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"Saxon Cavalry in three ranks not two?" Topic


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545 hits since 16 Mar 2017
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SJDonovan Inactive Member16 Mar 2017 5:25 a.m. PST

In 'With Eagles to Glory' John H. Gill comments on p.255 "the tactics of Saxony's army in 1809 had hardly changed from the time of the Seven Years War" and goes on to say: "The mounted regiments employed the standard tactics of the day, although the Saxon squadrons were unusual in forming their troopers in three lines instead of the normal two; this third rank contained the most skilled riders and provided scouts, skirmishers and couriers as required."

Does anyone know if the Saxon cavalry was still forming in three ranks at the time of the invasion of Russia in 1812?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

Now that would be interesting if so………if ruining many a collection of cavalry units in the process!

von Winterfeldt16 Mar 2017 10:26 a.m. PST

hopefully I can find my Saxon cavalry regulation of 1810

von Winterfeldt16 Mar 2017 1:29 p.m. PST

Saxon Cavalry regulations of 1810

page 121

The squadron will be all times be arranged in two ranks and 4 platoons.

The biggest and best horses will be in the first rank, and accordingly placed by heigt from the right to the left wing.

It has to be observed that horses of the identical but not too striking colour form the first rank, all light horses, as greys, pie bald etc can be arranged according to colour in the second rank.

(…)

At closed ranks the distance between them is 1 and a half paces

Source : Exercir – Reglment für die Königlich Sächsische Cavalerie, Dresden 1810

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

I'm just about to do the Saxon heavy cavalry for 1809. The squadrons were large, at least on paper the Kurrassier, Leib and Zastrow had over 700 men. It would make a lot of sense if they were in three ranks. Did they fight in 3 ranks at Wagram?

von Winterfeldt16 Mar 2017 1:37 p.m. PST

Honestly I cannot believe that any cavalry still fought in three ranks in the field on a campaign any longer at that time.

von Winterfeldt16 Mar 2017 2:07 p.m. PST

According to Montbé in his epic work about the Saxons in 1806 – the cavalry was formed with the exception of the hussars in three ranks.

for 1809 – I did not come up with any information so far

SJDonovan Inactive Member16 Mar 2017 3:40 p.m. PST

Thanks von Winterfeldt.

So, unless I have got it wrong, by 1812 the Saxons were all in two ranks but in 1806 everyone except the hussars was in three ranks?

The extra detail about the second rank is fascinating. From now on my second ranks will all be piebalds and greys.

Supercilius Maximus16 Mar 2017 4:26 p.m. PST

"…this third rank contained the most skilled riders and provided scouts, skirmishers and couriers as required."

Sounds like the third rank of an infantry battalion; once the "extras" were detached, wouldn't everyone have operated in two ranks with any survivors of the third standing to the rear, ready to fill in any gaps that appeared, as per the infantry?

von Winterfeldt17 Mar 2017 12:06 a.m. PST

"So, unless I have got it wrong, by 1812 the Saxons were all in two ranks but in 1806 everyone except the hussars was in three ranks?"

No from 1810 all Saxon cavalry in two ranks.

to do all second rank as grey or piebalds is a bit radical, I would include other striking colours as well.

Le Breton17 Mar 2017 5:08 a.m. PST

von Winterfeldt,
Fascinating – thank you very much for your researching this!

von Winterfeldt17 Mar 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

I asked the top expert Jörg Titze

here the link of the 1777 regulations for download

link

at this time 3 ranks, the highest and darkest horses in the front rank, the smallest in the 2nd rank and the middle sized in the third rank (like infantry ) the best horses on the wings.

however in my view there must be add ons, changes etc up till 1806 – and 1809 is so far a mystery

von Winterfeldt17 Mar 2017 1:00 p.m. PST

Gill got his quote most likley from the work by Exner about the Saxons in the 1809 campaign

link

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 2:04 p.m. PST

van Winterfeldt- thanks for the link! I'll check that out when I get to a computer that I can use the translator on.

SJDonovan Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

to do all second rank as grey or piebalds is a bit radical, I would include other striking colours as well.

To be honest I probably won't do many piebalds. I find them very hard to paint. They never come out looking right. I'll probably try to create the effect by mounting my Saxons in the front rank on horses all of the same basic colour (probably dark bays) and then vary things as much as I can in the second rank.

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