Help support TMP


"French Skirmishers - Per Brigade or not" Topic


84 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.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board



2,501 hits since 7 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Pages: 1 2 

Trajanus08 Sep 2017 4:53 a.m. PST

Difficult one to make a subject line for but here's the detail.

Many will know that the British in the Peninsular (and Waterloo) formally grouped Light Companies from the same Brigade, plus what ever Rifles (Oels, 5/60) happened to be lying around, into a semi permanent formation, under an appointed Officer.

Now, ignoring for a second the joys of distinction between Voltigeurs and Tirailleurs, plus the ever popular debate on when and if Légère Battalions stopped having any meaningful difference over Ligne in this regard, did the French ever do the same.

Spare me possible doctrinal delights and the discussion of Grande Bandes etc, if you can, all I want to know is did a version of the British arrangement exist and who started it, if possible. (The British formed under direct instruction from Wellington, its easy to find)

It may well be that at every battle the French Light companies just wandered off in front of their parent battalions and did their thing but this strikes me as unlikely. Conversely, I have never seen anything to the contrary written down.

So in a nutshell that's the question!

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 5:06 a.m. PST

I've by far read all books on the subject. But I've never read about any such thing.
It just seemed like a hey just did the same old thibg. Light companies in skirmish order in front.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

Depending on the date and particular army composition, there were often whole brigade of Legere (like at Wagram) that I assume took on the large scale skirmish responsibilities for the army itself.

Further, many brigades had a legere regiment paired with a ligne regiment. There wouldn't be any need to amalgamate light companies when such bodies – already dedicated to light infantry work – were permanent fixtures within the brigade structure itself.

Ligne voltigeurs would operate and deploy if needed but otherwise would stay in the battle line with their battalion compangies is how I imagine it.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 6:18 a.m. PST

At various times, particularly 1805-07, elite battalions were created of mixed grenadiers and chasseurs, or just chasseurs and voltigeurs.

At Jena, for instance, the 17th Legere was reinforced by just such an elite battalion of mixed companies of grenadiers and chasseurs which was used as a light battalion.

Such elite battalions, even if made entirely of voltigeurs were too often labeled 'grenadiers' by later historians. The French 'Grenadier Divisions' were often filled with light infantry company composites, principally voltigeurs.

Obviously, while these battalions were filled with light infantry units and were used as light infantry, they were also used in the role of grenadiers too, unlike the British [or did the British use the composite lights as shock troops now and then?]

Whirlwind08 Sep 2017 6:30 a.m. PST

It is a very interesting question Trajanus.

I have never seen anything to indicate that the French used a command approach resembling the British practice. There doesn't seem to be that regular use of full battalions as a screen for the remainder of the the brigade either (plus there would then be an issue with how different French divisions would operate with some having and some not having formal "light" units. It seems inherently unlikely that full battalions would operate with the individual companies at the same time, and I haven't read of any such thing either. So we are left with individual companies.

But perhaps it would be better to think of the whole French battalion putting pressure on its opponents by deploying its voltigeur company or so then reinforcing as necessary to overcome the opposition skirmish line and then doing damage to the enemy's forward line of formed units (along with the artillery). It is a very aggressive and innovative tactic, with a different spiritual ancestor to the combined light battalion of British practice.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

There is a fair chance that by, say 1810-12 the difference between légère and others was cosmetic, if they were properly trained.
As when Bernadotte reshaped the Swedish army , he just took off the lights and put the same training for all. Well one Swede said so on a forum.
Then it explains why some divisions have lights, even 2, some not etc.

That all, everywhere train properly is another story, given the particular instructions one can find when some big man takes command for ex Davout or another one I forgot in Italy.

We had long interesting threads on skirmishing, and most guys did it, depending on their commanders taste, albeit not necesarily well, in all armies.
No doubt had hoc commands made sense, for obvious coordination reasons. As often not easy to find explicit stuff when obvious for the contemporary professionals.

Art08 Sep 2017 8:02 a.m. PST

G'Day Trajanus

As you have requested…I will spare you the details…but yes they did…FACT

Then in 1808 they had to make a small change in their tactical detachments…

Massena in one campaign even gave a light detachment at brigade level new shoes each month…

Best Regards
Art

Whirlwind08 Sep 2017 8:24 a.m. PST

As you have requested…I will spare you the details…but yes they did…FACT

Then in 1808 they had to make a small change in their tactical detachments…

I'd like the details please

Allan F Mountford08 Sep 2017 8:31 a.m. PST

I am sure Art will come back with the details, but for a multiple peleton skirmish screen to operate effectively it must be commanded from a single point, otherwise there would be unacceptable gaps and overlaps between peletons. Also, the French treated any unit of at least two peletons as a battalion, which would have an appointed commanding officer.

Trajanus08 Sep 2017 8:34 a.m. PST

Yeah so would I really, Art.

