Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


Oudinot's Grenadier Division: 1806 - 1809

By George Nafziger

A total of 17 "elite" battalions were raised and organized into seven regiments in December 1805. These regiments were organized into Oudinot's famous "Grenadier division." On 5 December 1805 this division was organized as:

Grenadier Division: General de division Oudinot

Brigade: Generaux de brigade Dupas & Ruffin

1st Grenadier Regiment

58th Line Regiment (16/439)
13th Line Regiment (15/508)

2nd Grenadier Regiment

9th Line Regiment (19/470)
81st Line Regiment (15/515)

3rd Grenadier Regiment

2nd Legere Regiment (18/499)
3rd Legere Regiment (18/549)

4th Grenadier Regiment

28th Legere Regiment (20/547)
31st Legere Regiment (22/588)

5th Grenadier Regiment

12th Legere Regiment (20/560)
15th Legere Regiment (20/516)

Artillery:

Det. 6th Horse Artillery (1/27)
Det. 1st Foot Artillery (4/101)
2-12pdrs
6-8pdrs
4-4pdrs
Det. 5th (bis) Train Battalion (2/179)

The division underwent several changes. In January 1806 it had:

Grenadier Division: General de division Oudinot

Brigade: Generaux de brigade Dupas & Ruffin

1st Grenadier Regiment

58th Line Regiment (18/547)
13th Line Regiment (detached)

2nd Grenadier Regiment (detached)

9th Line Regiment
81st Line Regiment

3rd Grenadier Regiment

2nd Legere Regiment (21/690)
3rd Legere Regiment (20/640)

4th Grenadier Regiment

28th Legere Regiment (21/685)
31st Legere Regiment (21/628)

5th Grenadier Regiment

12th Legere Regiment (22/723)
15th Legere Regiment (23/619)

Artillery:

Det. 6th Horse Artillery (1/47)
Det. 1st Foot Artillery (5/130)
2-12pdrs
6-8pdrs
4-4pdrs
Det. 5th (bis) Train Battalion (4/214)
Det. 4th Artillery Artisans (0/5)

The division continued in this form until late September or early October when it was detached from the V Corps. By 10 January 1807 the Grenadier Division had undergone a major reorganization. On 10 January it stood as follows:

1st Brigade: General de brigade Ruffin

1st Regiment

1st Battalion: Chef de bataillon Trahier (19/508)

1st Co. Carabiniers 27th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 27th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 94th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 94th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 95th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 95th Line

2nd Battalion: Chef de bataillon Broyer (20/551)

1st Co. Grenadiers 8th Line
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 8th Line
3rd Co. Grenadiers 45th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 45th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 54th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 54th Line

2nd Regiment

3rd Battalion: Chef de bataillon Fondousse (15/317)

1st Co. Carabiniers 9th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 9th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 32nd Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 32nd Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 96th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 96th Line

4th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Chabert (19/520)

1st Co. Grenadiers 30th Line
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 30th Line
3rd Co. Grenadiers 33rd Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 33rd Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 51st Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 51st Line

2nd Brigade: General de brigade Conroux

3rd Regiment

5th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Arnauld (19/502)

1st Co. Carabiniers 10th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 10th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 24th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 24th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 26th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 26th Line

6th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Franchot (19/519)

1st Co. Grenadiers 18th Line
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 18th Line
3rd Co. Grenadiers 4th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 4th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 57th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 57th Line

4th Regiment

7th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Coquereau (21/460)

1st Co. Carabiniers 17th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 17th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 21st Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 21st Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 34th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 34th Line

8th Battalion: Chef de bataillon ? (Monnet) (12/330)

1st Co. Grenadiers 40th Line
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 40th Line
3rd Co. Grenadiers 64th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 64th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 88th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 88th Line

3rd Brigade: General de brigade Villatte

5th Regiment

9th Battalion: Chef de bataillon ? (Dauger) (20/494)

1st Co. Carabiniers 6th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 6th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 39th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 39th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 69th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 69th Line

10th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Comminet (19/542)

1st Co. Grenadiers 27th Line
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 27th Line
3rd Co. Grenadiers 59th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 59th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 76th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 76th Line

6th Regiment

11th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Gueret (21/473)

1st Co. Carabiniers 16th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 16th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 44th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 44th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 105th Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 105th Line

12th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Boidot (18/499)

