Best infantry from 1720-1820.

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by Soren, Nov 4, 2008.

  1. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Who was it ? The British Redcoats, Napoleons Guard, the Prussian blue coats, the Saxons, etc etc ??
     
  2. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Interesting question. From all my research, LOL, with Bernard Cornwell. I would the say the finest Light Infantry of that period might be the Green Coated British riflemen with their Baker rifles.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to say that both the Scottish Black watch and the Prussians were formidable adversaries during that time period.
     
  4. trackend

    trackend Active Member

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    Napoleons Guard were superb soldiers all were veterans and on many ocassions swung battles by standing firm when the regulars began to waver However my choice is Wellingtons(sharpshooters) The Rifles of 1819, they not only used tactics that formed the foundation of modern infantry they had the ability to be self sufficient and think on their feet without a coherant chain of command.
    Indeed in Mark Urbans book Rifles he believes that man for man they were a match for the modern SAS
     
  5. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Trackend, that is the guys I was talking about. In Cornwell's novels his main character is a fellow named Sharpe who is in those Rifles.
     
  6. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    #6 imalko, Mar 15, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2009
    My vote goes to the Napoleon's Imperial Guard.
    Vive l'Empereur!
     
  7. Ferdinand Foch

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    I'm gonna have to go with renrich and say the Green Jackets of the British Army. Any soldier who can shoot a general and his aide (one after another) between 200 and 600 meters away deserves a lot of credit.
    P.S. I think I'm talking about Thomas Plunket durign the Peninsular War, where he shot and killed General August Colbert.
     
  8. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    since we are talking of the Green jackets, allow me if you all will :

    is there a book written on the unit and it's ops during the Napoleonics ?
     
  9. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    ...and to just make things worse... :oops: How would the Swedes stand in comparison?

    Edit: We fought in 10 wars during that period....! :shock:

    1700–1721 Great Northern War
    1741–1743 Hats' Russian War
    1757–1762 Seven Years' War
    1788–1790 Gustav III's Russian War
    1788-1789 Theater War (Never heard of this war)
    1805–1810 First War against Napoleon
    1808–1809 Finnish War
    1810–1812 War against United Kingdom
    1813–1814 Second War against Napoleon
    1814 Campaign against Norway

    in the Battle of Narva, which was an early battle in the Great Northern War fought in November of 1700 (I know, it's before 1720). The Swedish army under Charles XII of Sweden (Karl XII in Swedish) crushed a Russian force four times its size, commanded by Peter the Great. Narva marked the peak of Swedish power on the continent, with Russia eventually finding decisive victories to end the conflict. The fight at Narva was a massive defeat for Russia....

    My regiment had quite a few battle colours captured from the Russians from that period and others. After that, I'm afraid that we've gone rather soft...:lol:
     
  10. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    The Blackwatch Royal Highland Regiment had achieved many honors during this time period.
     
  11. Ferdinand Foch

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    Hey Erich, I believe that there is a book out there called "Wellington's Rifles." It deals with the 95th Rifles (Greenjackets, I think) and their actions from 1809 to 1815. I heard that its pretty good, and was written fairly recently too.
    There's also another book called "Captain of the 95th Rifles." This book is about the life of an officer in the 95th through the Peninsular War and beyond. It's a little short and narrow, but I heard that it's still pretty good.
    Hope this helps.
     
  12. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    I was tinking dat Napoleons Old Guard was terrific. Except at Waterloo.
     
  13. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Very hard to call. The British redcoats were a force to be reckoned with by the end of this period, but their performance was not consistent throughout the century in question. Napoleon's troops were good, but squandered by inept leadership and an ill-advised invasion of Russia... I'm sure that happened to someone else too? :oops::lol::lol::lol:
     
  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I have to go with the Prussians on this one.
     
  15. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I'm not sure about the Prussians - they were soundly defeated several times by Napoleon's troops, most notably at Jena in 1806. IMHO, the real Prussian ascendancy began with their comprehansive thrashing of the Austrians in 1866 - well outside the scope of the present discussion. And even that was helped by a major technological edge, as well as superior infantry (see thread above about needle guns 8) )
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I agree with BTabout the Prussians as I believe their quality did not really begin to show until well after 1820. Once you get into the late 1840s then you have to consider the infantry of Scott and Taylor and in the 1860s, the finest infantry in the history of warfare, the Army of Northern Virginia and specifically the Texas Brigade of Hood's Division of Longstreets Corps.
     
  17. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I must confess I know very little about the ACW (or whichever term you prefer for it). I have relatives in NC and have visited Richmond and Petersburg while staying with them (in fact, I walked a large part of the battlefield), and I have read a grand total of four books on the conflict. Short of that (and playing a couple of PC strategy games on the subject), I know nothing :oops:

    I do get the impression though that the Confederate infantry were a force to be reckoned with in the early days of the war, and they progressively lost this edge as casualties and the worsening conditions in the south took thier toll. The 'what-if' of the British Army joining the CSA forces fascinates me, a boost to the numer and quality of the infantry facing the USA could well have changed the course of the war.
     
  18. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    #18 renrich, May 16, 2009
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
    BT, I am being a little perhaps prejudiced when I make claims about "the finest infantry" as I honestly believe that that claim could be made about a lot of units in many armies and in many different time periods. However, the infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia was indeed superlative and not just in the early war. They were mostly poorly clothed, poorly fed, coping with terrible hygiene, outnumbered, facing opponents with superior weapons, especially artillery and yet they, time and time again, with valor and with devotion to duty either defeated or held off a redoubtable opponent in the Union Army. Of course, their leader, R E Lee, had something to do with it and the Union Army was poorly led at times. The Southern soldier, even in the Army of Tennessee, not led by Lee, showed the qualities that had begun to surface during the Mexican War under Taylor and Scott. What those soldiers endured and accomplished, when studied closely is astounding. One of the reasons, perhaps, that the Southern soldier maintained morale was that the policy of the CSA was to continually replace casualties in a unit with men from the original area where the unit was recruited from . In other words the Texas Brigade's three Texas regiments were replenished continually with fresh recruits from Texas. This was contrary to the policy in the Union Army where units were fought out until they could no longer function and then they were dissolved and the survivors sent to new units which were then put into the line. The Texas Brigade began to fight in early 1862 and was in almost every major battle fought in the east and one in the west(Chickamauga) and they still functioned as the rear guard of the Army leading up to the final surrender at Appommatox Court House.
     
  19. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    It is called esprit de corps and many units had high morale such as the Blackwatch Royal Highland Regiment.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    #20 BombTaxi, May 17, 2009
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
    Espirit de corps, elan, or whatever it may be, is a powerful asset to infantry, but not the be-all-and-end-all. Not all British forces had high morale - some of the accounts I have read of the Battle of Culloden (for example), state that the British were in poor spirits, having being driven right down to the Midlands and defeated several times by the Scots in the previous season. Even where high espirit de corps exists, it is not a definte winning factor. Going outside the period at hand, the French army of 1914 had buckets of elan, but it didn't do them any good when the fighting started and the command staff and indeed Plan XIV itself turned out to be defective...
     
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