Best/favourite Napoleonic infantry?

Chose 3 favourite/best Napoleonic infantries

  • French guard (old, middle, young)

    Votes: 22 45.8%
  • French line (including grenadiers)

    Votes: 7 14.6%
  • French light

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • Prussian guard

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Prussian line (musketeers and grenadiers)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Prussian Landwehr

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Prussian Jäger

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Austrian grenadiers

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Austrian line

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • Austrian Grenzer

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Austrian Jäger and Landwehr

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian Guard

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • Russian line (grenadiers and musketeers)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian Jäger

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian militia

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • British line (including guard regiments)

    Votes: 7 14.6%
  • British light

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • British rifles

    Votes: 12 25.0%
  • Highland regiments

    Votes: 4 8.3%
  • King's German Legion

    Votes: 3 6.3%
  • Hannoverian

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dutch-Belgian infantry and militia

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Nassau

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Braunschweig (Leib, Jäger etc)

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • Saxon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Westphalian

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Würtemberg

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Bavarian

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Italian (pick one?)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Swedish

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Spanish (including guerilla)

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • Illyrian

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • Polish

    Votes: 5 10.4%
  • Danish

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Portugese

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • Engineers/sappeurs (elaborate which army)

    Votes: 2 4.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 4.2%

  • Total voters
    48
Jun 2015
117
Canada
I voted for the Austrian grenadiers. I think that they, and the Grenzer, were probably the most capable Austrian type of infantry, despite not being organised in regiments of their own. I also love their uniforms.




I also voted for the Highlanders. Wow can one not like 'em? Especially the Black Watch and the Gordons.




And my last vote went to the Illyrians. I'm Slovene and despite my home was in Austria then, a big portion of Slovene Lands was part of the Illyrian Provinces. Ljubljana was even their capital. So logically I vote for my countrymen, who fought and died with Napoleon. I think that's (one of) their uniform(s)?

A great list here! Gotta' love the Gordons...
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
A great list here! Gotta' love the Gordons...
Thank you. Indeed, I like all the highlanders, Scottish, Canadian, American and other. But my favourite is probably the fourtytwa, the Black Watch.
 
Apr 2015
627
Paris
f Spain, Austria, Prussia got their veteran units annihilated, the British managed to keep theirs in a cohesive form, gaining massive experience, coldness and discipline (in the battlefield)... the old qualities of professional units. And the French never could match that.
When is a unit considered professional ? Many men in the French Army in 1815 had many years of warfare experience. Should a seasoned veteran of six campaigns be deemed inferior to a professional with much less experience because he was drafted ? I am honestly asking, as I do not know napoleonic military history on the regimental scale. Do we know massive losses of cohesion by French infantry units on the battlefield, higher or more common than, say, the Prussian army ?
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,775
Ohio, USA
Russian infantry had poor musketry, at least by comparison, but their morale and steadfastness was possibly second to none at this time.

Anyway, I voted Russian Guard, French Guard, and British Rifles.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2011
478
Sloboda
Russian infantry had poor musketry, at least by comparison, but their morale and steadfastness was possibly second to none at this time.

Anyway, I voted Russian Guard, French Guard, and British Rifles.
Your are generally right but it needs to be specified.

Not all Russian regiments were weak at firing. For example, the regiments of Jagers ( from 1 - 5 ) were under special supervision of the government, and regularly tested by Barclay. In addition, the best sharpshooters were armed with Jager rifles. The best regiments were - 1, 3, 5, 14 and 17 Jager regiments. Their shooting was very impressive. During the war with Sweden, they inflicted a high rate of casualties to the enemy.

The most interesting thing is that in contrast to Napoleon guard, Russian infantry guard did not practice shooting regularly. In this respect, Russian infantry guard was the guard with the most inaccurate shooting in Europe. It was partly due to the tradition to use the Guard for bayonet charge.

The high moral was not common. It depended on different circumstances. Even the same regiment had different moral under different military leaders. For example, Arhangelogorodskii regiment was good under Suvorov and mediocre under Kutuzov. Regiment of Pskov was the bravest under the command of Kutuzov in the beginning of Napoleonic wars, and not steadfast in the end of the war. Kievskii grenadier regiment had the glorious reputation during the Seven years war, but showed less spirit during Napoleonic wars.

I think the bravery and high moral were not common to all Russian regiments, quite contrary, in the course of war many of Russian regiments showed less spirit, in comparison with their behavior during the Seven years war, as a sign of general decline of quality in the period of great increase in quantity. Just from time to time, when the regiments were under the good officers they fought bravely and did real miracles.

The situation with cavalry was different. During Napoleonic wars Russia had the best cavalry that it had ever possessed. Neither before or after Napoleonic wars Russia had such wonderful cavalry. It was a great improvement in comparison with the Seven years war.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
Your are generally right but it needs to be specified.

Not all Russian regiments were weak at firing. For example, the regiments of Jagers ( from 1 - 5 ) were under special supervision of the government, and regularly tested by Barclay. In addition, the best sharpshooters were armed with Jager rifles. The best regiments were - 1, 3, 5, 14 and 17 Jager regiments. Their shooting was very impressive. During the war with Sweden, they inflicted a high rate of casualties to the enemy.

