Here come a party of wild Hungarian horsemen in the service of the King of France, ca. 1745.
In 1740, at the start of the War of the Austrian Succession, the French establishment included three hussar regiments (Rattzky’s, Bercheny’s, and Esterhazy’s).
Impressed by the performance of the Hungarian and Croatian light troops that had been so instrumental in securing success to the Austrians during the Bohemian campaign of 1742, in 1743 the French hastily raised three new hussar regiments (Beausobre’s, Raugrave,s and Polleresky’s). A fourth regiment (Ferrari de Interiani’s) was raised in 1745, bringing the total establishment to seven regiments.
In 1744, a royal order was issued to enforce uniformity of dress among the hussar regiments. All regiments were to wear sky-blue uniforms and red Säbeltaschen and saddle-clothes. Distinction colors were to be restricted to the bag of the fur hat, the cuffs of the vest (dolman), the barrels of the sash, and the borders of the Säbeltasche and saddle-cloth. There is disagreement in the literature as to whether the piping and cords of the dolman and pelisse were in the distinction color, or rather white for all regiments.
In any event, hussar colonels were reluctant to comply with the King’s effort toward standardization, and for some time simply ignored the royal orders. Different combinations of sky-blue, dark blue, red, green and cinnamon garments were thus retained throughout the war.
The logistical difficulties naturally affecting petite guerre specialists often operating far from their supply bases, as well as the steady inflow of deserters and prisoners from the Austrian army, further contributed to the lack of uniformity in the appearance of the French hussars of the 1740s.
In view of the above, I decided to allow myself some degree of liberty in painting my French hussars…
Two of the men belong to Rgt. Ferrari de Interiani. They wear the prescribed sky-blue uniform with light green distinctions. However, while one has the prescribed red saddle-cloth with light green border and white fleur-de-lis, the other retains the older sky-blue version with light green border and fleur-de-lis.
The third hussar belongs to Rgt. Raugrave and wears the pre-1744 uniform with red distinctions. The sky-blue saddle-cloth has pale orange border and red fleur-de-lis.