Help support TMP

"How do you organise Prussians for Wargaming" Topic

60 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.

Please do not post offers to buy and sell on the main forum.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

1:700 Black Seas British Brigs

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian paints brigs for the British fleet.

Featured Workbench Article

The 95th Rifles from Alban Miniatures

Warcolours Painting Studio Fezian does his research, selects his colors, and goes forth!

Featured Profile Article

Report from Bayou Wars 2006

The Editor heads for Vicksburg...

5,522 hits since 22 Mar 2013
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

John de Terre Neuve22 Mar 2013 12:54 p.m. PST

The Prussians always give me pause for thought.

I wargame at the tactical level with battalions as the basic unit and 1 to 2 divisions aside for most games. Most divisions will have 2-4 brigades each of which functions at the sub commander level. There are 3-5 battalions in each brigade.

I try to base my units on historical OB's but the Prussians are giving me some difficulty. Using a historical OB especially in the 1815 period gives me brigades of 9 battalions, I feel that this is just too many troops for 1 brigade commander, but at the same time if I have the subcommander at the regimental level (3 battalions) that is an awful lot of sub commanders, i.e. 3 subcommanders for just 9 battalions. The equivalent French Division would have on average have 2 sub commanders for 10-12 battalions.

You will notice that I have not mentioned any ruleset as the question has little to do with the ruleset played.

ANy thoughts?


Lord Raglan22 Mar 2013 1:08 p.m. PST


IMHO this is the beauty of playing Prussians and makes them very interesting. I see them as this unwieldy juggernaut with minimal command and control.

If you add further sub-commanders it kind of defeats the historical theme of the army.


Sparker22 Mar 2013 1:15 p.m. PST

I subdivide my Prussian 'Brigades', in reality Divisions, into all arms 'Abteilungen'. This would be the same size as a French Bde, but might incorporate at least one Fusilier Bn deployed in a skirmish chain, 2-3 Infantry Bns deployed as Line, and a battery or half battery of Guns. If on the flanks or van or rear guards, perhaps a Lt Cav Bde under command…

Each Abteilung gets a Commander, with the Command Value of a Brigadier, the extra commanders might be thought of as CO's of one of the Units.

If you will permit me to talk rules systems for a moment, doing this is pretty much essential with Black Powder, as orders are given at the Brigade level, and if you treat a Prussian Bde as such, you are handicapping the Prussians right from the outset in terms of orders and therefore mobility by effectively halving their numbers of commanders and therefore opportunities to move, rally, etc.

When playing with those ignorant of period history, whcih you must if you like playing mega games with actual team command structures, I simply refer to these Abteilungen as Brigades and every one is happy….

Peeler22 Mar 2013 1:31 p.m. PST

I tend to think of the Prussians as having less C&C, in DBN we usually have one Cmdr per 12 bases, but one per 18ish for Prussians, or a command pip handicap.
Juggernaut is a good descriptive term!

Spreewaldgurken22 Mar 2013 1:43 p.m. PST

""How do you organise Prussians for Wargaming?"

You never have to organize them. They organize themselves! They're Prussians!

enfant perdus22 Mar 2013 3:21 p.m. PST

From my reading, the "Abteilung" model seems to be a pretty accurate way to organize them, although they need not be all-arms or even of equal strength. Whatever was judged necessary to perform a certain function would be formed as a temporary command and assigned to whoever was suitable and available. These could be regimental commanders but often as not seem to have been battalion commanders, even if the total force was fairly substantial, e.g., three battalions plus two additional "skirmish" companies, a half-battery of horse artillery and and an uhlan squadron.

I would allow any such organization to take place as part of the game set-up. If the rules have a good C³ system, the Prussian player should be able to operate each Brigade as several Abteilungen without penalty.

14Bore22 Mar 2013 3:59 p.m. PST

PH's OOB list maybe half of the divisions with Brigade commanders. Most have Regimental commanders as Brigade commanders. And besides the 9 usual battalions throw in a addition 1/2 battalion of independent Jagers and a Regiment of Cavalry and your 6pdr Btry. What can go wrong?

kevanG22 Mar 2013 4:17 p.m. PST

I operate the regimntal commanders as brigade oommanders and the "bigade" commander as the divisional commander for my prussians post 1808…since that is how they operated.

