Saturday, December 7, 2019

26e Legere


The 26e Regiment d'Infanterie Legere traces its origins back to 1796, as the 26e  demi-brigade d'Infanterie Legere , and was then, like all French regular infantry,  renamed as a Regiment in 1803. 



Back to the moss covered picnic table for the bulk of the shots.


The unit wears the early "side plumed" shakos, although the Chef de Battalion is wearing a fashionable Colpack with a green bag and silver trim, emulating the light cavalry!


The hornist in the Voltiguer company sounds off! These are Old Glory figures. 


From 1797 to 1803, the 26e was part of the Army of Italy. 


In February 1805, Major Pouget pf the 62e Ligne was promoted to Colonel of the regiment. Upon taking command, Colonel Pouget wrote of the 26e: 

I learned that for more than ten years the regiment I came to take possession of had always been commanded by men without energy. The predecessor of M. Bacciochi, who had commanded him eight years during the Italian wars, had never been exposed to fire under different pretexts. The administration had passed into the hands of the captains who were on the council, and these gentlemen decided without appeal on all the questions. This inept colonel was eliminated from the army as soon as the First Consul resolved the formation of a camp in front of Dover. His immediate successor was Prince Bacciochi, who, in his capacity as brother-in-law of the First Consul and destined for grandeur, did not bother to conceal his nullity as a soldier. His authority as chief passed into the hands of his wife, elected Bonaparte, which, according to the officers, had infinitely more capacity than her husband; it was she who was the intermediary between the regiment and her brother and who solicited advancements or retreats. This state of anarchy redoubled again under the interim command of Mr. Party; this chief had neither talents nor consideration, even in the slightest degree; he knew neither the world, nor his usages, nor his language; he had much less spelling than a cook; I was shown a note from his hand where, to say: so many men to hospitals, he wrote: Dom o opito. This poor man was the derision of the whole camp and the officers of the regiment in particular. For the rest, I noticed how chance had, moreover, favored the 26th in its composition of the officer corps. Major Pischery, who by the nature of his functions was to remain at the depot which was at Sedan, appeared to me, by his correspondence, to deserve the praise bestowed on him by connoisseur officers. When I saw him, I recognized in him the most distinguished officer by his dress, his manners, his wit, and his education; I can not say too much of it, and I have always had the most agreeable and satisfying service relations with him. M. Brillat, brother of M. Brillat-Savarin, advisor to the Court of Cassation, commanded the second battalion and had no less military merit than M. Pischery; he was less brilliant, but he was a model of exactitude, a friend of order and discipline, punctual and docile, cold in the commerce of the world, but a reliable and devoted friend. He was shy and was fleeing the world, although his education was cultivated, and his talents very agreeable. But I doubt he would have been in a salon as well as on the field of battle, where he was admirable. He kept an imperturbable self-possession before the enemy, a quality much rarer than one thinks. Among the captains, seven-tenths could have been counted among the most distinguished of the army, as well as the lieutenants and sub-lieutenants, most of whom came from the Ecole militaire de Fontainebleau. With so many resources, or could form a regiment as presentable to the enemy as a magazine in the courtyard of the Tuileries. The anarchy which reigned there displeased the good officers.


The 26e Legere was part of Legrand's Division of the IV Corps, commanded by Marshal Soult. Colonel Popuget writes: "The lifting of the camp of Boulogne took place on September 1, 1805. But, before going beyond, I want to give the reader here a slight idea, because it is likely that we will never see anything like it again. The various infantry corps had built very beautiful, very regular, stone dwellings, for the corps chiefs as well as for the offices, workshops, etc .; cafes had been established and pretty gardens planted with vegetables, flowers, and aviaries; all this was of exquisite taste, without departing from the prescribed alignments, and was the admiration of the many foreigners who came to visit this extraordinary camp. The view was magnificent and majestic, because the sea, which bathed the cliffs on which the camp rested, was always covered with English ships that ran along the coast to guns the flotilla, whose barges, gunboats and frigates were innumerable."


The 26e fought at Ulm and Austerlitz, where it was stationed in and around Telnitz; Colonel Pouget reports that the regiment captured 2 Russian standards during the battle. 


