Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sarkozy's Pandours- or, some "pocket money" for M. le Marquis...

Another template courtesy of "Not by Appointment" !

"During the lengthy process of retraining and refitting l'armee de l'Oise at Thionville, it was necessary to keep the enemy from looking to our frontier with an eye for mischief all the time that the defences of France were at at such a nadir. It was imperative to prevent the forces of the Pragmatic Alliance from taking advantage of our current deplorable state, and, if possible, to deceive them as to the true extent of our discomfiture.

For this service, we needed men of energy and enterprise, and we had no further to look for such hearty individuals than in our new band of hussars and their
chef, Count Horthy Emil Sarkozy.

The Count soon demonstrated the wisdom of our having accepted his services, for no sooner had he joined our camp, than he began a series of raids, moonlight strikes, bluffs and other activities all along the part of the frontier that seperated the two armies.

It was quite remarkable to us officers, our being so used to conditions of service with the French army, with what little fanfare Count Sarkozy and his hussars would make their departure. Leaving in the early hours before sunrise, no sooner would they ride out of the camp than they would seemingly vanish into the very ether; burdened neither by train nor baggage, other than what the men could strap to their horses.

We would hear no news of them for days at a time. And then, with no harbinger or rumour heralding their approach, they would just as suddenly reappear, with no more ceremony as would have been the case had they merely been out on a morning to exercise their mounts.

Upon his return, Count Sarkozy would first attend to watering his horses and to obtaining food for his men. He would then directly make his way to my quarters, s
till covered in the accumulated grime of his latest adventure, where after brusquely paying his respects to the assembled company, he would then commence to present me with his latest souvenirs; a chest of maps here, some intelligence on enemy forces there, and even from time to time a valuable prisoner. (This included on one occasion none other than Graf Kristoph von Meissenplatz- a celebrated officer late in the service of the Duke of Hesse-Rheingelden- in whose company I then had the pleasure to dine.)

And always, Sarkozy's hussars- both men and horses- would return burdened with chests of coin, jewelry, and sacks of gold and other valuables, so that they were soon as rich as corsairs.

Which was as well, as in time I found myself in a position to bankroll the army and to pay for proper equipment and provisioning. A soldier may fight for honour or his comrades, but an army marches, alas, on money. My headaches at the time from dealing with the parsimonious scrubs in the Ministry of War were at their worst, and financing was always in short supply in those days.

I therefore did not press the Count too closely on how or where these most likely ill-gotten gains originated, but in my capacity as Prince Ecclesiastical of the Bishopric of St. Vignobles, I was always sure to give a brief benediction at Mass for those souls who may have had to endure the suffering that can befall the lot of those who have been privileged to "contribute" to the cause of Good King Louis.

Also long-suffering indeed was the Conte d'Aglianico, a most brave and professional lieutenant of mine, under whose direct command Sarkozy found himself (inasmuch as our wild Hungarian deigned submit to our command; or indeed, to any authority at all).

Many were the times that this gallant officer was called upon to intervene in the constant stream of disputes that arose between Sarkozy's band of uniformed brigands and the local populace. Through the judicious application of honeyed words, favours, bribes -and, when necessary, dark threats- he accomplished minor marvels of diplomacy, shielding me, along with the rest of my overburdened staff, from the endless deputations of affronted local counsellors and other such disaffected citizenry.

Nonetheless, it was acknowledged by all that the value of Sarkozy's actions against the enemy were proving their worth, and he soon developed a fearsome reputation on the far bank of the Rhine. Captured documents revealed that the enemy were having to send additional forces to meet the threat. Indeed, none other than the esteemed M. de Saxe was soon to write to me and to the War Ministry, asking that the raids continue as they were serving to draw reinforcements away from the Flanders theatre that would otherwise be ranged against him in his upcoming campaign there.

The proposal was soon made that Sarkozy's band be increased by the recruiting of two extra squadrons of hussars to that of a full regiment, and that a unit of Pandours be raised. These latter to be recruited from prisoners taken in recent actions in Bavaria- men whose dedication to the Habsburg crown was considered to have taken less of a hold on their hearts than did the prospect of a full purse while serving under the illustrious, and increasingly renowned, Count Sarkozy."

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Sarkozy Hussars

click on image to enlarge.

the words of
M. le Marquis...

"As the French army licked its grievous wounds after the Battle of Dettingen at the newly-constructed camp at Thionville, our time was often taken up with the routine work of training and outfitting the army so that it would once again be fit to stand in the line of battle.

One warm August morning, I found myself returning from my daily hunt along with my staff, and in the midst of a lively discussion on where one could best obtain the finest truffles, when suddenly we ventured upon a remarkable sight. Riding up the road ahead of us was a rather villainous-looking band of ragged ruffians, led by one of the most fierce, feral-looking individuals upon which I have ever cast my eyes.

