Napoleonic French Eagle standards

Started by KeithS, 04 April 2021, 05:13:07 PM

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I was wondering about the use of the eagle standards, I have seen plenty of pictures with the eagle standard used to hold the French colours, but I have also seen pictures of it's use without colours, just the eagle on top of the pole.  I was wondering if anyone had any information on the correct usage, should it always be used to hold the colours or was it used without historically?  Obviously the use with colours would seem to be the normal usage and perhaps the use without is just a convenience for modern film makers such as in Sharpe's Eagle.
I'll bring up the rest of the brigade.

Lord Speedy of Leighton

They were used without as the wars went on.
You may refer to me as: Lord Speedy of Leighton.
2016 Pendraken Painting Competion Participation Prize  (Lucky Dip Catagory) Winner


Thanks for that, so I assume if early to mid era use with colours, but if later then ok to use either way.
I'll bring up the rest of the brigade.


Initially each French infantry battalion of a regiment carried an eagle. Later in the Napoleonic wars  - from 1808 - only one battalion per regiment was authorised to carry an eagle.




Presumably the brass was more important for guns etc.
The artist formerly known as Dour Puritan!


Quote from: Leman on 05 April 2021, 10:06:27 AM
Presumably the brass was more important for guns etc.


Larger armies, and fewer trophies to be captured when your green troops get routed.
The eagle was the significant thing, but the flag may have been easier to recognise on a busy battlefield.

I don't read as much Napoleonic history as I once did, but I recall one story illustrating the significance of the Eagle.
Details vague, as is my style.
A unit had lost its eagle, but rallied and recaptured it.
The trophy having been separated form its flagstaff, they improvised using a locally sourced hop-pole and so carried the eagle for the rest of teh battle.

(Caveat - I may be remembering something from the Eagle of the Ninth book series).

One eagle per regiment seems to match other some other nations with the senior battalion of the regiment/brigade carrying a special colour.