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Author Topic: Grenadier Caps  (Read 349 times)
fsn
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« on: 15 May 2018, 05:56:45 PM »

Dear League of Ausburg Types.

I was thinking about the Judeo-Christian creation myth today, which of course led me to the serpent and the apple, which made me reflect upon the apple probably not being an apple but a pomegranite which led me to think of early grenades, which led me to think of early grenadier caps. There, this almost perfect train of thought derailed like ... well I can't actually think of anything round here that gets derailed.

My question then is why do grenadiers have such silly hats? I think I read somewherethat they had brimless hats so they could sling their musket in order to use both hands on the grenade. Is this correct, or is there a much more colourful and interesting tale?
 
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Lord Oik of Runcorn
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Terry37
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« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2018, 06:26:52 PM »

Grenadiers and often Dragoons wore a cap rather than a hat with a brim first for the reason you mention - to be able to easily and quickly sling their musket over their back. Grenadiers also for the reason so they could more easily throw their grenades. I am also pretty sure there is another reason that most history books don't often mention.....and that is to make it extremely painful for wargamers to have to paint the fronts of them!!!! Grin

Terry
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Leman
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« Reply #2 on: 15 May 2018, 06:27:32 PM »

Probably not. I was told it was so that the hand swinging the grenade wouldn’t knock the hat off.
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The artist formerly known as Dour Puritan!
clibinarium
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« Reply #3 on: 16 May 2018, 04:30:27 PM »

Bear in mind that the original grenadier caps were more like stocking caps or night caps, which would stay on the head if brushed by slings or arms. They'd be quite hard to knock off. A very practical usage of caps in civilian use for people doing work where broad hats were less suitable.
  But then military fashion kicks in and the hats become more about display and at the same time actually slinging the musket to throw grenades is pretty rare (practically never in open battle). So knocking your hat off slinging your musket is probably not a problem that you need worry about much; the French who seem to have originated grenadiers as a specific class of soldier, kept most of them in broad brimmed hats and later tricorns, with bearskin caps only really becoming popular in the SYW, and then as display rather than practically necessary.

There's some suggestion that making taller caps was in imitation of the Janissary's bork to refelect their reputation for fierceness (though ironically the Janissaries seem to have opted for more simple turbans and caps on campaign)
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Leman
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« Reply #4 on: 16 May 2018, 04:34:57 PM »

I also heard that grenadier caps were also intended to make the tall grenadiers appear even taller to the consternation of the enemy.
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The artist formerly known as Dour Puritan!
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