Reinforcements for King Louis (Part 8: More Swiss, Artillery, etc.)

Apologies once again for the slow pace here of late.  The wargaming mojo has been at rock-bottom just lately, but I’m sure it’ll pick up again.  There is however, a vast raft of blog-stuff to catch up on, starting with these Swiss infantry and French heavy artillery I painted late last year for the Christmas Warburg game.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to paint anything since Christmas due to my bloody eyes and I was struggling to paint these troops, so they are far from my best.  I’ll stick them on here anyway…

Now as everyone knows, the Swiss regiments in the service of France wore red coats and as a result, I and virtually every other wargamer since the dawn of time, have painted them the typical poppy red shade, as per Funcken, Osprey, Blandford, et al.  However, since I painted these Swiss, an update has appeared on the excellent Kronoskaf website, showing five of the twelve Swiss regiments in French service as having worn coats of Garance red (namely a deep crimson shade), which is most interesting and I’d not read that anywhere before.

According to this new information, the Boccard, Reding, Castellas, Planta/d’Arbonnier and Diesbach Regiments wore coats of Garance red, while the Jenner/d’Erlach, Wittmer/Waldner, Courten, Salis de Mayenfeld, Lochmann, Eptingen and Hallwyl Regiments wore the more typical poppy red.  This is a bit of a bugger, as all four Swiss regiments in my collection (Reding, Planta, Castellas and Diesbach) are now dressed in the wrong shade of red…


Anyway, as usual these are the excellent Eureka Miniatures 18mm figures, though there might be the odd spare Blue Moon 15mm command figure mixed in there somewhere (15mm or 18mm, they’re exactly the same size and mix extremely well).  I specifically used the Eureka French infantry with coats turned back (code 300SYW401) for the Diesbach Regiment, in order to show the lacing of their waistcoats.  The flags are by Maverick Models.

Above:  The Castellas Regiment.  The French Army of the 18th Century was a strange milieu of non-standard organisational oddities and the Swiss regiments in French service were no exception.  At full strength, French infantry battalions (including the Scottish and Irish in French service) each comprised 13 companies, including one company of grenadiers, totaling 35 officers and 685 men.  The Swiss had only five large companies per battalion, totaling 30 officers and 690 men (both organisations therefore totaled 720 of all ranks).  Swiss grenadiers were mixed into the ‘line’ companies and would be grouped as a separate grenadier company in wartime.

The German, Walloon, Liégeois and Italian regiments of the French Army also had their own organisations of 6, 8 or 9 companies per battalion (with grenadier companies being formed in wartime, like the Swiss), though all organisations had roughly the same strength (which was very rarely achieved in wartime!).

Above:  The Castellas Regiment.  All Swiss regiments in French service had red coats of one shade or another(!) and white ‘metal’. All but one regiment had blue facings (Eptingen having yellow).  The Castellas Regiment as mentioned above, should be wearing Garance red coats with blue cuffs, coat-linings, small-clothes and shoulder-strap.  There was also very fine blue piping around the buttonholes, though these buttonholes are really too fine to depict in 15/18mm.  Equipment was ‘natural’ leather, though one source suggests white.  Gaiters were white.

Regiments in French service varied wildly from one to four battalions per regiment, being grouped in wartime into brigades, ideally of four battalions though brigades of five or six battalions are not unknown.  At the very start of the Seven Years War, the Swiss Jenner, Diesbach and Courten Regiments each had three battalions, but these were reduced in April 1756 to two battalions apiece; probably due to being understrength and in order to quickly field two full-strength battalions.  All other Swiss regiments had two battalions, except for the Hallwyll Regiment, which was a single-battalion curiosity employed by the Navy as marines in Louisiana and the Caribbean.

Above:  The Castellas Regiment.  As always, the livery worn by drummers is very difficult to discover, so for all four of my Swiss regiments I went with a simpler version of the style worn by the Swiss Guards; namely the same uniform colourings, though with white/silver lace.

However, since painting these, another wargamer sent me a description of a drummer of the Castellas Regiment wearing a blue coat with red cuffs and lapels, white turnbacks, white small-clothes and regimental lace of white, worked through with crimson, blue and yellow.  The drum body had red and white flames, with hoops in red and white diagonal stripes.  This is rather odd, as blue livery-coats were normally the preserve of Royal Livery and only therefore worn by Royal or Provincial regiments.

