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"What units could ACTUALLY Skirmish?" Topic


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696 hits since 24 Sep 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP24 Sep 2018 9:58 p.m. PST

I mean besides your garden variety Legere and Young Guard units, which French or French Allied battalions could actually skirmish?

Artilleryman25 Sep 2018 1:30 a.m. PST

Originally the whole of a leger regiment was supposed to be able to skirmish, but as the Empire progressed the ability became reduced. From about 1809 (as far as I can tell) only the voltigeur and, at a pinch, the carabinier companies could skirmish properly. In this period, leger and ligne became pretty much the same apart from the uniform and, supposedly, a higher sense of elan in the former.

Amongst the French allies, those modelled on the French army tended to have their skirmishers in the equivalent of the voltigeur companies. On top of this would be 'specialists' unique to some armies such as the Bavarian Schutzen and the Saxon Jagers. To tie it down, you really need to look at the individual armies to be sure e.g. while most of the Rheinbund followed French practice, the Saxons leaned on the Austrian regulations.

gboue200125 Sep 2018 2:07 a.m. PST

Any french infantry unit (line, light or auxiliary, foreign) could skirmish but with different degrees of efficiency. Guards were extremely efficient due to control and command issues, with a lesser ability for Young guards units.

Glencairn25 Sep 2018 2:53 a.m. PST

If youre looking to apply skirmishing on the table, a general rule of thumb is :
Line btns – voltigeures and occasionally grenadier companies
Light btns – about two-thirds of the unit, leaving one or two bases with the command base.
We tried 'free' skirmishing once , with French figures absolutely everywhere, but it got a bit complex and wasted a lot of time.
Historically, units didnt break up, unless there was a good reason to do so. Skirmishers were more difficult to communicate with, and thus to control, so a brigade commander would only order a break-up in particular circumstances, where he deemed it really necessary. I think some rules cover this reduced control factor in skirmishing units

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Sep 2018 4:13 a.m. PST

Command control is always the issue with skirmishers.

Sparta25 Sep 2018 4:20 a.m. PST

All units can skirmish – some more effectively than others. In the SYW grenadiers were usually used for skirmish jobs – the more dependable a unit is, the better it will fight when control loosens. There seems to be a tendency, that when nationalism comes increasingly into play during the french revolution and as seen in prussia in the befriegungskriege, more skirmishers of lower quality are deployed – perhaps this is based on a dependency on motivation instead of discipline.

Artilleryman25 Sep 2018 4:54 a.m. PST

One thing I would add is that the Austrian regulations 'forbade' grenadiers from skirmishing.

von Winterfeldt25 Sep 2018 5:46 a.m. PST

One thing I would add is that the Austrian regulations 'forbade' grenadiers from skirmishing.

that is new to me, do you have any quote on this, there after 1807 – third rank of line infantry was trained to skirmish, this sounds odd.

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