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  • Column variations

    Hey there everyone !
    I've been looking around like crazy for information about different columnvariations used by the infantry during the Napoleonic Wars, but I just can't seem to find enough detailed info...can anyone give me a useful link or some info?
    Can anyone tell me what the difference was in setup between the "Colonne d'Attaque", the "Colonne de Maneuvre" and the "Colonne de Route" ?????



    Greets,
    Stratego
    Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

    It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

    Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    BORG

  • #2
    Column of attack more properly known as "colonne d'attaque par division" was the most commonly used formation for advancing to the attack. A division in this case was 2 companies, which was 2 companies across and 3 companies deep,(a battalion being 6 companies) it was easy to control, giving the commander the option of speedily forming line to open fire or assault, the narrow frontage for 2 companies was around 45 metres that facilitated control but only allowed 120 muskets out of 500 to be brought to bear to the front.
    In this formation the rear companies were always the grenadiers and voltigeurs, which allowed them to come up on the right and left of the line respectively if required, similiarly the 1st and 4th fusilier companies could quickly come up to the right and left of the centre companies.

    The other attack column was "colonne de division par battalion" used mainly at Waterloo by Durutte and Donzelot's division, this was 6 companies long and and a depth of 8 battalions, it was an unfamiliar tactical formation that made control extremely difficult, and was very vulnerable to artillery and to a lesser extent cavalry.
    Still trying to research the other 2 formations.
    Last edited by Post Captain; 22 Jul 07, 07:36.
    Never Fear the Event

    Admiral Lord Nelson

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    • #3
      This is turning into one of the most informative sites that I have found:

      http://napoleonistyka.atspace.com/in...ycombatcolumns
      "I am not an atomic playboy."
      Vice Admiral William P. Blandy

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mirrorshades View Post
        This is turning into one of the most informative sites that I have found...
        And I wrote the article on the Belgians on that site...

        Greets,
        Stratego
        Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

        It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

        Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

        BORG

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by mike brown View Post
          ...Still trying to research the other 2 formation...
          Thanks Mike and Mirror...hope you will be able to help me out on this one...

          Greets,
          Stratego
          Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

          It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

          Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

          BORG

          Comment


          • #6
            Couldn't find anything relevant so far, just small notes on columns and it's limitations.
            Last edited by Cap. Teancum; 23 Jul 07, 14:52. Reason: misspeling
            All warfare is based on deception.
            Sun Tzu - Art of war - Chapter One - Laying Plans


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            • #7
              Hello,
              This matter is settled in the "Règlement concernant l'exercice et les maneuvres de l'infanterie du 17 août 1791", wich is avalaible on this site http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k44021q
              Sorry, but in french (of course).

              Comment


              • #8
                Fantastic link. You couldn't choose a better first post. Hope yo'll stick around and make this forum a part of your day.
                Welcome to the Napoleonic family.
                All warfare is based on deception.
                Sun Tzu - Art of war - Chapter One - Laying Plans


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                • #9
                  Thank you for your welcome. I didn't post a lot until now but it isn't my first post (?)
                  I remember now near the Réglement, there is also les "Planches relatives au réglement" (sketches).
                  It stays on this site (with the Réglement and other interesting books like Guibert):
                  http://www.cesat.terre.defense.gouv.fr/page.asp?id=325

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Add it to my favorites, as for your posts as you can see under the Location: Belgium there's a counter of your posts and so far it says 2. So, either there's something wrong with your counter, or you've been working undercover (Personal Messages and Reputation Messages). Anyway, the most important thing is you fealing welcomed and with the desire to keep posting.
                    All warfare is based on deception.
                    Sun Tzu - Art of war - Chapter One - Laying Plans


                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am not to strong in land warfare of the War but I had thought that the French column was the preferred method of attacked for them. I remember reading some where that this was how the British were able to win many of the battles where they had been outnumbered. Every British soldier could shoot but only the french's front few ranks could do the same. and the British were able to pour flanking fire into the sides. The main reason that this style of attack failed out Waterloo (even when the french greatly outnumber the british) was that they tried to deploy into line in the middle of the advance. The rear splitting and swinging out to the sides. This caused lots of confusion among the French Conscripts and the British were able to pour in the fire.
                      "We Will Stay Here, If We Must All Go to Hell Together"
                      -Col. John R. Cooke, 27th NC

                      Avatar: My Grandfather on the right. His twin on the left. Their older brother in the middle. In their Navy Blues

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by AIrchallenged View Post
                        I am not to strong in land warfare of the War but I had thought that the French column was the preferred method of attacked for them. I remember reading some where that this was how the British were able to win many of the battles where they had been outnumbered. Every British soldier could shoot but only the french's front few ranks could do the same. and the British were able to pour flanking fire into the sides. The main reason that this style of attack failed out Waterloo (even when the french greatly outnumber the british) was that they tried to deploy into line in the middle of the advance. The rear splitting and swinging out to the sides. This caused lots of confusion among the French Conscripts and the British were able to pour in the fire.
                        You got the basic idea, the British infantry formed in line in 2 ranks, whereas continental armies deployed their lines in 3 ranks, the column was the much favoured formation for the French, especially from the earlier days of the revolution when they used massed conscription and found this was ideal to control the new recruits. As Wellington once said "they came on in the same old style and we beat them in the same old style."
                        Never Fear the Event

                        Admiral Lord Nelson

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bern View Post
                          Hello,
                          This matter is settled in the "Règlement concernant l'exercice et les maneuvres de l'infanterie du 17 août 1791", wich is avalaible on this site http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k44021q
                          Sorry, but in french (of course).
                          Great site Bern,
                          Thanks for the info...



                          Greets,
                          Stratego
                          Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.- Napoleon

                          It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.- Herman Melville

                          Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

                          BORG

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Stratego old bean,
                            there were no variations to columns ....

                            "They came on in the same old style and we beat them in the same old style."

                            The long toll of the brave
                            Is not lost in darkness
                            Over the fruitful earth
                            And athwart the seas
                            Hath passed the light of noble deeds
                            Unquenchable forever.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Quote "the British infantry formed in line in 2 ranks, whereas continental armies deployed their lines in 3 ranks".

                              Right, but until 1813 the French army. In 1813, Napo wrote to Berthier he wanted his infantry on 2 lines because the men of the 3rd line were ineffective.

                              (and perhaps because of a lack of men).

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