Researching the French (what style for SYW?)

How does a French Fusileer looks like in the SYW?  Well, that's a good question!
During our research I've contacted some Reenactment-Groups reenacting French Troops in Europe and America during this Period.

Unfortunately the researching level was not as accurate as I want it for our figures, because they are all swapping across the timelines. I can understand, that they want a good-looking uniform, but our figures will wear everything we put on them...without bleating...:)

So what about the further resarch? Osprey?...Google? 
We get help by "von Winterfeld" a guy from the community of the "Miniaturen-Online Forum".
We met every Year at the "Symposium" here in Germany. He's very knowledgeable about the SYW and we are glad that he's supporting our sculptor in creating the figures.

In the result we came to the Becker Plates of 1760... and assisted by the reglementations of the french infantry of 1755 we get an first idea of what a French soldier in the SYW looked alike.
The former sword-belt was changed into a more confortable bandolier, a cross weared belt, the skirt was alway weared with turnbacks, the cartridge-box weared lower and the tricorn changed bigger than in the 1740's...

So, the problem what we have with the Prussians, that the most plates were to late for
the SYW (mostly 1780's), for the French, the plates and pictures will show earlier soldiers of the 40's, so not really practical for the SYW.
We now going with the Becker-Plates and some eye-witness-reports during the SYW.

But what about the community? There is a special picture marked in the brains for the French Army...looking like the 40's. Is there a place for the Becker-styled-French of the SYW or  not?
I have no decicion yet, but maybe we will also make some older styled French for the guys, who
want them. What's your opinion?


A Becker-Plate:


  1. There are indeed a couple of Heer & Tradition plates showing this cross belt, for a couple of regiment, but at the same time, similar plates show other regiments with the waist belt. In my understanding, the French army went through a transformation DURING the SYW, and as always, such things do not happen in one day. So, I would expect some regiments had the full skirts, others turnbacks, others the waist belts, others the cross belts, etc etc...I would not expect things to have settled well before the end of the war!

    For me, the beauty of a French army is the full-skirted uniforms, because I have every other nation sporting the turnbacks. So, an early French army is what I am after for.

    1. von Winterfeldt2/06/2014

      The French infantry - or army suffers a lot form entrenched mystifications, as for the Prussians as well, in the past our immage was shaped by Menzel - who shows in brilliant style uniforms of 1780 and consequently we got those figures labled 7YW but uniformed as in 1780 (short waistcoats for example)

      The same is for the French - Becher shows some very nice features, turnbacks, big hats, short sleeves showing the shirt, cross belts. Now and that is rare - he is supported by eye witness accounts.

      Heer and Tradition plates do show indeed some infantry with cross belts and when you look close - they are from Becher, the rest is pure speculation.

      Black Hussars have the unique chance to be the first to make French infantry figures how they looked like in the field - I would be disappointed if they wouldn't do it.

      Fortunatly - already they did one of the best Prussian infantry of the 7YW available and in my view superior to all other ranges I know so far.

      Older style figures are already around a plenty

  2. Thanks a lot for your opinion...!

  3. Whilst agreeing that Becher was an eye-witness, some things don't
    quite ring true and one has to remember that we all see things differently. For example, why should the tricorne be bigger in 1760 than 1740, when everywhere else tricornes were getting smaller and fitting closer to the head. And it's not clear that the example above is not wearing a waistbelt - you just can't see it.

    I tend to Ioannis view that there would be a gradual move to a more modern style, so variances would be acceptable, and I agree with Winterfeld that no-one properly produces the later style of uniform, so that would be a good selling point.

  4. I showed your pictures to my "go to authority on all things French" and he indicated that the giberne on your figure is too large and that the tricorn hat is not correct. I am not sure why you are ready to so easily dismiss an authority such as Rene Chartrand (Osprey), who is a well respected professional historian. I can't comment on the eye witness accounts that you refer to as I have not read them, however, a healthy dose of skepticism is a good thing to have unless you have multiple sources to back them up.

    Fusilier companies generally did not carry their épée into the field.

  5. von Winterfeldt2/26/2014

    It is the same old story of Menzel versus reality of what the Prussians did wear in the 7YW - it took ages to realize that Menzel showed the Prussian Army of 1780.

    I do have the series of Chartand about the French Army of Louis XV - which shows uniforms over a long period and touches the 7YW briefly.
    He used Becher as well and did not comment negativly on it.

    The contemporary black and white prints (from the museum of Madrid) - of French infantry of 1760 - confirm the hat reather than contradicting Becher. In contrast to Becher they don't show the French Army on campaign. The series from Madrid show no infantry sword for fusilier . Becher however shows it for campaign use.

    the text source is :

    „Ausführlicher Bericht von dem Feldzuge und Kriegshändeln, welche zwischen der Reichs-Executions- und Französischen combinierten Armee, im gleichen der Königl. Preußischen Kriegsmacht vorgefallen; insbesondere was die Stadt und das Fürstentum Gotha hiebey an Durchzügen und Einquartierungen betroffen, auch was sich bey dieser Gelegenheit merkwürdiges ereignet, in Form eines Diarii verfasset von einem in Gotha sich aufgehaltenen Passagiere. Baireuth 1759“

    Knötel, Richard:
    Mittheilungen zur Geschichte der Militärischen Tracht
    Nr. 12,S. 47 – 48, 1897

    It confirms that the sword belt was worn over the shoulder, low hanging cartridge boxes and a lot of other interesting detail.

    I agree on healthy scepticism, especially on well trotten paths and experts - research must move on.

    The complete Becher can be downloaded from Gallica.

    I would be interested about the size of the cartridge box and get some dimensions about it.

  6. von Winterfeldt2/27/2014

    I checked Chartrand, his second volume about infantry, seemingly he rather confirms our research, like cartridge box, according to Chartrand the French introduced bigger ones with usual 30 catridges in the 1750ties - the French did cast in the Ancien Regime 18 balls to a pound of lead (in the French Revolution - 20 balls per French pound)
    I have a reconstruction of a French Revolutionary cartridge box - which contains 35 cartridges - which is quite big.
    In case they would used a wooden block with single drilled holes for each cartridge (as they did in the old smaller ones of 19 cartridges) - it couldn't be that small.

    As to the hats - see immages form the museum of Madrid, big hats as well.

  7. Has anyone mentioned the collection of uniform plates in the Musee de l'Armee? I don't know a great deal about the background to these but they appear to date from 1757 (so spot on in terms of being contemporary); cover the uniforms and colours of every infantry regiment in the French army, and can accessed on line: http://www.photo.rmn.fr/c/htm/home.aspx?FR=T

    In terms of secondary sources, I can't recommend highly enough two articles by Michel Petard: 'L'Homme de 1756' published in 'Uniformes' magazine and 'A l'Ordonnance', part of a series of articles on the development of French infantry uniforms, published in Tradition magazine (this one is in issue 5). As well as Petard's excellent illustrations of uniforms and equipment, they contain a mine of original source material both written and pictorial.

    I have made some comments about the 'green' in the earlier post.

  8. von Winterfeldt3/07/2014

    Duc de Brouilly
    Yes, we consulted these - for example see the big cartridge pouches in the series of uniform plates in the Musée de l'Armée.
    We have the impression that the French - like the Austrian Army were in a transition and that Becher gives a good picture as they looked like in the field.

  9. Anonymous4/14/2014


    I guess you are aware of this contemporaty source? Just in case: