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"Detailed French Borodino OB?" Topic

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Rosbif14 Feb 2012 8:42 p.m. PST

With the 200th anniversary of Borodino this year, I know that there's going to be a few table-top re-creations of the battle soon. With that in mind, I'm wondering if anyone out there has found a detailed OB of the French forces. I know Nafziger has an OB including numbers of battalions per regiment present on the battlefield.

However, our club is interested in even more detail; that is, the strengths of each battalion. This information seems to be rarer than proverbial hens' teeth.

Does anyone know whether information to this level of detail is available anywhere, either online or in a book?

Thanks in advance.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2012 7:53 a.m. PST

Does anyone know whether information to this level of detail is available anywhere, either online or in a book?

The Nafziger Collection, pdf:

"812HDA French Grande Armee, 15 August 1812"

is 17 pages and breaks it down to Officers & men per unit.

Unfortunately, his Borodino OB pdf does not.

I suspect his book on the campaign "Napoleon's Invasion of Russian" should likely contain the same research?

Sorry I do not have access to my copy at the moment.


1815Guy15 Feb 2012 9:18 a.m. PST

If you use the above mentioned book watch out for printing errors. Some units in the OB were duplicated in the copy I bought.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2012 10:36 a.m. PST


Sorry, earlier I was due at a meeting and in a rush.

Do a TMP search for several threads here with further discussion of the Nafziger opus and how to use same (Topic: "Nafziger"; Search Type "Titles").

If you use the above mentioned book watch out for printing errors.

I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the appendices in that book, nor the publisher's editing. Likewise with 1,000s of pages of OBs in Nafziger's impressive research, I can make no claims about its overall accuracy. Nafziger cited sources at the bottom of most of his pdfs but for the one in question (812HDA) he did not.



Gazzola15 Feb 2012 10:43 a.m. PST


As with most sources, Nafziger, in his book, only offers the number of battalions for the Borodino OOB.

I think there might be a problem in trying to get exact numbers, as can be seen by the table in Alexander Mikaberidze's book on the battle, page 50. The sources, from 1824-2004, vary so that some offer the French as having as little as 119,000 men, while others offer 190,000. The same with the Russians, with numbers ranging from 106,000 men to 160,000. Mikaberidze himself gives the French around 129,000 men, consisting of 110,000 men engaged in action, and another 19,000 not engaged, which includes the Imperial Guard.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2012 11:18 a.m. PST

I hope some of the Age of Eagles guys chime in. A long time ago, they ran a very impressive game and for a while, the OOB of both the French and Russian forces for Borodino were available online in an excel file. They even had a comparison of Naf's OOB with I think 2 other sources… it was very concise and very well done. The guys that put it together were very awesome, very thorough and very nice people.

To this day, it is on the AoE site as a scenario download, but the actual spreadsheet (which has all of the OOB info on troop numbers, guns, etc…) is not available of how they came up with their numbers, etc….

I printed it out what seems like ages ago. I will look and see if I still have it. I know I don't have it digitally, but if I have the paper version, I might be able to copy it in and PDF it you. Let me look tonight.

Personal logo Cheriton Supporting Member of TMP15 Feb 2012 11:48 a.m. PST

I printed it out what seems like ages ago. I will look and see if I still have it.

Sounds like (too) much of my own source material, though much of that was pre printed out as well. grin

Good man (for looking)…


Hugh Johns15 Feb 2012 10:46 p.m. PST

Nafziger offers regimental states for August 15, in his book.

rabbit16 Feb 2012 3:05 a.m. PST

Here is one version

Russian Orbat on the same site

google french order of battle borodino


Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2012 5:19 a.m. PST

Ok, I looked and found part of the OOB. I know I have the rest, so I will continue my searching. It really is a great resource. Those guys worked hard to compile this info but there is nothing "propriatary" about it. They deserve bountiful credit for the leg work. What they did is lay out the OOB for both sided based on 3 different sources and then settled on a single source and then calculated how that amount of men translated into the AoE rule set for number of bases.

The key here is that they have the actual numbers, side by side in an easy to read format in a spreadsheet so you can decided which is best to use. Like I said… great job. I just wish I could have played in that game!!!

I am slowly myself working toward my own Borodino game… it does take a LOT of figures!!! And I am trying company level this time around!!!! I have the space to play it, so I only drive now toward figure count!!!!

lasalle01216 Feb 2012 9:45 a.m. PST

For those looking to play Borodino. I know that the guys that ran the AOE game featured in Wargames Illustrated will be running the game at Cold Wars. I will also be running the game at Little Wars in late April. See HMGS-Midwest website for details. I am working at finishing up the boards by this weekend. I sculpted the boards and now putting on the final details. It does take lots of figures, and helps that I have a very large collection. I am taking on the Russians and at about 90% complete.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP16 Feb 2012 10:54 a.m. PST

Do you think they would ever share that excel file again for others to use in coming up with their own OOBs for whatever scale they are using.

