‘Report from the Vosges Mountains’ added

A  new game report has been added to the website, this one on a game between Prussians and  Garibaldi’s irregulars set during the Franco-Prussian War.

The report is by Jim Rohrer and is on the Game Reports page.

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2 Responses to ‘Report from the Vosges Mountains’ added

  1. admin2 says:

    ((Rob Morgan submits the following comment.))

    I thoroughly enjoyed Jim’s Franc-Tireur 1870 battle earlier, and of course one thing which came to mind was a matter we both wrote about earlier, when it was scythes and Poles and 54mm conversions which filled a space.

    Now, when it comes to Garibaldi’s “Army of the Vosges” during the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, there are lots of options for making these troops and the sources will be known to most readers. Because of their headgear and short jackets, and early rifles (some were equipped with Minies or Remington rolling-block models), a pack of 54mm ACW Union infantry without too much kit will serve beautifully, while one unit was noted for wearing the “Tyrolean” slouch hat, so they come from Confederate figures, again without loaded packs, etc. Gear, kit and weapons are no problem at all in that era, and some men wore all sorts of additional weapons, revolvers, even short swords.

    There were similar groups across France. Officers sometimes looked as flamboyant as Captain Hook! If you look up the Guy de Maupassant short story “Boule de Suif” (it means leg of mutton, I think) then the opening paragraphs describe a group of French guerrilla units with names like “The Death or Glory Boys” withdrawing through a French city. Vivid!

    As for the Garibaldi Units in the Vosges:

    • The “Franc-Tireurs de la Mort” wore reddish-brown stiff kepis, tunics and trousers, black shoes, boots or gaiters, black buttons and equipment, with a black band around the kepi. They were armed with the Minie rifle, and carried a banner which was black with a white skull and crossbones. Some troops wore a red waist sash.

    • The “Franc-Tireurs du Rhone” wore similar kit. They had a dark blue or black kepi, with red seams and piping, lots of it! Black jackets or tunics, piped again in red, silver buttons. The trousers were a sort of yellow-ochre, shades varied immensely, and had red stripes down the seam, black equipment, boots, and armed with Minie rifles or carbines.

    • The “Corps of Forty Gentlemen of Paris” (yes, it was around that size) was clad in a Confederate-grey kepi, with a broad black band; tunic or jacket of the same colour with cloth covered buttons, trousers of the same colour with a broad black stripe down the seam, and black gaiters, shoes or boots and black equipment.

    • The “Chasseurs des Alpes” wore the slouch or Tyrolean hat, black and in most cases with a green plume on the left-hand side, a dark blue tunic or smock with brass buttons, and a wide sky-blue sash around the waist. Blue grey-trousers and tan shoes or boots or gaiters. They were armed with Remingtons.

    There were lots of exotically named units, “… du Rhone” or “… Phalanx Algerienne,” etc. Some were remarkably small in numbers, 50 or 60 men in total, but most were hardy fighters, and the Vosges isn’t a flat battleground to form ranks in! They were often used and very effectively to ambush mail coaches or despatch riders, or eliminate small outposts.

    There were two related articles in “Tradition,” The Journal of the International Society of Military Collectors, back in the early 1970s. In Number 67, Paolo Coturri provided the astonishingly complex order of battle of the Army of the Vosges. While in Number 72, C.A.Norman, in an article commenting on Franc-Tireurs, provided uniform details for several units which claimed, albeit loose, connection with the Garibaldi tradition of warfare. There are, from Coturri’s list at least a score of others of which little or nothing is known. The irregulars often changed names according to some minor victory or new commander. There are frequently articles on the Franc-Tireurs and other units involved in the war to be found in ‘The Foreign Correspondent,’ newsletter of the Continental Wars Society.

  2. Jim Rohrer says:

    Rob,
    I am glad you enjoyed the game report. The details you offered on uniforms were amazing. You must have an encyclopedic command of your sources.

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