Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pommerania - The Army of 1808 (1)

Continuing the (disputed) history of the Duchy of Stralsund-Rügen. [I got a fright when I looked up Rügen in Google, and found my own blog posting. In case any of this accidentally becomes true, please bear in mind that it isn't really.]

Napoleon's new head of state for the Duchy - the Duke, no less - was Friedrich Wilhelm, Graf von Grimmen (1738-1825), Herr von Podebusk (or Putbus, in its Germanic form), a descendant of the hereditary Princes of Rügen. With some difficulty, Herzog Friedrich was encouraged to move from his summer residence at Quitzin to metropolitan Stralsund, the seat of the new government.

Following membership of the Confederation of the Rhine in March 1808, General Molitor worked with the town councils to recruit and organise the new Duke's army.

By October, the following units existed, at least on paper:

Grenadierbataillon "Zum Alten Greif" - most of the grenadiers were German veterans of the Swedish Army

1. Infanteriebataillon "Putbus"

2. Infanteriebataillon "Graf von Grimmen"

Jägerbataillon "Franzburg"

1. Chevauxlegers "Herzogin Katerin"

2. Chevauxlegers "Herr Friedrich"

Fussbatterie "Stadt Stralsund"

The uniforms of the infantry and artillery units were very strictly based on the French regulations of the day - the use of a blue-grey shade known as eisengrau was in respect for the traditional livery of the Putbus family. The surprising choice of yellow for the elite grenadier corps is thought to reflect the fact that yellow had always been the uniform colour of the Stralsund Burger Guard (even when they served in the Swedish Army) - yellow was in any case one of the national colours (cockade was red on yellow).

The fusilier companies of the line infantry wore white epaulettes, which departs from usual French practice. Grenadiers wore a bearskin cap, other infantry wore standard French shakos.

The Jäger unit had a sharpshooter company, but appears to have been otherwise identical to the Line units.

On a future occasion, when I have done more research, I'll describe the cavalry uniforms, the regimental flags, and a little of their campaign history.

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