Just trim out the preceding twenty years of development' please! :o)

Did it work like the British that the soldats concerned were still on the ration strength of their parent battalion, or were they on a complete detachment?

Also did they have the same commander assigned for drill and combat that stayed with them until he was re-tasked?

And OK, what happend in 1808?

Trajanus08 Sep 2017 8:41 a.m. PST

Bill,

I wouldn't bet the farm on it but the combined British Lights may have had a shock role in relation to the Brigade. After all, they did in the War of Independence, all be it in possibly more of an Army role.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 9:01 a.m. PST

Selected light infantrymen (including rifles) did take part in forlorn hopes during the various attacks on French held towns and forts. So it's not like they were shy of getting nice and gritty. And given British grenadiers had almost equal training in skirmishing as the light. I'm sure the lights could do grenadier work too.

Garde de Paris08 Sep 2017 9:33 a.m. PST

I recall reading in ?Oman? about the "Tirailleurs de Siege" at one action in Spain. They were among the units that forced the Light Division to fall back across the Coa. I do not recall any data about their organization, but may have been voltigeurs drawn from light and line battalions.

On the other hand, I recall the day before the battle of Talavera de la Reina in Spain, that the 3 battalions of the 16th Leger attacked in "open order", and surprised a brigade of British which contained the 45th Foot.

There were 3 battalions of each in the 2nd Division of the French I Corps:

16eme leger;
8eme de ligne;
45eme de lighe; y
54eme de ligne.

I don't recall any comment about what the other 9 battalions were doing, but they must not have been in close support, for the surprised British brigade survived, though damaged. I recall the 45th put up quite a fight, and saved the other battalions.

GdeP

shadoe0108 Sep 2017 9:49 a.m. PST

Trajanus,

As noted by Art, "Yes". Examples from Pascal Bressonet's tactical studies….

At Jena, the voltigeurs from the 14th and 44th Ligne (Desjardin's division) were were grouped in support of all battalions of regiments that were present at the battle. the same is true for the voltigeurs of the 12th Ligne at Auerstadt. These grouping of voltieurs didn't just act in front of their respective battalions but also entire to the flank of all battalions of their regiments.

Three companies of the 17th legere and one ocmpany of the 34h ligne were grouped together to support Suchet's avant garde (brigade size). At Jena, Saint-Hilaire grouped all of the voltigeurs in each brigade to support their respective brigades.

The description of the battle of Saalfeld provides good examples of the detached companies acting independently of their parent battalions. The two voltigeur companies of the 17th legere were initially detached to hold a pass and then when not needed for that task sent to reinforce an existing skirmish line on the right wing and not back to their parent battalions. Also when two chasseur companies of the 17th which had also been detached for skirmish duty ran low of ammunition they were replaced not by nearby companies of the 17th but by voltigeur companies of the 64th ligne, which belonged to a different brigade.

Hope that helps.

Garde de Paris08 Sep 2017 10:09 a.m. PST

The orders of battle for the British in Spain commonly show only the 3rd Division – Picton – as having light companies grouped as one unit. 3 rifle companies?

Lowry Cole's 4th Division at Albuera had a battalion of the (Portuguese) Loyal Lusitanian Legion at one end of the line in mobile square, and the light companies of the 1/7, 2/7, 23rd, 3/27th, 1/40th and ?others? in mobile square at the other end of the line. He moved this barbell-shaped line forward, through French dragoons, and saved the IInd Division.

One source I recall suggested that the light companies Portuguese 11th and 23rd line (2? 4? companies) were with the British light square.

Not all at Albuera, The 3 battalions of the LLL soon became the 7th, 8th, and 9th Cacadores, and the light companies of the line battalions became the 10th, 11th and 12th.

I do not really understand the Portuguese organization, and I feel it is to the discredit of British military and historians that so little is known of such fine troops. I have seen come comments that each regiment had 2 battalions of 5 companies, 1 grenadier and 4 line in the first battalion; and 1 light company and 4 line in the second. One of their regiments had only one battalion.

That would be a maximum of 2300 light company men (Maximum
of 100 per company) to form 3 cacadore battalions. That would make 3 relatively strong battalions!

GdeP

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 1:09 p.m. PST

There is a fair chance that by, say 1810-12 the difference between légère and others was cosmetic, if they were properly trained.

Jcfrog:

What makes you think so? for that to be true we would have to see the ligne and légère being treated same, given the same combat roles and have accomplished the same at equivalent levels. We don't see that.

Napoleon made a point to keep the légère/Ligne ratio of 1:3 steady throughout the 1810-1815 period. Why bother if they were operationally the same?

Obviously they had different training: In 1811 Davout and Morand have the Ligne regiments learn "what the légère already know", the lights training the line so the Ligne could support the légère.

In all the battles I have read about between 1810 and 1815 including Waterloo, when there was a light infantry action required, if available, the légère was always sent in first and then supported by the ligne.

We can debate how well the légère maintained their combat qualities throughout the period, but they weren't treated 'the same' in any fashion that I can see.

