Napoleonic Wars Forum

The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Guards Dual Rank

For general discussions on the Armies of the Napoleonic period.

Guards Dual Rank

Postby TheBibliophile » October 5th, 2016, 6:12 pm

I have a question about Guards dual rank (sorry, it has probably been dealt with before)

Someone elsewhere in a post has been described as being a Lt Col in army, but captain in the guards.

So my question is, as a captain in the guards, he commands a guards company, so is in theory in the thick of the action in an engagement.
But as a Lt Col in the army, he would be in charge of a Battalion and not directly in the thick of the action.
Is this correct? if so why would anyone of Lt Col rank ordinarily serve as a captain in the guards and put themselves at greater risk?

Am I being thick?
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby PaulD » October 5th, 2016, 7:35 pm

You are correct - as a company commander, he would be at risk (in 1793/4, the period I know best) casualties amongst guards officers with senior rank in the army were quite high. I presume the prestige of serving in the guards was the draw
PaulD
New Member
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 4th, 2016, 10:16 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby PaulD » October 5th, 2016, 8:07 pm

PaulD wrote: casualties amongst guards officers with senior rank in the army were quite high


For example, the 175 casualties suffered by the three battalions of the guards in action at Linselles in August 1793 included 2 colonels wounded, 1 lieutenant colonel killed and 1 wounded
PaulD
New Member
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 4th, 2016, 10:16 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby TheBibliophile » October 5th, 2016, 9:10 pm

Interesting Paul, thanks.
This would never happen in the Navy.
A Post Captain would only ever command a Post ship and could not command a sloop....
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby Waggoner » October 6th, 2016, 12:24 am

Dual ranks were not unique to the Guards. For example, in the War of 1813 period, a Captain in the Royal Engineers ranked as a Major in the army. This was because the RE was under the Master General of Ordnance and not Horse Guards.

All the best,

Gary
User avatar
Waggoner
Senior Member
 
Posts: 437
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 12:59 am
Location: New Brunswick, Canada

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby PaulD » October 6th, 2016, 5:21 am

I didn't realise that all engineer officers had dual rank, although individuals in any regiment could have. From the army lists for the early 1790s, only the guards had dual rank for all officers above ensign
PaulD
New Member
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 4th, 2016, 10:16 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby jf42 » October 6th, 2016, 5:50 pm

Excuse me gents, but it is the other way round. A captain in the Foot Guards would have seniority over his equivalent in the line and be equal in rank to a Major (I believe it would be one rank up but I stand to be corrected) .

As for being "in the thick of the action," In the 18th and 19th century battle, once the shot began to fly, as on board ship, anyone in an infantry battalion was at risk of of being cut down. Not that their 20th century colleagues were any safer when shells began to fall.
User avatar
jf42
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1247
Joined: June 23rd, 2011, 10:17 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby PaulD » October 6th, 2016, 8:56 pm

.
jf42 wrote:Excuse me gents, but it is the other way round. A captain in the Foot Guards would have seniority over his equivalent in the line and be equal in rank to a Major (I believe it would be one rank up but I stand to be corrected) .


To avoid confusion (?), according to the army lists, all captains or captain lieutenants in the foot guards are described as "captain/captain lieutenant and lieutenant-colonel" (although some individuals held the rank of colonel or major general in the army), and all lieutenants as "lieutenant and captain" (some held the rank of major in the army) - in other words they have the seniority in the army of the higher rank, but perform the duties of the lower rank in the regiment. Majors in the guards were either colonels or major generals in the army and lieutenant colonels in the guards were major generals in the army.

In the example I gave of Linselles, all 4 were captains in the guards, but held higher rank in the army - on the casualty return they are shown in the summary table as captains but identified by name and rank in the army.
PaulD
New Member
 
Posts: 65
Joined: February 4th, 2016, 10:16 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 7th, 2016, 11:56 am

TheBibliophile wrote:I have a question about Guards dual rank (sorry, it has probably been dealt with before)

Someone elsewhere in a post has been described as being a Lt Col in army, but captain in the guards.

So my question is, as a captain in the guards, he commands a guards company, so is in theory in the thick of the action in an engagement.
But as a Lt Col in the army, he would be in charge of a Battalion and not directly in the thick of the action.
Is this correct? if so why would anyone of Lt Col rank ordinarily serve as a captain in the guards and put themselves at greater risk?

Am I being thick?


Not thick, Bib. The dual rank is confusing, it's also called double rank.
Guards rank heretofore GR, means that Captains in the Guards were Lt Cols in the line and so on. Not helped because the guards always tend to use GR in general. Officers commanding battalions known as Field Officers were required to be as in as much danger or more so due to being mounted, as company officers.

Josh.
Adventures In Historyland, Keeping History Real. http://adventuresinhistoryland.wordpress.com/
User avatar
Josh&Historyland
Senior Veteran Member
 
Posts: 1825
Joined: March 2nd, 2013, 1:14 pm

Re: Guards Dual Rank

Postby TheBibliophile » October 7th, 2016, 1:19 pm

I was under the impression that "field rank" was Major and below...
User avatar
TheBibliophile
Veteran Member
 
Posts: 777
Joined: February 1st, 2012, 9:39 pm
Location: Sunderland, UK

Next

Return to The Armies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest