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

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,468
Lower Styria, Slovenia
#41
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.
I must say I'm not a fan of that shako. I preffer the looks of their leather helmets and the short hats (not sure if that can be called a shako?) they wore early on. My favourite are the grenadiers though. The blue embroidered pants worn by Hungarian units especially look good imo, gives it a bit more colour. Those and Hussar uniforms had a big impact on the folk costumes of Moravian Slovakia, one of my favourite regions when it comes to folklore and ethnography.

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.
Agreed, quite smart uniforms whose look I like.

Bavaria.
Again I just like the uniform. Bit of a punching bag army but quite proffesional. Sacrificed in 1812... poor buggers.
They and the Würtembergers have some of my favourite German uniforms when it comes to infantry.

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.
Which unit had grey uniforms and those weird hats? The jägers or the avant guard? I don't like that look, but their black uniforms are dope. Do you perhaps know where the origin of wearing a death's head lies? I've seen it with Prussian death's head hussars and French hussards de la morte as well and wondered where that comes from.
 
Feb 2016
4,254
Japan
#43
I must say I'm not a fan of that shako. I preffer the looks of their leather helmets and the short hats (not sure if that can be called a shako?) they wore early on. My favourite are the grenadiers though. The blue embroidered pants worn by Hungarian units especially look good imo, gives it a bit more colour. Those and Hussar uniforms had a big impact on the folk costumes of Moravian Slovakia, one of my favourite regions when it comes to folklore and ethnography.



Agreed, quite smart uniforms whose look I like.



They and the Würtembergers have some of my favourite German uniforms when it comes to infantry.



Which unit had grey uniforms and those weird hats? The jägers or the avant guard? I don't like that look, but their black uniforms are dope. Do you perhaps know where the origin of wearing a death's head lies? I've seen it with Prussian death's head hussars and French hussards de la morte as well and wondered where that comes from.
The Avante Guard had a mixture of black and grey uniforms. They were very much a dependent of the old Oels corps in that they had musket troops and rifles. The musket “Light” companies wore black, the rifle “jäger” companies wore grey. Both had the Austrian style hats. I think the battalion had two companies of each type.

Brunswick adopted the deaths head badge and black uniforms after the death of Charles at Jena. But it was not unique to them. There was a small Spanish infantry unit “The regiment Del Muerte” that used it, numerous Prussian freikorps, the French and Swedes both had Hussars that used it in this the period. And I think it was also visible in several cavalry regiments in the seven years war.
 
Likes: Shtajerc

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,660
#44
Especially during the Napoleonic wars, the French infantry outclassed its British counterparts.
Simpley not true. Ea;lry on yes I would agree but given good leadership by Generals who understood the strength's of the British infantry, no the reverse is true. The British infantry constantly outperformed the French. A cavet being that Wellington did much to presevr his little army which become more vetern than it's opposition French on average.

The British infantry had better fire discipline, their doctrine focused on holding fire to point blank range, then following up with bayonet. The French wer efocused on attacking Elan, and speed of movement which had served them well against other opponents.
 
Feb 2016
4,254
Japan
#45
Oh really, and when was that ?
Post 1806 there are very few incidents of French infantry outclassing British.
The best French regiments tended to be light infantry imo. Not that there was any difference between light and line in their deployment but they had more elan and espirit de corps than the line... usually.

But off the top of my head...
9eme D’Legere had most of the 31st and 24th on the back foot in the night attack at Talavera... but they couldn’t shift the 45th.

Fuengirola... the “French” troops were all Poles.

Bergen Op Zoom- typically shabby and amateur rush job seige... but there was nothing particularly outstanding in the French performance.

Really you need to examine the 1790s for less stellar British performances.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,660
#46
The main advantage the British had over their French counterparts was their perfect musketry (three shots a minute I believe)
I think the rate of fire is a complete Murphy. Experienced infantry it just not a factor whatever the nation. At close range the effectiveness of a volley was much more important than speed. Holding ones fire to close range before firing the first often made that volley more effective. The British had much greater 'fire discipline' ability to hold fire till point blank range. There was much mania about rates of fire, from the Prussian influence as the standard in the 7 years war,

Time and time again, it's one or two volleys at close range then the Bayonet. (defending or attacking the short sharp charge was used) Immeditely after a volley , the opposing force nearly always stumbled back, hand to hand combat (in the open outside of buildings and forts) extremely rear in the period. Teh Shock of a close range well delivered volley and the follow up was egnerally sucessful.

Infantry would poor fire discipline would oftne start firing from longer distance and bothsides would then vblaze away, hidden by clouds of smoke, and as a rule verry ineffetcive fire. The Longer a formation fires the less effetcive and directed their volleys become, the French attacking armies with less fire discipline were much more successful.

A seconadry factor was the British had a greater understanding of 'leveling' the angle the muskets were leveled at. The Numbers of volleys that would be totally ineffective going over the heads or into the ground were astonishing hight. The britsh were less likely to do so (not by a lot but enough to be a small factor)

These strnegths were increaed by good leadership. Wellington preseving and keeping his army together with less losses analed the develop oif veteran troops which naturally be steadier than less experinced troops. Revrese slope was another thing that was well suited to the nature of British infantry (as well as the not over abundance of British artillery)
 
Feb 2016
4,254
Japan
#47
In fairness most British officers at the time accepted that French troops were better skirmishers.

Also it should be noted that French doctrine against the British was to deploy into line, Soult achieved this at Albuera, D’Erlon was trying to do it at Waterloo.
Wellington would use the reverse slope and thick skirmish screens to catch them off guard.
 
Feb 2016
4,254
Japan
#50
Royal Scots officer wrote after Waterloo, that the French skirmishers were better trained, and on the whole much more effective in this type of fighting than the British skirmishers. (Barbero - "The Battle" p 255)
Moyle Sherer of the 34th Foot wrote on the British skirmishers: "Not a soul….was in the village, but a wood a few hundred yards to its left, and the ravines above it, were filled with French light infantry. I, with my company, was soon engaged in smart skirmishing among the ravines, and lost about 11 men, killed and wounded, out of thirty-eight.
The English do not skirmish so well as the Germans or the French; and it is really hard work to make them preserve their proper extended order, cover themselves, and not throw away their fire; and in the performance of this duty, an officer is, I think, far more exposed that in line fighting." (Rory Muir- "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon")

Taken from a quick google.
They do sound like the quotes from my books though.
 

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