There is a single brigade commander for the earlier period.

Basically, It mades the prussians the worst commanded army pre1808 to equalling the best in a single reorganisation post 1808.

wrgmr122 Mar 2013 6:13 p.m. PST

In Shako 2 the Prussian 9 battalion brigade is the same as a French 8 or 9 battalion division. Thus, we just leave them.
The maneuver element in Shako 2 is a divison.

tshryock22 Mar 2013 9:30 p.m. PST

I had a recent blog post on the very topic, except it sounds like we came to the same conclusions about organizing the force. I wondered about the subcommander issue as well. I'll probably end up throwing in a couple regimental commanders to make the force a little less unwieldy, but the point made about maybe they should be harder to control is something to consider.


John de Terre Neuve23 Mar 2013 5:01 a.m. PST

Thanks for the responses. I am tempted towards organizing the Prussians into large brigades that are indeed hard to control, but I wonder if kevanG is indeed correct in saying that the later Prussian army was well commanded thus necessitating 3 battalion brigades. It is not a bad idea to flesh these small brigades (regiments) with jaegers, horse and cannon.

Fortunately I have a lot of Prussian command figures.

One thing I am trying to develop is a system of single based ADC's that move about the table taking a change in orders from the commander to the sub commander.

An increase in the number of small subcommands of course would make this process more complicated, so in fact the command structure would become more unwieldy.


Valmy9223 Mar 2013 5:22 a.m. PST

This is a question that I find really interesting. For post 1808, the theory was a brigade of 2 regiments (including their converged grenadiers) plus some jagers and some cavalry, so not too unwieldy if the two regimental officers commanded their regiments. Then a landwher regiment of 3-4 battalions was added giving 3 subunits, that's where things got complicated and perhaps unwieldy. Also, often the cavalry was stripped off to corps level and artillery organized at corps level then doled out to the brigades as needed.

As far as flexibility vs. too many subunits for the C&C system is the part that's really interesting. Unit diversity too: Early Prussians are a great wargame army if you are playing small actions – the heavy cavalry and elites are spread out throughout the army, so whatever small part of it you are using has some; while the French concentrate that stuff in divisions under army control, which is much better for powerful strokes in a major battle, with a small part of the army you don't get any of the good stuff. Also, back in the days of Empire, my original reference point for a game, French maneuver elements were divisions for which a corps would have two or 3 – pretty limited options in terms of flexibility. The same number of early Prussians formed in brigades would have 4-6 pieces to make decisions with – that didn't overwhelm C&C; increase it proportionally to where the French had 8-12 divisions and the Prussians 16-24 brigades and they can't coordinate anything. One of the keys, I think is the ability to move large numbers of troops together, but the flexibility to subdivide them on the fly, which both the French and late Prussians did.

A set of seemingly disconnected thoughts without a coherent point,

John de Terre Neuve23 Mar 2013 5:45 a.m. PST

Yes it is really interesting.

I am no expert but in wargaming where the basic tactical unit is the infantry battalion, the main command and control mechanism for a grouping of these elements is them staying within range of their sub commander. I would think that the more individual units the more difficult to stay within a certain range of the sub commander. Once out of range I would think that they should suffer as they are out of command.

We then have the commander command and control of his various sub commanders. I like systems where the sub commanders are given a specific order at the start of a game and to change this order there needs to be some gaming mechanism in place to accomplish this. A moving ADC has it's attractions for me.

Anyway lots to think about, I am presently playtesting a ruleset that has very elegant movement and combat mechanisms, but what I would think is a pretty weak Command and Control mechanism. I believe this might allow me to engineer my own mechanism to layer on top of the ruleset.

Anyway that is the plan, but I am trying to see how a Prussian organizational structure would fit.


vtsaogames23 Mar 2013 6:03 a.m. PST

I think in the 1812-1815 Prussian army, infantry regiment = brigade in other armies, infantry brigade = division in other armies. The reason for the nomenclature is the treaty that was forced on the Prussians in 1807 did not allow them to form divisions. So they changed the names, while inventing the reservist system (later adopted by most other nations) to get around the treaty. I'm surprised the folks who designed the limits on the German Army in 1919 didn't notice what they'd done from 1807-1812.

Not the last word by any means, but my Prussians are organized:
1 brigade with 1 old regular regiment, 1 reserve regiment, 1 landwehr regiment, 2 batteries, 1/2 battalion jagers.
1 brigade with 1 regular regiment, 1 landwehr regiment, 1 battery, 1/2 battalion jagers.
1 brigade with 1 reserve regiment, 1 landwehr regiment, 1 battery.
Corps cavalry of two brigades, each with 1 dragoon regiment, 1 hussar regiment, 1 landwehr regiment
2 horse artillery batteries
Corps reserve artillery 1 heavy artillery battery, 1 howitzer battery

However this is moot as I usually play at a higher level where each battalion stands in for a regiment.
Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…
Someone with ADD said that.

mskelly23 Mar 2013 6:25 a.m. PST

Sorry John, a bit late to the party on this thread.

The previous poster has grasped the key point: an 1813 Prussian "brigade" was not the same tactical formation a brigade in other armies of the period. The nearest comparison is the division in other armies (but even this isn't a direct equivalent).

You should not treat these Prussian brigades as unwieldy forces under a single command. That would be historically inaccurate – the Prussian brigade was a highly flexible all arms formation.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short series of blog posting about Prussian brigade C&C and structure for the Republic to Empire ruleset. Many of the comments I made in those postings would apply to other rulesets too and I suspect those postings are what inspired Sparker to mention the term Abteilung. Take a look at them and see if they help you:


John de Terre Neuve23 Mar 2013 7:44 a.m. PST

Thanks, I remember reading and enjoying your posts on the Prussian 1813 organization, and I believe all your conclusions are quite valid.

I am still a little stuck though with the 100 days period, my own initial interest.

It does seem from looking at the Waterloo OB that the sub commands were not combined arms forces, with the cavalry and artillery resources being with the Corps command. I do not know enough history though to know how the Prussian forces were actually ordered to fight, I will have to look.

I would like to paint a full Corps, but I suspect this will not happen. I am hoping though to be able to paint at least 2 infantry brigades of 18 battalions (I have 12 done so I suspect I will be able to do it). I have also painted three artillery batteries and five cavalry regiments. From looking at the Waterloo OB there is an average of 11 batteries and 9 Cavalry regiments to each Corps, so I am about right in the ratio of Cavalry but a little low for Artillery for a half Corps.

So how would you organize this for the 1815 period?

I will have to look at Barry's comments in his rule book, but any further comments are appreciated.

Again thank you,


14Bore23 Mar 2013 9:01 a.m. PST

mskelly has a very good write up on the subject. That is how I use them as a mixed Division with all assets under the Divisional Commander. What ratio are you going with?

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2013 9:33 a.m. PST

The Prussian 1813-1814 organization was, based on my readings, one of the more flexible of its day. Earlier posters have warned us to look beyond the "brigade" nomenclature. These, mostly, general officers were combined arms division level commanders with 9+ battalions of infantry, 1 or more cavalry regiments, and 1 or more artillery batteries. They utilized their regimental commanders to help with the command and control of the subordinate units, organizing the "abteilungen" as the situation dictated. The light cavalry regiment(s) were there to help keep the enemy skirmishes at bay while the fusilier battalions, jager and freiwilligenjager, and the third ranks of the musketeer battalions gave them a significant skirmisher component. The addition of corps level artillery to the "divisional" battery gave the "divisional" commander additional firepower. Martin's (mskelly) articles, above, offer a very cognent explanation.

Here is an example of a Prussian Korps from 1813 post-armistice, based on contemporary histories:

III Korps, Army of the North – Generalleutnant von Bulow

3rd Brigade – Generalmajor Prinz von Hessian Homburg
Infantry Regiment Nr 4, 3rd East Prussian (3 bns); Reserve Infantry Regiment Nr 4 (3rd East Prussian) (3 bns); 2nd East Prussian Grenadier Batatlion, Nr. 2; 3rd East Prussian Landwehr Infantry Regiment (3 bns) [10 bns]; Hussar Regiment Nr 1, 1st Leib; and Foot Battery Nr. 5 (6 lbr).

