Welcome to Part 3 of my series looking at the army of my ‘imagi-nation’, the Barrayat of Lyndonia. Today we meet a French unit that has been contracted to join the Barryat’s forces.
This unit represents the regiment that Barry Lyndon faced in the eponymous movie ‘Barry Lyndon’. As I mentioned in my previous posting, Barry’s first taste of battle was ‘only a skirmish against a rearguard of Frenchmen who occupied an orchard beside a road down which the English main force wish to pass’.
Those of you who know your French regiments of the eighteenth century will no doubt be shaking your heads at my photos and saying, ‘But he’s got it all wrong – that’s the flag of the Régiment de Flandre, and they wore blue facings, not red!’
Well, in the movie the unnamed French regiment that Barry faces in battle is clothed in uniforms with red facings and carries the flags of two real French regiments, the Grenadiers Royaux and the Régiment de Flandre. But neither of these regiments had red facings in real life!
In the Thackeray novel that the movie was based on, Barry’s first taste of battle is actually said to occur during the Battle of Minden, and the French regiments he faces are named as being those of ‘Lorraine and the Royal Cravate’. But neither of these units matches the flags in the movie.
Adding to the puzzle is that the real Royal Cravates of the time were not an infantry regiment at all, but cavalry!
So I had to make some sort of decision on this confusion. In the end, I chose to paint them as the fictional Régiment des Royal-Cravates from the book, with the facings and flags from the movie. The result is a nice colourful hodge-podge, but still distinctly French in look and feel.
And I can confidently state that this unit is authentic. Well, at least from the perspectives of the book and the movie it is authentic, as my whole plan with this army was to recreate the movie’s inaccuracies as accurately as I could!
I also gave the regiment the little battalion gun that is seen in the movie. Kubrik got the gunners’ white coats right, as battalion guns were manned by men assigned from the regiment, rather than artillerymen in their blue and red French artillery uniforms.
My gun is actually a small Napoleonic cannon by Minifigs, but with a lick of red paint it vaguely resembles the little Swedish-style cannons used as battalion guns during the period. That’s near enough for me!
Oh, by the way, these figures are all exquisite 1/56 scale sculpts from Minden Miniatures, available from Fife and Drum.
So there we have it. You have now met the British and French contingents of the army of the Barryat of Lyndonia. Next time it’ll be the Prussians.
Go forward to Part 4 of this series to see the Infanterie-Regiment Kubrick.
Go back to Part 2 of this series to see Gale’s Regiment of Foot.