Thursday 2 May 2019

Regiment de Provence: Laarden, 1688

From the letters and diaries of the Marquis de Montchevreuil, 
Grand Écuyer to His Highness The King of France, French Flanders, 1688

The Comte de Grignan has never been a man to do things without excess.  As the King's lieutenant-general in Provence, his duties have included spreading the warmth of Le Roi Soleil's rule to every corner of that already sun-drenched land.  His existence is an extravagant one, presiding each year at the opening of the Etats at Lambesc, seated on a throne-like chair with the Archbishop of Aix on his right and the Intendant of Provence on his left.  Nor is he a man who prefers modesty.  I well remember how, after he had taken the town of Orange by siege in 1673, he presented the keys of the citadel to Louis Le Grand in a theatrical ceremony at Versailles involving a silver salver of seven oranges from Valencia.

Wealthy, charming, graceful, talented.  And now, as my servants in the Royal camp had informed me, he was in Flanders, accompanied by one of his newly raised regiments from southern France.  They had marched through the winter, the journey through Besançon, Reims and Cambrai being well provisioned by the Comte's merchants.  Russet-brown coated soldiers, and gaudy scarlet-uniformed officers loudly swaggered through their winter quarters after arrival in French Flanders.  Brassy trumpets and newly skinned drums proclaimed their arrival in any winter review in which they were present.

Le Regiment de Provence.  I smiled, of course.  I clapped appreciatively.

But Flemish winter warfare will, doubtless, be very different to campaigning in the lavender hills of Provence.  Here, in Flanders, marching to the drum under weak sunlight and over the clay-soil's cold caress, many finer regiments than the Comte de Grignan's have floundered against the Flemish and Germans.  

What a shame for the Comte that the sun rarely breaks through the leaden skies over Laarden.


So, accompanied by an uncharitable, and  no doubt deeply jealous, entry from the Marquis de Montchevreuil's war-diary, I've posted some photos of the newly finished 28mm figures for the Regiment de Provence.  Formed in 1683, by the (historical) Comte de Grignan, the regiment was a feature of the historical campaigns of Louis XIV in the Nine Years War in Flanders and Germany.

The figures are a mixture of Dixon Miniatures and Wargames Foundry, all in 28mm.  The finials on the regimental standard are from Bicorne, with bases from Warbases and tufts from WWS Scenics.  I did a few small conversions to some of the figures, adding some shoulder-lace on the grenadier figure and a hat feather or two.  Other than that, the figures are pretty much as you can purchase them from the manufacturers.

I painted the standards myself, on account of them being pretty straightforward.

One of the themes I've been thinking about lately has been relationships between the various French commanders in the army of Louis XIV.  I very much doubt that the camp was as fractured, poisonous and waspish as I'd like to imagine - but the tensions were definitely there.  It's a theme which might play quite well in a multi-player wargame.  Something to return to in a future post, perhaps.

Hope you can join me next time, when we'll be back on the Flemish downland with a charlatan and an unusual horseman.

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