Gunboards Forums banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am interested in these unit markings on a pair of chassepot cavalry/gendarmerie carbines:
Natural material Wood Metal Artifact Fashion accessory

Helmet Font Musical instrument Wood Oval

This thread has a copy of the 1884 regulation and a mention of the 1854 regulation: Gras and Chassepot Buttplate Unit Markings
I think the 1854 regulation is the more relevant to these rifles. Does anyone have a copy they could share? I can certainly interperet these in accordance with the later regulation posted in the above thread, but due to their unconverted state it is not logical to apply to these rifles I believe. And please share if there was another unit marking regulation between 1854 and the Franco-German war.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,881 Posts
What precisely was the function/composition of the disciplinary companies and were they similar to the Nazi punishment battalions.
I have an original Tabatiere rifle (still rifled) marked 11D, seems it could be for a Disciplinary corps or a Customs Battaillons actifs.
Can anyone shed light on the possibilities ?
 

· Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
11 D on a model 1867 Tabatière, as far as I know, is for a disciplinary Company only.
On a model 1866 Gendarmerie carbine, my answer would be very different. The Custom battalions were considered as elite units and were given the same carbines Gendarmerie had (both Infantry and Cavalry).
Before, they had the model 1822 voltigeur model (shorter than fusilier model) and model 1854 Gendarmerie model.
And I am a little surprised that the 1884 instruction do not mention a bulge for custom units : since 1875, they had the honor to be considered as « Chasseurs ». But if they still had a Gendarmerie armament, May be the distinction was not needed.
At the turn of the Century, they had the Lebel, but the units markings were not in use anymore.
In 1939-1940, they had the mousqueton.
Due to their knowledge of the terrain on the frontiers, they were used as scouts or sometimes spies (during WW I, dropped by airplanes behind enemy lines).
 

· Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Beetlegeuse : as far as I know the 1854 regulation was applied during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian war. Anyway, the meaning of 5 C or 10 C has not changed between the two regulations.
Staffy : I do not know the nazi punishment battalions.
I have already told you what I knew about French Disciplinary units here :

To be more precise, in the 1860s-1870s, they were organized as light infantry units for fusiliers.
If we except some combats during Napoleonic wars and Franco-Prussian war, their military, operational, role was very limited. They were used, during the colonial wars, in a purely defensive role. The punishment aspect of these units was overwhelming everything and the military authorities had very little confidence in them.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
You are right… in a certain way…
There was two kinds of disciplinary units during the Napleonic wars. And two eras during these wars. First era (beginning of conscription in 1793 to about 1805-1808) : draft dodger or not, if you were really a bad soldier, who did not seem to be able to mend, you were sent to jail or… to a disciplinary company, and served in colonies (far from home, hard to leave your unit). In 1796, these « not curable » but not in jail became so numerous that a full disciplinary regiment (the black legion) was formed and used in Europe. It has been a complete failure and it has been discontinued. Back to the former system.
second era :
The napoleonic wars causing more and more casualties among the French population, the draft dodgers became more and more numerous and in the same time the need of men in Europe too important to send them in jail or to the colonies.
It was decided to form disciplinary regiments, up to 5. It was the first and last time the French Army had full disciplinary units on such a scale.
End of Napoleonic wars, end of conscription, end of disciplinary regiments, back to disciplinary companies with relatively small numbers of the worse soldiers.

Even when the conscription came back, the real Disciplinary companies, with the hardest discipline (not to say sadistic treatments, like burrying somebody up to the torso) were very limited in numbers.

