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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Spanish Campaign of 1810-July


The Battle of Leiria: 14 July 1810
by Bruno Just
Published 1992
Players:
HILL= Don      BRUNSWICK= Sean
MASSENA= Bruno DUHESME= Robert

Leiria
Leiria is a churched town poised on the slopes of a range of hills overlooking a gurgling brook which runs merrily to the Atlantic Ocean four leagues away to the North-West.
During the early morning of the 13th July, advance elements of Marshal Massena's IV Corps d'Armee entered the town from the North, causing the populace to rush indoors, close the shutters and lock their daughters away in wardrobes. Conversely, the señoritas of the local bordello freshened themselves  and displayed their wares  unabashedly by the water pump, in the town square. Taking little notice of them, the business-like, leading section of scouts from the 10th Hussars rode by at a trot and took up position on the edge of the slope, on the southern end of the town.
First-Lieutenant Angel Deguerre did not need a spy-glass to notice the ranks of British scarlet and
Masséna
Brunswick black lining the banks of the stream below. He immediately gave orders which sent riders galloping lickety-split back to the main body. At 10am, Marshal Andre Massena was surveying the antagonistic dispositions from the steeple of the church. Obliquely opposite, General "Daddy" Hill was also observing his opponent, but with the air of someone who is unconcerned at the unfolding pageant, because he knows something more to which this was merely the first act.
Turning to his Chief-of-Staff, Colonel Pelet-Clozeau, Massena remarked: "The English don't seem to be in a disposition to move, Colonel. If that remains so, let's give France a victory, tomorrow on Bastille Day." And to his son and Aide-de-Camp Captain Count Prosper d' Essling, he added, by way of  instruction: "Captain, the enemy is either showing only part of his force, or Marshal Lannes will have a fight of it on the road to Thomar." How true his words were shown to be.
Having made his dispositions for the coming battle, Massena retired to the Municipal Palace wherein he had his billeted lodging, with his companion, whose slender feminine curves were easily disguised by hussar dress. Unfortunately for the rest, the Corps was in a state of high alert and would remain so until the morrow, so the daughters of Leiria were safe and the residents of the bordello unemployed.
Duke of Brunswick
As the golden orb peeked over the Eastern horizon, inundating the sleepy hills and valleys with its brilliant morning rays, it was evident that the Allied defence was very well established (see Map). Their right was held by the Duke of Brunswick with four battalions of infantry, (Leib, 1st Line, 3rd Light, Rifles of the Oels & Jaegers), and 1 regiment of cavalry, (the Combined Hussars & Lancers). A half-battery of artillery was in support. The left consisted of four battalions of British Foot, (23rd Royal Welch Fusiliers, 27th Inniskillings, 33rd Yorkshire [Wellington's], 52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry), and two regiments of Light Dragoons, (13th and 15th). Another half-battery of Brunswick artillery was placed in the centre.[1]
Massena's IV Corps, depleted by a constant drain of units for protection of their lines of communication and supply, could muster only twelve battalions of infantry, albeit of good quality, four regiments of cavalry, (including the attached II Cavalry Division similarly understrength), and three companies[2] of artillery, plus two regimental artillery sections and a company of genie.[3] General Junot's II Division and Latour-Maubourg's Cavalry Division held the right and centre. General Duhesme's I Division was on the left flank, supported by Montbrun's brigade  of cavalry, massing for the attack.
At 8 am., Marshal Massena gave the signal for the battle to begin. The cannon placed to the right and left of Leiria spoke and a hail-storm of roundshot and shell curved its way toward the British lines. From the Allied positions, they seemed like a series of dots in the distance, moving slowly at first, then accelerating rapidly, finally disappearing into explosions or geysers of dirt. "Daddy" Hill waved his bicorne to the Brunswick half-battery nearby and they gave an appropriate  reply to the French opening argument. Almost immediately, two French siege pieces[4] were destroyed by the accurate counter-battery fire. Colonel Villeneuve, the French siege artillery commander, bit his thumb in frustration! "Rotten luck!" exclaimed Massena to his Aides.
