The armed forces of France before the invasion of Russia

French army the era of Napoleon including advanced military machine in Europe. The base of its power had been laid before and during the French Revolution stateliness. Artillery officer Jean Baptiste Vaket yes Griboval reformed French army field artillery. His system was the most efficient in Europe and lasted, with small changes, until 1830. In the French army were implemented strategy columns and extended order while maintaining the foundations of the linear strategy.

Organization, French army

Infantry. During the revolutionary war in the French Army established a special organization that sets it apart from the royal army. The basic unit of infantry as well as used to be the battalion, but of 6 battalions were no shelves, and the brigade, which was divided into two demi-brigade trehbatalonnogo composition. Brigades were reduced in the division, while those in the case. As part of stateliness to the Army in 1806 was formed by seven army corps, each of which had a 2-4 infantry division, brigade or division of the Light Brigade, 36-40 guns and connections engineers and logistical convoys. Each Corps had the opportunity to conduct combat actions in isolation from the main body of the army. So Makar, the body is the basic operational unit. The number of Army Corps determined by his puzzles, skills and human resources areas of formation. The composition of its forces (infantry, cavalry, artillery, and support units) was balanced. Enclosure system allowed the French army to conduct military actions on a broad front a large area.

Napoleon continued the reorganization of the infantry, and by February 1808 all set brand new structure. Instead of demi-brigade reintroduced shelves. Each regiment had five battalions: 4 active and 1 spare in what was going accumulation and training new recruits. In line infantry battalions were 6-latitude composition: fuzilernyh 4, 1 and 1 Grenadier voltizhernaya (light rifle company). In light infantry battalion in the mouth was also 6 4 Jager, 1 and 1 Carabinier voltizhernaya. The number of the battalion was set at 840 people, the shelf — 3970 people. On line infantry was armed with a gun with flintlock arr. 1777 (caliber 17,4 mm) with a 47 cm triangular bayonet. This gun was modernized in 1798-1799 gg. Most rifle shooting range — 500 steps, sighting — 120. The infantryman had 60 rounds of ammunition for themselves and for the same number in the train. We Voltigeurs guns were alleviated. Guns standard in 1777 possessed a number of shortcomings: a small range firing range, frequent misfires due to poorly designed silicon plate on the trigger. The soldiers often tried to change it to the trophy. In addition, there were infantry rifle AN-IX arr. 1801. The gun was almost a clear copy of an old shotgun reference 1777 — French gunsmiths in the criteria for the creation of a mass army, which sought the production of hundreds of thousands of barrels have been unable to quickly make a new weapon. Gunsmiths just a few upgraded the already existing standard. They are slightly reduced the weight of the gun and changed part of the steel parts that are subject to corrosion on copper. Clearly, this "improvement" did not improve the combat capabilities of the main gun infantry. Shotgun AN-IX had all the bugs its predecessor. In addition, the deterioration of the production came trunks in the criteria hasty mass production. This led to the French gunsmiths were required to reduce the size of the bullet, creating a gap between the bullet and the walls of the barrel. With this gap that allowed the breakthrough of the propellant gases and reduced accuracy and killing power of a bullet, they set up the introduction of a non-dangerous guns. In another barrel could break due to the roughness of walls of the barrel, which will inevitably appear in the criteria for bad metal processing.

French infantry rifle with a flintlock arr. 1777, with a bayonet.

Rifled carbine (union) was not typical for the French army. Rifled guns for their own infantry French began producing in 1793, but due to the lack of experienced craftsmen in the field and high costs in France and could not do mass production. In 1800, the creation of suspended since the beginning of start-up released less than 10 thousand rifles. In 1806, the establishment tried to return, but without much of success — until the end of Napoleon's reign released less than two thousand fittings. By statute, they had to arm the non-commissioned officers and officers of the light infantry companies of the linear and light infantry. But because of the problems in the production start these plans remained on paper. Almost all the non-commissioned officers of the Voltigeurs kept an old shotguns. Only certain officers were able to purchase a rifle for himself.

Apart from firearms, the Marines were also cool. Privates and non-commissioned officers were armed polusablya (sword) with a small blade (about 59 cm). In general, it is difficult to implement attributed to the level of battle, it was often improvised tool. In combat infantry in most cases used bayonets, not polusablya. Unusual model polusablya (with a protective guard and the wide blade) had sappers. Swords and sabers were armed officers. Models cool guns commanding a huge variety of different, not a lot of gun meet the statutory requirements. Officers could afford for themselves very different cool tool for every taste and budget.

