"1805 - 1813".
In 1804 each battalion in the French army gained a new type of company, voltigeurs (literally ‘vaulters’) by the simple expedient of redesignating a fusilier company. In this company were supposed to be the lightest and most nimble men – men of courage and ability who were physically too small for the grenadier company, and their role was to act as light infantry, skirmishing and screening the rest of the battalion. This might seem strange as there were already whole light infantry regiments, and the creation of voltigeurs applied also to these, but in truth line and light regiments frequently took on each other’s roles and the distinction was more cosmetic than practical. Right from the start these voltigeurs were considered an elite, like the grenadiers, and it is these men that are the focus of this set.
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