On the flanks, the French drums began to roll the pas-de-charge. The regimental flags were magnificently unfurled and flapping in the tepid morning breeze. The field officers atop their horses, shouldered their swords, and the Generals of Brigade waved theirs toward the red and the black lines. Colonels or Majors gave the shouted orders to advance. The lines of blue moved forward en masse, as the cannonade continued. The adrenalin pumping in their veins, the soldiers were glad to be in motion: it gave some relief to their aroused organism.
10th Hussars
Massena was pensively watching the advance of the dragoon brigade on his right, and then noticing the sudden surge forward of the 10th Hussars on his left, through the grey-white puffs of smoke. "If we win this one, Colonel," he declared to Pelet-Clozeau, "we won't have enough cavalry to pursue." Turning to his son, he ordered: "Go to Duhesme and tell him to bring back the 'Jerome-Napoleon' Hussars into general reserve!" Having taken the pencilled note from Pelet-Clozeau, Prosper galloped off toward the ridge, 1500 paces away, upon which a knot of horsemen were standing.
Roland "Daddy" Hill
General Hill, having observed and analysed the French progress, turned his head to the bevvy of Aides behind and about him and stated: "They're coming on in the same old style. We'll have to receive them in the same old style." The junior officers laughed - a little nervously, perhaps, but heartened by their commander's confident words and demeanour. The field officers nodded,  some cleared their throats, all said nothing. Same old style or not, it wasn't going to be easy. The French had a knack of making their opponents pay dearly whether in victory or defeat.
The measured volleys of the 27th Foot (Inniskillings) thinned out the ranks of the 6th Dragoons, eventually forcing them to retire. Sadly, it was here that General Arrighi di Casanova lost his life, as he was gallantly attempting to organize a charge, amidst the intense musketry of the Irishmen. The 6th's place was taken by the fantassins of the 7th Leger and the French 1st Battalion of Spain's Royal Guard. The latter forced the 52nd Light Infantry to retire, but could not cross the stream due to the fire of the Welch Fusiliers who had been brought up and the threat of the 15th Light Dragoons behind them. The 2nd (Italian) Dragoons "Napoleone" attempted to cross the stream at the bridge and were thrown back by an impetuous charge of the 13th Light Dragoons with the advantage of the slope.
Neither did the French infantry on the other flank have any success in crossing the well-defended rivulet. Although the French 14th Ligne lining the stream gave as much as they got in the ensuing firefight, they were glued to their side of the obstacle for the whole day. On the other hand, the cavalry, specifically the 10th Hussars, took the tiny torrent in one leap. These brave cavaliers looking resplendent in their sky-blue uniforms, overthrew the Brunswick skirmishers and overran the Brunswick half-battery behind them. Having sent them packing, the 10th turned to the Brunswick Hussars and put them to flight for good measure. Had not dusk descended suddenly upon them at 8pm., they would surely have captured the Duke of Brunswick and his headquarters, as well as have fallen on his infantry's rear. It was not to be.
Nevertheless, General Hill believed himself sufficiently punished to order a retreat, having lost more than 40% of his force.[5] Massena was overjoyed and judging that his decimated cavalry was not up to a pursuit, ordered a rest day on the morrow, followed by a pursuit on the day following. BUT the smoke on the battlefield and the stream of retreating troops obscured the surprise in store for him on his hoped-for rest day.
(It is suspected that Don has kept a large portion of his force in reserve, off-table, to be brought on fresh just as the French settle down to breakfast. This could be the Second Battle of Leiria).


