1st Polish Lancer at Waterloo 1815, Painted

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470.40 (392.00 Excl VAT)

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Product Description

The Poles felt that one way of restoring independence was to fight for Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1791 Dabrowski organised two legions to fight the Austrians in Lombardy and, later, for the French in the Iberian Peninsula. Kniaziewicz organised the Polish Danube Legion to fight against the Germans in 1799.

Napoleon used the Polish Legions in all his campaigns; against Russia, Austria and Prussia, in Egypt, in the West Indies (Santo Domingo), and in Spain (where they fought the British and inspired the formation of the English lancers equipped with Polish-style uniforms and weapons). Some of the Poles became very disillusioned with Bonaparte, realising that they were being manipulated.

Later, in 1806, the French armies defeated the Prussians at Jena and entered Posen (Poznan) led by the Poles under Dabrowski. A year later Napoleon and the Tzar, Alexander, met at Tilsit and agreed to set up a Polish State made up of the lands the Prussians had taken in the second partition. This was the Duchy of Warsaw. Napoleon used the Duchy as a pawn in his political game and in 1812 called upon the Lithuanians to rebel as an excuse to attack Russia. The Poles, flocking to his standard in the hope of resurrecting the Commonwealth, formed the largest non-French contingent, 98,000 men. Polish Lancers were the first to cross the Niemen into Russia, the first to enter Moscow, played a crucial part in the battle of Borodino and, under Poniatowski, covered the disastrous French retreat, being the last out of Russia; 72,000 never returned.

Despite the cynical way that Napoleon treated the Poles they remained loyal to him and, when he went into exile on Elba the only guards that Napoleon was allowed were Polish Lancers.

We will supply this figurine on a thin 'Collectors' base as standard. If you would like us to mount it on a deeper 'Presentation' style base please choose the option below.