The Young & The Middle
“THE YOUNG GUARD WAS SYSTEMATICALLY EMPLOYED ON THE BATTLEFIELD, LEADING TO HIGH CASUALTY RATES”
The Imperial guard was not only comprised of The famous old guard, but Included other units That fought valiantly for Their emperor
if the old guard is still famous today, it should not be forgotten that the imperial guard was also made of several other units. two are often neglected by the historiography. the middle guard was created in 1806 to welcome the vélites and was composed of grenadiers and chasseurs, all veterans of the 1805 to 1809 campaigns. used on several occasions, it was eventually merged with the old guard but was still referred to by many soldiers by its former name.
the Young guard was the name given to the units of the imperial guard created after 1812. it was supposed to train junior cadres before they could be integrated into the old guard or the line as officers. it included both infantry and cavalry regiments (such as the chasseurs of the Young guard).
the Young guard was systematically employed on the battlefield, leading to high casualty rates, but its value varied greatly. after the disastrous russian campaign of 1812, volunteers and conscripts were taken directly into the Young guard with minimal entry requirements to minimise the desertion problem. the resulting lack of experience resulted in varying degrees of skill and motivation, but there is no doubt that the Young guard fought bravely in 1814 and during the hundred days.
Portrait of Jacques de Trobriant, commander of the chasseurs of the Young Guard