1st Co. Carabiniers 7th Legere
2nd Co. Voltigeurs 7th Legere
3rd Co. Grenadiers 24th Line
4th Co. Voltigeurs 24th Line
5th Co. Grenadiers 63rd Line
6th Co. Voltigeurs 63rd Line

4th Brigade:

7th Regiment

13th Battalion: (8/253)

1st Co. Carabiniers 25th Legere
2nd Co. Carabiniers 28th Legere
3rd Co. Voltigeurs 28th Legere

Artillery

Det 1st Foot Artillery
3rd Horse Artillery
Artillery Artisans
Det/5th Train Battalion
Det/8th Train Battalion

Engineers

1/5th Sapper Battalion (2/78)

The "provisional" regiments were formed by organizing various independent and loose battalions and companies posted in the rear areas. In these instances, each depot might send as few as one or possibly more companies to the front. A total of sixteen of these provisional regiments were raised between 1805 and March 1807. After the campaigns in Germany and Poland were finished, these elite and provisional regiments were disbanded. The process began anew after the invasion of Portugal and Spain. On 5 November 1807 a total of twelve provisional regiments were raised. These two formations are not to be confused with the "regiments de marche" which were also ad hoc formations organized to transport new recruits to the front lines from the depots insuring their safe arrival, safe from partisan attack and the opportunity to desert. None of these regiments, provisional, elite, or de marche had complete staffs and, as a result, were administrative nightmares for the army and the men that served in them. On 1 June 1807 the division contained:

1st Brigade: General de brigade Ruffin

1st Regiment

1st Battalion: Chef de bataillon Launier

Staff (5/9)
1st Co. (3/65) Carabiniers 6th Legere
2nd Co. (3/72) Carabiniers 7th Legere
3rd Co. (3/73) Carabiniers 9th Legere
4th Co. (3/60) Carabiniers 16th Legere
5th Co. (3/66) Carabiniers 25th Legere
6th Co. (3/73) Carabiniers 27th Legere

2nd Battalion: Chef de bataillon Broyer

1st Co. (3/89) Voltigeurs 6th Legere
2nd Co. (3/69) Voltigeurs 7th Legere
3rd Co. (3/72) Voltigeurs 9th Legere
4th Co. (3/73) Voltigeurs 16th Legere
5th Co. (3/52) Voltigeurs 25th Legere
6th Co. (3/76) Voltigeurs 27th Legere

2nd Regiment

3rd Battalion: Chef de bataillon Fondousse

Staff (5/1)
1st Co. (3/65) Grenadiers 8th Line
2nd Co. (3/65) Grenadiers 30th Line
3rd Co. (3/88) Grenadiers 33rd Line
4th Co. (2/75) Grenadiers 51st Line
5th Co. (3/56) Grenadiers 95th Line
6th Co. (3/49) Grenadiers 96th Line

4th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Chabert

1st Co. (3/84) Voltigeurs 8th Line
2nd Co. (3/58) Voltigeurs 30th Line
3rd Co. (3/77) Voltigeurs 33rd Line
4th Co. (2/61) Voltigeurs 51st Line
5th Co. (3/75) Voltigeurs 95th Line
6th Co. (3/55) Voltigeurs 96th Line

2nd Brigade: General de brigade Conroux

3rd Regiment

5th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Arnauld

Staff (6/0)
1st Co. (2/75) Carabiniers 10th Legere
2nd Co. (2/66) Carabiniers 17th Legere
3rd Co. (3/55) Carabiniers 21st Legere
4th Co. (3/74) Carabiniers 24th Legere
5th Co. (2/45) Carabiniers 26th Legere
6th Co. (3/63) Carabiniers 28th Legere

6th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Franchot

1st Co. (3/61) Voltigeurs 10th Legere
2nd Co. (2/61) Voltigeurs 17th Legere
3rd Co. (3/49) Voltigeurs 21st Legere
4th Co. (3/67) Voltigeurs 24th Legere
5th Co. (3/73) Voltigeurs 26th Legere
6th Co. (2/59) Voltigeurs 28th Legere

4th Regiment

7th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Coquereau

Staff (5/0)
1st Co. (3/81) Grenadiers 4th Line
2nd Co. (3/66) Grenadiers 18th Line
3rd Co. (3/75) Grenadiers 34th Line
4th Co. (3/68) Grenadiers 40th Line
5th Co. (2/51) Grenadiers 64th Line
6th Co. (2/54) Grenadiers 88th Line

