Category Archives: Russia

Revised Russian Units for v0.3.1

Following the updated rulebook I’ve re-written the Russian unit stats to go alongside these.

INFANTRY UNITS

Russian Infantry Units

You’ll see that I’ve divided the main infantry (line and light) into three rungs of Recruit, Trained and Veteran. This is to reflect the training and experience of units in campaign situations. If playing matched play games I would advise using trained units a base.

CAVALRY UNITS

Russian Cavalry Units

Any of the above can also be included in the Russian Imperial Guard, if you are taking any of these units as Imperial Guard, then include the Drilled special rule and in the case of Cossacks remove their Cossacks special rule.

ARTILLERY UNITS

Russian Artillery Units

A half company of Russian artillery contained six pieces, and in the case where 6 pounder cannons were used there were four cannon and two unicorn howitzers.

Once again, any artillery units that included as part of the guard add the Drilled special rule.

As always if I’ve made a mistake or you believe something needs to be revised please let me know in the comments.

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Russian Artillery Units

Up to the Austerlitz campaign the Russian artillery was often found to be woefully under prepared, with the Russians only able to carry half of the ammunition the Austrians could in their caissons. The horse were also underfed and badly tended. This was to change however with Sir Wilson (who was attached to the Russian army during the campaign) noting “The Russian artillery is of the most powerful description. No other army moves with so many guns, and with no other army is it in better state of equipment, or is more gallantly served.”

George Nafziger considered the Russian artillery in 1812 as:

highly professional and very well trained” and their horses as “the finest horses available“. About the unicorns he wrote that they “had a greater range and more accuracy than the howitzers used by the other European armies.

Nafziger – Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia

In 1812 the field artillery consisted of:

  • 176 12pdr cannons
  • 524 6pdr cannons
  • 524 foot unicorns (10pdr and 20pdr)
  • 132 6pdr horse cannons
  • 132 horse unicorns (10pdr)

Pieces were formed into platoons of two guns, two of which (4 guns) formed a division. Three platoons (6 guns) formed a half-company, and two half-companies (12 guns) formed a company. In combat the companies guns were placed 8 cannon to the centre and 2 unicorns on either flank.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-15.png
taken with thanks from http://www.napoleonguide.com

Using the table above we can establish the ranges of the Russian weapons in the scale we’re using (1:5300).

WeaponMaximum RangeEffective Range
6 Pounder Cannon25cm16cm
12 Pounder Cannon34cm16cm
Unicorns42cm12cm
Russian Artillery Ranges at 1/5300 scale

Unit Attributes

Russian Artillery Unit Card

Special Rules

Artillery – When in melee this unit halves its combat dice.

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Russian Cavalry Units

The basic cavalry unit of the Russian army during the Napoleonic period was the Squadron with each squadron having 16 flankers (Skirmishers) with all Hussar troopers being trained as skirmishers. The Cavalry was split between Guard Cavalry and Army Cavalry, with varied types of Cavalry all assigned to the Guard Cavalry. In 1805 the Guard Cavalry was made up of two Cuirassier, one Hussar and 1 Cossack Regiments in the Guard, while there were six Cuirassier, twenty Dragoon, three Horse Jagers, one Uhland and nine Hussar regiments in the main army.

COSSACKS

These are in all likelihood the most famous units of Cavalry in the Russian army during the time of the Napoleonic Wars. There were large numbers of these troops that Russia could call upon (77,000 in 1795). Originally from the descendants of outlaws who settled in southern Russia these troops were often led by their tribal Chiefs or Atamans and although they would seldom have much effect on disciplined enemy unit they were extremely useful when it came to such aspects as scouting, raiding or skirmishing. Their large number which accompanied by their war cry would strike fear into many enemies. With terrible discipline these troops were often seen as robbers, looters and drunks.

These troops were armed with a variety of weapons which would usually be in the form of lances or firearms and although some of the Cossacks would have uniforms many were outfitted in their own tribal manner.

Unit Attributes

Russian Cossacks

Units of Cossacks were included in the Imperial Guard, if you wish to upgrade a unit to an Imperial Guard Cossack unit, then change their ‘Steady’ roll to 4+ and their base morale to 8, also remove their undisciplined special rule.

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Cossacks are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-2) – Units of Cossacks have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Cossacks suffer a -2 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (5+) – Cossacks occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 5+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Cossacks allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.
  • Undisciplined – Units of Cossacks are usually nothing more than tribesmen used to living in harsh conditions and as such are not used to facing disciplined enemy cavalry. As such any cavalry units with Cavalry special rules affect Cossack units.

