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Saxon army at Danzig 1807

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  • #16
    Hello everyone,

    Unfortunatelly I do not understand even a word In French (my father does but it’s hard to ask him for help), so Fred please wirte in French, and use the translation program, then everyone will be happy
    And drifting from the main topic. I think that of course Saxon uniforms were different from French, but manner in wich they were worn was I think consequence of fashion of that period. Frenchmen were “spiritus movens” of these changes, loose white trousers, white linien gaiters worn under trousers, lapels festen as far as possible, bicorns worn across head, that’s all was I think result of French influence.
    I agree with Fred that Saxons tried to do as much as possible to make their uniforms more fashionable. As I red in Funck’s memoires, Saxon officers suffered much from old-style uniform, so I think it was very common to make some changes in uniform.
    Of course I agree with De Capo about Austrian influence.

    De Capo
    Here I must repeat my questions to the producing year of the drawing and the artist(s) (drawn and coloured at the same time or in different).”
    I promisse I will ask my collegue. Perhaps it’s like you said - Saxons wich were garnissoned in Danzig, and recived French-style uniformes. Or maybe they were sewed uniforms, based on Prussian because of Rocks kept in Prussian stores.

    Interestng is what you have written about Saxon waistcoat’s. About wich waistcoat we are talking about? Because as it is shown on Hess pictures, soldiers could possibly wear two types - one without “armeln” and one without “armeln”. The first one as my “prussian collegues” persuaded me, was called “camisol”, the second one was “weste”. About “weste” (using this definition) writes Scharnhorst in 1791, claiming that Saxons wore them under “Rock” in order to feel more comfortable during bad weather. If I red old-german text correctly he also states that Saxon uniforms were the worst he has ever seen (considering comfort and practice). He doesn’t say even a word about “camisol”. What’s more on this topic, I have found Montbes remark, that Saxons had false wasitcoats (perhaps I did not understand him well) in order to save as much money as possible. It’s contrary to Hess plate were we can see soldiers both in “weste” and in “camisol”. On the other hand in mr Montbes work or in Scharnhorst article, as an equipment only “weste” is mentioned, nothing at all about “camisol”. What do you think about it? Mayby I just did not understand german text, but it’s I think interesting conception.
    My theory is that, officially Saxon infantrymen should have both “camisol” and “weste” (as it was in ingeneering troops - as I can see on Muller’s plates), but I think that Inhabers did whatever they could to reduce costs (Montbe says, that most of the regiments in 1806 did not have “Kittel” as a result of reducing costs), so perhaps some regiments have only westen, camisol’s were “false” sewed in Rock. But that’s only my theory, you have better sources than me, so please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Sorry for drifting from the topic, but I usually have no one to consult about Saxons so I’m hungry of information

    Best Regards

    P.S. Motnbes remark about waistocoats is on page 34 under the text.


    • #17

      I comletley disagree, the French were no forerunners in military fashion they were lagging behind, the Austrians, as well as Russians and English had far modern unifroms already in about 1806 than the French.
      Nor was it French style to hook down the lapels as far as possible, the retained their round lapels till late 1813.

      You describe the French field dress which has nothing to do about trend setting.

      I don't know about Scharnhorst comments, but I won't take them that serious, there the Saxon coats by and large represtend the usual coats of that time.

      As Da Capo pointed out - they should last 3 years, an indication of good quality, Prussian coats lasted one year only.

      As for the waistcoats, I think you confuse two items, a false waistcoat is not a waistcoat at all, you see only the lower part of the waistcoat stitched to the coat.

      As for the Kittel, I was under the impression that this was the usual dress of the Saxon infantry in 1806, their coat and over that the Kittel, a nice plate by Sauerweid is available on that topic as well.