[1] A total of 206 figures.
[2] The French called their  batteries "companies".
[3] A total of 408 figures.
[4] One piece on the table represents two guns; one infantry figure, 33 men; one cavalry figure, 25 horsemen.
[5] The losses were 86 figures and two pieces for the Allies, and 118 figures and two pieces for the French.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Napoleon & the War in Germany

By Gwynne Jones
Written 1992 

THE NEW ARMY
MURAT, after being dislodged from behind the Niemen Fluss to the other side of the Vistula, in his turn deserted, at Posen. Command devolved on the Viceroy of Italy, Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, the Emperor's stepson. His field army, composed of worn-out survivors of the Retreat plus multi-national "detachments de marche", provisional units, numbered 12,000. With the remains of four, once huge Corps, I, II, III and IV, Eugene garrisoned three fortresses on the Oder Fluss and Spandau, near Berlin. He sent back officer and N.C.O.      cadres to Erfurt, who, together with many more from Spain, Napoleon used to form the nuclei of many more units.
Many N.C.O.s were commissioned, (including Sergeant Bourgogne, later author of the famous memoirs of the Great Retreat); not all such proved satisfactory. The military colleges were stripped of cadets, however young, but these were usually sent to old units. From his territories, the Emperor demanded a huge mass of conscripts for the rank and file.
EVEN before the winter debacle, in September 1812, he had ordered out 120,000 (soon 137,000) of the class of 1813. These were in the depots but still untrained by December. For organised reinforcements, Napoleon took 84 (soon 88) cohorts[1] of the National Guard, who were 20-26 year olds not called up in the six years 1807-1812 when eligible for conscription and legally thereafter exempt from military service. Under pressure, these volunteered en masse for foreign service. Numbering approximately 80,000, they were transformed into 22 four-battalion regiments. Another 80,000 form the same six-year classes were used to fill other units. Finally, 150,000 18 and 19-year olds from the class of 1814 were ordered to report to the depots, but not before February 1813. The Empire could not arm and train half a million raw recruits simultaneously. There were some units of experienced men: 8,000 marines from coastal forts comprising 16 battalions; 5,000 veterans in the municipal guards who made up six battalions  and nine regular battalions from Italy. These would be some degree of stiffening, but far more were needed to settle the fate of Europe.
CORPS I to IV of the Grand Armee had contained 36 regiments. Napoleon rebuilt these as four-battalion units, therefore, needing 144 additional battalions, on the old organization. In France, there existed only the cadres for 100 detached battalions whose parent regiments were serving in Spain, Illyria, etc. They were filled with recruits and grouped together in twos and threes to form new regiments. So far: 363 battalions! Now for higher formations.
THE V Corps, Lauriston's, consisting of 48 National Guard cohorts, assembled at Magdeburg in late February
Lauriston
and early March 1813. It was the first higher-level formation to be ready and it was swelling Eugene's Army of the Elbe in April. Ney's III Corps of 60 battalions, (four divisions), and Marmont's of 50, assembled at Mainz in March and April. There were also Bertrand's 54 battalions from Italy, (late IV and XII Corps), I Corps' 64 battalions and II Corps 48 battalions. One French and two Saxon divisions made up VII Corps. The Imperial Guard was strengthened by three divisions of Young Guard, mostly conscripts but probably with the best cadres. One small Old Guard division came from the survivors of the Retreat, Guard depots and 3,000 veterans of Spain.
