Manuals from 18th and 19th Centuries


Napoleonic Website
Training Regulations War Department 1920


There is considerably more information about cavalry in the 18th and 19th centuries. During these eras both the cavalrymen and the infantrymen were armed with gunpowder weapons, which obviously changes tactics. However some of the dynamics of the cavalry attack are universal, being based on the physical abilities of the horse itself.

Several sources are worth noting.
Colonel Charles-Jean-Jacques-Joseph Ardant du Picq C

There are many books, articles and websites on the Napoleonic era wars. A particularly good site is "Armies, Battles, Commanders and Tactics
during the Napoleonic Wars." The URL is: This site exerpts information from numerous sources and has the advantage of a clear and coherent presentation.

Another interesting source are US Cavalry manuals from the Civil War and later decades.

The following sections offer key pieces of information and insights from these sources.

Armies, Battles, Commanders and Tactics during the Napoleonic Wars

The site credits 13 individuals plus "others" as contributing information to the pages. In addition it cites numerous sources. The various pages offer quotations and extracts without documenting the individual sources of the information. Some might fault the page for not offering the authority behind each statement. Another view is that this technique forces the reader to evaluate the information on its own merit and not simply accept it because of the "authorative" source. In my view this is an excellent approach. And in this spirit the following exerpts from these excellent pages are offered.

Cavalry Combat 1800-1815
(Part 1)

Types of cavalry and their tasks.
Morale and discipline of attacking cavalry

"I make the squadrons charge at gallop only because then fear carries the cowards
along with the rest - they know that if they so much as hesitate in the middle of the
onrush they will be crushed by the reminder of the troop."
- Prussian king Frederick the Great to Comte de Gisors

According to L. E. Nolan (1818-1854) cavalry has some unique characteristics:
" - It cannot engage an enemy except where the ground is favourable.
- It is always dependent on the condition of its horses.
- It is easily dispersed, and it easily gets out of hand.
- However brave and intrinsically good, it is of no use without good officers."

Cavalry was not suited to holding ground, because of its tendency to advance and retreat rapidly, and therefore by its nature was an attacking arm.

The main tasks for cavalry include:
- scouting and reconnaisance to find the enemy weak and strong points
- to screen an advance
- to cover a withdrawal
- as shock-troops in a pitched battle

It must be constantly remembered that, to paraphrase Napoleon, in war, psychological factors are 3 times more important than mechanical factors.
In the cavalry charge, on the speed of horse and the aggressive spirit of the man rest 9/10 of the chances of success. (Book for USA cavalrymen, 1914).


Sometimes it was difficult to say who has the upper hand in cavalry fight before one side began fleeing as the dust thrown by the cavalry was thicker and rose higher than from infantry and totally obscured the view.
But the huge dust also helped the enemy generals to learn about cavalry movements already in advance and in long distance.

In 1757 at the Battle of Prague (today Czech Republic) the movement of Prussian cavalry threw up great clouds which made the day seem "like the end of the world." One of the Prussians wrote: "the dust had prevented me from seeing more than 4 paces."

Morale and discipline of attacking cavalry.

With few exceptions, the Hollywood version of war evokes images of the everyman, fighting to death without asking any questions. The hero is good and brave and always win over the bad. The movies help obscure many battlefield realities that would put the "heroes" label in doubt. For example during World War II at least 50 % of American soldiers soiled themselves during battle. (Russ Kick in "You Are Being Lied To" publ. 2001).
It must be constantly remembered that, to paraphrase Napoleon, in war, psychological factors are 3 times more important than mechanical factors. In 1809 at Aspern-Essling several cuirassier regiments led by GdD Espagne charged against four Austrian cavalry regiments commanded by Liechtenstein. The Austrians remained stationary almost ignoring the attackers. This cool stance communicated great resolve and the French wavered. Soon the wavering iron-clads were charged from the flank by two Austrian cuirassier regiments and were sent reeling backward "in a swirling mix of individual combats." At Wagram GdD Montbrun's light cavalry division didn't move one inch when Austrian chevaulegers advanced against them. Soon the Austrians wavered, hesitated, reined up and . . . fled. Now Montbrun cooly unleashed his chasseurs in a hot pursuit.

Four brave men who do not know each other will not dare to attack a lion.
Four less brave, but knowing each other well, sure of their reliability and consequently of mutual aid, will attack resolutely.
Soldiers, no matter how well drilled, who are assembled haphazard into companies and battalions will never have, have never had, that entire unity which is born of mutual acquaintanceship.

At a charging distance troops advanced towards the enemy with all the speed compatible with the necessity for fencing and mutual aid. Quite often, the moral impulse, that resolution to go to the end, manifested itself at once in the order and freedom of gait. That impulse alone put to flight a less resolute adversary.
At Borodino one squadron of Polish 13th Hussar Regeiment boldly advanced "en fourageurs" through bushes against a Cossack regiment led by Karpov 2nd. Although the hussars were in small and disordered groups the enemy didn't hold its ground and fled.

In the cavalry charge, on the speed of horse and the aggressive spirit of the man rest 9/10 of the chances of success. (Book for USA cavalrymen, 1914).
If men of the first line were wounded quickly, if the other ranks were not in a hurry to relieve or replace them, or if there was hesitation, defeat followed. A failed charge could be disastrous, since the cavalry force would be in close range and vulnerable to pursuing enemy.

