Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic The carrying of banners by Prussia (1806-1807)

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  • #29369
    Bandit
    Participant

    The Prussian battalions each carried two flags. The colonel’s flag (white) and the regimental flag (colored), were both carried by the 1st battalion of a regiment. The 2nd battalion carried a pair of regimental (colored) flags.

    Curious thing, the colonel’s flag was carried in the first rank when deployed in line and the regimental flag was carried in the 3rd rank.

    My question is:

    How were the two banners carried in the 2nd battalion?

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #29382
    General Slade
    Participant

    That”s an interesting question and one to which I am afraid I can only guess at an answer. I’ve seen it suggested that the colonel’s flag as carried by the first rank and the regimental flag was carried by the third so that it was possible to tell from a distance which way the battalion was facing.  However, this seems unlikely to me since if you were far enough away that you couldn’t tell then the flags would not be a great deal of help. The distance between the first rank and the third rank is relatively small and if you were looking from any kind of angle it would be hard to tell which flag was at the front.

    I think it is more likely that the doctrine was always to carry one flag in the first rank and one in the third and the only reason that the colonel’s flag was used int he first rank of the first battalion was because it was the most valued standard of the regiment.

    All of which, is a long-winded way of saying, my guess is that the 2nd battalions also carried their standards in the first and third ranks.

    Incidentally, do you know if the Russians followed the same practice?

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by General Slade.
    #29401
    Bandit
    Participant

    Incidentally, do you know if the Russians followed the same practice?

    I don’t but I am similarly now very interested.

    The Saxons did not as while modeled after the Prussians (early war) they only carried one banner per battalion.

    The Austrians carried two banners per battalion in 1805 (reduced to one in 1808) and so might have followed the same practice as well but again I do not know.

    The Russians were all over the place it seems. Ten banners per regiment (seemingly 3 1/3 per battalion, guessing the first battalion carried 4 and the others three?) until 1801-1802 when it was reduced by Alexander to six per regiment (two per battalion). Come August of 1814 the Russians seem to have reduced down to one flag per battalion making the carrying practice moot… but only after 1814.

    That’s what I know so far.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #29411
    General Slade
    Participant

    The Russians do seem to have gone out of their way to make things complicated.  Trying to work out how to paint them makes my head spin.

    I have a feeling I read somewhere that they did carry their standards in the first and third ranks but I can’t remember where I saw it (and in any case I might be getting the Prussians and Russians mixed up – it wouldn’t be the first time).

    #29426
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    People seem to go out of their way to make the Russians complicated.   You can always check http://zaotlichiye.net63.net/allfacings.html.  Early Russian regiments had two battalions of 5 companies, hence 10 flags.

    Later the flags were likewise carried in the first and third rank.  It is possible the white flag (etc.) was used to differentiate the 1st battalion as a regulating unit (?)

    #29433
    General Slade
    Participant

    Hi Jonathan,

    I use your site a lot and I think it is a great piece of work. I really appreciate the fact that you have made it available.  It certainly does help to simplify what can seem to be a dauntingly complicated subject.  However, I still think it s far harder to get a handle on Russian Napoleonic organisation and uniforms than it is for say the Austrians, who seem to have kept everything comparatively straight forward.

    Thanks for the confirmation about the Russians carrying their standards in the first and third rank.  I knew I had read it somewhere.

    #29434
    Bandit
    Participant

    Jonathan,

    Don’t suppose you’d put something together for the Prussians next? 😉

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

    #29440
    Jonathan Gingerich
    Participant

    I actually find the Russians simpler… at least in the past.  That’s because they were highly “regimented” and until recently there was only one easily available and comprehensive source of information, Zweguintzow.  Try figuring out what a French regiment’s drummer really looked like, or what uniform the Xth chasseurs à cheval used.

    Regarding the arrangement of the flags, I’m relying on Chuvak/Serago/Alexandre (I forget which one and I’m not sure there is more than one ) posts on TMP, although the information is in Ulyanov.

    Bandit, I have a xerox of Kling, and will look at the page on halberds, but I might only post a scan of Fraktur .  I really wish Oliver would start a web page with everything he has learned…

    #29442
    Bandit
    Participant

    Thanks Jonathan!

    I think in most all cases the problem isn’t necessarily how complicated the actual practices were but how complicated the sourcing of data is.

    Cheers,

    The Bandit

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