Help support TMP

"How wargamers field Napoleonic Russian Battalions" Topic

29 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

2,810 hits since 28 Sep 2011
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

teper1961 Inactive Member28 Sep 2011 2:53 a.m. PST

Due to a rule change, i am in the process of rebasing ALL my Russians. Inevitably this means adding the odd figure (usually command) to make up to full battalions.

Before i did all that i started to research and read up again on the Russian Infantry divisons/regiments/battalions.

Using a Musketeer Battalion as an example, I have previously always arranged my Battalions as all musketeers but now wondering whether this is correct?

The rules I use (Espirit de Coprs) Battalions are made up of 16 figures on 4 bases of 4 figures (or 8 bases of 2 figures).

The books I have read refer to a musketeer battalion being made up of 4 Companys and each Company made up of 2 platoons. There were 3 companys of musketeers and one company of Greandiers/Jagers (or tirailleurs).

So should my battalions on the wargames table be made up of
3 x bases of musketeers and 1 x 1/2 base of Grenadiers and 1 x 1/2 base of jagers/tirailleurs?

I understand that it was usual practise to detach the Grenadier platoons to form combined Grenadier battalions which is fine, but what happened to the jager (or tirailleurs) platoon?

If the Grenadier Platoon was detached should I now be fielding 7 platoons (or 3 1/2 Companys), and would the (platoon of) jagers (or tirailleurs, from the musketeer batallion) be used in a similar role to say the French Voltigeurs Companys?

What about the quality of the Combined Grenadiers? Does one rate them higher than a musketeer? It would appear that one didnt necessarily have to be the biggest and strongest to be in the Grenadier (or Jager/tirailleurs) platoon, just simply of good character, and if you failed in anyway, you would be 'demoted'(?) back to a musketeer platoon.

Thoughts anyone?

12345678 Inactive Member28 Sep 2011 3:31 a.m. PST

Ideally, you should have 3 bases of musketeers, half a base of grenadiers and half a base of tirailleurs. However, most wargames units that I have seen (including mine) just have musketeers. In 6mm I justify this on the basis that the elites are not wearing their plumes and the other distinctions are too small to see:).

The combined grenadier battalions were usually formed from depot units, not the combat battalions. At best, they would probably be marginally better than the musketeers.


Femeng2 Inactive Member28 Sep 2011 3:42 a.m. PST

The integrated Grenadier/Voliguer platoon was in effect from 1810 on. However, the grenadiers were NEVER detached. The combined grenadier battalions were formed from the grenadier companies stripped from the depot battalions of the division. Each was of three companies with the jagers split and added to the two companies from each brigade in order to form two three-company battalions for each division. If necessary they could fight as is, but were designed to eventually become reinforcements for the other battions of their parent regiments. The combined grenadiers were the best of the depot battalions. I mount my figures on 4 three-man stands, of which one is the grenadiers.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2011 4:44 a.m. PST

My Napoleonic Russians are all 6mm, so the Musketeer battalions are all musketeers

Now that the plastic 28mm are out I will probably buy some, and so I should have a grenadier stand in my units – as noted by Femeng, for your rules one grenadier stand per battalion should work out

Lion in the Stars28 Sep 2011 5:43 a.m. PST

Wouldn't the Jagers usually form the skirmish screen? If so, then I would not include them in the line.

DHautpol28 Sep 2011 6:02 a.m. PST

I use a ground scale based rule set, rather than figure ratio, so I calculate the size of the bases and then see how many figures fit on.

My Russians come out at 20 figures to a battalion (which I suppose is roughly 1:30). Strictly speaking there should be 5 grenadiers in a Musketeer battalion but 4 looks tidier, 2 x 2 at the far end of the right hand element.

My Grenadier battalions comprise all grenadiers (not strictly accurate, but all those bushy plumes do look good).

My Jagers are based in close formation but with enough extra bases to depict all but one of the battalion elements in skirmish order (hey, these are 6mm, it costs very little extra to do this); the remaining element provides the formed reserve.

