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Thread: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

  1. #1

    Default Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    The thread is thought to discuss everything what could be of value for future more historical orientated modifications of the infantry units in ETW.

    I am going to post some excerpts from books which might not be accessible to every modder because there is no library at hand. Parts of this post have already been posted earlier on totalwarDotcom.

    The following are organization charts of typical units and they may vary and differ from the historic reality. Therefore some of these charts may problematic. They give an idea of basic structures of organization and deployment, however. This is sufficent for a game mods indeed.

    The hierarchy within a typical 18th century organization of an army in the field would be:

    Field Army
    Left and Right Wing
    Regiment (basic tactical unit)
    Battalion (smallest independant tactical unit)
    Pelotons and sometimes so called Full-Divisons (both only formed at the begin of the battle)

    It is important to understand that regiments and companies were first forms of administration and that during combat the fire was directed on the niveau of smaller units normally than companies (there are exceptions). Battalions were divided in 8, 12, 16 parts on the battlefield. These parts were the peloton (platoon) and they were not permanent but for each action formed anew. The reason for this was practical because the man numbers in the battalions could vary due losses and the permanent refilling of the units. Two small pelotons could be combined to a half-divison and two half-divions to a full division for the purpose of concentration of fire. The divison was like the peloton non-permanent formation.

    Regiments were deployed in combat with a front line element for the first encounter (one or two battalions) and a second encounter of one battalion. The first encounter was the actual battleline. The second formed reserve element or if things went bad, gave the line behind which the remains of the battleline could rally.


    R: regiment
    B: battalion
    D: full division (/company)
    C: company (of grenadier)
    HD: half division
    Pl: peloton (platoon) type large
    Ps: peloton type small
    G: grenadier
    Front: front length of a unit
    x: individual soldiers


    R vary in the number of assigned B between 3 (1740) and 4 (1748) plus 2 C.

    B (1750): D-D-D-D

    D before 1757 four ranks, then 3 ranks

    D: Ps-Ps Ps-Ps



    R (1740): about 2300 men in 3 B plus 2 C
    B: about 650 men
    Ps: about 30-40 men (D: 4x Ps)
    C: about 110 grenadiers
    B Front (3 ranks): 240-300 paces (=216-270 meter)

    Prussia (period of Frederic II)

    R: 2 B plus 2 C

    B: D-D-D-D
    (- administrative : 4 musketeer and 1 grenadier company)

    D: Pl-Pl



    R: about 1700 men including officers and support
    B: about 800 men
    Pl: about 80 men (three ranks)
    C: about 175 men (grenadiers, officers, nc, etc.)
    B Front: 150-200 paces (= 135-180 meter)
    D Front: 40-50 paces (= 36-45 meter)
    Pl Front: 20-25 paces (= 18-22,5 meter)

    - Prussian pelotons have about double the size of austrian pelotons at least before the introduction of the three rank deployment of the battalion.

    Feel free to comment on it or to add informations you have.

    I am still searching for some material about the forces involved in the Spanish Successor War because then we can develop an understanding of the tactical organization of the infantry in the first half of the 18th century before the Prussian and Austrian reforms and their effect on the development of the infantry till the Napoleonic period.
    Last edited by Jazzy; 03-22-2009 at 16:09.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    There are a bit too many orthographic and grammatical mistakes in the text but it has been late in the night.


    Christopher Duffy, Russia's Military Way to the West. Origins and Nature of Russian Military Power 1700-1800, London Boston Henley 1981
    Christopher Duffy, The Army of Maria Theresa. The Armed Forces of Imperial Austria, 1740-1780, North Pomfret (VT) London 1977
    Christopher Duffy, The Military Experience in the Age of Reason, London 1987
    Christopher Duffy, The Army of Frederick the Great, London, Vancouver 1974
    Christopher Duffy, Siege Warefare 1. The Fortress in the Early Modern World 1494-1660, London Henley 1979
    Christopher Duffy, Siege Warefare 2. The Fortress in the Age of Vauban and Frederick the Great 1660-1789, London Boston Melbourne Henley 1985

  3. #3

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    Sweden (I hope some people with a deeper knowledge can correct this)

    I have found a Wiki article related to the tactical organization of Swedish-Finish infantry battalions of the Carolian type during the Great Northern War (1700-1721):

    Number of tactical subdivisions of the battalion: 12 or 24 "pelotons" of 24 to 30 men each depending of whether grenadiers were included into the fusilier peloton or not. The original six rank deep line was reduced to a four rank deep line during the first decade of the 18th century.

    The Swedish musketeer peloton (platoon) seems having been rather small and fights side by side with pikemen at least in the early phase of the Great Northern War.

