Napoleon III’S Imperial Guard
The elite corps of The Napoleonic Wars Was re-established and updated To serve The second french empire
The imperial Guard was the most famous unit of napoleon i’s army, and they earned a reputation as outstanding soldiers. When napoleon iii became emperor of france, he actively sought to emulate his uncle in politics, warfare and the organisation of his armed forces.
A visible sign of the new napoleonic era was the re-establishment of the imperial Guard on 1 may 1854. composed of two infantry divisions and one cavalry division, the Guard retained some visible aspects of its famous predecessor, such as bearskin headdresses for grenadiers. All members of the Guard had to be experienced soldiers of good character, which replicated napoleon i’s corps of reliable, loyal veterans. There were also some new features, including the wearing of red trousers and the establishment of a north African Zouave regiment.
The imperial Guard’s major campaigns during the 1850s included the crimean War and second italian War of independence, serving with distinction. however, the Guard mostly remained on garrison duty in paris for most of napoleon iii’s reign, which diminished its fighting capabilities by the early 1870s. during the franco-prussian War the Guard numbered 20,000 men, but they underperformed at the battles of mars-la-tour and Gravelotte as well as the siege of metz. it was formally abolished, this time permanently, by the french Third republic following the fall of napoleon iii.
A carabinier of the heavy brigade in the Imperial Guard Cavalry Division