THE new divisions averaged above 14 battalions, in contrast to Marmont's (and Wellington's) divisions at Salamanca which averaged only nine. Their manpower was twice those of Marmont's which averaged 5,000. Was Napoleon short of good divisional commanders, as Soham's performance on the morning before the battle of Lutzen seems to suggest? In fact, the Corps commanders proved even less reliable, in spite of their records.
WHAT was the quality of the new infantry? Opinions vary: some officers found the young men too weak for hard marching, too sickly and too unwilling. When the class of 1813 began to run out, Napoleon said that lads from the class of 1814 could be used. He specified, however, that "the big and strong" should be selected: this is suggestive. In the Empire's twilight years, many conscripts unwilling to serve became "refractaires", evading or even resisting induction. Soldiers were sent to capture them and to impose pressure on their families to bring about their surrender. Certainly, many units left a frightfully, large trail of sick and stragglers in the Spring marches of 1813. Desertion was rife. On the other hand, witnesses wrote of the good qualities of the new soldiers. Both could be right. After sickness and desertion weeded out the weakest and least willing, those who were left were tougher and gained esprit de corps, probably having become quite efficient, brave and obedient soldiers.
UNFORTUNATELY, they were not very efficient in the first campaign of 1813. All the stories of young fellows poorly or only partly trained seem to be true. Virtually none, save the National Guardsmen, were familiar with their weapons. Most never had a musket in their hands before quitting their depots. Depot commanders who tried to obey the rule that each recruit should fire six blank and two ball rounds were censured for delaying their conscripts departure for the front.
GETTING a quarter of a million young civilians into units and to the front was a wildly confused and frantically rushed performance. In mid-April, a fortnight before the first great battle, a French general wrote of the very fatigued battalions arriving: "...the young soldiers show courage and good-will. Every possible moment is utilized in teaching them to load their arms and bring them to their shoulder." Some conscripts were so small and weakly that it was not beyond a joke. The Minister of Police in Paris protested their drilling in the Champs Elysees because of the derision they provoked from the crowds. It was difficult to produce useful infantry in four months or less and impossible to make cavalry. A year was needed.
CAVALRY available to the Emperor in the Spring of 1813, consisted of 11,000 good French and 4,000 allied. Masses of cons
Battle of Lutzen 1813 by Fleischmann
cript horse were available later, but proved virtually useless. At the first battle, on 2 May 1813, Lutzen, 7,500 French cavalry were present and wisely attempted nothing against 19,000 Allies. Lieutenant Vossler of the Wurttemberg cavalry describes the rebuilding of his cavalry regiment, destroyed in Russia, in two months.
"On 3 February 1813, the Regiment ... was newly equipped with officers, men and horses. The men had been conscripted during ... January and       the horses bought in Leipzig... We ... began drilling the men and training the horses on 4 February. By the end of the month, we had advanced to troop and squadron exercises, and by the end of March men and horses were fit for combat."
(One might doubt that, unless their opponents had also had only two months' training). Regimental exercises for Vossler's regiment began early in April and by late April the campaign was on. Lack of good, and numerous cavalry proved an acute handicap to Napoleon's army and incapacitated him from properly turning an enemy's defeat into an rout.[2]