It should be noted that the French metallurgical industry did not have sufficient powers and resources to keep pace with arm constantly growing army of the empire modern small tool and at the same time to replenish the loss of guns in countless battles. Because in the French army, along with new standards and an old cannon stood second half of the 18th century that was released before the Revolution, when the royal power. And new weapons created hastily, in a very rather short time, because often represented the only copies of old times of samples with insignificant improvements and changes. In addition, the French army terminology types of small tools differ from the terminology. The main infantry weapon in both armies called a gun, but on a conceptual framework significantly sprawling. Rifled guns in the Russian army called the fittings, and the French — carbines. Shortened smoothbore gun cavalry carbines were called in Russian, and the French — Blunderbuss. "SHOTGUN" with socket (expandable to muzzle) in the cavalry in Russia called the blunderbuss, and in France — Tromblon.

Infantry uniforms were dark blue overcoat, such as uniforms, white coats, socks and shoes. The total number of infantry in the Army majestically to 1812 left 492 thousand people.

Cavalry. In 1799, the French cavalry consisted of 2 Carabinier, 25 cavalry, 20 dragoons, 23 shasserskih (Jager) and 13 hussar regiments. A total of 83 regiments (307 squadrons), they totaled 51 thousand people. Then their numbers increased slightly. Thus, the number of dragoon regiments were to increase to 30, 31 to Jager. Napoleon made a significant configurations in the cavalry. He just made a cavalry reserve of 2-cuirassier divisions (from 1809 — 14 cuirassier regiments). In addition, in 1811, under the influence of the experience of fights with Cossacks, armed with pikes, were made 6 Lancers (then in the Duchy of Warsaw 3 more). The cavalry was divided into heavy (cuirassiers and carabineers), linear (dragoons and lancers) and light (hussars and mounted huntsmen). Languid cavalry reserve was listed parent command, cuirassiers and carabineers intended for direct frontal attacks and breakthrough bands e
nemy troops at the decisive moment of the fight. Linear cavalry supported acts infantry and light cavalry in the main function was doing reconnaissance and commando units, could make a raid on the enemy's rear and a surprise attack on the enemy ambush. Cavalry Regiment in 1808, consisted of 4 squadrons, two squadrons were division. The regiment was 961 people. The number of cavalry in 1812 was 96 thousand people.

The dragoons were armed with a shortened version of an infantry rifle AN-IX. These guns had even hostility, as in the infantry. Dragunskoye gun's remained in the Carabinieri, cuirassiers, horse grenadiers of the Guard. The main tool of small French light cavalry at the turn of XVIII-XIX centuries the cavalry blunderbuss reference 1786. They were armed with all the chasseur and hussar regiments. In the early 19th century on the basis of its gunsmiths have developed a new, somewhat more sophisticated rifle AN-IX. This gun has to do, first, in the only cavalry regiment formed. The greatest distance shooting from a short-blunderbuss cavalry was twice less than the infantry rifle. Yet, it is widely used in light cavalry, because he was indispensable to the service at the outposts, in the outposts, and in those cases where the cavalry fought on foot. But because of the helplessness of the production base and the lack of a new instrument in a large number of army by the French governor, had to use an old blunderbuss reference 1786. Blunderbuss 1786 is widely used right up to the fall of the French Empire.

French Dragunskoye gun.

Blunderbuss Cavalry AN-IX

Blunderbuss Cavalry arr. 1786

Many officers of the French cavalry (first — dragoon compounds) were armed with small smooth bore blunderbuss with a bell on the end of the barrel (the French call them Tromblon). It was customary for long cavalry weapon, the extension to the end of the barrel allowing the shot scatters forms the shaft of buckshot. It is clear that Tromblon could not hit the enemy on the significant distance, but he took advantage of great popularity among the troopers as reliably ensured that even with a small distance from the back of a galloping horse at full gallop.

The armed forces of France before the invasion of Russia

Tromblon.

All French army cavalry era of the First Empire had in the order of mandatory gun in 1-2 saddle holsters (usually a gun because of the lack of this type of firearm, a pair of pistols were able to arm only all combatant and Carabinier cuirassier regiments). Single model was not. Some took advantage of a cavalry pistol mod. 1763/1766 years., Made even under King Louis XV, it was intended initially for dragoons (caliber 17,1 mm, weight 1.23 kg). Gun produced a 2-versions: version 1 arr. 1763 was a very massive (length 48 cm), as did the 2nd, a shortened version of the mod. 1766 length of 40.2 cm gun produced until 1777, a total difficulties was 56 thousand units. By the beginning of the Napoleonic wars it tool there were outdated, but because of the lack of gun was used extensively in the wars (of course, in a few limited scale — a significant part of the 18th century produced samples have been lost in the constant military conflicts).

The armed forces of France before the invasion of Russia

French standard pistol 1763-1766 model 1. Total length 48 cm

The armed forces of France before the invasion of Russia

French gun reference 1763/1766 model 2. The total length of 40.2 cm

Another model was an old French gun mod. 1777 (the so-called "shkatulochny"). "Shkatulochny" 17.1 mm caliber pistol was small in size. But, nevertheless, was quite weary — 1.4 kg. This was due to the unique design tools: the whole mechanism was placed in a copper box ("box"), which is screwed to the official section of the trunk. Such an unusual scheme adopted at the insistence of professional gunner General de Gribovalya. "Shkatulochnye" pistols were issued only to majestically French Revolution, but were used in the army until the end of the Napoleonic Empire.

