Monday, December 27, 2010

Expeditionary Brigade

An out-of-time musing, 2nd half of the Century

Let's suppose for a while our Principality of Galatea/Catalonia has not only survived the War of Hispannic Succession, but also that, as a result of her early doubtless alignment with the Allies during the War of Quintuple Alliance (formerly known as the Quadruple one :D), our Imagi-Nation achieved the restoration of most of the peninsular territories belonging to the former Crown of Aragon (henceforth "The Confederation").

Well, let's also briefly suppose that a wise policy envisaged by Princess Elisenda permitted our re-born Confederation to pass through the War of Austrian Succession without irreparable damages, although the Galatean status of co-principality between the Empire and Gallia/France would have inevitably made arise a number of heavy external pressures. Most would have been drastically cut by Princess Elisenda by crowning herself as Queen of those Confederation territories other than the Principality, before any of the opposing sides in the WAS could recover from their war effort and appropriately react to. However, such daring action would have upset Gallian diplomacy and put under alert the Hispannic Court, thus feeding a significant tension increase in Western Mediterranean.

The successful rebellion of Sicily against their new Bourbon rulers would have been warmly welcome by Galatan authorities, because it seemingly would come to re-balance powers in the region. In such circumstances, the rather unexpectedly announced Imperial expedition against the newly born Kingdom of Sicily would have taken the Galatans by surprise. Old Queen Elisenda wisely would choose to summon an extraordinary joint session of her kingdoms' Parliaments to debate the request of Empress Maria-Theresa, and there she'd effectively confirm what she feared: the "Corts" or Parliaments of Galatea and Hesperia/Valencia would reject to officially get involved in a war they judged not to be defensive, while the "Stamenti" parliament of Arborea/Sardinia (eventually under higher Austrian influence) would accept with little debate a limited contribution to the Imperial war effort.

In the end, it would be agreed the formation of an Expeditionary Brigade consisting of 3 Line Infantry battalions and 1 Light Horse regiment, under Arborean command. It would have been a politically costly agreement, however, that would come to add further, heavy internal tensions to the already existing external ones.

As Princess of Galatea -a territory nominally still under Imperial co-protection-, Queen Elisenda felt in the need to personally respond to the Empress request, committing one Battalion of her prestigious Royal Galatan Guard to the projected Brigade. A second Battalion would be provided by the "Stamenti" of Arborea, who also would offer their recently created Hussars Regiment. On their side, neither the Galatan or the Hesperian "Corts" consented to draw troops of their own for an allegedly agressive campaign, but they'd accept one the Confederate Regiments of Sea Fusiliers (=Marines) to be dispatched in the Brigade. In about one month's time, the expeditionary corps would be concentrated in the city of Cagliari (Arborea) and ready to sail for Sicily under escort of Arborean warships and Confederate privateers.

It's worth to note that this Expeditionary Brigade is a part of the Galatan Confederate Army, so that they've nothing to do with the Beerstein's Galatan Mountain Fusiliers Regiment, which is a foreign contingent in permanent service of the Reich Duchy instead.

Here you are the illustrated list of units belonging to the Expeditionary Brigade destined to join the Imperial offensive lead by Reich Duke of Beerstein in Sicily:

It can be seen, through these plates, that the Galatan Army followed an increasingly stronger English influence, that from an early adoption of a 3-lines deployment and firing by the platoon during WSS, it gradually evolved by the 1750s to also extend to uniform designing.

Shortly after WSS, King's Colours pattern also suffered a substantial change when the old Virgin Mary pattern was replaced by a St. George Cross design with the arms of the respective Confederate State on it. Regimental Colours saw their religious images replaced too -probably due to an increasing huguenot French post-war immigration flow and the approval of a Religious Tolerance Act.

Uniforms colours went progressively associated to each particular corps in the Army, so that blue was established as Infantry's own colour in the peninsular States, while iron grey prevailed in Arborea. Red became the distinguishing colour for Sea Fusiliers, and yellow was kept by the Royal Guard.

The last plate shows King's and Regimental flags of all the Expeditionary Brigade units, so that they can be adapted by Bill of Beerstein to his own wargaming miniatures.

[I admit this one to be an allegedly cunning bid, by placing the Expedition under Arborean/Sardinian command instead of a strictly Galatean/Catalonian one. As it is still hard to determine what will be the future of my 1713 Imagi-Nation, I've chosen to do this because, while it seems clear that Sardinia is a part of my Galatea at the end of WSS, no one knows the imagi-island's future... so that, as a matter of fact, it is unclear who has actually shipped the Brigade: whether my Galatea or Savoy ;) ]


Capt Bill said...

The Empress and the Reich Duke were extremely pleased to receive the Expeditionary Brigade. It is appreciated that such a hugh sacrifice could be undertaken by our ally. The Empress and the Reich Duke will long remember the bravery of Queen Elisenda and her people...

abdul666 said...

A very subtle and perfectly logical approach of an uncertain future!

And a golden opportunity to discover mid-18th C. Galatan (in the widest sense) uniforms.


abdul666 said...

We are ± close to the SYW now, so France / Gallia has (at last!) that the rising 'Germanic' threat is Prussia and no longer Austria / the Empire. Even if not yet formal allies, the two 'co-protector' States of Galatea are now in friendly terms. This new situation would make life and decisions easier for Queen Elisenda as Princess of Galatea.

