In April 1806 Napoleons older brother Joseph was appointed King of Naples. In June 1806 the raising of the 1st & 2nd Infantry Regiments and the 1st Light Infantry Regiment was ordered. The formation of the units met with strong resistance from the Naples population. Joseph was forced to fill the units with convicts, prisoners of war and vagabonds. Only 2 Battalions per Regiment were raised instead of the 4 per regiment. The organisation of each Battalion followed the French pattern with 1 Grenadier, 1 Voltigeur and 4 Fusiliers Companies. To reduce the overwhelming desertion rate of the regiments they were sent to Northern Italy at the begining of 1807. In Mantova the 1st Regiment was reinforced with soldiers of the 2nd Regiment. Near the end of 1807, the unit was ordered to march to the Spanish theatre of war and reached the Spanish border on January 8th 1808. They became part of the Barcelona garrison. In June 1808 it took part in the first attempt to storm the City of Gerona but was repelled with great loses. During 1808 the 2nd regiment joined the 1st Regiment and both units were involved in the siege of gerona. The casulaties of the Neapolitans were extremely high due to sickness, war casulaties and the high level of desertions. Murat the new King of naples, constantly tried to fill ranks in the Neapolitan units but the replacements continued to be of very low quality.
At the end of 1810, the 1st and 2nd Infantry Regiments and the 1st Light Infantry regiment were reduced to one Battalion each. They stayed in Spain and were finally combined to form the 8th Neapolitan Line Infantry Regiment. In Naples the original Regiments were reraised. The 8th Regiment was reduced to Battalion strength in 1813. It was engaged in Spain until Murat defected from napoleon after the disastrous Russian Campaign and was finally disarmed and taken prisoner in France in July 1813.
The uniform introduced for the Neapolitan 1st & 2nd Infantry Regiments in 1806 was of the French pattern but had different colouring. The coat was white with light blue lapels, cuffs and piping on shoulder straps, turnbacks and pocket flaps. The collar was light blue with white piping for the 1st Regiment and white with light blue piping for the 2nd Regiment. Both Regiments had bras/gold buttons. The headress was the bicorne with company coloured pompoms and the French cockade. The Grenadiers wore bearskin caps with red cords and plume. Greatcoats, equipment packs, pouches and white leather belts were all of French design.
The figures are conversions of Front Rank miniatures based on 50mm x50mm wooden bases. The flags are by Body's Banners.
The 1st Infantry Regiment
The 4th "Royal Sannita" Regiment