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Original French 2nd Empire Model 1825 Carabinier Brass and Steel Helmet With Pattern 1814 Carabinier Cuirass Set - Formerly A.A.F. Tank Museum Collection

Regular price $3,895.00

Item Description

Original Items: One Set Only. The Elite Carabiniere were part of the French Heavy Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte following his retreat from Moscow in 1812 and his exile to the island of Elba, the French Monarchy were re-instated under King Louis XVIII. Unfortunately this was short-lived with Napoleon's escape from Elba and dramatic return to France in 1815. History tells us that most all of France, including the Military, rose up in rebellion supporting the return of the Emperor and probably one of the world's most nail biting periods followed.

The set came to us from the American Armoured Foundation, Inc. Tank and Ordnance Memorial Museum. The AAF Tank Museum was a living memorial dedicated to the Tank and Cavalry soldiers of the world. Before 1981 some of the artifacts that make up the AAF Tank Museum was a private collection belonging to Mr. William Gasser. Mr. Gasser felt that his collection would be beneficial in educating present and future generations to the sacrifices made and the technologies gained during war. Therefore, in 1981 the AAF Tank Museum was established as a non-profit charitable organization, and Mr. Gasser's donated his private collection to the Tank Museum. Mr. Gasser is still active as Volunteer Director and Curator of the Tank Museum and his knowledge of military history has been a great asset to the museum. Unfortunately after 20 years of operation it had to close its doors, which is when this set was acquired.

The Items In This Set:
Original French 2nd Empire Model 1825 Carabinier Brass and Steel Helmet in size 54: This is a wonderful French Model 1825 Carabinier Helmet, with a brass skull, nickel silver comb embossed with beaded fluting and terminating with the head of Medusa, and short black horsehair brush mane. The nickel silver helmet plate is embossed with a flaming grenade flanked by laurel leaves, with nickel silver bound front and back brass peaks. It still retains the leather backed brass overlapping chin scales, which are still fully intact, though worn. The left side of the skull bears a French Tri-color feather plume with a black base knot.

The original leather liner is present and is still in rather solid condition, though the top strap is missing. The rear of the helmet is stamped just under the comb with size 54, and below this is the maker marking: 


This is a known maker of brass Carabinier and Cuirassier helmets. The overall condition is impeccable for the age.

Original French Pattern 1814 Carabinier Cuirass Set: Here we offer an extremely rare set of M-1814 Brass faced Cuirass of the elite Carabiniere, the design from this tumultuous period. The Cuirass, both front and back plates retain their original substantial brass facings and both chained shoulder straps, though the leather has broken off from the fittings on the back plate. All in all this is a wonderful set though it most certainly was cleaned and the interior repainted.

The front plate has what looks to be a regimental number of 3 T. 2 L. stamped in the upper left and lower right interior, and besides this in both locations is the number 550. On the bottom further to the left on the interior it is marked faintly with Manuf're Roy'ale de Châtellerault X'bre 1837, indicating manufacture at the Royal Armory in Châtellerault, December 1837.

The back plate however is marked Manuf're R'ale de Klingenthal / No. 1869 Juillet 1828, indicating it was made somewhat earlier at the Royal Arsenal in Klingenthal, during July 1828. This was the first royal manufacturer created in France, however being in the contested Alsatian region was deemed to be a risk, so it was eventually closed in favor of more centrally located arsenals.

An incredibly attractive 2nd Empire Armor set that comes more than ready for further research and display.

A carabinier (also sometimes spelled carabineer or carbineer) is in principle a soldier armed with a carbine. A carbiniere is a carabiniere musket or rifle and were commonplace by the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. The word is derived from the identical French word carabinier.

Historically, carabiniers were generally (but not always) horse soldiers. The carbine was considered a more appropriate firearm for a horseman than a full-length musket, since it was lighter and easier to handle while on horseback. Light infantry sometimes carried carbines because they are less encumbering when moving rapidly, especially through vegetation, but in most armies the tendency was to equip light infantry with longer-range weapons such as rifles rather than shorter-range weapons such as carbines. In Italy and Spain, carbines were considered suitable equipment for soldiers with policing roles, so the term carabinier evolved to sometimes denote gendarmes and border guards.

Today, the term is used by some countries in military, law enforcement, and gendarmerie roles.

French Carabiniers-à-Cheval
In 1690 one company of carabiniers was maintained in each regiment of the French army's cavalry. Their duties were analogous to those of grenadiers in infantry regiments: scouting, detached work, and, in general, all duties requiring special activity and address. They fought mounted and dismounted alike, and even took part in siege warfare in the trenches. The French carabiniers were mentioned at the battle of Neerwinden in 1693 commanded by Prince de Conti. Although their original role was that of a mounted police similar to the Gendarmes, as combat troops they first took the form of separate companies within each cavalry regiments on 29 October 1691 under Louis XIV. Only later was an independent regiment or cavalerie de reserve established in 1693 under the command of Duc du Maine. However at that time all French cavalry other than the gendarmes were called light cavalry, and their first name was Corps royal des carabiniers, organized by brigading of four squadrons commanded by a lieutenant-colonel.

The Corps was enlarged to ten squadrons by the start of the Seven Years' War. Their depot was in Strasbourg, where it remained for a century. On 13 May 1758, the Corps was renamed Royal carabiniers de monsieur le Comte de Provence. By 1762, the Corps was enlarged to five brigades of thirty squadrons, but was reduced to two regiments in 1788. However, the events of the French Revolution affected all of the French Army and the cavalry Arm in particular, and the carabiniers were reduced to two regiments of four squadrons each, later serving in the Army of the Rhine. The regiments retained their distinctive bearskin headwear until 1810 when it was replaced by even more distinctive helmets with scarlet combs. They were also distinguished by Napoleon with a brass overlay on the iron cuirasses after suffering heavy casualties in the 1809 campaign, but were no longer equipped with carbines.

The two Carabiniers regiments, brigaded together and as a part of General of Division Nansouty's 1st Heavy Cavalry Division saw action during the Napoleonic wars, including in the Battle of Austerlitz, Battle of Friedland, Battle of Wagram, Battle of Borodino (commanded by General of Brigade Defrance), Battle of Leipzig, Battle of Laon and Battle of Waterloo. The Carabiniers were restored as a single régiment de Monsieur after the second Bourbon restoration.

By 1814, there were two regiments of Carabiniers with their distinctive style of helmet, which was temporarily adopted by the cuirassiers. The Carabiniers were present in Paris in June 1848 for the creation of the Republic, when nine regiments were brought in to maintain peace, the first time in 200 years that carabiniers were again serving as military police. From 1852 the Carabiniers were a part of the Army of the Second French Empire, but did not serve in the Crimean War. In 1870, they saw service again as a single regiment, but now as part of the Imperial Guard. Following the Franco-Prussian War, the Carabiniers were amalgamated with the 11th Cuirassier regiment on 4 February 1871.

The 1-11e Régiment de Cuirassiers of the modern French Army can accordingly trace its origin, in part, to the 19th Century Carabiniers. By coincidence the present day regiment is stationed in Carpiagne within Provence, once the domain of their former commander.

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