In cavalry-vs-cavalry combat, the moral effect of a mass charging in good order was of the greatest influence. There were rarely seen two cavalry organizations, neither of which breaks before such reciprocal action. [One of Polish cavalry generals said that a good order of attacking troops was 75 % of victory.] Reckless and/or little disciplined troops had big difficulties to keep order during attack. According to Lord Moran recklessness was the first sign of fear. It is difficult to estimate just how many charges were decided without the two sides actually meeting. French and European expert on cavalry, Ardant du Picq, stated that 49 of 50 one side hesitated, disordered and fled before contact was made. "The breaking of the charge would start while the advancing line was still fairly ordered."
Approx. 75 % of the time this will happen at a distance, before they can see each other's eyes. Often they will get closer. Even in these few cases where both sides colided, there was no shock at full speed, but a halt face to face and then an engagement. In an encounter at full speed, men and horses would be crushed, and neither men nor horses wished such an encounter.
Already in 18th Century, Mirabeau wrote that "veteran cavalry officers have told us that when two bodies of cavalry charge one another, it almost always happens that one party flees before the other can meet it. Saber blows are dealt only during the pursuit."
Such things happened not only to small bodies of cavalry. In 1745 within moments 45 squadrons of Austrian cavalry deployed on a hilltop headed for the woods in the rear after being charged by only 26 Prussian squadrons ! The fleeing troops were out of action for the rest of the battle.
In August 1813 two Cossack regiments led by Chernishev attacked the French 13th Hussar Regiment near Grutzdorf. The hussars were struck during their own advance against Prussian skirmishers. The Cossacks routed the hussars but the French infantry held their ground.
There were several reasons why one side hesiated and fled before combat:
- their morale and self-confidence was lower than enemy's
- the enemy's cavalry was earlier cannonaded by artillery before or during advance against our cavalry. The falling horses disordered their ranks and falling comrades lowered the morale of the attackers.
- commander or several officers were killed or wounded by artillery fire or sharpshooters in front of the regiment. If the commander or the officers enjoyed a great reputation as fighters it could be a serious blow for morale of the troopers.
- abandoned weapons, wounded men and horses, hollow ground (British 23rd Light Dragoon Rg. at Talavera was disordered by a ravine and then crushed by Vistula Uhlans and French chasseurs), and other obstacles on the ground could greatly disorder enemy's cavalry before it came closer.
At Weinberg Defile (1813) Prussian regiment of uhlans advanced against French regiment of chasseurs-a-cheval. The French stood behind a ditch and delivered a volley. It didn't halt the attackers as the French were also outflanked. The French commander of elite company called a challenge in German "Now come here !" The Prussian uhlans halted before the ditch, their officer drew his saber and responded "Wait a moment, I'm coming !" But in this moment the chasseurs of the elite company abandoned their spirited commander and fled at once.

If both sides were of equal morale then the horsemen would pass through each other's formation and come out on the other side. Sometimes they would continue forward until were overthrown by the second line of enemy's cavalry (King German Legion's cavalry at Waterloo).
In 1809 at Aspern-Essling Lasalle's cavalry regiments broke the first line of Austrian cavalry, but "the Blankenstein hussars and Riesh Dragoons" took them in flank and "drove back in fearful disorder." The Austrian hussars captured quite a few men of the 24e Chasseurs-a-Cheval.

"There were frequent instances when 2 lines of cavalry would confront each other without dudging, each waiting for the other to retire or to make mistake." It was the case where troops on both sides were of equal bravery and determination.
In 1831 campaign, 2 Russian and 2 Polish cavalry regiments charged each other. When close enough to recognize faces they slackened their gait and after a while both turned their backs and retreated. Similar situation - according to Du Picq - can be observed between 2 dogs, cats or lions when the courage is equal.

At Villadrigo (1812) French and British cavalry attacked each other and a prolonged fight (10 minutes) took place. Then came one more French regiment "got around one flanbk and rolled the British up."

Brave but undisciplined cavalry would be most often defeated by disciplined troops. "We have often seen fanatic eastern people implicitly believing that death in battle means a happy and glorious resurection. Despite being better mounted they give way before discipline." The man in disordered, broken lines, no longer feel himself supported, but vulnerable everywhere, and most often he fled.

The faster and/or longer the attack the easier to lose order, cohesion and discipline.
The best of all is a gallop in the last moment and for a short distance. The fact is, every cavalryman approaching another at speed must feel that if they come in contact at that pace, they both go down and break bones.

The body armor and big horses were good thing for morale of the troopers in heavy cavalry.
But the light cavalry more often encountered the enemy and became more accustomed to combat than the heavies. It was excellent for morale too.

The (British) Household Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo (some 13 squadrons) was reduced to a single squadron by the end of Waterloo ! (Captain Clark Kennedy of Royal Dragoons in "Waterloo Letters 35). Similarly Lieutenant O'Grady of (British) 7th Hussar Regiment reported that his regiment of 3 squadrons was reduced to a single squadron by the end of battle. (Waterloo Letters 58)
Such casualties were due not only to the fact that the cavalrymen or their horses were killed or wounded. There were cavalrymen who left the ranks under various excuses and never returned to the ranks before the battle was over. At Borodino (1812) a lancer regiment stood under heavy cannonade. After a while majority of officers hurriedly left, one after another, with the excuse of being wounded. It annoyed those few officers who stayed. Of course after battle "the wounded" cheerfully joined the regiment.

The most determined regiments would charge several times despite casualties and unfavorable situation:
- Russian Pavlogradski Hussar Regiment charged 10 [!] times at Craonne
- French 5th Hussar Regiment charged 8-10 times at Austerlitz

There were cavalry troops who seeing danger refused to charge.
In 1813 at Dennewitz the 2nd Uhlan Regiment (Poles) threw itself against squares of IInd, IIIrd and IVth Battalion 3rd 'East Prussian' Landwehr Regiment and squares of 4th Reserve Infantry Regiment. But the Prussians held their ground, delivered volleys and the uhlans passed on and engaged the Prussian cavalry in the rear.
The Prussian cavalrymen (part of them armed with lances) received support from the Death' Head Hussar Regiment. The uhlans lost 102 men in the vicious cavalry fight and retreated. MdE Ney sent orders to the Westphalian Cav. Brigade to rescue the Poles but the Westphalians refused and didn't move at all. Furious Ney sent the colonel of the Westphalians to Napoleon after "ripping off his epaulettes."


"If cavalry fought only in close bodies, if it acted like a machine, all required would be to discharge it at the mark like a projectile. Then, if the soldier could direct his horse anyhow to the right or left, move forward, and halt when ordered, it would suffice. But charges resolve themselves into mêlées, the cavalryman is constantly exposed to the chances of single combat, and the unfortunate fellow who cannot manage his horse is lost."

Melee was a series of individual matches and depended upon individual horsemanship and swordsmanship. Supervision became more and more difficult. The horsemen halt face to face, abreast, to fight man to man; or each passes the other, thrusting with the sabre or lance. In melee every man was cuting or slashing or blocking the blows. Opponents positions were constantly changing relative to the cavalryman's front. Melee lasted only few minutes and often caused dust obscuring all vision. Melee could be as small as innvolving only 2 squadrons or as big as 70 squadrons ! (as for example in 1809 between the Austrian and French cavalry)

The smaller horses were more agile than the big horses of heavy cavalry and thus better suited for melee. The heavy cavalrymen can't turn their horses quickly or make half pirouettes with them as swiftly as the light cavalry.

