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summerfield10 Apr 2018 1:01 a.m. PST

To answer the numerous Questions on my Books on the Prussian Napoleonic Armies. The following are now in print.
- Prussian Landwehr of the Napoleonic Wars (A4 handback)
- Prussian Guard of the Napoleonic Wars (Military Colours Series Paperback)
- Becke's Waterloo Logistics (Hardback)

These are completely new books and re-illustrated. The First two books have over 300 new schema from Stanislav Lyulin.

Becke's Waterloo Logistics include the identification of the Artillery Ordnance used by the Prussian batteries (French, Prussian, British and Russians) plus a fully anotated OOBs showing origins of the new regiments.

My previous three books published by Partizan Press have been out of print for 5 years and will not be re-printed.

Stanislav Lyulin and I are working on two more book projects for this year to early next year.

I look forward to seeing you at the Ken Trotman Stand TM15 at Salute 2018, ExCel, London on Saturday 14 April 2018.
Stephen Summerfield

I Drink Your Milkshake10 Apr 2018 2:45 a.m. PST

Where to buy exactly sir?

summerfield10 Apr 2018 3:01 a.m. PST

You can purchase them from Ken Trotman Books. There is a calculator on the website for post to US, Australia, New Zealand, Rest of the World and Europe.

For Example
Prussian Landwehr of the Napoleonic Wars
£39.50 GBP + £6.00 GBP = £45.60 GBP inc post to USA, Canada and Rest of the Europe
£39.50 GBP + £6.95 GBP = £46.45 GBP inc post to Australia and New Zealand
£39.50 GBP + £6.95 GBP = £46.45 GBP inc post to Rest of the World
£39.50 GBP + £5.00 GBP = £44.50 GBP inc post to EU
£39.50 GBP + £2.95 GBP = £42.45 GBP inc post to UK

summerfield10 Apr 2018 3:17 a.m. PST

On Military Matters (USA), Caliver Books (UK) and Zinnfigurinen (Germany) also stock my books.

The Wargaming Company10 Apr 2018 5:26 a.m. PST

Is there any hope of getting the other previous titles back-in-print?


summerfield10 Apr 2018 5:29 a.m. PST

Which titles are you referring to? I am working on new titles that will supercede the three books for Partizan Press. They were written a decade ago. I have collected over 10,000 prints since then and have a better understanding of the Army.

All the books that I have done for Ken Trotman are in in print or a 2nd Revised Edition is in preparation.

idontbelieveit10 Apr 2018 6:53 a.m. PST

I have the new volume on Prussian Landwehr. Thanks, it's nice!

The first version had a section on the national cavalry regiments. Will those be covered in a new volume?

summerfield10 Apr 2018 7:05 a.m. PST

Stanislav and I will be dealing with the National Cavalry Regiments and Freikorps in another volume that we hope to finish this year. It was such an interesting varied area that needed a book to itself.

HappyHussar10 Apr 2018 7:35 a.m. PST

Love your books, Dr. Summerfield. You and your fellow authors today are really helping open up the way for a lot of us to paint or research the battles and armies of the Prussian army of 1813-15.

Glad to see Vol 1 & 2 of the Prussian Army back in print in hardcover.

summerfield10 Apr 2018 8:11 a.m. PST

All we need to to now is educate the rules writers about the Prussian Army. This is one of the main reason why I started writing about them. The inherent flexibility of setting up combined arms battlegroups within a Brigade. A Prussian Brigade was a way to avoid the French from understanding what they had created. It was a name for a combined arms division with infantry, lights, cavalry and artillery. Attached to these could be any elements of the Corps reserve. This afterall is where the cavalry comes from.

I have had battles where I had one commander for 9-10 units and damn command control distances. The French had three commanders. To keep the command distances everything had to be in a block.

Even the Musketeer Battalions had skirmishing capability from the third rank.

The Landwehr under the 1812 regulations had the III Bn as Fusiliers (light infantry). The Landwehr after 6 months were as good as the line for most purposes. Although maneuvring in line was not something contemplated by sensible commanders. There are plenty of examples of Landwehr being used open order to attack and defend. Also remember Freiwilliger Jager, Landwehr Cavalry and Cossacks defeated the Imperial Guard Division at Abensburg in Sept 1813.

