The Russian Army of the Napoleonic wars

 

The Rusian Army of the Revolutionary and Napoleonics wars was alongside the Austrians the main provider of cannon fodder. Up until the early 1800's the army was both organised and dressed in imitation of the Prussian army of Fredrick the Great. By the time of the 1805 campaingn though the organisation remained Prussian the dress had been updated with the introduction of a shako and closed lapel jacket. Russian armies were renowed for their ability to withstand great hardships, firce disicpline and an officer corps that can only be described as appalling.

 

INFANTRY FORMATIONS

Up to 1810 the Russian infantry Regiment consisted of two battalions each having four companies which in turn had two platoons. One of theses companies was of Grenadiers. Each battalion had a book strength of 738 men.

A small depot unit was left at the base for training and recriutment purposes.

There were 13 Grenadier Rgts and 83 Musketeer Rgts at this time.

The Jaeger Rgts had three battalions organised in the same fashion.

The exceptions to this were the Lieb grenadiers with three batts and the Preobrazhensk Rgt with four batts.

CAVALRY FORMATIONS

The heavy cavalry ( Currasiers and Dragoons) had five squadrons each having 150 men.

The light Rgts ( Uhlans and Hussars) had ten 120 man squadrons.

Note the Grand Duke Constantines Uhlans were in fact Dragoons and did not carry lances.

ARTILLERY

The artillery was organised into batteries of 12 guns, the horse artilley and heavies having 6 horse teams the others ussually four horse teams.

Batteries were organised into Heavy, 4 licornes and 8 12pdrs and light with 4 licornes and 8 6 pdrs.The Horse artillery had 6 licornes and 6 6pdr guns.

There were ten Horse artillery companies.

Each Artillery Rgt was organised into two battalions each with consisting of 10 heavy batteries and two light batteries.

There was no higher organisation than the Rgt at this time units being assigned according to the whim of the commanding general

The defeat of Austerlitz led to a divisional structure being introduced and the 1807 campaigns led to major revisions in organisation.

 

THE REFORM OF 1807

Permant Divisions were formed consisting of on average 1 Grenadier Rgt, 1 Jeager Rgt, 4 musketeer Rgts, 2 Heavy cavalry Rgts 1 light cavaly Rgt 2 heavy batteies and 3 light and one of horse artillery.

The artillery was reorganised into a brigade structure. Each brigade had 1-2 heavy, 2-3 light and one Horse artillery batteries. These brigades were assingned to the Divisions.

 

THE REFORNS OF 1810/1811

Infantry rgts were now of three battts, the second one being a depot battalion the Grenadier companies from which were formed into 'composite grenadier batts of four companies. Theses ussually served as a part of the Division to which their parent units was assigned.

The Divisions consisted of six inf Rgts two heavy cavalry Rgts and one light. An artillery Brigade was assigned to each Division.

Later the cavalry were organised into new Divisions, ussually 4 Currasier Rgts or 4 dragoon and one uhlan/hussar Rgt each with a battery of Horse Artillery.

In 1811 the cavalry was reorganised into 2 currasier divs and 8 Divisions of 4 Dragoon Rgts and two Hussar/Uhlan rgts. Further the Heavy Rgts now had 4 field squadrons and a depot and the Light Rgts 8 squadrons and a depot one.

Artillery was now formed into 27 field brigades and 10 reserve ones. Each brigade had 1-2 heavy batteries and 2 light batteries. The Horse artillery was now seperate and assigned to the Divisions as required.

THE 1812 CAMPAIGN

For this campaign the Russian army was formed ionto Corps for the first time on a semi permant basis. Each Corps had 2 Infantry Divisions 1 cavaly division, 2 Brigades of foot artillery and one of horse artillery.

An old type of cavalry was revived at this time eight Rgts of Chassuer a Cheval being raised.

THE 1813-14-15 CAMPAIGNS

No major changee to organisation were introduced during this period though the crops structure became fairly fixed.

THE GUARD

For the 1805 campaign the Guard consisted of 3 grenadier Rgts( each of three Batts) and 1 Jeager batt

2 currasier Rgts

1 Hussar Rgt

1 Cossack Rgt

one battalion of foot artillery

and one company of Horse artillery.

 

For the 1806/07 campaign the Guard Jeagers were upgraded to a two battalion Rgt.

 

For the 1812 Campaign the Guard now consisted of

4 Guard Inf Rgts ( 3 batts)

Finland Rgt ( 2 batts)

Jeagers ( 3 batts)

2 Heavy and one light batteries

4 Gaurd Cavalry Rgts

1 Currasier Rgt

1 gaurd horse Artillery battery

 

For the 1813 Campaign

The Lieb and pavlov grenadier Rgts were taken into the guard also one

currasier Rgt was taken into the Guard as the Garde du corps and one heavy

and two light batteries were added to the artillery.