Prussia 1799-1808

 

In order to describe the Prussian Army of the Napoleonic Wars we can divide its history into two distinct periods.

The Early army

 

At the beginings of the War the Prussian army was reckoned by many at the time to be the best in europe. Certainly if it had been fighting against any other european army and in a situation more siuted to its tactical doctrine the reputation of the Prussian army would be much higher than it is often portrayed for this period.

At the beginning of the 1806 campaign the Prussian army consisted of:

 

Gaurd Infantry Rgt

Guard Grenadier and Infantry battalions

57 Infantry Rgts

8 fusilier Brigades

Jeager Rgt

13 Kurassier Rgts

14 Dragoon Rgts

9 Hussar Rgts

1 Hussar battalion

2 Towarczy Rgts

1 Towarczy battalion

1 Chaseur a cheval squadron

2 Hussar detatchments

1 Horse artillery Rgt

4 Field artillery Rgts

4 engineer companies

Pontooniers

The Infantry

 

The Gaurd infantry Rgt had three field battalions each of six 135 man companies.

Each infantry regiment had three Musketeer battalions, the first two battalions had five companies each of 155 men. The third battalion had four companies. The two grenadier companies were 189 men strong and were detatched in wartime to form a four company battalion which ussually served in the same brigade as the parent units. The third Musketeer battalion were held as a depot and garrrison units.

To each field battalion 9 Musketeer and grenadier) was assigned two 6pdr guns.

 

The Fusilier brigades had three batalions each having four companies of 165

men each. No artillery was assigned to the Fusiliers.

The Jaeger Rgt had three four company batalions with each company having 133 men. No guns were atatched to the Jaegers.

The cavalry

 

The heavy cavalry ( Garde du Corps, Kurrasiers and Dragoons) had five squadrons each of 160 men. However two Dragoon Rgts were of 10 squadrons.

The Light cavalry Rgts had ten squadrons which were divided into two ‘battalions’ each squadron being 150 men strong. The independant Hussar battalion had the normal five squadrons.

The Towarczys were lancers and had ten squadrons of 120 men each divided as per the Hussars.

The Chasseur a cheval unit was basically for HQ protection and courier duties and had 160 men.

The Artillery

 

Each file artillery rgt had ten companies with six guns and two howitzers each, either 12 pdrs or 6pdrs.

Higher formations

Typically of the period for continental armies the prussian army had no organisation higher than the regiment. Units were placed on a temprory basis into all arms divisions. Typically each division was organised into two infantry brigades, a cavalry brigade and light troops as circumstances and role dictated.

These divisions were then formed into Armies or corps but as the senior officers had no permanent attatchment to the divsions and few staff there was a general lack of cordination and speed.

This was the army that was destroyed in 1806, the King overwhelmed by the seemingly poor display given by the army ordered the whole army to be abolished and reorganised.

The Prussian Army 1808-1815-coming soon