I have and can go on about this.

wrgmr110 Apr 2018 9:13 a.m. PST

Thanks for all your hard work and inspiration for us who game the Prussian army!

von Winterfeldt10 Apr 2018 9:27 a.m. PST

Also remember Freiwilliger Jager, Landwehr Cavalry and Cossacks defeated the Imperial Guard Division at Abensburg in Sept 1813.

Abensburg? Can you please explain?

DaleWill Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2018 9:28 a.m. PST

Will any of the new volumes cover line cavalry & artillery? Just received my copies of the Guards & Landwehr books last night. Need to sit down with them tonight and have a good read.

summerfield10 Apr 2018 9:28 a.m. PST

Using the Prussian Army whether 1806-07 or 1813-15 shows a great deal of character as the rules are biased against you. It is a fun and powerful army. Remember the infantry and rifles are the strength. The cavalry is window dressing until the enemy turns their backs.

It is two decades since I did any wargaming and this was mostly competition wargaming. The Prussians when I was permitted to organise them correctly were very successful. I think they won half a dozen competitions (3 with the 1806 army, much to annoyance of the British players). My second army was the Bavarians that were classed as French so were not penalised in most rules.

Ah well people want me to write books rather than wargame.

summerfield10 Apr 2018 9:34 a.m. PST

Von Winterfeldt
Sorry I should have written Altenburg (28 August 1813). The Imperial Guard Cavalry lost 600 with 1500 captured, five guns and three standards. Allies lost 200 troopers.

I wrote about the engagement where the flying columns surprised the Imperial Guard Cavalry Division and routed it in my Landwehr book for Partizan Press that is no longer in print. I will be revisiting it when I deal with Freikorps etc…

summerfield10 Apr 2018 9:35 a.m. PST

Wikipedia gives the following.

wrgmr110 Apr 2018 11:25 a.m. PST

Dr. Summerfield,
Yes the Prussian army can be tough, we played a truncated version of Bautzen. I fielded York and Blucher against the Young Guard and Bertrand. The Young Guard was beaten badly, Bertrand was beaten up.

summerfield10 Apr 2018 12:05 p.m. PST

Dear Thomas
That is good to hear. Alas many of the modern rule sets make the Prussians very brittle. Not understanding the hatred of the French in particular the Landwehr.

summerfield10 Apr 2018 12:07 p.m. PST

Dear Dale
I will be able to answer your question about the cavalry after Salute (14 April). The publisher has told me not to say anything until then.

Osterreicher10 Apr 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

Dr. Summerfield,
I'm curious if you think that the Prussian Landwehr cohesion is at all related to their province, or do you think they performed pretty much all the same?

I'm thinking that since Upper Silesia was Catholic and not integrated into the realm under Friedrich, and since East Prussia was suspect to Friedrich, and since West Prussians were overwhelmingly Polish, would these Landwehr units be rated lower than say Pomeranian or Mark Landwehr?

Looking forward to getting the Landwehr book, and a bunch of 15mm figures……

Grüsse, David

summerfield10 Apr 2018 3:51 p.m. PST

David that is an interesting question. Unit cohesion is about fighting with people that you know and trust so is built up over time. Therefore it is a measure of time that they lived and fought together.

The West Prussians filled with Poles suffered badly with disertion. They were part of the Duchy of Warsaw. Raising men was a problem.

The East Prussians, Kurmark, Neumark, Pomeranian, and Silesian were the best of the Landwehr from all accounts. Their cohesion was driven by the maltreatment at the hands of the French who blead them dry. The Silesians hated the French for detroying their textile industry.

Rhinelanders and Westphlians were mainly catholics. It is interesting that the NCOs and Officers were mainly experienced soldiers. Catholics were not looked at being reliable.

Frederick II mistrust of East Prussia stretches back to the 7YW when the province became a vassal state of Russia. Many of the landowner colluded with the Russians. It was not to do with their staying ability.

