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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...



  1. The shading on the brown has come out really well; strong enough to be seen but not overdone like some modern contrast painting techniques. Also, once again I'm entranced by a Colonel - such a delightfully delicate casting and nicely animated, almost looks like he's doing some dressage to distract his men from that ominously silent red wall ahead.

    1. Thanks Rob. Unfortunately the Legion du Midi did not make it to Vimiero so we will have to wait just a bit to see how they handle the ominously silent red wall...

  2. Now that is a labour of love! Stunning!

    1. There you have spoken the truth Matt! I must admit this one was a slog, with so much conversion and the raw figures being so poor in quality. My next unit will have to be something with better figures. I am currently debating between some Garrison French Grenadiers, A Franznap Bavarian battery, or the Guard Chasseurs a cheval. Hmmmmm...

  3. All your hard work has paid off handsomely, David. They're wonderful!

    1. Thanks WM. There is no escaping the fact that the raw materiala are DK figures. But there is something rewarding about making them better. I loved the process of research on this one and so grateful to Dick for introducing me to Philip Haythornthwaite. That has been a fun correspondence!

  4. Beautiful and inspirational painting, the figures look fantastic. I agree with Rob the colonel is a handsome figure. I sold all my Napoleonic's several years ago to concentrate on 18th century but these post are tempting me.


    1. It's never to late to diversify - even if just for the joy of painting a few battalions in the old style! Glad you enjoyed my work.

  5. A marvellous looking unit David…
    Well worth all the effort you have put into it…How fantastic to have Philip Haythornthwaite on board to give you uniform advice.
    I really like the combination of the brown tunics and sky blue facings… I will certainly be adding these guys to my own shiny Napoleonics… So thank you for making the job a lot easier.

    All the best. Aly

    1. Aly, I do hope you find the uniform guide useful. I took the time to post all of this info for that very reason, so I do hope someone down the line will benefit from it. Would love to see some better fed Minifigs in the role of the Legion du Midi!

  6. Clearly a labour of love - well done!

    1. Thanks Stryker. Have loved following your campaign and hope to use your rules for Vimiero very soon!

    2. Absolutely lovely! Always one of my favourite uniforms. :)