- Approximately 2.25" tall
- 9 highly detailed historically accurate plastic figures
- Unpainted figures in 9 poses
- Molded in blue
- Packaged in a box
- Recommended for hobbyists and miniature gamers 14 years and above.
The Grande Armée (French pronunciation: [ɡʀɑ̃d aʀme]; French for Great Army) was the army commanded by Napoleon I during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1804 to 1809, the Grande Armée scored a series of historic victories that gave the French Empire an unprecedented grip on power over the European continent. Widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest fighting forces ever assembled, it suffered terrible losses during the French invasion of Russia in 1812 and never recovered its tactical superiority after that campaign.
While the infantry was perhaps not the most glamorous arm of service in the Grand Armée, they bore the brunt of most of the fighting, and their performance resulted in victory or defeat. The Infantry was divided up into two major types, the Infantry of the Line (Infanterie de Ligne) and the Light Infantry (Infanterie Légère).
Grenadiers were the elite of the line infantry and the veteran shock troops of the Napoleonic infantry. Newly formed battalions did not have a Grenadier company; rather, Napoleon ordered that after two campaigns, several of the strongest, bravest and tallest fusiliers were to be promoted to the Grenadier company, so each line battalion which had seen more than two campaigns had one company of Grenadiers.
Regulations required that Grenadiers recruits were to be the tallest, most fearsome men in the regiments, and all were to have moustaches. To add to this, Grenadiers were initially equipped with a bonnet à poil or bearskin, as well as red epaulettes on their coat. After 1807 regulations stipulated that line Grenadiers were to replace their bearskin with a shako lined red with a red plume; however, many chose to retain their bearskins. In addition to the standard Charleville model 1777 and bayonet, Grenadiers were also equipped with a short sabre. This was to be used for close combat, but most often ended up serving as a tool to cut wood for campfires.
The Grenadier company would usually be situated on the right side of a formation, traditionally the place of greatest honour since the days of hoplite warfare in which a corps' right flank had less protection from the shield line of its formation. During a campaign, Grenadier companies could be detached to form a Grenadier battalion or occasionally a regiment or brigade. These formations would then be used as a shock force or the Vanguard for a larger formation.
In 1805, one of the Fusilier companies was dissolved and reformed as a Voltigeur company. In 1808, Napoleon reorganised the Infantry battalion from nine to six companies. The new companies were to be larger, comprising 140 men, and four of these were to be made up of Fusiliers, one of Grenadiers, and one of Voltigeurs.
Voltigeurs (literally, Vaulters or Leapers) were élite light infantry of the line regiments. In 1805, Napoleon ordered that the smallest, most agile men of the line battalions be chosen to form a Voltigeur company. These troops were to be second only to the Grenadiers in the battalion hierarchy. Their name comes from their original mission. Voltigeurs were to vault upon horses of friendly cavalry for faster movement, an idea which proved impractical if not outright impossible. Despite this, the Voltigeurs did perform a valuable task, skirmishing and providing scouts for each battalion, as well as providing an organic light infantry component for each line regiment. In Voltigeur training, emphasis was placed on marksmanship and quick movement.
Voltigeurs were equipped with large yellow and green or yellow and red plumes for their bicornes. After 1807, their shakos were lined with yellow and carried similar plumes. They also had yellow epaulettes lined green and a yellow collar on their coats.
Originally, Voltigeurs were to be equipped with the short dragoon musket, however in practice they were equipped with the Charleville model 1777 and bayonet. Like Grenadiers, Voltigeurs were equipped with a short sabre for close combat, and like Grenadiers this was rarely used. Voltigeur companies could be detached and formed into regiments or brigades to create a light infantry formation. After 1808, the Voltigeur company was situated on the left of the line when in combat. This was traditionally the second highest position of honour in the line of battle.
This Expeditionary Force boxed set is a mix Grenadiers and Voltigeurs in 9 different poses.