Even at Albuera where the légère were all in the second division of the V Corps, Girard had to ask permission for his Division without lights to lead the attack. The expected place for the légère was in the front of an attack.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2017 1:15 p.m. PST

I *think* Trajanus original question was whether the French formed light battalions from a brigade's light companies for the use in screening each brigade.

I think the use of light infantry was far more flexible and difficult to pigeon-hole like that. For instance, at Bussaco, many of the light companies of the second line were pushed forward to operate with the lights of the first line on the left flank, which would have made a hash of any light battalion command structure.

The French often simply assigned an officer to be the commander of a particular group of skirmishers, either as an SOP, or as something decided on at the moment of need.

They followed the same methods for multiple company skirmish operations in the ACW.

Le Breton08 Sep 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

You didn't ask, but Russians may be interesting for comparsion.

Russian jäger were typically 1/3 of a division by 1811 and formed their own brigade.

The 4 heavy infantry regiments (the other two brigades) typically fought formed and the 2 jäger regiments typically fought as skirmishers. Counter examples existed, but these were the basic or usual assignments

Stoppage08 Sep 2017 3:05 p.m. PST

@Le Breton

Re: Russian Jaeger Brigade

It seems that the Yegers would provide the forward-line open-order element of the division.

Would they also provide support for the infantry guns?

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

I think to answer the OP, Yes the French did create amalgamated "light" units (even sometimes at a brigade level) in an ad hoc manner depending on the situation and at the whim of the commander. French doctrine was very flexible so you can find just about any example somewhere of an exception to a rule. Several have been noted in preceding posts.

Wellington's armies did it so often that it became something of a habit and then a General Order. It worked well for his reverse slope tactics and the rough broken ground found in many of the Peninsular battle fields as well as countering the aggressive use of French skirmishers.

Le Breton09 Sep 2017 9:48 a.m. PST

"It seems that the Yegers would provide the forward-line open-order element of the division."
Yes – exactly. that was the intended arrangement. Exceptions of course happened in real life.


"Would they also provide support for the infantry guns?"
Yes – as the guns (whether assigned to the heavy infantry regiments in 1805 or grouped under a divisional artillery brigade in 1812) were an integral part of the division, the jäger would cover them also.

Le Breton09 Sep 2017 9:49 a.m. PST

I hope this shows up OK.

Late period Russian infantry division in closed columns formed on the center, jägers in open order to the front.

The front two ranks the center platoons of one jäger regiment (2 battalions) in 2 chains in front of the division.
Some commanders preferred 1 thicker chain and 200-300 meters space before the formed units of the division.
The reserves for them : the third line of the center platoons
The supports for them : their 4 elite platoons

Then the 1st brigade of heavy infantry and a light artillery company of 8x 6-pounder cannon and 4x 1/4-pud unicorns.
Then the 2nd brigade and the other light artillery company.
Then the other jäger regiment as a reserve – could also be out in front if the division was spread out more to occupy a larger frontage.
Not shown (as they were often deployed away from the division) : 2 combined grenadier battalions and the battery artillery company of 8x 12-pounder cannon and 4x 1/2-pud unicorn


H = formed section of heavy infantry of 6 files x 3 ranks (4x section = 1 platoon, 8x platoon = company)
J = formed section of light infantry of 6 files x 3 ranks
S,G = formed section of elite infantry 6 files x 3 ranks
j = about 12 firing pairs of jäger in open order
6 = 6-pounder cannon
U = 1/4-pud unicorn


j j j j j j j j j j j j j j j

[100-150 meters]


j j j j j j j j j j j j j j j


[100-150 meters]


SSSS JJJJJJJJ GGGG SSSS JJJJJJJJ GGGG


[100-150 meters]



6 6 HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH 6 6 6 6 HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH 6 6
HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH
U U SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG U U


6 6 HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH 6 6 6 6 HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH 6 6
HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH
HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH HHHHHHHH
U U SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG U U


JJJJJJJJ JJJJJJJJ
JJJJJJJJ JJJJJJJJ
JJJJJJJJ JJJJJJJJ
SSSSGGGG SSSSGGGG

Stoppage09 Sep 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

@Le Breton

Wow! What an eye-opener!

Firstly – that not all jaegers were deployed up-front.

Secondly – the use of the flank platoons ( grenadiers and strelki) as reserves

Thirdly – That the artillery assets weren't all put up in front but deployed in sections (2 pieces) and the companies separated so that each heavy infantry line had artillery assets.

Fourthly the holding back of the unicorns sections 'en potence'


Are there any more diagrams like this for earlier Russian deployments?

