This thread aims to respond to requests for a list of French unit names. To produce this list I will draw on a wide range of books [Elting “Swords Around a Throne”; Haythornthwaite “The Napoleonic Source Book”; Otto von Pivla “Armies of the Napoleonic Era”; Blond “La Grande Armee”; various Osprey Men at Arms; Rogers “Napoleon’s Army”; Digby-Smith “Napoleon's Regiments: Battle Histories of the Regiments of the French Army, 1792-1815”; Chartrand “Napoleonic Wars – Napoleon’s Armies”; various Histoire et Collections including “La Cavalrie Légère du Premier Empire”; various Almark books including Head “Foot Regiments of the Imperial Guard” & Bukhari “French Napoleonic Line Infantry 1796-1815”; Johnson “The French Cavalry 1792-1915” & “Napoleon’s Cavalry and its Leaders”; Charmy & Bucquoy etc]; magazine articles (Tradition, Age of Napoleon, Little Wars etc) and various websites (definitely not including Wiki!).
Hopefully the resulting lists will provide a useful (but not exhaustive) guide/tool for players of Napoleon: Total War who like the units they recruit to have more realistic titles. For Regimental numbers use: 1er for first, 2e or 2ème for 2nd etc.
The 1803 reorganisation saw Demi-Brigades replaced by Regiments. Most regiments had 3 battalions; some had 4 battalions. The term demi-brigade was used thereafter for provisional formations.
In 1804 all Ligne (Line) battalions comprised 7 companies of Fusiliers, 1 company of Grenadiers and 1 company of Voltigeurs (some battalions did not complete converting their 8th company of Fusiliers into Voltigeurs until 1806). All Légère (Light) battalions comprised 7 companies of Chasseurs, 1 company of Carabiniers (equivalent to Grenadiers in Regiments de Ligne) and 1 company of Voltigeurs. Headquarters for 3 battalion Regiment was 36 personnel, while a 4 battlion regiment it was 42 personnel; Grenadier & carabinier companies comprised 83 personnel, while Fusilier, Chasseur & Voltigeur companies comprised 123 personnel.
The decree of 18 February 1808 confirmed changes that appear to have already been set in motion, namely that all regiments should comprise 5 battlions (4 bataillons de guerre [war] & 1 Dépột). Ligne battalions comprised 4 companies of Fusiliers, 1 company of Grenadiers and 1 company of Voltigeurs. Légère battalions comprised 4 companies of Chasseurs, 1 company of Carabiniers and 1 company of Voltigeurs. All companies had a theoretical strength of 140 men.
In 1812 Napoleon ordered all infantry Regiments to form a 6th bataillon as a bataillon de guerre; the 5th bataillon remained as the Dépột. Apart from Davout’s corps not many others formed this bataillon.
By mid-1813 two regiments (6th Ligne & 14th Légère) had 8 battalions, thirty regiments (9th & 18th Légère, 10th, 13th, 15th, 20th, 23rd, 32nd, 70th, 82nd, 134th Ligne - still tracking down remainder) had 6 battalions, one hundred and thirty six regiments had 5 battalions and six regiments had only 4 battalions.
Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne
The 1803 reorganisation resulted in 90 line regiments (they were not numbered sequentially) numbered 1st to 112th. 19 regiments had 4 battalions, the remaining 71 had 3 battalions.
Regiments with 4 battalions were:-
2nd, 3rd, 5th, 11th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 34th, 35th, 37th, 56th, 60th, 62nd, 79th, 92nd & 93rd.
Vacant regiment numbers in 1803 were: -
31st, 38th, 41st, 49th, 68th, 71st, 73rd, 74th, 77th, 78th, 80th, 83rd, 87th, 90th, 91st, 97th, 98th, 99th, 104th, 107th, 109th & 110th.
Further regiments were raised as follows:
113th formed from Tuscan troops.
114th to 120th formed from provisional regiments in Spain.
121st & 122nd formed from survivors of Legions de Reserve.
123rd to 126th formed from former Dutch regiments.
127th to 129th formed from Hanseatic states & Hanoverian Legion.
130th formed from auxiliary battalions in Spain.
131st to 133rd formed from Disciplinary Regiments. (131st from Régiment de Walcheren, 132nd from Régiment de L’Isle-de-Ré, 133rd from Régiment de la Méditerranée).
134th formed from Garde de Paris.
135th to 142nd and 144th to 156th formed from battalions of the National Guard.
143rd formed in 1813 in Catalonia from battalions of the National Guard.
