Thanks Paul, that hasn't been raised before and is a worthwhile point. I would avoid giving a set answer as the French army is not my particular area of expertise. Generally the idea was to make the divide solely between foreign units and French units, so superior French units would be stuck with the same drill deficiencies as their standard brethren. My Austrian grenadiers have the same move deductions for formation change and flank/rear movement as the line troops, and broadly speaking this is the way the rules were meant to be played.
However, don't let me stop you if you want your French grenadiers to be a bit smarter with their drill!
grenadiers de France where the grenadiers of the miliia units supplemented by further militia units or men\boys not thought good enough to be regular soldiers who where used in major roles as their loses where not important as they where owned by the king and not by a rich nobel who had to be compensated for a loss.Pretty hard era for people raised in post war western democracies to come to terms with.
All the sources available to me describe the Grenadiers de France as an elite unit of 4 battalion sized brigades raised in 1749 from the grenadier companies of disbanded regiments. They wore bearskin caps with white laced, blue faced red uniforms. They were recruited from volunteers of the grenadier companies of other line regiments and from the Grenadiers Royaux.
The Grenadiers Royaux were raised in 1745 from the grenadier companies of militia regiments. By the SYW there were eleven regiments of two battalions which were often brigaded with the Grenadiers de France in the role of an elite reserve. They wore all white uniforms, white laced hats and were distinguished by the colour of their collars and small fringed epaulettes on their right shoulders.
All very useful - I am about to create a French army and had similar questions about Grenadiers Royaux. Has anyone considered how to handle Frence militia battalions (i.e. non-Grenadiers)? They were deployed in large numbers it seems, but generally brigaded separately from Line Regiments. Would I be correct to grade militia as Inferior Close Infantry? Also would anyone like to speculate on French militia flags, there is seems very limited information, but Im happy to go with a best guess.
I would rate French militia as inferior close order infantry.
I would expect that they fought and marched like normal French line infantry.
Although it's always difficult to rate the French, as the French army was very long conservative. For example normaly I would make the movement for militia slower than of regular infantry because of the lack of drill (cadence etc.). But how you could make the Change from column to line more difficult than it is with french line infantry?
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...
An excellent question... and one I hadn't originally considered. I suspect the answer lies not in looking at movement rates, but in considering how easily under-drilled troops would become disorganised when hustled around the battlefield. I'd think that by giving militia an additional compulsory hit when changing formation and when double moving and perhaps whenever they are interpenetrated it would reflect the additional disorder caused. I've wondered about giving them a Hit when closing to melee, but think this may be too punitive, especially as French troops seemed to enjoy fixing bayonets!
As inferior-troops they get 2 hits if interpenetrated. So it would be perhaps too hard to play with them if you would give them more hits for that. One hit for changing formation in front of the enemy seams to be a good idea. Every general could decide to get the hit or stay in the bad formation. I hope you will post your experience with these units in games.
Could you say, giblabman, how often these militias were used on the battlefield?
I myself will perhaps use some peasants for defence of my redoubt.
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...
Thanksfor the suggestions. French provinicial militia were used in increasing numbers as the war entered its final phase; initially picked men from the militia were used in amalgamated battalions and later whole brigades were used in order to make up for manpower shortages. Up to 70,000 men were drafted into the militia, though most seemed to be unwilling recruits! Mostly they were seen as second line troops fit for guarding lines of communication, protecting baggage etc. However, there seems to be some evidence for them deploying on the battlefield in brigade sized units. They were used as Close order infantry, and should be differentiated from 'lesser' town militia which occassionally saw action in other Theatres as local defence forces (they would probably rate as inferior light infantry). Interstiingly the relationship between normal militiamen and the elite grenadiers Royaux was well established, and certainly after the war grenadier officers were used to stiffen the leadership of militia units. I would not suggest that militia units should neccessarily have dithering brigade commanders. I can find no evidence for the militia using battalion guns, which will inevitably hamper their battlefield capability, but on a separate thread Keith endorses a points reduction of -30 for Close Order Infantry without battalion guns, which would make the French militia very cheap to field. In terms of depecting them as wargame units Kronoskaf describes the militia as uniformly wearing the uusual white grey with a blue collar, no evidence for specific unit flags. I may use WSS figures on the grounds that lower quality reservec troops throughout history always seemed to be issued with previous generation uniforms (I remember meeting British Territorial Army troops in the 1990s who were bemoaning their 1956 pattern webbing, though seeing it as an advance on the 1944 pattern equipment which they had only recently handed back to stores!) I will post my experiences with using the provinical militia. # Andy
And now for something completely different as those university grads once said.Little bit of interlectual volley ball to start the new year and help digest the turkey.Should French units in his majestys commanded formation 1) be the only +1 for charging I know its a napolionic type idea but you have to admit that with half the frontage and the extra weight the question posses. 2)when in this said formation should they be penalised by a +1 when recieving fire and a -1 when giving fire.We all seem to be in agreement that the French fire system was not the best at the time.So when her own commanders are reported to prefer the 3 rank or system long, because the official system "put them at to great a disadvantage agains the enemy". Come on every one through your penny in,new people dont be pushed about or put off,this site is a place of shareing ideas.No rules are written in Marbel.Happy New year and good gaming to all.
How often did the french actually deploy into column? I know they were directed to do so by Louis himself, but I thought that the Marshals and Generals still preferred to line up 3 deep, rather than a 6 deep attack column? That said, I'd like to have the opportunity to fix bayonets and get amongst the damn redcoats before they shoot me to pieces! How would we see the tactic working on the table ? I would expect two battalions side by side to each form into a 2 base deep formation (command base at the rear), and advance such that both engaged the opposing line simultaneously. That, as I understand it, was how the formation was supposed to work. An Additional + 1 at all times on melee, but NO shooting whilst in that formation would seem fair and historically accurate, though I'm open to criticism.