4th Brigade – Generalmajor von Thumen
Infantry Regiment Nr 5, 4th East Prussian (3 bns); Reserve Infantry Regiment Nr 5 (4th East Prussian) (3 bns); 1/2 Jager Battalion Nr 2, East Prussian; Elbe Infantry Regiment (3 bns) [9.5 bns]; Pomeranian National Cavalry Regiment; and Foot Battery Nr 6 (6-lbr).

5th Brigade – Generalmajor von Borstell
Infantry Regiment Nr 2, 1st Pomeranian (3 bns); Reserve Infantry Regiment Nr 2 (1st Pomeranian) (3 bns); Pomeranian Grenadier Battalion, Nr 3; 2nd Kurmark Landwehr Infantry Regiment (3 bns) [10 bns]; Hussar Regiment Nr 5, Pomeranian; and Foor Battery Nr 10 (6-lbr).

6th Infantry Brigade – Generalmajor von Krafft
Infantry Regiment Nr 9 Colberg, 2nd Pomeranian 93 bns); Reserve Infantry Regiment Nr 9 (Colberg) (3 bns); 1st Neumark Landwehr Infantry Regiment (3 bns) [9 bns]; 1st Pomeranian Landwehr Cavalry Regiment; and Foot Battery Nr 16 (6-lbr).

Corps Cavalry – Generalmajor von Oppen
Oberst von Treskow's Briagde – Dragoon Regiment Nr 1 Koningen; Dragoon Regiment Nr 4, 2nd West Prussian; and Dragoon Regiment Nr 5 Brandenburg.
Oberst von Hobe's Briagde – Hussar Regiment Nr 6, 2nd Silesian and Uhlan Regiment Nr 1, West Prussian.
Oberstleutnant von Sydow's Brigade – 2nd Pomerian, 2nd Kurmark, and 4th Kurmark Landwehr Cavalry Regiments

Corps Artillery – Oberstleutanant von Holtzendorff
Foot Batteries Nr 4 and 5 (12-lbr); Foot Battery Nr 19 (6-lbr); and Horse Battery Nr 11 (6-lbr; Feldpioneer Companies Nr 4 and 5.

Plus some of the infantry regiments and two of the dragoon regiments had freiwilligenjager detachments.

As you can see, this was a powerful organization with 38.5 infantry battalions, 12 cavalry regiments, and 8 artillery batteries. Generalleutnant von Bulow used it (and the primarily landwehr IV Korps) in defeating the French advances against Berlin at Gross Beeren (Marshal Oudinot) and Dennewitz (Marshal Ney) and later in the Leipzig campaign.

With each brigade ("division") having three subordinate commanders, plus four corps-level cavalry commanders, this gave the corps commander 20 subordinant commanders to control this force. Doesn't sound like an "unwieldy" organization to me.


thomalley23 Mar 2013 9:45 a.m. PST

I thought the Prussian brigand also had 1 bn of converged Grenadiers made up from the Old Line and Reserve Rgts. Each of these had 1/2bn in their organization. Add in a jager bn and your up to 11 bn per "division".

John de Terre Neuve23 Mar 2013 9:52 a.m. PST

Remember I am talking about the 100 days period, although I appreciate the responses.

I agree with you Jim, that the regimental officers acting as bde commanders give you superb local control but how does the CinC change orders on the fly with so many sub commanders. That is the gaming challenge I believe.


Pictors Studio23 Mar 2013 12:09 p.m. PST

Addressing the Black Powder issue, if you wanted to simultaneously limit the Prussian mobility without crippling them in that system you could have an overall commander, Brigade commander, who has Ld 9 and have lower level commanders with lower command rating, say 7 or 8. That way the 9 Battalion brigade could still move as a single unit effectively but "sub-brigades" would be able to operate individually and less effectively.

matthewgreen23 Mar 2013 12:26 p.m. PST

I am just starting out on an 1815 Prussian army which I want to organise for games with both brigade and battalion sized units. So I am wrestling with the same questions. Some thoughts which build on what many of the poster have already said.

The brigade is equivalent to the French and British division. It does not follow that regiment is equivalent to brigades in other armies – even though they are the right size. The Prussians had a much more flexible command system so that battalions from different regiments were grouped together, along with any supporting arms. Landwehr units will often be stiffened up with regulars.

