Tactics and Doctrine
Denmark had been inspired a great deal by the Prussian army, in the way the Danes trained their infantry and organised their regiments and battalions. A part of the Danish army were from Holstein, a german speaking duchy. It all led to the Danish army adopting Prussian drill, organisation and theories. King Frederick II of Prussia had shown great skill in building and training an army and his theories was widely accepted as being the only way to lead and organise an army.
Allthough the Danish army never fought in any huge battles like Jena, Borodino or Leipzig, they did fight several smaller engagements. Most of the battles fought was in 1813, but several small skirmishes was fought with British landingparties during the war with Britain 1807-1814. Therefore it cannot be concluded how well the Danish army would handle itself in a huge engagement. But we can say that when they fought skirmished and smaller battles (like Sehested with 20.000 men present) they fought exceptionally.
An infantry regiment consisted in 1803 of 2 battalions of 5 companies
each. One of the companies in each battalion were the elite grenadier company. Company
strength were 3 officers, 9 non-commissioned officers, 4 musicians 12 sharpshooters 136
soldiers and 2 pioneers. The total strength of a regiment including staff would be 1.690
men. Until 1808 each battalion had a pair of 3-pound cannons. The battalion provided 2
officers, 5 non-commissioned officers and 40 privates to man the guns. In 1803 the
grenadier company of the second battalion was disbanded and a light company was included
instead. The light company was formed by taking the 12 sharpshooters from each of the 10
companies in the regiment. In 1803 the 1st battalion consisted of 4 fusilier companies and
1 gernadier company. The second battalion had 4 fusilier companies and one light company.
An organisation somewhat similar to that of the French battalions. In 1807 2 additional
battalions were added to each regiment (except the Marine Regiment). These two battalions
came from the territorial militia. The two new battalions were named
"annekterede" battalions (the annexed battalions). These battalions were
organised exactly like the 2nd battalion in each regiment. They consisted of 1 light
company and 4 line companies.
The Danish army had, like most other european armies at the time, been based on the drill and doctrines of the Prussian army, which had functioned brilliantly in earlier wars. This all changed in 1787 when Carl of Hessen decided to make a clean break with the old complicated doctrines and drill. Instead a simpler quicker drill was practiced, as the Prince reckognised the need for quick formation changes and the ability to fight and maneuver in skirmish formations. The two basic combat formations used by the Danish infantry battalions at the time was the Line and the Square. In battle the battalion would form a line, 3 ranks deep. Each soldier in the battalion could aim and fire 3 shots per minute. The battalion would fire vollies from the compact line formation to obtain maximum effect. The volley was usually fired by to the two first ranks in such a way that a platoon would fire their muskets while other platoons were reloading. This made it possible for the battalion to keep up a constant volley fire. The Square formation was used for protection against cavalry attacks. It involved the battalion forming a rectangle, which made it easier to repulse mounted attacks.
While the line battalion was forming line, it´s light company would spread out in skirmish lines to the battalions front. The light troops would protect the battalion while it was forming and later it would provide harassing fire upon enemy battalions trying to attack it´s parent battalion. Skirmishers would also try to protect its parent battalion from enemy skirmishers trying to harass it. Until 1803 each Danish company had 12 sharpshooters, which would link up with the sharpshooters from other companies to form the skirmish lines. After 1803 the sharpshooters were removed from the line companies and formed into an elite company of their own.
On the attack the battalion would march towards the enemy in line formation, the elite grenadier company would usually lead the 1st battalion into battle. The battalion would open fire when it came within 200 meters of the enemy. The fire would be either a battalion volley or a platoon volley (starting from the right, even numbered battalions fired first then unevens would fire). After each volley the battalion would advance before reloading. When the battalion came within 20-30 meters of the enemy if would charge using bayonets. During the entire attack the light companies would skirmish with the enemy, maintaining a steady fire on the enemy battalion.
On the march the infantry had 3 standard marching speeds. First was 90 steps a minute (before 1808 it was 76 steps a minute), the second was 120 steps per minute and the third pace was running. During formation changes the first march speed was used to avoid disorder and confusion. To maintain order during formation changes non-commissioned officers would take up position in the terrain marking there the battalion and companies should be placed. The battalion and company standards where then used to guide the troops into position as quickly as possible.
Denmark founded its first light units in 1785, when it was decided to set
up 2 Jægerkorps ("Chasseur corps"). 3 battalions of light infantry followed in
1789. Each of the Jægerkorps numbered 4 companies consisting in 3 officers, 3
non-comissioned officers, 2 musicians and 133 soldiers. The size of a Jægerkorps
including staff amounted to 576 troops. The light battalions numbered 4 companies, each
company consisted of 3 officers, 9 non-commissioned officers, 2 musicians and 120
privates, bringing a battalion and staff up to a total of 548 men. The univs were made up
primarely of Danish volunteers who allready posessed some talent as a marksman. As service
in a light unit could result in jobs as forest supervisors and hunt supervisors the
motivation of the light troops were high.
Jægerkorpsene used the Light Infantry Rifle M 1807 while the light battalions were equipped with the faster but less precise Skarpskyttegevær M 1789.
