Monday, August 02, 2010

Uniforms: Wurttemberg Chevauxleger

The German Duchy of Wurttemberg at the beginning of the French Revolutionary wars already had an association with Prussia dating back to the Seven Years War, the ruling family being related to Frederick the Great and becoming Protestant. When Frederich II became Duke in 1797 he opposed France and Wurttemberg was invaded and devastated. In March 1802 Frederich signed a peace treaty ceding territories on the Rhine for territory elsewhere. In 1805 Wurttemberg became a military ally of France gaining Austrian lands from the Treaty of Pressburg. In January 1806 Wurttemberg was created a kingdom gaining more territory, then joined the Confederation of the Rhine on 12 July 1806 (Treaty of Paris) and gained yet more territory in 1809 with the defeat of Austria.

In return for these lands Wurttemberg provided troops for Napoleon's campaigns. These forces distinguished themselves, particularly in 1809 and in the retreat from Russia. Of the 14,000 men who served in the III Corp in 1812 few returned, although Napoleon noted their remnants still marching in formation only 30 strong.

In November 1813 Frederich switched sides by concluding the Treaty of Fulda with Austria, keeping his title and all the territory he gained from his alliance with France. Thereafter Wurttemberg's forces fought against France and at the Congress of Vienna Frederich's position was confirmed despite his long association with France. Frederich II died in October 1816.

Originally a single regiment was formed in 1798 from a reorganization of the cavalry regiments, though not officially designated as Chevauxleger until 1802, by which time it comprised of 5 squadrons. In 1805 the first or lieb squadron was taken to form the nucleus of a second regiment with both regiments official strength being four squadrons each with two companies of an approximate establishment of 100 other ranks plus officers and appointed ranks.

1st Regiment
1806          Vacant Chevaulegers Regiment.
1807-1811 Chevaulegers Herzog Heinrich
1811          Kavallerie Regiment. Nr 1 Vacant Chevaulegers
1812-1813 Kavallerie Regiment. Nr 1 Prinz Adam Chevaulegers
1813-1815 Kavallerie Leib-Regiment. Nr 1

2nd Regiment
1806-1811 Chevauxleger Leib-Regiment.
1811-1813 Kavallerie Regiment. Leib-Chevauxleger Nr.2
1813-1815 Kavallerie Regiment. Prinz Adam Jäger Nr.4

Uniform 1806-1814:
Remarkably for some reason the Wurttembergers are not covered at all in the 5 Osprey books on the "Napoleons German Allies", say what you will about Osprey they do form a solid foundation of information for us hobbyists, and in this case alternative information can be a very hard to come by and contradictory.
The two most readily available sources are Rawkins and Histofig (Perconte/Ehmke), the following is based on Histofig due to issues with the Rawkins information as discused here.

The Dark Blue cavalry kollet was almost identical to that worn by the line infantry with short tails with
double turn-backs and half-lapels with the coat closed with two buttons beneath. Cuffs were square-cut with a slit at the outer side and were decorated with two buttons horizontally on the trailing edge. The collars were stiff and upright and open at the throat with a wide 'V' to expose the black stock worn beneath. The Leib-Chevauleger Regiment had the buttonholes of the lapels decorated with battons of white lace and the buttons on the cuff had vertical battons. The collar was laced with two horizontal bars of white lace prior to 1811 and a single bar after that date with a small button at the inner point and in the same year the lace to the lapels and cuffs was discontinued. The shoulders were decorated with contre-epaulettes with scaled straps and large metal crescents of the regimental metal colour.

Regimental Facings, 1806-10
RegimentLapel/FacingsTurnbacks Cuffs/CollarMetal/Buttons
1 RegimentScarletYellowScarletBrass
2 RegimentScarlet Yellow Scarlet White Metal

In 1811 with the re-organisation of the cavalry regiments the chevaulegers were given numbers and the Regiment Herzog Henri was re-titled Chevauleger Regiment Prinz Adam. Coats remained dark blue, however the lapels were now of the coat colour piped yellow for the 1st Regiment and scarlet for the 2nd Regiment.

Regimental Facings, 1811-14
RegimentLapel/FacingsTurnbacks Cuffs/CollarMetal/Buttons
1 RegimentDark Blue piped YellowYellow piped
with Blue
2 RegimentDark Blue piped Scarlet Yellow piped
with Blue
Scarlet White Metal

Breeches etc.
Breeches for both regiments of chevaulegers were white linen for parade and summer wear and
heavy mid-grey cloth for winter campaign and were worn with black leather riding boots with
high cuffs and steel screw-in spurs. After 1811 grey overall trousers were issued for campaign
with black leather cuffs and inserts and a single row of white or yellow metal buttons on the
outer seam. Both regiments wore a wide kummerbund sash at the waist, yellow for the first
regiment and scarlet for the second.
Riding cloaks were pepper-grey and mid-calf length with an elbow-deep cape at the shoulders
and were fastened at the throat with a white metal hook and chain. Both regiments wore
whitened leather gauntlets.