    *Pik: Pikemen

    R: 2 B

    B: Ps-Pik-Ps-Ps-Pik-Ps-Ps-Pik-Ps-Ps-Pik-Ps


    R: about 1300 men (including officers, aides etc. in 2 B, C mixed under the musketeers or in two Ps strong elements)
    B: about 600 men (4 D/companies)
    Ps: about 30 men
    Pik: about 50 men
    Last edited by Jazzy; 03-22-2009 at 17:10.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    France (18th century until 1762)

    Administrational Bodies of Troops

    1756 total:

    2 rgt Gardes Francaises and Gardes Suisses
    80 rgts formed of French
    32 rgts formed of foreigners

    - 1 regiment à 2 battalions (exceptionally 3-4)
    - 1 battalion à 17 companies

    1762 total:

    2 rgt Gardes Francaises and Gardes Swisses
    60 rgts formed of French
    25 rgts formed of foreigners

    - increase of the numbers of the battalions per regiment
    - 1 battalion à 6 companies

    Since 1755:

    1 bat
    - 16 cp fus
    - 1 cp gren

    Since 1757:

    1 bat
    - 17 cp fus
    - 1 cp gren

    1 cp fus: 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 sub lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 3 lance-corporals, 31 fusiliers, 1 drummer
    1 cp gren: 1 captain, 1 lieutenant, 1 sub lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 3 corporals, 3 lance-corporals, 36 fusiliers, 1 drummer

    1 bat (full): 685 soldiers, 35 officers
    1 bat (in 1757 average): 550 men

    Swiss Regiments in French Service

    1756: 9 rgt; 1758 10 rgt (total 13800 men in service)

    1 rgt
    - 2 bat

    1 bat
    - 6 cp

    1 cp: 120 men (including officers)

    German Regiments in French Service

    1756 12 rgt; various rgt types of 1, 2 or 3 bat size

    1 bat
    - 6 cp

    1 cp: 85 men

    1760 7 rgt; total 19152 men

    Rgt Alsace
    - 4 bat

    All other German rgts
    - 3 bat

    1 bat (684 men)
    - 9 cp fus
    - 1 cp gren

    1 cp fus: 79 men
    1 cp gren: 52 men

    Irish and Scottish Rgts in French Service

    1757: 2 rgt

    1 rgt
    - 1 bat

    1 bat
    - 12 cp fus
    - 1 cp gren

    1 bat: 705 men
    1 cp fus: 55 men (without officers)
    1 cp gren: 45 men (without officers)

    Italian Rgt in French Service

    1757: 2 rgt

    1 rgt
    - 1 bat

    1 bat
    - 8 cp fus
    - 1 cp gren

    1 cp fus: 84 men
    1 cp gren: 48 men

    Liège Rgts in French Service

    1757: 2 rgt

    1 rgt
    - 2bat

    1 bat
    - 6 cp

    1 cp: 85 men

    Grenadiers are incorperated in the fusilier company: 6 gren + 61 fus + 19 officers, nc, aides

    Jean-Louis Vial, Infanterie Francaise durant la guerre de sept ans, (online article, in: revues npi).

    Tactial Remark:

    It appears to me that the French peloton/platoon had about the size of a company. I need to verfiy this in the future. There was a debate about this between a poster, who I would like to thank here for provinding me with corrections and informations regarding the organization of French infantry in 18th century. The debate can be found in TWcenter.


    Russia (Great Northern War, various reforms)

    R: about 1100 men (in two battalions); later Russian regiments could have three battalions and about 1700 men.
    B: about 500 men (number of companies probably similar to Sweden)
    Number of tactical subdivisions of the battalion: no information but as the Russian army practised peloton fire and reduced the ranks of six to four between 1706 and 1710, it can be assumed that Russian peloton belonged to the smaller type used in Sweden and in German States), so we can assume about 16-24 pelotons.

    Christopher Duffy, Russia's Military Way to the West. Origins and Nature of Russian Military Power 1700-1800, London Boston Henley, 1981.
    Last edited by Jazzy; 03-22-2009 at 17:14.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    I have started to alter unit sizes for myself using a pack file manager.

    ETW has rather accurat chosen regiment unit sizes downscaled in a relation 1:10. My goal has been now to transform the "regiment" sized unit tokens in "battalion" unit size tokens. I have done this by a simple multiplication and hereby taking into account the "tyical" numbers you can find in the preceeding post in this thread. I have received by this units of the size of one battalion, close to the historic numbers. The units are of course still strongely abstracted for various reasons which can be discussed in later posts. The numbers of the units are also a little bit smaller in the moment than what we may expect from case to case historically.

    This has the following reasons:

    1) an average regiment in the first half of the 18th century consits on the battlefield theoretical in two tactical (battalions) units which each was to divided after the dissolvement of the pikemen formations into about 16 teams to pracise the fire tactics, be this a late form of the enfilade, countermarch and from the War of the Spanish Succession on the platoon fire. The subdivision of the battalion in 12 to 16 fire teams was from the mid of the 18th century more and more replaced by the prussian tactic which optimised the effect of the fire by subdiving the battalion in 8 fire teams, platoons counting about the double of the size than those of the first half of the 18th century. Therefore, I have chosen the number 480 for infantry units of the size "160" in Vanilla ETW which can be divided by 8 12 and 16. The 480 men come close to the 600 including officers and aides that the average combat battalion could rise.

