Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

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simon boulton
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Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by simon boulton » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:22 pm

Gentlemen,
I found an interesting document in the Nafziger collection. This collection has a large number of OOB's for the WSS, although the index system is a pain. Most of these have no details of unit strengths but I found one that details the French Cavalry under Vaudemont, 1703. I have summarised the details below, the number in brackets is the number of squadrons. The first number is the mounted strength, second the number of soldiers serving as foot soldiers and the final number is the total for the two. Apologies for the naff format but that is what happened when I tried to copy and paste from excel! What I think is quite interesting about this is how understrength some of these regiments are given that it was still early in the war and also how many men had no horses. Would be interested to know if there are any particular reasons why these numbers should be so low or was this fairly typical of French horse during the WSS?

Colonel General(3) 244 71 315
Cuirassiers(3) 217 104 321
Royal Rousillon(3) 112 122 234
Dauphin(3) 141 72 213
Villeroy(2) 134 20 154
Sully(2) 94 60 154
Ruffey(2) 182 128 210
Capy(2) 56 106 162
Elbeuf(2) 86 41 127
Villiers(2) 90 60 150
Broglie(2) 140 23 163

Dauphin Dragoons(3) 100 117 217
Estrades Dragoons(3) 180 120 300
Verac Dragoons(3) 202 109 311
Lautrec Dragoons(3) 178 70 248
Languedoc(3) 170 119 289

La Reine(3) 133 93 226
Bourbon(2) 35 199 234
Brammont(2) 87 92 179
Dfogleman2
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by Dfogleman2 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:51 pm

Does the OOB say what time of the year it was and where the regiments were located?
simon boulton
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by simon boulton » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:10 pm

Unfortunately there is no date except 1703, I believe these regiments were in Italy then,
Best wishes,
Simon
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by Dfogleman2 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:07 pm

Here is link with orders of battle showing the strengths of regiments. I don't know how accurate it is. It does show a number of two squadron French cavalry regiments with around 200 men.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blenheim_order_of_battle

One should also remember that troop returns of the period might not include the "prima plana" which included ncos and up. The officers were much more like to be near full strength than the ordinary soldiers.
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by Churchill » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:50 pm

Ray.
Last edited by Churchill on Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
simon boulton
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by simon boulton » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:40 pm

Gentlemen,
The numbers I listed include the officers and NCO's, the original OOB listed them separately but I added them in.

Ray, many thanks for your kind offer but I have got the OOB for Blenheim in the excellent little Marlborough goes to war book from the pike and shot society. The glanders outbreak effected the French cavalry badly, a number of dragoon regiments gave up their horses and fought dismounted.

There was a two part article in miniature wargames about the battle of Ramillies, I will have a look for it but seem to recall it said that modern research suggests an average squadron strength for the French of 125

Best wishes,
Simon
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by Graf Bretlach » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:00 am

Instead of typing it all out you could have provided a link

http://www.cgsc.edu/CARL/nafziger/703XAL.pdf

the index

http://www.scribd.com/doc/133832396/Naf ... ttle-Index

As for numbers, I'm not that surprised, although the numbers of dismounted is quite high.
You don't see many lists of strengths for the French, but they always seem quite low. I suspect that English historians often overestimate the strength of French armees.

reasons I believe are the low establishment strengths around 150/squadron 700/batalion, Italie was a secondary theatre not easily resupplied, the French soldier was never treated that well with pay/clothing/food and medical so high attrition rates even without fighting and the high numbers of regiments/squadrons/batalions that needed recruiting.

The dragoons at Blenheim were around 300 men in 3 squadrons
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Re: Strength of French Cavalry in the WSS

Post by Graf Bretlach » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:13 am

Compare the imperials bigger numbers but look at the men/horse ratios, makes you think if that we may all overestimate the size of units.

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CGSC/CARL/n ... 704EAA.pdf
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