      • #18
        Armée saxonne

        Chers amis, voici ce que j'avais écrit hier soir, en français.
        De toute évidence, nous n'avons pas fini de parler des Saxons !! Je pensais avoir eu connaissance de la plupart des documents sur ce sujet et Sas nous en propose un nouveau, des Schutzen dont je connais en partie la tenue. Formidable!
        En ce qui concerne les uniformes Saxons, il est vrai que les évolutions furent longues et difficiles à accepter; en ce sens, la réforme de 1810 a été une étape fondamentale. Il n'est donc pas anormal de voir des Français se moquer de la tenue désuete des Saxons. En plus, considérant le manque de moyens financiers, il devait être difficile de fournir aux hommes une tenue conforme au règlement. Ce qui explique qu'en campagne et particulièrement celle de 1807, ceux-ci se soient équipés comme ils le pouvaient, d'où ces tenues peu communes. Quant aux modifications coupe de l'habit, elles se comprennent. Etre vêtu d'une tenue anachronique devait être très difficile pour ces pauvres Saxons et s'il était possible de la moderniser un peu, pourquoi pas ? Je ne dis pas que l'influence française a joué en 1806 (encore que nous voyons bien les similitudes entre la tenue des Généraux saxons et celle des Généraux français sous l'Ancien Régime ). par contre, elle est à mon avis flagrante à partir de 1807.
        J'en reste là pour cette soirée. Bonsoir à tous et très sincère amitié

        PS : je crois que l'un dans l'autre, nos analyses respectives sont bonnes, aux vues des sources que nous utilisons chacun de notre côté. Il reste maintenant à en faire la synthèse. Pour ma part, je n'ai pas pu travailler à partir des archives saxonnes (mais on m'a toujours dit qu'elles avaient été détruites pendant la guerre), mais essentiellement à partir des documents de mon ami Emund Wagner, et des documents trouvés à Rastatt.

        PS: I believe that the one in the other one, our respective analyses are good, in the sights of the sources that we use each from our part. It remains now to make the synthesis. For my part, I was not able to work from the Saxon archives (but to I was always told that they had been destroyed{*annulled*} during the war), but essentially from the documents of my friend Emund Wagner, and documents were found to Rastatt.


        • #19
          I think I was not understood properly. I do not claim that hooking down lapels was French custom, I only say, that Saxons tried to make their uniformes more “Fashionable”. I thik that field dress has to do with general look of the soldier. I think that we cannot separate it. Besides all Sxons tended to dress like French soldiers, even If we agree that they had old-fasioned uniforms. Saxon Rock doesn’t appear for me to be under any influence of modern Russian, British or Austrian uniformes (meaning the cut of Rock)

          It is not a good custom to comment something unknown. So I would not be so quick in critisising Scharnhorst. Contrary to you and me, he has seen Saxon infantry in 1790’s.
          If the only one argument that Saxon clothes were made of better quality “tuch” is that it was ordered to wear these uniformes 3 years instead of 1 year, I must say I’m not civinced. Don’t you think it was far more possible, that trying to reduce costs Saxon Headquater decided to give their soldiers unfirom once 3 years, not once 1 year? It would reduce cost of sewing it, but does it mean that their Rock’s were better than others? I do not think so, perhaps some of the regiments had better Rock’s than other.

          False waistocoat is not waistocoat, but it looks like. I think you have not red my message carefully. I did not say that false waistcoat is waistocoat. I have only said that Saxons had “westen” (waistcoats with Armeln) and contrary to Hess plates they had false waistocoat insted of “camisol” (which is shown on Hess plates). So I did not, as you suggest, defined false waistcoat either by camisol or weste.

          About Kittel - Montbe claims (If you don’t have this book, search in google books) that Kittel was not worn by most of the regiments in 1806 as a result of reduce of cost. I cannot say if it is true or not, I only quote what this authority writes. He also claims that Kittel were given infnatry, when Saxony swiched sides in 1806. So according to Montbe (who writes about Saxons at 1806) and Sauerweid (who presents them in 1809) everything seems to be all right. Hess plates are I think great source of knowladge, but they were made for court, so how Hess could presend soldiers with lack of equipment? Hess in my opinion painted them as they should look, not exactly as they really looked.

          Sorry but I don’t speak French, I will have to ask my father for help, then I will answer your message

          I’m attaching Prussian troops painted by Hovel. I have also attached painting of sige of danzig, made by Philipp Sebastian Rugendas. Look at coloured turnbacks..
          About hovel - my collegue told me that as far as he know, Hovel painted these pictures basing on sketches done during sige. But he also said that it is possible, that these sketches were made after Tilsit.
          Angehängte Dateien


          • #20
            Well my father translated your massage and then I understood it's French version of your last message. Sorry for such mistunderstanding.
            I attach a few more Hovel's paints. I understand that their quality is not good, but these are the only one I have.