Yet I was struck by a pride and spirit that was evident in their hardened countenances and which impressed me, a pride which had been so dearly lacking in our men since that dreadful day by the River Main.

Count Horthy Emil Sarkozy, in the uniform of his former regiment
(when in the employ of Her Highness the Empress

This band of apparent brigands was led by none other than
Count Horthy Emil Sarkozy, a noblemen descended from an ancient House with lands in the eastern reaches of The Empress of Austria's domains. A disciple of the great Baron Trenck, his reputation for cunning, cruelty, and the pursuit of riches was known by all, but there was no greater nor more energetic leader of troops for conducting le petite guerre west of the mountains of Bohemia. He and his men were legendary for being most provident and enterprising masters of their terrible trade.

It transpired that when in service with the Pragmatic Army in the campaigns in Bavaria, he and Baron Trenck had found themselves embroiled in a bitter altercation over the apportioning of some considerable booty, and nearly came to blows; indeed, Sarkozy in his fury fired a shot at the Baron. The bullet, whilst missing its intended target, went on to hit and to wound mortally the nearby young Margrave of Groelchenburg, a close cousin and a favourite of Her Majesty.

Naturally, this act endeared the Count neither
with Marshal Konigsegg nor with the House of Habsburg generally. Within days, Sarkozy found himself being strongly urged, by those of his associates who had close connections with the court in Vienna, that it would be in his best interests to flee the service of the Empress Queen.

One moonless night soon afterwards he rode out with his men to the Rhine frontier, crossing over to the west bank somewhere just north of Mainz after having successfully avoided the piquets on either side.

He later revealed that he had heard much about my exploits at the Bridge of Seligenstadt- and that I was well-known for keeping a lavish table well-provisioned with fine wines from the family estates at St. Vignobles- and that he had ridden to Thionville in order that he may offer me his services, along with those of his men.

I was touched both by his sincerity and by his martial demeanour, and duly petitioned the War Ministry. His offer was graciously accepted, and I was thus entreated and commissioned to outfit the men for the King's service.

I had a new uniform made for them in the Hungarian fashion, using the same bolts of grey and mulberry cloth that I had purchased to clothe the Regt. de Buillon-Cantinat. I also issued them with a standard- the ancient and faded guidon of the Bouillon-Cantinat Regiment of Gentlemen Volunteers, who had seen service in 1688 with the Great Louis and Turenne in their Wars in the Palatine.

Touched in turn by the sincerity and magnanimity of my gesture, Count Sarkozy swore tearfully that he and his men would honour the standard and would defend it to the last man. He then declared that all the time that he, Count Horthy Emil Sarkozy, had breath to draw in his body, he would champion the cause of France and the furtherance of the House of Bouillon-Cantinat."

Uniform plate based again on (the
indispensable) templates provided by David at "Not by Appointment". Thanks, David.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

L'Armee de l'Oise

C'est fini. Click to enlarge.

Update- I forget the grenadiers! Duly added- thanks to "Capt. Bill" for bringing their absence to my attention!

Introducing the Regiment de Bouillon-Cantinat

cavalry of
L’armée Française de l’Oise.

Brigade Colonel-General

  • Regt. Colonel-General
  • Regt. de la Reine
  • Regt. Dauphin
Brigade Bouillon-Cantinat
  • Regt. Bouillon-Cantinat
  • Regt. Conti
  • Regt. Clermont
Brigade Bauffremont (Dragoons)
  • Regt. Beauffremont
  • Regt. Harcourt
  • Regt. d'Aubigne
Troupes légère

  • les Hussards de Sarkozy (the Sarkozy Legion)
It is now high time to let the Marquis take over the narrative. From his memoirs;

The creation of L’armée de l’Oise was decreed after the disaster of Dettingen, and was to be formed from the debris and remnants of the French armies of Messieurs les Ducs de Grammont and de Noailles.

After Dettingen these worthy gentlemen found themselves recalled to Vesailles to give account of their failure to punish the Allies with the alacrity and completeness with which they had assured His Majesty was to have been the expected outcome.

It was myself, M. Le Marquis de Sangfroid, who on the departure of M. Grammont was given command of this new army.

I was duly tasked by the Ministry of War with the protection of the French side of the Rhine from any incursion by the Army of the Pragmatic Sanction, and when necessary to support the actions of the esteemed
M. le marechal de Saxe in his laudable campaigns in the Low Countries.

Those of the cavalry and infantry who managed to cross the Rhine in safety were reorganized in a new encampment that was set up at Thionville. The demoralized survivors of the cavalry were joined by the
Regt. Dauphin, and by the dragoon regiments Harcourt and Aubigne.