Le Breton09 Sep 2017 2:34 p.m. PST

Stoppage,

To your points :

1. To be more sure my "ACII art" diagram would fit the TMP, I showed a *very* closed up division. Actually, I would space out the formed brigade lines a bit more even on this diagram. If there was spacefor more of a screen, then all 4 jäger battalions would go into the chain(s). Also true if the division had a more or less exposed flank – the jäger in open order would cover.
A great example of jäger formed and used as a reserve would be 18th Jäger at Borodino.
I mentioned that this could be also one rather thicker chain father out front. This was probably more and more the preferred method. The two chains method was probably better when the rounds were made up in the regiment. With delivery of essentially unlimited pre-made rounds from the Army supply network, the jäger could carry double or triple allotments, and hence having a second chain to relieve the first was less needed. There were howls from some commanders about wasting the shots to little effect, but it would be natural to want the jäger to blaze away as much as possible – for the smoke screen if nothing else.

2. Careful : flank platoons are supports …. the two first ranks of the center platoons go out in open order, the third rank reforms into two ranks (making pairs) and these are the reserves to replace open order skirmishers who are out of ammo, wounded, etc. ….. the supports remain formed in three ranks and will move to counter any formed troops (infantry or cavalry) while the guys in the chain(s) either clump together in what can be called "rally squares", lie down (the French hated the trick of the dead Russians not being so dead) or fall back toward the division.

3. They could be all up front if in a defensive rôle. And typically dug in (like at Borodino). I drew a more offensive minded division. But the key idea you noted : they were used in 2-piece sections, of identical pieces, commanded by an officer and two senior NCO's as gun captains.

4. Yes, typically held for use to counter a move on the flanks, and to help cover the flank platoons of the jäger after the center platoons fall back past them.

There was another method for open order, by the way, for a formed battalion to cover itself, that was becoming more and more common from 1810 or so. But the thread is about brigade operations.

Both the sending out of the first two ranks of the center platoons of the jäger and the "alternate method" for a battalion to cover itself went along with a change in ranking the men. Previoulsy it was by height, exactly like the French. Late period Russians more and more did it by best soldiers in first line, newest soldiers in second (carrying the entreching tools!), oldest soldiers in third. When ranked this way, the jäger pairs in open order would be a lead soldier and a new soldier, and the reserves a pair of old soldiers.

As to more diagrams …. well, so far I drew only 1.

Early Russians had (i) less standardized divisions, (ii) tended to rather linear tactics (more deployment into line), and accordingly typically used less dense formations (iii) had less co-ordination of formations beyond a "column" of 2-3 regiments, (iv) fixed the light artillery to the infantry, under the regimental or battalion commanders in 1805 : 2x 6-pounder per musketeer/fusilier battalion, 2x 1/4-pud unicorn per grenadier battalion and (in theory, but often not in practice) 2x 3-pounder unicorms per jäger battalion, (v) the jäger battalions were about 2/3 the establishment of grenadiers or musketeers. (vi) the battery artillery companies were almost always dug in, often in large multi-company batteries (example Eylau)

Some Rusian commanders were still doing some of this in 1812 – and treated the division as an administrative unit.

Actually, although with far fewer troops, I more and more get the impression that the *very* early Russians of Potemkin and Suvarov fought more like late period Russians. But I still have much to learn before I could say more than just to suggest this.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2017 9:07 p.m. PST

The deployment of Russian skirmishers and their supports are very much like that of the British, French and Prussians that I have seen from the same period… or earlier.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2017 8:59 a.m. PST

Mcladdie.
Don't seem to me the 1-3 legère ration in div was respected. See Oob. Waterlo for ex several in 1 div , none in others.

Told you, the nail on the thing is Bernadotte new frenchized regilations for the Swedes. Hardly he would have done more than take most ftom his habits… French habits.

In previous "skirmishers thread" you were often the one advocating, against old time gamers practice, that nearly every one, did sk.
I got converted to the fact.(s).

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2017 9:19 a.m. PST

What makes you think so? for that to be true we would have to see the ligne and légère being treated same, given the same combat roles and have accomplished the same at equivalent levels. We don't see that.
Napoleon made a point to keep the légère/Ligne ratio of 1:3 steady throughout the 1810-1815 period. Why bother if they were operationally the same?

Why have hussars. They're exactly the same as chasseurs? Why keep Carabiners they're exactly the same as cuirassiers (after 1810)

They looked cool. There was a slight moral advantage to believe you where special and elite even if you weren't.
Or maybe he simply liked the all blue uniforms.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2017 11:53 a.m. PST

Don't seem to me the 1-3 legère ration in div was respected. See Oob. Waterlo for ex several in 1 div , none in others.

jcfrog:

I wasn't talking about armies made of available troops etc. at the time. I was commenting on the 1:3 ratio of the entire army that Napoleon continued to maintain will into 1814.

And at Waterloo, the Legere was sent in before the Ligne or with the Ligne supporting them in skirmish actions.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2017 11:56 a.m. PST

Why have hussars. They're exactly the same as chasseurs? Why keep Carabiners they're exactly the same as cuirassiers (after 1810)

That's true. However…

Would we be saying that if Hussars and Chasseurs were treated differently, or if Hussars were always sent out on light cavalry missions before Chasseurs were when both were available?