Squadrons could charge, "go into melee, pull out, reform and charge again rather quickly." "A fight on horseback is like a fencing match, in which the skilful horseman always presents his right side (which is under cover of his sword) to his adverary, and seeks to gain his weak side, the left one. Here all depends on horsemanship."

Pursuing / Fleeing

After a defeat, an enemy is highly vulnerable and the victor enjoys a massive advantage in morale over him. A concerted pursuit was a mark of good generalship and quality of the victor.
The best method of pursuing the enemy was when one troop (the smaller one) chased the enemy, whilst the bigger troop was to follow more slowly so that any enemy reserves or counter-attacks could have been met by a formed body. The 1st Lighthorse-lancer Regiment of Imperial Guard pursued the enemy in 1813 at Reichenbach exactly this way and with great results.

The most killing happens in the pursuit phase (Clausewitz and Ardant du Picq), and this is apparently due to four factors.
1- the pursuer doesn't have to look in his victim's eyes, and it appears to be much easier to deny an opponent's humanity if you can stab or shoot them in the back and don't have to look into their eyes when you kill them.
2- the opponent has changed from a fighter to prey who must to be pursued and killed.
Anyone who has ever worked with animals understands this process: "you are generally safe if you face a dog down, and you should always back away from a dog in a threatening situation because if you turn around and run you are in great danger of being viciously attacked.
The same is true of soldiers in combat.
3 - fleeing troops have difficulties to parry the cuts and slashes and are panick stricken.
4 - fleeing enemy can be attacked from the left side and unable to defend (his saber is in right hand)

Cuirassiers were the slowest and the hussars the fastest in pursuit and fleeing.
"Speed and endurance cannot be expected from horses that are over-weighted." - L. E. Nolan

It was difficult to stop the troops who won and pursued the enemy. Once the cavalry has been committed to combat "the chances of controlling or stopping it belong in the realms of pious hopes. Men will pursue the enemy as long as they are able."

Closer and/or longer pursuit led to heavier casualties.

Sometimes only the the fleeing troops suffered casualties, not those who pursued them. In 1813 the French chasseurs-a-cheval de la Garde Imperiale pursued Austrian hussars without any loss, but the enemy lost 200 men.

Often the pursuing and fleeing troops spread out over the field and sometimes took themselves out of the battlefield as it happened at Haslach-Jungingen (1805). In this small engagement the French dragoons were broken and hotly pursued by Austrian cavalry [2 cuirassier and 2 lighthorse regiments].

At Hagelberg (1813) the Prussian Landwehr Cavalry became completely disordered in their joyful pursuit of the French hussars (13th Hussar Regiment) and Westphalian infantrymen.

The victorious troops during pursuit become disordered, morally weak and vulnerable to counterattack by smaller enemy. For example at Leipzig (1813) masses of French cuirassiers who pursued the enemy, were counterattacked and valiantly thrown back by few regiments of Russian and Prussian cavalry.


Casualties in cavalry melee were low because men were focused mainly on controlling their horses, and because the cut or slash was easy to parry.
Often the conquered alone loses men, while the victor has no or few loses only.
The men received wounds mainly in the right arm, between hand and elbow. Fewer wounds were recived in the head and neck.

For 1 killed/wounded cavalryman were 3-4 horses lost. (Napoleon)
Often the horses were wounded during combat by their own masters. If the cavalryman was over-excited, panicking, tired, or simply clumsy or wounded, his cuts or slashes occassionally ended up on his horse's head, neck or mane.
Also the cannonballs far more often crushed horses' legs than hit the men in saddles.
The horse was much bigger target for enemy's muskets than his master sitting on him and "ducking" when under fire. Also the rolling canonballs often broke horses' legs leaving the horsemen untouched.
In 1809 at Wagram Nansouty's heavy cavalry division lost 600 killed and wounded men and 1141 horses. Montbrun's light cavalry division lost 280 wounded and killed men and 400 horses.
The heaviest casualties were inflicted if cavalrymen found themselves amidst forced to flee.

"Closer and/or longer pursuit led to heavier casualties."

During cavalry attack against infantry the cavalryman leant forward becaming even smaller target. There were cases where the horse was hit by 7-8 musket balls while the rider was unscratched.

Eating green crops was very dangerous for the horses.
"The British cavalry arrived shortly before nightfall and bivouacked in fields of standing wheat and barley, the leading brigade on the battlefield and the reminder at Nivelles, and many horses died from having eaten the indigestible green crops." (Sir E. Wood "Cavalry in the Waterloo Campaign" 1992).


Tomasz Rogacki - "Mozajsk 1812"
Brent Nosworthy - "With Musket, Cannon and Sword: Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies"
Ch. Duffy - "Military Experience in the Age of Reason."
Gunther E. Rothenberg - "The Napoleonic Wars (History of Warfare)"
John R. Elting - "Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grand Armee"
Brent Nosworthy - "The Anatomy of Victory"
David G. Chandler - "The Campaigns of Napoleon"
Rory Muir - "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon"
Vincent J. Esposito, John R. Elting - "A Military History..."
Charles Parquin - "napoleon's Army, The military Memoirs of Charles Parquin"
Lord Moran - "The Anathomy of Courage"
Arnold - "Napoleon Conquers Austria"


Cavalry Combat 1800-1815
(Part 2)

Sabers and lances - length, weight, characteristic and use in combat.
Cuirass, helmet, bearskin, shakos and rolled greatcoat - use in combat.
Horse skirmishers (flankers).
Speed of attack.
Massive cavalry charges.

Cuts very often failed from the blade turning enough to make the blow one with the flat; at best the wound was generally light compared to those made by thrusts.
Slash was very common in small war where would be a lot of one-on-one fights and circling as the horses had much space. The slashing was very much liked by the light cavalry - there would be no difficulty in retrieving "one's blade from the torso once it has been thrust home."

It was known that the slash was most effective and easiest against opponent to your right side and therefore the men took their time continually circling until they saw an opportunity. The slash disabled or lightly wounded the enemy rather than killed him and majority of slashes and cuts were generally easily parried.

This is interesting that the cut was a more instinctive blow than the thrust and in melees the men tended to cut even if their sabers were more suited to the thrust.
The thrust was considered as more serious business than the slash or cut.

