French Chevau-Légers Lanciers
My second addition to the cavalry wing is a unit of French lancers. These nimble cavalrymen started out as Dragoons, but were ordered to add the lance to their arsenal after the Uhlans, especially of Polish origin, impressed the Napoleonic era by showing how efficient a long metal pointy stick could be.
Six French Dragoon regiments were turned into Chevau-Léger (light horse) lancers before the invasion of Russia. The Grande Armée in 1812 had two visibly different types of lancers - the French style ones with a crested bronze-coloured helmet, and the Polish style lancers with the square topped Czapka helmet. Note that some non-Polish lancers, such as the 2e régiment de chevau-légers lanciers de la Garde Impériale (or second Imperial Guard Lancers) wore Polish style uniforms, despite these Red Lancers being Dutch.
The added reach and impact of the lance meant that the lancers, despite their light horse classification, were a threat to most other cavalry except the armoured Cuirassiers. They were deadly in pursuit and their weapon could strike an infantryman from beyond the reach of his bayonet. With their distinct white and red lance pennons, they're a very colourful addition to a French army.
Warlord Games lancers
I got 8 sprues of lancers with 2 lancers on each sprue. The sprue has extra epaulettes to make one of them into an elite company member, and two lances that are either held upright or sideways across the chest. You also get one arm with a sabre and a loose musketoon: the first rank of the lancers would carry lances, pistols and sabres, and the second rand sabres, pistols and musketoons or carbines. Since these are my first 16, I decided to go with lances for everybody.
My unit is painted up as the 2nd Chevau-Léger regiment, which had orange collars and turnbacks. It was tricky to get an orange that is visibly different from the red on my Dragoons, and in the end they might be a little bit too similar. But if you doubt their allegiance, there's a tiny little "2" on the sides of the saddle bags. I went with the 2nd regiment since they were at Borodino, in a heavy cavalry brigade under the capable Montbrun, and I thought that their orange facing colour would look good with the green uniforms.
1st to 6th lancer regiments had green coats and breeches, and the 7th to 9th had blue, with each regiment using different facing colours. So there's a lot of colour options if you get some lancers for your force, and as always you can get some colour guidance at Napolun.
I'm happy with how these lancers turned out. If I do more I'll probably scrap most of the sideways lances, and just use the ones pointing upwards for both practical and aesthetical reasons.
I saved a few pounds on getting these during the sprue sale, but I also missed out of getting the command group that comes in the box, so now I need to get those anyway. I'm honestly not sure if I should get just a command group, from Perry or Front Rank or similar, of if I should spring for a whole box of lancers from Warlord. That way I'd get one unit more and some extras, plus the command group, and it's not that much more expensive than buying a metal command group from some other company.
Either way: lancers are good, lancers are cool, and these are a good budget option for any French players who wants a light cavalry with a little bit more "oomph" to them.
That's it for today. Now, where is the closest group of Russians so I can try these bad boys out?!
"Glory is fleeting,