Legere and voltigeurs were always the first to be deployed as skirmishers when available, regardless of how many ligne troops were available.

Whirlwind10 Sep 2017 5:25 p.m. PST

Legere and voltigeurs were always the first to be deployed as skirmishers when available, regardless of how many ligne troops were available.

But they weren't always available and deliberately so. So this makes their deployment sound like a "right of the line" honour rather than any particular recommendation for a capability.

The examples given above do not meet Trajanus' "semi-permanent" criteria; in fact most explicitly were ad hoc arrangements.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2017 8:11 p.m. PST

But they weren't always available and deliberately so. So this makes their deployment sound like a "right of the line" honour rather than any particular recommendation for a capability.

What do you mean 'deliberately?' Saving them for something or just not having enough of them?

The 'right of the line' was more than simply an honour. It had a very practical purpose: Put the most reliable units as the regulating unit. With 'attack columns', they were often regulated on the center with the same reliables, but only when the plan was to move forward.

Whirlwind10 Sep 2017 8:26 p.m. PST

What do you mean 'deliberately?' Saving them for something or just not having enough of them?

The assignment of Light units to brigades, divisions and corps does not argue that the French Army thought that light infantry regiments were a requisite element of a French formation.

The 'right of the line' was more than simply an honour.

At some points it had a practical purpose, at others it is an honorific.

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2017 12:12 a.m. PST

If and when most train the same, it does not mean they don't want to kepp "tradi" tradition, pride, difference, names.
From Duhesme, they seemed to send more suitable recruits towards légère ( size, initiative, spirit). Certainly looked for the Voltigeurs.

By mid empire period at least, the French system has three main lines to egage
Skirmishers. Being the shooting line.
First then second formed lines ( in lines or col formations or mixed depending on situation).
The sk – firing line gets less prmounced either / and because the opposition also counters well enough the skirmishers with their own, or as a demanding job, the training is now lacking to do it well.
As for Mcdonald instructions in Italy or Davout in Hamburg, the need to stress proper training is obvious.
Again as with nowadays, a lot depends on local units commanders or divisions if assembled long enough.

Allan F Mountford11 Sep 2017 2:56 a.m. PST

Courtesy of Tom Holberg over on the Napoleon Series:

L'INFANTERIE LEGERE, DE LA REVOLUTION JUSQU'A LA CHUTE DU PREMIER EMPIRE
THIBAULT PETIT

PDF link

marshalGreg12 Sep 2017 8:28 a.m. PST

Most of us cannot read the french…
so does "L'INFANTERIE LEGERE, DE LA REVOLUTION JUSQU'A LA CHUTE DU PREMIER EMPIRE
THIBAULT PETIT" support the fact that french did employ temporary units ( d'elite ") to a degree near to that of the british in spain/Prtugal, who simply perhaps did more documentation to that fact than the french, thus bring up the question and the post?

MG

Jcfrog Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2017 10:47 a.m. PST

Perused in. No answer to our question. Mostly role of voltigeurs. How to.
From reinactment guys. Links there also interesting.
Need go into Duhesme and others with this very question in mind. No time. Probably find the answer hidden in as in" named chef de bn adjoint Ducon as screen commander… AS USUAl…or the like.
Also the manuals , instructions just after nappy, takes all new stuff in, formalized. I Have but no time.

von Winterfeldt12 Sep 2017 11:36 a.m. PST

5045. — ARRÊTÉ.
Paris. 13 thermidor an VIII (1" août 1800).
ARTICLE 1"". — Les grenadiers et éclaireurs des 5", 6', 35°, 64° de ligne et 26' légère seront campés entre Beauvais et Amiens. Les compagnies de grenadiers et d'éclaireurs de chaque demi—brigade formeront un seul bataillon. .
ART. 2. — Ils seront commandés par le général Murat.
ART. 3. —— Il y aura à ce camp deux escadrons du 24e de chasseurs, deux escadrons du 5° de dragons, et douze pièces d'artillerie, dont six servies par l‘artillerie légère.
ART. _4. — Toutes les compagnies de grenadiers et éclaireurs passeront à Paris pour s‘habiller; elles n'en partiront qu'après avoir passé la revue du ministre de la guerre.
ART. 5. — Au 20 thermidor, le camp entre Beauvais et Amiens sera formé. Les troupes seront baraquées si le local est favorable, sinon elles seront campées.
ART. 6. —— Les troupes composant ce camp jouiront d'un supplé— ment de solde pour remplacer la viande. Il leur sera donné de l'eau de – vie toutes les fois qu'elles manœuvreront.
ART. "1. —- Il y aura deux généraux de brigade attachés au camp.


