Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light Inf.

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Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light Inf.

Post by Eques » Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:51 pm

Can anyone provide a definition for each of the above?

It all gets a bit confusing reading the history books.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by hazelbark » Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:50 pm

For "each" is a lot.

You are moving across years and nationalities and translations. Define, in game terms, uniform, how?

Fusiliers mean different things in say the French versus English armies.
Light infantry is broad term of generalization, a translation attempt or a somewhat specific designation in the English army.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by Eques » Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:59 pm

Sorry yes I had intended to specify: What was their role historically?

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Fri Mar 04, 2016 6:54 am

Eques wrote:Sorry yes I had intended to specify: What was their role historically?

I'll try to answer what I think your question is:

Historically the use of light infantry was quite limited up until the Napoleonic Wars. The British and French got a rude awakening in the wars in the Americas and they started to play around with light infantry in a major way. So, this was a new thing that nobody really had much experience with up until around 1800.

Up until that point most armies had SOME light infantry to do things like 'hold/contest terrain that was too rough but still vital to the battle that was otherwise too difficult for 'real' infantry to hold.

For the most part these troops were irregular 'backwoodsman' types who were pretty good shots, but not very good at drill. So your grenzers and jaegers (jaeger meaning 'hunter' in German) etc would be banded together when pressed into service.

So, you fast forward to the early Napoleonic wars, and the French firstly had some experience with the use of light infantry, and secondly had an army of 'sans culottes' (without trousers). What drill they could muster into this rabble was 'follow the guy in front of you' resulting in columns being what the French could handle which contemporary logic would dictate wouldn't stand up to a real soldier's line formation and salvo fire at close quarters. And really, it wouldn't have. Fredrick the Great's army would have torn the French Revolutionary Army a new one very easily... if the French had attacked en masse. They didn't do that though, they stood off outside of range of the musket and 'put out' skirmishers. The term voltigeur meaning effectively to 'put out'.

So you basically had a screen of skirmishers between the two combattants.

Now, what I said earlier about the French and British American wars had gotten to the continent, but hadn't really taken hold. So there were SOME skirmishers in mainland european armies, but not anywhere near the numbers that the French put out. So the French won the skirmisher battle.

That left the French being able to take shots at the other European combattants without being able to really be affected back. Every shot from a skirmisher at a battle line caused a casualty, where as every salvo of fire hit nothing but air. Thinking about it, you've got a literal WALL of soldiers as a target, and they are trying to shoot at a team of two guys who are ducking for cover whenever they fire. What's more the 'salvo' style didn't really aim their muskets... they didn't need to... their style of combat was to point their musket in the general direction of the enemy and fire. Speed of reload being more important than accuracy, because... well... there was a wall of enemy to shoot at... unless they were skirmishers :).

So, this was a radical change in combat.

Fast forward to the middle of the Napoleonic period and most of the armies had learned their lessons and were now having units of skirmishers or a large portion of their units having skirmishers that could do the same as the French had been doing.

It's basically one of those funny situations where the French style of combat came about because of necessity... and it happend to work.

Others may have a better more schooled understanding of the concepts, but that's how it was as I understand it.

Apologies for any incorrect information given.

Oh, and the terms basically mean various things in various armies.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by Eques » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:27 pm

Thanks, that was interesting and useful, but was hoping for a "dictionary" style definition of what each of them were and what their function was.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Sat Mar 05, 2016 9:39 pm

Eques wrote:Thanks, that was interesting and useful, but was hoping for a "dictionary" style definition of what each of them were and what their function was.
Well, that's the point.

Take 'Dragoon' for example.

In the 16th century, it was a soldier who rode into battle but fought dismounted. "Mounted Infantry" if you like.

In the 19th century, it was a soldier who remained mounted throughout battle and rarely dismounted to fight.

The same with the terms you're using. Different armies used different terms for different troops and throughout the period were skilled in different things.