CUIRASSIERS

The name Cuirassier comes from the name of the breastplate armour that the cavalry wore; the Cuirass. They were also armed with a brace of pistols as well as a heavy pallash and a carbine or rifle. In 1812 the Carbine and Rifles were taken away leaving the Cuirassiers with only a brace of pistols and a sword.

Unit Attributes

Russian Cuirassiers Unit Card

Units of Cuirassiers were included in the Imperial Guard, if you wish to upgrade a unit to an Imperial Guard Cuirassier unit, then change their ‘Steady’ roll to 4+ and their base morale to 8.

Special Rules

  • Pistols – Cuirassiers are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Cavalry (-2) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Cuirassiers suffer a -2 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (3+) – Cuirassiers occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 3+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.

DRAGOONS

Dragoons were armed with a brace of pistols a straight sabre and a musket. Each squadron also had men armed with rifles.

Unit Attributes

Russian Dragoon Unit Card

Units of Dragoons were included in the Imperial Guard, if you wish to upgrade a unit to an Imperial Guard Dragoon unit, then change their ‘Steady’ roll to 4+ and their base morale to 8.

Special Rules

  • Muskets – Dragoons are armed Muskets. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its Muskets once an enemy closes within range. Muskets have a long range of 4cm and short range of 2cm.
  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Dragoons suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (4+) – Dragoons occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).

HORSE JAGERS

Russian horse Jagers were the equivalent of the French Chassuers-a-Cheval and were another aspect to Russia’s extensive light cavalry. Horse Jager troops were armed with a sabre, two pistols and a carbine.

Unit Attributes

Horse Jager Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Horse Jagers suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (4+) – Horse Jagers occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Pistols – Horse Jagers are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Horse Jagers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

UHLANS

Before the Battle of Austerlitz there were three horse regiments: Polish, Lithuania and Tartar, and a single Uhlan regiment, the Grand Duke Constantine Uhlans. In 1807 the horse regiments were changed to Uhlan regiments.

Uhlans were recruited mainly from Poles and Lithuanians living in western Russia.

Russian generals had mixed feelings about their Polish and Lithuanian cavalrymen. The problem was not their horsemanship and skills with weapon, but with their commitment to Russia. In the summer of 1812 the Uhlan regiments had several times more deserters and missing men than casualties in combat. For this reason General Bagration, didn’t want the Lithuanian Uhlan Regiment being included in his rear guard.

The Uhlans were armed with sabres, pistols and a lance. Flankers in Uhlan regiments also carried Rifles.

Unit Attributes

Russian Uhlans Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Uhlans suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (4+) – Uhlans occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 4+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Pistols – Uhlans are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Uhlans allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.
  • Rifles – During an action the unit can choose to fire its rifles instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the rifle weapon profile (long Range 8cm / Effective Range 4cm).

HUSSARS

“Honour of your regiment – is honour of your family”

– Russian Hussar saying

In no other branch of the army, were there so many volunteers. Many came from families with a long military tradition and were excellent swordsmen and men who were raised as horse riders. Hussars’ gaiety around a bottle of wine, or vodka, and their rolling swagger were well known. Opening the bottle of wine with a sabre cut and drinking from woman’s shoe were just two of their many customs. In every hussar regiment their existed a camaraderie and pride of belonging to a special group within the army.

Hussars were armed with a sabre, two pistols and a carbine with flankers also issued a musketoon.

Unit Attributes

Russian Hussars Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Cavalry (-1) – Units of this calibre have a fearsome reputation on the battlefield. As such any enemy foot units that are within 10cm of a unit of Hussars suffer a -1 modifier to any morale checks that the unit makes.
  • Impetuous (5+) – Hussars occasionally struggle to maintain their composure in the heat of battle. After this unit has fought in melee, during its next action roll a D6; on a roll of 5+ the unit can act normally, if the unit fails this roll it must make its quickest move towards the nearest enemy unit and contact them in melee if possible.
  • Pistols – Hussars are armed with short ranged weaponry. If the player wishes, this unit may fire its pistols once an enemy closes within range. Pistols have a long range of 2cm and short range of 1cm.
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Hussars allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.
  • Muskets – During an action the unit can choose to fire its Muskets instead of performing any other action. If it does so it can use 1 combat dice and fire at the enemy using the Musket weapon profile (long Range 4cm / Effective Range 2cm).

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Russian Infantry Units

“The Russians had to be beaten down man by man … our soldiers fired upon them at 25 paces, they continued their march without replying, every regiment filed past, without saying a word, or slackening its pace for a moment. The streets were filled with dying and wounded, but not a groan was heard … you might have said that they were firing at shadows. At last our soldiers charged the Russian soldiers with the bayonet, and only when they pierced them could they be convinced that they were dealing with men.”