NAPOLEON IN GERMANY
Published in January 1995 Issue
Series 2; Part II:
The Road to Dresden, 2
by Gwynne Jones
Crown Prince Charles John (Marshal Bernadotte)
With the failure of the peace congress to produce peace, (the Allies' minimum demands were "outrageous" to Napoleon), both sides prepared to resume hostilities with their expanded and improved forces. The Allies, (now, including Austria), had the following main armies. The Northern Army, 120,000 men under the Crown Prince and ruler of Sweden, Bernadotte, consisting mainly of Prussians; the Southern Army 240,000 men under the Austrian Schwarzenberg in Bohemia, with masses of Austrians but including many Prussians and Russians; the Army of Silesia, 95,000 men under Blucher, consisting of Prussians and Russians, and a reserve of 60,000 men in Poland. And their numbers were growing.
Napoleon, on paper, also had three main armies: Oudinot's 85,000 men in the North; Ney with 85,000 men in the East, and the Emperor with 165,000 South-West of Ney; plus Davout's 35,000 men in Oudinot's area, in Hamburg. The Emperor himself controlled Ney's force and took what he wanted from Oudinot. For his basic strategy, Napoleon consulted his Marshals, something he would never have done even a few years earlier. It was a defensive strategy, with determination to go over to the offensive as soon as possible. The had never before have to act defensively, except for the siege of Mantua. His two armies between Breslau and Dresden could be well placed to support each other and to deal with either an advance from Silesia, in the East, or Bohemia, in the South. The Emperor made two important miscalculations, not in themselves fatal. He greatly overestimated the size of the Army of Silesia, and he was convinced that if the Army of Bohemia were to attack, it would be on the right bank (East) of the Elbe. (In fact, when Schwarzenberg advanced on Dresden, he was on the left bank, as was his objective). As Napoleon put it:
"the ... campaign can only lead to a good result, if to begin ... there is a great battle ... in order to have a decisive an brilliant affair, there are more favourable chances in holding ourselves ... concentrated ... awaiting the arrival of the enemy."
Napoleon knew he was outnumbered.
Marshal Oudinot
Virtually all critics agree that his analysis was correct and the basic scheme sound. What went wrong? Two things - both the Emperor's own doing. First, he put his Eastern front further East, on the Katzbach, although he had only recently condemned this as dangerous, being too far from his main base, Dresden. Second, he decided on continuing, with much larger forces than before the Armistice, the offensive against Berlin, under the same inadequate commander, Oudinot. Virtually all critics see these decisions as serious errors. A partial offensive spoiled the general and early overall offensive without offering a corresponding gain, (even if all Prussia were overrun), and seriously weakened the forces which would have to oppose the largest enemy concentrations. Since it took a considerable French force, the one situated further from the centre, even further away, it dangerously weakened the advantage that he could expect from interior lines.
ST-CYR, consulted, opposed the advance on Berlin, because he was (rightly) sure that Napoleon had undervalued the number and quality of Bernadotte's army. His suggestion: 150,000 French to cover the Elbe between Magdeburg and Dresden, while the Emperor led 250,000 into Bohemia. Napoleon's only reply was that it was too late to make a plan so very different from the one he had already thought out.
Marshal Marmont
Marmont also unhesitatingly condemned the plan, especially in separating the French into three armies, which would deprive the Emperor of the strength needed for a decisive victory over the Allies' main forces on the Elbe and the upper Spree. He added his famous prophecy:
"I fear greatly lest on the day upon which your Majesty has gained a victory and believe you have won a decisive battle, you may learn that you have lost two."
Marmont also claimed that the march on Berlin was inspired by Napoleon's bitterness against Prussia (and Bernadotte) and a desire for immediate and "startling and terrible" vengeance. Many historians accept this explanation, (as do I), though it is true that overrunning Prussia would have advantages for the French, including the release of garrisons on the Oder.
All sensible people condemn Napoleon's choice of a commander against Berlin: Oudinot was a competent Division commander, barely adequate for a Corps. St-Cyr, Marmont and Davout were all infinitely superior generals. Later, Napoleon made another gratuitous blunder, by almost accidently substituting Ney (on the Katzbach) with Macdonald - far worse than Oudinot who, at least, obeyed orders.