The thrust had several advantages over the cuts:
- the thrust is deadlier than the cut (actually the point killed by way of internal bleeding and infections, but sometimes lacked immediate "stopping power". In contrast, the cut dispensed shock effect proportional to the strength of the blow. But some had just the opposite opinion ! A captain of British heavy dragoons wrote about the French using the thrust "It is worthy of remark that scarcely one Frenchman died of his wounds, although dreadfully chopped, whereas 12 English Dragoons were killed on the spot and others dangerously wounded by thrusts."
- the point reaches the target faster than the edge because it travels in a straight line, whereas the later has to move in a curved path
- a parried point can be re-aligned faster than an edge
- with longer blade one could outreach his adversary and if this reach was additionally augmented by deliveries such as the pass or lunge, then attacks could be made from further away. If the blades were more or less of equal length, the outcome became unpredictable and the supposed superiority of the point was not evident.
- a saber raised for a cut leaves the body exposed to a thrust

Most often the thrust caused deadlier but less impressive injuries than slash and cut. Thrusting is up close and personal and majority of men found it hard to impale the adversary. If someone attacks you with a knife, spear, lance or straight and long blade saber, know that you are dealing with someone who is not afraid of combat, and has the psychological mindset to back it up.

Thrust would leave the opponent with a small hole in his body, but it was deep and penetrated through all the vital organs. Or it could enter mouth and come out at the back of head killing on the spot.
The thrust however was not always deadly. Historical accounts tell about cavalrymen taking numerous minor punctures and this is conceivable that someone could be run through and not have a vital area punctured.

Roman Legionnaires were trained rely upon the thrust in preference to cutting attacks.
Slash or cut would most often result in a light wound to the forearm or hand. These parts of the body were the most targeted by "slashers" and "cutters". It was painful but not deadly. Sometimes there was a blow to the neck or head - it could be deadly or not.
Very impressive looking were cuts and slashes to man's or horse's face. It resulted in a lot of blood, and life lasting and horrible wound but was not life threatening. There were cases where a cavalryman received up to 6 (and sometimes even more !) slashes or cuts to his forearm and continued his fight. De Brack put it shortly: "it is the point alone that kill, the others serve only to wound."

Some recommeded to thrust only when your adversary was awkward or slow in delivering his attack. Thrust must be delivered at the instant, otherwise this is useless. A straight-blade saber can kill with a thrust, a few inches through the ribcage or guts while a cut must go through more flesh to reach vital organs and requires more strength to wield.

But a dedicated cutting edge will deliver devastating and lethal gashes. Cut wounds to the head, eyes or neck were the most serious. Cuts to the head to bleed into the eyes disrupted vision.

The long weapon [lance] allowed cavalrymen to wound or kill an enemy armed with shorter weapon first, but once the enemy had got past the point of the lance then the lancer was vulnerable.

Mastery with lance also required training, good horsemanship and strong hand. Giving lances to many regiments of poorly trained men, too old or too young and weak, didn't make them good lancers. These lads were lost against average cavalry without lances.

Speed of attack.

According to general Jomini the slow pace of attack, the trot, permits that compactness which the gallop breaks up. But du Picq wrote that the effect is moral above all. The galloping squadrons see enemy squadron coming towards them at a trot.
It is surprised at first at such coolness as was known that "the gallop was a move which relieved anxiety."
"The material impulse of the gallop is superior; but there are no intervals, no gaps through which to penetrate the line in order to avoid the shock, the shock that overcomes men and horses. These men must be very resolute, as their close ranks do not permit them to escape by about facing."
The galloping squadrons do not reason these things out, but they know them instinctively. They understand that they have before them a moral impulse superior to theirs.
They become uneasy, hesitate. Their hands instinctively turn their horses aside.
Some of the horsemen go on to the end, but 75 % have already tried to avoid the shock. There is disorder and flight. Then begins the pursuit at a gallop by the men who attacked at the trot.
Speed of cavalry:

- walk - approx. 100 paces/minute
- trot - approx. 200 paces/minute
{the slow pace helped to keep order in ranks but gave to much time to think about dangers,
it was good speed only for disciplined and seasoned troops, the more anxious the men the
sooner they sped up, regardless of their officers' orders}
- gallop - approx. 300 and more paces/minute
{the fast pace usually disordered the troops as they got out of control, gaps were created,
horses in the center were squeezed out, slower horses and riders were far behind
but it was the "winning intoxication gait" with little time for cowardice.
Seasoned troops started galloping as late as possible to avoid disorder,
poorer and more anxious troops started their gallop very early and with loud battle cries.}
Only very few regiments of cavalry in Europe attained the perfection of changing the formation at gallop without losing its order. For example in 1813 Napoleon's 1st Regiment of Lighthorse-lancers of Old Guard attacked the enemy, got under artillery fire, made half-turn and crushed enemy's cavalry without losing its alignment. There was however unwritten law to not maneuver in front of enemy's cavalry - too often it ended up in a disaster.

Sources and acknowledgements.

Brent Nosworthy - "With Musket, Cannon and Sword: Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies"
Ch. Duffy - "Military Experience in the Age of Reason."
Gunther E. Rothenberg - "The Napoleonic Wars (History of Warfare)"
John R. Elting - "Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grand Armee"
Brent Nosworthy - "The Anatomy of Victory"
Chlapowski - "Memoirs of a Polish Lancer" Emperor's Press, 1992.
Charles Parquin - "Napoleon's Army: the military memoirs of Charles Parquin"
Chandler - "The Campaigns of Napoleon"
Muir - "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon"
Vincent J. Esposito, John R. Elting - "A Military History..."
Arnold - "Napoleon Conquers Austria"

Cavalry Combat 1800-1815
(Part 3)

Heavy versus light cavalry.
Regiment of Old Guard in combat [Reichenbach - Saxony 1813]
Cavalry fire a salvo at enemy.
Dismounted cavalry in combat (examples).
Horses, types, height, color and characteristics.
. . . . . . Horses for Napoleon's heavy cavalry.
. . . . . . Horses for Napoleon's light cavalry.
. . . . . . Types of horses in European armies.
. . . . . . Height of horses in European armies.
Part 3

"A good rider who is a weak swordsman would have the advantage over
a good swordsman who is a poor rider."
- American provisional regulations for saber exercise (1907)

Heavy versus light cavalry

The majority of fights of two cavalrymen will hardly amount to more than a quick thrust or strong cut, with parry and quick return. The weakest point is the left rear; an enemy caught in that position should be attacked at once !