In Blucher's army a brigade is compaosed of three regiments. One would be an established regiment of regulars with an experienced fusilier battalion (call it 1st regiment). At the other end of the scale there would be a landwehr regiment (call it 3rd regiment), which would have a designated fusilier battalion, but without it being fully trained. In between (2nd regiment) you would either have a newer regular regiment, converted from a reserve infantry regiment or formations like Lutzow's freikorps, or (for Bulow's corps) a second landwehr regiment. In neither case, I suspect, would the fusiliers be fully trained.

So I think a typical formation (based on Bulow's 16th Brigade at Waterloo as per Adkin's book) would be a vanguard comprising the fusiliers of the 1st regiment, and a battalion of the second regiment, with some supporting cavalry. Then comes a first line of one battalion of the 1st regiment and the other two from the second, plus a battery. Then a reserve line of two battalions of the 3rd regiment. Then a flank guard of the remaining battalions of the 1st and 3rd. Get the idea?

For a system like Grande Armee, I am thinking of organising each division into three units, one with the fusiliers, and one mainly landwehr, and the other in between.

Just a thought.

MichaelCollinsHimself23 Mar 2013 1:28 p.m. PST

Hi John,
Private message me if you would like the tactical system notes that I have for 1812-15 Prussians in my rules, they may be of some help?

John de Terre Neuve24 Mar 2013 7:16 a.m. PST

Thanks Mike, your notes were helpful.

So I have decided to organize my 1815 Prussians into mixed armed brigades, which function as the equivalent of divisions. Each Brigade will have have 2 sub commanders.

I have to test things but I am thinking to have the two line fusilier battalions and the skirmishers under the Brigade Commander, with the 4 musketeer units under one sub commander with the 3 landwehr units under the second sub commander. Corps elements of cavalry and artillery will be assigned on an adhoc basis according to the tactical situation to any of the brigades. This essentially is what many of you have suggested and is contained in the Prussian tactical notes sent on by Mike.

I would like to thank you all for the most useful replies you have sent on.


mskelly24 Mar 2013 9:09 a.m. PST

John I'm glad we've been able to help you. I have one comment on your planned distribution of units: I doubt that the Prussians would have grouped all the light infantry elements together under one command as you propose. Firstly, that doesn't make tactical sense because it would leave two of your sub-commands without specialist light infantry/skirmishers. Secondly, if by "skirmishers" you're thinking of the volunteer jager detachments, they almost always stayed with their parent battalion.

John de Terre Neuve24 Mar 2013 9:11 a.m. PST

Thanks Martin, it did seem a little odd to me as well, but I will let others chime in.


MichaelCollinsHimself24 Mar 2013 9:12 a.m. PST

You`re welcome John,
I`m not sure if relevant for your rules, but I think I recall that it was the senior of the regimental commanders who lead the first (regulating) line – they were not necessarily with their own regiments.

John de Terre Neuve24 Mar 2013 9:26 a.m. PST

Mike thank you again and great website. In respect of who is responsible for who, maybe it would be better to have the Bde Commander (Div) responsible for the reserves, especially if the tactical formation below holds up to scrutiny.

Further for Martin. This is from the Napoleonisyka site. link

It looks like a tactical formation, whether it is right or wrong, I am not an expert enough to say.


Sparker24 Mar 2013 1:16 p.m. PST

Seems odd to mix up the Bns of the 2 Musketeer Regiments like that,in the 3rd and 4th rows, I'd have thought they would be kept contiguous….

The only other thing I's like to reiterate is that however you reach a solution, the outcome should not penalise the Prussians for having larger Brigades, if anything they should have pretty swept up C2 for the effort they put into tactical flexibility and pushing the all arms mix as far down as required. The large Bde solution gave them flexible artillery and cav where and when required, but more or less embedded, so not at the expense of formation cohesion. I.e, CO's and Company/Squadron commanders would know who they were working with, and would trust them accordingly.

Essentially they had all arms Battle Groups and Combat Teams 150 years ahead of their time! AirLand 2000 without the aviation and Fast Air!

John de Terre Neuve24 Mar 2013 1:22 p.m. PST

Sparker. I do not think you looked at the table.

There are only 3 rows, with the third row containing the landwehr, the second row containing all 4 line musketeer battalions and the first row containing the fusiliers and jagers.

