author relies extensively on archival sources, and in many cases explores events that have been passed over by similar studies. Louis XIV and his generals used partisan warfare to fit a strategy of exhaustion to ensure territorial conquest. The French army's reliance on partisan warfare reveals the limitations of the war-making potential of Louis XIV's state; at the same time it leads to the emergence of a more modern practice of military operations to pursue theater-strategic objectives.
Picture A M Mallet Travaux de Mars 1672 'Cavaliers'

Saint-Denis 1678

Final battle of the Franco-Dutch war - fought between Luxembourg on the French side and William of Orange the Dutch. Monmouth was present commanding the Anglo-Dutch Brigade. Wiki on it here. Coehorn was also present.

Thursday 24 July 2008

Wars of Louis XIV slideshow

I made this little montage up to the music of 'Marche du regiment du roi' by J B Lully. Hope you like it...

Monmouth Rebellion fiction

I'm always interested in books dealing with our local historical event in the late 17thc, the Monmouth Rebellion, as it is a great age for swashbuckling - and this looks worth a read, a seemingly well researched and entertaining capture of this ripe-for-fiction age. Review here. The bumph from the publisher's website reads:
A Captain for Monmouth Peter Forrester
Young Oliver Hardman enjoys his life as head gamekeeper on George Speake's West Country estate. He's twenty, useful with a bow, tall and handsome too - as Lady Anne Trenchard, George Speake's daughter, appreciates to the full. Then in 1685 rebellion sweeps through Somerset, and Speake's odious son, John, takes Oliver with him to join the Duke of Monmouth's cavalry. Oliver's heroism and strategic skills bring him into the duke's confidence and Lady Anne's special favour, while Colonel Speake, seething with envy, plots bitter revenge on the battlefield. Can Captain Hardman, now head of Hardman's Horse, survive the debacle of Sedgemoor? And more to the point, can he survive Speake's insane jealousy?
Peter Forrester's outstanding familiarity with local topography and historical detail lend a palpable whiff of reality to this action-filled account of Monmouth's attempt to rid England of her last Catholic monarch - the disastrous James Stuart. Monmouth's fate is well known, but in these pages our sympathies lie with him - and his trusty Captain Hardman - right to the very end.

Wednesday 23 July 2008

Louis XIV's infantry at the Siege of Liege 1676

Can't find out much about this siege. This is the largest version of the painting I can find too. Shame as it looks like an interesting scene.


Most people know Mallet from his cartographical work - here are some less familiar pieces on the subject of fortifications from the Travaux de Mars.

Musee des plans-reliefs

Website here. Models of fortified towns. This museum looks worth a visit - part of the Invalides. It contains models - mostly in 1/600 scale of fortified towns gathered from across the centuries. The tradition started in 1668 at the behest of Louvois.
Picture; Engineers making a plan relief - Travaux de Mars 1684.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

'Battle by the Windmill' Joseph Parrocel 1646-1704

Possibly showing Dutch troops. Last quarter of the 17th century.

Passage du Rhin 1672

This detail from Van der Meulen's depiction of Louis XIV at the crossing of the Rhine (see masthead for full version) shows the French army in its pre uniform days. The black and white engaving depicts the same scene. I can look at these old paintings all day.

Louis XIV at the siege of Mons 1691

Engraving: "soldier killed by a cannon shot behind the king." Wiki here
Vauban warned against important people visiting the trenches as their presence with their attendant entourages generally drew hostile fire from the defenders. Colour depiction of the Siege of Mons.

Siège de Lindbourg

By another great painter of sieges, Jean-Baptiste Martin le Vieux (1659-1735).

Jan Van Huchtenberg

Another great painter of battle scenes often generic cavalry skirmishes in the style of Wouvermans. Wiki on him here

Monday 21 July 2008

Vintage 20mm Marlburian/Louis XIV figures

Thanks to the Flanderkin blog
I discovered the Les Higgins 20mm Marlburian range is now available again, get them from here. Only 35p a foot figure which seems a bargain. These are really well sculpted figures that I remember well buying them from Paynes in Warminster in the early 70s (am I that old?) and were some of the first metal figures I painted. They come on nice round bases and can happily stand alone but the main thing was the elegance and period charm was top notch. Les Higgins died in 1972 so you can get an idea of how vintage these figures are but I give them a high recommendation - well worth getting some samples so you can see what I mean. These figures used to be used in a few of the early wargames books and look lovely believe me.

Sunday 20 July 2008

Louis XIV period marches

This album looks good - based on a Dumas theme it contains various period works of masters such as Lully.
A tribute to Alexandre Dumas, illustrated by authentic pieces of music written by Lully and Philipidor for the real Musketeers.
Various: Musiques pour les Mousquetaires - Jean-Denis Monory, narrator; Renaud Tripathi, counter-tenor; Benoît Porcherot, tenor; La Simphonie du Marais; Hugo Reyne, conductor
Label - Calliope
Cat. No. - CAL9527
Including DESROSIERS Assembling the musketeers; LULLY Marche du régiment du roi - Premier et second airs sur les Folies d'Espagne, Marche des mousquetaires - 6 airs, Trios for oboes of the Musketeers 1-9, Marche italienne, Bataille (Marche des mousquetaires & Marche italienne); CAMBERT O charmante bouteille! BABELON Marche de timbales; PHILIDOR La Descente des armes des mousquetaires; DUMAS TheThree Musketeers
A tribute to Alexandre Dumas, illustrated by authentic pieces of music written by Lully and Philipidor for the real Musketeers.
Trumpets and kettledrums, oboes and side-drums play the favourite marches and trios of the royal regiments in alternation with passages from the novelist's prose. A fascinating meeting between history and fiction Price: £13.99 (Including VAT at 17.5%)

noms de guerre

Something very much associated with the army of Louis XIV is the practice of a nom de guerre - a nickname officially recognised in the regiment. To understand this practice and see some popular examples check out this article The Military Roots of the 'dit' names. Specifically relating to Quebec it is comprehensive and useful.

on drums...Louis XIV

This caricature from 1693 entitled Louis XIV and his harem is interesting for a number of features.

