French Dragoons

French Dragoons1

Dragoons, workhorse of French army (Baccus 6mm, old cast).

Dragoons in general were considered to land somewhere between Cuirassier and various light cavalry troops such as Hussars. Name dragoon comes from the shorter rifle that these very versatile cavalrymen used. When cuirassiers had an armor and they carried to the battle quite sizable arsenal, Dragoons were essentially mounted infantry. Unarmored APC of Napoleonic wars if you like. At some point they were, in fact, just infantry, with no mounts.

In many Armies of Napoleonic era, Dragoons were most numerous of the cavalry arm, and albeit they supposed to be multipurpose as mounted infantry, the tendency was that dragoons fought exclusively from horseback – unless there was severe lack of mounts.

French Dragoons2

Napoleon did, at one point demand that every mounted officer would give their mounts to the dragoons – so severe were the demand of horses.

Dragoons were quite heavily equipped with sword and rifle, but they were not as capable in swordsmanship than Cuirassiers. Being often, and more so when war progressed, new recruits and deemed half infantry by other cavalry troops, Dragoons had much lower prestige and lesser quality horses – and therefore much cheaper uniforms and operating expenses.

French Dragoons3

However, regardless of the lower prestige, poorer horses, sometimes ragtag uniforms and new recruits, French dragoons performed very well as all around cavalry force, and it was much the same story all over Europe. Future however would show that out of all fancy cavalry of Napoleonic era, only the Dragoons would survive to see another era dawn.


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