french chevau-lÉgers lanciers

Before the Russian campaign Napoleon wanted to add some screening abilites to the French heavy cavalry divisions. Having also in mind, the great number of Cossacks to be found in the Russian steppes, he converted the 1er, 3e, 8e, 9e, 10e and the 29e Régiment des Dragons to 1er, 2e, 3e, 4e, 5e, and 6e Chevau-Légers Lanciers. The Vistula Uhlans and the Polish Guard lancers sent their troopers as instructors to the newly formed French units.


Headgear was a brass helmet similar to the dragoons but without the flowing horsehair mane and with a black chenille. Plumes were usually scarlet, or white over red, but they were not usually worn on campaign. The coat was basically the same as the dragoon coat - ie mid-green in colour, but with pointed cuffs instead of the square cuffs and cuff flap of the dragoons. Regimental facing colours were worn on lapels, collars, cuffs and turnbacks. Elite company troopers wore red epaulettes whereas other companies wore green epaulettes piped in the regimental facing colour.
In full dress, mid-green breeches with hussar boots were worn. The breeches had a yellow stripe going down the outer seam. 1st-4th Regiments had a yellow inverted arrowhead pattern on the front thigh of the breeches. 5th and 6th Regiments had a yellow Hungarian knot design instead of the arrowhead. Overalls were worn on campaign, and there was little standardisation: some were green with a stripe of the regimental facing colour going down the outer seam. The inner thighs were reinforced with black leather. Grey overalls were also worn - with the black leather reinforcement. Some had stripes, some none, some with 2 stripes.
In addition to these 'French' units, Napoleon incorporated the Polish 1st and 2nd Vistula Uhlans as 7th and 8th Chevau-Légers Lanciers, and a last 'German' 9th Regiment formed by the conversion of the 30th Chasseurs a Cheval, raised in Hambourg. These 'non-French' regiments wore dark blue Polish style uniforms with czapska top (the 9th Regiment wore also red breeches in Mamelouk style).
The distinctive colors and facings were:

Reg. Collar/piping Lapels Cuffs/pipings Turnbacks
1st scarlet scarlet scarlet scarlet
2nd  orange orange orange orange
3rd pink pink pink pink
4th crimson crimson crimson crimson
5th sky blue sky blue sky blue sky blue
6th madder red madder red madder red madder red
7th yellow/dk blue yellow yellow/- yellow
8th dk blue/yellow yellow dk blue/yellow yellow
9th lt yellow lt yellow lt yellow lt yellow

All the Chevau-legers Lanciers Regiments fought in the Campaign of Leipzig. However I was initially interested in the 3rd and 5th Regiments.

There are several 1/72 plastics Polish-style lanciers available, but only a set of plastics 'French' line lancers: Hat #8011 Napoleonic French Lancers, but I don't like it. However, I found the metal Newline Designs French Line Lancers, and I bought two 10-figures unit packs: 24F18 French Line Lancers Charging and 24F19 French Line Lancers Standing ando two normal pack: FR12/1 Command Charging and FR12/2 Command Standing (4 figures each). Two Lasalle normal (8 figures) units were painted as the 3rd and 5th Regiments having respectivley pink and sky blue facongs, and the rest were painted with generic red red facings (1st, 4th and 6th Regiments).

FRENCH Chevau-Légers Lanciers   NEWLINE DESIGNS
24F18, 24F19, FR12/1 and FR 12/2


Links of interest:

Chevau-Leger Lanciers (Napnuts page)

Napoleon, His Army and Enemies
Napoleon's Dragoons and Lancers. Emir Bukhari and Angus McBride. Men-at-Arms 55, 1976
The Poles and Saxons of the Napoleonic Wars. George Nafziger and Mariusz T. Wesolowski. The Emperor's Press, 1991
Histofig Site

The full movie: French Chevaulegers-Lanciers