Friday, August 9, 2013

FEATURED REGIMENT: De La Melonière

Clarence Harrison - After reaching England in 1689, King William III established three regiments of Huguenots drawn from exiled French serving among his other battalions. These regiments were commanded by well known and experienced soldiers Pierre Massue (Comte de La Caillemotte), Francois du Cambon, and Isaac de La Melonière. Colonel De La Melonière was a former Lt. Colonel of the Anjou regiment of France. Though the core of these new units were French their numbers were supplemented with Swiss, Fleming, and German Protestants (and a number of Catholics as it turned out, six of whom were later hanged as Jacobite spies).


There is frustratingly little information on the uniforms and flags of the Huguenot regiments. Most sources seem to agree that they wore grey coats. There is a painting by Jan Wyck that shows a Huguenot regiment through the mists of battle in the background that contains small touches of medium blue where we might expect to see turnbacks. If one regiment wore blue facings, it is possible that all three did - the French practice at the time was to use red facings unless the colonel paid for something different. It is also possible that the turnbacks were simply the same color as the coat and that is why history makes no mention of the colors. For De La Melonière's regiment I have chosen the later option. These coats, trousers and turnbacks of these models were painted with Wargames Foundry British Gun Grey 108A-C. Might be a little dark, but I like the grim look it gives them. I will probably use blue for the facings of one of the other regiments...

There is some debate about the color of sash worn by the officers. Again we have no information, but rather than seeing this as an impediment, look at it as a chance to employ artistic license! You could paint the Huguenots with orange sashes since they fought for William. Equally you could field them in red sashes since they were raised after Willaim claimed the throne of England. Finally you could make them more unique and paint white sashes, the traditional color worn by Huguenot officers in earlier wars. In the end I chose red for practical reasons - with a flag swap I can field the unit as an unknown English, Irish, Dutch, or French battalion!

I want to point our a couple of conversions in the unit. At this time, there are no Warfare Miniatures grenadiers loitering around, featuring instead action poses advancing, shooting, throwing grenades, etc. I wanted a couple of models as the ready to match the rest of the unit so I set out to create some. These were simple head swaps and then I added a grenade pouch sculpted from putty. I also added a hatchet to the guy in the front with another tiny amount of putty and a piece of wire (hmmm... the ax doesn't really show up in the photo because I painted the handle black - probably worth going back and making it brown!).


The second conversion was equally simple. I filed the details from the scabbard of a sword to make it appear as an unsheathed blade. The I trimmed a tiny amount from the hand of an ensign model for a perfect fit to the hilt. I could have just as easily swapped an arm from one of the cavalry models, but I need all of my spares at the moment for the Huguenot horse (coming soon)!

4 comments:

  1. This is fine work indeed Clarence. The Huguenots are proving to be a popular contingent choice amongst gamers with an interest in the period. The combine some mystery with novelty and a very active service record. The size of the contingent makes them very manageable as a painting project too.

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  2. They do look rather spiffing Clarence.

    Darrell.

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  3. Where did you get the flag info??

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  4. The flags are speculative based on rumor, traditional Huguenot heraldry, and conventions of the time. We simply don't know what flags were carried. The flags for all three Huguenot regiments of foot are available in the LoA shop (http://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/product-216.html).

    The Huguenot Cross first became known as a symbol in 1688. It came into use as a symbol after Lous XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes(sort of religious tolerance law that was withdrawn and the Protestants force to recant their faith etc.. let to mass migration due to persecution) and seems perfect that Huguenot regiments might carry it.

    There are documented flags for Huguenots in the 16th century (http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fr_hugh.html#hug) that used red and yellow stripes and a white saltire which is the basis for one of our other designs. The blue and white stripes come from a Huguenot flag carried in the 80 years war (http://historyreconsidered.net/eighty_Years_War_1568_1648.html).

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