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Sharpe Appreciation Society - Napoleonic period terms
Category: Military and Defence > Napoleonic period
Date & country: 14/12/2007, UK
Words: 67


Aide de Camp
Junior staff officer attached to a marshal or general

Anfrancesados
Spanish natives who collaborated with the French

Baker Rifle
Rifle used by Sharpe and all British rifle battalions during the Peninsular War. The rifle had a 30 inch, seven groove, quarter turn barrel and was accurate up to 250 yards although it was slow to load.

Banquette
Firing step behind a parapet

Bastion
Defensive work with two front faces forming a salient from the curtain wall, to allow flanking fire along the wall.

Battalion
Tactical infantry unit varying between 500 to 1000 men (sometimes less)

Brigade
Tactical military formation of about 3000 men and containing 2 or 3 battalions.

Brown Bess
Nickname of the British smoothbore musket, originally applied to the Long Land Pattern musket.

Ca├žadores
Portuguese rifle- or infantrymen. Uniforms were brown. Translation = 'hunter'

Caltrop
A four pointed metal spike that was thrown on the ground, always with one spike upright. Used against cavalry horses.

Canister
Artillery projectile of lead balls in a tin container. Resembled a giant shotgun cartridge and had similar effect over a short range.

Carcass
Incendiary or illuminating shell of oil soaked hay, fired from a mortar or howitzer.

Carronade
Large calibre short range cannon, commonly used on ships for firing canister.

Cazadore (a caballo)
Spanish chasseurs or light cavalrymen

Chasse Maree
Small coastal sailing or fishing boats.

Chasseur
Light troops. Translation = 'hunter'

Cheval de Frise
Portable barrier of sword blades used to block breaches. Could also be made of stake- or sword studded beams.

Chosen Man
Title given to a corporal in the 95th Rifles.

Colours
Battalion flags which represented the honour of the unit. Usually each battalion held the King's Colour (Union Flag) and the regimental colour.

Company
Basic military unit of about 50 to 100 men and commanded by a captain.

Congreve's Rockets
Invented by Sir William Congreve. They looked like overgrown fireworks, were extremely erratic and not used a great deal, although Wellington used them occasionally in the Peninsula and at Waterloo.

Corps
Military formation of 2 or 3 divisions commanded by a general.

Counterguard
Earthwork to protect the base of a curtain wall.

Counterscarp
Vertical face of a ditch around a fort on the outer side.

Crapaud
French meaning 'toad', used by the British of the French in general.

Cuirassier
French armoured heavy cavalry. The cuirass being a breastplate.

Cunette-Cuvette
Deep narrow ditch, often filled with water, in the main defensive ditch of a fort.

Curtain Wall or Curtain
Main wall surrounding a fort.

Demi Brigade
French military formation consisting of part regular and part conscript battalions.

Division
Large military formation of about 4000 to 6000 men, containing 2 or 3 brigades and commanded by a lieutenant general.

Dragoons
Originally mounted infantry, they usually carried curved sabres, carbines and pistols.

Eagle
French equivalent of the British colours. Presented to all regiments by the Emperor.

Enfilade
Adjective used to describe fire coming from the flank and raking the length of a formation.

Ensign
Infantry second-lieutenant.

Escalade
Attack on walls of a fort using ladders.

Forlorn Hope
First storming party into a breach, usually volunteers under a junior officer, who drew enemy fire. Officers and sergeants who survived were usually rewarded with promotion.

Galloper Guns
6-pounder guns drawn by horses to accompany cavalry.

Glacis
Open space or slope surrounding a fort.

Goddam
Dates from the Hundred Years War, French nickname for the British troops taken from their extensive use of the expression.

Gonfalon
Banner or standard.

Gorget
The crescent-shaped plaque worn around the neck by officers, a symbol of a commisioned rank and a relic from the days of armour.

Grapeshot
Close range artillery ammunition

Guerilla
'little war', also a term for partisan fighters

Half Pay
An officer holding a commision, but unemployed, received half pay.

Howitzer
Short barrelled cannon designed for high angle fire.

Imperial Guard
Napoleon's elite formation of veteran troops.

Kings German Legion (KGL)
Formed from the old Electorate of Hanover's army after Napoleon overran the country in 1803.

Kligenthal
Hand forged sword all made from one piece of steel, strong and durable.

Light Company
British company composed of agile men and good marksmen, used as skirmishers. Were relied upon to use their initiative more than line troops.

Loophole
Small hole un a wall, allowing defenders to fire out.

Magazine
Storage place for munitions or a soldier's supplementary ammunition container.

Necessaries
Issued items of personal kit.

Nock Gun
7 barrelled volley gun given to Sgt Harper by his friend Richard Sharpe. Made by Henry Nock of London and origina;;y made for the Royal Navy.

Parole
System of releasing prisoners of war.

Pelisse
Hussar jacket with fur trim sometimes worn over one shoulder.

Picket (Piquet)
Infantry outpost or sentry.

Provost
Early military police, commanded by a Provost Marshall, universally unpopular throughout the army, but supported by Wellington.

Quartermaster
Officer responsible for supplies, uniforms, stores, weaponry etc.

Ravelin
Triangular outwork, built in a ditch of a fort to split the attacking force and cause confusion.

Regiment
In the British Army, an administrative military unit which recruited soldiers and sent them to war in battalions. Usually two battalions to a regiment.

Roundshot
Projectile of cannon, simple iron balls, they were the main cannon ammunition in the field.

Sapper
Originally a soldier who dug narrow siege-trenches (or saps), but later became a generic term for engineers and those trained in siege operations.

Shako
Peaked, cylindrical hat, usually made of felt and often black. Worn by all armies in the Napoleonic wars.

Shell
Artillery ammunition. Hollow iron ball filled with gunpowder which exploded by means of a fuse.

Stock
Leather collar worn around the neck under the jacket collar. British infantry wore them and they were universally disliked. Can also mean a fabric strip worn around the neck.

Subaltern
Junior officer of ensign or lieutenant rank in the British Army.

Voltiguer
Light infantry companies of line battalions. Translation = 'vaulter'.