All I can say is that it was very handy and I am glad I stumbled across it so long ago.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2012 4:49 a.m. PST

OK, I found the whole file…. 7pages for both OOB's… The spreadsheet has listings for Naf, Naf full OOB, Hourtoulle, MW183, Koontz and then some colums on how they converted those numbers to OB and bases for AoE. Now, keep in mind that all of the resources I mentioned are not filled in on the spreadsheet for every unit, just what they put together. It is still a very impressive work. These guys did one heck of a job…

Anyway, I would be more than happy to get it scanned in at work into a PDF and email it to anyoen who wants it.

Just drop me a line here and I'll get this done as soon as I can.

Glenn Pearce17 Feb 2012 2:44 p.m. PST

Hello Poniatowski!

I would love a copy,

Many thanks,


Rosbif17 Feb 2012 7:42 p.m. PST

Thanks for that, fellas!

I'll check out all your suggestions.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2012 12:14 p.m. PST


Trying to get scanned in today at the office… so far, not so good. I'll be getting them out to everyone that requested for sure this week though!!!!

razuse Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2012 3:39 p.m. PST

I would be very grateful for a copy as well.

Really appreciate it…hopefully I can pay it forward.

Gazzola21 Feb 2012 5:03 a.m. PST


Hey Johns is correct in his post when he says that Nafziger does indeed offer regimental strengths for the French on 15th August in his book, pages 494-515, but for both sides at Borodino, pages 520-542, he only gives the number of battalions for each side.

Alexander Mikaberidze's 8 part article Mutiny of Generals on the Nap series website is a very interesting read and, in my opinion, a must for anyone interested in the 1812 campaign.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2012 5:14 a.m. PST

Yes, I have the Nafziger book on Borodino, I saw what you mean… I wish I had picked up all of them!!!

I brought the spreadsheets to work today. I will get to work on this ASAP. Th French OOB is clean (no pencil marks) while the Russian has soem writing on it for my conversions. IT is still legible though. Just ignore the pencil scribbles.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2012 5:55 a.m. PST

OK, sent to Cheriton, razuse and Glenn.
PLease let me know if I missed anyone.

Bandit21 Feb 2012 6:41 a.m. PST

Richard Riehn: 1812: Napoleon's Russian Campaign (ISBN-10: 0471543020 | ISBN-13: 978-0471543022) offers a complete OB for the French army before the invasion and gives strengths for the Battle of Borodino. He also gives detailed lists of the detachments made before the battle and gives the number of battalions per corps at the battle. Between those three you can do a fair amount of cross-referencing and arrive at the estimated numbers. I doubt it is possible to get much more accurate.

I've got a fair amount of that information compiled for 1:60 if you want it just say so and I'll e-mail it your way. If you gather this sorta thing from a handful of us you should be able to make a good estimate by comparing the sources.


The Bandit

Ralpher21 Feb 2012 6:46 a.m. PST

There was once a topic here on Borodino orders of battle with respect to those of Nafziger, Mikaberidze and Gingerich. – R

TMP link

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2012 7:59 a.m. PST

Do you have any OOB for Shevradino? I am starting there.
Your info at 1:60 will convert fine to 1:40 and work fine with my ruleset!!!!

Bandit21 Feb 2012 1:49 p.m. PST


I don't. Frankly, the records from the Russian Campaign seem so scattered and mixed that I doubt you could pin down different numbers between that first combat and the main battle. I know that Compans (Davout's I Corps) was supporting the I & II Cavalry Corps all attacking directly from the west while the infantry of your corps attacked from the south.


The Bandit

Beau Geste21 Feb 2012 8:51 p.m. PST


I doubt that anyone, including Napoleon, knew exact battalion strengths for the day of the battle. Head counts were only reported to higher-ups weekly or bi-weekly, I think.

I once had a copy of an "Appel" for part of the Grande Armee dated August 24, 1812 listing regimental strengths. Unfortunately I have lost it. Is anyone familiar with this Appel? It was from a published book and I'd like to know the source from which I copied it.

Some years ago I compiled a French OB with estimated regimental strengths as of Sept 2 based on the Appel and the Sept 2 corps totals. You are welcome to it.


Andrew B21 Feb 2012 10:49 p.m. PST

Hi Poniatowski,

Could you email me the Borodino OB? My email is a_bayly [at]

Many Thanks!


Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP22 Feb 2012 5:45 a.m. PST

certainly… sent.

Doc Karl28 Feb 2012 7:54 a.m. PST

If you dont mind can you send one to me

kungfukarl AT hotmail DOT COM

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2012 8:15 a.m. PST

certainly… sent.

1815Guy28 Feb 2012 9:03 a.m. PST

Hi Poniatowski, please can I also beg a set of your Borodino OOB scans?

geoffwoo99 [at]

Many thanks,

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2012 10:19 a.m. PST

certainly… sent.

Steve at theassaultgroup com14 Mar 2012 12:59 p.m. PST

I would appreciate it aswell thankyou – Tagman100(@)


Sparker14 Mar 2012 3:41 p.m. PST


Sent you a PM – pretty please!

csm carter04 Nov 2012 1:07 p.m. PST

Poniatowski----any chance that you could send those files my way?


