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"Campaign of 1806 in Prussia Best OOB" Topic

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marshalGreg23 Feb 2017 9:32 a.m. PST

The french Army seems to be very well addressed.
My sources on the Prussian and Saxon Army seem less so and conflict between sources with no clear as to which is more true.
So I am asking the experts out there what is the the best OOB source or reference for the Prussian/Saxon OOB?

thank in advance


Zoltar Supporting Member of TMP23 Feb 2017 1:21 p.m. PST

If you want an OB of all troops available (in the standing and reserves), try to find a copy of Johnson's "Armies of the Napoleonic Wars."

If you want OBs for battles, George Nafziger researched individual battle OBs. I believe it was donated to the Combined Arms Research Center. There is a page for the OB of almost every battle, engagement, etc. of the period.

The Nafziger Collection (different…sells books)also has "Analysis of the 1806 and 1807 Campaigns" which is good for individual battle OBs.

marshalGreg23 Feb 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

Georges OBs are part of my current data and there is issues with between the others. So I am looking for something that is more complete for the Jena and Auerstadt.

I will have to take a look at Analysis of the 1806 and 1807 Campaigns but I just need the OBs so buying a complete book is not my interest at this time, since I have several others that cover this period well but are incomplete on the Prussian OOBs.



Three Armies23 Feb 2017 2:44 p.m. PST

link Do you have this book? It is a pretty comprehensive cover of the conflict imho

Supercilius Maximus23 Feb 2017 11:03 p.m. PST

IIRC, doesn't the Osprey Campaign book (CAM 20) have a complete OOB for the Prussian-Saxon forces?

Le Breton23 Feb 2017 11:56 p.m. PST

The "classic" studies for the German-speaking sides are – no surprise – in German, and all have OOB info.

v. Höpfner – Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807 (1855)

v. Lettow-Vorbeck – Der Krieg von 1806 und 1807 (1891)
nice OOB charts from page 411 or so

v. Plotho – Tagebuch wärhend des Krieges in den Jahren 1806 und 1807 (1811)

v. Landmann – Der Krieg von 1806 bis 1807 (1911)
can't find for free, although it should be out of copyright outside the EU
here is a reasonable cost scan/send service : link

But these are exactly the sources that George Nafziger consulted, I am sure.
So, maybe It would help more if you asked about the the specific issues that resulted from your review of the Nafziger OOB's?

marshalGreg24 Feb 2017 6:04 a.m. PST

@ Three Armies- thanks for the reply
Jena, Auerstaedt: The Triumph of the Eagle is one of my books and part of my problem.
@ Le Breton- Yes I agree. I will have to speak with George on that. I have revisited one of my resources, with much dust removed from the book that has sat, and see some issues being resolved to my satisfaction but still need to get through all of them here soon.

thanks all


shadoe0124 Feb 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

The trouble with the OOB's are that the Prussians moved brigades and units around in the short time leading up to Jena-Auerstadt. So, an OOB might be correct at a given time or even as an intention (e.g., the creation of Blucher's advance guard for the main army).

Bressonet's tactical study is useful for sorting the various inconsistencies and it has an OOB which I think reflects the original organization before the Prussians started to mess around with it – does wonders for coordination above brigade.

Somethings that you might have already figured out but worth mentioning when looking at the various OOB – and Nafziger's in particular.

1) Saxe-Weimar's force was the original advance guard of the main army but was to the SW of the Weser, so Blucher's advance guard was created (notionally) the night before teh battle of Auerstadt;

2) Blucher's advance guard was to be created from Schmettau's light troops (battalion of Wurttemberg hussars, Greiffenberg fusiliers and the schutzen battalion from Saxe-Weimar – the duchy), Wartensleben's light troops (Irwing dragoons and Koch fusiliers) and the Prince of Orange's light troops (battalion of Wurttemberg hussars and Oswald fusiliers). The two battalions of the Blucher hussars were not part of the original OOB for the main army. According to Nafziger they were part of Tauenzien's division. I can't confirm it but I've no reason to doubt that Nafziger has it right in this case.

3) The Queen's Dragoons (and Graumann's horse artillery) were part of Arnim's reserve division. Nafziger shows this as 5 squadrons, but Bressonet as 10 squadrons. Since 10 squadrons were present I assume Bressonet is correct. Some OOB show this regiment as belonging to Schmettau. This is probably correct for 13th October as Schmettau was to command the advance guard – at least until Blucher showed up at 2:00 am on the 14th, and the Queen's dragoons were at the front (closest to Davout's III Corps).

4) After being assigned command of the advance guard, Blucher went to the front of Schmettau's division to take command of the advance guard consisted of 5 squadron's of Queen's dragoons, Graumann's horse artillery and some skirmishers and one musketeer battalion from Schmettau's infantry. Apparently the fusilier battalions and the hussars were not in position and only reached the battlefield latter. Latter Blucher was eventually given command of the most of the heavy cavalry of Schmettau, Wartensleben and the Prince of Orange.

5) Irwing's dragoons seem to have remained under Wartensleben's command during the battle as it was deployed to the right of Wartensleben's infantry – on the opposite flank of where Blucher had conducted his piecemeal, unsupported cavalry attacks – much like Ney at Waterloo. the mass of cavalry that gathered on the right flank in the late morning doesn't seem to have been under anyone's overall command…to quote Bressonet, "In total, this mass of cavalry numbered about 30 squadrons, partly deployed, partly in columns, only lacking order and leadership to become useful." These 30 squadrons included several hussars squadrons, which had arrived by this time. So, it doesn't seem that the Blucher's advance guard, as seen in some OOB, ever fought together as an organization – even if under Blucher's notional command.

6) The figure of 9,600 cavalry for the main army seems to be for the dragoons and cuirassiers only as that's the exact number in Bressonet.

