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Sardinia and the War - Part 4Herman Van Meir Oct 31, 2003.(Hope this helps.)
Some days later La Marmora requested the Sardinian Government to appoint Captain Canera di Salasco as Liaison Officer to the French. Salasco was in the Crimea with the Novara Lancers.
His father has been a friend of General Pélissier, and the latter had good memories of their old friendship. La Marmora’s suggestion was accepted but, the mills of government grind slowly, and Salasco's official nomination was delayed until October... LOADS MORE
-----SEE TWO THREAD ENTRIES BELOW FOR MASSIVE SARDINIAN DETAILS
Sorry if I stress on this.
As clearly stated in my post, "Novara", "Aosta", "Saluzzo" and "Monferrato" rgt. each sent their first squadron to Crimea as a special temporary cavalry unit.
So, no doubt about Novara cavalry being in Crimea. BUT...
Novara and Aosta Rgts. were "Line Cavalry" until 1850, when the new Cavalleggeri units were raised: Novara and Aosta then turned to Cavalleggeri units, and 3 new units were formed (Saluzzo, Monferrato, Alessandria) for a total of 5 Cavalleggeri rgts.
In 1859 Milano, Lodi and Montebello rgts. were formed too, and more after 1860.
Novara and Aosta retained the old uniform (with crested helm and a slightly different tunic) until 1851 when they were dressed as the other cavalleggeri. As former line units they retained their lances too, while all other cavalleggeri units where armed with pistol and muskets.
Just to make it all more confusing, in 1860 (after Crimea, then) 5 Cavalleggeri rgts. (Novara, Milano, Montebello, Vittorio Emanuele and Firenze) + Aosta Line Cavalry rgt become "Lancieri" rgts! Same uniform as Cavalleggeri but lance as weapon.
as Hank writes "This article, though, presents the prewar organization which was the basis for the Sardinian contingent sent to the Crimea."
That extensive and useful list presents the PRE-WAR organization... This is the whole piedmontese army, not the Crimean contingent.
I have found no evidence of "Line cavalry" armed with lance and crested helm in Crimea.
Hi Enrico,Milla gratzi..
Wish i could scan and send you the picture in this contemporary war artist's book but only have "Low tech" old win 98 machine no scanner.
The Above picture shows La Marmora with 5 Lancers. .The Bersaglieri are shown in white trousers indicates sketch was made in summer.The painting states Infantry and Cavalry on reconnaisance in difficult terrain.
Originally published under title
"Letters from Headquarters" by a Staff Officer
John Murray Ltd 1858,1857,1858 first two editions sold out.
ISBN 0 241 10232 4
It is possible and pheasable , that a Sardinian Cavlary Regiment was equipped with captured Russian Lances,as these things often happen in war. Especially when faced with so many lance bearing units Cossacks and Russian Uhlans(thankyou strelets) and the whim of A Generalissimo.
Taken from Works of Frederick Engels 1855
The Armies of Europe
Putnam’s Monthly, No. XXXVI, December 1855
II. The Sardinian Army
This army is composed of ten brigades of infantry, ten battalions of rifles, four brigades of cavalry, three regiments of artillery, one regiment of sappers and miners, a corps of carabineers (police troops), and the light horse in the island of Sardinia.
The ten brigades of infantry consist of one brigade of guards, four battalions of grenadiers, two battalions of chasseurs, and nine brigades of the line, equal to eighteen regiments of three battalions each. To these are added ten battalions of rifles (bersaglieri), one for every brigade, thus constituting a proportion of light infantry, actually trained, far stronger than in any other army.
There is, besides, a depot battalion for every regiment.
Since 1849, the strength of the battalions has been very much reduced, from financial motives. On the war-footing, a battalion should number about 1,000, but on the peace-footing there are no more than about 400 men. The remainder have been dismissed on indefinite furlough.
The cavalry counts four regiments of heavy, and five of light cavalry. Every regiment has four field and one depot-squadron. On the war-footing, a regiment should count about 800 men in the four field-squadrons, but on the peace-footing there are scarcely 600.