104th formed from battalions drawn from other Regiments (17th, 52nd & 101st Line).
107th formed from battalions drawn from other Regiments (6th, 10th, 20th, & 102nd).
Régiment d'Infanterie Légère
The 1803 reorganisation resulted in 27 light regiments (they were not numbered sequentially) numbered 1st to 31st. 3 regiments had 4 battalions, the remaining 24 had 3 battalions.
Regiments with 4 battalions were:- 7th, 16th & 25th.
Vacant regimental numbers were:– 11th, 19th, 20th & 30th.
Further regiments were raised as follows:
32nd formed from Genoese & Tuscan troops.
33rd formed from Dutch light infantry.
34th formed from auxiliary battalions in Spain.
11th formed from Tirailleurs de Corse, Tirailleurs du Po, Legion du Midi & Bataillon de Valaison.
29th formed from survivors of the garrison of the Ile de France.
35th & 36th formed from disciplinary battalions (35th from 1st Régiment de la Méditerranée; 36th from Régiment de Belle-Ile.
37th formed from Departmental Compagnies de Reserve
Apart from Régiments de Ligne & Légère, the French utilised temporary units such as the five “Légions de Réserve de l’interieur” which were formed from surplus conscripts in 1807 and 1808. Each Legion had four 8 company infantry battalions and 1 company of artillery. 11 battalions were lost at Bailen; the remaining 9 battalions became the 121st and 122nd Line.
Seven bataillons auxiliaries d’infanterie were formed in 1810 from regimental depots of units who were not serving in Spain. In 1811 they became the 130th Ligne and 34th Légère.
Régiments de Marche – often formed with detachments from a mix of units to deliver ‘trained’ troops from the depots to frontline units. The formation was dissolved when it reached its destination.
Oudinot's "Grenadier division"
December 1805 Oudinot's "Grenadier division" raised and organized as follows:
1st Grenadier Regiment - 13th & 58th Ligne
2nd Grenadier Regiment - 9th & 81st Ligne
3rd Grenadier Regiment - 2nd & 3rd Légère
4th Grenadier Regiment - 28th & 31st Légère
5th Grenadier Regiment - 12th & 15th Légère
By 10 January 1807 the Division had undergone a major reorganization:
1st Battalion: 27th Legere (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 94th & 95th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
2nd Battalion: 8th, 45th & 54th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
3rd Battalion: 9th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 32nd & 96th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
4th Battalion: 30th, 33rd & 51st Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
5th Battalion: 10th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 24th & 26th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
6th Battalion: 4th, 18th & 57th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
7th Battalion: 17th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 21st & 34th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
8th Battalion: 40th, 64th & 88th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
9th Battalion: 6th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 39th & 69th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
10th Battalion: 27th, 59th & 76th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
11th Battalion: 16th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 44th & 105th Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
12th Battalion: 7th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs), 24th & 63rd Line (Grenadiers & Voltigeurs)
13th Battalion: 25th Légère (Carabiniers); 28th Légère (Carabiniers & Voltigeurs)
On 1 June 1807 the division contained:
1st Battalion: Carabiniers from 6th, 7th, 9th, 16th, 25th & 27th Légère
2nd Battalion: Voltigeurs from 6th, 7th, 9th, 16th, 25th & 27th Légère
3rd Battalion: Grenadiers from 8th, 30th, 33rd, 51st, 95th & 96th Ligne
4th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 8th, 30th, 33rd, 51st, 95th & 96th Ligne
5th Battalion: Carabiniers from 10th, 17th, 21st, 24th, 26th & 28th Légère
6th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 10th, 17th, 21st, 24th, 26th & 28th Légère
7th Battalion: Grenadiers from 4th, 18th, 34th, 40th, 64th & 88th Ligne
8th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 4th, 18th, 34th, 40th, 64th & 88th Ligne
9th Battalion: Grenadiers from 27th, 39th, 45th, 59th, 69th & 70th Ligne
10th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 27th, 39th, 45th, 59th, 69th & 70th Ligne
11th Battalion: Grenadiers from 24th, 44th, 54th, 63rd, 94th & 105th Ligne
12th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 24th, 44th, 54th, 63rd, 94th & 105th Ligne
13th Battalion: Carabiniers from 22nd & 25th Légère; and Grenadiers from 32nd, 57th & 65th Line
14th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 22nd, 32nd, 57th & 65th Line
15th Battalion: Grenadiers from 3rd, 61st, 85th & 111th Line
16th Battalion: Voltigeurs from 3rd, 61st, 85th & 111th Line
These regiments were disbanded after the 1807 campaign in Poland.
