1er Régiment de Chevaux-Légers Lanciers (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #20)

For a light cavalry regiment, it’s been very heavy going getting these figures to completion. More lead than ‘légers’, one might say! Attempting 16 figures rather than my more usual 10 has made for slower progress. There’s lots of detail in the sculpting. Consider also the addition of attaching the separate lances with arms, and you may appreciate how the task takes longer than usual.

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The set looks so good however that, although my momentum flagged once or twice, it was never an onerous paint job. Waterloo 1815 make some beautifully sculpted figures, both men and horses included, some questionable horse poses aside.

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I was hoping to maybe produce at least one more regiment before Christmas but, having taken a while with these lancers, it looks unlikely I’ll complete one before the end of the year. Nonetheless, I can announce that the next regiment in the Nappy Cavalry Project will be… Russian Cuirassiers by Zvezda!

Anyway: those photos of the French 1st Lancers regiment:

 


Biography: 1er Régiment de Chevaux-Légers Lanciers [France]

Napoleon’s decree of 1811 created nine regiments of lancers. The easiest way to achieve this quickly was to convert one of the many existing regiments of dragoons. Consequently, the 1st Regiment of Dragoons duly became the 1st Regiment of Lancers (Cheveau Legers Lanciers).

The 1st Lancers soon participated in the 1812 invasion of Russia, initially covering the crossing of the Elbe before joining the 1st body of Reserve Cavalry of the Grande Armée. The first squadron took part in the battles of Smolensk and La Moskowa, where the squadron leader Dumanoir led charges.

Following the disastrous retreat from Moscow, the regiment reformed from conscription and the remnants left at the depot, immediately taking part in the Leipzig campaign of 1813. As part of the 1st cavalry corps of the Grande Armée, it fought in the battles of Dresden, Leipzig and Hanau.

During the following campaign in 1814, the regiment was part of  1st cavalry corps’ defence operations during the retreat to Paris. The 1st Lancers distinguished themselves during the battles of Vauchamps, Reims and Paris.

After Napoleon’s exile, the Bourbon regime renamed them (partly reformed with elements of the 9th) to become known as the Régiment des Lanciers du Roi (n°1) and retained this royal title up until the inception of the Hundred Days Campaign in April 1815, when the reference to the king was duly dropped once more.

During this their final campaign, they formed part of Baron Subervie’s 5th Cavalry Division, partnering the 2nd Lancers in the Colbert’s 1st Brigade. Deployed inconclusively on the French left during the victory at Ligny, it proceeded to follow up Wellington’s retreat to Waterloo, even attempting an unsuccessful charge during a thunderstorm.

On the 18th June 1815, Colonel Jacquinot led his 415 men of the regiment on the extreme right flank. It saw little of the serious fighting experienced by the 5th and 6th Lancers in countering the Allied Heavy Cavalry charge. Instead, the 1st Lancers did assist in confronting the Prussians as they emerged out of the Bois de Paris to threaten Plancenoit, attempting to check the irresistible advance of Bulow’s Corps.

After Waterloo, the 1st lancers were disbanded on Christmas Day 1815. The majority of men and horses were incorporated in the new 8th regiment of Chasseurs à Cheval de la Côte-d’Or. Lancers did not completely disappear from the French army, however, the reorganisation of 1815 stipulated that the last squadron of each regiment of cavalry be armed with lances.

Notable Battles: La Moscova, Dresden, Leipzig, Vauchamps, Ligny, Waterloo.

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