Bavarian Jaegers, for example were quite good skirmishers throughout. Russian Jaegers were rubbish at the start of the period, so really were just Jaeger's in name in the 1790's, but became quiet good toward 1805 and in 1812 were not quite as good as the French lights, but were getting there, by 1813 they were better than the french.

So, just within the term Jaeger, within the Russian army, it changes.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by Eques » Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:55 pm

ravenflight wrote: So, just within the term Jaeger, within the Russian army, it changes.
Well, no, because I wasn't asking about quality but about role.

This is my understanding of the terms I listed:

Voltigeurs: French elite light infantry.

Jaegers: Central European light infantry.

Fusiliers: Standard/Average line infantry (????, very badly explained in the books)

Tirraileurs: No idea.

Light Infantry: Catch all term for non-line infantry.

But as I say none of the books I have read explain it very well.

Also, in the most recent book on Waterloo I read, it implied that "light regiments" could switch between open order and line (or even mostly fought in line in some cases?)

What was the role of the British riflemen? Did other nations have riflemen? Did the British have light infantry other than riflemen?

Did the French have light infantry other than Voltigeurs?

PS: I read that "Voltigeur" meant "Vaulter", because they originally fought on foot but moved around on (vaulted on to) horses.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:51 am

Eques wrote:Well, no, because I wasn't asking about quality but about role.
But that's my point. In the Russian early army there wasn't much difference between their Jaeger and their Musketeer regiments. The Jaeger was 'just a term'. Similarly, Cuirassiers tended to mean Shock Heavy Cavalry that wore a metal Cuirass, whereas the Russian (early) and Prussian (all the time I think) didn't wear a cuirass but were still called cuirassiers. Not so bad I guess because at least they were still shock heavy cavalry, but still.
Eques wrote:This is my understanding of the terms I listed:

Voltigeurs: French elite light infantry.
To a certain extent. They were an 'elite' company within the Ligne (Line) battalions. Because they tended to see more action etc they were usually more battle hardened. They weren't elite like SAS or Spetznaz, but they were 'of a higher quality' let's say. The French Ligne had 1 company of Voltigeurs (elite-ish) 1 company of Grenadiers (elite because of term served) and 4 companies of fusiliers (French term for musketeer) per bn.
Eques wrote:Jaegers: Central European light infantry.
Not necessarily, but generally. The Prussians and Austrians had other units that were 'light infantry' other than Jaegers
Eques wrote:Fusiliers: Standard/Average line infantry (????, very badly explained in the books)
Again, yes-ish. The term depended on which country you were talking about. In the French army they were the 'standard infantry of the regiment'.
Eques wrote:Tirraileurs: No idea.
Generally used to denote light infantry, particularly of the Guard in the French army. I don't know of anyone else who used that term.
Eques wrote:Light Infantry: Catch all term for non-line infantry.
A catch all term for light infantry - i.e. skirmishing infantry. Generally you're right, but 'light infantry' or 'line infantry' wouldn't cover such things as 'marines', so there were more than just 'line' and 'light' but generally you're right.
Eques wrote:Also, in the most recent book on Waterloo I read, it implied that "light regiments" could switch between open order and line (or even mostly fought in line in some cases?)
Probably fought in line in MOST cases. They would skirmish MORE than the line, but if it came down to a real fight, they would fall back into a line formation.
Eques wrote:What was the role of the British riflemen? Did other nations have riflemen? Did the British have light infantry other than riflemen?
Basically the rifleman was a new invention and not many armies had them. To my knowledge of the major powers Prussia and Austria had them also. Minor powers Bavaria, Portugal, and Wurttemburg had them and famously so did the Brunswickers. With regards to the British they were trained to particularly shoot at officers etc. They are effectively light infantry with a bit of extra esprit de corps, and usually well led and well trained. The British did have light infantry other than the riflemen, in fact MOST of their light infantry were non-rifelemen. They were called... light infantry :)
Eques wrote:Did the French have light infantry other than Voltigeurs?
Yes, the volgigeurs were just the elite companies. The legere (light) were light infantry who could ALL skirmish. The Ligne (line) were line infantry who had specific companies who could skirmish.
Eques wrote:PS: I read that "Voltigeur" meant "Vaulter", because they originally fought on foot but moved around on (vaulted on to) horses.
Yeah, I've read both, but do remember the term applying to 'putting out in front' or to 'vault' out front. Then again, that may have just been a lucky coincidence of the term. I do know that they experimented with mounted infantry within the regiment but it didn't work.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by Eques » Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:11 am

Thanks for that.