I actually think this gives the Prussians excellent command and control with 3 commanders for essentially 11 units (9 infantry, 1 artillery and 1 cavalry).

I agree this looks like a very advanced battle group.


Sparker24 Mar 2013 6:24 p.m. PST


Well OK, I'm counting the intial line of skirmishers as a row… But why mix up the 2 Musketeer regiments when theres no need too?

So in row 3 (or the first row of Musketeer Bns, why not swap units 2 and 3 to keep the Regimental boundaries pure? Makes C2 so much easier?

MichaelCollinsHimself25 Mar 2013 2:01 a.m. PST

A number of things do seem puzzling about the Prussian brigade organisations, these were the Prussian`s response and their manner of adopting French methods of the early war years.

Fusilier Battalions were integrated into regiments and brigades.

Divisions (termed "brigades") were arrayed in greater depth than before.

It would appear that the Prussians didn`t seem to mind about regimental boundaries, but mixing the "line" with "reserve" regiments probably had the effect of homogenising the esprit d`corps and besides this, even though having depth and reserves were seen as important in the new arrangement of battalions, the frontage of the brigade (division) may have been seen as too short if each regiment formed a line of battle.

Their selection of the most senior regimental commander to lead the formation would also appear odd to us now, but this was a recently reformed army and sometimes older methods and practices persisted in coalition armies.

In this organisation, it was the Prussian`s original intention to have all-arms commands, but later they reduced the cavalry to a couple of squadrons and the artillery to one battery; keeping reserve cavalry formations and artillery corps reserves.
Combined-arms tactics work just fine but they needed more able commanders. So at the end of the wars, you`ll see that it was rather a means of re-organising an infantry division than of using combined arms.

Midpoint25 Mar 2013 5:15 a.m. PST


Could I/II musketeer refer to two battalions from the same regiment – so it they are next to each other as regiments rather than split?

i.e. A1 and A2 next to B1 and B2


John de Terre Neuve25 Mar 2013 5:41 a.m. PST

Exactly Midpoint, I was waiting for someone to recognise that the regiments were actually formed in we could say a triangle. I am still curious though , was the command structure vertical (regimental) or horizontal (troop type). No offence but I would be more interested in facts rather then what someone thinks or feels is right.



Musketier25 Mar 2013 7:56 a.m. PST

As far as I can recall (don't have my books to hand) in 1815 the Landwehr would normally be left as a separate command (Probably not least because line officers would have outranked their Landwehr colleagues, even if more experienced, in mixed formations). It would not necessarily have been the last line, esp. in Bülow's corps where the ratio of Landwehr to Line was reversed: Landwehr waves could go in first to soften up the opposition, with the regulars kept back to deliver the coup de grâce. Or, battalions would just get fed into battle in twos and threes as they came up: On 18 June 1815 opposite Plancenoit, nobody seems to have cared much about "regimental boundaries"…

The two Fusilier battalions, feeding the skirmish line as required and usually supported by a couple of light squadrons and some guns, would be handled as one command (which could swerve to play flank guard, as in the assault on Plancenoit). In a somewhat different approach, Zieten strengthened his vanguard brigade with a full regiment of hussars and a battalion of riflemen.

So horizontal command structure mostly, and a lot of flexibility – definitely not a jugernaut.


summerfield25 Mar 2013 9:59 a.m. PST

Dear All
I have explained this in my books. It is quite simple and very flexible.

Brigade commander (Divisional level in wargames) then various brigade groups under the command of the senior commander of the group were set up.

In the classic 1813 organisation

2 fusilier Bns commanded by the Fus/IR1 commander
1st line commanded by the IR1 Oberst/Lt
2nd Line commanded by the Landwehr Oberst (as he was normally the most senior).

A better explanation can be found in


summerfield25 Mar 2013 10:07 a.m. PST

This was previously discussed
TMP link

matthewgreen25 Mar 2013 10:24 a.m. PST

John, your proposed organisation is clearly realistic and has military logic. However the substance of Prussian organisation is much more flexible – as their attacks on Plancenoit in 1815 showed.

