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Author Topic: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?  (Read 216 times)

Offline OB

  • librarian
  • Posts: 168
Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« on: September 20, 2019, 01:27:18 PM »
Having just about finished my Vendéens I've had the good fortune to find a few packs of Revolutionary French infantry in Great Coats.  I'm not sure what colour to paint the Great Coats.  In the Napoleonic period I've seen light grey, darker grey and brown would it have been the same earlier?

Thanks in advance for any information.
 

Offline huevans

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 652
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2019, 02:31:23 PM »
I don't think greatcoats were issued until the Austerlitz period, 10 years later.

Offline OB

  • librarian
  • Posts: 168
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2019, 02:59:13 PM »
Ah, I see a hole in my plan.

Offline cipango666

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 9
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2019, 07:39:21 PM »
The french army in the Vendée was a very rag-tag lot  in terms of uniforms. I think if some of them wore great coats they wore civilian clothes in civilian colors of the time: darker grey, black, brown, beig, green,..............

Offline OB

  • librarian
  • Posts: 168
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 08:27:19 PM »
Oh, a gleam of light there. A mixture of civilian overcoats would work .  Thanks cipango.

Offline Arthur

  • mastermind
  • Posts: 1962
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 09:48:58 PM »
Huevans is correct : the beige greatcoat worn by the French soldiers of the Napoleonic era was not officially introduced until April 25 1806, though some units had used it unofficially for some time.

Greatcoats were supposed to be part of the infantryman's clothing issue during the revolutionary wars although this directive was never fully and universally implemented. Greatcoats were first issued to the Armée de Belgique in late 1792 after receiving reports of the hardships suffered during the Valmy campaign, which was fought during a miserably wet and chilly summer. However, supplies were limited and there were never enough greatcoats to clothe all the men, which meant many soldiers went without. Those that actually reached the army were often requisitioned civilian items rather than proper military coats, which meant they would have come in a variety of shapes and colours. Soldiers sometimes privately purchased (or looted) their own greatcoats, while some regiments occasionally pooled their financial resources to acquire some (again often civilian items). 

Greatcoats became even scarcer during the Directory period of 1795-1799, although the Armée d'Orient was issued off-white/light buff overcoats during the Egyptian campaign of 1798-1801 to help them deal with the cold Middle East nights.

For the Vendée, a mix of civilian and semi-military items would seem appropriate.

Offline Baron von Wreckedoften

  • scientist
  • Posts: 241
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 10:37:12 PM »
Huevans is correct : the beige greatcoat worn by the French soldiers of the Napoleonic era was not officially introduced until April 25 1806, though some units had used it unofficially for some time.

One of my pet hates is post-1805 French units with multi-coloured greatcoats; beige was the official colour for the line infantry (and presumably the lights as well, since blue was reserved for the Garde) and whilst the shade might vary across a corps or division, I rather suspect that any Colonel with pride in his unit's appearance would have endeavoured to have all of his men wearing the same tone and cut/style.

On the subject of the white linen "duster" coats, I believe these were also issued to many units in the early part of the Peninsula campaign, often being worn over a sleeved waistcoat, with the habite either being left in barracks, carried in the baggage, or rolled up on top of the pack.  I seem to recall a mention of them being worn by the battalions of combined grenadier/voltigeur companies at Vimiero.

Offline Siaba

  • scientist
  • Posts: 266
Re: Colour of French Great Coats in the Vendéen War?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2019, 09:02:22 AM »
Greatcoats were first issued to the Armée de Belgique in late 1792 after receiving reports of the hardships suffered during the Valmy campaign, which was fought during a miserably wet and chilly summer. However, supplies were limited and there were never enough greatcoats to clothe all the men, which meant many soldiers went without. Those that actually reached the army were often requisitioned civilian items rather than proper military coats, which meant they would have come in a variety of shapes and colours. Soldiers sometimes privately purchased (or looted) their own greatcoats, while some regiments occasionally pooled their financial resources to acquire some (again often civilian items). 

The Kleber ordonnance allowed french soldiers to use civilian items. I did military service in the french army in the middle of the 90s and civilian items were still allowed if military items were inefficients (understand: not warm enough)  :)
"The enemy? His sense of duty was no less than yours, I deem. You wonder what his name is, where he came from. And if he was really evil at heart. What lies or threats led him on this long march from home. If he would not rather have stayed there ... in peace. War will make corpses of us all."