Certainly a very interesting question. There are some clues in the book but nobody had asked the question for me to consider that for the book. Also I was limited in the number of pages.

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 1:19 a.m. PST

On paper the Prussian army was great. It's the actual combat record that's the problem. It got defeated every time, unless it had numerical superiority, or a more effective ally – Russian, British, Austrian – on the field, or preferably both of those advantages. When those factors were present it sometimes though not always managed to win, but when not, it always lost.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 1:46 a.m. PST

Yes but the Prussians were the most successful Country from the Napoleonic Wars, certainly on the political front acquiring productive Western German lands in exchange for less productive Polish lands.

Also have superior numbers is the point of winning a battle. Remember that Wellington rarely if ever gave battle where he did not outnumber the French. Even at Waterloo, he outnumbered the French. Most authors have used the numbers before the campaign for French and parade number for the Allies at Waterloo. Siborne is to blame for that. The French losses at Ligny were greater than many authors state.

Also the Prussians were the glue and the brains behind the coalition. There are very few examples of the Prussians fighting the French alone. You could put the same charges against all the other nations. Prussia understood its limits. It knew from the 30 Years War that it could sustain a short campaign. Look at the successes in WAS, 7YW, 1866, 1870, just failed in 1814 and 1939-40. In the latter, the stubbornness of perfidious Albion and the stupidity of a two front war defeated the Germans.

It is interesting when you count battles rather than campaigns. Napoleon's last successful campaign was 1809. He had 6 years of defeat before Waterloo. The 1815 campaign was won at Borodino (1812) and Leipzig (1813).

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 3:02 a.m. PST

@ Stephen

I get that the idea is to arrive there firstest with the mostest. That's a different point though. What I am proposing is something else; namely, that the Prussian reliance on numbers and allies to win, and its surefire propensity to lose when those factors to its advantage were not there, fatally undermine any idea that theirs was somehow a notably effective army, in its organisation, fervour, or whatever.

If we look at the major battles, we can see this in the stats.

Battle-French forces-Allied forces-Composition-Odds-Allied numerical advantage?-Winner
Grossbeeren-60000-60000-Prussians, Swedes-1:1-No-Allies
Dennewitz-60000-100000-Prussians, Russians, Swedes-5:3-Yes-Allies
Leipzig-190000-430000-Prussians, Russians, Austrians, Swedes-11:5-Yes-Allies
Kulm-32000-60000-Prussians, Russians, Austrians-2:1-Yes-Allies
Montmartre-23000-107000-Prussians, Russians, Austrians-5:1-Yes-Allies
Katzbach-100000-114000-Prussians, Russians-6:5-Yes-Allies
Waterloo-72000-120000-Prussians, Anglo-Allied-8:5-Yes-Allies
Dresden-135000-215000-Prussians, Russians, Austrians-8:5-Yes-French
Bautzen-115000-100000-Prussians, Russians-5:6-No-French
Craonne-37000-85000-Prussians, Russians-11:5-Yes-French
Lützen-78000-93000-Prussians, Russians-6:5-Yes-French
La Rothiere-40000-110000-Prussians-11:4-Yes-Prussians

(I don't how to format tables in these messages, but if you do a text-to-columns of that in Excel, with – as the separator, it becomes clearer.)

It shows that of 17 major battles between 1813 and 1815, the Prussians fought six (Brienne, La Rothiere, Laon, Ligny, Rheims, Wavre) alone against the French. They lost four out of the six despite outnumbering the French at all but one. They hugely outnumbered the French at the two they did manage to win (11:4 at La Rothiere, and 5:2 at Laon).

Looking at the other battles, now that there are allies involved, the win rate goes up markedly. Prussians were present at 11 battles, 7 of them won by allied forces. Of the 7 wins (Waterloo, Katzbach, Kulm, Montmartre, Leipzig, Dennewitz, Grossbeeren), the Allies had numerical superiority at all but the last, where they had mere parity but still won. Of the four they lost, they had numerical superiority at three.