[Edited to add]  After posting this article, I suddenly remembered that on my phone is a photo of a surviving Ordonnance flag of the Castellas Regiment, which I photographed in Les Invalides last July.  The flag probably pre-dates the Seven Years War, as it lacks the motto Castella Tuetur Propugnacula, which was painted on the vertical and horizontal arms of the central white cross.

Above:  The Diesbach Regiment.  This regiment was one of four at the disaster of Rossbach in 1757, which managed to hold off the Prussian cavalry and march off the field in good order (the others being the Swiss Planta Regiment, the Imperial Blau-Würzburg Regiment and the Reichsarmee’s Hesse-Darmstädt ‘Prinz Georg’ Regiment).

Above:  The Diesbach Regiment.  Again as mentioned above, the Diesbach Regiment should be wearing Garance red coats.  Cuffs, collar, linings, shoulder-strap and small-clothes were blue.  The waistcoat had seams and buttonholes decorated with white lace.  Again, the buttonholes on the breast were decorated with fine blue piping, but this is too small to represent.  All I’ve been able to glean about the drummers is that they wore red coats and had red drums, decorated with the Diesbach arms.

Above:  The Marquis de Castries.  Our Warburg refight featured Charles Eugène Gabriel de la Croix, Marquis de Castries.  At Warburg he participated in a relatively small role, commanding the massed companies of grenadiers and chasseurs; initially against the Légion-Britannique on the French right flank, but then marching to face the emerging threat posed by the British grenadiers on the extreme left flank.

I had a spare French cavalry officer figure, so decided to paint him as the Marquis de Castries, wearing his red regimental uniform from the Gendarmerie de France, as shown in his famous portrait (shown on the right)…

Above:  The Marquis de Castries.  However… I must confess that he wasn’t actually appointed as Commandant of the Gendarmerie de France until 1770 and would not therefore have been wearing this uniform during the Seven Years War!  He probably therefore, wore the standard blue uniform of a French Lieutenant-Général or the unusual iron-grey regimental uniform of the Mestre-de-Camp-Général Cavalry Regiment, of which he was Commandant from May 1759.  This figure will therefore continue to serve as the commander of the Gendarmerie de France whenever that massive regiment appears on table.

Above:  12-pounder Heavy Artillery.  Regular sufferers will know that I’ve covered the French artillery arm before, but I needed to expand it further for our Warburg refight, so here are another three de Vallière 12-pounder guns.

Above:  12-pounder Heavy Artillery.  The Eureka French artillery figures are stripped down to their red waistcoats for their heavy work on the guns, so would actually be useable as artillerymen of almost any nation.  However, this time I’ve mixed in some artillery officers, who are still wearing their blue coats.

Above:  12-pounder Heavy Artillery.  As discussed before, the soft metal used by Eureka gives fantastic detail, but the thin artillery tools are therefore impossibly floppy and need replacing with brass rod.

Anyway, that’s it for now!  Last month at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.) I put on my small ‘what-if’ vignette scenario for the northern flank at Stones River (again), but this time remembered to take photos for an AAR, so I’ll try to post that soon, along with the scenario.

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Seven Years War French Army, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules). Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Reinforcements for King Louis (Part 8: More Swiss, Artillery, etc.)

  1. Donnie McGibbon says:

    Superb work as always and a super read, really enjoyed your post, first class sir!

  2. Andy says:


    Your back!!

    Chin up, chest out and push on..


  3. Neil Youll says:

    I consider my eyes to be reasonable for 62 but I did not attempt the white lace on my version of Diesbach.

  4. Old Pretender says:

    I have not painted any SYW Swiss in French service to date, so the information on garance red coats for a number of the regiments is most welcome. Since I use Vallejo paints I believe that the red 70.926 would be roughly the correct colour. Are your blue facings a turquin blue, similar to the colour of the German and Scottish regiments in French service? Thank you for all your effort, you do a wonderful job of pulling together information from a wide range of sources. I hope that your eyelids start to behave themselves, and the swelling subsides. I have only ever had issues with swollen eyelids during tree-pollen season. Cold compresses help under those circumstances.

    All the best,


    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks Neil,

      I’ve not exactly gone for Turquin (which I tried to replicate for my German regiments), though for my French I do tend to go a bit lighter and brighter than my standard Humbrol 25 blue, just by using the neat 25 as the base and adding a drop of white for the highlight. For most blue uniforms/facings I use 104 Oxford Blue as the base and 25 as the highlight.

      Yeah, it’s a bit strange with the eyelids, as they actually require heat-pads to sort out (but generally don’t).



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