NOTE: This unit has now been sold, as I did not think
that the Old Glory figures fitted in well with the Front Rank figures
used for the rest of my army. I am keeping this page up, however,
as it may still be of interest to readers. But as I no longer own
the figures, I was unable to re-photograph them in the December
2003 update when I re-did the remainder of the units on this website.
unit dates from a slightly later period than the rest of my French
army, being part of the French expeditionary force that took part
in the American War of Independence from 1780. The Volontaires Étrangers
de la Marine was a mixed legion of infantry, cavalry and artillery
raised by the Duc de Lauzun (and so was commonly known as 'Lauzun's
Legion'). The legion was largely made up of Germans, Poles and Irishmen.
As a couple of my wargaming opponents are very much into the American
War of Independence, I decided to model some of the French forces
that were involved in the latter part of that war, so have commenced
with Lauzun's Legion.
As my favourite miniature figure company, Front Rank, doesn't produce
any Lauzun's cavalrymen, I opted instead for the Old Glory range.
These are quite different in style to the Front Ranks that I am
used to, but painted up quite well. However, I am now intending
to sell them on eBay, as the sculpting style doesn't match the rest
of my army (contact
me if you are interested).
had an interesting dispute with my wargaming opponent as to whether
or not my horsemen should be armed with lances or not. He feels
that although contemporary accounts mention that Lauzun's Legion had lancers, the term was generic and
they were actually equipped and armed as hussars. I disagree. For one thing, take a look at this painting, which comes from the Osprey book The French Army
in the American War of Independence by Rene Chartrand. More proof comes from AWI historian Robert Sulentic, who has referred me to a couple of eye-witness accounts proving that lances were
carried by some cavalry in America. Both are from the Hessian Jaeger
Captain Johann Ewald:
The first, outside Charleston in 1780: "Today a dragoon of
the former Pulaski corps arrived here as a deserter. He was a Prussian
by birth and had served in the Seven Year's War with the Kleist
volunteer hussars. He was dressed in Polish uniform and armed with
a lance, generally well-equipped, well-mounted, and knew
how to show his horse off like a good hussar."
The second is from near Yorktown in 1781: (Ewald and the British
Colonels David Dundas and Banastre Tarleton were trying to set up
an ambush which didn't quite work) "...Here, all of a sudden
the scene changed. This small body of horsemen, which was in the
greatest disorder, suddenly ran into the entire corps under General
Choisy. The Duc de Lauzun, who at this instant should have fallen
on the head of these disorganized horsemen with a single troop,
formed himself into two lines with 8 troops of his lancers
and hussars, which amounted to 300 horsemen without the Virginia
cavalry. This gave Dundas and Tarleton enough time to bring off
their cavalry in orderly fashion to resist and withdraw toward Gloucester." (note that Ewald specifies lancers and hussars - obviously there must have been a difference)
So I rest my case for having some of my cavalry armed with lances!
Legion also had an artillery contingent, which I have portrayed
by way of a small cannon from Front Rank, along with a couple of
Seven Years War gunners who can pass muster for the later American
War of Independence period. The only information I could find on
the uniforms of Lauzun's artillery was that they wore the same as
regular French artillery, but with yellow cuffs and lapels instead
The infantry contingent for Lauzun's Legion, dressed in light blue
coats, will follow in due course, once I can afford them!
for anyone who is interested in the French involvment in the American
War of Independence, here is a terrific 800x600 desktop
wallpaper for you. In the background of this painting of the
Duc de Rochambeau at Yorktown you can even see a Lauzun Legion hussar.
The original image is courtesy of AWI historian Robert