Skirmish troops, like these Prussian Feldjäger riflemen produced by HäT Industrie, typically deployed only ¼ of their strength as skirmishers; most of the unit formed closed supports, called soutiens, which the skirmishers could fall back on if they were threatened by superior numbers or pounced upon by enemy cavalry. The actual skirmishers were always deployed in pairs, by “Rotte”, one of whom was called the “second” of the other, who supported him, and never let him get out of his sight. The second only fired his weapon in an absolute emergency, otherwise he stood by with his loaded weapon, while the shooter reloaded to take another shot.
Skirmishers appreciated the value of deception and camouflage; and their junior officers would typically dispense with most items of period officer’s dress, like metallic hat lace, fancy embroidery on cuffs, lapels, and turnbacks, even emphatic pointing and waving of swords, lest they be singled out as targets of opportunity. Commands were given by whistle or bugle call.
To replicate a skirmish line in miniature, therefore, we will need an equal amount of shooters and seconds, carbine-armed junior officers dressed like common soldiers, armed musicians playing the bugle or hunting horn, and three quarters of the unit in support, doing nothing.
48 Jäger Sharpshooters in 8 Poses – 23.5 mm height equals 169 cm
- 4 Supports
- Jäger, standing in support, with ring hand (4)
- 36 Shooters
- Jäger, standing, firing (8)
- Jäger, kneeling, firing (8)
- Jäger, standing, opening the pan (4)
- Jäger, standing, ramming the charge (8)
- Jäger, kneeling, ramming the charge (8)
- 8 Seconds
- Jäger, standing, levelled rifle (4)
- Jäger, standing, advancing (4)
Excellent choice of subject, these soft plastic Prussian Feldjägers are unique in 1:72 scale. The Jägers are wearing the “Kollet”-like “Rock”, a short coat, with open collar, introduced in 1808, which was superceded by a closed collar in 1814. The difference is minor, and the collar can simply be painted to represent the earlier or later version. The uniform is that worn be the four regular Jäger battalions of the post-1806 Prussian Napoleonic army, the Guard Jäger Battalion, East Prussian Jäger Battalion, Silesian Schützen Battalion of 1809, and the Guard Schützen Battalion raised in 1814. The same uniform was to be worn by the Freiwillige Jäger volunteers attached to line infantry regiments in 1813, but these men were expected to arm and equip themselves at their own expense, and they never achieved the level of uniformity seen in regular army Jäger battalions. To represent this in miniature, simply give some of your volunteer Jägers funny Schirmmütze hats scrounged from Airfix Prussian Landwehr or, better yet, mix in the occasional line infantry and Landwehr soldier, painted green, to indicate that a certain wargame unit is Freiwillige Jäger, not regular Feldjäger.
Useful poses representing supports, shooters, and seconds, but the number of shooters is vastly exaggerated. Using the four supports as seconds, wargamers will be able to form twelve pairs of skirmishers. If the shooter priming the pan is snuck in as a second, 16 pairs are available; just enough to field two skirmish companies for Charge!, albeit without soutiens. Diorama builders, on the other hand, will be hard-pressed to recreate formed supports, unless they are portraying a scene where a soutien is under attack, defending itself by volley fire from a two-deep line or hasty square.
The sculptor appears to have based his Jäger miniatures on the illustration of a Prussian Volunteer Jäger on plate 75 of Philipp Haythornthwaite’s book Uniforms of Waterloo in Colour. In that painting, the Volunteer Jäger is shown at an angle, and the perspective is such that his ventral cartridge pouch, known as a “belly box”, appears to be in front of his left hip. Only when you check the vertical lines of the double row of buttons on his chest, which are centered, does it become clear that the belly box, too, is indeed centered in front of the man’s belly, as it should be. Unfortunately, the sculptor seems to have been mislead by this less then perfect painting, and his Feldjägers now all wear their ventral cartridge pouch way off center, in front of the left hip bone. Ouch! It will take a considerable amount of time and effort to correct the belly boxes on all 48 Feldjägers. The easiest fix for this problem is to slice the misplaced ventral pouches off, and be done with them. This works, because the miniatures are all equipped with an infantry cartridge pouch in addition to the ventral pouch.
