Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Engineers of the Guard

On 10th July 1810, a decree announced the creation of the Engineers of the Imperial Guard: A company of sappers would be part of the Guard  under the the Commander of Engineering. This company would provide the Fire Brigade in the imperial palaces.

At its creation, the unit consisted of 139 men: three officers, 15 non-commissioned officers and corporals, two drummers and 104 sappers. Six sappers and 10 drivers were responsible for the service of  eight water pumps.

Engineer helmet -is this the prototype for all subsequent firemen?!

While the civil role of the Engineers of the Guard was limited to the fire safety of the imperial palaces, in the field the unit became engineers. In 1812, their numbers were increased to 200 men. At the time of the Russian campaign, the Engineers of the Guard were attached to the division of infantry of the Old Guard. 

In 1813, the unit was joined by the company of sappers of the newly created Young Guard, bringing the number to 376 officers, non-commissioned officers and sappers. In 1814, the Engineers of the Guard becomes a battalion with four companies, of which the first only was of Old Guard, for a total number of 615 men. 

Dissolved by the First Restoration, the Engineers of the Guard were reorganised by Napoleon in 1815 participating in the campaign of Belgium.

With the exception of a few Hinton Hunt, my Engineers are largely conversions from Zvezda Old Guard, Hat, the Waterloo 1815 dismounted Dragoons and some Franznap.  

Given the Bardin coat, this would seem to be a Young Guard sapper of 1813

This officer is also wearing a Bardin coat

Here are my figures.  They are just about all conversions, less some S Range.  Most of the figures are Zvezda Old Guard with a head change, the W1815 Dismounted Dragoons again with a head change and various others.  The heads are all Italieri Carabiniers with a plume attached. This took a lot of work!
The Engineers moving forward with senior officers at the front

Side view with Marines in the background

The second rank are S Range


Drums platoon

Drum Major - a W1815 conversion

Commanding Officer and Colour party

Hat conversion

Pioneer platoon, all Hinton Hunt.  The officer appears unsure that the rest of his unit are heading in the right direction so is checking his map.

W1815 dismounted dragoon conversion

Three senior officers - Alberken (centre), Hinton Hunt ADC (left) and Art Miniaturen (right).

Engineers of the Guard with Marines behind

Colour Party - Zvezda Eagle, Hat porte aigle

Zvezda officer

S Range officer


  1. Great work - all that effort with conversion really was worth it!

  2. Thanks Stryker, it did take a lot of work and Sod's law dictates that now Franznap or someone will produce a much nicer figure - normally I'd just buy some but with the Engineers this was as many as were present at Waterloo!

  3. Those are very natty sappers indeed, GP.

  4. Thanks WM, I'm working now on a fully vintage Guard Chasseur battalion - 400 men!