The Allies also had a plan, a very fair plan, and one which actually worked - although it was worked out by a committee of generals. It is true that a very important improvement was made by Schwarzenberg's Chief-of-Staff, Radetzky (who became sufficiently famous to have a Strauss march named after him). The plan was for any single army advanced on by Napoleon himself to retire, while the other two armies would close on the Emperor's rear. Any French armies NOT led by Napoleon in person were fair game; they had, by now, the measure of the French Marshals.




[1] Each cohort was the same as a full-strength battalion, i.e. six companies of 144 men each.
[2] Napoleon wrote: "...it is impossible to fight anything but a defensive war unless one has achieved parity with the enemy cavalry." (In Chandler).

Wargaming Ancients

ANCIENTS by Ivan Withers.
1.         What's "Ancients" ?
"Ancients" is the name given by wargamers (and others) to the entire period of history before the invention of gunpowder.[1] If one considers recorded history to have started about 3,000 BC, it spans some four thousand years. Wargamers who call themselves "Ancients" therefore have a very wide choice of periods, peoples and cultures.
The earliest known organised warriors are those of the Sumerians, originating in the so-called Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. As time rolled by, such peoples as the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Trojans, the Han, the Romans, the Mayans, the Saxons, the Vikings and many others appeared.  The list of possible armies and weapons to discover is huge.
2.         Where Do I Start ?
Choosing a period to start may therefore seem a bit daunting.  However, somewhere you may have seen some friends playing a game, or perhaps you already have an idea about which particular army interests you enough to start. If you are still a bit doubtful, how about the Romans? Mind you, even having narrowed your choice down to this one particular people, there is still a pretty wide choice. The Romans started out as an obscure Latin village ruled by a foreign king and they provided troops for an imitation-early-Greek-type phalanx. After they kicked out their Etruscan overlords, they evolved into a Republic, which lasted for some hundreds of years before they put a king (sorry, Caesar) back in charge.  During this span of time they had at least three quite different organisations and armies. Not quite at random, let's settle on the Romans at  the time of Tiberius; that's say roughly 10 AD to about 35 AD. This period of Roman history is the best documented.  The information for the Roman Army a this time can therefore be found quite easily.
3. Starting With Romans.
Airfix Romans
For reasons of expense, it would probably be better to start with plastic figures when it comes to purchasing your first troops. I started with Airfix Romans, but I have seen some very nice Italian figures in hobby shops. Let me hasten to add that although many wargamers decry plastics for various imperfections, remember YOU ARE JUST STARTING. If you find that Ancients are not for you, then you have not sunk weeks or months of pocket money into scrap metal! If you later want to expand with metal figures, there is a huge range from several suppliers. If you want to stick with Romans, then metal Romans are available. If instead you want to build up a different army, you will not feel tied by a large capital outlay to the army you made your first choice.
4.Playing With the "Toy Soldiers".
Playing with "Ancients" need not just involve the figure you buy straight out of the packet, either. When you feel confident you can try conversions; i.e., making changes to the figures to look quite different. Again there are many books and magazines which can help you.  Some of your fellow club-mates even make their own moulds to cast their own figures.
5.By What Rules Shall I Play?
However you play, whatever you play, there must always be Rules. Rules for fighting Ancient Wargames come in many different varieties, simple or complex, cheap or expensive.  Again your choice will be governed by local conditions.  What rules do your prospective opponents use? What is available locally in shops?
The WRG (short for Wargames Research Group) in England provide rules for Ancients (among others) which are used in many parts of the world.  All rules have their advantages and drawbacks. The WRG set (currently in its 7th Edition) makes a game seem to take a long time, and the complexity can be a bit daunting to a beginner. However, the choice is entirely up to you. WRG Rules are used not only in small clubs, but in competitions between Clubs.
THE GREEK HOPLITE
Greek Hoplite
Most Ancient wargamers have tried one of the many different "Greek" armies, but aside from finding they have a reasonable chance of winning competition battles, they may know very little about the warrior himself. "Greek" meant speaking one of the Greek dialects, and probably believing in some at least of the array of Greek gods and goddesses, etc. A typical Greek warrior came from one of the hundreds of Greek cities ("polis") around the Eastern Mediterranean. Usually, these "cities" would be struggling to reach our modern estimation of a small town.
Greek cities in the ancient world were very often at war with some other city or cities, due to a bewildering number of causes. One particular "polis" might be at war because of traditional alliances and enemies, and that war could be as short as a week, or as long as a generation. In the longer wars, the friends and enemies could change many times.
