Reading for the Weekend – Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry and Dragoon Tactics

Heavy Dragoon tacticsSince some time I have deviated from the topic, and now returning back to the basics in a form of Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics by Philip A. Haythornthwaite (ISBN# n/a). First, I have tried to look for book that would cover comprehensively the tactics and command structure and practical mode of operation of both heavy and light cavalry units in Napoleonic era. Seeing this title, I thought it would cover at least some of the topics of interest.

Fist, book is divided in all so familiar division about cavalry types, their brief history and evolution, training and equipment before moving into higher level. There are interesting notations about Heavy cavalry in skirmish duties and various heavy cavalry charge modes. Quite bit of the book treats Dragoons, both mounted and unmounted – or the impression I got, the excellence of Dragoons at the cost of Cuirassiers and other heavies. Book attempts, and title somewhat leads reader to believe that would be the case – to cover heavy cavalry and dragoons of all participating nations, but that is sadly not the case. At best, author skims the surface and research is quite shallow and remains on quite basic level.

There is some useful information in the book, but most of what is covered is not something that one would not have encountered before elsewhere. That said, it is written in decent style and is easy read, something that is not always the case with books of this kind. Therefore, if reader is interested in the topic but has not yet found where to start from, this may be a good one. For those that are relatively familiar with the topic, this title unfortunately adds little and may not be worth the money.

Napoleonic Heavy Cavalry & Dragoon Tactics should be accompanied by another volume that covers the Light Cavalry tactics but it is unlikely that I will invest on the companion title. I will read it though if it falls on my desk.

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