Napoleonic Cavalry

Discussion in '1800-1914' started by Erich, May 6, 2005.

  1. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    curious on others takes as to how effective they were on the battlefield, whether French, British, German-Prussian, Russian, etc.........

    any examples forthwith would be appreciated ?
     
  2. Medvedya

    Medvedya Active Member

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    Well, the Kings German Leigon were far and away the most disciplined, and regarded as the best in the British Army.

    As to the effectiveness of cavalry, it depends on the troops they're facing.
    Discipline is the key to this one. If the infantry being attacked keep their bottle in the face of a charge, and form square, there really isn't much cavalry can do, except hope that a mortally wounded horse and rider blunders into one of the squares faces, splitting it open on one side, in which case the infantry are in big trouble.

    What every cavalryman dreamed of was an panic-stricked enemy, broken, and in full flight - then it was open season for the cavalry to bowl in and slice and dice to their hearts content.
     
  3. plan_D

    plan_D Active Member

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    That really was the idea of Cavalry in any era. If they charged the enemy and the enemy did not break, the cavalry must turn away and prepare to charge again.
    A weak line was always easily broken, weak in depth or weak in moral. The tight formations of the French infantry were often hard to break by cavalry charges.
     
  4. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Here is the Kings German Leigon.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    It should be remembered that the French and the British fought using very different tactics.
    The French infantry fought in column already tightly packed. Hence if threaatened by cavalry they could form a defensive square very quickly by stoping and facing out.
    British infantry fought in line and it took longer to form a defensive square so the skill becomes a matter of timing. To late and the infantry is doomed.

    As for effectiveness
    The British Cavalry could be summed up as being a good solid force. Good at attacking, not so good as knowing when to turn back and reforming once the objective had been achieved. Clearly this is a general statement and there were exceptions to this.

    The French were seen as being the best.
    Their heavy Cuirassier units were heavily armed and could turn a battle.
    The Dragoons were very flexible and could even fight as dismounted infantry to a limited degree as they were armed with Carbines.
    The Polish Lancers supported the French were fast and lethal. One advantage in that their lances outreached a musket with bayonet attached which could make then effective against infantry.
     
  6. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    The Kings German Legion? Were they a German unit fighting for the British King?

    Excuse me for my ignorence on the subject, the period of time while it interests me is not my main area so I know very little about it.
     
  7. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    The Polish Lancers supported the French were fast and lethal. One advantage in that their lances outreached a musket with bayonet attached which could make then effective against infantry.

    So the polish cavalry man had most likely a better chance of breaking up a square than the average saber man, if he could get close enough to pierce someone without being shot down.

    In the Napoleonicr Era, did any nations still have infantry made up of pikemen?
     
  8. Medvedya

    Medvedya Active Member

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    Ahhhhhh, it's perfectly reasonable question! Mad ol' King George III wasn't British! He came from Hannover and the KGL were forces loyal to him who came o'er the hills from far away, and elected to fight with the British Army and free themselves from Napoleons rule.

    History of the Kings German Legion (UK)
     
  9. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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  10. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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  11. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    No, the Pike was made obsolete by the musket many years before
     
  12. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    yes the Polish Lancers and the Dutch lancers formed two regiments of Napoleons Elite Cavalry of the guard.

    v2 were the Poles all dressed in Red ....... yes (Lancers) ?

    E ~
     
  13. fer-de-lance

    fer-de-lance Member

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    The 2e régiment de chevaux-légers des Lanciers de la Garde Impériale wore red. The Polish 1er régiment of the Imperial Guard wore blue -

    "Royal blue Kurka; collar, reverses, facings and turnbacks crimson, bordered with a silver lace (galon); crimson braid on all the seams of the coat (habit); epaulettes and aiguillettes of white cord (fils)."

    HISTORY ANECDOTAL, POLITICAL AND MILITARY of the IMPERIAL GUARD.
    by EMILE MARCO DE SAINT-HILAIRE; Seventh Book, Chapter 1

    St. Hilaire's History of the Imperial Guard: Book VII

    One squadron of Polish lancers accompanied Napoleon in his exile to Elba and his return to France during the "Hundred Days". Unable to reform a full regiment, the squadron of Polish lancers was attached to the Dutch 2e régiment - the Red Lancers.
     
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