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"Russian Jagers in 1812" Topic


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2,941 hits since 24 Apr 2012
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP24 Apr 2012 3:54 a.m. PST

What were the skirmishing capabilities of Russian Jager regiments in 1812? I have seen conflicting accounts from suggesting that they were not that good to that they had very good skills indeed. So, to use comparisons, were they like a British light infantry with whole battalions capable of skirmishing, or were they more like the later French light infantry in which only the 'specialist' voltigeurs were skirmishing with most of the battalion fighting in close order? Any ideas?

von Winterfeldt24 Apr 2012 4:21 a.m. PST

Already in 1807 whole battalions were dispersed as skirmishers – nothing new to them.
They could fight in close order and as skirmishers.

summerfield24 Apr 2012 5:09 a.m. PST

Certain of the Jager battalions were very proficient in skirmishing due to a great deal of practice in the Russo-Swedish Wars or in the Balkans. You also need to look at where the regiment was raised. Many were in the new territories and border areas.
Stephen

rabbit24 Apr 2012 6:18 a.m. PST

The question arises I suppose from the Wargames table?

How do we treat Russian Skirmishers in the Rule-set?

General de Brigade has them as second class, which I do not necessarily agree with but I am biased!

I skirmish with my Jager battalions, I do not allow the "light" platoon of the Grenadier company of my Line battalions to skirmish.

Either the whole battalion will be deployed as a "Grand Bande" under the GdeB rules, or the ½ battalion will deploy as a "normal" skirmish line.

They fire as per the rule set i.e. as second class, but they melee as the French, therefore when faced with a French Skirmish line, I will attempt to engage them in a melee.

I have read accounts of whole battalions being deployed, not only from the Jagers but musketeers too. I have not read anywhere of Opolchenie Jagers skirmishing and mine do not, as always I stand to be corrected.

rabbit

Ligniere Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Apr 2012 6:43 a.m. PST

I would recommend that you get a copy of each of the Zhmodikov books on Russian Tactics during the Napoleonic wars, available from Nafziger. In the second volume there is a complete chapter on the use and deployment of jagers and how the infantry regiments employed skirmishers.

npm

summerfield24 Apr 2012 7:11 a.m. PST

I would recommend that the rule writers read this informative book. Most rules are so biased against the non-British and French units. The ability to skirmish depends upon the experience of the men and officers.

Most armies deployed up to half in skirmish order and had a close order reserve. It was important to rotate companies etc.. Remember that each man had only 60 rounds. This even firing at 1 round per minute is only 1 hour of shooting.

Like artillery, the concept of light infantry and skirmishing is riddled with myths.

Yes the Jager Opolchenie did skirmish.
Stephen

Seroga24 Apr 2012 2:44 p.m. PST

Russian jägers of 1812 could, indeed, skirmish in whole battalions (and even regiments and brigades), subject to typical use of reserves/supports, rotation of the troops in the chain of skirmishers, etc. This was their basic function, in addtion to service in advance- and rear- guards, and combat in broken terrain and built-up areas. The jägers accounted for 1/3 of the Russian infantry – a higher ratio than in most other services – and were present in each division at that ratio. This may account for fewer instances of Russian heavy infantry skirmishing – they often didn't need to, as there were plenty of jägers available.
Quality, naturally, varied from unit to unit. Some sense of this variation might be noted in the details below. It's too much detail, I know, I know. I am sorry.
The history of Russian jägers was already 40 years old in 1805. The constant Russian wars saw most units having combat experience by 1812. Overall, I can't see them as different in quality or skill from French light infantry of 1812, and they may have even been a bit better by 1813 and 1814.

