Osprey Men-at-Arms 378 : Napoleon's Guards of Honour
After the disastrous Russian campaign of 1812, Napoleon was desperate to scrape together a new army to resist the inevitable Allied offensive in Germany. Particularly short of cavalry, he levied four complete regiments of 'Guards of Honour' - totalling no less than 10,000 men - from the upper classes of Europe (France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Italy). They were to provide their own horses and buy their own equipment, against promises of high rates of pay and, when they had proved themselves, of incorporation in his prestigious Imperial Guard. They were authorised a handsome green and red hussar uniform. This cynical ploy had mixed success; the promises were only partly kept, and there were disciplinary problems in some units. The regiments were split up, some posted to join the garrisons of French-held fortress cities, others to the main field army. They saw action in late 1813, and particularly in Napoleon's doomed but dazzling final campaign in France in 1814, eg. at Rheims, his last victory. Text by Ronald Pawly with illustrations by Patrice Courcelle.
- The French Cavalry in the Aftermath of the Russian Campaign
- Decree of 3 April 1813 Creating Four Regiments of Gardes d'Honneur - Inducements Offered
- Organisation and Depots of 1st to 4th Regiments
- The Officers and Troopers - Volunteers and 'Volunteers' - Mutinies and Plots
- Campaign History - 1813 Leipzig - Successful Charge at Hannau
- Sufferings of Metz and Mainz Garrisons. Campaign of France 1814 - The Great Charge at Rheims, 13 March.
- Uniforms & Weapons - Officers, Troopers & Trumpeters