Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A pyramid in the Netherlands? Alde Garde on tour again.

 Maybe a strange title, but many people don't known, that in the Netherlands there is really a pyramid.
Of course not an Egyptian one but a more recent French one. 

"A French one?" you may ask. And yes, indeed a French one; build in 1804. So what is the story? We will tell you.In 1804 a French/Batavian army was concentrated in the middle of the Batavian Republic near the small city of Zeist. Its commander was general Auguste Frédéric louis Viesse de marmont (1774-1852) who had served with napoleon Bonaparte in Toulon, Egypt and Italy. 

The army was ment to take part in a planned invasion of England and training took place in a new erected camp in the neighbourhood of Zeist. 

But as training was finished and the troops got bored, Marmont had the great idea to let the troops build a pyramid as he had seen in the Egyprian campaign. So work started on September 10th and was finished on October 7th 1804 or in 28 days.  

Underneath a print of the pyramid in 1804

The pyramid itself had a base of 43,60 m x 43,60 m en the top measured 6,20 m x 6,20 m. On it was placed a woorden obelisk with a height of 13m.

As the pyramid itself is 19,20 m (or 40 steps of 48 cm each) the total height is appr. 34,10 m.
The pyramid was made of sand with on the outside turf  

The drawing underneath (from 1805) stated a height of 36m.

There were memorial tablets on each side of the pyramid with information of napoleon's victories, about Marmont and about the troops who build the pyramid. These stone tablets arrived in  march 1805. 

In April 1805 Mamont bought the ground on which the pyramid was built and erected 3 houses to be used by some old soldiers to guard the pyramid which can been in the picture underneath of 1807. they lived there for some 10 years.

In Oktober 1805, the pyramid was officially named Mont Marmont or Marmont Mountain. 
But of course against the will of Marmont who must have been very angry, in 1806 the new Dutch King Louis Napoleon renamed the pyramid after the great 1805 victory of his brother Napoleon: the Pyramide of Austerlitz. 
The village nearby which arised out of the settlement of traders around the military camp was also called Austerlitz and exists (as does the pyramid itself) until today.

So what happened to the pyramid until today?
In 1806 the wooden obelisk on top leaned over, was later corrected but in 1808 was torn down. 
In the following years the weather influenced the mount a great deal which is shown on the picture of 1866.

In fact, for almost 90 years nothing happened and the mount shrunk to around 20m until some remains of the tablets were found and the owner of the land (who's family had bought the ground from Marmont in 1816) got the idea of restore the mount.
So in 1894 a new obelisk, now in stone, was erected on the pyramid which gave the pyramid a new appearance as can be seen on a picture of 1905.

In 1920 is looks like this, new stairs were added.

After that in various years work had to be done to repair the damage of the weather (rain) on the pyramid and to keep the woods away from the mount as these close in on the mount as can be seen on picture of 2001.

Again a great restauration took place, woods were cleared around the mount, the turf again received the steps as of a real pyramide and a picture how it looks after restauration in 2008
 and its surroundings from above:

Some pictures when we visited it in 2021. The last 4 pictures are from the restored tablets.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Modelling exhibition

 At last, something new in our "on tour" category; a visit to the Modelling expo in Rosmalen. Normally in Goes (well, the last 25 years) but due to corona it now was at this venue. Sadly no wargaming but a lot of different modelling catagories; see the pictures underneath for an impression. 

I had forgotten my camera so the pictures were taken with mobile phone; not the best quality I am afraid.

Building your own wooden transport!

Mecano club; Mecano still alive!

Marc with his painting demo with kids; after two days he was exhausted

A break with Martin of Miniatuurwereld.com

Saturday, June 12, 2021

A small Dutch Brigade

So at last a small Dutch brigade is ready consisting of  a battalion of the first regiment of Waldeck, two greandier battalions (Buseck and Larrey) and the hussars of Timmermans. 

The Waldeckers and grenadiers are of the great Emperor Toad range, the hussars from Forgotten Glorious.

The infantry battalions had battalion guns manned by artillery men (so in artillery uniform) and not by commandeered infantry men (as eg in the French army).

