Post by WS Pursuivant Esq on Feb 1, 2017 1:05:27 GMT
Am I right to understand that by the SYW period the appellation Grenadier was usually reserved as the mark of a better than average (infantry/cavalry) troop type (depending on nationality) whilst Fusilier was only used as an (honourary) name for some line regiments?
Did Grenadiers still carry and use grenades or was this just a recognition of some aspect of its historical role? Were grenades only used in siege /assault circumstances?
Why were grenadier companies attached to normal line regiments? Did they have a specific function or morale boosting effect? Did this continue to happen with some nations?
I read that originally Fusiliers were formed as special troops to guard artillery because they were the first to be armed with flintlocks and therefore less likely to cause problems near gunpowder.
HoW doesn't differentiate either so I suspect that it is not important.
From what I've read Grenadiers were originally used as assault troops who did employ grenades and then charged in if required. Later they were often taller/stronger/more experienced veterans who joined the elite company, again used as assault troops. Sadly and occasionally in the SYW, they were used for assaults which often led to high casualty rates for little gain. Crazy given they were an elite asset that was expended in such a way. Rationale was different then I guess. Bit topsy. As can be seen, many SYW armies converged their grenadiers to form elite battalions. This would have meant line infantry unit missing their elite company. For those units that still retained their grenadier company, one would have thought they made an ideal reserve and harder hitting group. In Nappy times, there would also have been a light company too (not so much in SYW with separate and specific light units). Kind of like the Marine Expeditionary Unit having it's own light troops, heavy armour, air support, arty, recce etc. Self sustaining and integrated.
A Fusil was an early flintlock when the main firearm was a matchlock. Fusil armed troops were initially used to protect arty given that the risk of a matchlock igniting a powder barrel was greater, and would make for a bad day. As flintlocks became the standard weapon, the Fusilier was often the term for musket armed infantry. Different circumstances warranted the term being used in different ways - to denote a more elite infantry unit, a historical reference to their 'fusil' lineage/origin etc. Given that Fusiliers were in the main, standard infantry in the SYW, HoW correctly does not set them apart. Nothing stopping you designating a unit as elite though. I've often wondered if the Royal Welsh Fusiliers should be designated as elite. They acquitted themselves well in Nth America so I've read.
Here's my two 'apence worth based on my use exclusively (at present) of Austrians and Prussians in the SYW.
The Austrians designated all their line infantry as fusiliers. Their grenadiers were mostly grouped into grenadier battalions.
The original Prussian line units were designated as musketeers and they wore the tricorn. The later units were designated fusiliers and had their own form of headgear, resembling a short mitre. They were not elite units or very different from the musketeers. The grenadiers from both the musketeers and fusiliers were grouped in regimental pairs as grenadier battalions. Many of these became permanent formations. These were usually superior units compared to the line battalions. However, the Prussians also had elite infantry units. The 6th Regiment was guard grenadiers and were dressed as grenadiers. As far as I'm aware there was only one battalion. The 15th regiment was also designated guards. The first two battalions were designated as musketeers and the third as grenadiers, but all three were elite.
Grenadiers were not longer armed with grenades in the syw. I remember that I saw a 18th century print in the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum Wien with prussian grenadiers throwing grenades and they clearly had mid 18th century uniforms. Perhaps they were in use very seldom. Or it was a imagination of the artist. It is significant that the prussian grenadiers had no relicts of the use of grenades with their equipement. Especially minor states still used grenades. I read a report about the "Wasunger Krieg" (small conflict during the 1740s) where the use of grenades by saxon-gotha grenadies was crucial for the outcome of a combat. I was on a reenactment where I saw two grenadiers of the Electorate of Mainz who demonstrated the use of grenades which were still common during the syw. Perhaps they were in use in other units of the Reichsarmee too. Nevertheless I don't think that this aspect is of real importance for a wargame like Honours of War.
Theoreticaly the strength of the grenadiers was very important in the period of the use of grenades. Therefore the grenadiers were tall men. This remained although without grenades it was perhaps more important to have experienced soldiers in the elite units. It's easy to see that the height of the Grenadiers gave them some Advantage during a period when it was good to be tall to load the musket.
I still make differences between grenadiers and fusiliers of some armies although I'm not sure if this is right. The benefit of superior-rating is very important in HoW. Perhaps it would be more authentic to give grenadiers and fusiliers/musketeers the same rating. The weapons were the same (except the states where grenades were still in use - but this aspect would be more of interest for skirmish-rules) and there were enough of experienced musketeers in the musketeercompanies that it is maybe not right to make a difference. It's clear that the commanders of the period made a difference and used grenadiers very often on the most dangerous sectors of the battlefield (the use of the prussian grenadiers at Mollwitz is maybe an good example).
For me to creat the perfect armylist (rating superior/inferior/standard units) is a continual process of research, thinking and decisions. If it's too boring to you than use the lists you can find in the original book of HoW. I think they are fine for SYW.
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...
In North Germany the British had 3 Grenadier battalions. The first was formed from the Grenadier companies of the original force of 6 battalions. The second was formed from the Grenadier companies of the next lot of infantry, also 6 regiments. They were kept together and usually seemed to be "brigaded" with the two Highland Regiments and used as an advance guard.
The third was formed from the Grenadier companies of the 3 battalions of Footguards and brigaded with them (Can't have the Footguards slumming it with the Hoi Polloi)
I'd think that all three could be classified as "superior" but that the Guards, of only 3 companies should be a "small" unit.
Incidentally the Guards brigade was commanded by General Julius Caesar, clearly his parents had him marked out for the Church.
Post by WS Pursuivant Esq on Feb 1, 2017 23:20:34 GMT
Thanks to all those who responded to my query. This explains why HoW doesn't reference use of grenades for this period and because they didn't feature in open battle. It also says I can avoid purchasing those "nice grenadiers throwing grenades" figures that many manufacturers insist in listing.
Pretty much all the published sources on the SYW agree on this subject - grenadiers didn't use grenades in the SYW (except perhaps occasionally in siege operations), they weren't either taller or stronger than ordinary soldiers, and they were usually combined into discrete battalions who were used as elite units, commonly being given the toughest tasks like leading assaults.
Grenadier units were generally formed from the most experienced/best performing/toughest/most reliable troops that were available. Overall, the grenadier battalions were intended to be a high quality force that could be relied on to perform well. Of course, such things tend to be generalisations - the very best Prussian line battalions commonly performed as well as any grenadier battalion, and the grenadiers of less well trained and disciplined nations could be very ordinary indeed (hence Reichsarmee grenadiers are only rated standard).
'Fusilier' should generally be understood as a term interchangeable with musketeer. Some rule sets rate Prussian fusiliers as slightly inferior to Prussian musketeers as the fusilier battalions derived from troops originally recruited to guard the artillery (as some of you have mentioned) and had lower physical requirements and sometimes came from regions Frederick considered likely to provide poorer raw material. By the time of the SYW such distinctions were outdated, in my opinion. A number of fusilier regiments performed exceptionally well in the SYW, like no.33 which I am proud to have in my collection.
I maybe only know the regulations of the late 18th century French army (1780s). There the grenadiers were around 1,80 m, which was very tall. Another qualification was that the grenadiers should have done service for several campaigns. I did never understand if this should say: they would have to be tall AND experienced or not.
Thanks for all informations about the prussian grenadiers.
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...