And this new uniforms & flags plates were a marvelous 'season' gift, btw.

abdul666 said...

PS: any reason, other than the old British support,(i.e. any Catalan / Aragonese precedent?) to choose the St George Cross as the new emblem?
And then, why not on a *yellow* / 'gold' rather than white field -both are equally correct re. the 'laws' of heraldry'?

abdul666 said...

PPS: from the start you chose the red cross of St George on a white field with a 'traditional' escut "Sang i Or" as you personal web 'icon' / 'avatar', so there IS a good reason -as such my question was silly, I just wish to know the origin of this peculiar 'banner'.

"Royal Galatan Guards": since Elisenda is only 'Princess' of Galatea, I guess it means Guards of the Queen of the Confederation, recruited in Galatea? Diplomacy, diplomacy...

Soldadets said...


St George Cross on white field was the device adopted ins XIIIth century by the Kings of Aragon for their personal guard, after James I (who had been brought up by Templar knights at Monzon castle, after the death of his father at Muret).

Later it was adopted as seal of the Military or Nobiliary Arm of the Parliament, so that it was always carried in battle alongside with the Royal device of gold and red pales.

It gradually gained popularity enough to be carried also by peasant armies, such as the Almughavars; and in XVth century it finally was adopted as the Seal of each of the confederate kingdoms' General Deputations.

And right into our 'present' XVIII century, it was the Regimental flag of the most senior Catalan Infantry unit: the General Deputation IR.

As for our 'real' XXI century, it has progressively lost popularity as a national, popular device in favour of the 'quatre barres' gold and red flag -formerly privative to the Crown, just as the English leopards or the Scottish red lion. But it still has its place in the arms or flag of many Catalan cities (Barcelona, Igualada, Manresa, Vic, Sitges...), while the Provincial Deputations of Barcelona, Saragossa, Teruel and Huesca still flow St George's flag variations. Finally, it is a commonly used device among FC Barcelona supporters...

As a matter of fact, the Saint George Cross has little to do with me imagination alone ;)

Jeroen72 said...

Nice work :) but aren't those grenadier caps horrible out of fashion ;)

Soldadets said...

Argh!? you mean?

I must admit to have a huge knowledge gap on that half of the century. I had for sure their grenadier caps wouldn't follow English trends of tall mitres, which might have been judged as offensive by Catholics -for the very same 'political correctness' reason preventing their flags to show images considered inappropriate by Protestants.

However, once arrived to this point, I don't know what should these caps look like. Should fur caps have been adopted, for example?

abdul666 said...

For grenadiers, during the 'middle half' of the century: say 1730 - 1770, there is a significant -but not absolute- statistical correlation between "Reformed <=> mitre (& generally no mustache)" / "Roman Catholic <=> bearskin (& generally mustaches)".
Actually it seems that Spain adopted the bearskin before France. Later mitres and bearskins types converged, when the bearskin received a metallic front plate similar to that of some mitres.

Given the complex politico-religious situation in mid-18th C. Galatea, a possible solution could be copied on what Austrian and even more the Prussian Grenadiers wore during the late 18th C. - early 19th C.: it can be interpreted as a fur-edged mitre as well as a bearskin with an oversized front plate -specially if you give it the continuous inclined rear of a mitre. And it would be fully original, as fits for an original, complex country such as the Confederació d'Aragó.

abdul666 said...

You posted on 'EvE' this distressing alinea: "She knew her Parliaments patience had been exhausted and a change of sovereign would be soon demanded... Her time was coming to an end, so that she silently started preparing her own succession."
A very sad and unfair conclusion to a brilliant reign...

Young Elisenda was one of the most brilliant students of our Ecole des Sciences des Demoiselles, we followed her whole career with a loving admiration. If she feels more dignified, once her successor in place and no longer a Queen, to leave the ungrateful Confederation and live her retirement in a friendly but neutral country, Monte-Cristo would be happy and proud to welcome her back.

Soldadets said...

Thanks for your kind suggestions about grenadiers caps, I've already modified them! it looks as some kind of intermediate between Austrian and Savoyan bearskins.

Soldadets said...

No doubt Lady Elisenda would feel free to re-visit again scenarios of her youth -even maybe would eagerly re-start scholar projects put aside long ago... However, let's wait and see how is Her (still hypothetic) reign to develop yet, before putting it to an end -this one Galatan subject who's writing to you is actually far to be bored with Her... :)

Bluebear Jeff said...

I like your uniforms and flags, sir.

-- Jeff

abdul666 said...

this one Monte-Cristan reader is *far* from being bored with young, not even Princess yet, Lady Elisenda!

But Lady Elisenda was made Foreign Member Honoris Causa of our Academie des Sciences et Arts: if at the end of her reign she still had not have time to come and enjoy her official reception and honor welcome, this would provide a credible and honourable reason to leave the Hispanic Peninsula....

Soldadets said...

Hum... I find it likely that, after war is over, Lady Elisenda is willing to schedule a Grand Tour to compliment foreign 'chancelleries' and strengthen relations; no doubt she'd love to spend some time in the Presipality and meet again her teenager's time friends and activities (who wouldn't?).