Saturday, 10 August 2013

Gotcha! French 1905 uniform

A reference note to myself!

There is no doubt that French army uniforms of the period between the end of the Franco-Prussian War (1871) to the start of The Great War (1914) are something of a puzzle. As a period of relative peace this era is not covered by the usual reference pamphlets - like Osprey's Men at Arms - and what useful material that might exist is - as you might expect - written in French!

A bit of a bugger really as I am interested in French uniforms between 1890 and 1910. My Black Hat Infanterie De Ligne do not seem to fit into the uniform styles which are covered by the mainstream reference material and this has been a cause of some frustration. I just could not seem to find a historical example which depicted the uniform modelled by Black Hat's Frenchies!

Well, hopefully, I finally solved the mystery of this particular toy soldier when I came across a very nice set of French watercolours online. They depicted the history of the 147th Infantry Regiment of Sedan and the example of a soldier of 1905 caught my eye...

Left: Soldier of the 147th Infantry Regiment (1900-1905). Raiment: shorter tunic with red collar and a row of buttons with flap facing in 1899 that lasted until the first world war. He is equipped with a Lebel rifle.

This illustration is the closest thing I have found that is similar to Black Hat's French toy soldiers. The Black Hat toy doesn't have the webbing kit or back-pack but otherwise is a nice representation of the 1905 pattern French infantry uniform.

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