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"Russian Infantry and Jager method of skirmish-ORG" Topic


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758 hits since 22 Jun 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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marshalGreg22 Jun 2018 11:00 a.m. PST

Even with the latest improvements to information about the Russian Army ( Unfiorm etc) of late coming from all the great translation resources, there still seems to be an unclear understanding of the Method used for skirmishing in regards to the unit organization at the battalion level of the Russian Infantry battalion ORG.
There also seems to be two ( or three) polarized positions of: 1) Strelki platoon doing the "lions share" and 2) Only the third rankers did the "lion share" or 3) Only Jager batallion(s) was (were) the primary resource for the skirmish chains and that was at a level more to/of the division ( allowing the Line battalions to remain & proceed in their full str+3 rank formation).
(The only solid item I have seen in my limited resources on the Russian Army was the argument of 2 skirmisher chain vs use of 1 skirmisher chain).
Some sources of inspiration: link

So has there been any solid confirmation (I.E> I witness etc)revealed that confirms what typically made up/ where did they come from, the skirmisher chain(s)?
There would be possible two eras with distinctive methods:
Prior to ~ 1810 and after…

pls add the/your support references, where possible.

thanks for your remarks/replies in advance.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

Have you read the Zhmodikovs' "Tactics of the Russian Army…"?

marshalGreg22 Jun 2018 2:18 p.m. PST

@ Jeffreyw3
No -I do not have a copy nor access to one. I would hope it is in English.
If I did then would I have needed to make this post?
I guess per link that answer would be also No- good lead Jeffreyw3!
link

Le Breton Inactive Member22 Jun 2018 3:08 p.m. PST

Do you want sources in Russian??
Volume 2 of Ulyanov's series on Russian Infantry or his Russian Infantry at War are rather easy to find, but I have not seen them translated.

Anyway ….

1. It was the general policy to use jäger battalions in open order and to preserve the heavy infantry in formed units. If more battalions were needed, there seems to have been a preference for using grenadiers (a grenadier battalion early period, or a battalion from a grenadier regiment late period)

2. A battalion in open order would have their first (grenadier after 1810) and 8th (strelki after 1810) platoons form in three ranks on the right and left flanks, respectively, of the deployment area as security forces. From the 6 center platoons, the first and second ranks would go out as skirmisher pairs (forming one or two chains, per the commander's preference and the space to cover). The third rankers would then form in two ranks in the center to act as a reserve, replacing pairs with pairs.

3. For the detachment of skirmishers from a formed unit (which was *not* a preferred evolution), early period saw the use of the third rankers.

Side comment : It appears that in the early period the assignment to ranks was by height : tallest in the first rank, shortest in the 2nd rank, others in the third (just like the French). After 1810, it appears that the ranks were being formed with "best" soldiers in the first rank, "newest" soldiers in the second rank, and "oldest" soldiers in the third rank.

4. For detachment of skirmishers from a formed unit, late period, increasingly saw the use of "zastrelskiy" : the two flanking files of each platoon (12 men per platoon) and an assigned group of NCO's, all under a lieutenant. These men were all selected for their marksmenship. Either 2 files or 4 files from each platoon could be ordered out to skirmish.

Side comment : You will note that the "zastrelskiy" method is well-adapted to units formed in columns on platoon or division (2-platoon) frontage, which was the standard use of formed infantry in the late period. The use of third rankers was more adapted to infantry deployed in line, which was a more common evolution early period.

Wu Tian23 Jun 2018 7:37 a.m. PST

@marshalGreg

You can buy the two volumes of Zhmodikovs from Nafziger's website.
link
link

As far as I know, the best book about the Russian tactics during the Napoleonic Wars.

PS: According to Mr. Alexander Zhmodikov, a enlarged new edition will be published by the Nafziger Collections in this year.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2018 4:18 p.m. PST

Gregg, it's really a goldmine--the only downside for me being that the pages are starting to fall out of Volume 2. grin

On a side note, I just did a "Seroga TMP" search b/c I thought I remembered a good discussion on this a couple years ago, and was just amazed at the amount of material floating around in the TMP forums--it would probably be a worthwhile project to go through all the Russian-related material and collate it. Not sure what Bill would think, but it could certainly be made much more accessible.

marshalGreg25 Jun 2018 6:19 a.m. PST

Agree Jeffreyw3- a great resource indeed but did not see the specifics I was looking for here.
AS the Zhmodikovs' "Tactics of the Russian Army seems to be it ( the gold mine!)along with the comments of LeBreton's ( of Volume 2 of Ulyanov's series on Russian Infantry or his Russian Infantry at War ) which presents a somewhat different approach as to the Zhmdikovs.
SO now this brings another question …..was both approaches present or can be viewed as to commanders employing their own plans for the tactical situations?
@WuTian- thanks! I have it on order now.

thanks kindly to all who have replied!

