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"Wurttemburg Infantry Organization and Tactics -Take II" Topic

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marshalGreg02 Mar 2018 7:10 a.m. PST

Lets try this again and without the "bug"
I am not able to search in the TMP today- not sure why but some indicate that the search has been turned off.
Any ideas as to why?
So Primarily….
My inquiry pertains to how the Line infantry organization addressed the tactics/role of skirmishing when the other "designated" were not available. The units were organized, by this time in 2 battalion regiment, with each having 1 company of Grenadiers ( name only) and 3 companies of musketeer.
For the 1812 Divisional organization is was interesting to see a similar set-up to the Russian with the division having 2 or more hvy infantry brigades and a Light infantry brigade ( Russian Jager Brigade) as the main source for skirmish the Divisional unit.
Unfortunately My resources have not made this organization/tactic clear. So I am looking for the sources to confirm:
A) Where the battalion's skirmish screen would came from when the parent's troops were used/required.
IE. 3rd rankers, Shutzen from NCO rank ( Saxon 1806), or ?
B) OR Confirmation that the designated light troops ( Jager Battalions, LT infantry battalions, 7th (fuzilier Regt) always address this role and the line units pretty much did not.

marshalGreg05 Mar 2018 1:15 p.m. PST

There is a quote of John Gill in the Napoleonistyka website :
"In 1805 the King established an academy to provide a more formal foundation for officer training. Almost 50 % of Wurttemberg officers, however, were foreigners, mostly Saxons and Bavarians. In many aspects the Wurttemberg army followed the French model. But, unlike the other German troops, the Wurttemberg infantry "did not shift from a two-rank to a three-rank line, the new regulations allowed the three-rank line to be formed if required, but this appears to have been the exception rather than the norm." ( – John Gill)"

It touches on some evidence as to their tactics and unit organization.
Does anyone know is if this is the correct context of his quote and have run across this quote of his? IF so, does Mr Gill cite the source as to what he is referring from?


Prince of Essling06 Mar 2018 6:32 a.m. PST

John Gill's "With Eagles to Glory – Napoleon and his German allies in the 1809 Campaign", Chapter 3 "All the King's Men, first complete paragraph on page 130:

"The tactics of the Wurttemberg army also underwent reform just prior to opening of hostilities. Previously based on Prussian drill, Wurttemberg infantry regulations were modernized through the introduction of several French concepts in a new regulation issued on 16 February 1809. Like their Bavarian allies, the Wurttembergers were required to adopt the hallmarks of the French tactical system: infantry columns and skirmishing tactics. Naturally the line was retained as a basic battle formation, but the Wurttemberg army, unlike the Bavarians, did not shift from a two-rank to a three-rank line; the new regulations allowed a three-rank line to be formed if required, but this appears to have been the exception rather than the norm. Although only a few months were available to train the men in these new formations and modes of combat, Friederich's soldiers learned well and soon proved themselves particularly adept at skirmishing. With war looming the horizon, training was pursued with earnest intent and by April, the men had attained an unprecedented level of readiness (12). From the soldier's point of view, this stress on training was not entirely positive. As one of Friederich's men commented on 5 April: "We jagers would have it good in our quarters if it weren't for all the drilling, but not a day goes by where we don't drill, marching out with all our gear…." (13).

12. Hauptmann Fromm, Geschischte des infanterie-regiments Konig Wilhelm I (6. Wurtt) Nr. 124, Weingarten: regim,antal, 1901, pp35-36 and Albert Pfister, Das Infanterieregimentt Kaiser Wilhelm, Konig von Preussen (2. Wurtt) No. 120, Stuttgart: Metzler, 1881 pp168-169

13. From a letter written by Johann Georg Schaffer on 5 April 1809, quoted in baden und Wurttemberg I'm Napoleonischen Zeitalter, Stuttgart: Cantz 1987, VolI. 1, p430.

Gill does refer often in the footnotes to Paul Sauer "Die Neuorganisation des wurttembergischen Heerwesens unter Herzog, Kurfurst und Konig Friederch", Zeitschrift fur Wurttembergischen Landesschichte, Jahrgang XXVI, 1967 – so that may be another possible lead?

marshalGreg06 Mar 2018 8:58 a.m. PST

Thank you Prince of Essling!


von Winterfeldt06 Mar 2018 1:23 p.m. PST

of course skirmishing was not new to any state at this time, the Württemberer had already Jäger (rifeld armed) and light infantry before changing sides.