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Hollandse and Zwitserse Garde in the French Revolutionary period

Hollandse Garde

Starting with the Hollandse Garde (Dutch Guard) which was in the pay of the province of Holland and its proprietor was the Stadtholder William V of Orange-Nassau. 
The regiment was raised in 1599 as a regiment of Nassau, since 1674 a guard regiment and since 1702 called the regiment Hollandse Garde.

Since the reorganisation of 1752, the regiment had 2 battalions each with 6 musketeer companies and one grenadier company although formally there were just 14 companies of which the first two were grenadier and the other twelve musketeers. The grenadiercompanies (as in all Dutch infantry regiments) were also referred as Lijfcompagnieën (Life companies)

Regarding its flag; in 1786 the existing flags were under pressure of the then ruling Patriots changed as these didn't like the Orangist heraldric signs which were on the flags.
As with the help of an invading Prussian army the patriots were chased out of Holland in 1787,the Orangists became the ruling class again which resulted in 1788 in new flags (with orangist heraldic signs of course ) for the Hollandse Garde.

The patriot-period colonels flag looked like this (from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam):

This is the backside which shows (unclear I admit) an arm with sword coming out of a small cloud.
The front side shows the same arrangements only the middle oval is the weapon of Holland (red lion on gold background). I don't have a coloured image of that side but will try to get it.  

This 1786 design was changed in 1788 into the colonelsflag underneath of which there are two in the Rijksmuseum so probably both battalions had the same colonelsflag. This is unusual as mostly only the first battalion as fas as we know, had the colonelsflag. 
As the pré 1786 designs are known (in the Rijksmuseum also) both flags must be of the post 1788 period.

The post 1788 flags in the pictures show:
The left one is 98*106 cm of which the background colour is ecru or an offwhite. The backside is the same.
The right one is 117*97 cm with also as background colour ecru. Again, the backside is the same as the frontside.

The regimental colour isn't known but there is a picture of the 1st battalion of the guard of around 1770 (underneath) which shows this older design of the white colonelscolour and an orange regimental one.

As the design of the post 1788 regimental flag isn't known, I would suggest for now, the same design for both flags, just different background colour. 
Note the white/silve tassels on the flagpoles. The flagpoles should according to the reglement, painted black.

Regarding the uniforms, Macalister Loup shows the uniform  as underneath

Other pictures of the Hollandse garde are:

An older picture of an officer show the older grenadier bearskin which was worn probably up to around 1770. After that, the bearskin without frontplate was used and this was the example for the rest of the Dutch army (this is mentioned in the reglement of 1772). 
Notice that the bag of the grenadierbeasrkin is red; the same as the colour of the facings.

The drummers wore the following:

I believe that the first two are musicians with the yellow/gold lacing and the drummers with the white/silver lacing are drummers of the musketier companies.

Zwitserse Garde

The Zwitserse garde (Swiss guard) was raised from various Swiss companies in the service of the Dutch State in 1749 although various Swiss regiments were already in the service of the Dutch Republic for a long time.

In the budget of 1792 the regiment is mentioned as consisting of one battalion of 8 strong companies but probably these would be used as two battalions, each of four companies.
All Swiss regiments had no seperate grenadier companies but grenadiers were integral to each company but probably in the field were used as an separate company.
The first company of the regiment was called the lijf company or Prinzen Compagnie as the Prinz of Orange (The Stadtholder) was its inhaber and owner of the first company.

Each company had its own flag (so in total eight flags were carries but the first company had the white colonelsflag and the 7 other companies had an regimental one.
The colonelsflag on the left one is from the Museum at Zürich; the colonels on the right is from the Dutch Military Museum and is acquired from relatives of the last colonel of the regiment. Probably the white is faded.
Both flags look very similar.

The regimental flag shows the very well known Swiss flames design.(picture also from the Zurich museum)

While the Hollandse garde had white/silver tassels on the flag, the swiss flag above shows an orange cravat. In fact all Swiss flags shows the orange cravat.

Some uniforms of the Swiss guard:

Notice that the bag of the Swiss grenadier bearsskins were blue although the facing colour was red.  

Probably again musicians (with yellow lacing) of the Swiss guard.