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Could the dragoons fire their muskets while on horseback ?

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  • Could the dragoons fire their muskets while on horseback ?

    I'm asking because I play a game called Napoleon total war, and the dragoons there can't fire while they are riding their horses, but I remember that I have read something that says that they were able to fire and reload while running with their horses.
    So what do you think ?
    Another question, what was the difference between the dragoons and any other heavy cavalry unit ?
    Thank you..

  • #2
    Welcome aboard Hurricane

    Dragoons have been noted to fire form the saddle but it is very ineffective
    accept at close quarters. Most occurrences took place on outpost duties and
    where between Hussars.

    The difference was that they were somewhat classed as medium Cavalry and
    could be used as foot soldiers which they were in Spain in some of the battles
    and there are other instances of this in Egypt and Italy.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by General Brock View Post
      Welcome aboard Hurricane

      Dragoons have been noted to fire form the saddle but it is very ineffective
      accept at close quarters. Most occurrences took place on outpost duties and
      where between Hussars.

      The difference was that they were somewhat classed as medium Cavalry and
      could be used as foot soldiers which they were in Spain in some of the battles
      and there are other instances of this in Egypt and Italy.
      Thank you

      But what did u mean by "Ineffective" ? Do u mean they weren't accurate and caused few casualties ?
      And what about reloading on the horseback, was it easy ?

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes as carbines "to start with" were not reliable at all at distances.
        So from the saddle they would be worse.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
          I'm asking because I play a game called Napoleon total war, and the dragoons there can't fire while they are riding their horses, but I remember that I have read something that says that they were able to fire and reload while running with their horses.
          So what do you think ?
          Another question, what was the difference between the dragoons and any other heavy cavalry unit ?
          Thank you..
          Have you ever seen a reenactor or documented evidence of someone running on foot or galloping on horseback, reloading his musket/musketoon? A dragoon would halt or slow to a walk and give fire from horseback, reload from stationary horseback, or dismount to do the same stationary, (even if they could reload running on foot, have you ever tried a turn of speed with spurs and 'in the case of some regiments', heavy knee length boots and spurs.

          The Dragoon by this time had become just another part of the Cavalry arm, and in general, were no longer seen as mounted infantry (rode to the battle, then dismount to fight as infantry).

          French foot dragoons fought as infantry, with gaitered infantry footwear and equipment, but retaining the dragoon helmet weapons and uniform.





          Paul
          Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 19 Mar 10, 15:43.
          ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
          All human ills he can subdue,
          Or with a bauble or medal
          Can win mans heart for you;
          And many a blessing know to stew
          To make a megloamaniac bright;
          Give honour to the dainty Corse,
          The Pixie is a little shite.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Dibble201Bty View Post
            Have you ever seen a reenactor or documented evidence of someone running on foot or galloping on horseback, reloading his musket/musketoon? A dragoon would halt or slow to a walk and give fire from horseback, reload from stationary horseback, or dismount to do the same stationary, (even if they could reload running on foot, have you ever tried a turn of speed with spurs and 'in the case of some regiments', heavy knee length boots and spurs.

            The Dragoon by this time had become just another part of the Cavalry arm, and in general, were no longer seen as mounted infantry (rode to the battle, then dismount to fight as infantry).

            French foot dragoons fought as infantry, with gaitered infantry footwear and equipment, but retaining the dragoon helmet weapons and uniform.





            Paul
            Thanks for ur reply, Sir

            Another question that i hope u answer it for me. What kind of firing drills did they use in the Napoleonic era ? Did they use "Fire by rank" or "Fire and advance" or only the first row fired ? and how many men were in a single regiment of cavalry ?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
              Thanks for ur reply, Sir

              Another question that i hope u answer it for me. What kind of firing drills did they use in the Napoleonic era ? Did they use "Fire by rank" or "Fire and advance" or only the first row fired ? and how many men were in a single regiment of cavalry ?
              If you are playing Napoleon total war, then surely the unit strength and fire method is set into the game play.

              Paul
              ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
              All human ills he can subdue,
              Or with a bauble or medal
              Can win mans heart for you;
              And many a blessing know to stew
              To make a megloamaniac bright;
              Give honour to the dainty Corse,
              The Pixie is a little shite.

              Comment


              • #8
                It's a while later but doctrine of mounted combat was similar, Cuirassiers shooting practice with their new Berthier Mle 1890 carbine from their (deaf) horses.



                kelt

                Comment


                • #9
                  So what about the horse regiment ? how many men did it have ?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hurricane93 View Post
                    So what about the horse regiment ? how many men did it have ?
                    In 1809, according to "Aspern & Wagram 1809" from Osprey, all French cavalry regiments were formed four squadrons, each of 250 men at full strength.

                    I hope that answers your question.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      French Cavalry...

                      There is no such animal as 'medium cavalry.' The French actually listed or classified their dragoons as light cavalry during the period, though they had developed into another branch of cavalry and were not mounted infantry by this time.

                      French cavalry was trained to fire mounted, though not at speed and usually, if not solely, at the halt. They also loaded at the halt, not at speed.

                      French heavy cavalry were mounted on the largest horses available, the dragoons having the next largest, and the light cavalry getting the 'smallest.' That didn't always pan out, though, as Marbot's beloved 23d Chasseurs a Cheval had larger than average troopers and were issued larger mounts for them.