When two cavalrymen (one is heavy and the other is light) are attacking each other at a gallop and from the front the advantage is on the side of the heavy cavalry.
At gallop it was impossible for the light cavalryman to parry and then cut : the opponent will be far out of reach within a second. The good news for light cavalry are that in "one-on-one" combat the high speed was rarely used; it was difficult to retrieve fast enough the long blade from enemy's body without having the right hand twisted or even being thrown off the horse !
Only the most excited rookies or the most seasoned swordsmen took such risk.
In "line-vs-line" situation all the horses slowed down just shortly before the contact was made. Every creature on earth (including horses) will attempt to avoid collision. This is natural.

If the man misses his parry he is dead or seriously wounded. The more skillful cavalrymen however were quite successful in parrying the blows.

When two cavalrymen approached each other at slower pace, for example at the walk, there would be a lot of circling and then - of course - much depended on the agility of the horse and the horsemanship and swordsmanship of the man.

The light cavalry was mounted on smaller and more agile horses, they made their turns easier and quicker, their weapons were lighter to use in every direction.

In combat where not individual horsesmen but thousands of men clashes the advantage was on the side of the heavy cavalry. The light cavalry however could improve its own situation by attacking the flanks of the heavy cavalry. Attack on the flank always gave a huge advantage.

Brent Nosworthy - "With Musket, Cannon and Sword: Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies"
Ch. Duffy - "Military Experience in the Age of Reason."
Gunther E. Rothenberg - "The Napoleonic Wars (History of Warfare)"
John R. Elting - "Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grand Armee"
Brent Nosworthy - "The Anatomy of Victory"
David G. Chandler - "The Campaigns of Napoleon"
Rory Muir - "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon"
Charles Parquin - "Napoleon's Army: the military memoirs of Charles Parquin"
Vincent J. Esposito, John R. Elting - "A Military History..."

Infantry Combat 1800-1815
(part 4)

Methods of attacking the squares.

A fast moving horse when hit and falling required 10-15 paces to fall down. Therefore it was unwise to fire at fast attacking cavalry at less than 15 paces. Otherwise the infantrymen forming the square were hit by falling and kicking (if wounded) horses. One horse could make a big gap in the wall of square, bowling and wounding infantrymen. If the cavalrymen were brave and determined enough they would go into such gap and break into center of the square. Only well-trained and disciplined infantrymen might still be able to close the gap and bayonet the few bravados. (Some examples: Russian infantry in 1812 at Krasne, British infantry at Quatre Brass, and at Waterloo where the French cavalry captured 5 British Colors but didn't break any square). In 1815 at Fleurus a square of Prussian fusiliers threw back 3 cavalry charges. Then several very determined French cavalrymen managed to break into the center of square but were mercilessly bayoneted on the spot.
The best way to attack (and break !) a square was to bring horse artillery and blast the stubborn infantry away. But it was not as easy as we think today. The guns needed time to unlimber and load before they opened fire. The situation on battlefield however changed quickly and before the guns opened fire on enemy's infantry, enemy's cavalry counter-attacked and our precious cannons were lost and gunners cut down. In 1813 at Dresden the Austrian cavalry was far away from their battalions and the French brought their guns and heavy cavalry. To make things worse for the whitecoats it was raining. A French general called upon Austrian square to surrender. The whitecoats refused - no heavy cavalry will break them. Then the French unlimbered several guns of horse artillery - it made huge impact on the morale of the Austrians and soon they laid down their arms.

There was also a real danger to the gunners from enemy's sharpshooters. The sharpshooters could finish off entire gun crew within few moments.

The cavalry had several methods of attacking the squares:

they could send a small troop to check the moral strength of square before bigger body of cavalry attacked. If the infantrymen kept their cool they would simply ignore this small group of attackers or just fire only few shots. It all depended on their discipline and battle experience and was thing of morale only.

Cavalry attacking in echelons. In this case the infantrymen emptied their muskets on the first echelon and then the second and third echelon were on them.

Part of cavalry dismounted and approached the square in skirmish order. Meanwhile the main body of cavalry waited for any sign of wavering or weakness of the square. This method worked only if the enemy didn't have cavalry nearby.

Squares in action !

The cavalryman was a fine target for foot soldier armed with a rifle or musket. But due to poor quality and short range of smoothbore muskets the casualties suffered by cavalry were not heavy. For example in 1806 at Prenzlow a Prussian battalion of 400 infantrymen repulsed 7 attacks of French dragoons (2.000) each time delivering a volley at 20-30 paces. The dragoons lost 10-15 horses but such casualties were enough for them as the square showed no signs of weakening. In 1809 at Wagram the chasseurs-a-cheval of Napoleon's Guard attacked a square formed by Austrian landwehr. The Austrians delivered volley, 10 men and 10 horses were the only casualties. But it was enough for the guardsmen, the whitecoats didn't waver and it was pointless to continue the attacks. The casualties seems very low for us but we have to keep on mind that some horses although were hit by a bullet were still able to return with rider. Majority of cavalrymen instinctively "ducked" under fire in an attempt to avoid being hit. They became much smaller targets than their horses. So sometimes the rider was not hit at all while his mount received up to 12 bullets. At Quatre Brass a horse was hit by 7 bullets while the rider was untouched. In 1813 at Gohrde the 3rd Regiment of Hussars of King German Legion lost 98 men and 138 horses. At Dennewitz one squadron of Prussian dragoons received volley at 30 paces and lost 28 men and 41 horses killed and wounded. In 1813 at Dennewitz one squadron of 'Brandenburg' Dragoon Reg. (Prussians) attacked French battalion formed in square. The infantry delivered volley at 30 paces killing 23 horses and 7 men, and wounding 18 horses and 21 men. (But 80 dragoons were untouched by the musketry at very close range.) Such casualties were enough to repulse majority of attackers.

If the infantry was able to form a square the cavalry had big difficulties to break it. Even poorly trained but determined troops were able to form square and repulse the horsemen. For example in 1809 at Wagram the Austrian second-rate Landwehr (militia) withstood attacks of Napoleon's chasseurs of Imperial Guard ! In 1812 at Borodino the French 84e Ligne Regiment withstood several charges of Russian hussars of Tsar's guard. In 1812 at Borodino the 18e Ligne Regiment took refuge in the bushes and its men continued firing at the Russian infantry. But then masses of Russian cuirassiers came and charged at them. The 18e Ligne immediately formed squares and repulsed all charges.
Sometimes when infantry square repulsed cavalry with musket fire, it immediately deployed from square to column and attacked with bayonets. In May 1813 at Diehmen the Allies' cavalry attacked square of French 52e Ligne Regiment. The square held its ground and then formed to column and together with 53e Ligne Regiment (also in column) advanced at fast pace against the attackers. The disordered by fire and attacked with bayonets cavalry fled.

