Napoleon Bonaparte's Army

During the Revolution, France abolished the Royalist army's term "regiment" for its infantry groupings and replaced it with demi-brigade.

Officially, a demi-brigade should have had some 3300 men, with 100 officers, but in reality many were just a third of that strength.

From 1791 to 1799, more than 1.5 million men were conscripted into the military. Under Napoleon Bonaparte, a further 2.5 million took up arms.

In 1804, the French had more than 350,000 soldiers, organised into corps that were independent armies of varying sizes.

Each contained infantry, cavalry, artillery and engineers and was capable of fighting at least a delaying action against most formations until reinforcements came.

To this system, Bonaparte added his own Battalion Carre, which meant individual corps would move towards a predetermined point separately, but within a day's march of each other.

This strategy not only gave corps commanders confidence that support was not far away, but also lessened the strain a single army marching along a single route placed upon local food supplies.

This was particularly important in nations like Spain and Russia where the land was poor and barely able to sustain the population let alone huge armies. It also allowed for speed and flexibility of manouevre.

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