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"French Dismounted Cavalry in the Retreat of 1812" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 6:57 a.m. PST

How would you a rate the fighting capabilities of a unit of French cavalry who had lost their horses during the retreat from Moscow? They were armed with discarded infantry muskets, but how proficient were they at fighting on foot? Could they issue volley fire? I am preparing a large skirmish game set during the retreat and it occurred to me that I may be overrating them.

Personal logo Artilleryman Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 8:36 a.m. PST

Depending on your rules, I would rate them as poor trying to act as formed infantry and average as skirmishers. They would not have been trained to fight on foot and having lost their horses, moral may have been questionable.

Glengarry525 Aug 2019 10:25 a.m. PST

I believe French dragoons were trained to fight in formation and to skirmish on foot.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2019 11:10 a.m. PST

I agree as to the Dragoons – they did have some training to fight on foot

For other cavalry, I think poor as formed and average as skirmishers would be fair

14Bore25 Aug 2019 11:14 a.m. PST

French army isn't my strong suit but have read many books on the 1812 campaign. One cavalry commander did for a time mount his brigade on sleds.

Garde de Paris25 Aug 2019 10:20 p.m. PST

There were very few French Dragoons in the retreat from Russia. Most regiments were in Spain.

And I believer the appeared at the end of he campaign, with the Corps that helped at the Beresina crossing.


Franck26 Aug 2019 3:46 a.m. PST

there were 4 dragons rgts from the beginning with the main army (in Grouchy's IIIrd cav corps).

I always wondered how to rate those thousands cavalrymen on foot after Moscow. I know they were gathered in foot units but I don't remember mentions of them as fighting units in Memoires.

I wouldn't be surprised if good portions of them joined the real infantry ranks with a bayonet and musket as privates. If good infantry cadres are still present it could have been an poor to average infantry as the Marie-Louise could have been.

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