The armed forces of France before the invasion of Russia

French gun mod. 1777 (the so-called "shkatulochny").

A more modern model was a cavalry pistol AN-IX arr. 1801. This gun issued cuirassiers, dragoons, hussars, Uhlans and horse rangers. A pair of pistols were armed only cuirassiers and carabineers, the other riders were given only one gun. This was also due to the weakness of the French industry, which was not ready to release a new instrument, the mass type. The gun in this model produced a total of 4 years. 3 more years made it a slightly modified version of the "Model AN-XII» (revision touched only the method of attachment to the trunk of the box). The most perfect and vserasprostranennym instrument of French cavalry was a cavalry pistol AN-XIII arr. 1805 (all were released around 300 thousand units of this tool). The caliber of the gun — 17.1 mm, weight — 1.27 kg, the overall length — 35.2 cm gun was used extensively in the cavalry — in the main as a defensive weapon, because in the coming of the French cavalry used the most cool tool .

French Gun AN-IX (AN-XII).

French pistol AN-XIII.

In addition, the French have had a significant number of captured guns. The officers did not receive a tool for municipal expense, and purchased it for their money. Because the officers' pistols were also distinguished by a huge variety. Poorer army officers have used the models provided by the ordering expensive models from famous gunsmiths. Expensive, elegant pistols were the pride of their owner.

It must be said that the sighting range of the gun since then has been very low, because the practice of military affairs gave advice to shoot him point-blank. Shot at 10, 20 and more than steps, but with the growth of distance accuracy dropped to zero. Fired from a horse a
t a trot the best arrows misses half the time, and at the gallop — in three out of four. A target hit from behind with a horse at a distance of 30 paces, there were an accident.

The main attacking weapon was the cavalry saber (and swords). In the French Army Napoleonic cavalry weapons of various types were common in Europe of that time: languid and line cavalry (cuirassiers, carabineers and dragoons) was armed with straight sabers, and light cavalry (hussars, horse huntsman) — curved sabers. Cuirassiers were armed with cutlasses models IX and XI. Broadsword IX model was a good tool, but have a significant drawback — the sheath are made of narrow metal (width of 0.95 mm) and a deformed from the impact of insignificance. The deformation could lead to very bad consequences, right up to what could jam the sword in its sheath at the most crucial moment. Because the commission on armament and improved fishing. Kirasirsky his sword scabbard from that moment began to create steel of 2.5 mm in width, and inside for even greater reliability of the design steel insert wood insert with a groove. However, the increased weight of guns — with 2-kg up to three redundant. Palash was a very effective tool. Total cuirassier broadswords standard IX year more than 18 thousand, and the model XI, the above 54 thousand units. We had a dragoon saber its own model IV, which they were not in steel, and in a leather sheath. Dragoon sword was a little easier and a bit shorter Kirasirsky and had a thin blade.

French Cuirassier sword model XI.

French riders were armed with an old lot of cool tools. But most of them armed with the French horse chasseurs and hussars were saber 2-types. The first are the standard saber in 1776, it was manufactured by the traditional Hungarian type. The second type is the saber models IX and XI, is made in the 19th century. Saber IX model year proved so successful in design, with small changes that she lived to see the abolition of the cavalry as a kind of troops. Saber, such adopted in the year IX, remained in service with the French cavalry until 1940. The relevant feature for the light cavalry saber model IX, it was the presence of side handles on the hilt, which is pretty well protected hand horseman. Different from the Hungarian saber type and shape of the blade: he was more direct and heavy, so you can do not just chop, and shot.

French legkokavaleriyskaya saber standard 1776 (Hungarian type).

French legkokavaleriyskaya saber model IX.

French legkokavaleriyskaya saber model XI.

More than a weak spot the French army was part of her horse. Preparing for war with Russian empire, Napoleon tried to make up for the army horses that are adapted to a long and great transitions. The experience of military operations against Russian troops in East Prussia showed that French and Italian horses are inferior in terms of endurance oriental breeds. Even during the campaigns of 1805-1807. Napoleon took almost the entire horse of the Austrian and Prussian armies, and then the Confederation of the Rhine. But this amount of horsepower was not enough. Because on the orders of Napoleon began to buy significant amounts of horses in the states of Germany and in Austria. Prussia agreement dated February 24, 1812 was due to deliver 15 thousand horses. Bought horses and Russia. Total Napoleon managed to collect about 200 thousand horses, the best were given to the cavalry, while others went to the artillery and baggage.

To be continued …

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