Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic The Logic of Annulled Regiments?

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  • #182560
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Something that has bugged me for a very long time, relatively all the way back to my youth.

    In general, you read of historical bodies being decimated, dismembered and annulled by virtue of losses, illness or lack of need/ support etc.

    What I can’t fathom, are the apparent contradictions. Mutiny among many was reason enough. I can only cite French examples because I’ve not researched anything else solidly for 30 odd years.

    Now, take the Régiment de Saxe Hussards (4th French) example of 1792. Due to being not French but German origins (Palatinate), most of the regiment elected to break their bonds with the French revolutionary army and government with a puppet King, and ’emigrated’ in 1792. Not the same as Frenchmen of wealth and status doing the same, so is that why the regiment was ‘proscribed’ and annulled out of existence (in 1793).

    No exact reasons I can see for the 17th and 18th Chasseurs (cavalry) of the same Revolutionary era to cease to exist, or forever be forgotten as none were reraised under the Empire.

    Similarly, a number of ‘missing’ infantry regiments that while some had prior entities existence, simply the numbers were not used again under the Empire.

    Of note to be sure, some were affected by Consular period amalgamations of weak, indisciplined or hopelessly scattered elements of a pseudo-Colonial epoch.

    Overall we see weak battalions transferred to a stronger two-battalion ‘demi-brigade’; sometimes even just the extant Grenadier/ Carabinier companies kept alive; and the old numbers expunged from the records.

    Has anyone seen any decent explanation for these peculiar and sporadic changes and excisions of the army systems??

    cheers to 2023, dave

    #182608
    Avatar photoHeroy
    Participant

    “explanation for these peculiar and sporadic changes”

    Well, I think you have it : peculiar to specific circunstances. For example, the 17e chasseurs à cheval ….

    The unit (in French service) called the “régiment de chevau-légers de West-Flandre” (ou “de Ouest-Flandre”, ou “de Gand”) had been formed in October 1792 from emigré Belgian patriot volunteers found in Saint-Omer. They entered into the avant-gard of the armée du Nord and peformed well. However, some of the officers of the regiment defected with Dumouriez in April 1793 leaving only 17 officers and 194 troopers as the end of May 1793. These, joined by a draft of nominal Belgians from the 2e chassuers à cheval (français), were re-named the 17e chasseurs à cheval (per decree of 9 May), then at Saint-Omer under colonel Jean-Baptiste Rens.

    In December 1792, the 2e régiment de chasseurs à cheval belges et liégeois was formed at Lille. They were *also* re-named the 17e chasseurs à cheval in May 1793, under colonel André-Joseph Deneck. After heavy losses in the retreat from Belgium, they had only 19 officers and 194 troopers at Charlevillle in September 1793. They were then sent to Péronne in Novembre 1793 and amalgamated with the “other” 17e chasseurs à cheval, apparetly under the colonel Rens.

    Placed in the rear in 1794, the regiment attempted to rebuild, including some French deserters and Austrian prisoners. That became suspected by the représentant Bollet and the regiment was dissolved at Arras in April 1794 and formally licensed in September. As a plan to annex Belgim was already in play, it is more likely that the main goal was to spread the Belgian patriots across many (French) units.

    When the 1er régiment de chasseurs à cheval piémontais (raised in August 1800) were taken into French service upon the annexation of the Piedmont, they were initially designated the 17e chasseurs à cheval in June 1801 unti re-named the 26e chasseurs in May 1802. The change appears to have been per order of 1er Consul Bonaparte, perhaps to inflate the apprent number of regiments – and/or – to number “foreign” units *after* French ones, giving the French units nominal seniority.

    The regiment was re-created in September 1815 as the régiment des Pyrénées chasseurs à cheval under the colonel comte Armand de Castel-Bajac, regaining its numercial naming in 1825.

    The story for each of the others is equally individual, I think.

    #182626
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    I’m not commenting other than to say thanks to you both, it’s fascinating

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #182635
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Well, I think you have it : peculiar to specific circunstances.

    Thanks Alexandre, more info than I’ve ever read before [nothing unusual in that].

    Yes I am cogniscent of the ‘adoption’ of non-French mainstream units into the Armée francais, during and after the Consular period- amalgamation not being quite an appropriate word. [The 32e legere springs to mind].

    But unresolved apart, hypothesis aside, why they did this- dropped the excised units. I should look up the known ‘missing’ infantry as this same issue wouldn’t apply IMO only, of course.

