The French army, unlike many other armies, kept the older idea of trained to operate both as mounted and foot soldiers. Sometime fighting on foot was a forced choice due to lack of horses: in 1805, horseless dragoons prepared for the eventually cancelled amphibious assault of Britain, expecting to simply seize mounts after crossing the Channel. At other times it made more sense to fight dismounted due to tactical circumstances. In Spain, where dragoons formed a unusually large part of the French cavalry forces, rocky terrain, guerilla ambushes and urban fighting made the tactical flexibility of dragoons more useful than other types of cavalry. The downside of this flexibility is that they could be derided as being neither as good at cavalry shock attacks as purebred impact cavalry, nor as deft at skirmishing as they infantry's voltigeurs.
To succeed in this role they were equiped with musketoons instead of carbines, which were almost as long as regular muskets. They also didn't carry the heavy pallasch swords or armour of the cuirassiers.
I found this troupe of dragoons, half-finished, in a box of tanks when diggin through my lead pile. I got them with the purpose of making a more interesting cavalry army for Sharp Practice without making it, you know, mounted. With foot dragoons, mounted dragoons and some horse artillery I'd have a thematic force for smaller skirmishers.
Converted Foot Dragoons
These are probably my personal highlight of the gang. They are conversions based on Victrix infantry bodies and Perry dragoon heads. A true button-counter would react to the dragoon jacket, which would have slightly shorter tails, but I think it works. These guys came prepared for foot combat, and have ditched their riding boots for more sensible shoes and trousers instead of breeches. A lone member of the 1st (elite) company has tagged along, red plume and epaulettes showing his status.
Converting foot dragoons is a nice option since you're bound to be left with extra dragoon heads if you get one or more boxes of Perry's dragoons. The box also comes with a few foot dragoons, but not enough for a Sharp Practice force and no command miniatures on foot. With a few regular infantry miniatures and a simple head swap, you'll end up with a much beefier line-up.
If you try this conversion you'll notice that the biggest hurdle is the plumes and backpacks fighting for space. Looking back, I think I should have simply cut off some of the plumes a bit, and recreated them with green stuff.
The yellow facing means that they are from the 7th, 8th or 9th regiment. I really like how the green and yellow worked together, and might have to add them as a mounted unit further down the line.
Brigade Games Dragoons
These models are really nice, representing dismounted dragoons still in riding boots skirmishing. I ordered these a long time ago, and since then Brigade have released horse handlers as well. These would also dismount and keep the horses out of view of the combat, such as behind a hill or a copse of trees, yet still close enough for their comrades to quickly pull back and retreat if overwhelmed. That means they would serve as perfect deployment points for this force.
The officer with the coat and the drummer are Victrix bodies with Perry heads. The other two are from Brigade. Together they will add some much needed leadership.
Can I just point out how infinitely superior these musicians with reversed uniform colours look, compared to the imperial livery adopted with the Bardin uniform? What were they thinking. Let's just say that I'll keep on trying to avoid Imperial livery for my army if I can manage.
This mounted guy from Brigade is sold as an officer, but I'm not sure why he has no epaulette. Anyway, he stands out well enough with his choice of a blunderbuss instead of a musketoon.
A Drove of Dragoons
Overall I'm pretty happy with finishing these dragoons off. There's nothing like finding a half-done project and being able to get a table-top ready unit or two in a fraction of the time it would take to do them from scratch.
If I'd add anything to complete them it would be some thematic deployment points such as horse handlers, and maybe just a few more dragoons, mounted or dismounted. I'll also do some more horse artillery for the Big Boy division project, and they'll fit right in.
Click the images below if you want larger sized pics. Cheers!
"Glory is fleeting,