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.
Read an extract of Napoleonic Light Cavalry Tactics
Table of Contents
Introduction /Weaponry and equipment, and how they affected tactical employment /Organization of units – special cases: Lancers, Cossacks, etc. /Theoretical doctrine, and training – formations and tactics /Actual battlefield deployments – their success or failure /Leadership /Logistics – procurement, supply and care of horses /Plate commentaries /Index