We can thus say that:

1/ if Prussians fought the French alone, they needed a huge margin of numerical advantage to win;
2/ if they fought them with allies, they still needed numerical advantage to win, but it could be less;
3/ having both numbers and allies did not guarantee victory;
4/ having neither guaranteed defeat.

2/ points very clearly, in my view, to the Prussian army being the poorest of the allied nations alongside
which it fought. Replacing Prussian troops with allied ones looks like the key to success.

In effect, if you had the choice of fighting an inferior number of French with Prussians alone, or with Prussians and Austrians, Prussians and Russians, Prussians and Belgians, etc, you should always choose the option that included allies – any allies – unless your Prussians outnumber the French by mnore than two to one.

That this occurs despite the Prussians' ostensibly better organisation, superior staff structure, national hatred for the French, etc, points to all these as being of no account.

The Prussians' most important military characteristic seems to have been resilience to defeat – which, however, wasn't a quality any other army in the main theatre needed in quite the same quantity.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 3:44 a.m. PST

It is all about the Reichenbach plan. Obviously you have a different understanding. I would dispute some of the ratios.

Wavre 18th June was a Prussian Victory – The French failed to cross the river
Wavre 19th June with III Corps marching to the west, III Corps no longer defended the river and acted as rearguard. Grouchy was then pursued when he realised that Napoleon had been defeated.

So statistics is interesting but I see your point. The Prussians in 1813-15 were resilient. The French Army in 1815 dissolved in half hour.

Now there is a difference between numbers engaged and numbers in the area.

I could go through.

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 4:28 a.m. PST

There's a difference between numbers engaged engaged and those in the area, yes. If we include numbers in the area, we must do so consistently of course. At how many battles won by the Prussians were large numbers of allies nearby who influenced the result, for example? The fact that Ney thought Wellington's whole army was at Quatre Bras unquestionably saved the Prussian bacon at Ligny, for example.

I find it odd that one never sees attempts to "claim" other 1813-14 battles for one constituent army. The data make it very clear that to defeat Napoleon you needed superior numbers and that absent these you were doomed. The Prussian army of 1815 was every bit as doomed to defeat had Wellington not been there as vice versa, a point that is usually carefully overlooked.

von Winterfeldt12 Apr 2018 5:10 a.m. PST

Yes very resilient, Boney completley underestimated this in 1815 and had to pay the consequences for that.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 5:15 a.m. PST

It was a coalition war. That is what defeated Napoleon. The ability to have one goal of defeating if not hanging Napoleon. He only survived through the intervention of the British and possibly the Austrians. The Prussians and Russians wanted to hand Napoleon.

Yes that is the Reichenbach plan that was proposed by the Hanoverian born Scharnhorst. It worked. Not to engage Napoleon and fight against the other commanders. When faced by Napoleon then make sure you have a 2:1 advantage. Leipzig, Waterloo etc…

Remember "quantity have a quality all its own." [Joseph Stalin]

The US and Russia production was huge compared to the Axis powers. On the Eastern Front a Panther would have to kill 10 T34s. Much the same numbers on the Western Front. This also worked in WW1 when eventually in 1918, the Americans took part in the battles. Alas many US soldiers died in poorly co-ordinated attacks where the US Army refused to learn from the best practice of the French and British Armies.


4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 5:50 a.m. PST

If Wellington had had only Prussian troops with which to hold the Waterloo position, he'd have needed 200,000 of them.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 6:02 a.m. PST

The Prussian Army was an agressive offensive army. Welligton fought in a different way. Napoleon was outnumber at Waterloo by about 1.5:1 to 2:1 by British, Netherlands, Hanoverians, Prussians Brunswickers etc…

He did not have enough infantry for the battle. His light cavalry in reconnaisance was very poor.

I would rather talk about the facts and tangible things rather than what ifs.