====================================

There were two guard jäger formations in the Russian service.
-- ЛЕЙБ-ГВАРДИИ ЕГЕРСКИЙ – formed 1796 as a battalion, from the jäger detachments in the guard heavy formations and the demonstration jäger compnay in the Gatchinskiy troops under Pavel's command, expanded by individual selection of soldiers to a regiment in 1806
-- ЛЕЙБ-ГВАРДИИ ФИНЛЯНДСКИЙ ПОЛК – raised in 1806 initially as a militia battalion from the Emperor's own properties, held in service for excellent perfomance in combat, expanded by individual selection of soldiers to a regiment in 1811

These are the senior army jäger formations, with direct linkage back to the initial formation of jäger detachments in the 1760's. These units were also issued rifles for at least the NCO's and 12 markmen, and often more. They all took their indicated name by 1803. Virtually all of these units that served against the French were given one or more honorific distinctions. Regiments were 3 battalions in 1812.
-- 1-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Finland jäger corps of 1785, St. George award 1807, "For excellence" award 1812, promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 2-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Finland jäger corps of 1785, St. George award 1814
-- 3-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Estonia jäger corps of 1790, St. George award 1807, promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 4-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Estonia jäger corps of 1790, St. George award 1807
-- 5-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Estonia jäger corps of 1790, St. George award 1807, "For excellence" award 1812
-- 6-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Livonia jäger corps of 1785, allowed grenadier march 1799 (where it was most/all rifle armed), St. George award 1805
-- 7-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Livonia jäger corps of 1785, allowed grenadier march 1799 (where it was most/all rifle armed), St. George award 1811
-- 8-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Livonia jäger corps of 1785, St. George award 1813, promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 9-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Ekaterinoslav jäger corps of 1787, assigned to the Caucasus
-- 10-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Belarus jäger corps of 1785, "For excellence" award 1812
-- 11-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Belarus jäger corps of 1785, St. George award 1812 and 1814
-- 12-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Bug jäger corps of 1785
-- 13-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Bug jäger corps of 1785, "For excellence" award 1814
-- 14-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Tauride jäger corps of 1785, "For excellence" award 1812, promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 15-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Tauride jäger corps of 1785, assigned to the Caucasus
-- 16-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Kuban-Caucasus jäger corps of 1784, assigned to the Caucasus
-- 17-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Kuban-Caucasus jäger corps of 1784, assigned to the Caucasus, promoted to karabiniers in 1816
-- 18-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from 1st Siberian jäger battalion of 1775
-- 19-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from 2nd Siberian jäger battalion of 1775, St. George award 1814, "For excellence" award 1814
-- 20-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – from Olonets jäger battalion of 1790, St. George award 1807, "For excellence" award 1812

The following units were formed from August 1805 to August 1806. They were raised by assigning 4-8 companies from an exisiting unit of musketeers or jägers (noted below) and filling out with 4-8 companies of recruits. Rifles for NCO's and marksmen were issued, usually the new M1805.
-- 21-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – cadre of 4 companies from 2nd Jägers, issued purchased British muskets
-- 22-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – cadre of 6 companies from 11th Jägers, issued purchased British muskets
-- 23-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – cadre of 8 companies from 18th and 19th Jägers, issued M1808 muskets for 1812, St. George award 1813
-- 24-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – issued M1808 muskets for 1812, St. George award 1813
-- 25-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – issued M1808 muskets for 1812, St. George award 1812
-- 26-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – issued M1808 muskets for 1812, St. George award 1813, "For excellence" award 1814, promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 27-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to Serbia in 1812
-- 28-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1812 and 1814
-- 29-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – promoted to grenadiers 1814
-- 30-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 31-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to Petersburg garrison in 1812
-- 32-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – cadre of 4 companies from 18th Jägers, St. George award 1812 and 1814

The following units were formed in 1810. They were converted from existing musketeer regiments of varying seniority. Since 1808, rifles were no longer included in the establishment of jäger regiments (it is unclear how many were actually returned from the first 32 regiments), and so were no longer being issued. Some of these units entered the campaign of 1812 with some degree of musketeer/infantry distinctions, such as white belting.
-- 33-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – ex-Senate battalion/regiment, St. George award 1814
-- 34-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 35-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to Arkhangelsk garrison in 1812
-- 36-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 37-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 38-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 39-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1813, "For excellence" award 1814
-- 40-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 41-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 42-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 43-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to Serbia in 1812
-- 44-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1812, "For excellence" award 1814
-- 45-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 46-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to the Caucasus