The most interesting thing is that in contrast to Napoleon guard, Russian infantry guard did not practice shooting regularly. In this respect, Russian infantry guard was the guard with the most inaccurate shooting in Europe. It was partly due to the tradition to use the Guard for bayonet charge.

The high moral was not common. It depended on different circumstances. Even the same regiment had different moral under different military leaders. For example, Arhangelogorodskii regiment was good under Suvorov and mediocre under Kutuzov. Regiment of Pskov was the bravest under the command of Kutuzov in the beginning of Napoleonic wars, and not steadfast in the end of the war. Kievskii grenadier regiment had the glorious reputation during the Seven years war, but showed less spirit during Napoleonic wars.

I think the bravery and high moral were not common to all Russian regiments, quite contrary, in the course of war many of Russian regiments showed less spirit, in comparison with their behavior during the Seven years war, as a sign of general decline of quality in the period of great increase in quantity. Just from time to time, when the regiments were under the good officers they fought bravely and did real miracles.

The situation with cavalry was different. During Napoleonic wars Russia had the best cavalry that it had ever possessed. Neither before or after Napoleonic wars Russia had such wonderful cavalry. It was a great improvement in comparison with the Seven years war.
May I ask how the Pavlovsky regiment did, overall? I like their uniforms, but I don't know how they performed.
 
Oct 2011
478
Sloboda
May I ask how the Pavlovsky regiment did, overall? I like their uniforms, but I don't know how they performed.
I am sorry but I wrote the wrong name. Kutuzov was never the chef of the Pavlovskii grenadier regiment, he was the chef of Pskovskii infantry regiment.
There is a book on the history of Pskovskii regiment I can try to find it tomorrow and write you the short history of this old and famous regiment of Russian army.
Most books on regimental history of Russian imperial army were written before the revolution they are old and hard to find. My collection of such book is not complete, just 20 - 30 books. I will check tomorrow.


Just some info on Pavlovskii grenadier regiment.

Pavlovskii grenadier regiment was created out of the oldest regiment of Russia - the Moskovskii regiment ( Moskovskii grenadier regiment) in 1796.

Pavlovskii regiment participated in campaign of 1806.
The regiment participated at the battle of Pultusk. The regiment lost 97 men during the battle and 219 died the next day.
Then the regiment participated in the Battle of Eylau. The regiment lost 80 men dead and 193 men wounded.
Then Pavlovskii regiment fought at Friedland where the regiment lost 86 men dead and unknown numbers of wounded.
Pavlovskii regiment fought at Borodino. The regiment was placed in the reserve (in the rear, behind the line). But general Tuchkov took the regiment , together with another 4 grenadier regiment, for the counterattack. The regiment lost 81 men dead and 170 wounded.
The regiment performed the major role at the Battle of Krasnoi, - 138 men were killed and 117 were wounded.

In April 1813 the regiment was transformed into the Life Guard regiment for its role in the campaign of 1812. The new status of the regiment led to it inactive role during the campaigns of 1813, 1814.

The history of the Pavlovskii regiment was written by O.X. Houvalt in 1852. All information that I mentioned was taken from this book. I hope this help you.
 

nuclearguy165

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
4,775
Ohio, USA
Your are generally right but it needs to be specified.

Not all Russian regiments were weak at firing. For example, the regiments of Jagers ( from 1 - 5 ) were under special supervision of the government, and regularly tested by Barclay. In addition, the best sharpshooters were armed with Jager rifles. The best regiments were - 1, 3, 5, 14 and 17 Jager regiments. Their shooting was very impressive. During the war with Sweden, they inflicted a high rate of casualties to the enemy.

The most interesting thing is that in contrast to Napoleon guard, Russian infantry guard did not practice shooting regularly. In this respect, Russian infantry guard was the guard with the most inaccurate shooting in Europe. It was partly due to the tradition to use the Guard for bayonet charge.

The high moral was not common. It depended on different circumstances. Even the same regiment had different moral under different military leaders. For example, Arhangelogorodskii regiment was good under Suvorov and mediocre under Kutuzov. Regiment of Pskov was the bravest under the command of Kutuzov in the beginning of Napoleonic wars, and not steadfast in the end of the war. Kievskii grenadier regiment had the glorious reputation during the Seven years war, but showed less spirit during Napoleonic wars.

I think the bravery and high moral were not common to all Russian regiments, quite contrary, in the course of war many of Russian regiments showed less spirit, in comparison with their behavior during the Seven years war, as a sign of general decline of quality in the period of great increase in quantity. Just from time to time, when the regiments were under the good officers they fought bravely and did real miracles.

