Napoleonic Light Cavalry Tactics (Elite)
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During the Napoleonic Wars, all the major combatants fielded large numbers of light cavalry as Hussars, Dragoons, Chasseurs, Lancers, or even Cossacks. Ridley Scott's 1977 feature film debut The Duelists portrayed French Hussars. Light cavalry provided nimble, fast-moving regiments that performed a variety of vital roles, from reconnaissance and keeping contact with the enemy during the movement of armies, to raiding, skirmishing, and the pursuit to destruction of beaten enemies. In practice, light cavalry were often also employed for battlefield charges alongside the heavy cavalry.
The light cavalryman typically carried a curved sabre, one or two pistols and sometimes a carbine, and rode a smaller horse than his counterpart in the heavy cavalry. As the Napoleonic Wars progressed, the dashing Chasseurs and Light Dragoons and glamorous Hussars were joined by growing numbers of Lancers, while the Russians employed vast numbers of Cossacks. Often the first to engage the enemy, these colourful regiments saw combat on a host of bloody battlefields across Europe.
Featuring period illustrations and specially commissioned colour artwork, this is the second volume of a two-part study of the cavalry tactics of the armies of Napoleon and those of his allies and opponents. Written by a leading authority on the period, it draws upon drill manuals and later writings to offer a vivid assessment of how light cavalry actually fought on the Napoleonic battlefield.
that A man must be born a Light Cavalry soldier. No situation requires so many natural dispositions, an innate genius for war, as that of an officer of light troops. The qualities which render a man superior – intelligence, will, power – ought to be found united in him. Left constantly to himself, exposed to constant fighting, responsible not only for the troops under his command but also for those which he is protecting and scouting for, every minute finds employment for his mental and bodily
respective arms', for there is hardly any horse that could be brought again to face the lancer, or even prevented from turning short round, and completely exposing his own rider to his attack, when once it has received upon the nose one of those tremendous blows which can be given with the staff of © Osprey Publishing • www.ospreypublishing.com 'SFODI$IFWBV-ÏHFS-BODJFS "MUIPVHIUIFVOJGPSNEFUBJMTJO UIJTFBSMZEFQJDUJPOBSFEVCJPVT UIFDPXIJEFIFMNFUUVSCBOJT
exemplified by the development of light cavalry in the British army. In April 1756 it was ordered that for reconnaissance and similar duties a troop of ‘light dragoons’ was to be added to each of 11 regiments of Dragoon Guards and Dragoons; their members were to be 'light, active young men' between 5ft 6½in and 5ft 8in tall, their mounts 'nimble road horses' not under 14 hands 3in, with saddles like those used by jockeys. Their arms were to be carbines 51in in length, with bayonet; a pistol; and
BTUIFUI)VTTBST EJEEVSJOHUIFJSBEWBODFPOUIF F$IBTTFVSTË$IFWBMIPMEJOH UIFOFBSCBOLPGUIF&STSJWFS PO"QSJM &OHSBWJOHCZ 4UBEMFSBGUFS$IBSMFT)BNJMUPO 4NJUI squadron of the 18th. At the sight of their advance a large body of French cavalry, thinking that a single squadron would only make such a move if they were supported by others, and with the German hussars approaching their flank, fired a carbine volley and then retired at a canter. Vivian pursued them