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  • Difference between uniforms

    Hello,

    i have a question which bothers me since yesterday. There are many different kinds of uniforms in the napoleonic age like parade uniforms and so on. On most paintings i've seen troops wear their dress uniform with plumes on their headgear and in the case of lancers with the pennants of the lance unfolded in battle. But i now have the "Officers and soliders" series of books which depicts all the different uniforms beautifully in this book there are uniforms that are called "campaign dress" with protective sheats of oilskin on Czapkas (for lancers) and uniforms which look far less flashy. Now i'm a bit confused did they wear their campaign dress for battle or their full dress? Or as the campaign dress looks more comfortable is it just the uniform they wore while they were on the march (as of while they were on camapiagn)? There are some instances where some units even fought with their parade uniforms but i'm talking more about what was the standard for most battles what are they wearing the full dress with the plumes on the hats, the pelisses over the shoulder, lances with pennants hanging form them or the campaign uniform with less decoration and with their hats in protective sheets? It would be awesome if someone could answer me as i cant find an answer to that question!

    Cheers Alex

  • #2
    Originally posted by alex33 View Post
    Hello,

    i have a question which bothers me since yesterday. There are many different kinds of uniforms in the napoleonic age like parade uniforms and so on. On most paintings i've seen troops wear their dress uniform with plumes on their headgear and in the case of lancers with the pennants of the lance unfolded in battle. But i now have the "Officers and soliders" series of books which depicts all the different uniforms beautifully in this book there are uniforms that are called "campaign dress" with protective sheats of oilskin on Czapkas (for lancers) and uniforms which look far less flashy. Now i'm a bit confused did they wear their campaign dress for battle or their full dress? Or as the campaign dress looks more comfortable is it just the uniform they wore while they were on the march (as of while they were on camapiagn)? There are some instances where some units even fought with their parade uniforms but i'm talking more about what was the standard for most battles what are they wearing the full dress with the plumes on the hats, the pelisses over the shoulder, lances with pennants hanging form them or the campaign uniform with less decoration and with their hats in protective sheets? It would be awesome if someone could answer me as i cant find an answer to that question!

    Cheers Alex
    Welcome to the Armchair General forums!

    This link has a lot of details of Napoleonic uniforms:

    http://www.napolun.com/mirror/napole..._uniforms.html

    Look for the subheading: Campaign, Battle and Parade Dress

    There is some discussion of which uniforms were worn at what time. The following paragraph is informative:
    There were notable differences between the uniforms worn during parades and on campaigns. The soldier on campaign was likely to present a shabby and non-descript appearance as unsuitable peacetime dress quickly deteriorated. They suffered from a lack of proper clothing, and homemade replacements and captured items resulted in variety of colors and materials within a single battalion. Instead of the elegant breeches and gaiters the infantryman wore trousers, his shako was protected with special cloth cover, the greatcoat was rolled and attached on the knapsack, etc.

    There are also references to regiments changing into dress uniforms before marching into a city as well as specific battles where some regiments wore their parade uniforms.

    Finally, battle paintings were as accurate as modern battle movies.

    Comment


    • #3
      Different units took different attitudes. Wellington once expressed supreme indifference as to what his soldiers' uniforms looked like provided they kept the men warm and dry and it was easy to distinguish them from the enemy in the smoke of battle. On the other hand some British cavalry regiments are recorded as sending men to the rear during a battle because their uniforms had been splashed with mud and they no longer looked smart enough.
      Some members of the French army in the Waterloo campaign fought in dress uniforms because French resources were unable to equip every soldier with a full uniform set and some men wore their campaign uniform whilst their dress uniform was passed to another man to wear.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

      Comment


      • #4
        The best answer to a question like that is the following:

        'There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore!'-Roger Forthoffer

        In my own experience the above is quite true.

