Saturday 11 February 2012

44eme Ligne - Jena Auerstadt 1806

Regiment of the Day

Today we have some earlier French line infantry in pre-shako times.

The 44eme Ligne, which fought as part of Augereau's VII Corps at the battle of Jena-Auerstadt.

Also useful for all campaigns prior to 1809 - Marengo, Austerlitz, Eylau, etc, etc.

Whilst the typical sight of a 'Napoleonic French Soldier' is common shako wearing troops seen in most collections, this bicorne wearing troop captures  the look of French army that first won glory for Napoleon I, and created the French Empire.

Advancing rapidly in column, the French charge towards the sounds of gunfire.

Demonstrating their unorthodox, but effective skill in changing formation on the move, the column wheels to face the enemy, and deploys into line formation at the same time.

Rather than execute a series of spectacular (but cumbersome) evolutions, the French column merely shuffles about along it's axis, as men in the flank companies break from the old formation and run to assume their positions in the new formation.

The French now close ranks in a tight formation, in line facing the enemy, and ready to deliver the full power of their volley fire.

Meanwhile, the whole time that the formation is on the move, a screen of skirmishers covers the advance.

In the blink of an eye - the column is now a line.

This ability to rapidly manoeuvre on the field was a key factor in the early victories of the French army over their better disciplibned, but slower opponents.

By being able to rapidly change position and formation on the field, the French often caught their opponents out of position, and so were able to deliver a larger number of battalions to the point of battle ... giving local superiority in numbers.

Whilst  the French under Napoleon are reknown for their Corps system, and the ability to quickly move entire Corps in a campaign to force much larger enemy armies to fight at a disadvantage ... the rapid battlefield manoevre system also allowed the French to employ small unit tactics which achieved the same ends at a lower tactical level.

Skillfully employed, such tactics saw the French armies often defeat enemies much larger in number, simply by engaging them one at a time with superior numbers at the brigade level.

Like my other French of this period, these figures are by warrior miniatures.

Closer view shows pretty good detail on the castings - nice and clean and quick to paint up.


  1. Great painting!!! A nice looking unit!

  2. Thanks Ray, they were good fun to do. I have a huge pile more of these that need to be done as well, to get all the French for Jena Auerstadt finished off .... big project that one.