CASSAGNE (Louis-Victorîu, baron), lieutenant-général, naquit le 5 juin 1774. Il entra au service en qualité de lieutenant dans une compagnie franche, le 1"février 1795, et devint capitaine de la 6° compagnie du 8' bataillon du département de la Haute-Garenne, le 25 mars suivant. Employé avec ce bataillon à Parmée des Pyrénées Orientales, il se distingua, le 4 avril de la même année , en défendant à la tête de sa compagnie le passage de la rivière de la Tela, au village de Corncilla. Il continua à servir à la même aimée, on 179.'; et 1795, et passa à celle d'Italie, en 1796. Commandant les éclaireurs de l'aile gauche du corps du général Masséna, il fut chargé de poursuivre les Autrichiens après leur défaite à Lonato, et fut blessé très-grièvement d'un coup de feu à ‘la poitrine, le 5 août, près du lac de Garda. A la tête de ces mêmes éclaireurs, il fit mettre ‘bas les armes à un corps de cavalerie ennemie, le 16 janvier 1797, près de Mantoue. Il
commença Attaque du camp autrichien à la bataille de Tarvis, le 25 mars suivant, et reçut dans cette affaire un_ coup de feu à la jambe gauche. Après avoir continué à servir à l'armée d'Italie et en Suisse, il fit partie de l'armée expéditionnaire dÏÉgypte, qui partit des ports de France, en
1798. Il eut le commandement des éclaireurs de la division du général Bon, et: combattit à leur tète aux batailles de Chebreyss et des Pyramides. Employé dans l'expéditi0n de Syrie , il servit au siége de St.-Jean-d'Acre. Chargé , le 29 mai 179g, d'attaquer un des ouvrages des assiégés, il fut obligé de combattre à outrance, et d'ég0rger les Turcs qui le défendaient.

I stress

" Commandant les éclaireurs de l'aile gauche du corps du général Masséna,

Whirlwind13 Sep 2017 2:19 a.m. PST

5045. – ORDER.

Paris. 13 Thermidor, year VIII. (August 1, 1800).

ARTICLE 1 ". The grenadiers and scouts of the 5th, 6th, 35th, 64th, and 26th Light will be encamped between Beauvais and Amiens, and the companies of grenadiers and scouts of each demi-brigade will form a single battalion.
ART. 2. They will be commanded by General Murat.
ART. 3. There will be at this camp two squadrons of the 24th Chasseurs, two squadrons of the 5th Dragoons, and twelve pieces of artillery, six of which are crewed by the light artillery.
ART. _4. All the companies of grenadiers and scouts will go to Paris to be clothed; they will not leave until they have passed the review of the Minister of War.
ART. 5. On the 20th Thermidor, the camp between Beauvais and Amiens will be formed. The troops will be barracked if the locale is favorable, otherwise they will be in a camp.
ART. 6. The troops composing this camp shall have a supplement of pay to replace the meat. They will be given brandy whenever they are on manoeuvres.
ART. 1. There shall be two brigade generals attached to the camp.


Lieutenant-General Cassagne was born on 5 June 1774. He entered the service as a lieutenant in a free company on 1 February 1795 and became captain of the 6th company of the 8th battalion of the Department of the Haute-Garenne, on March 25. Employed with this battalion in Parmée des Pyrénées Orientales, he distinguished himself on April 4 of the same year, defending at the head of his company the passage of the river Tela, in the village of Corncilla, continued to serve in the same Army (in?) 1795, and then moved over to the Army of Italy in 1796. Commanding the scouts of the left wing of General Massena's corps, he was ordered to pursue the Austrians after their defeat at Lonato, and was severely wounded by a shot to the chest on the 5th of August, near Lake Garda. At the head of these same scouts, he laid low a body of enemy cavalry on January 16, 1797, near Mantua . He began attacking the Austrian camp at the battle of Tarvis on the 25th of March following, and in the affair received a shot to the left leg. After continuing to serve in the Army of Italy and in Switzerland, he was a member of the expeditionary army of Egypt, which left the ports of France in 1798. He had the command of the scouts of General Bon's division, and fought at their head at the battles of Chebreys and the Pyramids. Employed in the expedition to Syria, he served at the siege of St. Jean d'Acre. Charged on the 29th of May, 1793, to attack one of the the besieged works, he was obliged to fight to the death, and slaughter the Turks who were defending it.

I stress

"Commanding the scouts of the left wing of General Massena's Corps

Art13 Sep 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

Un autre exemple: 22 décembre 1806

Le même jour, la division du général Morland (1ère division), se porta également sur Okunin. Ce mouvement a été exécuté à l'entrée de la nuit, de manière qu'il resta inconnu à l'enemni. Le 1er bataillon du 13e régiment d'infanterie légère resta sur la rive gauche du Bug, et a garda la ligne, depuis Sierock jusqu' à Topolin, ayant soin d'entrtenir le même nombre de feux et de fournir les rondes et les patrouilles ordinaires. Cette division bivouaqua la nuit dans l'enceinte de la tête du pont. Les gros équipages et les réserves de l'artillerie de toute l e corps d'armée restèrent sur la rive gauche.

