Prussian infantry

Infantry Weapons
Infantry Formations

Prussia's infantry went into the Revolutionary Wars with a fearsome reputation that dated back to the Seven Years' War.

Unfortunately, its early tactics hadn't changed much, neither had its reliance upon foreign soldiers or mercenaries to bolster its ranks.

It performed averagely against France's revolutionary armies and, after a period of prestige-losing neutrality, slumped to its lowest point in the Campaign of 1806, which it had largely provoked.

Napoleon Bonaparte had moved against Prussia in response to Berlin joining the Fourth Coalition against France and unleashed his Grande Armee with lightning speed.

The French caught the Prussians off guard and smashed them at Saalfield, Jena and then Marshal Davout completed the humiliation at Auerstadt.

Prussia's army was now effectively destroyed and in the conditions of peace the victorious French limited it to just over 40,000 men, one-fifth of its previous size.

However, from the ashes of abject defeat came the need to reform the military and the next years saw a new, revitalised army begin to take shape.

It would be seven years before Prussian swords met French blades - Prussia having avoided the war in 1809 and assisted France by sending troops into Russia - and the 1813 Campaign saw its army proud, confident and in large, well-trained numbers.

The soldiery also had a loathing for the French that added steel to its performance and the battles, culminating in the defeat of Bonaparte at Waterloo, were ferocious.





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