Dépôts de conscripts réfractaire – created in 1804 and divided between 11 citadels which functioned as military depots (Lille, Givet, Charlemont, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Besançon, Briançon, Perpignan, Bayonne, Caen & Alexandrie). The conscripts were divided into 160 men companies. On 27 January 1810 and 11 March 1811 the troops in the depots and the departments of the Alps were formed into the 1st (based in Ajaccio) and 2nd (based in Toulon) Régiment de la Méditerranée. On 24 June 1811 new depots were established on Île de Re, Belle Île and Île de Walcheren. In 1812 Île de Walcheren became 131st Ligne, Île de Re became 132nd Ligne & Belle Île became 36th Légère. On 20 September 1812 the Régiments de la Méditerranée became 35th Légère and 133rd Ligne.
Foreign & Auxiliary Troops
Régiments Étranger [Foreign Regiments]
Régiment de la Tour d’Auvergne – created 30 September 1805 with 3 battalions of 9 companies; 4th battalion formed in 1809; became 1st Régiment Étranger on 3 August 1811; 5th and 6th battalions formed in 1811.
Régiment d’Isembourg - created 1 November 1805 with a headquarters and 3 battalions of 9 companies (3,224 men). The decree of 16 October 1810 reorganized into 6 battalions each of six companies inline with the 1808 reorganisation for French units. On 3 August 1811 became 2nd Régiment Étranger.
Régiment Irlandaise – created 31 August 1803 as a batallion, became La Légion Irlandaise in 1805, in 1809 became Régiment Irlandaise with 2 battalions, became 3rd Régiment Étranger with 5 battalions on 3 August 1811.
Régiment de Prusse - created 13 November 1806 with 4 batallions; became 4th Régiment Étranger on 3 August 1811 incorporating Légion Hanôverienne on 9 August 1811. Ceased to exist between 1813-14.
Other Foreign Troops
Régiment de Westphalie - created 11 December 1806; 4 battalions of 6 companies;reduced to 2 battalions in October 1807; renamed Bataillon de Westphalie when its strength fell to 1 battalion. Incorporated into Légion Hanôverienne on 30 September 1809.
Légion Hanôverienne – created 13 April 1804 with 2 battalions and 2 squadrons of Chasseur à Cheval. Incorporated into 4th Régiment Étranger on 3 August 1811.
Légion Piédmontaise (Légion du Midi) – created 18 May 1803 with an effective strength of 4,000 (4 legions – each the equivalent of a French line battalion). 2 battalions sent to the West Indies. In 1804 the remaining 2 battalions renamed Légion du Midi. Strength fell to 1 battalion in 1808 and in 1811 became part of 82nd Line and 11th & 31st Light.
Bataillon Valisan – on 8 October 1805 a 5 company battalion was raised by the Swiss canton Valais which broke away from Switzerland in 1802. Valais was incorporated into the French Empire on 12 September 1810. As a result the battalion was disbanded and incorporated into 11th Light on 16 September 1811.
Bataillon de Neuchâtel – on 11 May 1807 a battalion of 6 companies (1 grenadier, 1 voltigeur & 4 Fusilier) was created; a company of foot artillery was attached from 27 August 1808. The Unit was disbanded on 1 June 1814.
Légion du Nord – created 20 September 1806 with 4 battalions. On 23 September 1806 it became 1st Légion du Nord when Napoleon decreed the formation of the 2nd Légion du Nord. Both Legions had the same organisation. Legion headquarters of 33 personnel; each battalion was composed of 9 companies - 1 Carabinier, 1 Voltigeur & 7 Chasseur. Each company was authorised to have 139 personnel. On 1 September 1807 the Legions passed under the command of the King of Saxony
La Légion Polacco-Italienne – on the 5 April 1807 Napoleon ordered the reconstitution of the old Légion Polonaise out of the remains of Polish units in Italy. The Légion comprised 3 infantry regiments and 1 cavalry regiment with 3 squadrons. In October 1807 the Légion passed into the service of Westphalia and in early 1808 it was ordered to Paris and renamed La Légion Polacco-Italienne. On 28 March the Légion entered French service. It later took the name Légion de la Vistule.