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 7:03 a.m. PST

The facts are surely that the Prussian army lost most of its battles, won only with enormous numerical superiority though not always even then, and became proficient at managing defeat because it had so much practice?

von Winterfeldt12 Apr 2018 8:14 a.m. PST

I agree Dr. Summerfield, it was a coallition war and what is most forgot, till 1814 Boney relied heavily on allies as well, indeed the Grande Armée 1812 wasn't French, but multinational, Prussia and Austria amonst Allies fighting for the French emperor.
In 1813 the Silesian Army under Blücher inflicted crushing defeats to French opponents, like Wartenburg, or Katzbach and the Prussians in the Nordarmee under the superior command of Bernadotte, played an important factor in Dennewitz and Großbeeren as well.
In 1814 it was again Marschall Vorwärts who played an important part on the drive to Paris which cost Napoleon his crown.

wrgmr112 Apr 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

Translating this to the wargaming table if anyone is interested. Our group has played a number of Prussian and Prussian/Allied battles, using the Shako 2 rule set.

We play tested two parts of Ligny before a full game at Enfilade in 2015 the centre and Prussian right flank. At Ligny itself the French were victorious. In the Wagnele, Amand sector the Prussians won.

The full Ligny in a convention setting the Prussians won. The French Old Guard were caught in the flank after crossing the stream between Ligny and Amand by two batteries of 12 lbr guns and Infantry. They were routed.

We played Waterloo twice, each time the Prussians were stymied by The Young Guard and Light Guard cavalry, not making any headway whatsoever. We also tried Plancenoit twice with the same result. Incidentally the Anglo/Allied army was beaten badly in both games. Guard and cuirassiers pummeling everything in their path after the grand battery had pounded them.

I wrote up a Dennewitz scenario with all forces involved, the Prussians were crushed. Maybe a problem with my scenario?

In our game last Thursday a truncated Bautzen, already mentioned above. The Young Guard and Bertand were defeated. There was an allied contribution by a regiment of Russian cuirassiers and one battalion of guard.

The fact that the French always have much more heavy cavalry and Guard infantry puts the Prussians at a disadvantage in pretty much every game unless there are allies with similar troops to match. Rating the Landwehr as line will help, but not significantly so. The Prussians have a tough time with the French but are still fun to game, same with the Austrians.

von Winterfeldt12 Apr 2018 9:48 a.m. PST

I forgot Kulm, where the corps of Vandamme was anihilated – due to an important role of the Prussian corps of Kleist.

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 9:56 a.m. PST

My wider point really in raising this is that there is such a thing as the Curse of the Monograph.

If you spend too long focused on one army – or warship, or tank – and whether you are painting it, reading or writing about it, you come away with the impression that the Austrians or Prussians were super-duper, the M3 Lee was a terrific piece of kit, the Hurricane was the best aircraft in the sky, etc. Then you look at their actual battle record, or at how your rules rate them, and you realise er, not really.

I once spent weeks improving the graphics of various Japanese CVs in a carriers PC game and accurising the air group composition down to individual planes. Imagine my chagrin when they still got just as pwned every game. Next to me I have a slim volume by Norman Longmate called The Real Dad's Army. In it, the point is made that if you were 18 in 1916, you were 42 in 1940; you might have 2 years' frontline experience from WW1, you'd be ineligible for the army but eligible for the Home Guard, you'd be pretty fit, and you'd have more battle experience than the average German soldier. So I thought, yeah, those guys could have been quite effective…and then I remembered Norway etc and woke up.

All nations in this era – well all eras, really – came up, if smart, with a warplan that plays to their own strengths and objectives. Britain had a huge amount of income tied up in overseas trade, and was therefore heavily invested in naval forces to protect it. This absorbed so much money and manpower that she required proxies to do the land fighting. It's been that way for at least 400 years. Hence Marlborough's armies weren't all-British, nor were Wellington's, nor were Haig's, nor were Montgomery's. They all won but this wasn't because of the finely-honed perfection of their armies.

The Prussian, Russian and Austrian warplan was that they needed to apply crushing weight of numbers to beat French armies slightly more often than not. This rather suggests that whatever fancy innovations and clever force multipliers they introduced, the true determinant of whether they won or not wasn't the fancy innovation or the clever force multiplier, it was the crushing weight of numbers. Qualitatively they were all poor next to the French, as their battle records make clear.