The situation with cavalry was different. During Napoleonic wars Russia had the best cavalry that it had ever possessed. Neither before or after Napoleonic wars Russia had such wonderful cavalry. It was a great improvement in comparison with the Seven years war.
I can see where you're coming from with most of this, but the Russian army generally fought very well in this period. It did vary, of course. The Russians did well in most of 1805, except for Austerlitz. They did well in 1807, except for at Friedland. In tactical steadfastness though, they almost always were particularly impressive from 1812-1814, especially at such engagements as Krasnyi, Valutino, Borodino, Maloyaroslavets, Kulm-Priesten, Leipzig, Craonne etc. I also certainly can't agree that Russian fighting ability was somehow significantly worse during this period than during the Seven Years War. The one area where Russia had improved vastly since that time was in logistics, so overall, they were better.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
I am sorry but I wrote the wrong name. Kutuzov was never the chef of the Pavlovskii grenadier regiment, he was the chef of Pskovskii infantry regiment.
There is a book on the history of Pskovskii regiment I can try to find it tomorrow and write you the short history of this old and famous regiment of Russian army.
Most books on regimental history of Russian imperial army were written before the revolution they are old and hard to find. My collection of such book is not complete, just 20 - 30 books. I will check tomorrow.


Just some info on Pavlovskii grenadier regiment.

Pavlovskii grenadier regiment was created out of the oldest regiment of Russia - the Moskovskii regiment ( Moskovskii grenadier regiment) in 1796.

Pavlovskii regiment participated in campaign of 1806.
The regiment participated at the battle of Pultusk. The regiment lost 97 men during the battle and 219 died the next day.
Then the regiment participated in the Battle of Eylau. The regiment lost 80 men dead and 193 men wounded.
Then Pavlovskii regiment fought at Friedland where the regiment lost 86 men dead and unknown numbers of wounded.
Pavlovskii regiment fought at Borodino. The regiment was placed in the reserve (in the rear, behind the line). But general Tuchkov took the regiment , together with another 4 grenadier regiment, for the counterattack. The regiment lost 81 men dead and 170 wounded.
The regiment performed the major role at the Battle of Krasnoi, - 138 men were killed and 117 were wounded.

In April 1813 the regiment was transformed into the Life Guard regiment for its role in the campaign of 1812. The new status of the regiment led to it inactive role during the campaigns of 1813, 1814.

The history of the Pavlovskii regiment was written by O.X. Houvalt in 1852. All information that I mentioned was taken from this book. I hope this help you.
Thank you a lot. :)
 
Oct 2011
478
Sloboda
I can see where you're coming from with most of this, but the Russian army generally fought very well in this period. It did vary, of course. The Russians did well in most of 1805, except for Austerlitz. They did well in 1807, except for at Friedland. In tactical steadfastness though, they almost always were particularly impressive from 1812-1814, especially at such engagements as Krasnyi, Valutino, Borodino, Maloyaroslavets, Kulm-Priesten, Leipzig, Craonne etc. I also certainly can't agree that Russian fighting ability was somehow significantly worse during this period than during the Seven Years War. The one area where Russia had improved vastly since that time was in logistics, so overall, they were better.
As always, nuclearguy, you are right, but it must be specified.

On the one hand, Russian army fought gallantly, the battles you mentioned are good examples.

On the other hand, in comparison with the Seven years war, it was decline. Once again, I have to point out the rapid growth of Russian army at the expense of the quality of the regiments.

A few details.

During the SYW (Seven Years War), there were about 40 regiments of line infantry and 3 guard regiment. During Napoleonic wars there were over 100 line regiments and over 60 Jager regiments and expanded guard. As a result, many Russian regiments fired only three shorts for year in the course of their training. In the times of SYW there were no such restrictions. Suvorov trained Russian line regiments to fire up to 100 shots for an year. As a result in times of Suvorov Russian soldiers were more accurate. In Napoleonic wars Russian soldiers used the musket model of 1808, not a bad one, certainly better then that of Russian army of SYW, but their accuracy was bad, due to 3 shorts for an year, with the exception of some Jager regiments.

Suvorov selected his soldiers carefully. When Suvorov was supplied with the recruits of weak, unhealthy, or coward men he refused to accept them. Or he would have rid of them in the course of his hard training. In Napoleonic wars no such things were possible. The growth of army demanded the soldiers of any quality.

During the SYW, most officers were volunteers with great desire to serve. They were badly taught, but they were ready to learn on their mistakes during the real war. When Suvorov needed some advice he preferred to speak with Austrian officers not with Russian. But Suvorov preferred to live among soldiers in order to make them brave. During SYW many Russian officers followed the example of Suvorov and spent most of their time with the soldiers, improving soldiers bravery, moral and cohesion. But in Napoleonic times, there were many officers who were mobilized reluctantly, they did not participate in soldiers life, training and service. Due to the expansion, Russian army needed any officers, the bad ones, as the good ones. The good officers school was established only after Napoleonic wars.

During SYW Russian army was not the biggest one. And it had to wine without numerical advantage. The strategy was more complicated. Russian had to open its border somewhere to send the troops in Europe. But the economic and social pressure were not too big. The government's ambitions were restricted. During Napoleonic wars Russian army was one of the biggest. The economic and social damage of such war-machine was considerable. But on the other hand, the ambitions of Russian emperors were unlimited. These all was the road to revolution.