Ussari were the most flamboyant troop type of the 18th ed early XIX secolo. Their richly braided dolmans e fur-edged pelisses came in a variety of distinctive colours e facings. European armies modelled their ussari formations on the famous ussari ungheresi serving the Habsburg Empire, cavalleria leggera mounted on small e sturdy horses, capable of scouting dietro le linie nemiche, raiding e cutting supply lines.
In the first half of the XVIII secolo, ussari irregolari formations received little o no pay for their services, they were encourage to loot e pillage, sharing the booty among ufficiali e soldati. Deserters e men in trouble con the law were welcome to join the ussari, no questions asked. The reggimento would protect these recruits from the authorities, expecting absolute loyalty in return. These mounted bandits brought a certain criminal expertise to the reggimento which could be very useful at times.
Many of the early ussari formation were of little value in battle. Discipline was lax ed ufficiali needed to formally consult con their men before an attack could be launched. If the enemy resisted, these irregolari were likely to withdraw rather than risk caduti. Austrian Empress Maria Theresia had a number of excellent reggimenti ussari ungheresi in her armata, they routinely out-scouted their counterparts prussiano e cut enemy supply lines on a number of occasions.
Frederick the Great realized that he needed to improve the cavalleria leggera prussiana if they were to protect his army during the coming campaigns. He also wanted to use the ussari in battle, if necessary. Accordingly, numerous units ussari regolari were raised, e they drew their replacements from reggimenti dragoni e corazzieri. Ufficiali di ussari participated in regular exchange e training programs con the dragoni, learning to employ their men in close order formations e charges con the sabre in hand. Generals like Kleist e Zieten started their careers in the dragoni e corazzieri before they joined reggimenti di ussari e rose to fame. That promotion in the ussari was based on ability more often than on seniority e noble birth had a positive impact on unit quality. Capable commoners joined up e rose to leadership positions which would not normally have been available to them.
When Napoléon Bonaparte became Imperatore of Francia on 18th maggio 1804 his army included 10 reggimenti di ussari. The 11o reggimento (olandese) joined in 1810 when the provinces olandesi were annexed. That same year, several squadrons of the 9th regiment were used as cadres to form a new 12th reggimento nella Spagna. In 1813, following the disastrous campaign in Russia, a 13th reggimento was recruited in Rome e Firence, it was amalgamated con the 14th (Croatian) reggimento later that year.
The soldatini di Italeri are shown in uniforme tipica di ussari, which remained virtually unchanged between 1790 e 1815. What dates these soldatini is the conical shakò which was worn from 1804 until 1813. In the period before 1804, mirliton hats were worn. In 1812 a cylindrical shakò was introduced in the 6th e 8th reggimento di ussari, which became a standard item for all ussari units in 1813–1814.
17 ussari in 9 posture – 24 mm pari a 173 cm di altezza
- Ufficiale in Full Dress
- Trombettiere in Campaign Dress
- Ussari in Full Dress (6)
- Ussari wearing Dolman (5)
- Ussari wearing Pelisse (4)
18 cavalli in 5 posture – 22 mm pari a 15.2 mani
Excellent detail. Fur edging, buttons, braid, lace ungherese, belts, buckles, metal fittings, sabre hilts, stirrups, horse furniture e many altri oggetti are clearly visible.
Riders fit onto their horses very well e they have their legs pressing into the flanks of the mount.
Beautiful horses, correctly proportioned, saddled e harnessed.
Useful historic poses. The soldatini may be deployed in attacking units, wearing parade o campaign dress.
The officer e six men are in parade dress, wearing breeches ungheresi. Il trombettiere e nine men are in campaign dress, wearing overalls, some without pelisse ed others con pelisse worn over the dolman. The variety of dress is acceptable, considering that dress codes were taken less seriously in the ussari. However, the expensive breeches ungherese were not worn in the field, except by officer who could afford this luxury.
Riders are shown wearing quattro different styles of shakò plates. A nice touch, allowing the collector to portray changes in uniform styles over time. Despite this variety in head-dress, the cylindrical shakò has been omitted, an unfortunate oversight.
All soldatini are equipped con the elaborately embroidered e very expensive full dress sabretasche which was replaced by a black leather version con regimental number on campaign.
Interesting historical topic. These multi-purpose soldatini make ussari of many nations ed early cacciatori a cavallo francese in ussari-style uniforms. The horses con sheepskin shabraques are suitable light cavalleria mounts for ussari, cacciatori e lancieri.
Good casting quality, although there is some flash on shakò e sword arms.
Quattro of the cinque horse poses are somewhat exaggerated, due of the animals seem to want to rear con tre legs still off the ground. Due other horses are ambling at full gallop, an impossible combination. The fifth pose is nearly correct, con the animal at full gallop ed about to place one front hoof on the ground, but con front legs spread much too far apart. Displayed in formation, these horses do look very nice e the incorrect gaits are much less noticeable. Italeri is well advised to address these obvious motor coordination problems in future releases.
Eaglebearer not included. One of the figure poses is suitable for conversion, simply by removing the carbine from the right hand e replacing it con a flagpole made from 0.6 mm pianowire. The eagle may be taken from the fucilieri francesi di Italeri. Squadron standards measure 9 × 9 mm square, o 9 × 10 mm swallow-tailed. Regiments carried one eagle e several squadron colours.