MG

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2018 2:41 p.m. PST

How does what Le Breton posted differ from "Tactics of the Russian Army…" ? The chapter on skirmishing in volume 2 is quite detailed--I believe it will clear up any questions you might have.

marshalGreg29 Jun 2018 12:36 p.m. PST

@ jeffreyw3
as you push focus for me to find, and now I have the copy of Tactic of the Russian Army… vol.II, it seems Le Breton is summarizing much a same conclusion. The only caveat, if I read this Vol correctly was that in the later period both per Le Breton's reply containing :
"4. For detachment of skirmishers from a formed unit, late period, increasingly saw the use of "zastrelskiy" : the two flanking files of each platoon (12 men per platoon) and an assigned group of NCO's, all under a lieutenant. These men were all selected for their marksmanship. Either 2 files or 4 files from each platoon could be ordered out to skirmish."

and Musketeer/Grenadier units were employing the Strelki platoon (being detached or other platoon assigned)
…was also in use per The "Tactics of Russian Army … vol.II" p31 as mentioned already by a reply.
Also vol II seems to indicate this was more prevalent in use than the "marksmen files" method per above from Le Breton.

thanks all for your reply and direction!

MG

Le Breton Inactive Member29 Jun 2018 4:22 p.m. PST

Yes – there was also, late period, the "send 1-2 platoons" (the Streki and/or Grenadiers) to cover the remaining platoons of a formed unit. I should have mentioned it. Thank you Greg, for checking.

As to more or less prevalent than the "marksmen files" method I could not say.

In general, later period, the Russians tried to *avoid* having units cover themselves with skirmishers. Instead the would use jäger, and perhaps even add a of battlaion of grenadiers (from a grenadier regiment or a combined grenadier formation) if needed. So, the "send 1-2 platoons" and the "marksmen files" methods were both rather rare.

Zhmodikov30 Jun 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

Le Breton wrote:


For the detachment of skirmishers from a formed unit (which was *not* a preferred evolution), early period saw the use of the third rankers.

The most frequently mentioned way of detaching skirmishers from musketeer battalions in 1805-1807 was calling for volunteers. Concerning the third rank men, the only clear example of detaching them as skirmishers that I have found is in the report of General Matvey Bulatov on the battle of Revolax (Finland, 27 April 1808). In a rescript of Tsar Alexander I dated 24 October 1810, detaching of the third rank men as skirmishers was acknowledged as inappropriate, unfortunately, without any explanations, but with a reference to the experience.
Also in 1805-1807, a whole musketeer battalion or even a whole musketeer regiment could be deployed in skirmish order, for example, the Pskovsky Musketeer Regiment at the combat of Mohrungen and in a rear-guard engagement a day before the battle of Eylau.


Side comment : It appears that in the early period the assignment to ranks was by height : tallest in the first rank, shortest in the 2nd rank, others in the third (just like the French). After 1810, it appears that the ranks were being formed with "best" soldiers in the first rank, "newest" soldiers in the second rank, and "oldest" soldiers in the third rank.

After 1810 the Russians adopted the French firing method called feu de deux rangs (fire by two ranks). In this method the first and second rank men fired, while the third rank men only loaded muskets and exchanged with them with the second rank men. It would have been inappropriate to assign the oldest soldiers to such a secondary role.


4. For detachment of skirmishers from a formed unit, late period, increasingly saw the use of "zastrelskiy" : the two flanking files of each platoon (12 men per platoon) and an assigned group of NCO's, all under a lieutenant. These men were all selected for their marksmenship.

This method is described in detail only after 1814: in 1815 order of General Mikhail Vorontsov to his division and in 1818 Rules of Skirmish Order adopted in the 1st Army of the West. It is possible that this methos was used in 1813-1814, but I haven't found clear examples of it.


Yes – there was also, late period, the "send 1-2 platoons" (the Streki and/or Grenadiers) to cover the remaining platoons of a formed unit.

I haven't found any clear examples of either 8th (strelkovy) or 1st (grenadier) platoon detached as skirmishers.


In general, later period, the Russians tried to *avoid* having units cover themselves with skirmishers. Instead the would use jäger, and perhaps even add a of battlaion of grenadiers (from a grenadier regiment or a combined grenadier formation) if needed. So, the "send 1-2 platoons" and the "marksmen files" methods were both rather rare.

In later period (1812-1814), the combined grenadier battalions were usually organized into combined grenadier brigades or combined grenadier divisions, and the grenadier regiments were organized into grenadier divisions of six grenadier regiments each. Jager regiments comprise a part of each standard infantry division (two jager regiments and four line infantry regiments in each division). In 1812-1813, jagers usually fought as the first line, i.e. they fought in the beginning of a battle, and then soon or later they were withdrawn behind the line infantry, and then, if they were not completely exhausted, they could be used as a local reserve. After the jagers were withdrawn, the line infantry regiments should cover themselves with their own skirmishers.

Zhmodikov30 Jun 2018 11:54 p.m. PST

Wu Tian wrote:


According to Mr. Alexander Zhmodikov, a enlarged new edition will be published by the Nafziger Collections in this year.

Yes, I hope the new revised and expanded version of our Tactics of the Russian Army will be available in a few months.

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