            Best Regards and good night
            Angehängte Dateien


            • #21
              About the Saxon uniform coat, it was not more old fashioned than that of the French - apart of the standing up collar, the French continued to wear the lapels half open till autumn of 1813.

              So, the Saxons could have continued that style but they chose to make the "mid modern" style of imitating straight lapels as other Confederation of the Rhine states did.

              About Scharnohorst - how would he know about all coats in 1791 - did he do a study of all coats in Europe, I don't think so.
              The Prussian coat in that time did not look that different to the Saxon one, so I would be interested why Scharnhorst came to that conclusion.

              As for the Kittel, it was already worn in 1806 against the Prussians, but Da Capo is much more qualified that me to comment on this - also how widely they were worn - all regiments or only some.

              Hovel is realy interesting - but in these quality one cannot comment on any details, a pity.


              • #22
                The „Kittel“ was an official equipment for the Saxon infantry. It was used to protect the real coat during marches, in the campaign and during normal duty (so it was usual in summer to wear waistcoat and “Kittel” only). When I remember me right the wearing time of such a Kittel was one year. The regiments received the linen as cloth and must produce the Kittels under their own supervision.
                Reports talking about worn Kittels f.e. in the clashes at Schleiz and Saalfeld during the 1806 campaign (it is interesting that one old source (I think printed in 1807) is talking about worn Kittels for the French Light infantry in the clash of Saalfeld / also the Prussian artillery worn in the Winter 1813/14 as substitute for missing overcoats such linen Kittels).
                If the Saxon army leaders have had the target to save money through the use of the coats for a longer time than Kittels as a protection are more necessary.

                The waistcoats have had the possibility to tie the sleeves on and off (usual with leather strips) so it is normal to see both versions on old pictures.
                At the end of the real (mostly not the official) wearing time old coats were transformed into waistcoats and sleeves and old waistcoats into caps (and probably gloves).

                For the time around 1806 I have seen only one original Saxon coat (officier, Regiment Bünau between 1790/1806) but no original Saxon waistcoat until today.
                Wenn der Feind in Schußweite ist, bist Du es auch. Vergiss dabei nie, dass Deine Waffe vom billigsten Anbieter stammt.


                • #23
                  The officier's coats you're talking about, it's this one ?

                  The two photos are coming from the collection of my friend Edmund Wagner
                  Fred rost:


                  • #24
                    About Kittel I have nothing to add. Perhaps Montbe was wrong, errare humanum est
                    HKDW - I'm attaching 3 pages of Scharnhorst article. I think it's very realible source, he was somekind of military scientist of that period, he could see many uniforms of different nations.
                    Fred - for the first time in my life I see original Saxon uniform of that period!! Formidable!!
                    That's all for now, I have very less time, I will be avaidable this evening, then I will write a little more

                    Angehängte Dateien


                    • #25
                      Armée saxonne

                      Version Française :
                      Histoire de compliquer les choses, voici une planche d'après Zimmermann (les originaux sont d'après G. Dempsey en noir et blanc); la planche avec le numéro 38 est la copie faite par W. Aerts (la plus fiable). Il y a nettement deux pattes d'épaules. La 2e présente quelques différences notables.
                      Sas, je suis content que tu as apprécié les photos de l'habit !
                      Amitié à tout le monde

                      English version :
                      Just to complicate things, here is a board according to Zimmermann (originals are according to G. Dempsey in black and white); the board with the number 38 is the copy made by W. Aerts ( the most reliable ). There are sharply two shoulder flaps. The 2nd presents some considerable differences.
                      Sas, I am satisfied that you appreciated the photos of the dress!
                      Friendship to everybody

                      Deutsche Version
                      Um die Sachen, also ein Brett nach Zimmermann zu erschweren (die Originale sind nach G. Dempsey schwarzweiß); das Brett mit der Nummer 38 ist die von W gemachte Kopie. Aerts (die Zuverlässigste). Es geben deutlich zwei Schulterklappen. Die 2. stellt einige bemerkenswerte Unterschiede vor.
                      Sas bin ich zufrieden, daß du die Fotos der Kleidung geschätzt hast!
                      Freundschaft jedermann

                      Désolé mais je (mon logiciel) ne maitrise pas les autres langues


                      • #26

                        Hm, stange, in my version of Zimmermann (Tradition hors series) ther is only one shoulder strap, one shoulder strap makes sense as long as the sabre is worn around the waist, only when the sabre is worn over the shoulder - a second shoulder strap should be added, or for the taste of symmetrie.