It's important to recognise that the two line regiments (where present) weren't equal in 1815. One was senior and better established, and the other formed much more recently from reserve and other formations without fusilier battalions (though in 1815 all regiments had designated fusilier battalions, the level of training would have varied considerably). This may be one reason why the regiments were often mixed up – though not always.

It would be more realistic to give players the ability to mix and match the sub commands.

Sparker25 Mar 2013 1:18 p.m. PST

Well whatever I and II refer to, and of course they are trying to arrange them in a triangle, the diagram still shows them as intermixed whereas a simple adjustment would respect regimental boundaries and still give depth. I think I am going to assume theres a typo and the 2 middle Bns should be swapped around. Makes more sense all round! So:

II I Fus

louislouis25 Mar 2013 2:00 p.m. PST

I and II refer to the first and second bataillon of a regiment (III would be the Fusiliers), so there is no mixing of regiments in the graphic

John de Terre Neuve25 Mar 2013 3:19 p.m. PST

I agree louis there is no mixing of battalions in the graphic the 3rd line is the landwehr. Maybe this will help, I am not really sure why it is causing confusion.

This is of course is not the command structure as it would seem that this was a horizontal command structure.

The whole thing is quite interesting and flexible.

Thanks Stephen, I have your books, so I will have a good look.

It is funny how my question morphed from 1815 Prussian Command structure, but anyway thanks to all.


Sparker25 Mar 2013 6:59 p.m. PST

Hmm…thanks for putting in the Regiment Numbers, that helps to clarify, and it makes sense to have the LW to the rear…I think there's still something wrong with the diagram – weren;t Landwehr Regiments simply 3 Battalions, not 2 Musketeers and a Fusilier….Not to worry though, too far down a rabbit hole for one day!

Steve6425 Mar 2013 10:20 p.m. PST

Great topic John !

I have added a blog post to give a visual take on the problem at the tabletop level, at least from an 1813 perspective :


Thats 1 small interpretation anyway. In my case here, the 1st line is a little weak, having only 1 proper fusiler battalion and 2 decent line battalions. The remainder of the brigade in my case is made up of a lot of poorer quality reserve and landwehr units.

Again – its 1813, so a higher proportion of green troops, but a very nice package of supporting cavalry with skirmish capability (Prussian Hussars)

Because of this … and the terrain situation, the initial skirmish screen is under the command of the 1st line Abteilung commander, and both the Cavalry group and the Artillery battery have separate commanders.

Thanks for the links Mr Summerfield too – great info ! Unfortunately, the links to the docs are broken at the moment :(

Sparker25 Mar 2013 11:24 p.m. PST

Interesting thing about the Prussians in 1815, in doing some research on the Landwehr, and whether LW Regiments boasted Fusilier Bns – it seems not – by all account by 1815 they were counted as every bit as good as the Line and Reserve Regiments.

I guess by then they'd all seen plenty of action.

So theres no real reason for them to stay in the third line, and for a LW Regiment not to form the basis of an Abteilung…

summerfield26 Mar 2013 3:29 a.m. PST

Dear Sparker
By 1815, one of the Landwehr battalions in effect could act as a Fusilier Bn.

Dear Steve
I do not think you have understood the depth of the Prussian Brigade, the replacement of lines and the intermixing of experience producing a very flexible system.

Steve6426 Mar 2013 6:01 a.m. PST


Dear Steve
I do not think you have understood the depth of the Prussian Brigade, the replacement of lines and the intermixing of experience producing a very flexible system.

Thanks, but can you expand on that please ?

In the example from the blog post above, what I have is a brigade sized unit deploying onto the field from campaign column.

The 'first line' Abteilung has deployed on a frontage of 600m, to cover the deployment of the following lines which are coming onto the table in campaign column over the next hour or so. (Thats another 6 battalions yet)

Each line within the brigade has its own sub-commander, the equivalent of a French GdB commander in game terms. In this case the Brigade commander has pulled a battalion from the 2nd line into the 1st line to strengthen the left flank.

The 2nd line (and Reserve group) will take up position behind the 1st line, arranged so that each Battalion lines up with the gap between the Battalions in the line ahead of it. Battalions will deploy into attack column with gaps between them to allow for passage of lines.

Any of these Prussian battalions have the ability to throw out a semi-skirmisher screen by deploying the 3rd rank forward … although the skirmish ability differs from battalion to battalion, with dedicated Fusiliers being better than green Reserve infantry for example.

