This scratch-built figure depicts a Second Lieutenant with one row of gold lace on his cuffs and his Kepi. This is figure #51 on plate 47 of Miller’s book, “Vanished Armies”. The Chasseurs d’ Afrique, along with the native Spahis formed the bulk of the French mounted light cavalry in North Africa throughout the late 1800’s and through the Great War. After the conquest of Algeria in the 1830’s, French colonists became aware of the rich farmland located along the Mediterranean coast of both Tunisia and Algeria. This precipitated a land rush for settlers going to North Africa. These farmers, as full French citizens, served their compulsory military duty in the Chasseurs d’ Afrique, in contrast to the Spahis, who were native born, mostly Muslim troops. Both types of light cavalry were generally commanded by mainland French officers from the military schools, as depicted here.
All of these scratch built figures are of the 54mm size and specification. This soldier has sky blue tunic, the baggy red trousers of service dress, tall Kepi and riding crop. At the time of this sketch, six regiments of cavalry were spread from Morocco through Tunisia to the far eastern end of Algeria. Haswell Miller probably witnessed this uniform from an officer on leave in Paris, or maybe a man in transit to, or from, Oran and Algiers. We are fortunate he had an artist’s eye for uniforms. These regiments would all serve on the Western Front in WWI, where they would loose their colorful uniforms for the drab colors of the Great War.