Among the regular regiments themselves, there is small units for « hard heads » as we say in French, with a stricter discipline.
The Bat d’Af or BILA, units in the colonies made for former convicts, even having a more strict discipline than other units, were not « disciplinary companies ».
There was different levels of discipline. With the exception of the second part of the Napoleonic wars, units named disciplinary were the worse and limited in numbers.
The main problem was that, even with a minor offense, if you were unlucky, you could be sent to a disciplinary company.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,881 Posts
Thx Alamas - a couple of photos. It is a Dragoon and it appears was originally a Chatellerault M1842/57 ( the lock is dated 1857) now a Tabatiere 1867, in 17.8x35mm c/f.
Based on your info., it was most likely issued to a Disciplinary Company if in contemporary use at the time of the Franco/Prussian War and the Customs aspect can be eliminated.
The bore is pristine.
Plant Wood Flooring Brick Floor
Wood Shotgun Trigger Gun accessory Auto part
Wood Circle Gas Audio equipment Wood stain
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,881 Posts
Thx all, well at least there are only 2 possible alternatives.
Condition would suggest minimal 'in service' use, so customs may be a better attribution. But, will include both possibilities on the label, pending any further information on the topic.
Would it have been possible for both to be correct? It would be Lottery odds if issued to the Disciplinary unit then later to Customs. Rather too fanciful:whistle:.
Lucky to find a M1857 bayonet to go with it.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
764 Posts
Here is what I have about the weapons used by French customs :
  • Before 1832 : Cavalry musketoon Number 1 (number one firearms were close to the military model but could differ in details… and in quality).
  • 1832 : the quality of number 1 musketoons being considered as insufficient, the regular Voltigeur (light infantry) musket of the model 1822 system is adopted.
In a report of December 18th 1841, the customs service says this model being too heavy and too long, a new model must be adopted, short enough to be carried under the rain coat and equipped with a bayonet.
  • February 17th 1844, it Is decided that foot customs agents will have the Gendarmerie musketoon model 1842 and the Gendarmerie pistol model 1842.
  • March 28th 1844, the same firearms are given to horse customs agents and also the model 1822 light cavalry saber.
  • During the 2nd Empire (not precisely dated), the customs commanding officers receive the model 1855 Infantry officer saber in place of the model 1822 light cav. Saber.
In 1872, the annual report of the customs states « The customs armament have been confiscated for the most by the German occupying forces and the model 1842 system is for sure obsolete and has to be replaced by one of the new systems nowadays in use ».
I do not have any precise text before 1882, but here is what Ernest FORT, well known historian of the French Customs, writes for the 1870s : « Circa 1874… (then follows a very complete description of the customs uniforms) … the Gras rifle and the bayonet 1874, during these years, replaced the needle rifle and its heavy bayonet ».
other texts confirm that after 1875, the customs are armed « like Infantry ».
  • September 22nd 1882 : customs commanding officers have the saber model 1855 for Infantry officers and the revolver model 1874. In 1886, they receive the Model 1855-1883 saber for infantry officers.
  • May 31st 1904 : At that time customs are equipped with model 1886 rifle, models 1873 and 1874 revolvers and also model 1845 warrant officer saber.

As you can see, during the 1870-1871 war, the official armament of the customs is still of the 1842 model. After 1872, it seems to be of the Chassepot system and after 1875, of the Gras system. The model 1867 is never mentioned in the documents I have, but…
Ernest FORT himself admits he knows very little of the armaments used by customs troops fighting during the siege of Paris. He just says these troops arrived in Paris from all over the French territory in uniform, but without firearms and received new firearms in Paris. He supposes of the Chassepot type.

Well, I must say that in 1910, when FORT writes, the model 1867, too much associated with the communards, is completely forgotten by historians.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
6,881 Posts
For anyone interested, Alistair Horne in 'The fall of Paris' pgs. 247-435 gives a brief account of the internal conflict during the Commune.
Not a M1867, but a photo of an episode during the short lived Commune, showing the destruction of a statue of Napoleon, with the artist Courbet on the extreme right for which he was later imprisoned.
Motor vehicle Standing Black-and-white Building Window

Paris.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
In the building from Le Havre Customs direction is a pair of reformed M 1867 rifles serving as decoration.
The hectic armament situation after the 1870/71 can explain why these were supplied as interim weapons.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top