Baron de Marbot – Battle of Golymin
General Raievski and the Russian Infantry in 1812

According to the French author Loraine Petre the stamina of Russian foot troops were incredible. The Russians were able to march for days at a time at night and still have the energy to fight in battle, all with very little rest or food.

The vast majority of Russian infantry were uneducated country people. Their illiteracy ratio was higher than that of any other European country at the time with only 1 private in 24 being able to read and write in the 1790’s. Even among the NCO’s 1 in 6 corporals and 4 in 14 sergeants were literate.

The Russians also had a reputation for drinking, with the troopers receiving 3/8 litre of ‘liquor’. Anything stronger than beer was often diluted. According to Bulgarin, in the Battle of Heilsberg (1807), Grand Duke Constantine brought two wagons of ‘Grain Wine’ and Suhary for his Uhlan regiment before they were to go into action.

“When they are on the offensive they are fortified by copious distributions of alcohol, and they attack with a courage which verges on a frenzy, and would rather get killed than fall back. The only way to make them desist is to kill a great number of their officers .. The Russian infantry withstand fire fearlessly, but their own fire is badly directed .. they are machines which are actuated only by the orders of their officers.”

Tedd Kosciuszko – Polish revolutionary leader

Each Russian regiment was made up of three battalions of four companies, Grenadier Regiments had one Grenadier battalions and two fusilier battalions. Musketier (Musketeer) regiments had one Grenadier battalion and two Musketeer battalions, while Jager regiments were composed of three Jager battalions.

Like my articles for the Austrian forces, I will run through each unit type and then summarise their unit attributes and any special rules at the end of their sections.

LINE INFANTRY

“The bullet’s an idiot, the bayonets a fine chap’

“Pulia duraka, no shtyk molodets” – Suvorovian Motto

The Russian weaponry was often a mix of different calibre muskets as well as muskets from foreign nations in addition to their own. Many muskets were so old and worn out from firing that they would no longer function.

There were thousands of captured weapons, and the Russians considered the French ‘Charleville’ musket as the lightest and best made, the British ‘Brown Bess’ was larger but more durable while the Prussian, Swedish and old Russian muskets were considered unwieldly.

Between 1803 and 1812 the Russian factories in Tula issued 20,000 rifles, but this was withdrawn in June 1808 and used only by NCO’s and 12 marksmen in a line infantry’s Jaeger company.

Unit Attributes

Russian Line Infantry

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).

GUARD INFANTRY

The elite of the Russian infantry, which were comparable to the French Guard units. The officers of Guard infantry were from nobility and were treated as two ranks above their counterparts in the other infantry regiments, while NCO’s were treated as a rank higher.

The guard received the best uniforms, the best weapons and the best recruits. Tsar Paul revised the Guard and imposed discipline and accountability on its commanders. Tsar Paul also removed all officers not on active duty and the Guard were to learn the Prussian drill which at that time was considered to be the best in Europe. Tsar Paul was eventually murdered, some of those involved in his murder were Officers of the Guard…. His son Alexander took the Guard to battle at every opportunity which garnered them experience and soon made them some of the best troops in Europe. They became particularly well known for their endurance.

Unit Attributes

Russian Guard Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Brave – Each turn a unit with this ability may automatically pass one morale test.
  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).

JAGERS

The Russian troops were assigned regiments depending on their stature. The tallest would become Grenadiers, while the smallest would become Jagers. This changed later in the war when in 1811 Field Marshal Barclay de Tolly changed the system so that personal merit and worth determined a man’s assignment.

Jagers were the standard Russian light infantry unit, and while classified as light troops their skirmishing ability was almost non-existent. The majority were armed with Muskets, while a few 12 sharpshooters in each company were equipped with Rifles.

Unit Attributes

Russia Jager Unit Card

Special Rules

  • Jaeger Company – One firing dice per firing action can be rolled using the ranges of Rifles (8cm Long/4cm Effective).
  • Deployment Marker – Units of Jagers allows the owning player to use an additional deployment marker in the scouting phase.

OPOLCHENIE

Raised in 1812 as part of the defence of Russia from Napoleon. These makeshift units were poorly armed and poorly trained. There were often not even enough muskets for each man, and instead pikes were issued where muskets were not.

Unit Attributes

Russian Opolchenie Unit Card

Special Rules

None

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SOURCES

http://napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/Russian_guard.htm

https://www.napoleon-series.org/military-info/organization/c_russianskirm.html

http://www.theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=212800

https://blundersonthedanube.blogspot.com/2012/02/russian-opolchenie-militia-1812.html

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