This is a mini project that I have begun in conjunction with a Great War project that clubmate Dan Hoyt began over the Christmas break. While he has focused on building a compliment of Canadians and Germans, I decided to take a different route and started working on a contingent of French. While there are quite a few wargaming blogs out there that cover the First World War, very few of them (unless my googlefu is weak) have even a few French models. After painting up my first squad, I can understand why. The Sky Blue of the French post 1915 uniforms is rather tricky to paint. Unlike the Commonwealth and German uniforms, which can be easily done via the appropriately colored primer, the Sky Blue takes a good deal of mixing to get just the right color. I think I have accomplished this with the use of the Army Painter Navy blue primer, three different custom mixed shades of blue and the Army Painter dip method.
These figures are from Old Glories WW1 range. The first squad to make it of my painting racks is 11 strong with a 2Lt. as the demi-section commander. It still lacks a rifleman with V.B. (grenade launcher) which should be arriving in a pack of grenadiers in a few weeks.
The plan is to begin with painting up a Demi-Section or sort of half-platoon. The French organization for a platoon differed from those of the other combatants and is closer to what the German Zug was in 1913-1914. A full platoon (known as a Section) was on paper 83-84 personnel strong, with a demi-section being closer to what a British / Canadian platoon looked like. I will be using the organizational chart for the 1916 to pre-mutiny 1917 French cosmopolitan army. Breaking down a demi-section further, we find that there is four squads, two rifle squads of 12 and 13 men respectively with each squad having two men carrying rifles equipped with V.B.'s or grenade launchers. There is also one 7 men HMG section and one 8 man Bomber / Trench fighter section. In total, with the added command, a demi-section will have ~42 men.