    Not a big deal when creating an ‘army’ -unless you insist on phantoms and ‘ghost’ units to use the modern parlance… 🙂

    Jim- glad there is something to amuse you…

    regards dave

    #182646
    Avatar photoHeroy
    Participant

    “Skipped” numbers for light infantry regiments …. 37 total numbers for 35 total regiments …. with only the 20th and 30th regiments never formed under the 1st Empire.

    11e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — December 1796 : the 11e demi-brigade légère de 2e formation was formed in a typical fashion from the 3e demi-brigade légère de 1ere formation and other units

    — July 1798 : the 11e demi-brigade de 2e formation was dissovled for insubordination

    — March 1799 : the demi-brigade was re-raised from depots, conscripts and the 24e demi-brigade légère de 1ere formation

    — September 1803 :  the demi-brigade was dissovled : 2 battalions in Santo Domingo being passed to the 5e régiment d’infanterie légère and 1 battalion in France passed to the 28e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — August 1811 : the 11e régiment d’infanterie légère is raised from the tirailleurs Corses, tirailleurs du Po &  bataillon Valaison

    — August 1815 : the army of the Cent Jours is licensed and the 50e légion de la Haute-Marne is created

    — October 1820 : the 50e légion de la Haute-Marne becomes the 11e régiment d’infanterie légère

    19e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — March 1799 : the 19e demi-brigade légère de 2e formation was formed from the 3e & 6e demi-brigades légère de 2e formation and other units

    — March 1802 : embarked for Santo Domingo

    — September 1803 :  the demi-brigade was dissovled : 1 battalion being passed to the 5e régiment d’infanterie légère and 2 battalions France passed to the 3e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — December 1813 : the 19e régiment d’infanterie légère is raised from battalions transferred from the 1er, 3e, 22e & 35e régiments d’infanterie légère

    — May 1814 : the regiment is dissolved and its troops sent into the 1er régiment d’infanterie légère

    — August 1815 : the 84e légion de la Haute-Vienne is created

    — October 1820 : the 84e légion de la Haute-Vienne becomes the 19e régiment d’infanterie légère

    20e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — April 1796 : the 20e demi-brigade légère de 2e formation was formed from the 10e demi-brigade légère de 1ere formation

    — September 1803 :  the demi-brigade was dissovled (reason unknown, except that both the 7e & 20e demi-brigades légère de 2e formation were under-strength) : all battalions being passed to the 7e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — August 1815 : the 85e légion des Vosges is created

    — October 1820 : the 85e légion des Vosges becomes the 20e régiment d’infanterie légère

    29e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — December 1796 : the 29e demi-brigade légère de 2e formation was formed from the 6e & 18e demi-brigades légère de 1ere formation and other units

    — September 1803 :  the demi-brigade was dissovled (it appears that a total of 25 light regiments was intended, No. 1 through No. 28 with three vacant) : all battalions being passed to the 16e régiment d’infanterie légère

    — March 1811 : the 29e régiment d’infanterie légère is formed from conscripts, returned prisonners of war and troops returning from the colonies

    — May 1814 : the regiment is dissolved

    Number 30

    — January 1797 : the 30e demi-brigade légère de 2e formation was formed from the demi-brigade de la Dordogne and several smaller units

    — September 1803 : the demi-brigade was dissolved : 1 battalion in Guadeloupe being passed to the 5e régiment d’infanterie légère and 2 battalions in France passed to the 21e régiment d’infanterie légère

    higher numbers

    —  31e régiment d’infanterie légère : piémontais, formed 1805 [to 1er léger in 1814]

    —  32e régiment d’infanterie légère : toscan, formed 1808

    —  33e régiment d’infanterie légère : hollandais, formed 1810

    —  34e régiment d’infanterie légère : bataillons auxiliaires de l’armee d’Espagne, 1811 [to 8e léger in 1814]

    —  35e régiment d’infanterie légère : ex- penal regiment, 1812

    —  36e régiment d’infanterie légère : ex- penal regiment, 1812 [to 9e léger in 1814]

    —  37e régiment d’infanterie légère : companies de réserve, 1812

    All of these were dissolved in May 1814, with detachments of French nationals sent into the units shown above in brackets.

    #182654
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    >>with only the 20th and 30th regiments never formed under the 1st Empire.<<

    and yet 20 and 30 are both nice, round, empircal numbers! My thanks again, wonderful detail as it shows how ‘some’ of the units were formed that also contributed to the Grenadiers Reunis… 🙂

    cheers

    #182672
    Avatar photoHeroy
    Participant

    The Russians only had one case of more or less “skipping” a number – or more accurately *not* skipping a number and thereby creating a small amount of confusion ….

