Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics


Elite 188

Author: Philip Haythornthwaite

Illustrator: Adam Hook

This 64 page paperback book is number 188 from the Elite series of books available from Osprey Publishing.

During the Napoleonic Wars the supreme battlefield shock weapon was the heavy cavalry – the French cuirassiers, and their British, Austrian, Prussian and Russian counterparts. Big men mounted on big horses, the heavy cavalry were armed with swords nearly a meter long, used for slashing or thrusting at their opponents; many wore steel armor, a practice revived by Napoleon. They were tasked with smashing a hole in the enemy’s line of battle, with exploiting a weakness, or with turning a flank. Their classic maneuver was the charge; arrayed in close-order lines or columns, the heavy cavalry would begin their attack at the walk, building up to a gallop for the final 50 meters before impact. Illustrated with diagrams, relevant paintings and prints and specially prepared color plates, this is the first 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 heavy cavalry actually fought on the Napoleonic battlefield.

The contents of this book are;

  • Introduction: Classes of Cavalry
  • Heavy Cavalry
  • Light Cavalry
  • Regiments of Horse
  • Dragoons
  • The lightening of cavalry from the mid-18th Century
  • Mounts: heavy and light – theory and practice
  • Equipment: sabers – firearms – armor – boots
  • Organization
  • Training
  • Formations
  • Pace
  • Endurance
  • Skirmishing and Dragoons
  • Higher Formations
  • The Charge
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

This is an excellent book that illustrates the tactics of this important arm of Napoleonic warfare. Through the use of full color artwork, black and white drawings, and Battlefield Scenarios the author brings to life how these troops were used and how important they were in Napoleonic Warfare. This is an excellent book for the historian, tactician and especially the wargamer that wants to delve deeper into Napoleonic Cavalry.

This book is available from Osprey Publications

MSRP UK £11.99/ US $18.95/ CAN $19.95