|Grenadier, Royal Newfoundland Regiment|
British regiments during the War of 1812 were normally composed of ten companies. Each company had, in theory, 100 men including officers. Two companies were considered the elite in a regiment and were know as the light company and the grenadier company.
Before the War of 1812, the grenadiers carried grenades into battle as one of their main offensive weapons. These men were tasked with assaulting fixed positions, such as fortifications. By the time of the War of 1812, the grenadiers lost their grenades and evolved into the ‘shock troops’ of a regiment. Generally composed of the toughest and largest men, the grenadiers were used to smash enemy lines with devastating fire and to harass enemy flanks.
The British grenadiers quickly became popular in the army, so much so that a song emerged in the early 18th century called The British Grenadiers.
During their year’s re-enactments, make sure you spot the various grenadier units who re-enact the elite of the British Army.