By smacdowall, Jun 9 2016 09:29AM
At the Battle of the Dunes in 1658 Marshal Turenne had 2 battalions of the Gardes Suisses in his army.
For quite some time I have agonised as how to represent them. The first recorded uniform was in 1665 when they wore blue-grey coats lined buff. A few years later the officers were allowed blue coats while the sergeants were wearing red in the 1670s. For a while pikemen wore blue and musketeers red and it was only in 1684 that the more familiar red coat with blue lining was adopted.
Apart from my Gardes Francaises, none of the units in my French army wear uniforms. Although there is no hard evidence for it, I decided that my Gardes Suisses would also be given uniforms and they would be the same blue-grey and buff coats recorded 7 years later.
By 1658 the long justacorps had started to make an appearance even though it would not become universal for a few years more. I reasoned that if a uniform was issued to the Swiss Guards then it would be of the latest fashion. Therefore I went for the Northstar 1672 range to fill the ranks.
I used the Northstar Swiss pikemen but not their Swiss musketeers, preferring instead to mix some French and generic musketeers from the 1672 range.
I had two reasons for this. Firstly the Northstar Swiss musketeers have plug bayonets on their belts whereas the others do not and the plug bayonet was not yet in use. Secondly the Swiss musketeers are standing at rest and I wanted the Gardes Suisses to look right in the same line as my Gardes Francaises who have front rank musketeers firing and second rank at the ready. I decided to put my sergeant in a red coat which later became standard.
. Complete with 3/4 armour and with ‘points’ on the breaches I think the pikmen really looked the part and give the unit a Swiss look. I did not uniform the officers as I thought it most likely they would be wearing what they pleased at this time.