Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


Officer’s Coat, Chevau-Leger-Lanciers de la Garde Polonaise Imperiale c.1812

 

By Paul Dawson

Polish Lancers of the Guard
Full dress uniforms of an Officer and Sergent of Polish Lancers c.1810

The Polish Lancers of the Guard were formed in late 1806 as a noble escort to the Emperor during the Polish Campaign. This unit became, by the Decree of 6th April 1807, the Chevau-Leger-Lancier Polonaise de la Garde. The Lancers, even though part of the French Army wore the traditional uniform of the Polish people.

The dress jacket was a Kurtka, which was the prototype for the habit-veste, introduced in 1812 as the dress jacket for the French Army as a whole. The description is taken from examples in the Warsaw Museum.

The Dress Jacket: Officer Lanciers Polonaise.The reverses are fastened in all their height, and form a horizontal line at the natural waist. After this the edge of the tails goes down in a straight line. The length of the tails (measured from the natural waist to the turnbacks) is 200 mm while the width of the tails is 325 mm to 379 mm at the waist - the width of the tails is  160mm pleated, 203 mm un-pleated, at the bottom. Unlike the French jacket, they are a single tail rather than two. The turnbacks (retroussis) were made out of facing cloth.

 

 

 

 

Polish Lancers of the Guard: Turnbacks Polish Lancers of the Guard: Turnbacks
Detail of the turnbacks, note the pleat between them. The detail of this is shown in on a trumpeters parade jacket c.1813.

 

Polish Lancers of the Guard: Turnbacks Polish Lancers of the Guard: Turnbacks
Detail of the facing cloth turnbacks and vertical pockets
Detail of turnback lining.

 

The collar - the right collar is completely closed and is 120 mm in height, made of doubled  crimson facing cloth. Its border is a  silver braid.

Cuffs. - the cuffs are 110 mm height and consist of a doubled layer of red serge cloth  - 60 mm at the seams and 110mm  at the median, which is turned up to a point. There are two buttonholes for two buttons that are 20 mm and 40 mm above the cuff itself.

Polish Lancers of the Guard: Collar and Lapels
Polish Lancers of the Guard: Cuffs
Detail of collar, top of the lapel, embroidered lace, and jacket linning.
Detail of officer's cuff and embroidery.

 

Lapels.  The lapels are in the facing color and are divided vertically. They are 350 mm to 400 mm in height, 80 mm wide at the waist, 90 mm at the mid-point, and 160 mm at the top. The width of the escutcheon is 75 mm to the points, that of the medium arriving at l0 mm of the shoulder pad.  The top buttonhole is 25 mm of the median point of the escutcheon. The second buttonhole is  l00 mm to 110 mm below.  The next six buttons follow at equal distances between them.  All eight buttons are 20 mm from the edge. There are 13 fasteners for the lapels and 3 for the collar.

Polish Lancers of the Guard:  Lapels Polish Lancers of the Guard: Jacket Linining
Detail of the embroidered lace, button holes, and top of the lapels.


Detail of the jacket lining. Note only the back panel is lined in cotton, the jacket body is lined in blue wool, rather than serge, which was the French practice.

 

The Pockets

The pockets are on the interior of the tails.  Appeared in top by a crimson braid  in three points separated by arcs of a circle.  There is no braid on the side where the braid is joined to the tails. The top of the braid the level of the natural waist.  It is 165 mm long, 50 mm wide at the points, and 20 mm at its narrowest point. This braid is has 3 large buttons placed 6 mm from the edges.  The buttons range in size from 90 mm to 100 mm.

The cost of the cloth used in the jacket was:

Imperial Blue wool: 28,75 francs per meter for the jacket body
Crimson wool: 28 francs per meter for cuffs, collar, and piping
White linen: 1,25  francs per meter for lining the sleeves and back of the jacket

Buttons. Were to be round and cast from pewter, the 10 large buttons to have a diameter of 23mm, the 24 small ones have a diameter of 16mm. Officers buttons were silver.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: January 2004

 

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