The typical Greek warrior was most often a small farmer.  There was no standing army.  His city would in effect call out a levy, and our warrior would leave his livelihood for weeks or even months, leaving his family to fend for themselves. He provided his own war-gear, or panoply. Since metal was relatively scarce and hence expensive, his panoply would be as expensive to him as buying a car is to us - and with a similar wide choice  of results and efficiency.
Greek Hoplite Phalanx
The backbone of any Greek army was the phalanx, and any self-respecting Greek warrior would try to be fit to join it. His principle defence was a large circular shield, about a metre in diameter. This was called the "hoplon", and hence the man who carried it was a "hoplite".  It usually had some brightly coloured motif painted on it, and had a strap for slinging and a handle for carrying into battle. Sometimes a sort of canvas apron would be hung under it to offer some protection for his legs.
The hoplite's principal weapon was a spear, varying in length and type over the centuries.  At the time of the wars with Persia, it would have been between say 1.5 and 2 metres long, with a large leaf-shaped blade.  Quite a number also had a butt-spike, which could prove handy if the spear was broken in use. Most hoplites wore a short sword or dagger for in-fighting, and this was carried hanging from a sash across the opposite shoulder, later to become the baldric. One favoured style of short sword at the type of Alexander and probably for some time previously was the kopis. This heavy sword has been described as "capable of shearing off a man's wrist".
Hoplite Helmets
Different styles of helmet prevailed, according to the different areas of origin of the hoplite and different historical periods. Often it seems very much a matter of personal choice, although the various cities would favour one style more than another. Armour was expensive and difficult to obtain and maintain.  Hence the spolas was quite popular, a sort of jerkin made from stiffened layers of canvas. Apparently this was a quite reasonable defence against slashes, as was the boiled leather cuirass. Patterns of studs helped the defence too. Metal or stiffened leather plates could be sewn on as added reinforcement. (The shoulder protection survives to this day as epaulettes).
It appears that, at least in the earlier periods, hoplites often went into battle naked, or wearing only a loin cloth, perhaps. At least this would help them run more fleetly than pursuers after they'd dropped their shields and spears! For below-the-waist security, the well-dressed hoplite often wore a frontal protection made up of leather strips. This idea was the forerunner of the Later Roman Pteruges. Greaves were like light-weight bronze shin-pads. The existing contemporary art isn't clear whether they were thin bronze shapes which sprung over the shin, or heavier protection more like today's cricketers' pads.
With all this aggressive individuality, how was it that the Greek fighting machine was so successful? Against all probability, these aggressive individualists had developed into the most effective team-players the world had seen up until that time. Provided they set up their formation in time (which later turned out to be a BIG proviso), then the only formation of anywhere near the same numbers which could defeat them was a similar phalanx. As long as the phalanx kept its formation, it could only be beaten by a similar formation unless greatly outnumbered. Alexander simply gave his virtually unstoppable phalanx longer spears which out-reached even the Greeks spears, at the price of even further rigidity. But Alex realised the weakness and supported the flanks with more flexible bodies of troops. Nevertheless, the Romans beat the phalanx because of the inherent flexibility of the legion. They effectively trimmed away the cohesion and exposed the vulnerable flanks.
This same idea of the pike-armed phalanx came to light briefly centuries later, when the Swiss army had its day in the limelight during the Renaissance. It failed eventually because of its rigidity, and the new weapon of gunpowder.
The GREEK PELTAST
GREEK PELTAST
The backbone of any Greek army was the phalanx, and any self-respecting Greek warrior would try to be fit enough to join it. Not everyone was able to afford the complete and expensive hoplite panoply. The more poorly equipped Greeks were usually classed as "Peltast", named after the lighter, smaller shield they carried.
The peltasts principal armament was two, possibly three javelins, varying in length and type over the centuries. At the time of the wars with Persia, it was between 1 and 1.5 metres long, with a relatively small blade. The javelin would be launched at the enemy, and the last one would be kept for close contact fighting. There has been some dispute about how the javelin was actually thrown. It seems possible that two cords were wound around the shaft; when the javelin was thrown, the cords caused the javelin to spin, giving a sort of gyroscopic stability and hence, presumably, increased accuracy and possibly even a slight increase in range. Aside from javelin and light shield,  the rest was pretty much up to the individual. Most peltasts wore a short sword or dagger for in-fighting, and this was carried thrust through or hanging from their belt.
The hoplites rather naturally looked down upon the poorly equipped peltasts as inferiors both socially and in battle usefullness. It came as a horrible shock during the wars between Sparta and the Hellenic League when a group of peltasts slaughtered a unit of so-called invincible Spartan hoplites.  The hoplites had become rigid and very stylised in their movement; the Spartans found to their horror that, on the right sort of terrain, the peltast was far superior in manoeuvrability and could dodge the heavier hoplite's superior weaponry and training.