Columns alone were not as good against cavalry as squares but were more effective than lines and enjoyed several successes. In 1812 at Borodino, columns of Russian infantry (Guard) received French cuirassiers and carabiniers with volleys and then attacked with bayonets. The protected by armor heavies lost many horses, their ranks were disordered and they retreated. The guardsmen moved after them firing. According to French author l'Houssaye, in 1814 at Craonne, two regimnents of Russian infantry attacked French dragoons led by GdD Grouchy. Rows of bayonets and boldness of the infantrymen were enough to drive back the dragoons on to the battery which they had just captured. General Grouchy was wounded. When later on, another Russian brigade of infantry advanced against these dragoons they fled and carried back with them some French infantrymen.
But if there was only a single column and mass of determined cavalry the infantry was in a big disadvantage. In 1814 at Craonne two battalions of Old Guard had driven the Russians from the village of Craonne. But when one battalion had advanced in column to the open plateau it had been charged by the Pavlogradski Hussar Regiment and driven back into the village.

The best way to defeat infantry by cavalry was to catch the infantrymen before they formed square. Infantry still formed in line was one of the most welcomed sights for cavalrymen. The line was usually attacked from the flank where its fire was the weakest.
In 1815 at Quatre Brass the French chasseurs suddenly attacked the advancing line of British Foot Guard. The French cut the British to pieces, approx. 500 guardsmen were killed and wounded within few moments. The guardsmen ran like a herd of deer towards the nearby Bossu wood.

Of course there were cases, very rare, where line of infantry actually withstood the attack of cavalry. For example at Marengo the French 72e Demi-Brigade was attacked by Austrian cavalry from the front and rear. There was no time to form square and any other troops would probably panick and flee. But not the 72nd, it was full of battle-hardened veterans and they did this: the men in 3rd rank faced about and warned off the cavalrymen in the rear, while the troopers in 1st and 2nd rank repulsed those in the front.

In 1813 a German (Hannoverian) battalion was attacked by French cavalry. Having no time to form square they fought in line. These brave lads delivered volley at close range and immediately attacked with cold steel. The surprised and shattered horsemen fled.

Vast majority of squares withstood even repeated cavalry attacks. Sometimes however the square was broken. When square was broken (or gap made in one of the walls) the infantrymen panicked and fled hotly pursued by cavalry. Some were killed or wounded, many surrendered and were taken prisoner. In 1813 at Leipzig many of the French infantrymen lost fingers and hands as they sought to protect themselves from Russian cuirassiers sabers by holding their muskets over their heads. Others threw themselves down. Horses were extremelly unwilling to step upon prone body while not every cavalryman could reach them with saber. The excited and triumphant cavalry usually passed over their heads, the infantrymen quickly rose to their feet and either run to the rear or fired at attackers' backs (as did the Russian infantry in 1807 at Eylau).
There were not many cases when infantry was able to close the gap in square and bayonet the bold horsemen.
Here are other examples when squares were broken.
In 1813 at Lutzen, the Baden regiment of dragoons attacked and broke Prussian battalion of guard fusiliers. At Hanau 8 squares formed by French infantry and supported by 18 guns were routed by 20 squadrons of Bavarian cavalry. In 1813 at Dresden the Saxon cuirassiers rode through the village of Alt-Franken and advanced against 2 battalions of Austrian infantry. Although the Austrians formed squares and were supported by 2 guns, the Saxons attacked with fury, broke them and took prisoner all men and guns. (The Austrians were unable to fire many muskets due to rain.) According to Weil in "Campagne 1813" two regiments of Russian hussars (Grodnienski and Lubnienski Regiment) attacked square of 5e Voltigeur Reg. of Young Guard. The hussars broke the square, killed, wounded and took prisoner 310 Young Guardsmen. The Grodnienski Hussar Reg. attacked another square formed by Young Guard and again was successful (Plotho, "Der Krieg" Vol. II) In 1813 at Dresden the Austrian 'Manfredini' Infantry Reg. was attacked by Saxon 'Zastrow' cuirassiers (no armor). The heavies took very many prisoners. In 1813 at Ohna the Prussian 'Pommeranian' Hussar Reg. attacked French infantry and captured 3 guns and 1.200 infantrymen !

Squares against lancers.

Although lance was longer than saber the mounted lancer was unable to outreach infantryman armed with musket and bayonet. But sometimes the infantrymen thought so and paid a high price for this mistake. In 1813 at Dresden the Austrian square repulsed French cuirassiers but surrendered without a fight to lancers. Another square also repulsed cuirassiers but broke when 50 lancers attacked them. Within moments the frustrated cuirassiers joined lancers and together finished off the stubborn enemy. Also at Katzbach the lancers were called after the 23e Chasseurs Reg. was repulsed. The lancers came and broke the square, inflicting heavy casualties on the Prussians.
But in 1812 at Borodino masses of lancers were unable to break a single square. The same for Friedland, Waterloo and Brienne and many other battles.
Acknowledgement, recommeded reading and sources.
G.Beskrovniy, "Materials of Russian Military History", Military Publishing House of The Armed Forces of the USSR, Moscow, 1947. Chapter 11. The War of Year 1812. The Manual For Infantry Officers In the Day Of Battle. (quoting from "The Centenary of the War Ministry", S.Petersburg, 1903. Volume 4)
Brent Nosworthy - "With Musket, Cannon and Sword: Battle Tactics of Napoleon and His Enemies"
Gunther E. Rothenberg - "The Napoleonic Wars (History of Warfare)"
John R. Elting - "Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grand Armee"
George Nafziger - "Imperial Bayonets: Tactics of the Napoleonic Battery, Battalion and Brigade as Found in Contemporary Regulations".
Scott Bowden - "Napoleon's Grandee Armee of 1813"
Brent Nosworthy - "The Anatomy of Victory"
Arnold - "Napoleon Conquers Austria"
Chandler - "The Campaigns of Napoleon"
Rory Muir - "Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon"
Vincent J. Esposito, John R. Elting - "A Military History..."

Cooper's Manual for Volunteers (1836)

This is an on-line cavalry manual.