The three regiments of artillery consist of one regiment of workmen and artificers, one of garrison artillery (twelve cornpanies), and one of field-artillery (six foot, two horse, two heavy batteries of eight guns each). The light batteries have eight lb. guns and twenty-four lb. howitzers, the heavy batteries sixteen lb. guns; in all eighty guns.
The regiment of sappers and miners has ten companies, or about 1,100 men. The carbineers (horse and foot) are very numerous for such a small kingdom, and number about 3,200 men. The light horse, doing duty as police troops in the island of Sardinia, figure about 1,100 strong.
The Sardinian army, in the first campaign against Austria, in 1848, certainly reached the strength of 70,000 men. In 1849, it was very near 130,000. Afterwards it was reduced to about 45,000 men. What it is now it is impossible to say, but there is no doubt that, since the conclusion of the treaty with England and France,’ it has been again increased.
This great elasticity of the Piedmontese army, which allows it to increase or diminish the numbers present under arms at any time, arises from a system of recruiting very nearly akin to that of Prussia; and, indeed, Sardinia may be called, in many respects, the Prussia of Italy. There is in the Sardinian states a similar obligation for every citizen to serve in the army, though, unlike Prussia, substitutes are allowed; and the time over which this obligation extends, consists, as in Prussia, of a period of actual service and another period, during which the soldier dismissed from the ranks remains in the reserve, and is liable to be called in again in time of war. The system is something between the Prussian method and that of Belgium and the minor German states. Thus, by calling in the reserves, the infantry, from about 30,000 men, may be raised to 80,000, and even more. The cavalry and field artillery would undergo but a small augmentation, as in these arms the soldiers generally have to remain with the regiments during the whole period of their service.
The Piedmontese army is as fine and soldier-like a body of men as any in Europe. Like the French, they are small in size, especially the infantry; their guards do not average even five feet four inches; but what with their tasteful dress, military bearing, well-knit but agile frames, and fine Italian features, they look better than many a body of bigger men. The dress and equipments are, with the infantry of the line and guards, upon the French principle, with a few details adopted from the Austrians. The bersaglieri have a costume of their own, a little sailor’s hat with a long hanging plume of cock-feathers and a brown tunic. The cavalry wear short brown jackets, just covering the hip-bone. The percussion-musket is the general arm of the infantry; the bersaglieri have short Tyrolese rifles, good and useful weapons, but inferior to the Minié in every respect.
The first rank of the cavalry used to be armed with lances; whether this is still the case with the light-horse we cannot say. *****
The eight lb. calibre for the horse and light-foot batteries gave them the same advantage over the other continental armies which the French had while they preserved this calibre; but their heavy batteries, carrying sixteen pounders, rendered them the heaviest field artillery of the continent. That these guns, when once in position, can do excellent service, they have shown on the Chernaya, where their accurate firing contributed a great deal to the success of the Allies, and was universally admired.
Of all the Italian states, Piedmont is the best situated for creating a good army. The plains of the Po and its tributaries produce capital horses, and a fine, tall race of men, the tallest of all Italians, exceedingly well-adapted for cavalry and heavy artillery service. The mountains, which surround these plains on three sides, north, west, and south, are inhabited by a hardy people, less in size, but strong and active, industrious and sharp-witted, like all mountaineers. It is these that form the staple of the infantry, and especially of the bersaglieri, a body of troops nearly equaling the Chasseurs de Vincennes in training, but certainly surpassing them in bodily strength and endurance.
The military institutions of Piedmont are, upon the whole, very good, and, in consequence, the officers bear a high character. So late as 1846, however, the influence of the aristocracy and the clergy had a great deal to do with their appointment. Up to that period, Charles Albert knew but two means of governing-the clergy and the army; in fact, it was a general saying in other parts of Italy, that in Piedmont, out of three men you met in the street, one was a soldier, the second a monk, and only every third man a civilian. At present, of course, this has been done away with; the priests have less than no influence, and, though the nobility preserve many officers’ commissions, the wars of 1848 and ‘49 have stamped a certain democratic character upon the army which it will not be easy to destroy. Some British Crimean newspaper correspondents have stated that the Piedmontese officers were almost all “gentlemen by birth,” but so far from this being the case, we know, personally, more than one Piedmontese officer who rose from the ranks, and can safely assert that the mass of the captains and lieutenants are now composed of men who either gained their epaulettes by bravery against the Austrians, or who at least are not connected with the aristocracy.
