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"Gigantic Austrian cavalry regiments" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

4th Cuirassier30 Oct 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

Your Austrian cavalry regiment had eight to ten squadrons of 168ish men each. This is 60% more than an infantry battalion and of course it bulks larger on a table.

It also makes proportionately correct cavalry contingents in most armies impossible. Cavalry was 11% of the Austrian order of battle and of that 11% 39% were hussars.

How do people handle this?

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP30 Oct 2017 4:38 p.m. PST

Use normal size cavalry regiments and say they broke 'em up

We mostly game grand tactical so this is less of an issue due to the ugly Austrian habit of not concentrating their cavalry so much – for example, at Dresden 1st and 2nd Kuirassier Divisions together were smaller than the French 1st Heavy Cavalry Division

wrgmr130 Oct 2017 6:31 p.m. PST

Same as Frederick, we will take an extra large Hussar unit and make 2 regiments out of it.

evilgong30 Oct 2017 7:17 p.m. PST

Didn't some of these big Austrian units operate tactically as two things?

(leaving aside how many squadrons of many nations seem to be semi-independent things …)

David F Brown

Dn Jackson30 Oct 2017 8:11 p.m. PST

I came to the conclusion a couple years ago that regiments don't matter. The squadron is the unit of maneuver just as battalions are for infantry, (not regiments). So we count the number of squadrons in an army and plan our scenarios accordingly.

basileus6630 Oct 2017 9:26 p.m. PST

Like Dn Jackson, I use squadrons as tactical units in my games.

Art30 Oct 2017 9:29 p.m. PST

G'Day Gents,

My scale is 1:60…that means those large cavalry regiments are 16 to 20 figures…

Austrian players therefore use full regiments…and it is just like the French player and his guard cavalry…

Best Regards

Cerdic Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2017 12:37 a.m. PST

As Napoleon said, the Squadron is to the cavalry as the battalion is to the Infantry. So the squadron is the basic cavalry unit.

When you look at actual Orders Of Battle of the Austrian army, cavalry squadrons from the same regiment often operated in pairs. So, for example, the 2nd Corps might have two squadrons from the 4th Cheveauxleger Regiment while the rest of the regiment was allocated to completely different corps.

So I would use your Austrian cavalry in parcels of one or two squadrons.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2017 12:46 a.m. PST

You can't properly maneuver 8 squadrons.
And you'd always keep squadrons in reserve(unless you're British)
Make units of 2-3 squadrons, as single squadrons really operated alone.

Supercilius Maximus In the TMP Dawghouse31 Oct 2017 1:57 a.m. PST

Looking at the 1809 campaign, Austrian cavalry regiments tended to operate as "divisions" or pairs of squadrons. This was particularly true of light cavalry when attached to avante-garde formations. In Prussian service, pre-1807, I seem to recall that it was normal for the large (double-strength?) hussar regiments to split into two "battalions" in the field.

Le Breton31 Oct 2017 2:40 a.m. PST

For comparison ….

Russian Army Husar and Lancer regiments were typically double the size of Cuirassier, Dragoon or Horse Jäger regiments. From 1811, they were organized as 2 "Batallions" each 4 "active" squadrons plus two depot "replacement" squadrons. The squadron's were each named from their commander (as shown below) and additionally had 1 Staff-Rotmistr, 2 Lieutenants and 3 Cornets. The replacement squadrons were supposed to be used only to "top up" the active squadrons as the latter entered into campaigning and then train replacements. Actually, the press of events led to the replacement squadrons being sent into the field also – pairs of replacement squadrons from the Hussar or Lancer regiments of a calvalry brigade forming a combined regiment.
Although the 2 Battalions of "active" squadrons were assigned together to the ssame higher formation or command, they operated tactically as esentially two separate formations, each of 4 "active" squadrons.

Typically a Russian Army Hussar or Lancer batallion would be modelled for gaming the same way as a Cuirassier, Dragoon or Horse Jäger regiment.

1st Shef's Bataillon
--- Shef's Squadron, led by Rotmistr A
--- Major C's Squadron
--- Rotmistr D's Squadron
--- Lieutenant-Colonel's Squadron

2nd Commander's Battalion
--- Commander's Squadron
--- Major D's Squadron
--- Rotmistr B's Squadron
--- Senior Major A's Squadron

Replacement Squadrons
--- Major B's Replacement Squadron of the 1st Battalion
--- Rotmistr C's Replacement Squadron of the 2nd Battalion


The use of the replacement "depot" squadrons in 1812 :

Combined Cavalry regiment – assigned to Essen's corps, at Riga (from the 5th brigade, 1st cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Grodno Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Polish Ulans

Combined Hussar regiment – assigned to Vitgensheyn's corps, at Dinaburg (from the 8th brigade, 2nd cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Izyum Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Elizabethgrad Hussars

Combined Hussar regiment – assigned to Ertel's corps, at Mozyr (from the 11th brigade, 3rd cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Sumy Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Mariupol Hussars