The pouch-belt, worn over the left shoulder, was whitened leather with brass buckles and fittings and the cartridge pouch was black leather and slightly narrower than that of the infantry with square-cut lid decorated with an oval crowned badge embossed with the Württemberg coat-of-arms of either brass or white metal. The waist-belt was wide with a large brass buckle with twin prongs and was whitened leather and supported the sabre on double slings. This was normally worn beneath the sash, however, during campaign a common practise was to wear the belt over the right shoulder passing beneath the pouch belt. Sabres were of the curve bladed light cavalry pattern with steel three-bar hilt and polished steel scabbard and the sabre-straps were black with white knot and tassels. Muskets were of the short cavalry carbine pattern; the carbine bandolier was whitened leather with brass buckle and steel hook.

The pattern of helmet worn by both chevauleger regiments was of the classical style and similar in appearance to that worn by the French heavy-cavalry. The helmet was black leather with a high wooden crest covered with black leather and trimmed at the front edge with brass or white metal. The front of the helmet was decorated with an oval badge embossed with the Royal coat-of-arms, surmounted by a crown, and with a narrow plate with scrolled tips at the base, forming a trim above the peak, the peak was black leather with brass or white metal trim.  A narrow band of metal rose from the top of the crown surmounting the plate to form a trim to the top of the helmet and the front of the crest. The lower ribbon plate was engraved with the motto "FURCHTLOS UND TREU". All metal work for the 1st Regiment was brass and for the 2nd Regiment white metal. The chin-scales were of regimental metal colour; however, these were worn for parade only and were normally replaced with a black leather chinstrap during campaign. The crest was surmounted by a black horsehair trailing mane and the tall black full dress plume was fitted into a small metal socket on the left front tip of the crest.

From 1811 the plume was short over a pompom on top of the crest and worn permanently, a national cockade was worn on the left side of the helmet immediately above the chin-scale boss.

After the 1813 reorganization the two chevauleger regiments adopted a helmet similar to the pattern worn by the Austrian cavalry regiments with both a peak and rear visor, made of black leather with a high crest and a black raupe of pressed wool.

Officers and N.C.O.s
The non-commissioned-officers of the cavalry were distinguished in the same manner as those of the infantry with the lace trim to the collars and cuffs of gold or silver according to the regimental metal colour. Canes were carried by N.C.O.s only when dismounted.
Officers wore a Bavarian-style raupenhelm instead of the cavalry helmet worn by the other ranks. The cap was black leather with elongated crown with a large black bearskin raupe often with the tip almost touching the peak. All metal work was of gilt or silver-plate according to the regimental metal colour. The front of the helmet was decorated with the full Württemberg coat-of-arms, an heraldic shield embossed with the devices-of-arms flanked on the left by a griffin and on the right by a stag and surmounted by a crown. The base edge of the raupenhelm was trimmed with a narrow metal band with the motto engraved above the peak as for the other ranks. At the side of the helmet was a metal scrolled fanciful trim, those of the senior officers being more elaborate or in multiple of the junior grades. Peaks were deep and of black leather with metal trim to the edge and chin-scales had large round bosses. The national cockade was fitted over the left side chin-scale boss and concealed the small socket to hold the full dress plume, white for the field officers and white with black base for the junior officers.
The officers' coat was of the same style as that if the other ranks with all buttons and metal work gilt or silver-plated and epaulettes of rank as for the infantry officers of gold or silver, with scaled metal shoulder straps. Officers wore the silver, gold and scarlet waist-sash instead of the kummerbund. Breeches were white and worn with boots as for the other ranks with plated spurs, and overall trousers were dark grey with a row of brass buttons on the outer seam often underlain with a stripe of facing colour. The pouch-belt was narrower than that of the men and was black leather with silver-plated or gilt pickers, plates and chains decorating the breast and the pouch was smaller than those of the other ranks with plated badge on the square-cut lid.
Waist-belts were black leather and the sabres had brass hilts and scabbards were black leather with brass heel and bindings. Officers' cloaks were dark blue with collar of facing colour.