4th Cuirassier12 Apr 2018 10:14 a.m. PST

@ von W – Kulm is interesting. On the first day a Russian force half Vandamme's strength held him off long enough for the Prussians to come up. The resulting 2 to 1 numerical advantage no doubt helped with what followed.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 10:57 a.m. PST

Armies before 1809 that the French opposed were fragile and the coalitions fell apart. Yes it was the change and innovation that made the armies resilient to withstand the hammer blows of the oppotunist Napoleon. The campaigns before 1809 were finished by a single battle.

No longer could the French alter a minor defeat into a rout. The Prussians came back the next day. The ability to get superior forces to the field. You are seeing battles rather than campaigns.

As you know I have written books on the Westphalians, British, Spanish, Prussians, Austrians and Russians. So I am not just focused upon one country.

The Prussians made the coalition work and that defeated Napoleon. The desire and will to get back into the fight after a defeat.

huevans01112 Apr 2018 12:13 p.m. PST

Stephen, when you say that landwehr was equal to line after 6 months, surely that excludes cavalry and artillery and applies to infantry only.

The Union cavalry in the ACW took 2 years to be effective!

Would you also care to comment on the performance of the Rhenish and Westphalian landwehr in 1815? Surely these are exactly the guys who suffered the most and longest from French tyranny!

huevans01112 Apr 2018 12:14 p.m. PST

Another ? – How was the original 1813 landwehr officered and nco-ed? Was it from 1806 veterans who had been supernumerary to the reduced post 1807 army?

HappyHussar12 Apr 2018 1:15 p.m. PST

to 4th Cuirassier – but at Dennewitz it was almost ALL Prussians fighting with some Swedes and a Russian gun battery for "Allies." How do you get "No" for the Prussians on that one? The Russians and Swedes primarily were not engaged at all. One could almost argue that the 3rd Prussian corps defeated two French corps on their own! LOL

So much for the usual French mindset that the Prussians of 1813 were still sub-standard. The 3rd Prussian corps was probably the best in the army. Bulow was the best Corps commander that they had (with Kleist and Yorck being older generals albeit with Scharnhorst working with Yorck making I Corps a great corps too).

At Mockern 1813 the Prussians (with LIMITED Russian involvement) defeat almost two French corps!

Sorry but your theory falls short. The Prussians were able to come up to the same if not BETTER standard than the French by the Autumn of 1813. The French officers were war weary, their ranks had been filled with tons of conscripts.

You are trying to tell us that a French army of conscripts is better than the Prussian army?

Good example of a French defense gone awry – Wartenberg. Typical French loss when Napoleon is not there.

Now cite a win for Ney in the north? Oh yeah, small actions where the Prussians were outnumbered.

Sorry – having read and put together three games on the 1813-14 Prussians I give them the edge. The French by 1813-14 were hard pressed to win a battle let alone win a campaign.

Dresden is a good example of a French win over the Allied Coalition. You can't blame the Prussians for that one. However, Napoleon sends his force careening after them into difficult terrain and Vandamme's I Corps (brand new for the most part) gets cut to ribbons. And by who? Kleist's II Corps as it is retreating to the northwest of Vandamme! They collide by accident and it was with great difficulty that any French soldier escaped from that one.

summerfield12 Apr 2018 2:26 p.m. PST

Dear Hugh
Good to talk to you after all this time. The Landwehr Infantry was as good as the line. The Landwehr Cavalry was a bit more variable. Certainly good enough to defeat the Imperial Guard at Altenberg.

Remember people get so fixed in their minds labels. The Westphalian Landwehr Cavalry was very good as it was filled with men and officers that had served in the Westaphalian, Berg and French Army. They were catholics so not trusted by the Prussians.

There were no Rhineland Landwehr at Ligny. The numbers that got lost estimated at 10,000. Most rejoined the colours. There is a problem that I have not been resolved between the strengths and the observation that 10,000 men deserted. Actually most got lost.

The Westphalian Landwehr had a higher proportion of former soldiers and officers than other provinces being that they were Catholics and former French/Westphalian/Berg soldiers.