                        Again, I think the Saxon Army followed in the old days the style of the Prussian Army in that way (the Old Prussians has only one shoulder strap as well) Due to the cut of the cloth and fashion the shoulder strap was running across the shoulder blade and not usually visible from the front - nicely shown by Weiland.

                        The Zimmermann print is a bit suspect, he caries a back pack but where are the carrying straps - the artist forget them.


                        Thanks for the text of Scharnhorst, I disagree in your assesment that he was an expert about coats, I think he expressed his taste.

                        salut et fraternité



                        • #27

                          About shoulder strap: I think it's not a big problem to fix it in order to make uniform more comfortable. I think that soldiers could possibly add this to their Rocks. Such shoulder straps would hang both sabre/cartrige box and "knapscack" straps. It would be very practical. On "schutzen" plate I have attached there are also two shoulder straps.
                          Hovel painted them coloured, perhaps (assuming that troops presented by him, were during changes), they forget about regulations as a result of separation from Saxony (as you mentioned they were organized like French troops). Mayby they just have such cloth.

                          About Weste: It's interesting and logical explanation. To save as much money as they could, it was more resonable to have separate sleeves and waiscoat. In winter they could just fix it, in summer, they could just take them away, and wear simple wastcoat.

                          About Scharnhorst: We just disagree and that's all we can say But I do not agree that Prussian uniformes were such old-styled as Saxon. Prussian contrary to Saxon had rounded lapels, Saxon had straight version (what I think Scharnhorts define as "altfrankisch"). As far as I know, Prussians wore also "false waistcoat's" (according to memoires I have red), what I think is a proof of modernizig their uniformes. If I remember they had also standing collar and shorter turnbacks.

                          One more remark: On Hovel's plates and on "schutzen" plate, soldiers wear "Patronaschenblech". I always thought that Saxon musketeer hadn't such decorations, do you think it's mistake?

                          Unfortunatelly I will not be avaidable till tuesday (I'm going to exercise with my Prussian collegues as part of preparations to Danzig battle, hihi I'm so happy that I'll wear my Saxon unfiform this weekend )

                          Best regards and nice weekend Kamerden!!


                          • #28

                            I would need the text bigger, despite magnifying option it is difficult to read, it seems to be from Montbè?

                            As to Scharnhorst, in case he comments on 1791 uniform, the Prussian and Saxon were quite of identical style.

                            best regards



                            • #29
                              I'm back

                              HKDW - Please give me you e-mail, I'll send you whole text. It's not from Montbe.
                              Cut of the uniform... Well I cannot say basing on the photo, but one of member of De Capo reenacting group (It' was you who commanded Saxon troops at Jena? ) lend me their uniform wich was based on original (I assume "von Bunau" uniform) It has straight lapels. You can also see the contruction on the picture wich was given by Fred (Niesemuschell). I attach picture of Saxon infantrymen of Northen war - it is altfrankisch cut I think. I have also seen photos of original uniform of Prussian infantry from 1790's. They had rouded lapels. It's not the same cut.
                              And what about Funck memoires? He celarly states that Saxon officers suffered much from old-styled uniform. He even claims that beacuse of their uniform they were not able to contact with aristocracy or rich city merchants. Most of their free time they spend drinking beer with poor people.

                              Best regards
                              Angehängte Dateien


                              • #30
                                Altfränkisch - means Old French, like ancien regime - the cut is a bit more ample than in Revolutionary times, which is in my opinion bullshit, there the cut of the 1780 uniforms of the French was already tight and elegant and en vogue.
                                There is in my view no big differences between the cut of cloth of the Saxons in 1792 and the Prussian uniform of 1792, straight lapels usually are lapes like in Bardin uniform which can be buttoned striaght to the waist, the Prussians had this kind in 1806, the French did not and the Saxons did also not have this.
                                I think the only real difference might be that the cut of the Saxon uniform of 1806 was more ample and more in the direction of 1792 than the rest of the other armies.
                                For that reason the Saxon officers might feel not to be elegant, but they had an Interims Rock as well, which should be more tight fitting.