The following units were raised from various infantry garrison formations in January 1811. The three units that faced the French performed very well. Issue of the M1808 musket was typical.
-- 47-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – assigned to Petersburg garrison in 1812
-- 48-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1812
-- 49-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1812, "For excellence" award 1814
-- 50-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК – St. George award 1812

The following units were raised from April 1813 from the 2nd Reserve and 4th Replacement or Recruit battalions of regiments that had formed the Danube Army at the start of 1812. A fair number of captured French muskets were issued.
-- 50-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 51-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 52-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 53-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 54-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 55-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК –
-- 56-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -
-- 57-й ЕГЕРСКИЙ ПОЛК -

The following units were opolchenie or volunteers formed for the 1812 campaign, and not intended to remain part of the regular Army. Monted jäger units are not included. For units marked * training and capabilities are less uncertain. The others were quite good light troops. Dr. Summerfield may notice that I have forgotten some unit or two.
-- COURLAND MARKSMEN CORPS – regiment size, formed from hunters and forresters, used as scouts and partisans, issued some M1805 rifles
-- LIVONIA MARKSMEN CORPS – regiment size, formed from hunters and forresters, used as scouts and partisans, issued some M1805 rifles
-- VOLOGDA & OLONETS OPOLCHENIE – each battalion size, raised from hunters and forresters, included as the 17th and 18th Cohorts of St-Petersburg Opolchenie, issued some M1805 rifles, retained in service all the way to Paris
-- GRAND DUCHESS EKATERINA PAVLOVNA JÄGER BATTALION – raised from residents on Her Highness' estates in the Tver region, armed with M1805 rifles and M1808 muskets
-- RUSSO-GERMAN LEGION JÄGER COMPANY – formerly the 3rd company of the East Prussian Jäger Battalion, captured enitre in August 1812, and re-equipped with 23 British and the remainder M1805 rifles, later expanded and transferred to the Prussian service
-- PERM & VYATKA OPOLCHENIE – 1 battalion, raised from hunters and forresters, included in the Kostromo Opolchenie [details uncertain, these may have served later as scouts for the 3rd Western Army]
-- MOSCOW OPOLCHENIE – 3 Jäger regiments *
-- RYZAN OPOLCHENIE – 2 Jäger regiments *
-- TULA OPOLCHENIE – 1 Jäger regiment *
-- KALUGA OPOLCHENIE – 1 Jäger battalion *
-- 1st & 2nd FINNISH JÄGER REGIMENTS – each only 2 battalions, mostly ex-Swedish veterans, garrisoned Russian Finland *
-- 3rd FINNISH JÄGER REGIMENT – 2 battalions, 1 each in Vyborg and St-Petersburg, recruited in the Vyborg region by conscription *

Timbo W24 Apr 2012 4:08 p.m. PST

Excellent seroga!

I get the impression that Russian Egers were highly variable – some units (eg that had served in Finland) were very good skirmishers, some weren't.

Consider the enormous casualties that the Russians dealt with from 1812-14, not every Eger Bn was able to train in skirmish tactics under those conditions surely? I've heard that the Egers were often used as 'shock troops' – a question of flexibility or lack of skirmish training?

Seroga24 Apr 2012 8:46 p.m. PST

Addendum : 12th and 22nd Jägers remained on the Danube in 1812 and joined the fight against the French in late 1813.
Errata : Vyatka and Perm forresters went to the Kazan opolchenie, not Kostromo.

===================================================

@Timbo W

Thank you very much for your kind words. I again apologize to anyone who didn't want to see so much detail.

Your questions invite opinion. I will be happy to share mine. But, it is only opinion. Soemone else could take a different course and may be more correct.

In general, Russia did not rush units of un-trained conscripts into the campaign. They were pretty careful to raise new units (even opolchenie!) with a good leavening of experienced soldiers, long-service NCO's, captains and majors. You can see that in the list above. And except for the opolchenie, they really didnt rush the process of unit formation. And to some extent they couldn't – given the distances and the need to collect the designated men and the necessary material. And that material was greater in the Russian case, as many of the logistical and support functions of other armies were "pushed down" to their regiments. We see that the most "rushed" units for the Army jägers were ordered raised in January 1811 – that's not a great rush for June 1812 – and these did very well indeed.