Combined Cavalry regiment – assigned to Ertel's corps, at Mozyr (from the 14th brigade, 4th cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Akhtyrka Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Pavlograd Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Lithuanian Ulans

Combined Cavalry regiment – assigned to Lambert's corps, with the 3rd Reserve Observation Army (from the 17th brigade, 5th cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Alexandria Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Tatar Ulans

Combined Cavalry regiment – assigned to various points in the Kiev region, then sent to the Caucasus (from the 18th and 19th brigades, 6th cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Belorussia Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Volhynia Ulans

Combined Cavalry regiment – assigned to various points in the Kiev region, then sent to the Caucasus (from the 23rd brigade, 7th cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Oviopol Hussars
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Chuguyev Ulans

Separate Hussar division – assigned to various points in the Crimea (from the 26th brigade, 8th cavalry division)
--- 2 Replacement Squadrons of Lubny Hussars

marshalGreg31 Oct 2017 3:38 a.m. PST

The squadron strengths at 1809, a time where the Austrian units were best near full strength still had only ~ 120+ per squadron. That put the Light regiments of 8 squadrons at ~850 to 1060 per and the Hvy units at 6 squadrons around 700 to 800 on average. 1812 and 1813 was most likely less squadrons and closer to 100 per starting strengths.

Agree with the posters that in a tactical play to use large squadron and smaller squadron groups/division ( of 2 squadrons) as the tactical element just as the battalion is for the infantry.

For the hussars since they are unique, I do 4 squadrons ( 2 divisions) of the 4th ( for example) then 4 squadrons (2 divisions of the sister regiment that 4th who had the same uniform, except the color of the shako. Do the same for the Uhlans ( change to the czapka color).

So at 1:20 scale tactical play- there will be 48 hussars, in 4 division groups of 12 ( 6 per squadron). @ will be 4th Hussars and 2 will be the sister regiments.
The Hvys I simply just paint up 3 divisions of the one regiment since distinction is only facing color, so breaking up groups and mixing in 2 division unit formations is not that horribly obvious.


Allan F Mountford31 Oct 2017 4:09 a.m. PST

@ Le Breton
Thank you for that detail – it fills a gap in my Russian organisational knowledge.
While I have your attention ;-), what is your opinion on the 1812 practice of arming Russian Hussar regiments with lances? I have seen various sources describe this, including at least one contemporary description (Bagration?), but little information on their use in the field.

von Winterfeldt31 Oct 2017 7:30 a.m. PST

from a chap called Alexandre in 2014 on TMP

Russians, like Poles, armed the front rank with lances.
I know that the discussion was about regular army lancers. But, for Russia, the lance was primarily a weapon used by light horse units that were not "army" units, but instead a weapon for "free" peoples on Russia's borders who traded (para-)military service for land rights. As such, they drilled often and the difficulty of using the lance was not a barrier, while its low cost and ease of manufacture and local repair were real advantages.
In general, "national" (meaning any ethnic group or "nation" other than Russian) light cavalry contingents were lance armed. The Cossacks are the most famous, but there were also Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar, Lithuanian Tatar, Lithuanian, Polish, Belarussian, Serbian, Wallach, Bulgar, Greek, Circassian and so on. The use of the lance in the Russian regular cavalry before 1814 is really driven by the integration of former "national" units into the regular army.
For hussars, they were finally and definitively transferred from "national" status to "regular army" status in 1796. Their establishments under Pavel and during the era of the Napoleonic wars did *not* include lances. But they had used them before, as did all national cavalry, and you can see hussars drawn from life with lances during Suvarov's campaign in Europe.
And from the 1805-1807 era :