Oliver Schmidt12 Apr 2018 4:08 p.m. PST

Stephen, I never came accross any reference in contemporary sources that catholics were looked at with suspicion or contempt in the Prusssian army of the Napoleonic period. As far as I can tell, they were just regarded as felllow Christians to the Lutheranians and the Calvinists (Reformierte).

There were prejudices against Jews (perceived as cowardly and money-orientated, thus not capable of sentiments of honour), but positive examples of individual jews who didn't match this stereotype were accepted.

There was some mistrust against Polish speaking soldiers (from upper Silesia, based on a general prejudice against Polish people in general, and surely aggravated by the language problem), and against Westphalians and Rhinelanders, because these areas had been more or less under direct French rule (France, kingdom of Westphalia, grand duchy of Berg) for many years, and some soldiers from these regions had even been fighting against Prussia until the and of 1813.

What are the sources you came accross for a Prussian mistrust against catholics (because of their religion and not because of the region they came from) during the Napoleonic wars ?

And, of course, all these prejudices against certain religious or regional groups are difficult, nay impossible to quantify, and surely were not shared by everybody. Still they had influence on – some or many – people of those times.

huevans01112 Apr 2018 7:03 p.m. PST

My mistake, Stephen. I am getting old and substituted Rhine landwehr for the Elbe Ldw which actually served with II AK! This produces yet another category of German, as I believe the "Elbe" province was the area west of the Elbe River in what is now the Land of Saxony-Anhalt. So Protestant(?) and formerly part of the Kingdom of Westphalia.

Did the Prussians have any policy about employing former Westphalian royal army officers?

evilgong12 Apr 2018 8:10 p.m. PST


With battles as data points, and so few of them, it's difficult to draw too many solid conclusions from win / loss analysis – there are just so many variables to with confidence determine army 'quality' or capacity.

That his enemies decided to declined battle with Napoleon, in the campaign quoted above, shows that the ability of the c-in-c is a serious variable to be considered.


David F Brown

summerfield13 Apr 2018 1:31 a.m. PST

Dear Oliver
The evidence and comments upon the trustworthy of officers of different religions really come from outside the Napoleonic Period. Both before and after. The Westphalian Landwehr were officered by those who had served in the Westphalian, French and Berg armies under Napoleon because they could not get employment in the Prussian Army. Now I have ascribed the mistrust on religious grounds. It could have been that they had served in a foreign army. I do not know. The comments upon the Westphalians came from writing a book on the Westphalian Guard.

Also these comments are from the mid-Victorian period when such predudice was common. I do not know.

There are so many questions as the opinion and reasoning has been obscured.

The Silesian Landwehr fought extremely well. I was referring to the West Prussians who suffered severely from desertion and passive refusal to serve.

My book is about the facts that I could verify and not as we are doing here speculating. This disparity occured.

summerfield13 Apr 2018 1:47 a.m. PST

Dear Hugh
The so-called 10,000 have never been identified by authors. We do not know that it was Landwehr. It is likely that it was from the Corps on the Prussian Left withdrawing in that direction. Remember it was night. So many came back to the ranks over the next few days.

Most likely it was from Thielmann's III Corps which make his defence Wavre more remarkable. All the numbers do not add up. If III Corps was less than half strength then it would not have been fit to put up a defence.

The 10,000 missing goign to Namur was started by Siborne. Nobody has bothered to look at the numbers. Waterloo is the most written about and most poorly researched battle.

4th Cuirassier13 Apr 2018 3:47 a.m. PST

The 10,000 missing goign to Namur was started by Siborne.

Who is in other contexts often regarded with abject reverence.

Nobody has bothered to look at the numbers.
Bit harsh surely? The generally-given numbers stack up quite well IIRC.

Wellington: started with 93,000 overall; lost 5,000 at QB; left 17,000 at Hal / Tubize; leaving 71,000 for Waterloo.
Bluecher: 115,000 overall, lost 17,000 at Ligny and prior, 8,000 straggled or got lost from Ligny, left 18,000 at Wavre, hence 72,000 in three Corps left to go to Waterloo of whom 50,000 arrived.
Napoleon: 125,000, lost 5,000 at QB and 12,000 at Ligny, sent 27,000 to Wavre and left 5,000 at QB hence had about 76,000 for Waterloo.