        When we deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the invasion of Kuwait we were issued only one set of desert utilities. And most of us did not get the complete issue (I still don't have my desert boots that we were promised). So what was worn was a mixture of desert and woodland uniforms in various combinations. We looked like a caravan of gypsies more often than not, uniform (but not equipment)-wise.

        While we were there the Marine Corps Gazette published a set of 'Desert Shield/Desert Storm uniform plates and the only ones that were accurate were those of the MEF commander, LtGen Boomer (who undoubtedly had his full issue) and probably the pilots.

        Regarding the Grande Armee, many times before a battle if there was time, many units would put on their full dress if they had it.
        We are not now that strength which in old days
        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah i noticed that there was already a thread after i posted this one haha.

          So i guess it was the norm for the french at least to wear the normal campaign dress in battle. It's quite confusing as most depictions in battle picture the troops in dress uniform rather then campaign uniform. this whole uniform business is super confusing to me^^

          EDIT: Well then it seems they wore the dress uniform then. Freaking uniforms^^
          Last edited by alex33; 24 Feb 16, 13:42.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Massena View Post

            Regarding the Grande Armee, many times before a battle if there was time, many units would put on their full dress if they had it.
            So the campaign uniform is for marching then while the flashy looking (plumes , lance pennants, Czapkas without their oilskin cover) was used for battle by the french? (well i guess not after months of combat anymore)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Massena View Post
              The best answer to a question like that is the following:

              'There are three sorts of uniforms for every period of history: those described in the uniform regulations; those shown by the artists of that period; and what the soldiers really wore!'-Roger Forthoffer

              In my own experience the above is quite true.

              When we deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the invasion of Kuwait we were issued only one set of desert utilities. And most of us did not get the complete issue (I still don't have my desert boots that we were promised). So what was worn was a mixture of desert and woodland uniforms in various combinations. We looked like a caravan of gypsies more often than not, uniform (but not equipment)-wise.

              While we were there the Marine Corps Gazette published a set of 'Desert Shield/Desert Storm uniform plates and the only ones that were accurate were those of the MEF commander, LtGen Boomer (who undoubtedly had his full issue) and probably the pilots.

              Regarding the Grande Armee, many times before a battle if there was time, many units would put on their full dress if they had it.
              Yes I was in the region at the time - BTW you were supposed to be liberating Kuwait - not invading it -- quite a mixture of uniforms in Khobar and amongst troops on R&R in Bahrain
              Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
              Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                Yes I was in the region at the time - BTW you were supposed to be liberating Kuwait - not invading it -- quite a mixture of uniforms in Khobar and amongst troops on R&R in Bahrain
                First you have to invade in order to liberate. It's an invasion and that is quite a simple thing to say instead of politically correct nonsense.

                And we were there to defeat the Iraqis.

                Would you say, then, that Normandy in 1944 was not an invasion? We were also there to liberate France were we not?
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So the campaign uniform is for marching then while the flashy looking (plumes , lance pennants, Czapkas without their oilskin cover) was used for battle by the french? (well i guess not after months of combat anymore)
                  It is a complex story - in some armies it was quite customary to throw away some parade dress items at the start of the campaign, to lighten the back pack, so woolen breeches for example.

                  The 48e de ligne entered the Russian campaign in 1812 - completly kitted out - but at the start of the campaign they threw away virtually almost all garments with the exception of greatcoat and long pantalons.
                  It was blistering hot - all expected that the campaign would be over in some weeks.

                  In the end they had to suffer cruelly when the colder season set in.

                  The Prussian army was so poor in the liberation wars, that a lot of soldiers did wear long linen pantalons instead of grey woolen trousers.

                  The longer a campaign did last - the less regulation like an army did look like.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MaximGorki View Post
                    It is a complex story - in some armies it was quite customary to throw away some parade dress items at the start of the campaign, to lighten the back pack, so woolen breeches for example.

                    The 48e de ligne entered the Russian campaign in 1812 - completly kitted out - but at the start of the campaign they threw away virtually almost all garments with the exception of greatcoat and long pantalons.
                    It was blistering hot - all expected that the campaign would be over in some weeks.

