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Chevaux-Legers-Lanciers

Officer - Chevaux-legers-lanciers (French line lancers)

Introduction

Seventeen days after Napoleon received news of the devastating charge of Polish Lancers against British infantry at Albuera (16 May 1811), he ordered the establishment of 8 Regiments of Lancers. 2 of these were Polish. The other 6 were French (converted from Dragoons) and numbered Regiments 1-6.

Organisation

As they were converted from Dragoons, the Lancer regiments retained the same organisational structure as the Dragoon regiments. Each company was to be made up of approximately 50 mounted troopers. 2 companies formed a squadron and 4 squadrons formed a regiment. As in the Dragoon regiments, there was an elite company in each Lancer regiment. This was distinguished by its red epaulettes.

Uniforms

Headgear was a brass helmet. Instead of the flowing horsehair mane of the dragoons, the lancers had a black chenille. The plume was not usually worn on campaign. Plumes were usually scarlet - but there were many variations, the most common being the white over red plume.

The coat was basically the same as the dragoon coat - ie mid-green in colour. The only difference being the pointed cuffs instead of the square cuffs and cuff flap of the dragoons.

Regimental facing colours were worn on lapels, collars, cuffs and turnbacks.

As noted above, elite company troopers wore red epaulettes. Other companies wore green epaulettes piped in the regimental facing colour.

In full dress, mid-green breeches with hussar boots were worn. The breeches had a yellow stripe going down the outer seam. 1st-4th Regiments had a yellow inverted arrowhead pattern on the front thigh of the breeches. 5th and 6th Regiments had a yellow Hungarian knot design instead of the arrowhead. Overalls were worn on campaign. There was little standardisation. Some were green with a stripe of the regimental facing colour going down the outer seam. The inner thighs were reinforced with black leather. Grey overalls were also worn - with the black leather reinforcement. Some had stripes, some none, some with 2 stripes.

Facing colours were as follows:

1st Regiment - scarlet

2nd Regiment - Aurore

3rd Regiment - Pink

4th Regiment - Crimson

5th Regiment - Blue

6th Regiment - Red

Trooper of the 1st Regiment, Chevaux-legers-lanciers.

Note - for the sake of clarity, the above description has been simplified. It should suffice for wargamers. For more detail, please consult the following references:

Haythornthwaite - Uniforms of Waterloo

Chartrand - Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon's Army (Brassey)

Napoleon's Dragoons and Lancers (Osprey Men-at-Arms)

Pericoli - The Armies at Waterloo

Fred and Liliane Funcken - Historische Uniformen

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