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Author Topic: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.  (Read 380 times)

Offline olicana

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I was always under the impression that all Napoleonic British battalions with buff facings wore buff, rather than white, straps and belts.

However, except for an image of some British light infantry (71st & 52nd) I have in Osprey's Wellington's Infantry 2, all the pictures I have show 'buffs' with white accoutrements. Even C E Franklin seems to be silent on the matter.

So, buff or white accoutrements for British line (rather than light) battalions with buff facings?

Thanks in advance.

James

Offline Cubs

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 10:51:26 AM »
I thought the same as you, that buff regiments all had buff straps instead of white.
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Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 11:12:19 AM »
Yes, I had the same question when painting the 27th who had 'pale buff' facings and the answer seems to be 'it's complicated' (I think these things were decided on the whims of the Colonel, rather than set in regulations)...

From what I remember of that discussion, there seems to be good evidence for the 3rd and 52nd wearing buff belts and reasonable evidence for the 71st doing likewise.  There's not so much evidence for the 27th going with buff belts and their re-enactors have gone with white belts, so I followed suit.

One other small thing re buff-faced regiments is that the coat-tail turnbacks were also often coloured buff (edged in regimental lace for Other Ranks) instead of the usual white.
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Offline olicana

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 11:21:11 AM »
Perfect answer. It was, specifically, the Inniskillings I was going to do. White belts then. Excellent! :D

Offline Jemima Fawr

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 04:31:18 PM »
Tidy!  I imagine that they went with white due to their particular shade of buff being very pale? 

Offline olicana

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 04:58:01 PM »
As I understand it, British accoutrements were fashioned from buffalo leather, which was naturally very light buff in colour. This was then whitened, presumably with same substance issued to troops to keep it white. From a kit upkeep point of view, being in a buff regiment probably seemed a cushty perk to the rank and file; I wonder if this was why some colonels (of buff battalions), seeing the idle hands of the indolent, insisted that whitening was introduced!

I also presume, that the black stuff issued to the Portuguese was made of a different leather with a much darker shade - hence it was blackened rather than whitened (?).

Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 06:10:13 PM »
Nope
The 'Buff's' got their nickname from originally being issued buff leather coats on their first official campaign.Then in recognition of their actions  their were issued with buff coloured waistcoats and facings.

Offline olicana

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 07:20:36 PM »
Nope
The 'Buff's' got their nickname from originally being issued buff leather coats on their first official campaign.Then in recognition of their actions  their were issued with buff coloured waistcoats and facings.

Tin Shed Gamer, with respect, you have misread the question. The question was about the British fashion of equipping buff faced regiments with buff coloured accoutrements during the Napoleonic period.

This question has nothing to do with the origin of the name 'The Buffs', and everything to do with the colour of leather.

The 71st were not 'The Buffs', nor were the 52nd, nor were the 27th, nor several other regiments with buff facings. As far as I know, the name, 'The Buffs' specifically refers to the 3rd East Kent Regiment of Foot and only that regiment. Do you know what colour belts the 3rd wore during the Napoleonic period?


Best Regards,

James

Offline Baron von Wreckedoften

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 10:42:42 PM »
Tidy!  I imagine that they went with white due to their particular shade of buff being very pale?

Not sure how relevant this is to a Napoleonic look, but that certainly seems to have been the case with a number of "pale buff" regiments during the AWI, 25-30 years earlier, and at least a decade either side of it, as well.  The 62nd Foot, whilst serving in the Saratoga campaign of 1777, had white small clothes and belts despite having "pale buff" facings (this came from the very knowledgeable Eric Schnitzer, senior Park Ranger at Saratoga NHP).
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Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2019, 10:54:08 PM »
Sorry James speed typing missed a sentence out .
It's a distinction that needs to be made as it complicated by multiple factors.
Regulations standardizing The army's uniform and predating the period state all non Royal Regiments must have White .Then you take into account the way regiments are supplied and funded and you find such equipment being undyed leather which can appear a near Cream white.and can age to a dark tan.The You've got painted and white painted leathers that combined with age and loose tunic dye end up looking nearly a pinked brown .
Then You've pipe clay being used as a cheaper Blanco replacement to attempt to preserve the leather (pipe clay can be both brown and white But is often just assumed to be brown because people perceive clay as brown and descriptions often predate the period in question but get quoted anyway).In short it's a ball's up mish mash of costs verses supply and a tonne of opinions often based on misinterpretation of observations and so on.You'll three different answers from three experts on this subject
Having used period correct leathers for work. I personally go with the interpretation that the near white of pig skin leather(I use the example as its a leather colour most people can visualize.) is starting/issue colour being closest to white in look and cheaper.
With use and wear darkens with age to be misinterpreted as Tan .Its a bit of a condensed .But in short I'd be more inclined to view Tan/buff leather being more of an expediency of 'Buff' regiments raised for the campaign. Rather than the standard of older regiments.
The painting is of the 3rd and is in the Buffs museum.Even this is a little ambiguous being painted around 1912 if memory serves.
For gaming I'd say go off white that way it's a perfectly plausible interpretation of both camp's (those who say tan and those who say white.)

Offline olicana

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2019, 10:49:59 AM »
No worries TSG. Thanks for that very full information on leather.

I'm going to do the Iniskillings leather white (as much for contrast as anything else), as white seems to be within tolerance for them, at least.

For the 52nd I'll do tan, like I did my 71st (seen here before re-basing) because I have a definite image for that. I'm not sure how many other buff faced regiments I'll end up with.



The picture of the 3rd is familiar to me, it depicts the last stand of the Buffs at Albuera 1811. I used it when deciding if the colour of the Czapka top should be yellow or blue - I went blue, though many other informed sources show yellow.




Offline tin shed gamer

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Re: Accoutrements for British line battalions with buff facings question.
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2019, 12:04:38 PM »
  ;D
Totally forgot to mention there's is white.Or is represented in white in their regimental museum.
(Again its an older established regiment)

I thought you'd be more than familiar with the painting it was simply to illustrate how ambiguous white and a pale tan are to the point the artist edged his bets for a regimental painting.

I'll be honest I try and avoid anything Napoleonic when I'm working with museums as its a bloody quagmire of egos and opinions at the best of times But there's just something about the period that sends them even more bonkers.

You chuck paint at figures more tham well enough for me risk dipping my toe into the equally nutty world of  Napoleonic's  :D