Greystreak28 Sep 2011 1:49 p.m. PST

For 1812 and later Musketeers, I went with 32 figure battalions, in four companies of 8; one company comprising a 4-figure platoon of grenadiers, and a similar platoon of strelkovi grouped in one company.



boomstick86 Inactive Member28 Sep 2011 1:52 p.m. PST

I don't think there was a jager platoon in the line battalions, they called "strelki", and were kind of like the "shutzen" skirmishers found as a subset of many Germanic infantry companies; that is, trained for light infantry duties, but not dedicated as such.

Rather than rebase my group's 15mm Russians to show the role of detached strelki, I proposed to fudge it by allowing one battalion in every infantry regiment to detach a whole company for skirmishing.

14Bore28 Sep 2011 2:26 p.m. PST

For a while I did split my Gren/Jager battalions (3 coy, 3 figures each Musketeers) then in a two battalion regiment one bat would have 2 gren 1 jager, the other 2 jager 1 gren but sometime later I dropped them and went back to 4 stands of three. Some of my musketeer battalions have 11,10 and a few 9. 1) They (Gren/ Jagers) don't get separated, 2) they don't get rated much above the musketeers If convinced they did maybe I would change and separate the Gren / Jager coy
P.S. Greystreak thats a gorgeous collection

Femeng2 Inactive Member29 Sep 2011 3:40 a.m. PST

To greystreak: Great paint job, but each battalion should only have one flag; 1st Bttn the "White" fahne, the 3rd Bttn the "colored" fahne. Only before 1810 did they carry two.

teper1961 Inactive Member29 Sep 2011 5:15 a.m. PST

Thanks for your comments. Its what I was thinking although thanks for clearing up the Combined Grenadier from depot btns, that i didnt know.
Damn, just when I thought I'd finished, more figures to buy and yet more painting to do!!
I will now have to replace a musketeer company with a grenadier platoon & jager platoon to form the 4th company. Based on my army, this will create 12 more 3 company musketeer battalions (almost another division!!!). If I add the grenadiers and command as well, oh dear! yet more painting!

Grey streak – superb paint job, thanks for posting the pics.
Main pic, 1st Battalion Saratov Musketeer ???

Femeng2 – where did you get this from? My books say that the order for battalions to carry only one flag was issued in August 1814 and it appears that this wasn't complied with until the end of the napoleonic wars.

Lion in the Stars29 Sep 2011 6:30 a.m. PST

@Greystreak: those are *very* nice!

@teper1961: You say 'another division' like it's a bad thing.

Greystreak29 Sep 2011 6:32 a.m. PST

Thanks for the comments, but my sources (including translations from Russian sources) all state two flags per battalion, effective to the end of the Napoleonic wars.

Teper1961, the first photo shows the 1st battalion of the Pskov Infantry Regiment. The second photo shows, from bottom to top, the first battalions of the Sofia Infantry Rgt., Libavskii Infantry Rgt, Moscow Infantry Rgt., and the Pskov Infantry.

12345678 Inactive Member29 Sep 2011 7:36 a.m. PST

Russian battalions carried two flags throughout the wars. The actual change did not happen until later although it was ordered during the short peace between Napoleon's first abdication and the 100 days.

Bandolier29 Sep 2011 11:15 p.m. PST

Does the strelki platoon have the same uniform as the musketeers?

Old Bear Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 2:23 a.m. PST

Having played Gilder for a decade almost without touching any other rules or period (this was 20 years ago mind) all I know is that Russians come in 32's, have Russian flags, wear green (as a rule) and fight against the French. The rest of the time was spent wargaming, not worrying whether a guy's grenadier ratios were up to spec. Sometimes I think wargaming has gone so far in a circle it's vanished up its own bum.

teper1961 Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 3:18 a.m. PST

Lion in the stars – LOL, no not a bad thing but I think i have enough Russians ( I will have after the re re organisation (yes two re's!) the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Infantry Corps plus a couple of divisions of Heavy cavalry. What I've decided with the surplus Russian musketeers is to form a Russo-German Legion, that could fight for the Russians and the Prussians (during the 100 days).
Bandolier – after reading the posts, i went back to re read my references books. It would appear (but stand to be corrected) is that they wore the same uniform as the grenadiers but had yellow pompoms for the first battalion and yellow over green for the second (ive forgotten what the 3rd battalion pompom was, but wasnt planning on fielding those anyway).
Old Bear. I played gilders rules for many years myself and of course you are right, we (as wargamers) can get caught up in trivia, especially when you think that one wargames figure represents X number of real men (depending your your rule set ratio).
My only defence is that it takes me hours to research the particular army, something i thoroughly enjoy, and yet more time painting the things, so where ever possible, i would like to get it right.