(Le 1er bataillon du 13e régiment d'infanterie légère est utilisé comme "brigade de flanc", utilisé par les russes et l'armée française)

La 1er division passera dans l'ile et se formera le plus loin possible de l'ennemi.

Tout ce qui appartient à la 3e division restera dans la tête de pont, né devant participer en rien à l'attaque et demeurera en reserve. on former deux bataillons avec les huit compagnies de voltigeurs, ce qui avec le bataillon du 13e régiment d'infanterie légère, formera trois colonnes. Ces trois colonnes se porteront dans le plus grand silence sur les trois extremities de canal et s'arrêteront au milieu de l'ile, de manière à être hors de portee de fusillade. Elles auront chacune derrière elles trois pièces de canon.

Chaque colonne détacher ses pieces, escortées par une compagnie de voltigeurs. Ces compagnies commenceront la fusillade, se couvrant par les haies; pendant ce temps, les officiers d'artillerie placeront leurs batteries et tireront à mitraille sur les bataillons et les troupes que l'enennemi ne manquera pas d'opposer au passage.

Le 17e regiment passera immediatement après, se mettra en bataille, laissant entre chaque bataillon un intervalle de vingt-cinq toise en arrière duquel seront places trois escadrons de cavalerie légère.

Le reste de la 1er division passera après et se formera en arrière.

…sa majesté ordonna également qu'on allumat pres de Pomichowo une grande quantité de paille mouillée, sur trois ou quatre cents toise, le long du rivage, et d'avoir soin d'entretenir une grande fumée. Chaque voltigeur fut en conséquence muni d'une botte de paille à se faire entendre.

Le général Morand, commandant la 1er division, en conformité de l'ordre ce-desseus de Sa Majeste, composa ainsi les trois premières colonnes d'attaque:

La premiere colonne: 2e bataillon du du 13e régiment d'infanterie légère

La deuxième colonne: 2e compagnie de voltiquers du 17e et du 30e regiments

La troisième colonne: 51e et 61e regiments.

…Les compagnies de grenadiers du 21e, commandees par le capitaine Rome, se trouvent sur cette route. Elles etaient eclaires par une compagnie de voltigeurs…

Art13 Sep 2017 12:52 p.m. PST

1806

Division: Général de division Suchet

Brigade: Général de brigade Claparede

1/17e régiment d'infanterie légère (30/998)
2/17e régiment d'infanterie légère (27/992)
3/17e régiment d'infanterie légère (5/180)(Carabs. & Volts.)

Brigade: Général de brigade Reille

1/34e régiment d'infanterie (31/905)
2/34e régiment d'infanterie (30/896)
3/34e régiment d'infanterie (30/896)
4/34e régiment d'infanterie (6/198)(Grens. & Volts.)

1/40e régiment d'infanterie (33/912)
2/40e régiment d'infanterie (30/906)
3/40e régiment d'infanterie (3/91)(Grens. & Volts.)

Brigade: Général de brigade Vedel

1/64e régiment d'infanterie (34/960)
2/64e régiment d'infanterie (25/935)
3/64e régiment d'infanterie (2/79)(Grens. & Volts.)

1/88e régiment d'infanterie (32/1,033)
2/88e régiment d'infanterie (29/1,0l0)
3/88e régiment d'infanterie (2/89)(Grens. & Volts.)

From 1792 to 1797 grenadiers were detached from their parent battalions in the same manner as the Austrian grenadiers.

From 1797 to 1807 the grenadiers (and with the creation of voltigeurs) were a Corps, Wing, Division, Brigade, and Regiment asset.

Most wargamers have all grenadiers and voltigeurs attached to the battalions…that only happened if they were not detached elsewhere…

The regiment used the grenadiers en soutien as flanking compagnies…or en appui…as a means of cross fire…ect…

Quite often the battalions would resort to detaching the 3rd rank to skirmish for the battalion when needed…of course there are also other means when the voltiguers are detached.

Two elite compagnies combined makes a battalion….and treated as such…

Best Regards
Art

Valmy9213 Sep 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

Art,
Just looking at the strengths, I'm wondering of those last battalions are just the elites of the depot battalion? They're all way too small for even two companies in some cases (the ones around 90 would be at half establishment for two companies) far too low to be the combined elites of the other battalions unless VERY heavy losses.
Phil

Art13 Sep 2017 4:38 p.m. PST

G'Day Phil,

I have been going through all of Napoleons correspondence from September 1806 to November 1806…as you know…you just cannot go through the Correspondance militaire…there are other correspondances of his….

Anyway from what I have found so far…Napoleon has sent out a flurry of messages to have the grenadiers and voltigeurs in the 3e and 4e battalions at 80 men in each compagnie…

For the most part…those combined battalions did not arrive in time for Jena-Auerstädt…

Of interest…at least for me…

in Number 775: 4 Septembre 1806

VUES DE L'EMPEREUR POUR L'ORGANISATION DEFINITIVE DE L'INFANTERIE

Napoleon wants to reorganize the battalions from nine pelotons to eight pelotons; one grenadier, one voltigeur, and six fusiliers compagnies by the 1st of January 1807

Too bad he didn't….

