les gardes d'honneur

After his defeat in Russia and the loss of the cavalry arm, Napoleon decided to call upon the sons of the leading and wealthly classes from all over the Empire. This was a military and a political necessity to ensure the loyalty of the families playing a part in the Empire administration, and as consequence these units were nicknamed 'the hostages'.

Four regiments of Gardes d'Honneur (Guards of Honour) were raised by a decree of 3 April, 1813 to be recruited in all parts of the French Empire. They were uniformed in bright red and green 'hussar style' uniforms provided by themselves. Initially, their perfomance was so poor that Napoleon decided that each Regiment of Gardes would be attached to one Regiment of Guard Cavalry.

The Gardes d'Honneur fought indifferently during the Campaign of Leipzig in 1813. However, they covered themselves in glory during the campaign of 1814 in France.

The Gardes d'Honneur wore a typical hussar costume with dark green dolman and pelisse (edged with black fur), scarlet hungarian breeches, scarlet collar and facings, red and white sash, white leather and lace cords. Red covered sahko with wite piping and white cords. The plume was dark green tipped with teh regimental color: red, blue, yellow and white for the Regiments 1-4 respectively. The horse furiniture was black with a dark green shabraque

For the figures, I have used REVELL 02575 Seven Years War Prussian Hussars with heads taken from HT Set 8042 French Light Infantry, with the plumed shako. See the head exchanging section for details of the 'surgery'

I only need four figures to be mounted in pairs and making two bases representing the 1 and 2 squadrons of the 2nd Gardes d'Honneur Regiment attached to the Empress Dragoons and the 1 squadron of the 3rd Gardes d'Honneur Regiment attached to the Grenadiers a Cheval., that were involved in Sellerhausen.

The pictures below are taken from First Empire magazine (No. 90) or from the Osprey MAA 378 book.

FRENCH 'GARDES D'HONNEUR'  REVELL 02575 Seven Years War Prussian Hussars with heads taken from HT 8042 French Light Infantry


Charging with the Grenadiers a Cheval de la Garde

Links of interest:
Napoleon's Guards of Honour 1813-14. Ronals Pawley-Patrick Pourcelle. Osprey MAA 378 (2002)

The full movie: French 'Gardes d'Honneur'