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Camerone, 30 aprile 1863 - 54 mm vignette

Discussion in 'vBench (Works in Progress)' started by wampum, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. wampum Active Member

    CAMERONE, 30 aprile 1863
    "Nous avons des cartouches et ne nous rendrons pas"

    Pegaso Models' 54 mm scale, sculpted by Stefano Cannone

    This vignette is based on the saga of the legionnaires at Camerone.

    The Mexican civil war had lasted three years, and the country was devastated to the extent that payment of its debts with foreign countries had been suspended.
    France, Great Britain and Spain had agreed to make a military intervention, but President Juarez was determined to fight to free his country from European interference.
    The Union of the Northern American states was too busy fighting the Confederation to be able to help Mexico.
    By April 1862 the Spanish and English no longer agreed on the operation, and decided to withdraw and leave the French alone.
    The Régiment Etranger landed at Vera Cruz on late March 1863. The unknown insects' assault, spicy beans, tortillas, tequila and at last extremely serious dysentary attacked the leggionaires in the first days of their arrival.
    On April 29 the headquarters of the Legion was informed that a large caravan of supplies and gold nuggets had been sent from La Soledad for the troops involved in the siege on Puebla. The Third Company of the first battalion received the order to march ahead of the caravan, to avoid the possibility of the enemy's intercepting the supplies and the gold. That day because of the yellow fever the Third Company, could send up only 62 capable men. Captain Danjou had been charged as their commander and two more officers had been charged to help him on tis journey.
    The 65 legionnaires and numerous mules loaded with boxes of ammunition began marching on the early cool morning hours before the sun began pounding as they learned in the African desert.
    After five hours of marching the sun of the tierra caliente began to affect the legionnaires. They decided to stop and take a break for coffee. They gathered some dry sticks from the ruins of a nearby farm.
    Before their water for the coffee boiled, they heard a horse whinny. captain Danjou looked at Second Lieutenant Maudet, his adjunct, who in turn looked in surprised at Lieutenant Vilain. They began barking orders while everyone saw a cloud of dust approaching with loud voices shouting in Spanish, "Adelante! Fuego contra los francesos hijos de puta!". The first bullets shot without aim by the Mexicans whistled over the legionnaires.
    Captain Danjou ordered the men to square up with fifteen men on a side with the mules in center. At a second order they pulled out their bayonets and lined up one after another with their guns aimed and ready to response the attack. The Mexicans came on, yelling, with their raised sabres. The legionnaires' carefully aimed fires, as they were trained for this, upset many Mexicans and their horses.
    After this surprise and very efficient counter attack, the legionnaires pulled back to the ruins of the nearby farm with the order of their commander.
    The Mexicans became furious after loosing numerous comrades with the fire of a fistful men, and charged again. This time several legionnaires fell but, their precise fire made Mexicans to take their wounded, and pull back.
    The legionnaires kept firing without stopping, alternating between one line and another, following their officers' orders. Nobody said a word, and everybody followed the orders mechanically, shhoting, cleaning the gunbarrels with the ramrod, setting the cock, inserting a new cartridge, lifting the barrel, aiming, shooting again, all with a methodical progression that made the standard-bearer, Maudet, think of an industrial machine.
    About fifteen legionnaires had fallen, some of them were still alive. The Mexicans had greater loss. Meanwhile the legionnaires reached the ruined farm. It was an half standing hacienda. These kind of buildings called "camaron" but the French pronunciated it "Camerone", so the name of that legendary place was passed as such.
    They entrenched there in order to slow down the Mexicans' attack, thus keeping the enemy busy and protecting the supply caravan. They had no food nor water, since their mules with vittles remained far away.
    A Mexican officer came alone to ask them to surrender because they had no chance if they would fight with 800 Mexican cavalrymen. Corporal Luis Favas, a Spaniard, translated into French the Mexican's request. Captain Danjou answered "Nous avons des cartouches et ne nous rendrons pas!". Lifting his fist Danjou swore, that he would fight to the death. All of the legionnaires swore in front of their commander that they would never surrender.
    The 800 Mexicans took positions and prepared for the battle. Their attack was effective this time. The legionnaires caused great loss on Mexicans' lines with their well aimed shots, but they began to loose their fire power.
    Everybody hoped reinforcements would arrive, but the only reinforcements arrived for Mexicans, 1200 foot soldiers.
    Mexicans' next attack was upset again by the legionnaires, knocking down tens upon tens of foot soldiers. Some of them stopped in surprise, and others shot confused blanks. Captain Danjou was hit in the breast and the legionnaires' spirits sank. It was about 1 pm and they were fighting for about 3 hours, since their jurament. They were fewer and fewer able riflemen left, in spite of the fact that the Mexicans' new attack was pushed back, and this time their loss was bigger.
    At 2 pm another attack was fatal to Lieutenant Vilain. Standard -bearer Maudet was the only officer left alive. In the boiling afternoon heat the Mexicans could set fire to the wooden beams of the roof from the ruins. The legionnaires were able to put out the fire, but at 5:30 pm only Maudet and eleven other men were still able to fight. A Mexican officer asked them again to surrender. Maudet's answer was so harsh that the Mexican turned back to his lines, shaking his head.
    On their next attack, the Mexicans could wipe out the half of the surviving twelve legionnaires. The left five legionnaires, remained with their guns empty after the last shots, heard Maudet's order "Bayonets!". They threw themselves into the attack under the bullet rain of the Mexicans. Maudet and two other legionnaire fell wounded to death. The other three legionnaires, Corporal Maine and riflemen Wenzel and Leonard went on unhurt, ready to be cut to pieces, when a Mexican officer with his sabre in hand appeared in front of the three brave soldiers, asking them <i>per favor</i> to surrender. With their bayonets touching on the breast of the Mexican officer, and with the rifles aimed by Mexicans towards them, Corporal Maine answered "We will surrender if you promise to help our wounded, and if you leave us the honor of keeping our arms."
    It was six o'clock in the afternoon, the 65 legionnaires had held out for eleven hours against 2000 men, killing 300 and wounding as many. Only three legionnaires remained unhurt at Camerone. Second Lieutenant Maudet and other eight soldiers who were seriously wounded were to die within a few hours. Nineteen more legionnaires died later in prison, and only twelve men survived to be set free.
    The heroic stand of the Foreign Legion ensured the French supply convoy made it safely to Puebla. The Mexicans failed to relieve the siege and the city fell on May 17.
    After hearing of the battle, French Emperor Napoleon III had the name Camerone embroidered onto the flag of the Foreign Legion.
    Today April 30th is celebrated as Camerone Day by the Foreign Legion, and is the most cherished battle in the history of the Legion. The word "Camerone" is inscribed in gold on the walls of Les Invalides in Paris.


