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Thread: French army uniforms and ranks

  1. #1
    Gauloisier de la Gauloiserie's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default French army uniforms and ranks

    Hi there
    I have always been very interested by uniforms and rank symbols.
    But I have diffculties to find something homogeneous concerning the Grande Armée.
    So far, here is what I fount out.
    The ranks:
    Officiers généraux

    * maréchal d'Empire (il s'agit d'une dignité) ;
    * colonel-général (il s'agit d'une dignité) ;
    * général en chef (grade supprimé en 1812) ;
    * général de division, ou lieutenant-général (ce dernier grade existant seulement lors des Cent-Jours) ;
    * général de brigade, ou maréchal de camp (ce dernier grade existant seulement lors des Cent-Jours) ;
    * adjudant-commandant (grade existant seulement dans les états-majors).

    Officiers supérieurs

    * colonel ;
    * major ;
    * chef de bataillon (infanterie), ou chef d'escadron (cavalerie et artillerie).

    Officiers subalternes

    * capitaine ;
    * capitaine-adjudant-major ;
    * lieutenant ;
    * sous-lieutenant.

    Sous-officiers

    * adjudant ;
    * sergent-major, ou maréchal des logis-chef ;
    * sergent, ou maréchal des logis ;
    * caporal-fourrier, ou brigadier-fourrier ;
    * Caporal, ou brigadier.

    Soldats

    * Grenadier, chasseur, voltigeur, tirailleur, etc. (infanterie) ; ou dragon, hussard, cuirassier, carabinier, chevau-léger, etc. (cavalerie) ; ou canonnier, artilleur (artillerie), ou sapeur, pontonnier (génie) selon les corps et les armes.
    The most difficult part is to add the correct rank symbols to all these ranks.
    Caporal is just like for modern french army two red chevrons.
    So I guess 1 red chevron is appointé (Private 1st class) ?

    Sergent Major is two golden chevrons.
    http://www.brigade-napoleon.org/infa...eme/21_uni.htm
    http://frederic.berjaud.free.fr/004e...0titre1bis.jpg (<= nice sergent major!)
    2 gold= sergent-major, 1 gold=caporal-fourrier?
    And caporal fourrier 1 golden chevron.
    http://www.8eme.de/images/Mitglieder..._Serrurier.jpg
    http://lh4.ggpht.com/_PA-RNSMFA48/ST...Q/IMG_7546.JPG
    (isnt exactly the same symbol...confusing)
    But then, how is the sergeant rank??

    I found also that: http://empire.histofig.com/IMG/jpg/franceinf_01-2.jpg
    Really a good link, but some of the symbols for NCO arent the same than what I've found on other sites.
    And as for officiers, they all look the same

    And as for officers, it's even harder.
    Any help would be highly appreciated
    Last edited by Gauloisier de la Gauloiserie; March 15, 2010 at 06:45 PM.
    «Impossible n'est pas français»
    «Impossible isn't French»
    - Napoléon

  2. #2
    Aoba
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    I have a Napoleonic era rank insignia chart for the French Army somewhere in my vast collection. Ill post it here when I find it. From what I gather, certain cavalry unit types (ex. Hussars) had a different style of rank insignia then infantry and artillery.

    The Empire link you posted (the last one) looks pretty close to everything I have seen. The problem is that every source is totally different, some ranks excluded, some insignia slightly different, etc!

  3. #3
    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Thanks to Flodin I saw these clear charts at http://www.mont-saint-jean.com/cent_jours/unitesFR.php#.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails miniGradesInfFR.png   miniGradesCavFR.png   miniGradesCavFRb.png  

  4. #4
    SMIDSY's Avatar Shashu
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    I'm confused. A Sergent-Major and a corporal share the exact same sleeve insignia? It doesn't make military uniform sense to me.
    Last edited by SMIDSY; June 19, 2010 at 11:23 PM.
    "Either the wallpaper goes, or I do."
    -Last words of Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Quote Originally Posted by SMIDSY View Post
    I'm confused. A Sergent-Major and a corporal share the exact same sleeve insignia? It doesn't make military uniform sense to me.

    I can understand your confusion, but simply for ligne the Corporal's stripe should be orange (whereas for legere white stripe), whereas for ligne the Sergent-Major's stripe is gold on a red background (for legere silver on red).

  6. #6
    Clodius's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Also if you have to look at his sleeve to recognise your sergeant-major you are unlikely to have a happy military career.

  7. #7
    Marcus Tullius Batavorum's Avatar Munifex
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Hmm, it`s not so strange to be confused.
    In the Netherlands nowadays, the difference between a Sergeant-Major and Corporal first class,is still hard to see.
    The difference is that the SM has 2 solid gold chevrons, and the cpl fc has 2 embroyed stiled chevrons, with little fishbone pattern red stripes.
    About 11 years ago, they even changed all the tactical markings to black, making the difference even harder.
    Just the insignia of the baret, the color of the baret and the position in the military line up mad the difference. Fortunately they changed it back

    and
    Je Maintiendrai!
    Proud to be an army veteran!

  8. #8
    Gauloisier de la Gauloiserie's Avatar Hastatas Posterior
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Here they are, more colorful than what they were in reality, making it easier to see the difference between the red and the yellow (gold) stripes.
    From left to right and top to bottom:
    Homme du rang, Caporal, Caporal fourrier
    Sergent, Sergent-Major


    Funny note:
    When the yellow (gold) stripes of the sergent and sergent-major were wet and/or old -which was something quite common during campaigns-,
    it started to look orange. Same went for the red stripes of the caporal when they lost their original well-tainted red color.


    Finally the officers and the Adjudant:
    (the ones who had epaulettes)


    Note:
    the rank "Major" should not be confused with the rank "Major" used in anglosaxon armies (UK/US)
    a Major in the french army is a Lieutenant Colonel.
    The major is called Chef de bataillon: Batalion leader
    Last edited by Gauloisier de la Gauloiserie; July 19, 2010 at 03:41 AM.
    «Impossible n'est pas français»
    «Impossible isn't French»
    - Napoléon

  9. #9
    Prince of Essling's Avatar Napoleonic Enthusiast
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    For rank distinctions of French Hussars see http://www.histomin.com/housekeeping...sarsfr.htm#TRP

  10. #10
    Murakawa
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks


  11. #11
    Murakawa
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Hourtoulle!!!
    Campaigne 1814 year in France. Best color plates from France

    Download free, please, my friends!

    http://depositfiles.com/files/0ssrm02cg




  12. #12
    Aoba
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    Default Re: French army uniforms and ranks

    Quote Originally Posted by red1941 View Post
    Hourtoulle!!!
    Campaigne 1814 year in France. Best color plates from France

    Download free, please, my friends!

    http://depositfiles.com/files/0ssrm02cg



    Thank you!

    Ive been looking for this book for awhile and I dident want to pay Amazon's prices and now I have it for free

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