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Offline Intel Guardian

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Prussian Ranks
« on: September 26, 2017, 04:47:32 pm »
Does anyone have any information on Napoleonic Prussian ranks, mostly those of NCOs?

Wikipedia and other sites say that the only NCO ranks were Gefreiter (Lance Corporal) , Unteroffizier (Serjeant) and Feldwebel (Serjeant Major) (other websites I've seen only make reference to Unteroffizier and Feldwebel), but how did they tell the difference between these ranks?

Mont Saint Jean shows that both Unteroffiziers and Feldwebels had yellow and gold stripes on their collars and cuffs, but nothing else:
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Also, the uniforms of company officers and field officers are pretty much the same. Is this really how things were? It doesn't seem very professional. There's also quite a bit of confusion over who carried the colours. Was it unteroffiziers? Feldwebels? Fähnrichs (which seem to originate from the late 1800s and not the Napoleonic Wars as Wikipedia states)?
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 04:49:29 pm by Intel Guardian »

Offline Bluehawk

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2017, 10:08:26 pm »
Field-grade and company-grade officers were distinguished by the fringe on their epaulettes. The ranks for officers shown on that diagram are anachronistic; during the Napoleonic era, Hauptmann was known as Capitaine or Kapitän, Oberleutnant was Premier-Lieutenant, and the lower Leutnant was Seconde-Lieutenant. There also existed below captain the rank of Stabs-Kapitän, which was originally a title denoting the commander of a company which had a field-grade officer or general as its nominal chief. This became superfluous after the reforms of 1807 when all companies ideally had a full captain.

Before 1807, the company's colours were carried by a Gefreiter-Corporal or Junker, a nobleman and officer-candidate serving as an NCO for a period of time. Of the ten junkers in a regiment (grenadier companies having none), the five oldest held patents for the rank of Fähnrich (Ensign) or Kornett in the cavalry and were styled "Portepee-Fähnrich" and was permitted to carry an officer's sword and sword-knot. After the reforms, Gefreiter-Corporal and Fähnrich/Kornett were abolished and the colours were entrusted to an experienced NCO of any rank or social class, who apparently was then known as the Portepee-Fähnrich.

In this table of personnel and salaries for the 7th Reserve Infantry Regiment from 1813, a 3-battalion regiment of 12 companies had in each company:
1 Feldwebel (Sgt. Major),
1 Sergeant
1 Kapitain d'armes (NCO in charge of company weapons and equipment)
1 Fourier (a quartermaster in charge of establishing camp and caring for rations/forage)
1 Portepeefähnrich (the company colourbearer)
and 10 Korporale

A Gefreiter was not an NCO, but a senior private entrusted with certain duties like commanding a guard detachment, and would be among the first men to be considered when a vacancy in the corporalcies opened up. They were not distinguished in dress from regular Gemeine.

http://www.napoleon-online.de/pr_1806infanterieOffiziere.html
http://www.napoleon-online.de/pr_1806infanterieUffz.html
http://gdz.sub.uni-goettingen.de/dms/load/img/?PID=PPN682442984|LOG_0002&physid=PHYS_0006
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 10:14:25 pm by Bluehawk »

Offline Intel Guardian

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 10:26:14 pm »
Good man Bluehawk, knew I could count on you.

Offline Tambour|und|Pfeifer

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2017, 08:28:34 pm »
Hi,
I want to correct one thing: the Prussian army had until the 1830's no "Sergant". The normal name of an NCO was "Unteroffizier".

Now to your post.
Yes, "Unteroffiziere and Feldwebel had the golden stripes. but the Unteroffiziere had the normal infantry tassel at their sabres, during the Feldwebel had the Portepées
(that's the tassel of the officers).
The colour was mostly carried by Fähnrichs. But there are also written, that, in some cases, the Unteroffiziere, or Feldwebel had the colours.

If You have further questions, feel free to contact me.

Greetings,

Tambour|und|Pfeifer
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Offline Bluehawk

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2017, 11:48:13 pm »
Do you know when Sergeant was abolished?

Here is another regimental history, of Regiment No. 6 (1. West-Preussische), which quotes the regimental etat from 1st January, 1808, and again the NCOs are broken down into: Feldwebel, Sergeant (which contains the posts of capitaine d'armes and fourrier), Portepeefähnrich and Junker as separate ranks (one commoner and one noble, presumably?) and lastly Korporal.

Offline Tambour|und|Pfeifer

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2017, 09:54:26 pm »
Please look at the print datum -- it's from 1850,
there the sergant was in the ranks again. better is when you read the exercir-Reglement from 1812.
there are all Ranks in the text.
 Also Junkers and portepée-Fähnriche were no real officers, they were candidates.

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Offline Bluehawk

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2017, 02:41:12 am »
The 1812 Exercir-Reglement does not contain a table for personnel numbers or salaries and speaks of NCOs broadly. The publication date of the book doesn't matter if its reproducing the 1808 document verbatim. Here is another regimental history, of the 1. Ost-Preussische Regiment (later Grenadier-Regiment "König Friedrich III.") containing another table derived from the 1/1/1808 Etat, with the same graduation of ranks, not to mention the 1813 table referenced earlier.
I never said Junkers or Portee-Fähnriche were officers, I said they were NCOs (Unteroffiziere).

Again, I'm curious when the rank of Sergeant was abolished in the Prussian Army, for it to be reintroduced in the 1830s.

Offline Tambour|und|Pfeifer

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Re: Prussian Ranks
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2018, 10:40:49 am »
Hi, sorry for my long absence, was bit busy with school.

When exactly the Sergant was abolished I have to research. But through new sources I know that they not completely abolished the rank. As far as I know between 1807 and 1808 there were no new Sergants "made" (sorry, I don't know the prper word ^^) butr the existing Sergants stayed in ther rank in the army. So it is possible that Regiments still had Sergants in 1813, I'm sorry for my fault. :)

Greetings
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