John Edmundson06 Mar 2018 2:53 p.m. PST

So what was different then? Was it the presence of integral skirmisher companies within the battalion, a more independent role for the skirmishers, the willingness to use them more extensively? Something else? Or is this just a continuation of the notion that the French system introduced something new when in fact it was an established practice throughout Europe already?


von Winterfeldt06 Mar 2018 3:04 p.m. PST

it was ordre profond against ordre mince – two very different ways of waging a war, skirmishers were well known in Europe much before the Napoleonic Wars, according to Duhesme the French were initially lacking a lot of skill and had to learn from the Austrians the trade.

Sparta07 Mar 2018 4:31 a.m. PST

The skirmish discussion keeps popping up :-)

As von W states its the different tactical systems.

Ordre profonde was columns supported by skirmishers, depending on skirmishers for firepower, with the skirmishers falling in between columns in a final advance or firefight. This would often result in more skirmishers – sometimes whole batallions – being deployed than just as single company (AKA flankers).

Ordre mince was batallions in battle line. They skirmsihed as well; also before the french revolution. But usually deployement (battle skirmisshers or debandade if more irregular) of whole batallions was only done in broken terrain since the main method of fighting was the line.

marshalGreg07 Mar 2018 9:20 a.m. PST

The information provided by PoE of John Gills sources for his "With Eagles to Glory" book is profound/great sources.
As many have touched already, the changes pushed on by the French system is the Profond . This seems to have been added to the already established Mince system that was modeled after the Prussian system for the fuziliers/Lt troops, the Wurttemberg Lt troops were using. That being the 2 rank for the Light infantries, with the outer two Zuges ( platoons for Prussian) pushed forward to conduct the skirmish or the 50% pushed to skirmish supported by the remaining zuges (platoons). The battalion could operate in mince or profound. There would be now the addition option of go to 3 rank, when necessary.
What I am missing now is what the sources also said regarding the Line infantry ( 2 rank or strictly 3 rank)and what was the expected skirmish contingent to come from them ( flank zuge(s) or 3rd rank when in 3 rank), when the other primary sources for skirmishing ( The Jager and Lt Inf units) were not present or not available.
Unfortunately, a very large -near impossible challenge for me to determine with a very uncertain result, if any. The hope is one has seen these and could advise or John himself could shed light to the LINE Infantry question.
One could only hope…


Prince of Essling07 Mar 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Where is Steve H Smith when you need him? Clearly we need to be able to see what the new regulation issued on 16 February 1809 says.

von Winterfeldt09 Mar 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

sadly Steve Smith was banned – here a link that might help


marshalGreg09 Mar 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

Thank you v Winterfeldt

Yes it is disappointing so many great contributors have been banned or have left.
Are you able to electronically see the article(s) through this system/w.w.web?
I have not. If so, any recommendation on navigating? I will then try again.


Prince of Essling09 Mar 2018 3:07 p.m. PST

Many thanks VW – the only way to access these would appear to be an inter-library loan…..

von Winterfeldt10 Mar 2018 12:29 a.m. PST

@Prince of Essling
In case you like to translate all those pages about skirmishers, I will try to get them.

Bagration181210 Mar 2018 3:57 a.m. PST

MG -

Steve and I along with many others, created an archive of online drill manuals. The thread title is ‘Drill Manuals Online' or something similar. It's several years old now but there were over 100 links to various nation's period drill manuals. I can't get the search function to work but it's out there and might be helpful.

von Winterfeldt10 Mar 2018 7:41 a.m. PST

google it

TMP link

Prince of Essling10 Mar 2018 1:39 p.m. PST

@Bagration1812 – while an extremely helpful listing as is Books Available For Download On The Internet link neither has the missing book. The diagrams from the 1809 book are probably worth the ten thousand plus words….

von Winterfeldt11 Mar 2018 1:47 p.m. PST

in case I get them, I let you know

von Winterfeldt18 Mar 2018 7:23 a.m. PST

a friend sent me a complete set as photocopies, including the plates.
Alas there is no plate about skirmishers – in the text there are several pages about skirmishing, nothing exciting, the usual blurb about skirmishing, alays keep a reserve – use the ground etc.
There the Württemberger indeed kept two ranks (usually) it as failry easy for them to deploy into skirmish order.

Prince of Essling18 Mar 2018 8:03 a.m. PST

@vW – very many thanks to you & your friend for taking the trouble and confirming the situation.

marshalGreg20 Mar 2018 7:35 a.m. PST

Many Thanks v Winterfeldt and to your friends.
Can you advise that the information indicates/confirms that:
a) the Line was in 3 rank and then pulled the third for skirmishing, or
b) the line was in 2 rank (like Prussian fusiliers) and pulled the flank Zuges out for skirmishing
c) indicated something other?

thanks again

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