Tirailleur Algerien Standing Ready

Price: $43.00


Team Miniatures

Formed in 1833 from various groups of Arabs and Turks, these troops were at first considered rather wild and undisciplined by the French. All of the men and most of the NCOs were natives, as were about half of the officers up to the rank of lieutenant. The Turcos also absorbed the native element of the Zouaves when they were transformed into a European corps, although all the senior officers and some key NCOs were French. In 1841 they were officially organized into three battalions, one from each of the provinces of Algiers, Oran and Constantine. They gained their first laurels fighting tribesmen in Algeria, later distinguishing themselves in the Crimea, especially at Inkerman. In 1855 the Emperor was sufficiently impressed to increase their establishment to three regiments. In 1859 a provisional regiment of three battalions saw action in Italy where they again fought well, if somewhat savagely, reputedly cutting the throats of even dead enemies. Elements of the corps also fought in Senegal, Indo-China and Mexico.
So great was the demand for acceptance into the Turcos that in 1865 the Emperor decreed that each regiment would be increased to four battalions. As further recognition of their conduct, from 1863 until 1870 a battalion was attached to the Imperial Guard, serving alongside the Guard Zouave Regiment.

In 1870 the three regiments, each of three field battalions, formed part of MacMahon's 1st Corps. In the first serious engagement of the war at Wissembourg (4 August), the 1st Regt., of Gen. Douay's 2nd Division, defended the railway station against waves of attacking German infantry, losing over 500 men in the process. Two days later at Froeschwiller all three regiments were engaged and suffered heavy losses. Again it was the 1st Regiment which particularly distinguished itself. Ordered to protect the Reserve artillery from the rapidly closing German infantry, they surged forwards waving their rifles above their heads and yelling. Three times they were led forward and each time they were decimated by rifle and artillery fire. When they eventually pulled back, more than 800 of their number were casualties.