                      Dragoons were sometimes used in the army's cavalry screen along with the light regiments, and sometimes dragoon divisions were attached to the corps for operations in rough country such as forests and bogs/marshes.

                      Not all of the dragoons were mounted during 1800-1806 because of the cavalry reorganizations and a general shortage of horses as there was much unnecessary wastage during the Wars of the Revolution. For the planned invasion of England there were two dismounted divisions of dragoons organized. They were given infantry equipment, kept their own and were also issued drums to supplement their trumpets. They were to carry their saddles and tack and remount once in England. When the plans were changed because of the Austrian threat from the east in 1805, Napoleon was able to mount three out of four squadrons in each dragoon regiment. The remaining dragoos squadrons were organized into four provisional regiments to constitute a division commanded by Baraguay d'Hilliers. Its strength was approximately 6,000 sabers, though they hit the road armed with their muskets and bayonets only. For 1806 there were still two regiments left dismounted which were assigned to march with the Guard. As horses were captured these troopers were mounted and sent to a newly organized depot at Wittemberg for processing.

                      Interestingly, most of the cavalry reserve at Eylau in February 1807 was made up of dragoon divisions, Grouchy's in particular distinguishing itself (as it did at both Jena and Friedland). There was only one cuirassier division present at Eylau (d'Hautpoul's). Most of the dragoons went into Spain in 1808 for more experience and from these cadres were withdrawn to form the new French lancer regiments in 1811 which were light cavalry.

                      Not all French cavalry were organized with four squadrons per regiment. Initially, during the Consulate and early Empire they were, but this was later changed, some light cavalry regiments having up to eight squadrons. A 5th, or depot squadron was added in 1806, but those of the cuirassiers and carabiniers didn't last too long and were abolished.

                      The company strength according to arm, however, was different. The heavy cavalry had companies of 3 officers and 86 enlisted; the dragoons 3 officers and 116 other ranks; the light regiments had four officers and 140 enlisted. Chasseurs a Cheval, hussars, and dragoons also had sappers in most regiments, usually six to eight men.

                      As a word of caution, and in my own opinion of course, I would be careful doing research using Ospreys. Many are very good to excellent, such as those by Rene Chartrand and Ron Pawley, but many others are not and cannot be relied upon consistently. I have quite a few of them in my library and use them consistently, but I also check many of them against a proven reference work, either primary or reliable secondary works. I was quite surprised when taking my military history masters program when I was told that Ospreys could not be used at all. I thought that extremely prejudiced as there are bonified scholars who write some of them, such as Chartrand and Paddy Griffith, and to ban all of them as a group was both silly and wrong.

                      Sincerely,
                      M
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tmp

                        James,

                        I saw you visit TMP today. Not a very pleasant place, is it? This is a much better forum and the clientele is much better with a few notable exceptions on the other forum. I'm glad that I found this one.

                        Sincerely,
                        M
                        We are not now that strength which in old days
                        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          No not at all, that Chuvak sure has it in for you but I think it is
                          Steven Smith with a dual account just by the way he posts, but I
                          could be wrong. I would like to see Armand over hear he would be
                          a great asset to the site with his many questions which I
                          thoroughly like.

                          I known there not medium Cavalry by the way Kevin that's why I said
                          somewhat.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kelt06 View Post
                            It's a while later but doctrine of mounted combat was similar, Cuirassiers shooting practice with their new Berthier Mle 1890 carbine from their (deaf) horses.

                            kelt
                            Here is the picture:
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Massena View Post

                              As a word of caution, and in my own opinion of course, I would be careful doing research using Ospreys. Many are very good to excellent, such as those by Rene Chartrand and Ron Pawley, but many others are not and cannot be relied upon consistently. I have quite a few of them in my library and use them consistently, but I also check many of them against a proven reference work, either primary or reliable secondary works. I was quite surprised when taking my military history masters program when I was told that Ospreys could not be used at all. I thought that extremely prejudiced as there are bonified scholars who write some of them, such as Chartrand and Paddy Griffith, and to ban all of them as a group was both silly and wrong.

                              Sincerely,
                              M
                              I agree with you Kevin on this point but I can understand the thinking of what seemed to be a blanket ban. As you know the Men-at-Arms titles are really nothing much other than a Uniform Reference book with scant information on the actual military/political/social historic bones of the period, even the Campaign series get to the battles with scant regard to the lead up and after effects, which could be more important than the battle itself. Apart from that the Osprey series in general are OK for the likes of me, a mere mortal of military history, who only has them as a ready reference if I can't be arsed to delve into book after book for sources for a trivial matter and to sate my love of uniform plates.

                              For those new to the hobby out there that use Osprey Men-at-Arms (for figure painting and wargaming), always check other sources when it comes to Uniforms and organisation information; make it a habbit, your knowlege will only benefit from it and It's very enjoyable (Frustration comes into it at times, but Hey! once you find that/those nugget[s] of information the satisfaction of the search is all the better)

                              Paul
                              ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
                              All human ills he can subdue,
                              Or with a bauble or medal
                              Can win mans heart for you;
                              And many a blessing know to stew
                              To make a megloamaniac bright;
                              Give honour to the dainty Corse,
                              The Pixie is a little shite.

                              Comment

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