When it came to replacements for losses, the Russians were also pretty careful. For example, after Borodino the most heavily damaged brigades reformed the senior regiments to a respectable level and sent the remaining cadres back to the regimental depot and divisional recruit depots to re-raise the junior regiments. [Note : A Russian division was 2 brigades of heavy infantry, 1 of jägers. Each brigade had 2 regiments. Each regiment had 2 "active" battalions, the 1st Shef's batalion and the 3rd Commander's battalion.]
The new recruits were not exactly so new either. The regular conscription and special levies had been decreed in early 1811. The recruits would have been taken into service locally to their home villages, under the "guidance" of long-service soldiers in the internal guard. They would have had their legal status changed from "serf" to "soldier", had the shave of beard and hair, the legendary "funeral" by their families, and been uniformed (more or less) in recruit gray. On the long march to the divisional recruit depots, they would have learned quite a bit of drill, and some bivouac tradecraft. On arrival to the divisioanl recruit depots, they would have been formed into 4th Reserve or Recruit battalions under NCO's and junior officers of their intended regiment. They would be issued (hopefuly rather complete) uniforms and weapons and begin more advanced training. When ready, they would then be forwarded to the regimental depots, about 9-12 months after becoming soldiers.

The 2nd Replacement battalions at the regimental deopts would have already detached their grenadier companies (6 per division, forming 2 combined grenadier battalions) with the active battalions and have used the best men of their center companies to bring the active battalions to full strength. It was intended that the arriving 4th Reserve/Recruit battalions would then be used to re-build the 2nd Replacement battalions, awaiting the next call for replacements – while a new 4th Reserve/Recruit battalion was formed from the next year's levy.

Actually, as the campaign started in 1812, the remaining depleted center companies of the 2nd Replacement battalions and the arriving 4th Reserve/Recruit battalions were often used differently. An example is the formation of the 50th through 57th Jäger Regiments from 2nd and 4th battalions of the former Danube Army (whose active battalions were by then very very far from the regimental and divisional depots). But the planned method was essentially re-established by mid-1813. Even in 1811 and early 1812 the process of of manning the active battalions and the combined grenadier battalions went about as planned. And so these were really rather well-prepared and well-trained.

For jägers, I think that their role as light infantry would have been the first thing stressed in regimental training. Maybe units re-built in late 1812 and early 1813 might not have been the best at the formed evolutions.[And conversely for the re-built heavy infantry regiments not so great on skirmishing.] But the jäger regiment cadres were deepely experienced battle-hardened light infantry veterans.

As to the jägers' use as "shock" troops, I see your idea, but would have expressed it differently. The jägers were used to storm obstacles in terrrain (broken, wet, built-up) where formed units could not easily operate. Also, they were habitually posted to advance- and rear- guard duties. By the nature of these assignments, they would indeed often act as "schock" troops. But if the terrain and situation permitted it, the more normal usage for the Russians was a formed unit, often of grenadiers.

As to variablity, I think it was about normal for any arm-of-service in any large army. Some regiments were really quite good : the guards (especially the "Finns"), the regiments with "For excellence" 1812, the ones promoted to grenadiers, the Ekaterina Palovna battalion (a very large battalion, retained with the guards all the way to Paris), the 23rd through 26th regiments (fighting on the north flank), the 48th through 50th regiments (with Bagration). I don't know of any really "bad" regiments. Some may think the Life Guard Jägers were not up to the high level expected of them. 18th Jägers got picked over twice in forming new regiments, and were brigaded with a heavy infantry unit. So, not too famous as light infantry. Ditto the units in the series 33rd through 46th Jägers that faced the French, but never received awards. Not too famous, but not known to be "bad" in any way.

Anyway, my opinion is that rules for 1812-1814 that give the Russian jägers any over general disadvantage compared to the French légère are not warranted. But it is just my opinion. Nothing more.

[Oh dear, I am writing on and on again …. I hope it is OK.]