[1] What  happened to the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages? (Ed.)

Names of Officers in Napoleons Armies & Nicknames of the French Imperial Guard Units

FOR THE PERFECTIONIST : compiled by Bruno Just.

This is for those who like to know the names of their regimental colonels as well as general officers, as I do. In my French & Confederation Army, I identify the units by a label underneath the base of the command element, which gives the unit's name and number as well as the unit commander's name. Naturally, all my Marshals, Generals, Aides-de-Camp and Field Officers of Artillery are named. It gives an air of authenticity.
 FRENCH.
Artillery of the Guard and Line:
*[1]Colonel d'ABBOVILLE.
(Lost an arm at Wagram).
* Colonel CHAUVEAU.
Major[2] GREINER.
(Lost an arm at Wagram.)
*Colonel SAINT-MAURICE.
*Colonel VILLENEUVE.
Carabiniers:
1st. *Colonel LAROCHE.
            Colonel ROGE.
2nd. *Colonel BLANCARD.
            Colonel BEUGNAT.
Chasseurs a Cheval of the Guard:
*Colonel DAHLMANN.
Chasseurs a Cheval:
*Colonel MEDA.
*Colonel CASTEX.
Chasseurs a Pied of the Guard:
Major ANGELET.
*Major BELCOURT.
Cuirassiers:
1st. Colonel BERKHEIM;
            Colonel Count ORDENER.
2nd. Colonel CHOUARD;
            Colonel GRANDJEAN.
3rd. *Colonel RICHTER;
            Colonel LACROIX.
4th. Colonel Prince BORGHESE;
            Colonel HABERT.
5th. Colonel QUINETTE;
            Colonel GOBERT.
6th. Colonel d'AVENAY;
            Clonel d'HAUGERANVILLE;
            Colonel MARTIN.
7th. Colonel DUBOIS;
            Colonel RICHARDOT.
8th. Colonel GRANDJEAN;
            Colonel GARAVAQUE.
9th. Colonel PAULTRE;
            Colonel BIGARNE.
10th. Colonel L'HERITIER;
            Colonel LAHUBERDIERE.
11th. Colonel DUCLOS;
            Colonel COURTIER.
12th. *Colonel DORNEZ;
            Colonel THUROT.
Dragoons:
1st. Colonel DERMONCOURT.
3rd. Chef d'Escadron BARBUT.
5th. Colonel de SPARRE.
6th. Colonel Le BARON.
7th. Colonel de SERON;
            *Chef d'Escadron DEBERME.
8th. Colonel BECKLER;
            Colonel LEBRUN.
9th. Colonel MAUPETIT;
            Major DELORT.
11th. Colonel BOURDON.
17th. Colonel LEPIC.
19th. Chef d'Escadron COSNARD.
Dragons a Pied:
1st. Colonel PRIVE.
2nd. *Colonel Le BARON.
3rd. Colonel BECKLER.
4th. Colonel BARTHELEMY.
Dragoons of the Paris Guard:
*Colonel DERMONCOURT.
Flanquer-Grenadiers:
*Major DESALONS.
1st Fusilier-Grenadiers:
*Major CHERY.
2nd Fusilier-Chasseurs:
*Major HARLET.
Gendarmes d"Elite:
*Major HENRY.
Gendarmes d'Ordonnance:
Captain d'ALBUQUERQUE.
Captain Count d'ARBERG.
Grenadiers a Cheval:
Colonel LEPIC.
* Major CHASTEL.

Grenadiers a Pied of the Guard:
*Major AUGER.
Major DARRIULE.
Major LAFARGUE.
3rd Grenadiers Hollandaise:
*Colonel TINDAL (a Scot!)
Gardes d'Honneur:
Major LA TOURETTE.
*Major TESTOT-FERRY.
Hussars:
*Colonel de JUNIAC.
*Colonel LIEGARD.
Hussars "Jerome-Napoleon":
*Colonel BRINCARD.
Lanciers de Berg:
*Major HOFFMEYER.
Lanciers (Rouges) Hollandaise:
*Colonel de Bois de LA FERRIERE
Lanciers Polonaises:
*Colonel KRAZINSKI.
4th Lanciers:
*Major DELORT.
Lithuanian Tartars:
Major Mustapha MURSA.
Mameluks:
Captain ABDALLAH.
*Major KIRMANN
(A Frenchman, probably of German descent).
Marines of the Guard:
Captain BASTE.
Captain DAUGIER.
Captain Baron GRIVEL.
Tirailleurs of the Guard:
*Major CICERON.
Major DEBLAIS.
Colonel TRAPPIER de Malcolm.
Voltigeurs of the Guard:
*Major BOUVARD.
Major BEURMANN.
Colonel PAILHES.
Colonel SERETRAN.

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***NICKNAMES OF THE FRENCH IMPERIAL GUARD UNITS***
Chasseurs a Cheval:
The Invincibles, The Favoured Children, The Companions.
Gendarmes d"Elite:
The Immortals.
Grenadiers a Cheval:
The Gods, Big Heels, Giants.
Grenadiers a Pied:
Gaiter-straps, Grumblers.
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[1]The asterisk means that I am already using this name for an appropriate, little, metal soldier in my army.
[2]French Major is Lt.Colonel. French Chef de Battalion or Escadron is the same as Major in other nation's ranks.