Légion de la Vistule – on 24 June 1808 the Légion de la Vistule was constituted with a strength of 3 infantry regiments (each of 2 battalions of 6 companies – 1 grenadier, 1 voltigeur and 4 fusilier, each company had 140 men - and a separate joint 6 company depot battalion) entitled “…Régiment d’Infanterie de la Legion de la Vistule” and 1 cavalry regiment entitled “Régiment des lanciers de la Légion de la Vistule”. In 1809 a 2nd Légion comprising 3 infantry regiments was authorised but on 12 February 1810 it became the 4th infantry regiment of the original Légion. On 7 February 1811 the cavalry regiment became the 1st when the “2nd Régiment des lanciers de la Légion de la Vistule” was formed. On 18 June 1811 both cavalry regiments were transferred into the French line cavalry as the 7th and 8th Chevau-Léger-Lanciers. In 1813 the remnants of the Legion were grouped into the Régiment de la Vistule.
Bataillon Septinsulaire – created in 1807 as a light infantry battalion with former Venetian troops. Disbanded 1814.
Régiment Albanais –passed into French service in 1807 (previously in pay of Russia) as a 3 battalion regiment consisting of 9 companies each. Reorganised in 1809 into a 6 battalion regiment. Greeks within the unit formed a separate 8 company (3 elite companies!) Battalion de Chasseurs à Pied du Grec. On 6 November 1813 the regiment was reduced to 2 battalions (consisting of 1 elite company and 5 of Fusiliers each). It passed into British service in June 1814.
Chasseurs à Cheval Ioniens – created on 27 November 1807 with 1 squadron; reduced to 1 company on 13 December 1808. Disbanded in 1814.
Bataillon des Chasseurs d’Orient – formed 7 January 1802 and disbanded 24 September 1814.
Légion du Corses – formed on 12 January 1800. On 18 April 1805 reorganised into a 5 battalion (each of 5 companies) Régiment d’Infanterie Légère Corse. The Légion passed into service of the Kingdom of Naples on 10 January 1807 as 3 battalion Regiment “Royal Corse”.
Régiments Suisse – on 27 September 1803 the Swiss cantons agreed to supply 4 infantry regiments of 4 battalions of 1,000 men each in 9 companies (1 grenadier & 8 fusilier). Regimental headquarters comprised 43 men, grenadier company 92 men and fusilier company 112 men. 1st Régiment Suisse formed on 15 March 1805, the remainder in October 1806. a voltigeur company was added in 1807 to all battalions which meant that each battalion had 10 companies. A regimental foot artillery company was attached to the 1st regiment on 1 April 1807; similar companies were attached to the other regiments on 10 December 1811. The Swiss switched to the standard 6 company (1 grenadier, 1 voltigeur and 4 fusilier) battalion organisation in 1812 though none seem to have had more than 3 bataillon de guerre.
Tirailleurs du Pô – created 20 August 1803. On 8 September 1811 became part of 11th Legere.
Tirailleurs Corse – Formed in 1802 as the 3rd Battalion of the Legion du Corses. Became part of 8th Légère in May 1803. In April 1804 became an independent battalion named Tirailleurs du Corse with 10 companies (1 Carabinier, 1 Voltigeur & 8 Chasseur). By September 1810 the battalion comprised 6 companies (1 Carabinier, 1 Voltigeur & 4 Chasseur) and 1 depot company. On 8 September 1811 became part of 11th Legere.
Régiment Joseph-Napoléon – Four battalions were raised on 9 February 1809 from the debris of Romana’s Spanish Corps (and Spanish prisoners of war). Reduced to 2 battalions (1 war & 1 depot) in 1813. Disbanded on 25 November 1813 and transformed into a regiment of Pionniers Espagnols (Spanish Pioneers).
Légion Portugais – created 16 January 1808 and organised from troops of the disbanded Portuguese Army. The 18 May 1808 decree set out the Légion Portugais organisation – two brigades of infantry and cavalry, composed of six regiments of light infantry (reduced to 5 by combat and desertion), two regiments of Chasseurs à Cheval and 1 company of artillery (whose existence was short-lived). Each infantry regiment was have two battalions, each battalion 6 companies and each company 140 personnel. Each cavalry regiment was to be composed of four squadrons of two companies and each company of 120 men. The decree also set up a depot battalion for the infantry and a squadron to act as depot for the cavalry – the depots were organized as for the others.
In 1809 a half-brigade of 20 elite companies was organised.
On 2 May 1811 the Légion was reduced to 3 regiments of infantry, each of 2 battalions of 6 companies, of 140 men each and a depot battalion of 4 companies of 140 men each, and 1 Chasseur à Cheval regiment of 4 squadrons of 2 companies of 120 men each.