In time- and with care to drill, bellies, and purses- morale steadily improved.

The infantry regiments were brought back up to strength by drafts with which to replace their grievous losses, and were joined by the valiant men of the Regt. Royal Baviere.

Furthermore, and in recognition of my services to His Serene Majesty at Seligenstadt in which the valorous and noble conduct of the men of the Regt. de St. Vignobles was commented upon by all, I was commissioned to raise a new cavalry regiment from my estates in Artois and St. Vignobles, the Regt. de Bouillon-Cantinat.

Over the next few years, the army was trained by myself to a high standard of efficiency, as was noted with gracious pleasure by the esteemed Marechal de Saxe himself. In my trustworthy hands, L’armée de l’Oise was to bring considerable honour to France, to our beloved monarch, and to the prestige of the noble house of Bouillon-Cantinat."


Renowned for it's imposing bearskins (a gift from Mme. la Duchesse de Richmonte in exchange for some -let us say, discrete- services on my part) as well as for its wine-red facings, the intrepid Regiment de Bouillon-Cantinat was to earn itself a reputation second to none for fearlessness in combat.

And, it must be admitted, a reputation to no small degree for licentiousness as well. This being as a result of frequent and oft-publicized forays to the local taverns and other houses of ill repute. In these nefarious activities, they were more often than not discovered to have been aided by their rather brigand-like comrades-in-arms, the Hussars of Sarkozy.

As a consequence of such mischief, on many an occasion
I was forced to make use of my influence & considerable charm- and, in some cases, of timely reminders upon debts payable from old games of chance- so as to prevent retribution being levied upon the men of the regiment by the heavy hands of local council authorities.

The Fanfare March of the Regt. de Bouillon-Cantinat


Click on the image to enlarge. Thanks, as always, to David of "Not by Appointment " for providing the uniform and flag templates.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Dearth of Horseflesh?

A quick question for my learned colleagues.

Aside from Front Rank and some rather dire looking figures from The Foundry, does anyone know of a -good- range of 18th C. French cavalry out there? Good as in variety and quality.

I know the Staddens are popular with a lot of Lace War aficionado's- and they do have their appeal- but they are somewhat generic, and do not really suit either my painting style or the other miniatures in my collection, the cavalry being all Front Rank.

My understanding is that Minden Miniatures are supposed to be working on cavalry next year, but I've no idea yet how extensive the range will be for the French.

For some reason, a number of manufacturers who have done French infantry do not seem to have tackled the cavalry (yes, you, Crusader!).

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Queen of Battles...

...IS of course the infantry.

I've been working on designing a force to take on the Pragmatic Alliance (See here), and have created the semi-fictional L’armée Française de l’Oise, in the service of which M. le Marquis can seek honour, glory, and the occasional hidden cache of fine wines.

lick on image to enlarge

I say semi-fictional, in that of course there was no such army! But the order of battle is based largely on the 2nd French battle line at Dettingen. There are a more than a few tips of the tricorn to artistic licence, though.

The Brigade de Navarre actually consisted of four battalions of the Regiment de Navarre and one batallion of the Regt. Bigorre. Here I've substituted a battalion of the Regt. de Royal Baviere for one of Navarrese, mainly because I like the flag of the Bavarians!

Most significantly, the Brigade de St. Vignobles was actually the Swiss Brigade Bettens, but I've substituted the Regt. de St. Vignobles as being a much more appropriate representative of the territory of Lorraine than the Garde Lorraine, which it has replaced! I've also taken the opportunity to increase it by one battalion so that it is now a two-battalion strong regiment. I've kept the Regt. de Forez, so this is now the strongest- and most colourful- of the four infantry brigades.

I was thinking of adding the Irish Brigade, but honestly seeing as I'll have to paint up a mass of Hanoverians and British for the Pragmatic Army, not to mention two large battalions of Swiss, I think that will be enough red to last me a lifetime. Besides, when I think French of the Ancien Regime, I think off-white.

Shocking liberties, perhaps? While I love history, and usually try to stick pretty close to it, I also consider it my plaything to kick around as I like. Those purists who need smelling salts after reading such heresy may go ahead and inhale.

Next, I'll add the cavalry and artillery. A big choice of colour to choose from here!

Fracas at Fontenoy!

M. le Marquis is well-pleased to have received a wonderful book celebrating his sovereign majesty's greatest victory of the age- Fontenoy in 1745.

You can read a little more about it here.

It should make for a very pleasant read by the fireplace, and would easily complement the partaking of a glass of burgundy or two, accompanied by a platter of pâté and a suitable selection of fine cheeses.

I'm working on a order of battle for a French army that M. le Marquis can command, using the
Koenig Krieg rules. I'll put it up this evening.