So here it is… the next French unit for my Völkerschlacht / Möckern project. The Régiment Espaniol, also known as the Régiment Joséph Napoleon.
Now it has quite an interesting history. In 1807 the Bourbon Monarchs of Spain send an expeditionary force to serve in the Grande Armée. The around 10 regiments of all branches were split up and served in Denmark. They were still there when Napoleon forced the Spanish Bourbons to abdicate in 1808 and made his brother Joséph King of Spain. For most of the soldiers serving the expeditionary force this was disgraceful and an insult. So when their commander, the Marquis de la Romana, was contacted by a British agent offering transportation to Spain to fight with the allies, he accepted. Unfortunately he and his men were betrayed by one of their own regiments and over 3.500 soldiers became prisoners of war. Later that year the idea was hatched, that there would be enough men loyal to the French to create a unit to fight in the Peninsular. So by decree of 13th February 1809 the regiment was formed. It consisted of four battalions (three Line, one Depot) all organized to French regulations with four Fusilier, one Voltigeur and one Grenadier companies each. The only difference was that the official language of command was Spanish and that their uniforms were of different colour (white with dark green breast). Formation was slow, since the French wanted to be sure that only those would serve, who would not desert at the first possible chance. So the Regiment was only completely formed by spring of 1810. But Napoleon still did not trust them enough. They were not sent to Spain after all, but split up by battalions and deployed to France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
During Napoleons invasion of Russia in 1812, the whole regiment took part. The second and third battalions as part of I Corps (Davout), first and fourth battalions as part of IV Corps (Prince Eugene). All four fought at Borodino, the third and fourth battalions taking part in the attack on the Great Redoubt. They were badly mauled in the retreat from Russia, just like the rest of the Grande Armée. They took part in the fighting in Germany in 1813, where they were decimated even more. So on December 24th 1813 the remaining troops had to surrender their weapons and were converted to a pioneer regiment, which was disbanded on 17th April 1814.
So now on to the minis themselves. At first I had though about using Perry Miniatures for them, since they had been issued with Bardin uniforms after Russia. But on the other hand, they are not only useful for Leipzig, but even more so for Borodino. So in the end I wanted to keep the option open to expand these minis to use them for Russia. So I went for Victrix minis instead, although with a few Perry heads and arms. Flag is from GMB. I was quite stereotypical with the hair this time, as I went mostly for blacks and browns.
I also wanted to use these as testbed for Austrians, since their uniforms were predominately white as well. Usually I paint white uniforms in shades of light grey, with a final highlight of white. But here I went for creme tones, also with a final highlight of white. Not sure yet if I like it or not. The big problem in my opinion is that it a) looks a bit dirty (which is not too bad for the campaign look) and b) that the dirt around the feet and knees does not really come out. So let me know if you like them or not!
January 1, 2012 at 13:30
Great unit, I like the dirty look.
January 1, 2012 at 13:37
A very nice looking unit!!! Great info on them too!
January 1, 2012 at 15:39
I think they look great! Love the facings, faces and epaulettes.
I might have been tempted to put an extra coat of white on the crossbelts
January 1, 2012 at 16:00
They look great! You have to be very daring muddy up a unit that you took hours to paint. I also appreciate the background info.
If you get them on a tabletop for Borodino, make sure to give us a full AAR. That was always one of my favorite Napoleonic battles to recreate.
January 2, 2012 at 08:39
I will sure post a battle report, but I fear it will be many years into the future. The “urgent” projects are Leipzig and the Waterloo campaign. So while there are tons of Russians lingering in my leadpile, they will have to wait some years before they are painted.
von Peter himself
January 1, 2012 at 23:04
NIce work Burkhard. It’s good to see your units rolling off the production line.
Happy New Year.
von Peter himself
January 2, 2012 at 08:36
THX for the nice comments guys!
January 4, 2012 at 19:04
Excellent work. Paint On!
I have that unit painted up…need to pull out and roll dice.
Michael aka WR
The Angry Lurker
January 5, 2012 at 14:57
Lovely unit and great historical reading…….