Sunday, 9 January 2011

escrime à la baionnette

This was a new comment posted on a previous post but I thought it warranted a separate entry as it is of great interest...

has left a new comment on your post "" escrime à la baionnette"":


I am the founder of a reenactment group Voltigeurs de la Garde for the Crimean Period and also an author writing on the French Crimean Army. The whole physical fitness element in the French army was due to the adoption in 1852 of a new set of drill instructions for the entire French infantry developed by General Lourmel which had all the French infantry trained as Chasseurs a Pied. A survey was carried out of French infantry battalions and found most senior NCOs were over 40(!) and half of the officers were either too old to fat or too ill to be able to do the Chasseur style drill. Hence the establishmentin June 1852 of a School of MIlitary Fitness at Vincennes to get the army fit. The French army had been looking at the fitness of its soldiers since the late 1810s- General Duhesme in 1814 called for Light INfantry and Cavalry to be phyiscally fit to do their job and in the 1820s Gen. Morand came to the staggeringly obvious conclusion that fitter soldiers were healthier, could march further and have a higher battle field survival rate. The fact that he had to say so suggests no one thought about that...

Paddy Griffith is sadly incorrect in stating that the French 1831 Ordnance had little in it for Light Infantry - I have a copy of the ordnance and it makes it quite clear that entire infantry battalions were trained to operate "en tirailleur" according to the new codified orders in the 1831 ordnance. They are massively similar to those developed by Gen Morand and Marshal Davour in 1811 for 1st Corps.

I have a series of books on the French Army in the Crimean War coming out soon. First is the Infantry this year followed by Cavalry and then Artillery, Engineers and Support Services.


  1. Ralph

    As you say, this is very interesting. Thank you for reposting it. I look forward (as I am sure many of us will) to the appearance of Sapeur's books on the French army in the Crimean War.


  2. "I look forward (as I am sure many of us will) to the appearance of Sapeur's books on the French army in the Crimean War."

    so i do !!!!!
    Very good news ! we are waiting for those books !

    Sapeur, where will you reenact french guards voltigeurs ?