Bien…I will keep looking tomorrow…but it is 01:35 and even I need sleep ;-)

Best Regards
Art

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2017 5:10 p.m. PST

The elite battalions formed during the Jena campaign, they were from the grenadiers and lights from the existing forces. Whether they took entire companies or just sections, I don't know.

For the Battle of Austerlitz, they didn't form elite battalions.

I think we have to remember that like the British, French Army commanders and even corps commanders could and did issue General Orders forming different configurations of their forces. Wellington issued GOs for the formation of light battalions and infantry to form in two ranks.

During the Jena Campaign Davout didn't form elite units and had only one legere regiment for his corps. Ney formed up elite battalions along with his legere and light cavalry and marched ahead of his corps.

There was a great deal of leeway for army and corps commanders in a number of areas which is why we see so many 'instructions' among the armys like Ney and Davout's Instructions, Brunswick and Hohenlohe instructions as well as those found in the Russian, French and Austrian armies including "day of battle" instructions.

That is a possibly 'fun' and interesting addition to scenarios… players 'instructing' and forming battalions within the historical limits.

Valmy9213 Sep 2017 5:10 p.m. PST

Thanks Art,
That's what I was guessing based on strength, rather than them being the combined elites of the first two battalions which should look more like 300 men for four companies.
Phil

Art13 Sep 2017 7:37 p.m. PST

G'Day Bill

Please look at the 1805 campaign again…because if you look hard enough…you will find some commander…Corps, Wing, Division, Brigade or Regiment who combined the elites…

When I posted the 22 décembre 1806 reports…they are from Davout.

Again it is in 1808 we see a change in tactics…

The author of L'INFANTERIE LEGERE, DE LA REVOLUTION JUSQU'A LA CHUTE DU PREMIER EMPIRE fails to realize there is more to le décret impérial du 18 février 1808 than the ARTICLES.

Phil…I think that most wargame players think that grenadiers and voltigeurs can be replaced with ease…but even in wartime…the nomination has procedures…

Best regards
Art

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP14 Sep 2017 6:56 a.m. PST

Please look at the 1805 campaign again…because if you look hard enough…you will find some commander…Corps, Wing, Division, Brigade or Regiment who combined the elites…

I agree and have found that. I just don't see them used during the Battle of Austerlitz, as I said. I think one of the main points is your observation that "some commanders" did it and others didn't.

Trajanus14 Sep 2017 7:00 a.m. PST

So would it be fair to say that the French had the leeway to form 'light battalions' at any level of command, where in the British set up it was an expectation at Brigade level?

Exceptions where they were not used not withstanding.

Also I note all the French examples given to date were from pre 1810 and in Central Europe. Can it be assumed that forces operating in Spain would be no different and do we have examples of units of combined Light companies from there?

Art14 Sep 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

G'Day Trajanus,

1…So would it be fair to say that the French had the leeway to form 'light battalions' at any level of command (yes)

2…Exceptions where they were not used not withstanding (I do not understand your question, could you please give an example)

3…Also I note all the French examples given to date were from pre 1810 and in Central Europe. Can it be assumed that forces operating in Spain would be no different

We have only given examples that would apply up to 1808…and in Spain these same examples would apply…

After 1808 is a different animal…the tactical system and general principles are different…unless you are dedicated to detail…just use the tactical system and general principles as already mentioned…

It requires the understanding of a battalion with six sub-factions and the regle d'endivisionnement.

As an example: how many wargames care how many sub-factions are in a battalion…or if it is a colonne par division or colonne d'attaque formed on the center..?

Best Regards
Art

Whirlwind14 Sep 2017 8:28 a.m. PST

Actually, I am no nearer to understanding the answer to Trajanus' initial question. Yes, the French could form combined battalions of elite companies, so did most other armies of the period. The question related to the command of a brigade's light infantry companies. The British under Wellington formed another permanent(-ish) battalion in the brigade to do so under all circumstances: did the French?

In the example of Suchet's Division in 1806 (they are quite big battalions I notice) then a battalion of elite companies is formed in each of the brigades, but including the grenadiers. Are we saying that the Grenadiers (the tall big men) and the Voltigeurs (the short quick men) were on the skirmish line together? Very different from British practice.

I feel lots of interesting things are being said but they aren't addressing the question directly: who commanded the companies of a French brigade's skirmish line?

Art14 Sep 2017 8:44 a.m. PST

If the brigade had multiples compagnies at brigade level, he came from the Brigade staff…and he commanded from the formed reserve and regulating body.

If it was a light battalion then it was the chef de corps.

After 12 avril 1811…it could also be the major en second…due to the fractionated regiment.

Pages: 1 2