The depth of two ranks, taking the length of the fullest sized cavalry horses, at eight feet, and the distance between the ranks at three feet, is to be reckoned at about nineteen feet.
Intervals- Spaces between squadrons and regiments in line- those between squadrons, ten paces; those between regiments, fifteen.

Every division which is to be aligned upon another, will halt abreast of the rear-rank, parallel to the line off formation, to move forward into the alignment of the division already formed.
Paces- There are three paces, the walk, the trot, and the gallop.- The walk at the rate of three and a half to four miles an hour. The trot at eight miles and a half an hour. The gallop at eleven miles an hour. The gallop is not considered applicable to general purposes of manoeuvre, though it may be used occasionally for very simple formations.
The rate of charge should not exceed the speed of the slowest horse,
To preserve uniformity of movement, the trot and gallop should commence gradually, and by the whole body at the same time.
The term pace, by which distance and intervals are measured, is reckoned at one yard.

Of the Charge or Attack.

The charge is regulated by the principles of the direct march, but is more animated and impetuous. The enemy is the point of direction, and his overthrow the object. It commences with a brisk trot, then a gallop, constantly increasing in velocity in proportion to the approach to the enemy, and finally assumes the character of an attack. There are three modes of charging. In a line parallel or oblique to the front of the enemy by echelon, and in column.

When at a suitable distance from the enemy to make a charge, say about 250 yards, the commanding officer commands, REGIMENT, (SQUADRON or COMPANY)-DRAW-SWORDS-TROT-MARCH. The regiment continues at a trot for 150 paces, when the commanding officer gives the word, GALLOP, which is repeated by the field officers and chiefs of squadrons. He then commands MARCH, which in like manner is repeated; and after passing about 100 paces at a gallop, the commanding officer causes the charge to be sounded by all the trumpets, at which signal the gallop is increased in speed. The men rise in their stirrups, lowering the bridle hand, but keeping the command of their horses, as well as preserving their dressing, and thus dash upon the enemy; the front-rank with the sword pointed forward, and the rear-rank with the sword to the raise. The enemy being routed, the commanding officer orders the trumpeters to sound the rally, when each man pulls up and joins his standard. But as it is important that the enemy should not have time to rally, the flank platoons of each squadron or some others, are sent in pursuit, and to recall them the rally is sounded, when they return to their respective places in their squadrons.

The charge ought always, if possible, to be anticipated, as there is great danger of being overthrown by receiving a charge at a halt.

At the signal to charge, officers in the front of the line, cause the file in rear of them to fall back so as to admit the croup of their horses into the rank.

General George Patton

As a young officer Patton wrote a manual on the use of the saber (currently not available) and several shorter articles. He as an advocate of the use of the point versus the edge. His remarks, although often directed at contemporary discussions of the merits of curved versus straight swords, nevertheless have a timeless quality and shed light on the uses of the sword in all ages.


By First Lieutenant George S. Patton, Jr.
Tenth Cavalry
Cavalry Journal
March 1913

As to the form of the saber, there seems to have been an age long controversy between the advocates of the edge and those favoring the point. Beginning with the 11th Century, from which time accounts are fairly consecutive, we find as follows:
When scale, and later chain, armor became sufficiently perfected to completely cover the body, the point went out of use because it was quite impossible to thrust it through the meshes, while by giving a violent blow, it was possible to break or cripple an opponent's arms or ribs without cutting the armor.

...., the advocates of the so called cutting weapon say that we are practically a nation of axmen. It is doubtful, however, if many of our men have ever handled an ax or are descendants from those who have. The tendency of the untrained man to flourish his sword and make movements with it simulating cuts is to be found in other nation. In France, noted for it's use of the point, I witnessed within the last year several hundred recruits, when first handed sabers, thrashing about with them as if they were clubs, but no sooner were they taught the value of the point than they adopted it and never thereafter returned to the edge.

..... Why, then, should the ignorant swinging about of a sword be indicative of it's proper use? It is in the charge that the sword is particularly needful, and, in fact, finds almost it's whole application, and it is here that the point is of particular advantage in stimulating to the highest degree the desire of closing with the enemy and running him through.

The point is vastly more deadly than the edge, for while it might be possible to inflict a crippling blow with the edge were the swing unrestricted by the pressing ranks of the charge or by the guard or attack of an adversary, yet with both of these factors added to the necessity of so starting the cuts as to reach it's mark after making due allowance for the relative speed of approach of the two contestants; the size and power of the blow becomes so reduced that there is grave doubt if it would have sufficient power to do any damage to an opponent's body, protected as it is by clothing and equipment. And even should it reach the fact, it's power to unhorse is dubious.

The use of the point, on the other hand, is not restricted by the press of the ranks and it's insinuating effect is not hindered by clothing or equipment. The exaggerated idea of the effect of a cut which prevalent in our service is due possibly to the fact that when a man wants to demonstrate it he rides or walks up to a post, and with plenty of time to estimate distance and with his swing unimpeded by companions on either hand, he can expend all of his power and attention to chopping at his mark. Also, in our so called fencing, mounted or dismounted between enlisted man, the touch with the point which, were it sharp, would introduce several inches of steel into it's target, is hardly felt, while blows with the edge often cause considerable bruises, though were these sharp it is doubtful if they would do more.

It is also well to remember that were one of our lines, charging as at present, to run up against a line charging with the point, our opponents' weapons would reach us and have ample opportunity to pass through us before we could be even able to start a cut in return. Were we, on the other hand, while using the point, to encounter men using the edge, we in turn would have them at our mercy. In the melee which follows a charge, there is less objection to using the edge, for the horses will be going at less speed and things will probably open up. At least, there will be no rank formation and a man can chop away as ineffectually as he likes, though here, too, the point would be more deadly. In the pursuit there is little choice between the edge and point, though it might be a little easier on the horses to stick a man when he is several feet ahead than to be forced to ride almost abreast of him to deal a cut. Moreover, a man can parry a cut from behind while continuing his flight, but in order to parry a thrust he must stop and turn. Still, with the straight sword under consideration by the War Department, cuts can be more effectually made than they could with our present saber, as the new sword is better balanced for rapid cutting and is very sharp on both edges. Of course, this weapon is distinctly a cavalry arm, and it would not effect the equipment of the infantry or artillery.

