Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Sunday, 27 December 2020

WSS Flags - looking for clues

 Very quick post today - I'm looking for a bit of information, if anyone can help. I don't think this is at all complicated, but I've read different opinions on this topic, and am uncertain about what to do.

 
Photo of flags of a French regiment from someone else's army, someone else's blog. Two flags is a nice look - colonel's colour on the left here - is this applicable to all battalions in a French regiment?

My emerging WSS armies use a vanilla, one-size-fits-all-nations establishment scheme. I know that this is probably not awfully clever, but the convenience suits me nicely.

In particular, my infantry battalions consist of 3 bases; two of these have 5 other ranks and 1 officer/NCO (and one of these two bases may contain grenadiers, depending on national practice), and the third one contains 3 other ranks, a standard, a drummer and a mounted colonel.

I'm now starting to plan for the French and British contingents. For each of these nations, I am tempted to be swayed by "the look of the thing" and go for 2 standards per battalion. Now that I've started to read about the French, it is suggested that a regiment's first battalion should carry the colonel's (white) colour and the ordnance (patterned) colour, but the other battalions did not carry the colonel's colour, so that my planned two-battalion French regiments would have 2 flags for the first battalion, but only 1 for the second.

Of course, I've also read sources which say two for each. I'm happy to do two for each anyway, but wondered if there are any strong views? All ideas welcome!


18 comments:

  1. My own view is -- for any period in which flags were carried into battle and for what it is worth -- the more, merrier. That said, practicalities probably suggest no more than two per line infantry battalion, which seems to contribute to "the look of the thing" rather nicely. I must admit, however, to toying with the idea of four colors per infantry battalion recently. A passing fancy I hope since that would truly be the "madness" of which The Brigadier wrote.

    Merry Christmas,

    Stokes

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    1. Thanks Stokes - it looks, then, as though the answer to my "one flag or two?" query may be "four"!

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  2. Interesting problem, Tony. While I only have a few token WSS regiments painted for a possible project some day, for my 18mm SYW collections, I did the following:

    If I field only one battalion from a regiment then I put both the colonel's and regimental color on the stand. If I field more than one battalion from a regiment then the first battalion gets one colonel's colors only and the remaining battalions receive one regimental color only. It may not make much sense aesthetically but works for me.

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    1. That's pretty much what I've done with my Austrian and Bavarian regiments, Jon - if a regiment has 2 battalions, I've given the 1st Bn the Leibfahne, and the 2nd Bn the Bataillonsfahne; counterintuitively, maybe, for units with just a single battalion I've suppressed the Leibfahne. The reason I did this, I think, was because that is what I did with my Napoleonic Bavarian army! Yes, quite - not an especially good reason!

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  3. You could field an army of first battalions only. Then you could have multi-regiment brigades without them being too big.
    Also, if I remember correctly, some French regiments had more than 2 battalions. And some foreign regiments like the Irish were dingle battalion regiments.

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    1. My French army will have some 2-battalion regiments and some single-battalion - that's the plan. I would prefer to make the flags follow the plan, though all things are possible!

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  4. So far as I know a French second battalion also had two flags both ordnance.

    On the subject of French Flags there are some lovely ones at Not by Appointment blog. Many French regimental flags didn't change between the Nine Years War and the Seven Years War.

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    1. Thanks for this - the NBA flags are especially good. I think I'd swerve having 2 identical flags for a 2nd Bn!

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  5. Hi Tony...

    I’ve chosen to avoid second battalions for the moment with my WSS toys...
    I however like the look of lots of standards so I would probably go for two per battalion...
    I think the British used a lot of single battalion units but if you go for the guards they seem to have a standard for every three men... winnerūüėĀ...

    They are of course your toys... do what brings you joy.

    All the best. Aly

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    1. Hi Aly - all my British Napoleonic infantry traditionally have 2 flags per battalion (except the Lights, of course, who are obliged to leave theirs at the depot) but - as you say - the idea of multiple battalions is pretty much unknown in such a context. For my 1-battalion WSS Brits, I'm pretty much certain that I'll carry on with (anticipate?) my Napoleonic tradition, but for the French I'm only considering multiple flags at all because they look pretty. Maybe I'll have French 2nd battalions with just a single colour, or maybe I'll play dumb and have a colonel's colour for every battalion. If they had 2 identical ordnance flags for a 2nd bn I imagine they'd be at different parts of the line - having them next to each other feels like overstating the point. Hmmm.

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  6. For the French army the 1st battalion carried the Kings and regimental flags, the second only carried the regimental.

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    1. Aha - thanks Ray - I see a definite majority view forming here.

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  7. Do whatever looks best to you, Tony. That's all that really matters. By any strict analysis, 2 flags out of 600 men is less than 1% flag bearers, while 2 flags out of 20 men is 10%!

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    1. I guess that's right - you mean the real battalions didn't contain 18 men? - back to the drawing board...

      Flag percentage is an impressive new dimension - I could run that past TMP.

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    2. I enjoy reading the witty comments and replies as much as the post. This from Peter and you is 'best of show' so far for mine!
      I'll add to the chorus of 'whatever you like the look of and works for you'. One per battalion, mixing which gets colonels and which the ordnance can be 'fun' and useful. I do that with Napoleonic Austrians, Russians and others that had two per battalion or regiment. In a similar vein to Peter's colour-coding of his ancient units, it is a 'pretty' and functional way of identifying different units/battalions (or whatever the scale may be).
      Regards, James

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    3. Thanks James - mostly I am keen not to set up some system of flags and then change my mind about it! Snow here today - last day of the year, so I suppose that's OK.

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  8. Tony,
    As ever late to the party but yes two in the first battalion and one in the second, would look good

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    1. Thanks Graham - appreciated. Looks like I will go with that arrangement. Putting two flags on one command stand means I will have to relocate a drummer, but that's no great problem - drummer can go in the back row of one of the other two stands. I'm trying to keep the "non-command" stands fairly consistent, since my intention is to use these two stands in siege situations to represent the battalion - no flags or horses in sieges!

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