Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


The Saxon Army 1810 - 13

Part I: The Infantry

By Howard Giles

Sketches by Geoff Gibbs

Under the Army reorganisation of early 1810, the Saxon Infantry consisted of 11 Regiments - 1 of Guard,
Leib Grenadier Garde Officer

Leib Grenadier Garde Officer

2 of Light, and 8 of the Line. In addition, a company of Jäger was formed to operate with the Light Infantry. French tactical formations were employed.

Leib Grenadier Garde

The Saxon Guard Infantry Regiment had an establishment of 2 battalions, each of 4 companies 180 men strong. Companies were numbered 1-4 in the 1st battalion, and 5-8 in the 2nd. Being an 'elite' unit, there were no attached Grenadier companies (as in the line).

The rather distinctive unifrom was simil,ar in stlye to that of the French Old Guard. The tunic was of the French style Habit-Veste, although French soldiers would not wear this pattern of tunic until 1812. The Leib Grenadiers were the only Saxon troops, other than Officers to wear epaulettes.

Tunic: Red faced yellow, white epaulettes, long tails and pointed cuffs.

Leib Grenadier Garde Private

Leib Grenadier Garde Private

Breeches: White. White trousers on campaign.

Gaiters: White, reaching above the knee, with 18 buttons.

Buttons: Brass.

Crossbelts: White leather, supporting the bayonet and sabrebriquet on the left hip, and the cartridge box on the right. Brown leather scabbards with brass fittings. Silver sword-knot with red lace.

Pack: Calfskin, with white leather straps and grey blanket roll.

Greatcoat: Grey.

Musket Sling: natural leather.

Leib Grenadier Garde Drummer

Leib Grenadier Garde Drummer

The uniform was completed with an impressive bearskin. A surviving example is displayed in the Royal Army Museum, Brussels; slightly wider and lower than the French Old Guard pattern, it is now brown with age. When new it was almost certainly black with a brown tinge (as with British bearskins of the period). A single white cord supporting two flounders fell down the right hand side from a red cloth patch at the rear; on it was a large white embroidered grenade. The brass plate was lower than the French pattern, bearing the Royal Cipher interlaced and surmounted with the coat of arms, flanked on each side by a grenade. The bearskin was held in place by a narrow black chinstrap.

On campaign, the bearskins were left in store and replaced with shakos similar to that of Line Grenadiers.

Uniform Distinctions

Officers: Nine strips of square-ended silver lace, worn horizontally on each lapel, decorated with a tassel.
Leib Grenadier Garde Uniform Details

Leib Grenadier Garde
Uniform Details: Privates

Two strips of lace were worn on each cuff, and on each collar. Epaulettes were silver, as was the aiguilette over the right shoulder. Black knee boots replaced the gaiters, and an epee was carried on a waistbelt; Gold buttons, white gloves, Gold bearskin and shako cords.

NCOs: Unfortunately no information is available on full-dress distinctions. Shakos would carry a brass band around the top.

Drummers:

Leib Grenadier Garde Uniform Details

Leib Grenadier Garde
Uniform Details: Officers

Yellow tunic faced medium blue, blue shoulder nests, worn beneath white epaulettes. Brass drums, with hoops painted yellow and blue triangles, yellow uppermost.

 

 

 

 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2001

 

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