French infantry

Infantry Weapons
Bonaparte's Army

Infantry Formations
Uniform Distinctions

Line Infantry

The bulk of the French army, which in 1803 numbered some 350,000 men, was made up of line regiments.
These troops were generally conscripted from those aged between 18 and 25.
Their regiments, known as demi-brigades during the Revolution, were divided into three, or four, battalions and in 1808 were at full strength with 108 officers and 3862 NCOs and lower ranks.

Light Infantry

Light infantry officially became part of the army in 1801, when voltigeur (leaper) companies were added to the line-ups of French line regiments.
The voltigeurs were usually nimble fighters whose job it was to advance in front of the attack and try to disrupt enemy formations or artillery crews.
The skirmishers were introduced to every regiment in 1804 and they usually had the run of the field, except when they ran in to British riflemen.
The Riflemen and their rifles, weapons spurned by Napoleon Bonaparte as being too slow to reload, took a great toll during the Peninsular War and at Waterloo.

The Imperial Guard

France's Imperial Guard was the elite military force of its time and grew out of the Garde des Consuls and Garde Consulaire.
Napoleon Bonaparte wanted it as the example for the army to follow and also as a force that had fought with him over several campaigns and was utterly loyal to him.
To join the Imperial Guard a soldier had to over 25 years old, above average height - no less than 178 centimetres - be literate and have fought in a number of campaigns and served at least five years.
The benefits of life in the Guard included better food and clothing, as well as a very much larger pay purse.
Usually kept in reserve, the Guard was often thrown in to a battle as the killing blow.
Of course, the morale of line troops soared when the Grumblers moved forward into the fray.







Napoleon Bonaparte
Career Portraits
Quotes Family
Loves Letters
Plots Murdered?
His will Places
Era of Napoleon
Powers Opponents
Coalitions Allies
People Timelines
Key sites Shrapnel
Campaigns Battles
Armies Generals
Marshals Winners
Glossary Medical
Weapons 1812 War
Uniforms Battlefields
War at Sea
Naval War Heroes
Artworks Signals
Nelson Trafalgar
Key Maps Peninsula
Animated 1796/1800
1809 Russia
French Revolution
Revolution Guillotine
Posters People
Art, Film, Games
Education Goya
Sharpe Hornblower
Books Movies
DVDs Music
Wargames Images
Cartoons Caricatures
About Us Sources
Awards Sitemap
Links Militaria
Miniatures Reenactors
Forum Quizzes
Home Waterloo Diorama
Copyright Richard Moore 1999-2017 | Privacy Policy | Contact Us