When we think of early modern military, we typically think of infantry, cavalry and artillery. But once in a while while researching you run into a fun little term that provides some color and character to an otherwise monotone palette.
Enter the French’s enfants perdus.
Enfants perdus‘s literal translation is “Lost children” but a phrase more typically used as the translation is “forlorn hope.” It’s the equivalent to Dutch’sverloren hoop (which means “lost heap”). French generals of German troops used a more pragmatic phrase, commanded musketeers.
Despite it sounding overly-dramatic, the name enfants perdus were apt. These French enfants perdus were small groups of soldiers, typically musketeers, formed by pulling troops out of various regiments. They were used as skirmishers as well as given specific missions (such as “hold that bridge” or “charge that outpost”). They were also used at the head of regiments to lead attacks.
DW Documentary released a two-part series on how the Thirty Year’s War ended and the Peace of Westphalia was designed. In fact, it took five years for all the parties to get onboard and led largely by Maximilian, Graf von Trauttmansdorff who represented the Holy Roman emperor.
There are few uniforms more iconic than the Musketeers tunic. Thanks to Alexandre Dumas and Hollywood, it is celebrated as a symbol of brotherhood, friendship, and justice.
And Hollywood has created a whole slew of different looks and designs for the Musketeers uniforms — everything from royal blue cassocks and white crosses, to navy blue tunics, grey, black, etc. Some with gold fleur-de-lis on the ends, some with a red sunburst behind the cross, others much more plain. The latest BBC rendition of the Musketeers even gave us leather shoulder pauldrons and a bastardized version of a long cassock.
And as much as all of these designs are instantly recognizable, just how accurate are they to history? What exactly did the King’s Musketeers (Mousquetaires du Roi) actually look like?
Back from Pennsic and working on some new research projects that I’m hoping to release soon. Until then, I wanted to show off my Opening Ceremonies outfit from the event — a 17th Century French chevau légers.
Chevau légers were considered light to medium cavalry. In the early to middle part of the 17th Century, they often wore a cuirass worn over a buff coat or just a buff coat, leather boots, and a helmet. The helmet was often a capeline, though the French cavalry apparently were big fans of the “iron hat” — a helmet that was in the shape of the wide-brim hat that was fashionable at the time (see the photos). Continue reading PENNSIC: My Chevau-léger Outfit→
Came across this half hour Swedish documentary (English subs) on the Battle of Lützen, where Swedish king and military innovator King Gustavus Adolphus.
The documentary goes to the site where the battle takes place with an archeological crew to find out if the mass graves there were filled with Swedes or Germans. They also figure out what the soldiers died mostly from — swords, musket barrels (blunt force) or shot.
It’s not exactly an eye-opening documentary for anyone already interested in the era, but it’s worth a watch just the same as the Thirty Year’s War continues to be a relatively overlooked bit of European history.
This is my second year as General of the East Kingdom Rapier Army and I wanted to do something special for my immediate staff who put in a lot of hard work and effort over the year as well as during Pennsic. They take time out of their vacation to deal with me, do bunch of Woods Walks, come to a ton of meetings, etc. Being on Command Staff is fun but it’s also work that takes one away from other Pennsic fun.
Last year I “paid” my staff with replica French coins that I bought at a vendor at Pennsic. This year I decided to write officer commissions to official recognize their role on my command staff and as leaders in the East Kingdom Rapier Army.