Having committed to the new 1813 project described by Immer Vorwarts, I started looking at an order of battle to model. Jason & Eric are focusing on units that fought at Mockern in the fall of 1813 as part of the Battle of Nations (Leipzig). Since I’m building Russians that means units from Blucher’s Army of Silesia.
I’ve chosen to build units from Langeron’s “Corps Group.” These are units that are remnants from the army that fought at Borodino the previous year and have followed the French all the way back into Germany. My starting force will be St. Priests’ VIII Corps. The entire Corps had around 8,000 infantrymen at Mockern, so this will be manageable organization to start building.
A quick aside about unit strengths: Regardless of what a full ‘paper strength’ battalion may have looked like to Napoleonic era war planners, after a few months in the field, an average infantry battalion would likely be around 500 men. In the period we are modeling (the latter half of the 1813 campaign), the field armies were even further under-strength from a year of more or less constant campaigning, casualties, sickness, desertion, etc.
So, I’m looking at St. Priest’s Corps. One thing I love about the Russian army is that the commanders are a hodge-podge of Russians, Germans, and other Europeans. In this case, both Comte Langeron and Comte St. Priest were French emigres, former Bourbon loyalists whose families fled France during the revolution. So we have French generals fighting against French generals. How perfectly Napoleonic, eh?
There are a number of different places to find orders of battle on the internet. My favorite is the Nafziger collection, which was donated to the US Army War College a few years back. George Nafziger did a tremendous job collecting orders of battle, and included individual unit strengths where he could. This is a boon to the historical wargamers.
Here’s St. Priest’s VIII Corps organization from the Allied Order of Battle at Leipzig:
8th Corps: Generallieutenant Count St.-Priest
11th Division: Generalmajor Prince Gourialov
Brigade: Colonel Turgenev
- Ekaterinburg Infantry Regiment (2)(936)
- Rilsk Infantry Regiment (1)(564)
Brigade: Generalmajor Karpenko
- Jeletz Infantry Regiment (1)(526)
- Polotsk Infantry Regiment (1)(571)
Brigade: Generalmajor Bistrom II
- 1st Jager Regiment (1)(478)
- 33rd Jager Regiment (2)(527)
17th Division: Generalmajor Pillar
Brigade: Colonel Kern
- Riazan Infantry Regiment (2)(670)
- Bieloserk Infantry Regiment (2)(705)
Brigade: Colonel Tscherioff I
- Wilmanstrand Infantry Regiment (2)(566)
- Brest Infantry Regiment (2)(746)
Brigade: Major Charitanov
- 30th Jager Regiment (2)(472)
- 48th Jager Regiment (2)(913)
- Position Battery #32 (12 guns)(270)
- Light Battery #32 (12 guns)(176)
- Light Battery #33 (12 guns)(155)
Brigade: Generalmajor Borozdin II
- Mitau Dragoon Regiment (4)(458)
- New Russia Dragoon Regiment (4)(377)
Brigade: Generalmajor Emanuel
- Kharkov Dragoon Regiment (4)(484)
- Moscow Dragoon Regiment (2)(250)
Cossacks: Generalmajor Kaisarov
- Gzov #2 Cossack Regiment (194)
- Stavrapol Kalmuck Regiment (298)
- Grekov #21 Cossack Regiment (317)
A few notes:
- The 11th division is the remnants of Docturov’s VI Corps from the Battle of Borodino. One nice thing about the Russian army is that it was consistent with its numbering. Divisional organizations were fairly permanent even if the divisions themselves shifted between corps over time. Check the OB for Borodino and compare divisional numbers.
- Likewise, the 17th division was in Baggovout’s II Corps at Borodino. The organization hasn’t changed much, other than that the units are much smaller.
- Much like the French, Russian light infantry units (Jagers) could operate either as formed infantry or skirmishers. Russian light infantry gets a bad rap from some Napoleonic rules writers. While not as skilled as the best French or British units, the low-numbered Jager regiments had been in existence for some time and spent a lot of time fighting the Turks, so they were experienced in skirmish operations. The 1st Jager regiment was considered one of the finest in the Russian army at the time.
- Looking at the unit strengths, there are numerous cases of regiments having two battalions but only having around 400-500 men total or both units. Odds are good on the battlefield that the unit would operate as a single combat unit, as a 200-man battalion has little staying power.
In Black Powder, you have four basic unit sizes: tiny, small, average and large. For our project, an ‘average’ battalion would be around 24 figures, and I’m equating ‘average’ size with a battalion somewhere in the 450-650 man range. For units with around 300-400 men, the question becomes whether to field those units as ‘small’ units on their own or combine them to be one ‘average’ or possibly ‘large’ unit. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. I suspect I won’t know which one would be a better reflection of the units performances until I play a few games. I’ll get some extra command stands so I can run with either option.
Here’s a helpful list of OB’s for Leipzig that you can find on the net:
- Napoleon Series – Allied
- Napoleon Series – French
- Nafziger Collection – Allied
- Nafziger Collection – French