8th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Monnet

1st Co. (1/58) Voltigeurs 4th Line
2nd Co. (3/69) Voltigeurs 18th Line
3rd Co. (3/73) Voltigeurs 34th Line
4th Co. (3/76) Voltigeurs 40th Line
5th Co. (3/56) Voltigeurs 64th Line
6th Co. (3/72) Voltigeurs 88th Line

3rd Brigade: General de brigade Barry

5th Regiment

9th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Dauger

Staff (6/0)
1st Co. (2/74) Grenadiers 27th Line
2nd Co. (3/70) Grenadiers 39th Line
3rd Co. (3/64) Grenadiers 45th Line
4th Co. (3/66) Grenadiers 59th Line
5th Co. (3/51) Grenadiers 69th Line
6th Co. (3/78) Grenadiers 70th Line

10th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Comminet

1st Co. (3/73) Voltigeurs 27th Line
2nd Co. (2/59) Voltigeurs 39th Line
3rd Co. (3/78) Voltigeurs 45th Line
4th Co. (3/64) Voltigeurs 59th Line
5th Co. (3/66) Voltigeurs 69th Line
6th Co. (3/90) Voltigeurs 70th Line

6th Regiment

11th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Vaugrignaude

Staff (5/8)
1st Co. (3/61) Grenadiers 24th Line
2nd Co. (3/83) Grenadiers 44th Line
3rd Co. (3/61) Grenadiers 54th Line
4th Co. (3/84) Grenadiers 63rd Line
5th Co. (3/61) Grenadiers 94th Line
6th Co. (3/68) Grenadiers 105th Line

12th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Boidot

1st Co. (3/60) Voltigeurs 24th Line
2nd Co. (3/71) Voltigeurs 44th Line
3rd Co. (3/67) Voltigeurs 54th Line
4th Co. (2/76) Voltigeurs 63rd Line
5th Co. (3/77) Voltigeurs 94th Line
6th Co. (3/65) Voltigeurs 105th Line

4th Brigade: General de brigade Albert

7th Regiment

13th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Cornebize

Staff (5/1)
1st Co. (3/73) Carabiniers 25th Legere
2nd Co. (3/78) Carabiniers 22nd Line
3rd Co. (3/63) Grenadiers 32nd Line
4th Co. (3/60) Grenadiers 57th Line
5th Co. (3/65) Grenadiers 65th Line
6th Co. (-)

14th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Boulon

1st Co. (2/104) Voltigeurs 22nd Line
2nd Co. (2/46) Voltigeurs 32nd Line
3rd Co. (3/61) Voltigeurs 57th Line
4th Co. (3/99) Voltigeurs 65th Line
5th Co. (-)
6th Co. (-)

8th Regiment

15th Battalion: Chef de bataillon Jouan

1st Co. (3/80) Grenadiers 3rd Line
2nd Co. (1/71) Grenadiers 61st Line
3rd Co. (1/70) Grenadiers 85th Line
4th Co. (1/70) Grenadiers 111th Line
5th Co. (-)
6th Co. (-)

16th Battalion:

1st Co. (3/96) Voltigeurs 3rd Line
2nd Co. (2/85) Voltigeurs 61st Line
3rd Co. (3/73) Voltigeurs 85th Line
4th Co. (2/82) Voltigeurs 111th Line
5th Co. (-)
6th Co. (-)

Artillery

Det 2/1st Foot Artillery (1/41)
4/,5/3rd Horse Artillery (5/145)
1st & 4th Artillery Artisan Companies (0/9)
Det. 2/5th (bis) Train Battalion (1/60)
Det. 1/,2/8th (bis) Train Battalion (3/187)

Engineers

1/5th Sapper Battalion (0/35)

Oudinot's division was reorganized on 8 January, 1808. Though it still consisted of 17 battalions, they were now formed into eight regiments. On 12 January 1808 a further six provisional regiments were raised.

On 5 December 1808 Napoleon began breaking up Oudinot's grenadiers by returning those companies whose parent regiments were assigned to Bernadotte's and Davout's corps. It was reduced to a total of 62 companies organized into ten elite battalions. It was organized as follows (the elite companies coming from the battalions indicated.)

