Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Old Guard Flags?

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    Does anyone know what flags Napoleon’s Old Guard used? Was it one per regiment, or did each battalion have a flag?

    I know the Middle and Young Guard used fanions and presume the First Battalion of each Old Guard regiment carried a tri-color, but what about the SECOND battalions of the Old Guard regiments?


    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    General Slade

    I’ve checked in Keith Over’s ‘Flags and Standards of the Napoleonic Wars’ and he says that the decree (made in 1808 but not fully implemented until 1811) that reduced┬áthe number of eagles to one per regiment, to be carried by the first battalion, affected the Guard in the same way as it affected the line. So in theory the second battalion wouldn’t have had an eagle or a flag. However, I suppose it is possible that they still carried some sort of battalion flag.


    It could be a smaller “fanion”, on a pole or in a gun barrell.

    I did a quick research, found some discussion about it on a French wargamers forum:

    http://www.planete-napoleon.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=588 they say sources are contradictory.

    Also found this (not sure if it’s a reliable source)…


    but it wouldn’t surprise me; such small “fanions” which fit in a gun barrell are still carried on parade by companies of the French army.



    I think those small flags are company fanions, though, not battalion fanions.

    In the rest of the French Army, post 1811, the system worked like this: 1st battalion got the tricolor and each successive battalion got a primarily colored fanion (plus those little gunbarrel fanions, used apparently as company markers, were used by everyone).

    In the Guards, the OG regiments were considered to be the 1st battalions for their respective establishments, so apparently the first battalion of the OG regiments carried an eagle and a tricolor. There’s no consensus on whether the SECOND regiment of the OG establishment also carried an eagle and a tricolor. Consensus seems to indicate that they did until after the Russia fiasco, but perhaps not after then. I certainly would have no objection to modeling them that way.

    All MG and YG batalions supposedly had fanions, one per battalion.

    OK, fair go.

    But what I want to know is, what did the SECOND battalions of the OG regiments carry, if anything? Fanions? If so, what color? Tricolors? Nothing…?

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

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