From 1805-1810 the Trumpeter had a blue coat, then after that Trumpeters of the 1st Regiment had a yellow coat with blue collar, cuffs and turn-backs, whilst the 2nd Regiment was yellow with red collar, cuffs and turn-backs. After 1810 the shoulders of the kollet were decorated with swallows-nest epaulettes of the facing colour trimmed with white or yellow lace, according to the regimental button colour. Sleeves were laced with six inverted chevrons boxed at the front and rear of the sleeve and the regimental trumpeter wore the same distinctions of gold or silver lace plus N.C.O.'s lace to the collar and cuffs. Trumpeters did not wear the pouchbelt and sabres were as for the other ranks with scarlet sabre-straps. Trumpets were of brass with scarlet cords.

Horse Furniture
The shabraques for both Chevauleger regiments had rounded front and short slightly pointed corners and were dark blue for the 1st Regiment with white 5cm trim at the edges piped with dark blue (though Lienhart/Humbert and Knotel both have yellow trim), and dark blue for the 2nd Regiment with red trim and blue piping. The crowned 'FR' cypher appeared in the rear corners of the shabraque in the trim colour. Knotel shows the shabraque with a sheepskin saddle cover of white with dogtooth edging of the regimental facing colour and this may have been adopted for campaign use. The valise was round and grey colour with edging of black lace. All harness was black leather with brass buckles and fittings and the girths were grey. Officers' shabraques were of the same pattern as those of the men with slightly longer rear corners tipped with a gold or silver tassel. The shabraques were dark blue or scarlet with gold edging, or silver, piped with scarlet or dark blue in contrast to the main colour. Officers' harnessing was black with gilt buckles, fittings and decorations and girths were black.

Other Uniform Plates:
Lienhart et Humbert 1806-1812
Drawings by Klaus TOHSCHE on troops Württemberg 1806-1811
1er Régiment de chevau-légers : tenues 1798-1805

The Army of Württemberg 1806-14 R.J.Rawkins
Histofig - Wurttemberg Chevauxlegers
HistUnif - Les troupes du Royaume du Württemberg (1806-1813)
Napoleon Online - Depesche23
Napoleon Online - Depesche20
With Napoleon in Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Major Faber du Faur 1812
Uwe Ehmke has quite a bit of interesting information on the campaign history of the Wurttembergs in 1812 though it is in German.
Christian Wilhelm von Faber du Faur was a 32-year-old lieutenant in the 2nd Foot Artillery Battery of the Wurttemburg Army, part of the force assembled by Napoleon for the invasion of Russia and ultimately one of only 100 Wurttemburgers to return to Poland in December 1812, out of 15,000 who started the campaign.

He was also an artist and made numerous pencil, ink and watercolour sketches whilst on campaign, almost on a daily basis. His sketches were later drawn up and published as plates, and Faber du Faur and a fellow survivor of the Russian Campaign - Frederich von Kausler - added a commentary to each picture.

These pictures are now preserved in the Anne S.K Brown Military Collection. They pictures are as near to a photographic record of the campaign as is possible to get and represent a superb pictorial account of Napoleon's invasion from the crossing of the Niemen in June to scenes of the retreat in December 1812.

There is a some controversy over the headgear of the Chevauxleger. There are essentially two types a horsehair crested helmet (like the French Curassier) and a raupe crested helmet (like the late French Carabinier). However there is argument over whether or not the raupe crested model replaced the horsehair crested helmet before 1813 despite the regulations. The sketch by Faber du Faur[1] above (from "With Napoleon in Russia") is taken as clear proof that the Chevauxleger were still wearing the horsehair helmet at Krasnoi in 1812 and that the new regulations were not adopted until the 1813 reorganistion when Wurttemberg joined the Allies. However Knotel shows the only the 2nd Regiment with horsehair and the 1st Regiment with raupe, Lienhart et Humbert have both with raupe.

RJ Rawkins differs significantly on a number of points from several other sources, although he appears to most closely follow Lienhart et Humbert. He states the sword was a straight heavy cavalry model with a long heavy cavalry musket whereas other sources refer to curved light cavalry sword and a short carbine. Also he states the shabraque has long pointed corners whereas other sources refer to short pointed corners. He has the 2nd Regiment shabraque as red edged blue but others have it as blue edged red, whilst the 1st Regiment is dark blue edged red but others sources have this as dark blue edged white. Also he states the 1st Regiment lapels are piped white but others state piped yellow. For the 1st Regiment pre-1811 uniform Rawkins has yellow lapels whereas other have red. Rawkins also states that the trumpeters of the Chevauleger regiments wore the same basic uniform as the other ranks with the plume, and often the crest of the helmet, scarlet, though he does mention the 1st Regiment as possibly being in reversed colors in 1812.
Rawkins states that Trumpeters' shabraques would appear to have been yellow with dark blue trim for the 1st Regiment and scarlet with white trim for the 2nd Regiment, though other sources do not show any distinction.
The text above follows the Histofig plate where this differs to Rawkins.

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