Best/favourite Napoleonic infantry?

Chose 3 favourite/best Napoleonic infantries

  • French guard (old, middle, young)

    Votes: 22 47.8%
  • French line (including grenadiers)

    Votes: 7 15.2%
  • French light

    Votes: 3 6.5%
  • Prussian guard

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Prussian line (musketeers and grenadiers)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Prussian Landwehr

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Prussian Jäger

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Austrian grenadiers

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Austrian line

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Austrian Grenzer

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Austrian Jäger and Landwehr

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian Guard

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Russian line (grenadiers and musketeers)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian Jäger

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Russian militia

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • British line (including guard regiments)

    Votes: 7 15.2%
  • British light

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • British rifles

    Votes: 12 26.1%
  • Highland regiments

    Votes: 4 8.7%
  • King's German Legion

    Votes: 3 6.5%
  • Hannoverian

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

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Nassau

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Braunschweig (Leib, Jäger etc)

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Saxon

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Westphalian

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Würtemberg

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Bavarian

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Italian (pick one?)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Swedish

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Spanish (including guerilla)

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Illyrian

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Polish

    Votes: 5 10.9%
  • Danish

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Portugese

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • Engineers/sappeurs (elaborate which army)

    Votes: 1 2.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 2 4.3%

  • Total voters
    46
Nov 2011
4,653
Ohio, USA
#31
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.
And once again, I definitely think you're pretty right with most of this, especially the point about SYW soldiers being able to practice musketry more. What I'm saying is that Russian soldiers were particularly steadfast by Napoleonic infantry standards, and could hold up and put up just as well with the worst of situations as many in Napoleon's legions could. The Russians were also probably the best at conducting retreats and rear-guards out of all the nations involved in this conflict.

Also, I'm pretty sure the French army was usually still a lot bigger than the Russian army (though yes the Russians definitely had more men than Britain, Austria, and Prussia).
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,355
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#33
So far, there's just the two of us favoring an Austrian entry.
You voted for Austrian line then, I asume? I actually have a low opinion about our line infantry. :) Imo the grenadiers and Grenzer were the only ones capable, Jäger I like from later wars in Italy and Landwehr, well, I have mixed feelings about them. I'm probably being very unfair, but that's my view.

I don't know why I emphasise Austrian grenadiers being something different so much, despite they were just small subunits inside every regiment. I think four regiments togethermade up for a battalion of grenadiers? I guess I like them because of some occassion at Leipzig.
 
Dec 2011
4,293
Iowa USA
#34
Shtajerc:

There wasn't a criteria other than "favorite".

In my experience playing SEGA "Napoleon: Total War", there are few units which are as efficient in battle when factoring to the cost of training as the Austrian "German fusilier" and "Hungarian fusilier". Russian units exceed them in melee but are more expensive to train, so I went with the Austrians.
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,355
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#35
Shtajerc:

There wasn't a criteria other than "favorite".

In my experience playing SEGA "Napoleon: Total War", there are few units which are as efficient in battle when factoring to the cost of training as the Austrian "German fusilier" and "Hungarian fusilier". Russian units exceed them in melee but are more expensive to train, so I went with the Austrians.
True, whatever reason is allowed. Because they had mustaches, because they wore mitre hats, because the had nice plums on their shakos, the prettiest uniforms, were tough guys, from one's town or region, whatever. :lol:
 
Oct 2011
478
Sloboda
#36
And once again, I definitely think you're pretty right with most of this, especially the point about SYW soldiers being able to practice musketry more. What I'm saying is that Russian soldiers were particularly steadfast by Napoleonic infantry standards, and could hold up and put up just as well with the worst of situations as many in Napoleon's legions could. The Russians were also probably the best at conducting retreats and rear-guards out of all the nations involved in this conflict.

Also, I'm pretty sure the French army was usually still a lot bigger than the Russian army (though yes the Russians definitely had more men than Britain, Austria, and Prussia).
You are right, I did not want to mean that Russian soldiers were bad during Napoleonic wars, quiet contrary, they were brave and could sustain heavy causalities. I just wanted to say that soldiers of SYW were a bit better.

Many thanks, for understanding.

PS. I think that Russian army of Napoleonic wars was the biggest. French army would be bigger with the soldiers of Napoleon's allies, in other words - Grande Armée. But French army alone without allies was roughly the same size as Russian. No one could say how big Russian army was , as the government never count properly garrison regiments and irregular troops, but something between 450 000 - 650 000 is close to the truth.
 
Nov 2011
4,653
Ohio, USA
#37
You are right, I did not want to mean that Russian soldiers were bad during Napoleonic wars, quiet contrary, they were brave and could sustain heavy causalities. I just wanted to say that soldiers of SYW were a bit better.

Many thanks, for understanding.

PS. I think that Russian army of Napoleonic wars was the biggest. French army would be bigger with the soldiers of Napoleon's allies, in other words - Grande Armée. But French army alone without allies was roughly the same size as Russian. No one could say how big Russian army was , as the government never count properly garrison regiments and irregular troops, but something between 450 000 - 650 000 is close to the truth.
This is mostly true, but I'm pretty sure the reserve manpower available to Napoleon through the yearly 'classes', even in France, was larger than what the Russians could call on. Did you know he actually made a calling for 936,000 conscripts right before the 1814 campaign began.:lol: Clearly, that's an exaggeration of how much he actually could call up, but if he thought it was somehow possible, then clearly, he still had massive potential reserves available, given enough time. The 1814 campaign, particularly when Tsar Alexander decided to start it, did not give Napoleon enough time.
 
Feb 2019
5
Madrid, Spain
#38
1. Portuguese, because of their battle experience (Pyrenean war, 1801 conflict with Spain, 1807 Spanish-French invasion, Peninsular war).
2. Dutch and Belgian, because they had their own rebellions in 1787(Holland) and 1789-1790(Belgium), and then they bravely fought the French in 1795 and again in 1815.
3. Russian militia, because they are the brutal precursors of the WWII-era Partisans.
I would also add Danish(they also had a nice battle experience against the British and the Swedes), the Swedes, because in 7 years (1807-1814) they had enough time to fight against the Danish in Scania, the French at Leipzig, the British at sea and the Russians in Finland, although this campaigns aren't very known, the various German landswehr unit, because they were the precursors of the 1920's Freikorps and even some Italians, but unfortunately I don't know much about them.
 
Feb 2016
4,127
Japan
#40
British Line....
I’ve studied these guys since a school boy.
I have fondess for the regiments in the 3rd Division. 45th foot in particular (I had relatives in the Sherwood Foresters, and was a reenactor of the 45th), but also 5th, 88th, 74th, 83rd and 94th regiments. Also the 40th, 38th, 6th and 27th. So many units that have interesting escapades in the period.

Austrian Line
I see these as being similar to the British, as in each regiment has a distinct character to it. I have a soft spot for the kaiserlichs, often underrated but always steady and reliable. Smart uniform aswell, particularly after the 1813 shako.

Nassau
Very distinctive uniforms. As a Wargamer they are also useful as they can be on French/British side. Very brave and well led corps. By Waterloo they had 2 large infantry regiments, a jäger company and a landwher regiment. Put in sterling service.

Bavaria.
Again I just like the uniform. Bit of a punching bag army but quite proffesional. Sacrificed in 1812... poor buggers.

Brunswickers
Black uniforms. Just like the look of them.
The (green jacket) Oels put in good skirmish work in Spain and formed the nucleus of the re activated Brunswick army. Nice wargaming formation.
 

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