2° Reggimento Fanteria Leggera
2nd Light Infantry Regiment

Uniform Guide

History

The regiment has its origins in the light infantry battalions of the Cisalpine Republic and formed part of the original army created to defend the new Kingdom of Italy in 1805. Its campaign history is summarised below:

1806/7 - Prussia
Served in VIII Corps, present at the sieges of Colberg and Stralsund.
1808 - Spain
Part of Pino's division of VII Corps in Catalonia. Engaged at Rosas, Cardedeu & Molins del Rey.
1809 - Italy & Austria
Two battalions served in the Army of Italy, initially in Julhien's brigade of Fontanelli's division (the army was reorganised several times during the campaign). Fought at Sacile and Klagenfurt.
1809 - Spain
The regiment remained in VII Corps, fighting at Igualada, San Magin & Valls before sending one battalion back to Italy. Part of the "covering corps" for the siege of Girona.
1810 - Spain
The remaining two battalions, still in Pino's (later Severoli's) division of VII Corps, was at the siege of Hostalrich - the last Spanish Garrison in central Catalonia.
1811 - Spain
After covering the siege of Tortosa, the regiment was part of the Italian force ambushed and defeated at L'Illa. Transferred to Suchet's Army of Aragon it became part of Harispe's Division for the siege of Tarragona in 1811. The regiment followed Suchet into Valencia as part of Palombini's division, fighting at the siege and battle of Saguntum and the subsequent siege and capture of Valencia.
1812 - Spain
The regiment, with the rest of Palombini's division, was transferred to southern Aragon in February 1812 to operate against the guerilleros. Summoned by Joseph in the aftermath of Salamanca, the division joined his Army of the Centre in July.
1813 - Spain
Transferred again in January, this time to the Army of the North, Palombini's division spent another six months guerillero-hunting culminating in the siege and occupation of Castro-Urdiales. After the disaster of Vittoria the regiment escaped Spain as part of Foy's command, fighting at Villafranca and Tolosa on the way. Soult moved the regiment to the reserve of his army, where they seem not to have been actively engaged during the battles for the Pyrenees. In December the regiment returned to Italy.
1813 - Germany
The 3rd and 4th battalions marched in Grenier's 35th division to join the remnants of the Grand Armeé in February. They fought at Lützen and Bautzen as part of MacDonald's XI Corps. Remaining in this formation after the armistice, they fought at the Katzbach and at Leipzig before being captured at the latter battle after the premature destruction of the Elster bridge.
1813 - Italy
The second battalion served in the Army of Italy in a division commanded by Palombini (newly returned from Spain). They fought at Jelsane and Tchernütz.
1814 - Italy
The remnants of the regiment fought in General Zucchi's division of the army of Italy, fighting at The Mincio, Parma and Reggio.

Organisation

The regiment was organised into four battlions and a depot in line with the standard infantry organisation.

Uniform

An early picture of the appearance of this regiment is given by the Otto Manuscript, which includes two views of a carabiniere as he appeared in 1807:

Figures from the Otto Manuscript

The light infantry uniform was not formalised until 1811 when the following was specified:

Headgear
On campaign, all companies wore a French style shako with a white metal lozenge-shaped plate bearing the regimental number within a hunting horn. The shako bore a green, red and white cockade and a pom-pom that was green over white for cacciatori, green or yellow for volteggiatori and red for carabinieri. Shako cords were white for cacciatori, green and yellow for volteggiatori and red for carabinieri. for parade dress, the carabinieri wore a bearskin bonnet with a red plume and without a front plate, the red cloth patch at the rear bore a white cross. For undress wear, a green bonnet-de-police fatigue cap was worn, piped in the regimental colour (see below).
Coat
The coat was dark green and of the short tailed habite-veste pattern (the long tailed habit-coat was worn prior to 1811). Scarlet was the regimental facing colour and was used on the collar and cuffs and as piping on the pointed lapels, pockets, shoulder straps, cuff flaps and turn-backs. There is some evidence that turn-backs were white, but sources conflict. Instead of shoulder straps, volteggiatore wore green epaulettes with yellow crescents, carabinieri wore red ones. Waistcoats were green and piped with the regimental colour.
Breeches
Breeches were dark green and worn with knee-length black gaiters with white metal buttons. On campaign, green overall trousers were worn with a facing colour stripe down the outer seam.

Sources

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