Richard Knötel to the Rescue: Uniformkunde Vol. X, Plate 2 and Vol. XIII, Plate 31 show Prussian Guard Jägers (1809) and Silesian Schützen (1809–1810) without ventral pouch, but wearing regular infantry cartridge pouches behind their right hip. Similarly, Vol. XVI, Plate 41 has Freiwillige Jäger of the Colberg Infanterie-Regiment in 1813 with the same infantry pouches suspended from a crossbelt over the left shoulder. The Oberjäger in that plate appears to be armed with a [smoothbore?] carbine with fixed socket bayonet, in addition to his Hirschfänger sidearm. Lacking rifles, many Freiwillige Jäger carried muskets with socket bayonet, instead; so any mix of muskets and rifles in the same unit is perfectly acceptable.
The Jäger miniature standing in support has an open ring hand, but the set provides nothing to equip him with. The only 1:72 scale figure set which includes anything like the iconic Feldjäger “Halbmond” hunting horn is the “Punic Wars Roman Command” set produced by HäT Industrie. To the best of our knowledge, there is no separate 1:72 soft plastic Jäger rifle available anywhere, with which this Jäger might be turned into an NCO or junior officer. The only available option is to give him a musket, or to cut a separate musket down to the length of a hunting rifle.
The Jäger standing with levelled rifle has been damaged in the mould-making process; his rolled greatcoat runs over the right arm, rather than the right arm being on top of the greatcoat. The cuff morphed into the greatcoat, which looks rather silly. Please refer to our video tutorial Repairing Miscast Prussian Napoleonic Feldjäger, to see how we fixed this mistake. The pose looks attractive at first glance, although, considering that this man is a second, one cannot help but wonder what exactly he is doing. The determined stance, reminiscent of a similar pose in the Airfix French Foreign Legion figure set, suggests that this Jäger is about to receive a charge, without his Hirschfänger sword bayonet fixed, no less!
The kneeling, loading Jäger has been damaged by extraction from the mould, half of his Tornister knapsack and Kochgeschirr mess kit are gone, the rolled greatcoat is damaged, and the crossbelt behind his right hip appears to have lost the cartridge pouch. This kind of damage may be repaired with an epoxy putty like »Milliput«, »Green Stuff«, or »Pattex Repair Express Putty«, using a professional wax carving or sculpting tool.
The kneeling, firing Jäger has no Hirschfänger sidearm. To fix this problem, simply remove the misplaced ventral cartridge pouch, heat the short end of an L-shaped section of a shortened staple and insert this into the miniature where the cartridge pouch used to be.
There is no flash, but noticeable mould lines need to be removed prior to painting. Please refer to our video tutorial Removing Mould Lines, to see how this is done most effectively with the help of a regulated soldering iron.
- Freiwillige Jäger, 2. Ostpreußischen Infanterie-Regiment, 1813
- Freiwillige Jäger, 8. (Leib) Infanterie-Regiment, 1815
- Hesse-Kassel, Freiwillige Jäger zu Fuß, 1813
- Freiwillige Jäger, 1813–1815
- Jäger without ventral cartridge pouch
- Garde-Jäger-Bataillon, 1808
- Ostpreußisches Jägerbataillon, 1808
- Schlesisches Schützenbataillon, 1809
- Freiwilliges Garde-Jäger-Bataillon, 1813
- Freiwillige Jäger, 1813–1815
- Freiwillige Jäger v. Reiche, 1813
- Garde-Schützen-Bataillon, 1814
- Freiwillige Jäger, 1. (Westpreußisches) Infanterie-Regiment, 1813
- Freiwillige Jäger, 9. (Colberg) Infanterie-Regiment, 1815
- Hesse-Darmstadt, Freiwillige Jäger, 1813–1814
- Hanoverian Feldjägercorps von Kielmannsegg, 1813–1814
- Banner der Freiwilligen Sachsen, Jäger with Korsenhut
- Freiwillige Jäger with Landwehr Schirmmütze Cap, 1813–1815
- Freiwillige Jäger with (British) Reserve Infantry Shako, 1813–1815
- Freiwillige Jäger with Russian Kiwer (shako) M.1812, 1813–1815
The Prussian Jägers will be popular with wargamers who have been waiting for regular Prussian Feldjäger riflemen to add to their late Prussian Napoleonic Army. These Jäger poses may be mixed with regular Prussian musketeer and fusilier miniatures, painted green, to raise a very attractive volunteer Jäger battalion. This of particular interest, because the missing soutiens may be scrounged from Prussian line infantry figure sets which offer musketeers in close order formation. Painted green, and their muskets cut down to rifles, they make perfect Garde-Jäger or Freiwillige Jäger.