    Thank you all for your patience on reading and looking at the pictures.

    Attached Files:

  2. Black Army Well-Known Member

    Very nice work! I think this background color isn't the best one for the photos. I would try the green or grey (?), I'm not an photoexpert. If I were you I would change the color.
    By the way, the vignette is great!

  3. ATTİLA the HUN Well-Known Member

    Algu, Very nice work! Good basework.
    Ellerine sağlık.
  4. Major_Goose Well-Known Member

    Dear Algu, thats a nice piece of work, on a rare Pegaso kit.

    Your painting is improving , and i think that indeed the background golor is not showing properly your effort. Many figures and a nice scenery make your best piece so far !!!


  5. Marcel Active Member

    Great job with a lot of paintwork! Nice addtion of the cactus.
    Like the others said the background can better be changed, to do your paintjob more justice.
  6. wampum Active Member

    Thanks alot my friends. I liked the background in this way but your ideas are important and I' ll keep them in mind for the next project.
  7. vergilius New Member

    very nice dio!
  8. wampum Active Member

  9. megroot A Fixture

    Very good work of the Canone brothers.
    They always researched and sculpt as the best. The painting is always awesome.
    No exception with these.

  10. wampum Active Member

    Thanks Mark for your comment.
  11. John Bowery A Fixture

    Wonderful piece of history and a very nice Vignette.
  12. wampum Active Member

    Thanks alot John. I am glad you like it.
  13. Gummisheep Member

    Great work,i love it......:)
  14. wampum Active Member

    Thanks, I am glad you like it.

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