    2) a standart regiment of infantry included since the french reforms in the late 17th century beside the musketeer/"fusilier" companies several often two companies of grenadier which were either used in support of the line of musketeer or combined in ad hoc grenadier battalions which then occupied critical positions in the line. Ligth infantry was additionally introduced in the regiments in the course of the 18th century. These light units had sometimes the size of companies, sometimes they were ordered as entire battalions. I haven chosen company sized units with a men number of 140 to represent grenadiers and light troops in this frist version of the battalion unit mod.

    3) Mounted units had been organized in regiment sized bodies of about 1000 horsemen since the 17th century and the regiment were divided for tactical purposes in squadrons of 140-190 men including officers and aides. Mounted units are set up therefore as squadron sized units of 120 (not to over-power them).

    4) Artillery and staff units (general) have with the exception of an early american native unit not been altered. The reason is that the artillery in ETW is completely over-gunned. This insight has been brought up first by one of the key posters on the in house forum. The artillery of an infantry battalion consisted normally in one piece beside this there were sometimes additional batteries at the disposition of the Commander. Staff units were still rather small and did not take part combat in the 18th century. They normally consisted in the head of the army, some officers of the staff, some liaison officer and very few aides including the secretary of the commander.

    As my mod is just a number mod, you have to fill yourself everything into the patch.pack file using pack file manager.

    You chose for doing this after installing the manager
    -> db
    --> unit_stats_land_table
    ----> unit_stats_land

    units of infantry with the size value 160 become 480
    units of infantry with a bit higher values become 500
    units of infantry with value of 60 become 120
    units of cavalery with the value 80 become the value 160
    units of cavalery with higher values become 200

    This is only a very primitive mod but I hope to add some other aspects later to it. Especially, one thing I would like to replace that is the bonnet of militia units. As I would like to vary the different types of tricornes that were popular during the 18th century, I am going to replace the bonnet for all units that do not come from Scotland or the Bretange. I have two reasons to do this. First the bonnet is a traditional cloathing in certain contextes and not that wide spread in the 18th century as CA wants us make to believe. Second, the tricorne is one of the first mass-products of european industries and much more widly spread than any other pre-industrial hat type. Thrid, last but not least, I myself have served in an unit wearing the Béret but that was after 1770.

    Have fun with this mod which is not really more than a collection of some ideas. Use them, make your own battalion mods.
    Last edited by Jazzy; 03-22-2009 at 17:21.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    There are not two but three or a thousand reasons to replace the bonnet with a tri-corne. I have unfortunatly not yet the possiblity to correct my terrible English grammar and orthography. The content should still be understandable. Multiply the unit numbers (infantry 3 times, cavallry 2 times)!

    Last edited by Jazzy; 04-09-2009 at 13:44.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    Changes related to the organization and numbers of french infantry regiments from 1756 to 1760
    Last edited by Jazzy; 03-22-2009 at 17:25.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Infantry in the 18th Century: Organization, Order and Mission

    Republique de Berne (Ancien Régime)

    State of development 1721

    Total: 6 selected regiments with 13'200 men, 8 fusilier regiments with 9'600 men, 1 sukkurs regiment for Geneva with 1'014 men stationed in La Vaud and 118 companies of the territorial forces with 21'000 men. All units were militia units and were only called up for training sessions or in case of a mobilization in preparation of a war.

    It appears that the following subdivision existed:

    Rgt type selection (1st class)
    - 2 bat (each 825 men)

    Rgt type fusilier (2nd class)
    - 2 bat (each 600 men)

    Cp type territorial (each about 170 men); (3rd class)

    State of development after 1770

    Total: 21 selected regiments with 21'000 men, 2 independant batallions stationed in Buren and Avanche (each 1000 men strong), 14 jager and 8 sharpshooter companies together 2'434 men, 4 regiments of dragoon (each about 1'000 men), 24 companies of artillery with 1960 men, the numbers of the engineer corps and the flotilla on Lac Léman are not clear. All units were militia units and were only called up for training sessions or in case of a mobilization in preparation of a war. Additionally there was a theoretical potential reserve of 84 batallions of the type fusilier (2nd class) on paper (48000 men) but as the French invasion in 1798 shows, these numbers existed just on paper.

    It appears that the regiments consisted normally of the two batallion.

    Rgt type selection (1st class)
    - 2 bat (each 500 men) - the ratio 1:1 related to inf - gren appears dubious to me.

    Independant formations
    - 2 bat (each 1000 men)

    Cp of jager/sharpshooters (each about 110 men)
    Last edited by Jazzy; 04-21-2009 at 04:00.


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