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Sunday, January 2, 2022

Légion du Midi

Légion du Midi

In 1804 the Piedmontese Legion was renamed Legion du Midi. The legion took part in the following battles: Beja (1808), Corogne (1809), Busaco (1810), and Fuentes-d’Onoro (1811).  From: Napoleon's Foreign Infantry -
 The legion was made of discharged Piedmontese veterans, who probably were occasionally drunk and disorderly. It went into Spain, where it served well enough but gradually fell off in strength to a single battalion. - John Elting


Uniforms of the Légion du Midi

 In researching the uniforms for the Légion du Midi, I was fortunate to have Philip Haythornthwaite in my corner, who kindly sent me an extensive description of the likely uniform worn in 1811 as a response to a question I had regarding the shakos and whether cords were worn.
Here is the response from Mr. Haythornthwaite:

Der Kriegspieler Old Guard Grenadiers serving as Grenadiers of the Légion du Midi - note the extra card under the base to give the rather thin bases a bit more heft.

From Napoleonic Uniforms - John R Elting, with illustrations by Herbert Knotel

The Voltigeurs have a similarly altered base, but the most evident change is the removal of cords from the shako, and the replacement of the eagle with the lozenge shaped regimental badge.

A Franznap French line Colonel serving as General de Brigade Jean-Pierre Maransin, who commanded the legion from 1807 to 1811.  From Wikipedia: Maransin participated in Andoche Junot's invasion of Portugal and was stationed in the southern province of Algarve when the revolt against French occupation broke out. When his bedridden commanding officer Antoine Maurin was captured by the Portuguese, Maransin gathered up the troops in the province. These 1,200 men included the Legion du Midi and one battalion of the 26th Line Infantry Regiment. He successfully withdrew to Lisbon via Mértola and Beja.

The officers, drummer and eagle bearer are all Der Kriegspieler with minor modifications, such as the lozenge shaped regimental badge on the drummer's shako along with removal of the cords.  While the Boisselier print emphasizes the helmet style of head wear for drummers, you can also see the more traditional shako peeking out from behind the Drum Major's colpack.

The Chasseurs of the Legion have all had their shako cords removed, regimental plate added from a square of card stock, as well as epaulets and 'lentille' shaped pompom sculpted from epoxy putty.  There is no escaping the fact that DK figures are just thin and weedy however.  Forage was difficult to obtain in Spain for the French, so who knows, maybe the emaciated look of the soldiers is quite accurate.

While this drawing of Boisselier features a Voltigeur, it can be seen that the Chasseur in the background also carries the sabre-briquet, which had to be added to the Der Kriegspieler miniatures at the last minute, as I had missed that detail!

The Legion ready to receive it's paint.

Primed plus!

Almost there...

Le Légion du Midi

Five months from start to finish!
Jean Pierre Maransin was promoted Colonel of the Legion in 1807, but must have been well connected, as he was promoted again to General de Brigade in 1808, while retaining command of the Legion.

He is pictured here in the uniform of Colonel.

The natural imperfections of the casting process served well to dapple the rump of his horse.

I really think the Franznap miniatures are the best sculpted figures on the market.

The Legion to the fore!

The eagle is from a set of standards cast by Hagen in Germany, with the wire pole replacing the original cast on thick flag and staff of the Der Kriegspieler figure.

A GMB designs 15mm flag slightly modified was used as the standard, which I have embellished with gold tassels.

Note the swords on the Chasseurs front left.  Originally the cross belts ended in nothing on this side, which was a bit odd.  When I realized the Chasseurs were also equipped with sabre-briquets, I quickly attacked some plastic grenadiers and stole their swords for the role here.

I love the uniforms of the Voltigeurs and Grenadiers especially.

So many back pack and greatcoat straps!

The Legion du Midi was brigaded with the Legion Hanovrienne, which was the inspiration for creating this rather obscure battalion.  Dick Tennant did the original work on the Legion Hanovrienne, so it seemed only right that I finish what he started and paint their companion battalion.

Next up will be something much simpler I hope...