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"Vendee Organization?" Topic

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Prince Alberts Revenge31 Dec 2021 1:02 p.m. PST

How were Vendee organized on the battlefield? Would those armed with firearms just be in the mass or was there some attempt to group them separately? I imagine they preferred ambush and closing to bring their improvised weaponry into play? I'm trying to conceptualize if it was similar to highland tactics or something very different…thanks for any input.

BillyNM31 Dec 2021 2:11 p.m. PST

It doesn't really cover the organisation of the counter-revolutionaries but it covers everything else with lots of accounts of the fighting with maps/diagrams.


I doubt there was anything resembling military establishment. If anything they seem more akin to the Irish rebels in 1798 than highlanders who were organised on military lines much more than is commonly thought.

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP31 Dec 2021 2:33 p.m. PST

This is a summary of what Guy Hasall wrote in his 3-part guide to the Vendean War in Wargames Illustrated 4,5,6

Local 'divisions' of 'armies'
Each 'army' organized by 'parishes', with an elected captain and lieutenants; each 'army' commander worked out how many men required and divided that by the number of parishes; local men called out by bell, then numbers picked.

Mainly pole-arms at start, still c.40% with pikes and cudgels in 1795

Known as Le Grand Choc ; screen of skirmishers at front, followed by better armed troops, then the main body with polearms. Skirmishers would try to disorder by fire, then main body charge; if skirmishers failed, better-armed troops would join the firefight before main body charged.
This division as much morale based as anything else
Main body would act in small groups in order to best take advantage of terrain before ideally charging from several directions simultaneously
Rebel troops formed crescents to face cavalry; or simply stood their ground to 'swallow up' the Republican cavalry (having such a large number of pike-armed troops made this effective)
Rebel cavalry small in number but effective as scouts, dragoons and in cavalry charges against Republicans.

Nature of terrain meant that no unit stayed 'formed' for very long in traditional sense – so cohesion a mental state as much as anything else.

Hope that helps

von Winterfeldt01 Jan 2022 12:53 a.m. PST

I also would strongly recomment to obtain the book by Rob Harper which deals with such topics

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