Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Grenadier

A French Line Battalion was made up of six Companies. Four of these were centre or Fusilier companies, named after the weapon they carried. However, the other two companies in the Battalion were called 'Flank' companies and were seen as the elite. Grenadiers were one such Flank company, they were the largest men chosen for their size and strength. They would be used to assault building or bridges, where real muscle power would carry the day. Their names stems back to the days when the biggest, strongest men were chosen to throw grenades. The weapon dropped out of favour but the name remained.
Voltigeurs, literally meaning vaulters, were the smallest most agile men in the Battalion. They would be sent out in front of the advancing unit to skirmish and weaken the enemy line. Although these men were not armed with the rifle like the 95th, they were good shots and knew their weapons well. The French were known for sending vast hordes of Skirmishers forward in advance of their units.

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