Standing e walking horses not included. Ussari vedettes, patrols ed escorts usually executed their mounted duties at a walk o halted ed observing. Troopers often dismounted e led their horses across difficult terrain, they wrapped the hoofs con rags to reduce noise e facilitate infiltration. Skirmishers fired from horseback, halting the horse to improve their aim. Alternatively, some men might dismount e steady their carbines by firing them across the ridge of the saddle.
Cavallo d'ufficiale not included. Sheepskin shabraques were used by the men, officer's received cloth shabraques in the colour of the dolman e laced in the button colour. Alternatively, pantherskin shabraques were used, con the head of the stuffed animal placed directly behind the saddle. Revell's cacciatori a cavallo figure set includes such a horse ed it may be used for the ussari as well. Otherwise, it may be assumed that the officer has lost his horse in battle e temporarily acquired a new mount from a trooper in his unit.
Seven of the nine troopers in campaign dress do not carry a carbine, even though this was a standard issue weapon.
Elite Company ussari are not included. Reggimenti di ussari francesi consisted of quattro squadrons of due companies each. The 1st company of the 1st squadron was the Elite Company, ed its troopers were distinguished by curved sabres e fur colpaks. In later years, shakò d'élite were introduced which had red trim e chevrons, red plumes e cords. One of the Italeri ussari is wearing a shakò con cords attached e he may be painted as an elite trooper even though his sabre is not curved correctly.
Incorrect painting instruction on the box. The coloured edging on the shabraques should be red (light blue for the 5th regiment). Cloak rolls behind the saddle should be edged in button colour, white in this case. Regimental numbers were attached to the side of the cloak roll, using lace in the button colour. The officer's collar is correct, celeste con white edging, but the troopers are shown con incorrect red edging. Il trombettiere should be in reversed colours, red dolman con blue facings, usually mounted on a grey horse con black sheepskin shabraque. Unfortunately, he actual model of the trombettiere is wearing the pelisse over the dolman so that the reversed colours will not be visible.
Uniform confusion on the box. The troopers are shown in the 1808 uniforme dei cacciatori a cavallo, without braiding on the chest e con long turnbacks. Only the officer is correctly dressed as a ussaro. Might this be an indication that Italeri plans to release cacciatori a cavallo di linea as well? They would be a welcome addition to the growing range of Napoleonic troop types, particularly because these line cavalleria troopers wore a standard uniform which would lend itself to many interesting conversion.
- Ussari francesi, 1804–1813
|9º||rosso||blu chiaro||blu chiaro||blu chiaro||giallo||blu chiaro|
|12º||rosso||blu chiaro||blu chiaro||blu chiaro||bianco||blu chiaro|
|14º||celeste||paglia||paglia||celeste||bianco||grigio di ferro|
|Buttons in the colour of the braiding, except for the 3rd regiment which had white buttons. Black fur edging on the pelisse (white for the 11th regiment). Red barrel sashes with knots in the braiding colour, except for the 3rd (red/white), 8th (red/green) and 11th regiment (red/white with a vertical blue stripe). Pompom on the shako in squadron colours: 1st squadron red, 2nd sky-blue, 3rd orange and 4th violet. Trumpeters wore the dolman in reversed colours (hidden underneath the pelisse in this model), and they rode grey horses with black sheepskin shabraques. The 5th (light blue) 6th, 8th and 13th regiment (red) had coloured shakos with black trim, later replaced by coloured cylindrical shakos without trim. Bags of the colpak were red (1st, 4th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th regiment), sky-blue (2nd, 5th, 9th, 12th and 13th regiment) or white (3rd regiment).|
- Guardia d'onore francese, 1813–1814
- Ussari Westfalian, 1807–1813
- 8o Ussari belgi, 1814–1815
- Ussari francesi, 1790-1804 (Mirliton hats from Revell's Ussari Prussian)
- Swiss Republik: Ussari 1798–1800 (Mirlitons)
- 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th e 27th cacciatori a cavallo francesi, 1805–1814.
These units wore una uniforme tip ussari without the pelisse, e without sabretasche after 1805. The uniform á la hussarde should have been replaced by the surtout, but some regiments held on to it for a long time,the 27th cacciatori until 1814.
|No.||Dolman||Culotte||Colletto||Distintivi||Bordura di Gualdrappa|
|Trombettieri wore reversed colours, they rode grey horses con black sheepskin shabraques. White edging on collars e cuffs, braiding e buttons for all regiments. Pompoms in squadron colours: 1st squadron red, 2nd sky-blue, 3rd orange e 4th violet.|
- Nassau Cacciatori a cavallo, 1804–1810 (elmo Raupenhelm bavarese con green plume)
- Baden ussari 1806–1812 (Horses con cloth shabraques from Revell's Cacciatori)
- 6o Ussari olandesi, 1814–1815 (Cloth shabraques as above)
- Ussari bavaresi, 1815 (Cloth shabraques as above)
Following the carabinieri francesi, granatieri ungheresi, e granatieri russi Pavlovski, Italeri has added another interesting topic to its growing line of Napoleonic troops. Ussari francesi are among the most interesting e colourful troops of this era e they are an important part of any miniature collection. Italeri deserves much praise for their innovative product line. Giocatori di wargame e collezionisti will require many boxes of these lovely soldatini, virtually ensuring market success for the manufacturer.
- Knötel-Sieg: Handbuch der Uniformkunde, pp. 171-174
- Funcken, L. & F.: L'Uniforme et les Armes des Soldats du Premier Empire, pp. 64-69
- Haythornthwaite, Philip: Uniforms of 1812, Plate 8
- Allevi, Piersergio: Soldatini, p. 21, 134, 153
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