Jump to content
Free downloads from TNA ×
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Royal Fusiliers


Jon Miller

Recommended Posts

very quick; a guess maybe! a soldier, probably Other Ranks, in a regiment which traditionally specialised in the siege-related art of bomb-throwing , similar to a Grenadier, hence the historical cap badge associated with Fusilier regiments; a regimental emblem embossed on a 'flaming grenade' motif. Possibly with its roots in 18th C regiments?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello Jon,

This goes back quite some time. A long time ago when artillery still worked with black powder, and the muskets operated with a slow burning fuse. This was not an ideal combination as you can imagine. To protect the artillery, some units were equipped with the more sophisticated flint lock muskets, which were called fusil (sometimes spelled as fuzil) which is just French for musket. Hence the name Fusiliers. This happened early 18th century.

Because of their somehow elite origin, the designation "Fusiliers" was considered more elite and prestigious.

I think for a more thorough explanation, a search on Google might help.

Cheers,

Wienand

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The word derives from "fusil" the French name for an early type of musket. The men issued with these weapons, fusiliers, acted as escorts to the Ordnance trains, that is cannons and the accompanying powder wagons.

Terry Reeves

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally a chance to show my research ... (Yes, for a fuller and more accurate explanation, one can go to my Thesis at the Army Museum on the British Army 1716 - 1746 - "The Forgotten Army"

A Fusil was a light, french style musket. If one compares it to the Brown Bess (with which you're all familiar) or it's predecessors - it was smaller and lighter (think carbine) Think "fancy" and "Cheap"

Fusilier Rgts were "smarter" looking since the French style weapon was considered sexier/more stylish and almost "light infantry" in theoretic tactical use. IF they really had them, they'd be lighter, the troops would move a bit faster and could hold them steadier.

But remember - please - the Army was really a collection of Cols who would form units "almost" as they wished and simply paid for under some comlex arrangements with the War Office. There was no standard for anything except an increasingly hard tradition of being "red" coated (the red varied a lot) ... There are no hard and fast rules ...

Now, again, the term fusilier while having some relationship to the original weapon the Col "Wanted" his guys to carry, very quickly fell into whatever he could get, could afford, was willing to pay for ... etc.

Tactical use was never very specialized by unit ... although very specialized in field force ... meaning skirmishers, light infantry patrols and compbined arms were all there ... and done under the requirements of the situation. IF the field commander needed a regt to provide skimishers ... and the Fusiliers were handy, that's what they did ... if they needed to be the shock force and his guards / low regiments were elseware, they were ...

The forceful personality of Cumberland is what pushed the BA into what we have in the mid-to-late 18th Century and it is he who began the standardization movement, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest lilydalelil
Finally a chance to show my research.

Thaat differs from mine.

The King asked the Duke of Cumberland to provide a Guard from the finest soldiers in the realm. Most of his crack troops were overseas so the "Few Still Here" had to do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finally a chance to show my research.

Thaat differs from mine.

The King asked the Duke of Cumberland to provide a Guard from the finest soldiers in the realm. Most of his crack troops were overseas so the "Few Still Here" had to do.

I'm a bit lost ... Cumberland comes in during the 45 and stays forever ... Fusiliers come around during the 1670s ... long before Cumberland ... my comment about the Duke was his work as the force behind forming what we think of as the modern (?) BA ... during the ensuing period after 1745 ..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably Fusiliers adopted the bursting grenade or shell as their badge as they originally guarded the artillery.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The original fusilier Regiment was the Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) raised by the Board of Ordnance (who ran the RA and RE) from independent companies based at the Tower of London. As was stated its original task was to guard the guns and ammunition columns - hence the fusils.

This was part of James II expansion of the Army in 1685 after the Monmouth Rebellion. King James was very much enamoured with all things French in the military art.

The other fusilier regiments were awarded the distiction as an honour. They were almost semi-guard though still part of the line. Officers and WOs wore other ranks Guards bearskins, ORs wore a sealskin hat (I have worn one in my time - beautiful soft smooth fur you could stroke for hours)

In the days when line regiments had elite companies "Grenadiers" and "Light" fusiliers did not, as the whole Regiment were elite they had "Right Flank" and "Left Flank" companies, a custom kept up in the Scots Guards who were for a time a Regiment of "Fusilier Guards"

Fusiliers were not light troops in the British Army - that is what their status was in the German Army. The 2nd Bn of each German line regiment was a fusilier battalion as well as whole Regiments of Fusiliers. Ludendorff was a fusilier. They were originally formed by Frederick the Great as skirmishers and to fight in woods. They were more dependable in those days then ordinary German infantry - many of whom if deployed into open order or sent into a wood would instantly desert.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...