There is flexibility to re-assign battalions between lines to suit the situation. (which in game terms chews up command points)

So all up, the main infantry force has 3 Battalions up, and another 6 Battalions back – giving a force that operates in depth.

Thats my current understanding anyway. If I have any of those assumptions wrong, please let me know which bits need more attention. Thanks.

Steve6426 Mar 2013 6:21 a.m. PST


Digging through the appendices for Prussian Landwehr ratings, I find these details buried away:

1813 & 1815: Rated as Landwehr, with no skirmisher capability.

1814 :
75% Conscript (a step up from Landwehr)
25% Veteran
Both with semi-skirmish capability

Westphalian Landwehr 1815: Rated as Militia (step below Landwehr), no skirmish capability.

Not so sure why the step backwards from 1814 to 1815 ? One possibility might be that the better hardcore LW units were drafted into Line regiments by 1815, leaving the Corps of LW being holding companies for all the new conscripted recuits. Whether these guys got new uniforms or not when they were upgraded to 'Line Regiment' status is another matter.

Or maybe its just another typo in the massively verbose appendix ;)

Ive come to a similar conclusion to you though – that by 1815, many Landwehr units contained some very tough nuts indeed, and deserve a Veteran rating.

Likewise with the Fusilier designation – whilst not having a dedicated 'Fusilier Battalion' in the regiment, any Battalion with skirmish capability can take on a temporary 'Fusilier Skirmisher' role at the commander's discretion.

summerfield26 Mar 2013 6:53 a.m. PST

Dear Steve
Alas the understanding above is based upon wargaming and not upon the army as it was. I have so far written three books on the Prussian Army of 1808-15 and another two on Frederick the Great's Army.

The Reserve Infantry Regiments are misunderstood by most. They were formed predominately from Beurlaubten (former soldiers). Their officers and most of the men had fought in 1806-07 campaign. The system of reserves and furloughs goes back to Frederick the Great's father. The RIR were not green troops. Also remember that when the Garde zu Fuss was taken out of the line, it was replaced by the 2nd Brandenburgs that was made from Reserve Regiments.

The Prussian Army was constrained to a size of 40000 men. The army in 1806-07 was nearly 200000 men.

Many of Fusilier Bns of the Line Regiments (IR1-12) were formed from personel that had been previously in the Fusilier Bns in 1806-07 or had been formed as light units during the war. This was also prevelent in the reserve regiments.

The third rank had been in use by the Prussian army from at least the 1790s. This was a reserve that could form in skirmish order or flank guards.

The Westphalian Militia in 1815 was considered with caution as it was made up of a large number of soldiers that had fought for Napoleon including those from Berg, France (post 1810 France annexed the provinces west of the Rhine) and Westphalia. They proved to be as good as any other Landwehr. In the same way that most of the Netherlands Army fought for Napoleon the year before.

The simplest way of doing a Prussian Brigade is to have the Brigade Commander and another commander. Then it is to the player at the start of the game to decide upon the allocation of command.

It is difficult to explain without diagrams.

Musketier26 Mar 2013 6:54 a.m. PST

By -1814- the Landwehr contained some very tough nuts indeed, having marched and fought all the way from Saxony to the French plains through the winter. However, these would have been discharged when peace broke out.

Landwehr units that got called up in 1815, especially from the newly-acquired western provinces, would have had a higher percentage of new recruits again, so rating them closer to 1813 seems in order.

The newly-minted line regiments (No. 12-31) on the other hand would have held a considerable percentage of veterans, as they were built from wartime formations like the Reserve Regiments that fought through 1813-14, various Freikorps, Russo-German Legion or ex-Berg troops in French service. Unless there's evidence of individual poor performance from the 1815 campaign, they should rate every bit as line, including skirmishing capabilities for their Füsilier battalions.

Edit: Dr. S*** beat me to it (but it's "Beurlaubten") grin

John de Terre Neuve26 Mar 2013 7:11 a.m. PST

Thank you again Steven, you have actually got back to the point of my original question, which was in respect to war gaming. How many sub commanders should the player field in game with a 1815 Prussian Bde?


Pages: 1 2