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"Basing & composition of the Fr. Young Guard, in 1809/" Topic

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wayneempire28 Jul 2012 3:19 p.m. PST

In Empire, was the French Young Guard in 1809, represented as a two battalion regiment, of between 12 and 18 figures per battalion?

Are they based as the French Old Guard, 3 figures per 1 1/8" X 1/2" base, with 3 figures on each base?

Just sorted thru two bags of Old Glory French Young Guard…..produced 6, 12 figure battalions each has an foot officer, a drummer, a flagbearer, a fanion carrier, and 8 Young Guard infantrymen figures. Please described what each battalion was historically composed of(types of French infantry figures) and brief uniform descriptions, as per 1809 regulations?


George Krashos28 Jul 2012 6:04 p.m. PST

The Fusiliers were considered Young Guard in 1809.

Beginning in January 1809, many more regiments were formed. The first regiment formed was the Tirailleurs-Grenadiers which was two battalions strong, each of 6 companies.

In March 1809, the Tirailleurs-Chasseurs and the Conscrit-Grenadiers were formed with the same make-up. They were followed swiftly thereafter by the 2nd Conscrit-Grenadiers and 1st and 2nd Conscrit-Chasseurs. In April 1809 the 2nd Tirailleurs-Grenadiers and 2nd Tirailleurs-Chasseurs were formed.

Of the regiments noted above, only the 1st Tirailleurs-Grenadiers and 1st Tirailleurs-Chasseurs saw action in the Austrian campaign. Each featured two battalions with between 500-600 effectives each. They were brigaded with the Fusiliers in Curial's Young Guard Division and led by Rouget.

As for basing them, you haven't said what ruleset you are using. I don't think there's any reason why they couldn't be based as the Old Guard or any other French line regiment. Oh, and they had no Eagles, just battalion fanions.

George Krashos28 Jul 2012 6:13 p.m. PST

Uniforms for the Tirailleurs-Grenadiers and Tirailleurs-Chasseurs were different from the standard line infantry. They had a short-tailed light infantry habit with blue lapels cut in at a point at the bottom, red turn backs, light infantry style cross-belts with bayonet frog and short sabre and below the knee gaiters. The Tirailleur-Grenadiers had a red collar, red shoulder straps (piped white if you want to be pedantic), a large red over white plume on the shako, white (or red) eagle turn back badges and red pointed cuffs. The Tirailleur-Chasseurs had the same uniform as the Grenadiers but with green shoulders straps (piped red or white if you want to be pedantic), green eagle turn back badges and a green pompon.

Maxshadow28 Jul 2012 6:41 p.m. PST

Good stuff. I have them ready to be painted thanks for asking, thanks for responding.

Gonsalvo28 Jul 2012 7:18 p.m. PST

I cover the Young Guard Infantry (as well as the Middle and Old Guard) in considerable detail, especially as it pertains to 1809 in this post on my blog from last year:







Marcus Maximus28 Jul 2012 11:12 p.m. PST

I thoroughly recommend to anyone with a passing interest to visit and be inspired by Gonsalvo's Blunder on the Danube – a super fantastic informative and detailed website / blog on the 1809 campaign and it was this blog and a n osprey that finally made me decide on the 1809 campaign for my Napoleonic armies.

Maxshadow28 Jul 2012 11:28 p.m. PST

Awsome thanks for the help Peter

Gonsalvo29 Jul 2012 6:16 a.m. PST

Thanks, Marcus; it is a great campaign. BTW, although I was pretty sure the Young Guard were all organized as 4 companies of roughly 160 – 200 men per battalion, the Osprey says 6 companies, and my other sources (ALmark on "Foot Regiments of the Guard" by Micahel Head and Lachouque's Anatomy of Glory") are both silent on the matter. A web search turned up litle info in this regard as well.

Garde de Paris Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2012 2:52 p.m. PST

"Back in the Day", 1960's, and based on Fred Vietmeyer's schematics, we did the Guard Grenadiers in 8 companies of 4 figures each – 32 per battalion. We used 36 for the line and light – 6 companies.

The young guard units were 4 companies of 8 figures each – again 32. All had 2 battalions. I recall there was a command stand in addition, but we omitted them from all our units.

I seem to recall reading in Rousselot that the Fusilier Grenadiers and Chasseurs would have been about 30 figures – 5 companies of 6 figures. 1 company was "Sergeant Fusiliers", and could be formed as a separate battalion drawn from the four battalions when serving together.

