Friday, September 20, 2013

Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars, Part 4: Light Infantry

Organization of the Danish Light Infantry

    The Danish regular  light infantry consisted of Jager Corps (Jaegerkorps), in which half the men were armed with rifles and the others with sharpshooter muskets, and Sharpshooter Corps (Skarpskyttekorps), in which all the men were armed with sharpshooter muskets. I have conflicting information as to the composition of these units. One source says 80 men per company, with 4 companies of Jagers or sharpshooters, and one of Jager-Grenadiers. Another implies that only certain units had Jager Grenadiers, and gives a battalion strength of roughly 576 men for Jager battalions and 548 for Sharpshooters (and doesn't list the Jutland Jager Corps at all). In any event, second ("reinforcement") battalions were added to all of the units in 1808.

Uniforms of the Danish Light Infantry

    In general, these were of the same overall pattern as the Line infantry, previously covered, with different colors substituted. The short jackets were dark green, with black facings on the collars, cuffs, and lapels. all piped in white. White turnbacks at the front of the jackets. Shoulder straps and button col,or varied by the unit, as detailed below.  Pants were either white or grey. All belts were of blackened leather. Hansen shows some light infantry officers wearing dark green pelisses with grey fur, and silver grey lace, and green pants in 1813 - quite classy!  Like the Line infantry, officers wore sashes of crimson striped with yellow.

Headgear was also similar to the Line Infantry. Hats with turned up brims were worn through 1807, with short dark green plumes and dark green cords, white hat bands for most. Officer are shown with bicones with green plumes, or hats similar to the men, again with green plumes and gold cords. Jager Grenadiers wore a headdress again similar to the Line infantry Grenadiers, with a black metal front with a brass banmd on the bottom, a black peak, a green transverse caterpillar crest running from ear to ear, a green plume with a red tip on the left side, and a dark green cloth flamme at the back, with white piping and tassel (the NYPL site has a good picture of this uniform, #27 in the Danish Napoleonic section). 

In 1808, officers and men adopted the shako. This again had dark green cords and plumes for the men, dark green plumes and red mixed with yellow cords for the officers. The Jager-Grenadiers now wore a black bearskin with a green plum tipped in red on the left side, and a dark green bag on the back, piped white. 

Danish Light Infantry Distinctions, 1801 - 1814


Unit Name
Facing Color
Sh. straps
Buttons
Zealand Jager Corps
Black piped white
Lt Green
Pewter
Jutland Jager Corps
Black piped white
Lt Green?
Pewter?
Schleswig Jager Cp
Black piped white
Dk Green
Brass
Zealand Sharps Corp
Black piped white
Lt Green
Pewter
Jutland Sharps Corp
Black piped white
Lt Green
Pewter
Holstein Sharps  Cp
Black piped white
Dk Green
Brass




The Kings Livjager Corps

The Kongens Livjaeger Corps was a volunteer light infantry unit raised from upper middle class citizens of Copenhagen in 1801. Initially, only 2 companies of 80 men were raised, but it was increased to 4 companies due to the threat of attack by the British. The companies were increased to 100 men each in 1806. The unit fought with distinction in the defense of Copenhagen in 1807. In 1815, it was the only volunteer unit not disbanded, and was ranked just below the Guards and ahead of the Line troops. The men were armed with rifles, supplied by the King.

The uniform of the Corps was short dark green coat with black collar, cuffs, lapels, and small black frontal turnbacks. Dark grey trousers were worn (dark green for full dress). There was black lace on the jacket and also the pants. Belts were black, and black boots with black tassels were worn. The headdress was rather unique six sided czapska with a dark green wide band around the bottom, green cords, green cockade surmounted by a large green pop-pom on the left side.

The six sided "czapska" of the Livjagers


Top view of "Czapska"

Officers had gold epaulets, and in full dress, gold piping on on the facings, turbacks, and lace. Yellow sashes with red stripes were also worn by the unit's officers, a mark of special distinction for a volunteer unit. Initially the officers wore a sort of Tarleton style helmet with a green fore and aft caterpillar crest and a leopard skin hat band, but in 1806 they switched to a six-sided czapska like the men.A dark green pelisse with black fur, black lace, and brass buttons was also worn as an option.


And now, on to some pictures:


The Zealand Jager Corps (Sjællandske Jægerkorps)


Black facings piped white, silver buttons, white pants. I used the Minifig models for the Livjagers for these units, but strictly speaking the castings for the Line infantry in shako would be correct, just painted in the colors of the Jager uniforms.


The Jager-Grenadier company is seen on the far right of the line.


The Jutland Sharpshooter Corps (Jyske Skarpskyttekorps)


Black facings piped white, yellow metal buttons, grey pants


Note the wings on the jacket of the  hornist, and the bag of the Jager-Grenadier's bearskin.


The King's Livjager Corps (Kongens Livjægerkorps)


A good view of the unique six-sided "czapska" in this picture. 


Hornists wear the same uniform as the men, with the addition of black wings with yellow lace and tassel ornamentation. The Livjagers suffered over 25% casualties at the battle of Copenhagen in 1807.


Incidentally, this post marks the 200th post since I began the blog on January 2, 2011. That seems like a lot, at least to me... and then I see Bob Cordery has just passed two THOUSAND posts in about 6 years. Good grief!  :-)

Next time:  The King's Livguard of Foot and the Liv Infantry Regiments.

Skål!

Peter

14 comments:

  1. Another great article - thanks!!

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  2. Six-sided "czapska", well, well. You can add that to the list of things that I now know and delete it from the long list of things that I don't know!

    C'mon Peter, only 1800 posts to go (haha!).

    Two hundred fine posts they have been too...

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    Replies
    1. Definitely a unique bit of headgear, eh?

      2,000 posts total - maybe over my lifetime, LOL, but... thanks!

      Delete
  3. Lovely troops, and great post!

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  4. Thanks for the series about this (at least for me) almost unknown army. They fought in the North front along Davout in 1813, so maybe I'll try them (another unit in my list!)
    Regards
    Rafa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Rafa! It is probably the least known Army of any of the medium sized states. Granted, it saw limited action, but still fought in 1801, 1807, 1809, 1810, and 1813 against a variety of opponents.

      The total Danish military establishment by 1813 was 60 + battalions of infantry with a book strength of over 36,000 men (and little attrition from wars or campaigning to decrease them), 40 squadrons numbering about 6,000 men, and 33 batteries with nearly 5,000 men (admittedly half of this was relatively stationary fortress units). That doesn't even count the Norwegian army, probably another 10,000 men there.

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  5. Wonderful blog.

    Gonsalvo, don't know how much info you have on the Norwegians but if you need more info, drop me a line and I'll give you all the info I've collected over the years.

    jestarnes66@gmail.com

    It's awesome that someone was painting Danes back when very few people knew they existed! Thanks for the posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Eric.

      I have some information on the Norwegians, but it is very limited, so I'd be eager to see what you have collected; email sent!

      Peter

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  6. Great information and nicely organised Peter, which I'm sure will be a useful resource for years to come.

    Congratulations on the 200 posts.

    Lawrence

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lawrence; that's my objective here!

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  7. Good stuff, as always. I have done a casual search for 15mm Danes with no success. At 15mm I can probably use something else; maybe...
    Well done on 200 posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In 15mm scale you could probably substitute some troops with similar but not identical uniforms. I thought there was at least one manufacturer doing Danes in 15...

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