The blade is kept still and the horse does the work. All the man has to do is to direct his point, which operation is facilitated by the fact of his having his blade along the line of sight. Later he is taught to use his weapon against adversaries on his right and left as in a melee. In teaching this he is first allowed to go slowly, but having learned the mechanism he is thereafter required to go fast and is never permitted to slow up or circle. He rides at a man to kill him, and if he misses, he goes on to another, moving in straight lines with the intent of running his opponent through.


By Lieutenant G. S. Patton, Jr.,
Instructor in Swordsmanship, M.S.S.
The Rasp, 1914

With this sword the use of the point is taught exclusively for the following reasons:

Charging in close formation with the edge, there is no correlation between the onrush of the horse and cut of the sword. A front cut is the only one possible at the moment of contact, because of the other men to the right and left; speed materially reduces both the force and accuracy of this cut.

In the charge with the point, all the energy of the horse is conserved and he becomes a steel pointed missile.

In charging with the edge, much more of the person must be exposed in order to cut.

When using the point, the almost prone position of the trooper reduces the target and facilitates the speed of the horse.

With the edge, the whole body is exposed to the attack of the point while in using the point the head is protected from a cut by the guard of the sword so that only the shoulder and back offer a target. Moreover, if he is simply cutting, he will have about a foot of point in him before he can land his blow. If, at the last moment, he sees this and attempts to parry, he is perfectly passive. If he misses his parry, he is dead; if his parry is successful, he saves his skin, but has absolutely failed in his military mission of harming his adversary; for when two horses pass each other at a gallop it is impossible to parry and then cut to the rear; the horses will be far out of reach. On the contrary, the man using the point can still parry a cut while keeping his point in line for the body of his adversary. A thrust may be parried in the same way as a cut, still keeping the point in line, though here it is a question of strength and skill as to which of the two combatants will be successful.

Of the foregoing advantages of the point, the fact of increased reach is paramount. The point will outreach and outkill the edge in a charge; hence if we meet foes using the edge against our point, we have them. If our enemy also uses the point, we are simply fighting fire with fire and our superior swords and greater physical strength tips the scale a little our way; whereas, in such a case, had we continued to use the edge, we would have been lost.

Against a lance, the charge with the point is superior to the charge with the edge. In the first place, the lance point can be deflected at a greater distance from the body; thus giving the swordsman the longest possible path in which to get the necessary deflection, while the sword at the same time slips along the shaft of the lance with the point in line for the lancer's body who thus not only has his attack parried, but also his life menaced. Should the trooper on the contrary, sit up to use the edge, he must make his parry when the lance is not over two feet away from him, so that the path the point has to go, while being deflected, is reduced between six and seven feet, while the size of the deflection is the same as before and at the same time the attention of the lancer is not disturbed by the threat of the blow.

In the melee, did circumstances permit of individual uninterrupted combat, the edge would be nearly as useful as the point, except that it's wounds are much less crippling. But, two important factors militate against this species of combat. When the melee commences, the enemies line has been broken and he must at once be compelled to take up and continue a retrograde movement. He must be compelled to feel that he is on the defensive; the spirit of offense in the attackers must be dominant. This precludes pulling up, hammering, tactics. The troopers must continue at the gallop, riding at one enemy, killing him and on to the next, or if they fail to get their first man, they must not pull up, but leave him to a comrade and with unabated energy, ride down another opponent further on.

Again, individual combat where the opponents pulled up and fought it out hammer and tongs was all right when both wore defensive armor and were thus immune to any passing attack of some third party. But when an unarmored man pulls up, he makes himself a fine target for some passing adversary while, had he continued to move to the front at speed, the danger would have been much reduced.


No. 50-70 WssmNonc, Pebnaanj 21, 1922

Prepared under direction of the
Chief of Cavalry.
This pamphlet supersedes paragraphs 2 to 43 inclusive, "Saber Exercise, 1914.'

2. Characteristics of the saber as a weapon.--The saber is solely a weapon of offense to be used by the trooper mounted. Accordingly, in all attacks with the saber the trooper must be taught to charge with great spirit, to disregard an opposinig weapon, and to lunge at the right moment directly at his adversary's body. in the vigor and rapidity of his attack, in the strength of his arm, and in the correct position of his body lie both the trooper's best protection against an opposing weapon and his greatest chance of success in overcoming his adversary.

Accordingly, the attack should be delivered with great force and so timed that when the lunge is completed the point of the saber will have pierced the target.
The instant the point pierces the target the trooper should quickly withdraw the saber and promptly resume the guard. This is highly important in order (a) not to lose the saber in the body of an adversary and (b) to be ready for the next adversary.

Quick and vigorous action can not be too much stressed; the speed of the encounter and of successive encounters, mounted will be great - much greater than anything that can be simulated dismounted.

14. Attacking, from a distance, a simulated adversary.--When at the walk and the gallop, the trooper has acquired confidence and handiness in using the saber and is able so show form and accuracy in executing the lunges, the speed of the gallop should be gradually increased. Eventually, from a distance of about 100 yards, the trooper, at full speed, should bear down upon a simulated adversary with great spirit and dash and should lunge at the right moment from the position of guard.

85. Manner of executing a collective attack with the saber.--In an individual attack with the saber it is essential that the trooper retain the fullest control of his horse. It is also essential that he should not divulge the manner in which he intends to raise his saber until he is very close upon his adversary. His adversary will not have time then to avoid the attack or adopt a counter measure. It has been prescribed, therefore, that in approaching to the attack the trooper bear down upon his adversary at full speed, the saber at the guard, and that the actual attack should be delivered in the form of a lunge at the right moment directly at his adversary's body.

b. In a collective attack, however, as when a squad, platoon, or troop charges in line, it is not so essential that the trooper actually guide his horse; moreover, the more threatening the aspect of the approaching attack, the greater will be the adverse effect upon the morale of the enemy. Therefore, in the charge in line, the position of Charge saber is assumed at the command: CHARGE, which is usually given at a distance of about 60 yards from the enemy. The position of charge saber is then held until collision with the enemy, the effectiveness of the attack being dependent upon the determination with which the charge is made. Upon collision with the enemy, the attack in line may be followed by a melee; the action of each trooper thereafter is that of an individual, and his saber should be held and used accordingly.

(062.12, A. 0. 0.]
General of the Armies,
Chief of Staff.
The Adjutant General.

Site Map

© 2003, Gary Brueggeman. All rights reserved world wide. No part of this work may be reproduced in part or whole, in any form or by any means, without permission from the author.