We think that the greatest compliment that can be paid to the Piedmontese army is contained in the opinion expressed by one of its late opponents, General Schönhals, quarter-master-general of the Austrian army in 1848 and ‘49. In his “Recollections of the Italian Campaigns”, this general, one of the best officers of the Austrian army, and a man violently opposed in every way to anything smacking of Italian independence, treats the Piedmontese army throughout with the highest respect.
“Their artillery he says, “consists of picked men, under good and well-informed officers; the matériel is good, and the calibre is superior to ours [...]."The cavalry is no contemptible arm; the first rank carry lances, but as a very adroit rider only can well manage this arm, we should not like to say that this innovation was exactly an improvement. Their school of equitation, however, [... ] is very good.” “At Santa Lucia, both parties fought with astonishing bravery. The Piedmontese attacked with great vivacity and impetuosity — both Piedmontese and Austy-ians performed many feats of great personal valor.” “The Piedmontese army has a right to mention the day of Novara without a blush,” — and so on.
In the same way, the Prussian General Willisen, who assisted in part in the campaign of 1848, and who is no friend of Italian independence, speaks highly of the Piedmontese army.
Ever since 1848, a certain party in Italy has looked upon the king of Sardinia as the future chief of the whole peninsula. Though far from participating in that opinion, we still believe that whenever Italy shall reconquer her freedom, the Piedmontese forces will be the principal military instrument in attaining that object, and will, at the same time, form the nucleus of the future Italian army. It may undergo, before that happens, more than one revolution in its own bosom, but the excellent military elements it contains will survive all this and will even gain by being merged in a really national army.
I think when mighty Minifigs have manufactured them then, its also a strong indication of Sardinian Lancers being present in the Crimea.
HAVE FUN hANK
Hank, maybe my english is not good enough. We are telling much the same thing!
But your sources are not always affordable! For example "The bersaglieri have a costume of their own, a little sailor’s hat with a long hanging plume of cock-feathers and a brown tunic."
Sailor's hat!!? Brown tunic? And I suggest you never tell to a bersagliere that he has "cock-feathers" on his hat
I suppose anybody here knows a Bersaglieri uniform...
Maybe the best source of infos for an italian army is an italian text...
Said that, I DO CONFIRM that horsemen armed with lance were in Crimea: 1st squadron of Cavallegeri di Novara rgt., for instance. But they had the kepi in 1855, not the crested helm. Cavalry with crested helm COULD be part of the staff, not involved in fightings...
That's why I simply say that the upcoming 63 set from Strelets-R should not be Piedmontese cavalry as somebody argued in the post below.
How true, for they are RUSSIAN dragoons!
I will try and scan the image for you at a shop and send the image next week..Have you any text in Italian on the Cavallegeri di Novara regimentt. I'd be very interested.Milla Gratzi Hank
Very Nice set ,these will paint up extremely well.
But I just cannot make an exisiting reasonable/realistic British or French opposition to the Russian sets.The Only battle i can reenact is a Russian Cossack mutiny. Any ideas anyone...?
You can find some general infos on piedmontese cavalry during the 1st and 2nd Indipendence Wars here:
History on Novara here:
And images of uniform here, of course
Cadogan's pictoria = Reggimento colore distintivo = Aosta scarlatto.arrivaderchi
one day I don't check the forum and you are running wild...
The miniature Wargames magazin, issue July 1988 has a short article about the Piemontese army in the Crimea. Written by a British with help from an Italian. If you like, I can send you a scan of this.
Hey Hank, you know my Email-address when you send your scan to Enrico:-)
Enrico described the change from Lancers to light cavalry, so I think there is no more to add to this. Great job Enrico! On campaign everything could be possible.
I think, as mentioned above that the Russian dragoons could be used against the Turks at the Danube. And for the campaign of 1849 against Hungary. Maybe later we will get some Honoved troops as we nearly have the Russian army in the meantime?