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PRUSSIA

Background

The Cavalry

The Artillery

Organisation &Tactics

Arms & Equipment

Flags & Standards

Bibliography & Sources

The Army

The Infantry: 1806 (Cont'd)

Prussian tactics were not so outdated in 1806 as was once thought. The line regiments were trained to deliver volleys, platoon firing against cavalry, and 'battle-fire' (by which the third rank held its fire, while the first two delivered volleys in turn before switching to fire-at-will)__ particularly useful in defensive engagements. In the attack , they often adopted the famous 'oblique order' formation. But, unlike the French, the co-ordination in action of light infantry with line formations left much to be desired at this time.


The Battle of Jena 1806


The Infantry: The Reconstruction of 1807

By a Cabinet Order dated November 20th, 1807, the strength of an infantry regiment was set at two grenadier companies, two musketeer battalions and a light battalion. The light battalion was redesignated as a garrison company on the following December 1st. The battalions each contained four companies and the established strength of a company was five officers, fifteen NCOs, three or four musicians and 170 men.

On December 1st, 1808, a regiment's strength was finally regulated at three battalions, two masketeer and one fusilier, each of four companies. The grenadiers, although still part of the regiment , were detached and were grouped into seperate Grenadier Battalions, one of which was attached to each of the army's six brigades.

On the following day , the strength of a Grenadier, Musketeer or Fusilier company was changed to five officers, 1 Feldwebel, 1 Portepeefahnrich, 3 Sergeanten, 7 Unteroffiziere, 20 Gefreite, 115 privates, 3 musicians and a company medical orderly. The Jager and Schutzen companies had a similar complement of officers, senior NCOs and medical orderlies but in place of the Unteroffiziere there were 5 Oberjager, no equivalent to a Gefreite existed, and the unit was completed with 88 privates and 2 buglers. These figures provided the battalions with a total strength of 632 men, NCOs and officers or in the case of the Jager or Schutzen Battalions, 429. These strengths were the official peacetime establishments, but the War establishment was larger in that each company added some 50 privates to its ranks upon mobilization. Thus the full strength of a battalion during the 1813-15 period was either some 630 or 830 men. In 1813, some units tended to exceed this authorized establishment and , without exception, this was done by Jager and Schutzen units who were deployed as half battalions, each fielding some 400 men. One or two line battalions emulated this practice of expansion and in August 1813, the largest battalion was the 1st/Drittes Ostpreussisches Infanterie Regiment which fielded a total of 940 men. as a generalization, however, the establishments were fairly well maintained and the average strength of a battalion on active service was somewhere between 750 and 850 men, NCOs and officers.