Steve6404 Nov 2012 6:58 p.m. PST

Rosbif – given that its most difficult to find documents woth actual strengths for many famous, where all sources agree …

another approach that could work is to give each battalion a reasonable range of values on a per-regiment, or per-brigage basis (or per Division) basis.

ie : 3rd Division, 12 Battalions @420-650 men each.

As a commander, that might be as good as you really know on the morning prior to battle.

Better, more reliable, more closely inspected units would have narrower ranges of probable strength.

Then simply randomise the values for each unit, and derive an actual strength at the time when that unit first enters engagement range, or gets shot at.

A low score just means that (unbeknwonst to the commander) they missed their weeties that morning, or are too ravaged with sore feet and nasty rashes to put in a full appearance on the day. Happens to the best of units at the worst of times.

Marcus Maximus05 Nov 2012 3:56 a.m. PST

@Poniatowski sent a PM

@Bandit sent a PM

If you both could send me a copy of what you have on Borodino I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you Gents.

Idler20316 Dec 2012 12:42 a.m. PST

Dear Poniatowski

Coming late to this thread, but if it is still possible to have a copy of the OOBs I would be very grateful…

idler203 [at]

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2013 7:23 a.m. PST

It has come to my attention I have not sent everyone who wanted a copy of the OOB a copy.

I apologize… let me know and I'll get them to you.

Davout197206 Feb 2013 8:16 p.m. PST

Hate to bring a boardgame into this, but years ago I bought La Battile de le Moskowa, a battalion level fight of Borodino. The map alone was over 10 feet and I believe there were pretty close to 3,000 units. The OB was rather precise, from what I recall. Scale was 100 yds per hex. Pretty intense. Don't know if this would help your club recreate the battle, but we used Wellington's Victory to nicely refight Waterloo, instead of getting bogged down in actually scaling the OB. Obviously, someone already did all that leg work when recreating monster games like those. Why re-do the work?

When doing a smaller scale fight like Albuera or Talavera, I could see scrutinizing the OB. But with such a monster battle like this or Lepzig, is really the addition or subtraction of a figure here or there really going to matter? I would think both the terrain and amount of figures needed would need more of your expertise than numbers already crunched years ago.

Just thoughts from a guy doing this for years…

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP07 Feb 2013 4:59 a.m. PST

Davout1972…. THANK YOU!!! I hadn't even thought of that as a source.. and a potential game to own as I still boardgame!

I did a quick search… yikes!!!! According to Boardgame Geek… for a game published when I was 5 (1975)… it is worth a pretty penny. Starts at about $75 USD and goes up much higher the better the condition!!!

Price aside, I will definitely be looking into this much closer and I will pick up a copy if I find one reasonably priced!!!

Hugh Johns07 Feb 2013 11:45 a.m. PST

Our hobby's mixture of fact and fantasy occasionally gets pretty weird. Sure we paint our dolls in full dress!-) But why do you all go gaga over fictitious totals in abstracted, dubious compilations when some excellent, up to date research can be found on the web?
Board wargames are rarely reliable, and a 38 year old sample can only be worse…

csm carter07 Feb 2013 8:27 p.m. PST

Poniatowski----Please send those files my way.


Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP08 Feb 2013 5:15 a.m. PST

Hew, I am thinking of the maps! And, any other resource helps. You are correct, there is an awesoem website depicting a lot of the info, but not all of it.

1SG Carter… sending n a couple mins.

Allan Mountford09 Feb 2013 3:41 a.m. PST

Just a heads up. The Excel OOB file is still in the files section of the AoE Yahoo discussion group.


jeffreyw331 Dec 2016 9:43 a.m. PST

(Yes, I know what Zzz means grin) Thanks, Allan--I just grabbed the file. Hugh, normally, I'd be agreeing with you 100%, but I've been very impressed with the LBM OOB. No idea where or how they got their figures, but actually quite good overall. Shrug.

Darn, I miss a lot of the people who used to post here. Sasha/Seroga/Alexandr..?

forwardmarchstudios31 Dec 2016 12:21 p.m. PST

When you play Borodino you should keep in mind the need to adjust weapon ranges based on the reduced frontage of units. The French battalions were so small that a French brigade could easily have about the same frontage as a French battalion in line during other campaigns. They are literally half-size compared to the numbers used in other games. If your rules already allow for that, you're good-to-go. When I tried to plan out my 1:1 Borodino game in 3mm though this became an issue, because my 60mm frontage battalions, which normally occupy 100m (in my generic calculations) suddenly occupied only 50m. This had the effect of doubling all other ranges on the table top!

jeffreyw301 Dec 2017 4:55 p.m. PST

Should anyone run into this thread, I've got a much updated version of the Russian OOB with unit strengths for Shevardino. Working on the French now.

Allan F Mountford07 Jul 2018 5:40 a.m. PST


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