    17 May 1797 – The 20 separate army Jäger battalions are renamed as regiments, keeping their previous numbers 1 through 20 and bringing them to a two-battalion organization, each battalion of 5 companies, with a total of 860 combatant under-officers and jäger per regiment. The jäger “corps” of the Russian army is now 17,200 combatant under-officers and jäger.

    5 January 1798 – The size of the army Jäger regiments is reduced, leaving a total of only 690 combatant under-officers and jäger per regiment.

    31 October 1798 – The 20 army Jäger regiments are renamed for their chiefs. The 1st Jäger regiment is renamed as Major General Suthoff’s Jäger regiment (Егерскiй Генерала-Маiора Сутгофа полкъ). The 2nd Jäger regiment is renamed as Major General Michelson-2’s Jäger regiment (Егерскiй Генерала-Маiора Михельсона 2-го полкъ). The 3rd Jäger regiment is renamed as Major General Gvozdev’s Jäger regiment (Егерскiй Генерала-Маiора Гвоздева полкъ). And so on.

    8 March 1800 – After very large losses in the Anglo-Russian descent on Holland led by the Duke of York, Major General Suthoff’s Jäger regiment (formerly the 1st) is disbanded, leaving 19 remaining army Jäger regiments. The jäger “corps” of the Russian army is now at its lowest, with a total of 13,110 combatant under-officers and jäger.

    29 March 1801 – The 19 army Jäger regiments are renamed by numbers. Major General Michelson-2’s Jäger regiment (formerly the 2nd) is renamed the 1st Jäger regiment. Major General Gvozdev’s Jäger regiment (formerly the 3rd) is renamed the 2nd Jäger regiment. And so on. A small confusion.

    2 February 1802 – The 19 army Jäger regiments are increased in size from 10 small companies in 2 battalions to 12 larger companies in 3 battalions, with a total of 1,308 combatant under-officers and jäger per regiment.

    16 May 1803 – A new 20th Jäger regiment is formed. The jäger “corps” of the Russian army is now a total of 26,160 combatant under-officers and jäger.

    By 1812, there will 50 army Jäger regiments with a total of 105,000 billets for combatant under-officers and jäger. By 1815, there will 57 army Jäger and Carabinier regiments with a total of 119,700 billets for combatant under-officers and jäger/carabiniers.

    #182728
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Hurrah!

    Thanks again- your synopsis far better than I have done…

    Although I’d crossed this ‘reorganisation’ in creating my ‘petit Rushians’ (because the regimental facings, all varied), changed by one number, so not the same 1805 as 1799… jaeger corps (ie the 3/7th and 3/5th in Dohkturovs Column- the other battalions of the regiments being elsewhere in the OB formations- hence these are ‘detached’ units…)

    “8 March 1800 – After very large losses in the Anglo-Russian descent on Holland led by the Duke of York, Major General Suthoff’s Jäger regiment (formerly the 1st) is disbanded,..”

    I thought I had read that some form of insubordination was at play- ie looting/ actual violence against civilians etc. and lack of control which even the ‘Brits’ found a bit disgraceful…? I could be wrong of course.

    regards dave

    #182739
    Avatar photoHeroy
    Participant

    The British noted that the Russians (generally) looted supplies from the locals. The Russians noted that the British (generally) did not deliver the supplies promised the Russian troops nearly as well as they delivered supplies to their own men.

    Really it was the losses to the 1st Jäger regiment, including their sick being taken to English hospitals, and Paul’s general idea to reduce the jäger to a small number of rifle-armed specialists (as in many German-speaking services) that led to dissolving the regiment.

    As for Major General Johann Justus von Suthoff (Иванъ Ефимовичъ Сутгофъ), after a period of illness, he was in December 1801 appointed chief officer of the Rochensal’m Marine Garrison regiment and the large complex of marine fortifications on the north coast of the bay of Finland, 180 km north-west of Saint-Petersburg. He passed to chief officer of the 21st Jäger regiment at the time of its formation at Libau in Courland in September 1805. He died in this service in early January 1806, in his 47th year. His widow, Anna Hedwig née Kuhlmann, remained attached to the regiment – and sent monetary donations for the rankers’ benefit in 1809 and 1812. The regiment went on to have a reputation for excellence – being awarded “grenadier march music” for 1812 and promoted to 3rd Jäger in 1815.

    #182759
    Avatar photoOotKust
    Participant

    Thanks again- clarifying a “he said/ she said” incident of reporting among facts and trivialities that get used from time to time. And this being under Paul I we should expect anything too I gather!

    cheers dave

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