The light battalions were to be used as elite line battalions, fighting in line formation and in skirmish formations in front of other Danish units. They would functions as an addition to other battalions light companies. The light battalions could therefore function both as a lregular line battalion but also as traditionsl skirmishers. The normal way to deploy a light Danish battalion was to form it into a line with dense skirmish lines to the front. The skirmish lines would deliver precise and devestating fire upon attackers before they fell back behind the parent battalion which would then pour precise volleyfire into the disordered attackers. The Jægerkorps were to be used diffrently that the light battalions. The Jægerkorps were an elite reconnaissance and patrol force. They would set up foreward observation posts and shadow enemy movements while remaining unseen or sniping at the enemy from great distance. In combat the Jægerkorps operated in "Roder". A rode was a small 3 man team which was designed to givce each other mutual fire support in combat. The 3 men worked together in all combat situations, both in skirmish formations but also in other lose formations. The Jægerkorps were a hightly mobile and very fast force. They were trained in silent rapid movements, in seeking cover silently and in understanding sign language from officers. All things one would expect to find in modern elite formations. The Jægerkorps achieved a high rate of professionalism and respect from other brances of the army (asnd founded the basis for the Jægerkorps thats exist today as the elite of the Danish army).
The Danes fielded a wide range of cavalry regiments in the napoleonic
period. They could be parted into the following classes: Guard Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry,
Light Dragoons, Hussars and Lancers. Only heavy, light dragoons and hussars took part in
the campaign. The Heavy regiments were called Rytterregimenter (translates into
Rytterregimenter was the real heavy battlefield cavalry of the Danish army. A regiment was compromised of 4 squandrons. Each Squadron consisted of 5 officers, 11 non-commissioned officers, 2 musicians and 144 horsemen. Regimental strength was 664 troopers. Each squadron had it´s 12 best marksmen equipped with rifled carbines. These 12 were to function as flanquers (skirmishers for the cavalry regiment). The battledrill of the heavy cavalry was classis. They were to perform massed calvary chgargeas to maximise the effect of their huge horses and heavy swords. They were mainly trained in combat from horseback unlike other cavalry regiments. The regiment would deploy its squadrons in lines and approach the enemy. The speed would move from trotting to running ending in a gallop.
The light dragoon regiments consisted of 4 squadrons. Each squadron included 5 officers, 11 non-commissioned officers, 2 musicians and 144 troopers. Like a Rytterregiment the dragoon regimental strength was 664 men. The light dragoons was meant as a fast reconnaissance and escort force. They were to be used as scouts and was trained in small unit combat as it was expected that they would clash with enemy patrols. They also recieved extensive training in fast raids on shaken and suprised enemies. The original concept was that the dragoons would dismount and engage the enemy on foot, but this theory was quickly given up as it oprooved a much more effective force when fighting from horseback.
Only one Hussar regiment existed in the Danish army at the time. It was simply called Hussar Regimentet (The Hussar Regiment). A second hussar regiment was founded in 1813 but was disbanded 3 months later. The hussar regiment had 7 squadrons. The first 6 was armed and equipped as regular hussars while the last squadron was equipped as a lancer squadron. Each squadron had 5 officers, 11 non-comissioned officers, 2 musicians and 168 hussars. This gave the regiment a strength of 1.326 men. The hussars functioned like all other light cavalry of its day. The hussars was trained as scouts and frequently functioned in a supporting role of the infantry. Like the light dragoons the hussars would be used to shield friendly infantry from enemy cavalry during major engagements.The lancer squadron in the hussar regiment was based on Prussian hussar doctrine.
Artillery Tactics and Doctrine In 1803 the Danish artillery (called Det
Kongelige Artillerikorps which translated to "The Royal Corps of Artillery")
compromised Den Danske Artilleribrigade (The Danish Artillery Brigade) and Den Holstenske
Artilleribrigade ("The Artillery Brigade of Holsten"). Den Danske
Artilleribrigade had 9 companies of foot and 1 mounted company. Den Holstenske
Artilleribrigade had 6 companies of foot and 1 mounted. A company of foot artillery
compromised 8 officers, 18 non-comissioned officers, 2 musicians and 214 (254 for the
Holstenske Artilleribrigade) gunners and other ranks. A foot artillery company consisted
of 242 men (or 282 in the Holstein Artilleribrigade). A mounted company had 6 officers, 18
non-commissioned officers, 2 musicians and 144 gunners and other ranks for a total of 170
men. Den Danske Artilleribrigade had 2.430 men while Den Holstenske Artilleribrigade had
1.062 men. During the restructuring of 1808 16 militia companies were made, 10 in Danske
Artilleribataljon and 6 in Holstenske Artilleribataljon. These 16 companies were to be
used in fortifications as defensive artillery.
After 1808 each infantry brigade recieved one mounted battery of 8 3-pound cannons and 4 10-pound howitzers. The foot artillery operated 8 6-pound guns and 2 20-pound howitzers per battery. The heavier batteries operated 8 12-pound cannons and 4 36-pound howitzers. In battle the artillery deployed in batteries to fire solid shot and canister at the enemy formations. The howitzers would fire grenades instead of solid shot or canister. The heavy artillery should cover friendly formations while trying to delay and harass enemy movements and deployments. The lighter batteries would be deployed between the friendly infantry brigades and shell enemy positions. A well trained light battery could fire 24 shots per minute, which often resulted in devestation of enemy units. The mounted artillery was meant as a reserve that could be deployed quickly due to it´s high high mobility. It could also move foreward to support cavalry attacks or accompany cavalry and light troops in reconnaissance and patrol missions. The gunners of the mounted artillery would ride on the ammunition wagons, gun carriages and the limber horses.
The guns were all fabricated in Denmark, and were of high quality. The effeciency of the field artillery was never as good as that of Prussia or France. All the Danish cannons was made in bronze which made them very heavy.
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