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"OOB's facts and figures" Topic

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14Bore21 Jan 2013 5:30 p.m. PST

Looking for an opinion when in OOB's the writer is telling us what his numbers are telling us. For instance
From the Napoleon Series –The Battle of Borodino the Russian Army
2nd Infantry Corps
LG Karl Gustav Baggovut
Total: 24 battalions (11,450 men, excluding two battalions of the Moscow opolchenye) and 72 guns
Would the total include artillery personnel?
Is there a general rule in this?
Or is this just leading into madness so forget it, make up what you want, no one will know any different?

wrgmr121 Jan 2013 6:28 p.m. PST

Most of the scenario designers I know don't include artillerymen in the troop totals. They are battalion totals only.

However designers use an approximation anyway, as most resources vary in the troop totals as well. Or they use one particular resource, which to them seems more accurate.

Not sure if this really helps you or not.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP21 Jan 2013 6:59 p.m. PST

Ask on the Napoleon Series. The author is a member.

Seroga Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 8:05 a.m. PST

Dear Colleague,

If you want to look more closely into a specific Russian OOB, I would not hesitate to try to help. But I think that your question was a bit broader. So, I apologize for the length of the following, but I hope it will be useful to you.

The question of Russian stregnth returns is not without some issues ….

1. in general, we should be aware that division, corps and larger formations had quite a few occasions to attach and detach various kinds of troops. The problem for numbers is two-fold : are we counting all the troops present, including the attachments and, conversely, are we not counting any troops not present. More specifically ….
-- were any of the "standard" formations of the division or corps detached for some military assignment?
-- were the grenadiers of the 2nd battalions combined, and are the resulting combined grenadier battalions included? Dr. Mikaberidze tells us that these battalions did exist, but they had been detached from 2nd corps by the time of Borodino , but are they still in the regimental strength returns
-- for corps and larger formations, is the attached light cavalry and/or irregular cavalry included? and any horse artillery that was with them? The 2nd corps started the campaign with the 8 squadrons (Yelisabetgradskiy gusarskiy polk) and 6 guns (4-ya konnaya artilleriyskaya polurota)
-- are filed artillery troops included ? This was your original question – Dr. Mikaberidze lists the 6 field artillery companies of the 2 infantry divisions of the 2nd corps
-- are pontoon (actually artillery troops) and pioneers/sappers (engineering troops) included? Were there any locally raised military laborers, and are they included?
-- are attached opolchenie included? Dr. Mikaberidze says in our example, that there were attached opolchenie, but they are not included in the count.
-- are command staffs and the medical and logistics assets inlcuded ? Here we have some (i) "army" officers and some other ranks detached from their regiments, plus (ii) uniformed civilians reporting to speciaist departments of the war ministry, plus (iii) "general staff" officers and nco's that reported to His Imperial Majesty's Suite for Quartermaster Affairs.*

* The Russians by 1812 had a very complete and detailed (and some would say well-designed) set of staff functions and operations. I have never seen it described much other than in Russian. However,you an get an idea that it was no liitle thing by looking at the length and depth of the regulations. The general enabling law, No. 24.975, can be found starting at link and some of the reporting forms starting at link . I know you can't read it, but maybe knowing such existed might give you some idea why the Russians didn't freeze or starve or have all their horses die as happened to the French.

2. The above comment leads to the second issue. You could see from the forms of reporting that Russians did strength returns with the following categories : staff officers [major to colonel], over-officers [ensign to captain], under-officers [nco's], rankers, combattant musicians [drummers and fifers], non-combattants and officers' servants. On some occasions, the non-combattants would also be divided to show officer-ranked [auditor, priest, doctor], under-officers [master specialists and support nco's], musicians [regimental band], drivers and rankers [various specialsts]. Some details ….
-- General officers were separately reported, even if wth their regiments.
-- Summary reports and later authors might begin to combine the various categories and report somethign more like the French : officers and other ranks – likely neglecting the general officers, the officer-rank employees of the war ministry, HIM Suite, etc.
-- if you see a single number in a secondary work, there is really no way to know if it is the officers+other ranks or just the other ranks, unless there is specific mention made
-- Non-combattants and any kind of (technically) civilian persons (such as opolchenie) are usually not included in a summary count unless specifically mentioned, but by no means is this always true

Well so much for the the boring details, unless you want to know more.
For gaming, the question of Russian strengths is actually easy!

Artillery : Always essentially full stregth at 12 guns per company (and potentially overstrength to 14 guns per company, from over-complement tubes on company replacement carriages or from replacement artillery formations or arsenals).
Infantry : Peacetime full strength was 24 files per platoon and wartime full strength was 28 files per platoon. The Russian manning and replacement system almost always managed to get 22 to 26 files per platoon for an active (1st or 3rd) battalion. Exception could be made for units recently hammered in a battle, but not hammered too much, or for strategic wastage late in winter 1812/1813. However, when the count fell into the range of 16 to 20 files per platoon, replacements were expedited (or grabbed from the opolchenie). If the count fell below 16 ranks, the battalion was usually consolidated, and the cadres sent back to re-staff. 8 platoons per active battalion. Just assume 24 files per battalion and you will be right 90% plus of the time for 1st and 2nd Western Army and the troops from Finland. Assume maybe 22 files for Tormassov, and 20 files for later arriving parts of 3rd Army (but note that some 2nd battalions are serving as active with the 1st and 3rd batttalions). If you want to get closer to "right", it is a research project.
For combined grenadier battalions : same as active battalions until hammered in a battle, then usually not used again, and then sent to re-staff active battalions in early 1813. 6 platoons per batttalion
For second battalions without grenadier companies : some variety in battalion strengths, so it is best to try to research specifically, if you are even fielding any of these. 6 platoons per batttalion. Did not exist in all regiments, and did not serve with the active battalions.
Cavalry : Assume 100 men per sotnia in irregular formations (not always true, but their effectiveness did not really decline with lower numbers). For regular cavalry, it is best to research, but as a general rule you could do something like nearly full strength until hammered in battle or until winter 1812/1813. The replacements system was not as effective for cavalry as for infantry, but it was quite good and did keep the squadrons active even through the winer.

14Bore22 Jan 2013 6:04 p.m. PST

After posting this I debated myself if the Infantry Battalions were under strength why wouldn't the artillery batteries? And I came up with because they wouldn't function well that's why!
Anyway, if in this single example the total equals an average for the Corp to 477 men per battalion. This Corp has all the batteries assigned so 4 light btrs = 640 personnel and 2 position btrys =480 personnel -total 1120. If the Artillery personnel were in the totals battalions would be down to 430.
I'm working on the 1st western Army of Borodino at least the infantry and artillery and trying to follow the stated OOB. My cavalry is a mess with units all over the place and have way more units except Cossacks than the 1st Army had. In the grand scheme I've somewhat forced to pony up my formations to full strength to stand up to their opponent.

Hugh Johns Inactive Member22 Jan 2013 7:47 p.m. PST

11,450 – that should tell you right there – it's not a total, it's an estimate. Totals don't come out to the nearest 50. Generally it's just the infantry, and maybe just the men.

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