Converged Grenadier Division: General de division Oudinot (21,388 men)

1st Division: General de division Tharreau (7,145 men)

Brigade: General de brigade Conroux

1st Legere - 4/6th, 4/24th, & 4/25th Legere
3rd Legere - 4/9th, 4/16th, & 4/27th Legere

Brigade: General de brigade Albert

1st Line - 4/8th, 4/24th & 4/45th Line
2nd Line - 4/94th, 4/95th & 4/96th Line

Brigade: General de brigade Jarry

3rd Line - 4/54th & 4/63rd Line

2nd Division: General de division Claparede (8860)

Brigade: General de brigade Coehorn

2nd Legere - 4/17th, 4/21st & 4/28th Legere
4th Legere - 4/26th, Tirailleurs du Po & Corsican Tirailleurs

Brigade: General de brigade Lesuire

5th Line - 4/27th & 4/39th Line
6th Line - 4/59th, 4/69th & 4/76th Line

Brigade: General de brigade Ficatier

7th Line - 4/40th & 4/88th Line
8th Line - 4/64th, 4/100th & 4/103rd Line

The Decree of 1 March 1809 disbanded the 33e Legere. The "elite" battalions belonging to Oudinot's division, each having four companies, were reorganized on by the Decree of 31 March 1809 into twelve demi-brigades, each of 3 battalions. On 7 February 1809 the corps was organized as follows:

1st Division: General de division Claparede

1st Brigade:

1st Demi-brigade Legere

6th Legere (244/90/212/0/546)*
24th Legere (161/125/264/0/550)
25th Legere (230/100/200/0/530)

2nd Demi-brigade Legere

9th Legere (243/167/155/0/565)
16th Legere (0/0/458/0/458)
27th Legere (233/152/164/0/549)

2nd Brigade:

1st Demi-brigade

8th Line Regiment (306/117/104/0/527)
24th Line Regiment (48/200/358/0/508)
45th Line Regiment (253/92/163/0/508)

2nd Demi-brigade

94th Line Regiment (281/64/154/0/499)
95th Line Regiment (279/128/104/0/511)
96th Line Regiment (172/209/60/0/441)

3rd Brigade:

3rd Demi-brigade

54th Line Regiment (217/114/122/0/453)
63rd Line Regiment (233/55/219/50/557)
28th Line Regiment (0/0/0/0/0) (assigned, but not present)

4th Demi-brigade

4th Line Regiment (179/95/265/0/539)
18th Line Regiment (236/41/207/0/564)
46th Line Regiment (0/0/0/0/0) (assigned, but not present)

2nd Division: General de division Tharreau

1st Brigade:

2nd Demi-brigade Legere

17th Legere (308/11/231/0/550)
21st Legere (295/0/232/0/527)
28th Legere (260/29/275/0/448)

3rd Demi-brigade Legere

26th Legere (138/145/175/0/448)
Tirailleur Corses (813/0/120/0/933)
Tirailleurs du Po (991/0/150/0/1,141)

2nd Brigade:

5th Demi-brigade

27th Line Regiment (244/39/143/200/526)
39th Line Regiment (222/64/165/100/551)
50th Line Regiment (0/0/0/0/0)(assigned, but not present)

6th Demi-brigade

59th Line Regiment (197/86/201/50/534)
69th Line Regiment (204/81/170/80/535)
76th Line Regiment (136/147/148/80/511)

3rd Brigade:

7th Demi-brigade

40th Line Regiment (270/18/266/0/546)
75th Line Regiment (0/0/0/0/0)(assigned, but not present)
88th Line Regiment (251/32/224/0/507)

8th Demi-brigade

64th Line Regiment (215/66/258/0/539)
100th Line Regiment (0/0/252/250/502)
103rd Line Regiment (0/0/262/250/512)

* Figures are as follows:
l.) Voltigeurs & grenadiers on 7 February,
2.) Detachments drawn from the Conscrits of the Guards
3.) Fusiliers drawn from the first 12 "compagnies de march."
4.) Detachments from the "13e bataillon de march."
5.) Total strength of the battalion.

A review of the strength figures and the sources of those troops for this phase of Oudinot's famous corps clearly indicates that they were not an "elite" formation.

Sources

The above information was taken verbatim from George Nafziger's Royal, Republican, Imperial, a History of the French Army from 1792-1815: Vol 1 - Infantry - History of Line Infantry (1792-1815), Internal & Tactical Organization; Revolutionary National Guard, Volunteers Federes, & Compagnies Franches; and 1805 National Guard.

We would like to thank George for so generously permitting us to use it. This book, along with other books and detailed orders-of-battle by George Nafziger, are available at: www.infinet.com/~nafziger

 

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