You're right that the Prussian numbers look a bit rough. The usual figure given is that 50,000 Prussians eventually arrived at Waterloo. If they left 18,000 at Wavre (another commonly given figure) then that's 68,000 accounted for, plus the Ligny casualties and stragglers make another 25,000. That sums to 93,000 or so, hence there are 22,000 of the original total, pretty much a whole Corps' worth, who are unaccounted for on the 18th among either loss or unit figures.

Either these were doing a d'Erlon between battlefields; or they were undocumented still-missing men from Ligny; or they were in fact present with their units.

Which do you think likeliest? The battle results analysis above certainly predicts a defeat at Wavre for 18,000 Prussians operating alone against 27,000 French. If we are to interpret it as any kind of a Prussian win, it would be more plausible to do so if it could be shown that Thielmann was much stronger than he is usually said to have been. If the 'missing' 22,000 were with or near him, so he had 42,000 men to hold off 27,000 French, this would mean that rather than his being outnumbered 3:2, he outnumbered Grouchy 3:2.

It then starts to look more credible to claim that he won. For a Prussian army that outnumbered the French by only 3:2 to defeat a French army at all without help would be remarkable. For it to do so when itself outnumbered by a similar margin is quite simply absolutely without precedent anywhere else in the era. If it happened at Wavre, it is the only time in 23 years that it happened.

huevans01113 Apr 2018 4:49 a.m. PST

4th C, I always thought the key to Thielmann's defence at Wavre was that Vandamme went at him like a bull in a china shop and attacked him through the town.

Vandamme negated him numerical advantage by funneling his troops and not deploying artillery.

summerfield13 Apr 2018 5:05 a.m. PST

Dear Phil
I wrote / edited Becke's Waterloo Logistics published last month. This brought so many questions to the surface that have been ignored. Many are solved by the writing of Becke over 100 years ago.

THESE ARE ROUGH NUMBERS. Note to self should read my own book.

The question of the numbers on the field and how you cound them is more difficult.

At Wavre, Thielmann was outnumbered. He had only three of his four brigades as his best brigade was marching after II Corps. Also assuming that most of the people lost were from III Corps that was on Ligny's left. Theilmann started with 22,000 men. With one Brigade missing say 4000. This leaves 18000. Then casualies we are probably down to less than 14,000 effectives.

Grouchy had 27,000 men so had roughly a 2:1 advantage over the Prussians who held the Dyle river all of 18th June.

In the night Thielmann was ordered to move to Waterloo and hence withdrew from the river. This allowed Grouchy to cross the river. At about 10am, about 6 hours after Thielmann had the news of Napoleon's defeat Grouchy recieved new and withdrew. He was pursued by III Corps.

That is what occurred and please read Becke's account. My recollection is the series of maps produced in my book. Si have written and published 5 books since writing this one. There are only certain things to retain and for Becke's accounts I was just making sure there were not transcription errors.

Now we have a questionmark upon the numbers for Grouchy. Both Corps were severely chewed up by Ligny.

The Prussian Numbers at Waterloo were those actually engaged. NOT the totals of I, II and IV Corps. We have IV Corps plus 1 brigade of I and II Corps plus their Reserve Cavalry normally quoted. Again some proper analysis of the numbers are required. Simply as you put it the numbers do not add up.


summerfield13 Apr 2018 5:09 a.m. PST

Dear Phil
Thank you for your questions. The number question for the Waterloo Campaign is not resolved. Thinking upon numbers, each country counted a different way.
1. All Ranks
2. Other Ranks
3. Officer
4. All ranks plus supernumeries etc…

Often they were not consistent. Alas I do not know of reliable data for the Prussians and French. The (2015) Henry Clinton Correspondence edited by Gareth Glover has the returns for the British Infantry at least. Sorry it is 4 years since I did the layouts for this book.

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