Peninsular War Painting Guide: French Cavalry

So far my painting guide for the French only covers the:

13th Cuirassiers

The 13th Cuirassiers were the only Cuirassiers to serve in Spain. They served in the east of the country for the whole war. Haythornthwaite (1995) and Sapherson (1991) have quite different descriptions of this unit. Both agree about the bright steel breast plate lined in red piped in red; red epaulettes; steel helmet with brass crest and chinscales, a black horse hair mane, and a red upright plume (if worn); white metal buttons; white belts; steel scabbard.

However, Haythornthwaite (1995) says although the uniform was regulation style it used brown Spanish cloth in place of the scarce regulation dark blue. That means brown coat with maroon collar, cuffs, and turnbacks; brown overalls (worn over boots) perhaps piped red, or breeches (presumably brown or buff; worn tucked into boots); black boots; white gloves. Officers had silver buttons and epaulettes; dark blue shabraques with white edgings. Trumpeters omitted the cuirass and wore reversed colours with white epaulettes, helmet-mane, aigrette and perhaps loops on their dark blue lapels. See Haythornthwaite fig. 45a for an illustration of a brown clad trooper.

Sapherson (1991), in contrast, says the troopers had the regulation blue coat and cuff flaps; lilac collar, cuffs, and turnbacks; buff breeches (tucked into boots) or grey overalls (over boots); blue saddlecloth and mantel edged white; white sheepskin over front of saddle edged volet; dark brown harness. Where the authorities differ, I tend to believe Haythornthwaite.

Chasseurs à Cheval, 1815

El Mercenario (2007 Jul) offered a painting guide for the Chasseurs à Cheval, 1815. Outside my period but I thought I’d add it to the list as he uses Vallejo paints and it’ll give me ideas latter.

Garment Colour
Coat & Overalls Napoleonic Green (AC-38) or Military Green (Vallejo 975)
Facings (collar, cuffs, stripes down legs, saddle cloth edging) 1eme = Red (Vallejo 947) 6eme = flat yellow (Vallejo 953)
Belts White
White Sheepskin Tan Yellow (Vallejo 912) with White Highlights
Black Sheepskin (Musician) Black with Grey highlights
Saddle cloth (Officer) Napoleonic Green (AC-38; Vallejo 975)
Officers Lace Light Grey (Vallejo 98) or Silver
shako Black with grey highlight (Vallejo 992) Blue pompom

AC = Andrea Color.


El Mercenario (2007 Jul). The French Light Cavalry of 1815: Chasseurs à cheval and chevau-légers lanciers. Wargames: Soldiers & Strategy, 23, 52-55.

Funcken, L. and F. (1973). The Napoleonic Wars (Part II). London: Ward Lock.

Haythornthwaite, P. (1995). Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars 1807 – 1814. London: Arms and Armour Press.

Kannik, P. (1968). Military Uniforms in Colour. London: Blandford.

Sapherson, C. A. (1991). Peninsular Armies 1808 – 1814. Leeds, UK: Raider Books.

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