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Post Info TOPIC: Mystery uniform - French?


Legend

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Mystery uniform - French?
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This is a new one on me. I know the French experimented with drab uniforms pre-War, but i thought they were a sort of brown/mushroom colour. I have never seen these before.

The caption reads:

New Uniforms of the Infantry

1st Rank: Tunic and puttees blue, trousers red, helmet chrome, gloves white.
2nd Rank: Tunic grey-green, epaulettes and trousers red, puttees grey.
3rd Rank:Tunic sky blue . . . and then the caption's missing.

I'm assuming they're French, because of the red trousers, and that these are three orders of dress. Can't find out what Liège means in this context - it must be a type of metal.  No date indicated. Any offers?

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Captain

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James H wrote:

Can't find out what Liège means in this context - it must be a type of metal. No date indicated. Any offers?


First guess is that it refers to the Belgian city. A quick google of 'casque liege' turned up this french eBay item.

 Not sure what to make of them.  I would have thought the French had gotten rid of the garance trousers by the time the Adrian helmet was out, and the grey-green makes me think they could belong to one of the balkan powers; maybe Romania.  But those chrome helmets would hardly be appropriate for much beside palace guard duty, I think.  The helmets in the second row look dark to me, so presumably 'liege' doesn't refer to the white paint on the eBay link.



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Legend

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J Fullerton wrote:

James H wrote:

Can't find out what Liège means in this context - it must be a type of metal. No date indicated. Any offers?


First guess is that it refers to the Belgian city. A quick google of 'casque liege' turned up this french eBay item.


 


Brilliant. I couldn't find anything when I tried. Casque en Liège means in, or made of, so it's a helmet in, presumably, Liège steel or metal. If it was a helmet from Liège or in the Liège style it would be casque de Liège.

(Liège is just in France, by the way, but very Flemish influenced. The only thing that came up when I googled Liège metal was a rock festival they had there last year.)

The chrome helmets must be, as I say, full dress uniform. Mollo & Turner say that the French trialed a grey-blue uniform in 1903 and a grey-green in 1911, so this pic, if they are French, has got a bit of everything.

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Legend

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Hi James might I suggest that this is a version of a uniform that was not adopted there appears to be two types of "Adrian" helmet one with ear cut-outs and one without this might suggest these uniforms are at the design stage and are a proposal only.... here's the new uniform proposal for 1911 in colour... nice.....note the "adrian" style helmet .....

http://www.greatwardifferent.com/Great_War/Uniforms/Uniform_Proposal.htm

is it possible it could be Belgium Army?

Cheers

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James H wrote:
(Liège is just in France, by the way, but very Flemish influenced. The only thing that came up when I googled Liège metal was a rock festival they had there last year.)

The chrome helmets must be, as I say, full dress uniform. Mollo & Turner say that the French trialed a grey-blue uniform in 1903 and a grey-green in 1911, so this pic, if they are French, has got a bit of everything.

 



Eek! That shows how up to date and accurate my knowledge of geography is. I remembered that the old temporal lordship of the Bishops of Liege was in the area that would later form Belgium, but I didn't check if the city itself was still part of it that province.

I'm still not sure that Liege is referring to a metal. This french wikipedia entry of a sort of pith helmet is made of liege and vegetable fibers. A rather similar english wikipedia entry lists no metal components (yes, this is an extremely roundabout way of trying to figure it out).  Could liege mean a type of cloth or leather?

I *thought* the middle row helmets look like (1915) adrians, but now I'm not so sure. The first and third rows look more like spikeless pickelhaubes to me...the front and rear visors look more squarish than rounded or pointed. However all of them look like they have a heavy chinstrap mounted on the sides of the exterior, like a pickelhaube. But they all look like they have the Adrian style ventilation crest on top. Maybe they're some sort of modified pre-war french cavalry helmets?

Checking the Osprey ww1 french men at arms book, I see very similar bronze coloured helmet used by the artillery from before the war.  same general outline as the Adrian but with a scaled chinstrap.  I guess the Adrian was based on prevailing patterns of that time.

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Legend

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First of all - sorry, Liège is, of course, in Belgium. It's Lille I was thinking of. Idiot.

Anyway, yes, I've just found that. And in colour!

Looks like one cavalry and one infantry. The latter looks a bit like a motor-cycle cop helmet.

Definitely not Belgian. They trialed a blue-grey uniform in 1911, for cavalry and infantry, with an infantry helmet somewhere between a pickelhaube and a British bobby's (according to its detractors), plus, possibly, a kepi, unless the pic I've got is Dutch. The Belgian govt wouldn't spend the money, so it was back to the shakos and top hats.

