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The Man and the MythNapoleon and JoesphinePolitics in Napoleon's TimesNapoleon at War

Campaings and Battles
Napoleon's Tactics
The Soldier's Life
Weapons and Units of the Grand Armée
Interactive Battlefield Simulator

Weapons and Units of the Grand Armée


An infantry soldier’s life revolved around his section, consisting of six to twelve men, with whom he would eat, sleep, march and fight during battle. Each soldier was generally armed with a Charleville pattern "1777" smoothbore .69 caliber flintlock musket. A cartridge containing a ball weighing 4/5 of an ounce and gunpowder would be rammed down into the mussel of the weapon. A well-trained soldier could fire up to three times a minute and could hit a target at a hundred yards.

Napoleon with infantry

Small units, such as a battalion (840 men) or demi-brigade, could fight independently or as part of a larger force as necessary. Each battalion had select units for special battlefield duties: four companies of fusiliers (light, fast-moving infantry), one of grenadiers (shock troops comprised of the tallest, bravest men) and one of voltigeurs or tirailleurs (literally meaning "vaulter" or "leaper") who were skirmishers that would preceed the battalion in attack.

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