12345678 Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 3:35 a.m. PST

teper, you should field the 3rd battalion as the combat battalions were the 1st and 3rd, with the 2nd battalion being the depot unit.

teper1961 Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 6:28 a.m. PST

Colin, doesnt this get confusing, trust the Russians!!

The books i was reading last night mentioned the first was a field battalion, the second was a depot battalion (unless it was termed the 2nd field battalion) and the third was a field battalion, as you say, unless it was termed the 3rd depot battalion.

Allan Mountford Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 9:12 a.m. PST

Combined Grenadier Battalions [Svodnye Grenaderskie bataliony] were formed from the Grenadier companies of second battalions based on the regulation of 22 October 1811.

See Mark Conrad's excellent site here:


- Allan

12345678 Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 9:46 a.m. PST


The third battalions were renamed as the second battalions and vice versa in March 1824. Before this, the second battalions were the depots.

In addition, from Viskovatov:

6.) During wartime, when regiments move out on campaign, the Fusilier, Musketeer, and Jäger companies of the second battalions, having been used to fill up the other two battalions, were to remain in their quarters and were to be termed Replacement [Zapasnyi] battalions.

7.) The Grenadier companies of second battalions were to set out on campaign with the first and third battalions.

8.) When all six regiments of a division were united together, the Grenadier companies of their second battalions were to form for it two Combined Grenadier Battalions [Svodnye Grenaderskie bataliony], each of three companies.

As you say, trust the Russians to make it difficult!

Old Bear Inactive Member30 Sep 2011 10:04 a.m. PST

Old Bear. I played gilders rules for many years myself and of course you are right, we (as wargamers) can get caught up in trivia, especially when you think that one wargames figure represents X number of real men (depending your your rule set ratio).
My only defence is that it takes me hours to research the particular army, something i thoroughly enjoy, and yet more time painting the things, so where ever possible, i would like to get it right.

Well, I must concede that as a rule my French battalions always had the elite companies. grin

14Bore30 Sep 2011 1:56 p.m. PST

Too many Russians? I have (Borodino OOB) IV Corp, VI Corp, Gren Div. Guard Division (1813 OOB) 3 ad hoc Cavalry Corps, a Light, Heavy and All Guard Regt's, Russian –Deutch legion of 6 Bat's inf, 2 Hussar Regt's,1 Horse btry (2nd is next order) and a Inf Regt and partial Jager Bat from 4th division. There's always more

Ruggerman Inactive Member03 Sep 2017 5:06 p.m. PST

In a Russian Line Musketeer Battalion, it comprises of 4 companies, of 2 Platoons each. The Elite company is divided into a Grenadier platoon and a Strelkov platoon.
Question: Does the Jager (Strelkov) platoon were the Grenadier plum on the Kwivers.

Thank You

Sho Boki03 Sep 2017 5:33 p.m. PST

No, they did not.

HappyHussar03 Sep 2017 7:57 p.m. PST

Is there a good source for the Russian regiments for 1799? The OB sources I use often spell the names differently. Looking for a reputable list that I can use so that I know I am spelling the names right.

Chad4704 Sep 2017 1:21 a.m. PST

Go to Eureka Miniatures website. At the top of the page you will see 'Ideas'.
Click on that and in the list of items that follow you will see a Paiting Guide heading. Click on that and you will then find information on the Russian Infantry of 1799

Le Breton04 Sep 2017 4:00 a.m. PST

The Eureka summary is quite good. Maybe some more explanation about the names would be of interest?