The two French prototypes were 8 years apart, so I can't understand why they're shown together. But interesting.

French on left, Belgian on right. So far.

Ah. So much for that theory. Anyway, French in brown. Or taupe?

-- Edited by James H at 15:37, 2007-11-08

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Legend

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You're right. Liège is cork - the material, rather than the thing in a bottle, which is bouchon.

So the helmet must have been not unlike a pith helmet; the idea of protecting men's heads still hadn't occured to anyone . . .

I do remember something about French artillery having a brass helmet or something pre-War.

Now I've just come across something that might be helpful, courtesy of L&F Funcken. I don't think these are line infantry at all. I think they're mounted infantry, ex-cavalry.

Chasseurs, cuirassiers, dragoons, and hussars wore chrome metal helmet with brass crest, and plume up to November 1914. On campaign, helmets and breastplates were worn with a canvas cover. But a number of regts were made into mounted infantry (probably to their considerable displeasure). They retained their cavalry helmets for a while, but were issued with kepis by December 1914. In between, briefly, they wore the chrome helmet with the crest removed and were issued with a modified cover for the helmet and the broad chinstrap.

I need to do some scanning, and I think you'll see what I mean.

Done it.

Bloke on left is Cuirassier in Tenue de Garde - sentry order - 1914.

Then Le cuirassier se mue en fantassin; the cuirassier becomes an infantryman.

Middle bloke: cuirassier in November 1914, with helmet cover and infantry equipment.

Bloke on right: November 1914 - le casque a perdu son cimier - the  helmet has lost its crest (and clearly been fitted with a suitable cover)

So in the original photo, the front rank must be Grande Tenue (Full dress)
The two men in brown must both be cavalry. I still don't quite see how it fits together, unless the idea of removing the crest was tried before the war, abandoned, and then resurrected in wartime conditions. But then there are the puttees, which I haven't managed to find before December 1914.

-- Edited by James H at 18:54, 2007-11-08

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Legend

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Hi James, It seems that Liege and the surronding region have been heavily involved with coal mining in the past could it be that the "Casque Liege" is a modified miners safety helmet......

Cheers

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Colonel

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Hello,

I confirm that in this context, liège means cork and has nothing to do with the town.


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Legend

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Stumbled across an explanation of the French experimental uniforms.

The first attempt was in 1902-3, a blueish-grey called Tenue de Böer. This (from a British point of view somewhat provocatively-named) kit replaced the kepi with a slouch hat, but the idea was rejected because it was felt to be too much like the recently-adopted Italian uniform.

A second idea was the beige-bleu of 1903-6. Then came the tenue réséda of 1911, named after a plant with grey-green flowers. Both were deemed too close to German feldgrau.

There was resistance to abolishing the red trousers, allegedly on grounds of tradition, but there is a suspicion that commercial interests at a high level lay behind this reluctance. The pantalon rouge wasn't traditional at all. Napoleon's men never wore red; the colour was introduced in the 1830s to use up supplies of red cloth, but it became associated with military dash and splendour in the French psyche.

A fourth trial was conducted in 1912 when the Balkan Wars underlined the desirability of drab uniforms. I knew I hadn't imagined this - the first version was drap tricolore, a patriotic mixture of red, white, and blue threads, but the embarrassing discovery was made that the dyestuffs required to create the red were imported from Germany. Instead the new scheme was 35% white, 15% dark blue, and 50% light blue. This became known as horizon blue, since it was calculated that at important distances it was most likely to blend in with the diffused colours at the limit of visibility. Delivery had not begun at the outbreak, and it would be interesting to calculate how many lives were lost as a result.

The picture at the start of the thread must be a sort of compilation of the colours that had been trialled. The one below is of examples of the tenue réséda in Les Invalides. Note the forage cap.



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Legend

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"the first version was drap tricolore, a patriotic mixture of red, white, and blue threads, but the embarrassing discovery was made that the dyestuffs required to create the red were imported from Germany. Instead the new scheme was 35% white, 15% dark blue, and 50% light blue."

Hi James, interesting you should say that, the source doesnt mention the type of weave by any chance......

Im not suprised "tenue réséda" was'nt adopted its the worst piece of tailoring Ive seen in a long time, the colour does'nt help either....

Cheers

-- Edited by Ironsides at 22:28, 2008-05-05

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Legend

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Since you ask, it was "left over right and through" . . .

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Legend

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Some new pics? of the 1911 Uniform proposal also a proposal for 1903

http://rosalielebel75.franceserv.com/reforme-uniforme.html

http://histoiremilitaria2.discutforum.com/t388-la-tenue-reseda

Cheerssmile



-- Edited by Ironsides on Sunday 18th of March 2012 11:02:33 AM

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