                    In the end they had to suffer cruelly when the colder season set in.

                    The Prussian army was so poor in the liberation wars, that a lot of soldiers did wear long linen pantalons instead of grey woolen trousers.

                    The longer a campaign did last - the less regulation like an army did look like.
                    Indeed. Dyes faded and different dye lots turned different colors after rain and sun affected them. Replacement clothing was looted from the bodies of the enemy after battle.

                    Regiments with white uniforms, such as Austrians or Saxons, could apply clay whiting to the uniform to cover up any kind of dirt or discoloration and make them gleaming white again.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      First, The best examples in art for what a uniform should look like on campaign is Pierre Leroux and Rick Scollins. Scollins's art covers virtually all parts of military history, but he has done some fine examples of the fighting man during the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

                      What should also be taken into account is that a soldier back then 'e.g.' would utilise enemy or civilian clothing as long as it was an essential Item such as a great coat, a pair of trousers, footwear and shirts but not part of the uniform which would lead to him being shot by his own side, or shot as a spy by the enemy.

                      They would also use enemy equipment, like knapsacks, bread bags, water bottles and even weapons.

                      Something else you should take into account. A soldier carried his home around with him, so to save weight and room, only essential items were carried, but he would try to lighten items by cutting them down to a minimal size, such as shirt tails and even sleeves, brushes, only carry a spoon with the handle cut down. It was all about weight-saving, as it is to this day. I for instance, carried a plastic spoon with the handle cut down and my toothbrush was doctored in the same way, and a tea towel dyed green, to use as a towel.

                      Paul
                      ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                      All human ills he can subdue,
                      Or with a bauble or medal
                      Can win mans heart for you;
                      And many a blessing know to stew
                      To make a megloamaniac bright;
                      Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                      The Pixie is a little shite.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lol a great example of difference was the recent Osprey book on Redocats V Continental Army.

                        It has pictures of the Redcoats wearing big long coats and Tricorns, when Tricorns were considered unsuitable for field work at the time and those coats were cut away into short Jackets. In fact the Unstitched floppy hat, turned up nat the side that the Continental was shown being wore in the picture would have been what the Redcoats would have woren.

                        Though I admit I thought it strange since in the previews before the book came out it actually had the picture of the correct Redcoat Uniform of the time but somewhere between then and the publication the Pictures got changed !

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A lot of uniforms would be locally sourced. Thus a British battalion due to take it's turn in India would probably look pretty scruffy as getting new uniforms made would be delayed until they arrived in India as tailoring and cloth costs were much lower there, similarly a battalion just about to return to Britain might get new uniforms whilst this could still be dome cheaply. Red dye that was fast was expensive in Europe as the important constituents had to be imported from the East Indies. British officers would probably have their uniform cloth dyed with imported cochineal based dye which gave the scarlet that we see in ceremonial uniforms today but the rank and file would have cloth dyed with madder which produces a more brick like colour. It is also not fast so that over time the uniform would fade into a reddish brown. However uniforms made in India would use the faster dyestruffs. It is probable that other nations had similar sorts of problems thus I believe that after they had been on campaign for a while it would have been more appropriate to call 'The Black Brunswickers' (The Brunswick Legion) the grey Brunswickers.
                          Soldiers who's nation favoured white uniforms would be likely to begin to look somewhat grimy very quickly (would their regimental band be a grunge group? )
                          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...postcount=1328

                            http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...postcount=1327

                            http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...postcount=2659

                            Scroll down for the Leroux plates.

                            http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...55524&page=125

                            Paul
                            ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                            All human ills he can subdue,
                            Or with a bauble or medal
                            Can win mans heart for you;
                            And many a blessing know to stew
                            To make a megloamaniac bright;
                            Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                            The Pixie is a little shite.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thx for the answers

                              Comment

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