7) Nafziger seems to have missed the Leib battalion of the IR 15 Garde. From a previous discussion on TMP it seems that this battalion was present as shown in most other OOB.

Given the ever-changing command structure of the Prussian army combined with key leaders being killed or wounded, it's probably that all OOB's are correct at some point.

I haven't gone through Jena, but I expect it's much the same there given the way the battle unfolded.

It's worth adding that given the chaotic command situation and that the Prussians were outnumbered in the overall campaign , the Prussian troops probably fought much better than they are often given credit in the histories.

I hope some of that was useful.



Michael Hopper24 Feb 2017 12:01 p.m. PST


The Prussian and Saxon OB varies engagement to engagement. I commend Le Breton for mentioning the links for the standard contemporary German sources (in the old script) that many of us reference. The problem with George Nafziger's limited orders of battle are they are organizational structures at a point in time, not for many of the day of battles. I have met George, have high regards for his efforts to provide these OBs in English but caution you that they are not accurate portrayals of the actual units engaged at each battle. To do that requires reading the German texts, Bressonet etc. to understand attachments, detachments and which units were actually involved versus miles away.

As regards Hourtoulle, rest in peace, pretty book with nice pictures but his book is limited to focus on Saalfeld, Jena and Auerstaedt. Most of the smaller and medium size engagements are not mentioned or get a 1-2 line reference in modern histories.

What specifically are you wanting to know? I did scenario work for some 16-18 Prussian actions in 1806 (not published yet) and Saalfeld/Jena/Auerstaedt are just the three larger ones some authors focus on.

i.e. – do you want the organizational structure of the Prussian army at the start of the campaign or on each battlefield?

Michael Hopper AT

Le Breton24 Feb 2017 12:38 p.m. PST

Two more :

v. Jany – Die Gefechtsausbildung der preussischen Infanterie von 1806, mit einer Auswahl von Gefechtsberichten (1903)

Bressonnet – Études tactiques sur la campagne de 1806 : Saalfeld--Iéna--Auerstedt (1909)
(conveniently in a typeface that does not cause the problems found with the old German works)

These old works can be very helpful, and are usually free. For example, the fractured deployment of the Regiment Königin Dragoner Nr. 5 and the confusion between v. Schmettau and v. Blücher on the early morning of the 14th, in the fog, is described in some detail in the work by Höpfner cited above, 1. Teil. 1. Band. S. 450 et seq.

Also :

Historische Darstellung der wichtigsten Ereignisse des Königlich-Preußischen Zweiten Kürassier Regiments (genannt Königin) von dessen Stiftung im Jahre 1717 bis zum Jahre 1820 (1827)

Geschichte des Königlich Preußischen zweiten Kürassier-Regiments Königin (1842)

nsolomon9925 Feb 2017 2:29 a.m. PST

Questing for accurate Prussian OB's for battles during the 1806 Campaign is actually considered a Quest for the Holy Grail.

I don't really think there is a single completely accurate source. Lots of good sources mentioned above and also the important point is made that it really depends on which action. The Prussians changed OB's around daily, almost like a parlour game for senior Officers, very difficult to follow and very frustrating.

Three Armies25 Feb 2017 6:13 a.m. PST

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15th Hussar25 Feb 2017 7:07 a.m. PST

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Three Armies25 Feb 2017 8:25 a.m. PST

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Michael Hopper25 Feb 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Three Armies

Did you get my email?


15th Hussar25 Feb 2017 4:52 p.m. PST

Three Armies

Did you get my email?


Three Armies25 Feb 2017 8:12 p.m. PST

Michael Hopper

Yes I did and I will reply soon

bkim417522 May 2021 1:27 p.m. PST

Does anyone have anything on Saxe-Weimar's Advant Garde that was left behind when Brunswick reversed direction?

pfmodel22 May 2021 4:51 p.m. PST

You could always try Nafziger

This is the pdf for jena (from the site)
PDF link

SHaT198423 May 2021 1:22 a.m. PST

I'd offer some help but the ancient book copied from a library many years ago has scanner 'shudder' just over the Avant-Garde portion of both wings, making most of the text illegible.
Sorry, dave

Prince of Essling02 Jun 2021 8:23 a.m. PST

The suggestion from Digby Smith's "The Prussian Army to 1815" (no indication of the source) page 402 (and no listing of brigade commanders) for sax-Weimar's detachment:

Infantry Regiment (IR – each of 2 battalions) von Schenck Nr 9 & IR von Winning Nr 23, Grenadier battalion von Borstell.
IR von Treuenfels Nr 29 & IR von Strachwitz Nr 43, Grenadier battalion von Hellmann.
IR von Wedell Nr 10, IR von Tschepe Nr 37, Fusilier battalion von Sobbe Nr 18.
Cuirassier regiment von Bailliodz Nr 5, Dragoon regiments Koenig von Bayern Nr 1 & von Katte Nr 4 (5 squadrons each).
Artillery: 2 x 6pdr foot batteries (16 guns), ? x 6pdr horse artillery battery (4 guns)
15,000 men & 20 guns

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2021 7:10 a.m. PST

I bought and read ‘October Triumph' by James Arnold. People love to trash his books on this page, but I enjoy them and like his detailed notes documenting his claims, agree with them or not.

This book has listed OOBs for the major battles. However, there is enough detail in the text to outline the forces engaged at every fight up to Jena/Auerstadt. Good enough for setting up a game at least.

I frankly doubt one can get any detail on the Prussians, They were disorganized. Once in contact with the French mayhem ruled even more. I doubt they were able to get a handle on what they actually had, especially after running from a defeat.

In contrast, Napoleon was fastidious in keeping tabs. Even that can be estimates day to day.

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