Saturday 19 July 2008

Boardgames for the early 18thc

Most of the available boardgames for the period are mentioned here - includes one on Lesnaya.

Drabant Miniatures 40mm WSS and GNW figures

Drabant Miniatures. I really appreciate well sculpted and researched figures - and these are some of the best. They are veritable works of art - see the Swedish musketeer on the left. The website is also a great and inspirational place with a gallery by A. Karashchyuk of War of Spanish Succession art including this lovely painting of French troops at Blenheim 1704 (the picture shows musketeer and grenadier of the Regiment de Languedoc) which ranks as one of my favourite depictions of French troops of the era.

Battle of Lesnaya 1708

The next big 300 anniversary event I know of is the Battle of Lesnaya fought between the Swedes and Russians in the Great Northern War. The wiki states
The greatest significance of the Russian victory at Lesnaya was that it convinced the Russian soldiers that they could defeat even Sweden's best soldiers. This new-found confidence served them well in the 1709 campaign in which Peter destroyed Charles' main Swedish army. Peter referred to Lesnaya as "the mother of the Battle of Poltava."
Great Northern War Russian reenactors (pictured) here

Siege of Duisburg 1672

Can't find out much about this siege other than it was notable for the death of Jean Martinet - killed by his own artillery while leading an assault. Their was a Swiss officer Soury who was also killed in the same assault causing the witticism that Duisburg cost Louis a 'Martin and a Mouse'.

Friday 18 July 2008

15mm Vauban style fort

This is a pleasant looking model for 15mm scale - the scale I am thinking of wargaming this era in. It's a little expensive but worth looking at all the same as they sell it in pieces so you can build it to your own specs. Website here.

Thursday 17 July 2008

French Grenadiers

As far as I know the Grenadier was a French innovation - it started with the Du Roi Regiment who had 4 per company in 1667 at the instigation of the famous Colonel Jean Martinet. The experiment was successful and in 1670 they were grouped into a company. The Anjou, Lyonnais, Dauphin and Royal Vaisseuax followed in early 1671. Flintlock muskets were carried from 1670. The sling - the Grenadiere did not become universal until the early 18th century.

Grenadiers a Cheval
Louis XIV, in 1676, created a company of horse grenadiers recruited from the cavalry and armed with a musket, pistol and sword. This company was attached to the Maison du Roi (king's household). Their motto was "Undique terror, undique lethum".

"L'art militaire ou Les Exercices de Mars, livre à dessiner", de Nicolas Guérard, Paris, chez N. Guérard, s.d. [vers 1695]

Birth of the British Grenadier

Everyone knows the song the British Grenadier - reputedly dating from the late 17th century but I thought it might be interesting to look at the first references to Grenadiers by diarist John Evelyn.
29th June 1678 Hounslow Heath
His Majesty and a world of company were in the field; and the whole army in battalia; a very glorious sight.. Now were brought into service a new sort of soldiers, called Grenadiers who were dexterous in flinging hand grenadoes, every one having a pouch full. They wore furred caps with coped crowns like Janizaries, which made them look very fierce, and some had long hoods hanging down behind as we picture fools. Their clothing being likewise piebald, yellow and red.

On Horse Grenadiers 5 December 1683
The King had now augmented his guards with a new sort of dragoons, who carried also granados, and were habited after the Polish manner, with long peaked caps, very fierce and fantastical.

Wednesday 16 July 2008

Regiment de Navarre recruitment poster

Not sure of the date for this - early 18th century I think. One of the senior vieux regiments - the fifth - Navarre wore gris-blanc lined with the same. Apparently nearly came to blows with the Garde Francais by trying to enter Gravelines before them in 1644. Famous battle cry; 'En avant Navarre sans peur!'
They were forced to surrender and burn their colours at Blenheim in 1704. French army in the War of Spanish Succession.

French guards at Versailles

With all the fuss about the new replacement gates at Versailles I thought I'd post this background detail of French Guards arrayed in ranks.

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Louis XIV period fusil

If you feel inspired to recreate Louis XIV's infantry and want a reasonable priced French flintlock for the late Louis XIV (or if you like Marlburian era) then this 1696 Tulle repro looks good value. Based on a gun issued to the French Compagnies franches de la Marine (picture by M Petard). Get it from Loyalist Arms in Canada or Derbyshire Historic Arms in the UK. French fusils weren't regulated until the M1717 came out in that year but this repro looks like it has all the classic features of a fusil of the pre-ordonnance era including the graceful cow's foot stock. It takes a plug bayonet. These fusils were quite fine compared to the English flintlock of the period and their (comparative to the matchlock) fragility impaired their adoption into the French army.