A few further questions then:

What made Jaegers different from other Central European Light Infantry?

What was the difference between French Cuirassiers and Carabiniers?

Was there any practical difference between British Dragoons and other British Battle Cavalry, or was "Dragoons" just a regimental name by then?

What was the difference between "horse artillery" and other artillery? Presumably all artillery required horses?

What was "line artillery"? As opposed to.....?

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:07 am

Eques wrote:Thanks for that.

A few further questions then:

What made Jaegers different from other Central European Light Infantry?
Probably history more than anything. The same as how a modern Royal Scots Dragoon Guard doesn't fire a Dragon (the musket from which the Dragoon orignally got their name).

From a game perspective, no difference what-so-ever. From a real life perspective, probably more to do with esprit d'corps than anything else.
Eques wrote:What was the difference between French Cuirassiers and Carabiniers?
At a certain date the carabiniers had no cuirass. At a battle (maybe Eylau? I can't remember off the top) Napoleon was so disgusted at the casualties caused by their lack of Cuirass that they were ordered to wear a cuirass. From that point on they were probably considered a more elite cuirassier, but they were in essence a cuirassier. I would not like to see a carabinier rated as 'average drilled' but would have no problem with cuirassiers at some dates being rated such.

(Edit = Looked it up a bit more - it wasn't Eylau (1807) because it was 1809 they got Cuirasses.)
Eques wrote:Was there any practical difference between British Dragoons and other British Battle Cavalry, or was "Dragoons" just a regimental name by then?
The British had 'light dragoons', 'hussars' and 'heavy dragoons'. By this time a Dragoons in the rest of the world were kinda 'medium cavalry'. They weren't as 'shock' as cuirassiers etc, but they were better in a stand up fight than light cavarly. The British were a bit different in that their Heavy Dragoons were probably not quite as Heavy (size of horse or men) as the top shelf heavy cavalry of the continent, but they were certainly 'heavy cavalry'. So, you might like to think of it like this:

Cuirassiers/Grenadiers a Cheval/Carabiniers etc.
British Heavy Dragoons
Dragoons of continental europe
British Light Dragoons, Hussars, Chasseurs a Cheval etc.
Eques wrote:What was the difference between "horse artillery" and other artillery? Presumably all artillery required horses?
So, the gunners of a foot battery marched to battle (generally) the gunners of a horse battery rode into battle. Generally speaking horse artillery was lighter than foot artillery too (although not always the case). So a horse battery could move quicker because it was carrying a lighter load, and could also get where they needed to go quicker due to their men riding horses. They were probably better trained too because of the cost were higher so you'd prefer to 'elite-ise' your horse gunners before your foot gunners.

With regard to the weight of horse guns vs foot guns, you would never see a 12lb horse artillery battery (someone will prove me wrong now) but you would easily see a 6lb foot AND horse battery.

E.G. the Russian 'Foot Batteries were made up of 12lb guns and 18lb licornes (similar to a howitzer) and were among the heaviest foot artillery. Their horse artillery was a mixture of 6lb guns and 9lb licores down to 4lb guns.

That said, the British had nothing heavier than a 9lber (I don't think) and they were dedicated foot guns. So the Russians had horse artillery with some guns (licornes) as heavy as the British heavies... but within a nation, the horse guns were pretty much ALWAYS lighter than the foot guns.
Eques wrote:What was "line artillery"? As opposed to.....?
Never heard the term. I'd assume it was foot artillery.
Last edited by ravenflight on Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:14 am

ravenflight wrote:British Light Dragoons, Hussars, Chasseurs a Cheval etc.
There's another one for you. Chasseurs a Cheval - literally means 'light infantry mounted on horses' but they were really 'light cavalry'. There is a funny instance of some Chasseurs a Cheval (dismounted), so in essence, you have 'light infantry mounted on horses, fighting dismounted as line infantry' :).