===================================================

@rabbit

Your usage seems pretty much historical to me. It was not that Russian musketeer/infantry/grenadier battalions could not skirmish (indeed sometimes they did), but that the jägers usually were there to do the job of their specialty. If I had to make a superfine comparison, I might say that French were better marksmen on average (but not alot, and not all units – for example, the forrester opolchenie units were pretty much like assassins for French officers and gun crews), but the Russian jägers tended to be tough for an attacker to move – including the "play dead and get up again" trick – and so perhaps a very slight melee advantage.

von Winterfeldt24 Apr 2012 11:40 p.m. PST

About replacements in the Russian Army, in a memoire, edited and published by Mikaberizde I recently read that the Russian cavalry of 1813 were in better condition than in 1812.
I agree with Seroga's opinion, further on, one has only to read how heavily the Jäger regiments were engaged in a lot of battles, like at the Berezina.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP25 Apr 2012 1:41 a.m. PST

Lots of excellent information and food for thought. Thanks everyone.

Brownbear25 Apr 2012 3:07 a.m. PST

Seroga,
great info. Always nice to see this kind of information

rabbit25 Apr 2012 4:41 a.m. PST

@ Stephen S. and Seroga

Thank you and thank you, at least in the GdeB rules there is no Third Class Skirmisher category to worry about.

Skirmisher training for those Opolchenie armed with Muskets will begin shortly.

rabbit

marshalGreg25 Apr 2012 11:52 a.m. PST

Excellent Info!
This explains why the French were frustrated attacking the fleches at Borodino since the voltilegers were not able to push past the jagers to the level as they were accustom too as last fought in 1805 then 1807….Hmmm I will rewind my paradigms with my Empire game plans for Historicon

Seroga26 Apr 2012 2:03 p.m. PST

Thank you all for your very kind comments – it is a great welcome for newly joined member.
Please do not hesitate to ask any details/questions that I could try to look up for you, especially in non-English sources.
Again, thank!

marshalGreg27 Apr 2012 1:00 p.m. PST

Since on the subject of Russian skirmishing:
Was the third rank widely used by the Russians ( as in Austrians used for skirmish doctrine)?
Did the jager?
Did only the line?

Seroga27 Apr 2012 7:34 p.m. PST

@marshalGreg

For all formed battalions (heavy and jäger) that wished to provide their own skirmish cover ….

Battalions were formed in 8 platoons. The "elite" platoons were a Grenadier (senior, on the right flank when deployed) and Marksmen (on the left). There were also 6 center platoons.
In each platoon, the 12 best skirmishers would be placed in the outer files on each flank of the platoon.
When the battalion was required to cover itself, these 96 men would be sent out. If support or replacements were needed, these would be provided by the two elite platoons.

Please note, an entire heavy battalion could be broken down to skirmish, or cover itself while remaining formed as described above. However, usually the Russians used jägers for skirmishing and held the heavy infantry in formation. That's why they had so many jäger.

14Bore28 Apr 2012 6:08 a.m. PST

Seroga@ Thanks for the information but if my Russian Jagers see this there will be a insurection on my hands, with their puffed out chests, memos sent up the chain of command and the next battle they will get out of hand diving into the hottest combat they can find. Lucky for me they are not in the house but out in my building and no where near a computer.

Seroga28 Apr 2012 7:50 a.m. PST

@14Bore

Hehehehehehe …..
"into the hottest combat they can find"

This is actually about how one of two leading re-enactor Russian jäger regiments, the guys in Tver doing the 5th Jägers, advertises for their new members/recruits : "Если вы хотите наступать первыми, отступать последними и вести бой не только в сомкнутом строю, но и действовать застрельщиками в цепи перед тяжелой пехотой, добро пожаловать в тверское отделение 5-го егерского полка."
link
One supposes that it is some extent even true.

14Bore28 Apr 2012 8:59 a.m. PST

The translation if correct (Armand tells me the system isn't always perfect)If you want to occur first, retreat later and fight not only in close formation, but also act as leaders in the chain before the heavy infantry, welcome to tverskoe Office 5 1st egerskogo Regiment.

Our friendly staff have a high level of reconstruction of units of Russian Rangers 5 Regiment, a hero who fought in the battle of Borodino in 1812, the rearguard battles.