I had never done Guard troops, as I focus on Spain, so I have not kept up with the organization of these units. I would appreciate correction!


Gonsalvo29 Jul 2012 3:46 p.m. PST


That is my recollection as well. The Sergeant Fusiliers were intended primarily as training cadre, IIRC, but could be fielded as above.


Seroga29 Jul 2012 5:15 p.m. PST

This is a little complicated, but here goes ….

In 1809, the Young Guard infantry was expanded from the 2 existing of fusiliers regiments to a total of 10 regiments. All of these regiments were composed of 2 battalions, and each battalion was supposed to be composed of 6 companies (which would form for battle as 6 "pelotons", as per the later ligne battalions). All were manned by selected conscripts. They initially were ordered as per the "vélite" model of organization, from the décret of 15.iv.1806, as follows:
-- capitaine
-- lieutenant en 1er
-- 2x lieutenant en 2e
-- sergent-major
-- 4x sergent
-- fourrier
-- 8x caporal
-- 150x grenadier ou chasseur
-- 2x tambour
The total per company would thus be 170 all ranks, or 1020 all ranks per battalion, or 2040 all ranks per regiment (excluding regimental staffs). There was trouble fielding such numbers, and thus they adopted the organization of the Old Guard, based on 102 rankers in place of 150 per compagnie, and 4 compagnies per bataillon in place of 6. These would form for battle, as did the Old Guard, in 8 pelotons, each the size of a half-company.
This will explain why one may see both "4 companies/battalion" and "6 companies/battalion" in various sources.

The issue of "sergents-fusiliers" was disposed of in 1807. It had to do with the various false starts at re-organization aimed dispositioning the existing vélites à pied, a collection of over-complement men in the dépot de la garde (from promotions to the Guard for excellence in 1806-1807) and the initial selection of picked conscripts. I do not think this name or the formation itself lasted until the end of 1807.

The 1809 regiments were named as follows, with the dates they were ordered formed. The indication "1er" for the first 2 regiments of tirailleurs became effective in May 1809, upon the order to form 2 additional regiments with that designations.
-- régiment de fusiliers-grenadiers formed in 1806
-- régiment de fusiliers-chasseurs formed at the end of 1806
-- (1er) régiment de tirailleurs-grenadiers formed 16.i.1809
-- (1er) régiment de tirailleurs-chasseurs formed 16.i.1809
-- 1er régiment de conscrits-grenadiers formed 29.iii.1809
-- 1er régiment de conscrits-chasseurs formed 29.iii.1809
-- 2e régiment de conscrits-grenadiers formed 31.iii.1809
-- 2e régiment de conscrits-chasseurs formed 31.iii.1809
-- 2e régiment de tirailleurs-grenadiers formed 25.iv.1809
-- 2e régiment de tirailleurs-chasseurs formed 25.iv.1809

As noted by our colleague, only the previously existing 2 regiments of fusiliers and the 2 "1er" regiments of tirailleurs formed from January 1809 made the campaign of that year.

Additionally, it was ordered at the end of June 1809 that each of the 3 "brigades" of fusiliers, conscripts and tirailleurs were to have an attached compagnie d'artillerie à pied.

Finally, two additional battalions can be noted, the vélites à pied italiens. The one in Turin was intended as guard for Prince Borghèse and the one in Florence as a guard for his wife, Elisa, the duchess of Tuscany, née Bonaparte (the sister of the Empereur).

The two battalions were not called to service in the field until 1813. The battalions' composition was based on 4 companies per battalion, each with 105 vélites, plus a battalion staff.
-- bataillon de vélites de Florence formed 24.iii.1809
-- bataillon de vélites de Turin formed 24.iii.1809

Seroga30 Jul 2012 9:31 a.m. PST

I forgot two minor notes ….

The "fusiliers-sergents" idea was resurrected after 1809, but that era was beyond the scope of the question originally posed.

The formation of the fusiliers included drafts on the compagnies départementaux or compagnies de réserve départementales – the departmental companies. These were internal guard companies formed in the various French departments (administrative regions). But really, these were just another flavor of selected conscript, as these companies had been recently formed (starting in 1806) from the annual conscription. They were to some extent a draft dodge, as a person with local influence had a better chance to get his son into this formation instead of the real Army.
See link

11th ACR22 Dec 2012 8:26 a.m. PST

Try this link for good info on the French Young Guard. link

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