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French Suuply column under attack at Danzig

french auxiliary (train and medical) services



When the Revolutionary Wars began, the Auxiliary branchs of all European Armies were civiliain and only formed at time of wars, being disbanded when the hostilities finished. With the time, the advantages of a permanent militarizations for some of them (Supply, Medical, Artificiers) were seen so, at least in the French army, for 1813 these Auxiliary branchs were given a full military status

1) French Artillery Train

The 1812 Regulations prescribed iron grey jackets (previously sky blue) with dark blue collars, cuffs, lapels, pocket-piping and turnbacks (with  iron grey crowned 'N' or iron grey or white grenades) all piped iron grey, grey shoulder straps and cuff-flaps piped blue. The shako wore white metal plate and chinscales and grey/white pompons. Previous uniforms were also carried so there was many variations.
2) French Baggage Train (Train des Equipages)
The 1812 Regulations resulted in a similar uniform to the French Artillery Train  but with chesnut facings and white piping. A iron grey five-points star was carried at the turnbacks. As above, some variations in piping are recorded.
3) French Artillery forgers and workers
The forgers (Maréchaux-ferrants) were attached to horse Regiments and artillery. They wore a blue single breasted jacket with a red horse-shoe in the right arm, bonnet de police and white canvas trousers. The workers (ouvriers) wore a similar uniform. The aprons were of cuir.
4) French Medical Service
The Medical officiers wore a blue (hue variable) surtout with collar and cuffs in black, scarlet and green for doctors, surgeons and pharmacists respectively. From 1812 the coats had facing coloured lapels but the surtout probably persisted. Breeches of the same colour than coat. Waitscoats of same colour than coat for doctors and facing colour for others. Black bicorn. The sword was carried on a black waist belt.
Medical orderlies (Infirmiers) wore infantry uniform in chesnut with garance (madder or dark red?) collar, lapels, cuffs and turnbacks. Infantry equipment, black shako with brass plate and chinscales. The stretcher bearers (Infimiers-brancandiers) had a pike, a piece with holes atop their backpacks and the canvas "bed" of the stretcher wrapped around his waist.

All figures were the ones included in the respective HAT sets with exception of Medical orderlies that were ITALERI 6006 French line infantry.

HAT has released a line of equipment models for the Napoleonic Wars comprising (until now) French heavy Wagoons, French Ambulance, French Field Forge and French Wurst Medical ambulance (Pontoons lie int the future). These models can be used with any Army with the corresponding painting conversion. In Spain (and maybe in Poland and Russia?) mule or oxen packs were used instead horses.

See a scheme of the uniforms and my version of the painted models and figures. The Field Forge has detachable horse-train and workers.

 French Artillery Train HAT 8101 A very old version (note the poor painting!)
 French Baggage Train
(Train des Equipages)
 HAT 8106
French Field Forge HAT 8107
French Ambulance  HAT 8104
French Würst medical vehicle and infirmiers HAT 8102, ITALERI 6006

Les Uniformes des Guerres Napoléoniennes
Tome I. Troupes françaises. Troupes Alliés
B. Coppens, P. Courcelle, M. Petard, D. Lordey
Éditions Quatuor, Entremont Le Vieux, 1997

Napoleon's Specialist Troops
Osprey Men-at-Arms Series No. 199
P. Haythornthwaite, B. Fosten
Osprey Publishing, London, 1988