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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

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.

Firing step behind a parapet

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Earthwork to protect the base of a curtain wall.

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

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

French armoured heavy cavalry. The cuirass being a breastplate.

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.

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

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

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

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

Infantry second-lieutenant.

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.

Open space or slope surrounding a fort.

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

Banner or standard.

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

Close range artillery ammunition

'little war', also a term for partisan fighters

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

System of releasing prisoners of war.

Hussar jacket with fur trim sometimes worn over one shoulder.

Picket (Piquet)
Infantry outpost or sentry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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