The 26e and Colonel Pouget were again part of Legrand's Division of Soult's IV Corps, and fought at Jena (1806), and Hoff, Eylau, Heilsberg, and Konigsberg (1807); Colonel Pouget was wounded at Heilsberg on June 10th. Writing of that battle, the good Colonel related: My first battalion was [stationed] on the right, two hundred yards from me; he had remained  [in}square and gloriously supported the honor of the 26th; the Grand Duke of Berg (Murat), who was on this point, Marshal Soult, Major Generals Legrand and Lasalle, General Ledru, pressed by a charge of the Royal Prussian Guard, took refuge in his square. On entering it, the Grand Duke said: "I enter here as in a fort." This battalion was headed by Mr. Brillat, whom we have already seen at Auslerlitz and at Hoff. He recommended to his troops the greatest coolness and fire only at his command; he waited for an enemy at twenty paces and fired so well that he nearly overthrew all this cavalry and made the remainder retrograde. Some horsemen reached the square, which received them with crossed bayonets. The ground was strewn with men and horses. Our cavalry went after them, took prisoners, and killed many more. Thus ends this fight which would have deserved the name of battle. I had enough to do on the ground that we occupied without worrying about what was happening elsewhere, and I would say in this regard that I never could understand how a general officer or a corps leader could report what was happening on his right or left, even on the whole line of battle, when he had so much to deal with an action in which he played a part and who used his two eyes enough. There are, however, some people who claim to have seen everything, heard everything and done everything. There were few regiments of infantry in the army more seasoned than mine against cavalry charges. These kinds of fights were fun games for my chasseurs and provided them with jokes. It was nice to hear them before and after a charge.


In March of 1808, while stationed in Poland. Colonel Pouget was appointed a Baron of the Empire, with an income of 4,000 francs. A detachment of the 26e formed part of the 8th Provisional Regiment, and was part of the capitulation of Bailen. During the 1809 Campaign in Bavaria and Austria, the Regiment was part of Legrand's Division once more, brigaded with the Badeners, and formed  part of Massena's Corps. It fought at Eckmuhl, Ebersberg, Essling, Wagram, Hollabrun, and Znaim. Colonel Pouget relates the 26e's part in the taking of the castle at Ebersberg:

We finally arrived. Our first obstacle was the passage of a bridge over the Traun, which was at least two hundred toises in length. It had been built to cover and pass this torrent when it overflowed; This bridge terminated at Ebersberg, a small town which had already been occupied by the Claparede division, of Marshal Bessieres' corps, which had abandoned it without making any attempt on the castle, which contained five hundred Hungarian grenadiers. When the 26th arrived at the bridge, he was fired by a battery of twelve pieces placed on an elevation behind and to the left of the castle, able to beat the bridge by taking it in a sling. I made him run by the flank and the men at a distance, a precaution which did not prevent me from losing seven or eight; once under cover, we marched at close ranks and always on the flank without meeting neither friends nor enemies. I was ordered to return promptly to the castle and seize it; I did not know the avenues, I was guided by no one, and I could not see it because it was hidden by high walls and houses. We ended there by a narrow street, forming sinuosities such that we were only twenty-five paces away when we saw it. We were met by a musketry dump from under the entrance vault; but here I must try to describe the places where we were. The main gate of this castle was in the depression of a vault eighteen to twenty feet high, fourteen to fifteen feet wide. In the background was a strong wooden door, two doors, above which there was a small window with a grid forming small squares of three to four inches, and on each side of this window were loopholes from which one fired at us point-blank, as well as squares of the window. The right flank march which I had been obliged to keep made only the first three companies of the 1st battalion which suffered much. I ordered the sappers to break the door despite the fire of the enemy, firing incessantly. It was not so quick a thing as one might think, and during that time the dead were piling up. It was mounted on piles of corpses that I gave my orders. I had an officer of voltigeurs, whom I knew to be a skilful shooter, sent for him, placed him near me, and sent him loaded and armed rifles, which he returned as he discharged them, and did nothing but shoot in the loopholes. This maneuver, in which several other officers and some good marksmen had taken part, was so prompt that the fire of the castle soon slackened; during this time the sappers were making breaches at the door; and on the other hand, several soldiers of all ranks, among them the battalion commander Baudinot and the second lieutenant Gerard, had entered the castle by cellar windows. They spread in the interior; Second Lieutenant Gerard, entering a room by a door, saw a Hungarian grenadier of a very large size that entered the same room through the opposite door. At the same time, the walls were crossed by a ball which astonished the respective enemies, and there was a pause; then the grenadier surrendered. At that moment, the gates of the castle were broken and gave entry to the regiment, which took prisoners five hundred Austrians. The officer of voltigeurs whom I had exposed to an almost certain death was Lieutenant Guyot, the same who had been ordered to go explore Scharding a few days before. who took prisoners five hundred Austrians. The officer of voltigeurs whom I had exposed to an almost certain death was Lieutenant Guyot, the same who had been ordered to go explore Scharding a few days before. who took prisoners five hundred Austrians. The officer of voltigeurs whom I had exposed to an almost certain death was Lieutenant Guyot, the same who had been ordered to go explore Scharding a few days before.The castle taken and the enemy retired, I reunite my regiment in front of the castle on the road to Ens. The general of division, who found me on horseback, told me that many soldiers had gone forward, which the marshal would not do; that it was necessary to stop them and to occupy the first village without being allowed to go beyond it. I hastened to this point, which was a league from Ebersberg, and I saw soldiers who were not of Legrand's division, nor even of our army corps. An officer came to me: "Ah, my colonel, whom I am happy to see you, tell me what I must do, you see in advance of the soldiers of my company who are pursuing the Austrians with rifle but I have not seen an officer staff or a senior officer to give me instructions. - What regiment are you from? Which body do you belong to? Of the Duke of Istria's army corps and the Claparede division; we took the city of Ebersberg. "It's very good; but you had forgotten the castle. "Colonel, I did what was ordered to me. Marshal Massena does not wish any troops to go beyond this village, and although you are not under his orders, I urge you to conform to his intentions until you receive other orders from your superiors. Beat a reminder to bring back your skirmishers to this village and guard militarily. "This officer followed my advice, and I returned quickly to my regiment; I found my general of division again in the place where I had left him, and told him of the race I had just made. He told me that I must immediately and without fail make a report on the taking of the castle; and because I objected that I had neither ink nor paper, he had me give by his chief of staff what was necessary to me; a drum case served me as a table. The report done, I handed it to General Legrand. This act of arms, which took place on May 3, 1809, was mentioned as very beautiful in the bulletin of the Grande Armée and, by mistake probably, very unjustly attributed to the Claparede division, the duke's army corps. Istria, although it really belongs to the Legrand Division and the 26th Light Infantry Regiment, who alone was at this action. I will give irrevocable proofs if necessary. I have since read, in the Victoires et Conquetes, the quite false relation of this beautiful affair; I demanded by the newspapers, in the French Courier and the Constitutional, to restore to the 26th Light a glory dearly acquired. This regiment lost one hundred and twenty-nine men and one officer, a considerable loss, since it only weighed on the first three companies of the 1st battalion. The Carabinier Company alone had fifty-three men killed in less than ten minutes. 

Colonel Pouget received a serious wound to his left thigh and foot at the battle of Essling, but survived the wound and subsequent infection, and was promoted to General de Brigade. Excerpts from the Memoire de Guerre of General Baron Pouget are as quoted in the following excellent site: http://frederic.berjaud.free.fr/26e_leger/26eleger.htm


In 1810 and 1811, the regiment was stationed in Holland, although it sent detachments to Spain. In 1812, the 26e Legere formed part of the 2nd Corps, commanded by Marshal Oudinot. It fought at Oboiardszino, Polotsk, Torezacew, Borisow, and the Beresina.


During the 1813 campaign in Germany, the regiment swerved in the 5th Division of Marshal Victor's 5th Corps. It saw action at  Hambourg, Dresden, Leipzig, Freibourg, and Hanau. During the 1814 campaign in France, it participated in the battles of  Ligny and Brienne. The regiment was disbanded on May 12, 1814. It was evidently not reformed for the Hundred Days campaign in 1815, although its men were incorporated into the 7e Legere. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Acheson Creations delivers!


Acheson Creations is a company I have not dealt with before, but they had a 20% off sale that ran through November 18th, that happened to be announced when I realized I needed some more items for my next siege game. They are located in not too far away Rochester, NY, which meant US shipping; Yay!


I got this box (some of the packing removed) a week after the sale ended.


These are the items I was really after - 4 gabion sections, each about 2.5 inches long. That's just right for a Gun emplacement for my troops! The base price is only $1 each - 80 cents each on sale. Wow!
That meant the 20 sections above cost a whopping $16 altogether. A real bargain, IMHO!


While I was at it, I got 4 corner sections, because, well, you never know when you'll need them! these were just $1 each also (80 cents on sale) . All the items are cast in an odorless firm grey resin. As you can see, some are light grey and others dark grey. 


 I needed to spend more to get "free" shipping... fortunately, they have quite a variety of items available. 



This quite nice and quite large bridge had me in mind of crossing the Danube before Wagram, or the Beresina...


Stacks of barrels; useful as scatter terrain, or to indicate supply depots, etc.


Likewise for some  stacks of crates!


Some Egyptian style columns...


Suitable for the great temple of  Amun-Re at Karnak, perhaps? 


I have been slowly accumulating items for a "Darkest Africa" kind of setting. 


Thus these huts were a natural addition. I also have the latest edition of The Sword and the Flame on pre-order, in part motivated by the abuse Larry Brom's daughters suffered at the hands of an unethical customer. It's about time I owned a copy of these classic rules anyway! They just funded a successful Kickstarter with a lot of cool items for an African Exploration setting, so imagine those products will be added to the site in 2020. 


I lost little time applying some spay paint I had around already from my various mat creations.


Some dry brushing and a wash, and this should be ready to use soon!


Likewise for the crates and barrels!


Back to the Gabions!  I tried staining some with dark brown, but decided it didn't add much if anything, so the rest I just dry brushed Delta CC "Mellow Yellow" (also known as "Old Parchment" over the medium, brown base coat. Looks pretty good already. A few more colors, etc, and the whole set will be ready for the next Vauban's Wars siege game in 2 weeks!