We regularly with colleagues from other clubs for learning techniques and try to boot to take maximum participation in the reconstruction of the events of war 1812.

marshalGreg30 Apr 2012 9:12 a.m. PST

Great Info Seroga!
I can't translate the Russian ( IE link).
The question of where the 12 per plantoon came from is still unanswered…
1) from 3 files – thus reducing btn fronatge
2) from 3rd rank- thus maintaining original btn frontage (Nafiziger indicates 3rd rank)
This can impact on how to mount my Russians

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP30 Apr 2012 2:53 p.m. PST

Yes, terrific information, Seroga.

I can only add a few things. The first is that the French, British, Austrians and Prussians all followed the same procedure in deploying skirmishers:

The light infantry, the specialists were deployed first, and the heavy infantry was deployed to support or reinforce them. Obviously, that couldn't always be done, but it was very much the norm. And that 1:3 lights to heavy ratio was kept by the Prussians after 1806 and the French, though they struggled to maintain it in 1813-1814.

Second, we have to remember that the Russian army had been not only fighting two wars after 1807, against Sweden and the Ottomans, but reoranizing and increasing the size of their army. Huge numbers were involved. That means that all Jager units were not equal in ability anymore than all Legere regiments were equally competent in the French army…at any point during the wars.

Seroga's outline provides some information about that 'unevenness.' A great book dealing with the Russian war effort that I can recommend is Dominic Lieven's book Russia Against Napoleon. In it he provides some great narratives on how uneven the Russian Jagers and skirmishing could be both in 1812 and after. He also does a good job of identifying and explaining the different Russian corps' and armie's general ability and experience during the 1812-14 campaigns.

Great information.

Bill H.

Seroga30 Apr 2012 3:41 p.m. PST

Bill – thanks for your very kind words, and your very interesting comments!

Greg – I am sorry, I quess I was not clear enough.

You can try this for translation – it often gets you the general idea:
translate.google.com/#ru|en|
Also, Russian military terminology of the era is often not that far from other European languages, from whence they likely got the terms. The alphabet is the issue, and it is not that hard to learn it.
Examples :
- "егер" Russian word, Russian alphabet = "eger" or "yeger" Russian in Latin alphabet = "Jäger" or "jager" in German or English.
- кирасир = kirasir = cuirassier (English/French) or Kürassiere (German)
- драгун = dragun = dragoon (English) or dragon (French) or Dragoner (German)
- гусар = gusar = hussar (English) or hussard (French) or Husar (German)
- арртиллерия = artilleriya = artillery (English) or artillerie (French/German, with a capital "A")
Not so different really, yes ?

It is 2 files from each flank of each of 8 platoons in a battalion – 3 ranks per file – 96 total skirmishers per battalion. A formed platoon was, prior to detachment, some 20-22 files, or something about 12 meters frontage. So 12 men per platoon would be enough for a double chain of skirmishers, and many commanders advocated using only half as many (i.e. – a single chain of skirmishers) at one time.

I don't think they really closed up any resulting gaps. More likey file closers stood in the gaps to keep the spacing until the skirmishers came back. So unless you're basing 1:1 or nearly that, I don't think it really should change anything.

I don't know where (in what context, etc.) George Nafziger gives the idea of Russians thinning out the third rank. Do you have a specific note, or his work ready to hand? It may well have been done that way in Catherine's or Pavel's reign, or even in 1805-1807. Back then, the ratio of jägers to heavy infantry was lower. But by 1812, the heavies did usually stay formed, the many jägers (1:2 ratio to heavies) did most of the skirmishing, and the occassional/rare need for a formed battalion to cover itself was done by the method indicated.

Maxshadow04 May 2012 6:47 a.m. PST

I've just started a Russian army. So all the informed opions have been really welcome. Thanks.

borodino181207 May 2012 3:04 a.m. PST

All very comprehensive. I am of the belief that they did not carry flags but did have drummers.

Seroga07 May 2012 8:18 a.m. PST

@borodino1812
Yes : no flags
Yes : drummers – but see also my answer regarding Russian Musicians
TMP link

Maxshadow07 May 2012 5:18 p.m. PST

Thanks Seroga. That information was just in time.

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