Anyway - Chasseurs were the work-horse of the French army. They were the main stay and the Hussars considered themselves 'more elite'. There would be a great number of Chasseur regiments that I would think rate higher than a great number of Hussar regiments, but I guess that's mostly esprit d'corp again.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by KitG » Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:44 am

Actually the Poms did have 12 pounder guns, they just were often not with the army in the field, particularly in the Peninsula.

And the British heavy cavalry was the envy of Europe in terms of the size of its men and horses.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by ravenflight » Sat Apr 02, 2016 4:53 am

KitG wrote:Actually the Poms did have 12 pounder guns, they just were often not with the army in the field, particularly in the Peninsula.
I'd stand corrected on that. I don't know the max weight very well, it was half assumption (which is why I said "i don't think").
KitG wrote:And the British heavy cavalry was the envy of Europe in terms of the size of its men and horses.
I'd like to have that referenced.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by pugsville » Sat Apr 01, 2017 12:40 am

From what I've read, the British were regarded ads the bets mounted cavalry , then Russian, then German (the French were possible got German horses). The Russians seem to have hardier breeds, but not always the best looking, TheRussians had also set up a system of state stud farms that was working well from 1810, placed much more of resting and rehabilitation of their horses. (they also had the cossacks taking the load of the rest of their cavalry generally)

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by KendallB » Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:08 am

Although early Imperial French cavalry regiments fought together in the same brigades and divisions for a number of years. They may not have been the best horsemen man-for-man as some of the others, but when it came to their officers knowing the abilities of their units and ability to co-ordinate their movements, they were the best. As seen in all of the campaigns between 1805-1809.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by pugsville » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:28 am

KendallB wrote:Although early Imperial French cavalry regiments fought together in the same brigades and divisions for a number of years. They may not have been the best horsemen man-for-man as some of the others, but when it came to their officers knowing the abilities of their units and ability to co-ordinate their movements, they were the best. As seen in all of the campaigns between 1805-1809.
I mostly agree , but how is that best represent in the system? Rating the cavalry better or providing better command?

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by KendallB » Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:51 am

Rating them as veteran as they will be able to coordinate the individual units better. The French should have a built in advantage of better quality commanders anyway.

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Re: Jaegers, Voltiguers, Tirraileurs, Fusiliers and Light In

Post by adonald » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:16 am

Was there any practical difference between British Dragoons and other British Battle Cavalry, or was "Dragoons" just a regimental name by then?
Sorry for the delayed reply:

British Dragoon Guards were called that to identify the regiments that were originally the 'heavy horse', as opposed to the Dragoons that were just that, mounted infantry. By the Napoleonic Wars there was no practical difference, all were trained to charge knee to knee and use their swords in shock action. In fact, the Light Dragoons were no different in their training* or use, and were shock battle cavalry (Reid, S; Wellington's Army in the Peninsula 1809-14; Osprey (2004) p76). The British Hussars were actually still officially Light Dragoons (Hussars) in this period too. Light Dragoon regiments fielded four squadrons, while Dragoon Guards and Dragoons fielded three.

The Household Cavalry, Dragoon Guards and Dragoons were mounted on very large Irish horses, and even the Light Dragoons were on large horses by continental standards.

During the Peninsula War the British cavalry regularly thumped the French light cavalry and dragoons, who made up most of the French cavalry in the Peninsula. There was one cuirassier regiment in Spain, but it never faced the Anglo-Portuguese.
At Waterloo the Household Brigade with a regiment of Dragoon Guards did run into cuirassier regiments screening D’Erlon’s corps advance and ran them over – make of that what you will.

Alastair Donald

*Both British 'Heavy' and 'Light' cavalry followed the same 1796 ‘Instructions and Regulations for the Formations and Movements of the Cavalry’.

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