On 18 January 1813 the remaining troops were reorganized into a battalion de guerre and a depot battalion. The Legion was disbanded in November 1813.
Régiments Provinciaux Croates – 6 regiments raised in November & December 1809:
1st (Licca); 2nd (Ottochatz); 3rd (Ogulin); 4th Szluin); 5th (1st Banat); & 6th (2nd Banat);
Hussards Croates – raised on 23 February 1813 and disbanded 25 November.
Régiments Provisoires d’Infanterie Croate – 4 regiments were raised in 1809 from former Austrian Grenz Infanterie Regiments, reverted to Austrian service in 1813. 1st raised from Liccaner & Ottocaner; 2nd from Oguliner & Szluiner; 3rd from first battalions of the 1st & 2nd Banal; 4th raised end of August 1812 from the second battalions of 1st & 2nd Banal.
Régiment Catalonien – decree of 17 March 1812 called for 3 battalions from Spanish Prisoners of War in Catalonia. Never reached planned strength & disbanded on 12 July 1812.
Chasseurs des Alpes formed in 1813 in preparation for an Austrian offensive in Italy and for fighting the Piedmontese Barbets. It had 1-2 battalions formed of former smugglers, poachers, gamekeepers and ordinary mountaineers.
Chasseurs de Montagne on 6 August 1808 Napoleon decided to form 8 Pyrenean battalions of "miquelets" (comprising 34 companies in total) utilising the National Guard from the Departments of l’Ariège, Basses-Pyrénèes, Haute-Garonne, Hautes- Pyrénèes, and Pyrénèes -Orientales. The battalions were to be named:
1er bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département de l'Ariège;
2e bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département de l'Ariège;
bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département de la Haute-Garonne;
bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département des Basses-Pyrénées;
1er bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département des Basses-Pyrénées;
2e bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département des Basses-Pyrénées;
bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département des Hautes-Pyrénées; &
bataillon des chasseurs de la montagne du département des Pyrénées –Orientales.
But due to the lack of personnel by1811 the chasseurs were reorganised into just 3 battalions of Chasseurs de Montagne: 1er bataillon from 3 companies from Hautes-Pyrénées, 2 companies from Haute-Garonne, & 1 from Pyrénées–Orientales; 2e bataillon from 8 companies from l’Ariège; and 3e bataillon from Basses-Pyrénées. After the evacuation of Spain, the battalions were incorporated into the infantry: 1er bataillon into 116th regiment de ligne; 2e bataillon into 4th regiment legere; and 3e bataillon into 25th regiment legere.
Légion du Cap – formed in 1805 with strength of 2 battalions from remnants of several French regiments. Disbanded in 1809.
Régiment de l’Ile de France – raised on 9 November 1804 with 2 battalions of 7 companies each. Became 20th Légere in 1811.
Troupes de Java – in 1810 mix of forces (Dutch, Wurttemberg & French) reorganised into 3 line infantry regiments, a regiment of chasseurs of 2 battalions, a cavalry regiment, 3 battalions of garrison infantry and an artillery regiment of 3 battalions. Destroyed by Anglo-Indian force in 1811.
Bataillon du Sénegal – raised in 1799 with 3 companies; renamed “Compagnie Auxiliaires” in 1802. Capitulated to British in 1809.
Bataillon de la Guyane - ?? surrendered to Anglo-Portuguese force on 14 January 1809.
Chasseurs de la Réunion – 1 battalion formed on 2 November 1803 from white citizens of Mauritius and La Réunion. In 1804 an artillery company was added. 3 companies of sepoys were raised on 4 October 1811. Surrendered to the British in May 1811.
Bataillons Coloniaux – 4 battalions of 6 companies (1 grenadier, 1 voltigeur and 4 fusilier) formed on 16 August 1803 to act as the European depots for colonial forces. Reorganised in July 1810 into 4 company battalions.
Pionniers Coloniaux – 6 battalions formed on 20 August 1812 and attached to various colonial regiments. Assigned as follows: 1st battalion (Holland); 2nd (Corsica); 3rd (Île d’Oleron); 4th (Belle-Île); 5th ( ..); 6th (..).
Chasseurs Volontaires de la Martinique – 1 company raised 8 July 1803.
Corps de Pionniers Noirs – raised on 6 March 1804 on Martinique from black slaves to serve the artillery and engineers.
Chasseurs de la Guadeloupe – 4 companies raised in 1802. Reduced to 1 company in September 1807, increased to 400 men in 1810.