The question that I can't answer is if every hussar regiment always had lances (outside of regulations) during the era 1796-1812
You can read about the prodcution and distribution of lances to hussars in preparation for the 1812 campaign from page 77 here :
PDF link
From this point we can be quite sure that all the regiments were using the lance. There is also a nice article with nice color illustrations and discuusion of lance pennants by the same author:
Валькович Александр Михайлович
"Армейские гусары 1812-1816" (Цейхгауз № 1)
For the light horse regiments there were, toward the end of Catherine's reign:
11 light horse regiments : Маріупольскій, Павлоградскій, Александрійскій, Херсонскій, Полтавскій, Острогожскій, Ахтырскій, Сумскій, Харьковскій, Изюмскій, Украинскій : of these, Pavel converted 6 to hussars, 1 to cuirassiers and disbanded 4
4 horse-jäger regiments : Переяславскій, Елисаветградскій, Кіевскій, Таврическій : of these, Pavel converted 1 to hussars and disbanded 3
These had been formed from various national forces from south Russia, but were "regular army" at this time.
At the same time, classed as "national" forces were, in addtion to the Cossacks :
- 1x Mozdok Command (Circassian, I think) – retained by Pavel, returned to "interna garrison" status under Aleksandr
- 3x Belarusian Standards – disbanded by Pavel
- 2x Tauric-Tatar Double-squadrons – returned to "internal garrison" status by Pavel, to be re-raised as later Crimean Tatar "national" regiments under Aleksandr
- 1x Greek Double-squadron – disbanded by Pavel
In 1797, Pavel raised new units, with lances, from recently acquired Polish terrirory. They were supposed to be directly classed as "regular army", even though they were raised by "nation" and actually were breifly listed as "national" troops at the beginning of Aleksandr's regin
- Polish Horse Regiment
- Tatar-Lithuanian Horse Regiment – split into Lithuanian Horse and Tatar Horse in 1803
Also in 1803, the Odessa hussar regiment was re-named as the Tsarevitch's Uhlans (an indication that hussars still generally were using lances)
In 1807 the Volhynia Horse regiment is raised (this is district of ethnic Polish-Lithuanians near L'vov in northwest Ukraine) and later all these 4 "Horse" regiments were re-named "uhlans".
In 1808 the Chuguev Cossack regiment (ethnic Ukrainians, more than ethnic Cossacks, if you want parse that ethnic difference) was re-named uhlans and taken into the regular army
In 1809 the Tsarevitch's Uhlans became the Guard Uhlans. Cool deal for them, eh?
In the yearrs 1811-1815 these formations essentially lost most of their prior "national" character and were augmented by new uhlan units created by converting dragoon regiments in 1814. but, this was not much more than re-naming until after the peace.
So, if you want to talk about "light horse with lances" then there was lots and lots of it with the Russians. If you wan to talk about pure "regular" army lancers, European-style, with no affiliation to "national" forces, then really that is a post-Napoleonic era kind of thing


In case try to find the original thread, in the text was a nice colour plate of a Russian Hussar carrying a lance.

There is also a very nice article by Mark Conrad on his webside, covering this topic quite well.

Le Breton31 Oct 2017 9:24 a.m. PST

original thread with links :
TMP link

Mr. Conrad's translation of the Val'kovich article from 1988 :

Some of the article "Армейские гусары 1812-1816" :

Allan F Mountford31 Oct 2017 10:35 a.m. PST

@ vW & Le Breton
Thanks for the links – very useful.

HappyHussar31 Oct 2017 12:21 p.m. PST

Often the Austrians broke them up into groups of 2-3 squadrons and parceled them out to brigades. Like the British in the desert – 1940-41 – the Austrians were experts at doling their cavalry out in "penny packets."

Large battalions would be broken down into two parts as well.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2017 1:56 p.m. PST

Often the Austrians broke them up into groups of 2-3 squadrons and parceled them out to brigades. Like the British in the desert – 1940-41 – the Austrians were experts at doling their cavalry out in "penny packets."

Large battalions would be broken down into two parts as well.

4th Cuirassier
Yes, I'd 'handle it' the way the original combatants handled it. They did as HappyHussar points out, or they
split them into smaller commands, much the way the British did with large 1,000 man battalions. There were divisions, wings etc. that could maneuver together as to separate units or be used in two different missions.

4th Cuirassier31 Oct 2017 3:01 p.m. PST

Thanks all, this makes sense.

Where I was coming from is that generally, I like armies to be balanced in rough proportion to historical strengths – so one-third of French infantry would be light, etc.

With the Austrians, the problem is that the cavalry regiments in 1805 were as follows:

Kürassier, 8;
Dragoon, 6;
Chevau-Leger, 6;
Uhlan, 3;
Hussar, 12.

All had 8 squadrons except the hussars who had 10.

If you assembled an army that had one 50-figure uhlan regiment, and the other types of cavalry in proportion then you'd need 80 dragoons, 80 chevaux-legers, 100+ cuirassiers and 200 hussars – over 500 figures. The proportionate infantry strength required to justify 500 cavalry would be not far short of 3,000 figures. I am looking at actual numbers of maybe 10% of that – so 500 cavalry becomes 50 which is…one hussar regiment.

It sounds like detachments are the way to go as otherwise one's Austrian cavalry are going to be huge single-formation masses – which is the opposite of their historical use.

If one said the minimum detachment was two squadrons then the 500 figures fall to a quarter of that, which feels more doable (eventually).

Le Breton31 Oct 2017 7:07 p.m. PST

"If one said the minimum detachment was two squadrons"

I am no rules expert at all.
But I have had the idea that it would be more convenient in games where the standard unit of infantry was the batallion to have the standard unit of cavalry be 2 squadrons. Fundamentally, the squadron was the basic tactical unit for most nations. But a "division" of two squadrons was also a tactical unit for the French and Russians (the French line cavalry "chef d'escadron" actually commanded two squadrons).
Just an idea.

Allan F Mountford01 Nov 2017 12:07 a.m. PST

@Le Breton
*French line cavalry 'chef d'escadron' actually commanded two squadrons'.
I was about to post this, but you have beaten me to it! There was a very detailed discussion on this same point some years ago on one of the original Napoleon Series forums. I think it pre-dates the current NS archives, which only go back to 2002. If anyone has access or filed the discussion I am sure it would be very illuminating for our forum members.

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