Huntsmen (military)

Huntsmen (military)

Huntsmen are soldiers belonging to units which were traditionally raised from huntsmen and could therefore use their hunting skills as part of their military activity. They were normally light infantry, although some light cavalry units existed, notably the French Army's Huntsmen of Africa.

Units called "Mountain Huntsmen" are used by both Germany, Argentina, Romania and Spain, and the similar title "Alpine Huntsmen" is used by the French Army.

"Field Huntsmen" are the German military police.

Huntsmen are called chasseurs in French, cazadores in Spanish, and jäger in German.


*Mountain Huntsmen, in Spanish: "Cazadores de Montaña"
*Jungle Huntsmen, in Spanish: "Cazadores del Monte"


* Regiment Ardense Jagers, armoured infantry battalion
* 1st Regiment Jagers te Paard, mechanized reconnaissance battalion
* 2nd/4th Regiment Jagers te Paard, mechanized reconnaissance battalion with electronic warfare unit


*Jægerkorpset, a special forces unit of the Royal Danish Army


*Finnish Jäger troops, volunteers from Finland in Germany trained as Jägers
*Huntsmens' Guard Regiment, a Finnish Army unit
*Jaeger Brigade, a unit of the Finnish Army
*Para Jägers, Special Operations Airborne Infantry in the Finnish army
*Utti Jaeger Regiment, the Finnish Army training and development centre for special forces and helicopter operations


A "Chasseur" designation was given to certain regiments of French light infantry ("Chasseurs à pied") or light cavalry ("Chasseurs à cheval").

Chasseurs à pied - Foot Huntsmen

The name "Chasseurs à pied" (light infantry) was originally used for infantry units in the French Army recruited from hunters or woodsmen. Recognized for their marksmanship and skirmishing skills, the chasseurs were comparable to the German "Jäger" or the British light infantry. The "Chasseurs à Pied", as the marksmen of the French army, were regarded as elite light companies and regiments. [citebook|title=From Flintlock to Rifle: Infantry Tactics, 1740-1866|author= Steven T. Ross|year=1996|publisher=Taylor & Francis|id=ISBN 0714641936]

=Chasseur alpins - Alpine Huntsmen=

The elite mountain infantry of the French Army. Trained to operate in mountainous terrain and in urban warfare.

Chasseurs à cheval - Horse Huntsmen

The "Chasseurs à Cheval", (light cavalry) were generally not held in as high esteem as their infantry counterparts, or the identically armed light cavalry units of hussars. During the French occupation of Algeria regiments of "Chasseurs d'Afrique" were raised. These were light cavalry recruited originally from French volunteers and subsequently from the French settlers in North Africa doing their military service. As such they were the mounted equivalent of the Zouaves.

Modern French Army Huntsmen

The modern French Army comprises bataillons of "Chasseurs à pied" (mechanized infantry : 16e BC),"Chasseurs-Alpins" (mountain troops : 7e, 13e, 27e BCA) and regiments of "Chasseurs à cheval" (1er-2e RCh and 4e RCh : light armored regiments). In addition one regiment of "Chasseurs d'Afrique" (training unit : 1er RCA) has been re-raised to commemorate this branch of the French cavalry. Since May 1943 there has been a "Régiment de Chasseurs Parachutistes" (1er RCP).

All of these units have different traditions :

*"Bataillons de chasseurs" are light infantry units created after 1838. Some of these battalions were converted to specialized mountain units as "Bataillons de Chasseurs Alpins" in 1888, as an answer to the Italian Alpine ("Alpini") regiments stationed along the Alpine frontier.

*"Régiments de chasseurs" are units of the "Arme Blindée Cavalerie" : armoured units. The basic organic unit is called regiment and not bataillon to avoid confusing cavalry and infantry chasseurs.

*The airborne infantry units called "Régiments de chasseurs parachutistes" were created in 1943 with airborne troops from the French Airforce (GIA or "Groupe d'Infanterie de l'Air"), who were transferred into the Army.

Although the traditions of these different branches of the French Army are very different, there is still a tendency to confuse one with the other. For example when World War I veteran Léon Weil died, the AFP press agency stated that he was a member of the 5th "Regiment de Chasseurs Alpins". It was in fact the 5th Bataillon.


*Fallschirmjäger, German paratroopers
*Feldjäger, the military police of the German Bundeswehr
*Feldjägerkorps, one of several military police organizations in the German Wehrmacht
*Gebirgsjäger, mountain infantry
**Karstjäger, Waffen SS mountain troops from the Austrian Karst
*German 28th Jäger Division, a military division during World War II
*Panzerjäger (Jagdpanzer), tank hunter or tank destroyer

The Netherlands

* Garderegiment Grenadiers en Jagers, guards regiment, an amalgamation of the Garderegiment Grenadiers and the Garderegiment Jagers. Consists of one air mobile infantry battalion
* Regiment Limburgse Jagers, line infantry (former 2nd Infantry Regiment). Consists of one armoured infantry battalion


*Hærens Jegerkommando, the armed forces competence center for ranger, airborne and counter terrorist duty in the Norwegian Army
*Jegerkompaniet, the Norwegian Army's northern-most unit
*Marinejegerkommandoen, a maritime special forces unit
*Kystjegerkommandoen, coastal units
*Grensejeger, border rangers at the border between Russia and Norway


Portuguese "Huntsmens' Battalions" ("Batalhões de Caçadores") were the elite light soldiers of the Portuguese Army during the Peninsular War. They wore distinctive brown uniforms for camouflage. After the war they were replaced by the "Companies of Sharpshooters" ("Companhias de Atiradores").

At the beginning of the 1960s several special forces companies of the Portuguese Army were named Special Huntsmen ("Caçadores Especiais"). These units were later renamed Commandos.


*Vânători de Munte, or Mountain Huntsmen, one of the most active of the Romanian military elite forces


*Brigada de Cazadores de Montaña "Aragón I" (Mountain Huntsmen Brigade "Aragón I")


*Jägare, elite units in the Swedish Armed Forces
*Fallskärmsjägarna, the Parachute Huntsmens' Corps
*Fallskärmsjägarskolan, the Swedish Army's Parachute Huntsmens' School

United States

The 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment was also known as the "Hecker Jaeger Regiment” after Friedrich Hecker, its original commander.


External links

* [ Chasseurs alpins]
* [ Chasseur from the french forces in Germany]
* [ French Grenadiers, Chasseurs and Fusiliers of the Napoleonic Wars]

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