The problem of the names of the regiments comes from both their changes and from what someone decides to do to translate from Russian. For example, here are the offical names of one regiment (dates are Old Style), as the were in the era (i.e. with the old Russian spelling and alphabet), followed by transliteration into Latin characters:
29.XI.1796 Бутырскій мушкетерскій полкъ / Butyrskiy mushketerskiy polk
31.I.1797 Молодо-Баденскій мушкетерскій полкъ / Molodo-Badenskiy mushketerskiy polk
20.VI.1799 Мушкетерскій Генералъ-Маіора Велецкаго полкъ / Mushketerskiy General-Maiora Veletsago polk
19.IX.1800 Мушкетерскій Генералъ-Маіора Малышкина полкъ / Mushketerskiy General-Maiora Malyshkina polk
29.III.1801 Бутырскій мушкетерскій полкъ / Butyrskiy mushketerskiy polk
22.II.1811 Бутырскій пехотный полкъ / Butyrskiy pekhotnyy polk

If you don't want to use the Russian names in Cyrillic or Latin characters, then you have to translate, and you will likely change the word order, and maybe the capitalization, and you can get several variants all of which are "correct" :
Butyrsky Musketeer regiment / Butyrsk Musketeers
Prince Baden the Younger's Musketeer regiment / Jung-Baden Musketeers
General-Major Veletsky's Musketeer regiment / Veletsky Musketeers
General-Major Malyshkin's Musketeer regiment / Malyshkin Musketeers
Butyrsky Infantry regiment / Butyrsk Infantry

The regiment's шефъ / shef / chief was not a proprietary colonel. In most cases, the position was filled by a general officer on active service (or a senior colonel considered promotable to general), and might be best thought of as an inspector-general for the regiment. The shef had no economic interest, as would a proprietary colonel.

The regiment was commanded by its командиръ / komandir / commander, typically a colonel (or a senior lieutenant-colonel considered promotable, or by a major par interim). For our example, these were:
3.XII.1796 : Brigadier (from 22.V.1797 General-Major) Nikolay Petrovich Kozhin (1751-1816)
31.X.1798 : General-Major Mikhaylo Mikhaylovich Velestskiy (1744-1800+)
20.VI.1799 : [vacant]
10.VI.1800 : Lieutenant-Colonel Grigoriy Iyevlevich Sinitsyn
30.VI.1803 : Lieutenant-Colonel Aleksey Vasil'yevich Kozlyutinov

Usually the shef was assigned to command a brigade, a division, an avant-garde, etc. However, the shef might take the field with and lead the regiment, especially if the position of komandir was vacant.

As an exception to this, a shef might be an honorary colonel – a person of or related to the imperial family who had been named shef purely as a state honor and who did not serve with the army. Such is the case for Karl Ludwig Freidrich, Erbprinz von Baden – "Young Baden" (1755-1801) whose daughter, Luise Marie Auguste (1779–1826) had married in 1793 the future Alexander I, son and heir of the Emperor Paul. Note in the list above how when the shef was an honorary colonel that the komandir held a higher than usual rank.

Le Breton04 Sep 2017 6:54 a.m. PST

Another example : Tambov Musketeers

15.XII.1763 Тамбовскій Украинскій Ландмилицкій пѣшій полкъ / Tambovskiy Ukrainskiy Landmilitskiy peshiy polk
16.I.1769 Тамбовскій пѣхотный полкъ / Tambovskiy pekhotnyy polk
21.XI.1796 Тамбовскій мушкетерскій полкъ / Tambovskiy mushketerskiy polk
31.X.1798 Мушкетерскій Генералъ-Маіора Фёрстера полкъ / Mushketerskiy General-Maiora Fyorstera polk *
22.I.1799 Мушкетерскій Генералъ-Лейтенанта Фёрстера полкъ / Mushketerskiy General-Leytenanta Fyorstera polk
29.III.1801 Тамбовскій мушкетерскій полкъ / Tambovskiy mushketerskiy polk
22.II.1811 Тамбовскій пѣхотный полкъ / Tambovskiy pekhotnyy polk

* the surname is sometimes shown as Ферстер / Ferster, but Фёрстер / Fyorster would be a better Russification of the Baltic German name Förster

4.VI.1797 Major-General (22.I.1799 Lieutenant-General) Ivan Ivanovich Fyorster (Johann Christian von Förster, 1752-1807)
17.II.1803 Lieutenant-General Prince Andrey Ivanovich Gorchakov-2 (1779-1855)

16.VIII.1798 Colonel (20.VIII.1798 Major-General) Grigoriy Maksimovich Berg (1765-1833)
20.VIII.1798 [vacant]
15.X.1798 Major (6.V.1799 Lieutenant-Colonel, 11.IX.1800 Colonel) Zal'tser
7.II.1806 [vacant]

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.