Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic Placement of Standards/Flag Bearers

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    Avatar photoBandit

    Many nations placed their infantry standard bearers in nominally the same relative location(s) when a battalion formed the same way, i.e. French placed their Eagle in their center of a battalion formed in line. But, some did vary placement either by formation or by general practice. For example, I have been told in such a way as to believe it that the Austrians (at least when carrying two banners) placed one on the far right and one on the far left of the battalion when it formed in line.

    Could those who know better than I (about any given nationality) answer where (for whatever given formation, but please do note it so we all know) each national placed flag bearers in their infantry battalions?

    Resources that denote such positions are also very welcome.

    Avatar photoGeneral Slade

    Hi Bandit,

    The position of flag bearers in Russian battalions was covered in detail on TMP a few years back and ‘Le Breton’, who posted most of the information, certainly seems to know his stuff:



    I am interested in the idea that the Austrians placed their standards at either end of the line.  Are you at liberty to reveal a source for that?  A while ago I tried to discover which company in an Austrian combined grenadier battalion carried the colours but I came up blank on that one.  I thought it would probably either be troops from the battalion commander’s regiment or those from the numerically senior regiment. However, at the time I asked even Dave Hollins, an expert in all things Austrian, wasn’t able to help me on that one (it was a while ago though so he may have uncovered something since).

    Edit:  Here is a link to a discussion on the subject. It turns out Mr Hollins gave me rather more information than I remembered and it seems likely that the standard bearer came from the same regiment as the battalion commander.


    Avatar photoOotKust

    I hesitated to reply, given every book and reference that I own in 40 odd years has always shown such, in mostly official diagrams, one way or another. Many subject authors punt them out …

    OTOH I’ve never seen a single reference to Austrians deploying standards at the ends; it even seems like a SYW thing to do perhaps. More likely some bad translation of positioning of guide banners and not regimental artefacts.

    I used the above linked data, and several similar/ uodates on same. In designing my ‘new’ backdated 1805 Russians I decided I’d pretty them up and designate two banners per battalion, as 1805 was technically the last year they did carry company style, two per bn in the line. I came up with this as placement- simply because I don’t want a top heavy element; nor covering those beautifully embroided banners with two side by side.

    ru 185 banner group

    Per the given translation, or guessing, in battle the ‘Emperors’ white colour was in the 3rd rank, not the first. Doubtless on parade it would be in front. The naive drawing represents both column and line.

    My interpretation anyway… cheers d

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