Help support TMP


"Cavalry tactics" Topic


13 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Napoleonic Discussion Message Board


Areas of Interest

Napoleonic

767 hits since 8 Sep 2019
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Old Peculiar08 Sep 2019 3:03 a.m. PST

I am trying to find details of the drill or tactics used by cavalry faced by a linear obstacle, other than driving at them bald headed.

I have found drills for engaging with fortified positions, but nothing for traversing country hedgerows or walls.

Any suggestions for on-line cavalry manuals?

Old Peculiar08 Sep 2019 3:04 a.m. PST

I am trying to find details of the drill or tactics used by cavalry faced by a linear obstacle, other than driving at them bald headed.

I have found drills for engaging with fortified positions, but nothing for traversing country hedgerows or walls.

Any suggestions for on-line cavalry manuals?

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 3:46 a.m. PST

Or ditches and other watercourses..
('Following')

Bagration181208 Sep 2019 5:05 a.m. PST

You may find what you are looking for here:

TMP link

Cheers!

Old Peculiar08 Sep 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

Thanks for that link Bagration1812, it will take me some time to plough through that lot.

42Flanker, I agree that such obstacles can cause issues, especially if we thing about obstacles like the Bussex Rhine at Sedgemore, but normal boundary and irrigation ditches in Europe I don't think would cause too much difficulty to cross (though not at the charge). A fully laden warhorse on campaign though is not really comparable to a modern hunter.

There must be something somewhere that addresses the issues.

Brechtel198 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse08 Sep 2019 1:51 p.m. PST

You can try Antoine de Brack's Light Cavalry Outposts.

link

42flanker Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 2:41 p.m. PST

Thanks, Bagration

OP, I get the impression that the polders of the southern Netherlands, with their grids of sloten and weterings, are not ideal cavalry country.

Zhmodikov09 Sep 2019 12:59 a.m. PST

If the hedge was not too high, and the horses were not tired too much, so that they were able to jump over the hedge, the second rank should stop or slow down, the first rank should accelerate and jump over the hedge, then the second rank in its turn should accelerate and jump over the hedge, and then join the first rank.
If the hedge was too high, or the horses were tired too much to be able to jump over the hedge, the cavalry should form columns and look for any way around the obstacle.

Zhmodikov09 Sep 2019 1:05 a.m. PST

See also:
Instruction concernant les manœuvres des troupes а cheval, rédigée sur les ordonnances actuellement en activité, nouvelle édition, Paris, 1801, p. 91-92 (Saut de la barrière, Saut de la haie).

Old Peculiar09 Sep 2019 6:43 a.m. PST

The sort of hedgerow I am considering are not those of modern familiarity but those created from interwoven branches containing trees perhaps and thick bushes. You cannot really jump those, or if you do you will not retain any form of order. But I think you are correct Zhmodikov, that the various squadrons will move in file or column and find a way around or through the obstacle perhaps even dismounting and reform on the otherside, potentially leaving them very vulnerable to counterattack. There is also a huge difference in the capabilities of light cavalry in this situation and armoured heavy horse such as cuirassiers. Still researching but beginning to feel that the situation is not covered in drill books and manuals because you just did not do it! Instead light horse scouted the terrain and you position your offensive cavalry to avoid such problems.

Old Peculiar09 Sep 2019 6:59 a.m. PST

Brechtel198, thanks, a good read and quite a few useful paragraphs.

Zhmodikov09 Sep 2019 9:19 a.m. PST

Old Peculiar wrote:


The sort of hedgerow I am considering are not those of modern familiarity but those created from interwoven branches containing trees perhaps and thick bushes. You cannot really jump those, or if you do you will not retain any form of order. But I think you are correct Zhmodikov, that the various squadrons will move in file or column and find a way around or through the obstacle perhaps even dismounting and reform on the otherside, potentially leaving them very vulnerable to counterattack. There is also a huge difference in the capabilities of light cavalry in this situation and armoured heavy horse such as cuirassiers. Still researching but beginning to feel that the situation is not covered in drill books and manuals because you just did not do it! Instead light horse scouted the terrain and you position your offensive cavalry to avoid such problems.

There were various kinds of hedges across Europe. There were wattles or wicker hedges, hedgerows or green fences, and in some countries the fields were enclosed by low stone walls.
In the 1801 French instruction to which I referred above, it is described how to train cavalrymen to jump over barriers, hedges, and ditches, by one cavalryman, by groups of four, and by ranks:
Instruction concernant les manœuvres des troupes а cheval, rédigée sur les ordonnances actuellement en activité, nouvelle édition, Paris, 1801, p. 91-92, 96, 106-107.

French officer Bonneau du Martray, who translated Nolan's book into French, in one of his footnotes wrote that, in the reign of King Louis XVI, i.e. before the wars of the Revolution, the cavalry jumped over ditches and barriers by platoons or even by squadrons, but in his time, in the middle of the 19th century, there were regiments in the French army, in which such exercises were not practiced even one by one.

Histoire et tactique de la cavalerie, Paris, 1854, p. 146 n. 2.

Old Peculiar10 Sep 2019 9:21 a.m. PST

Hmmmmm, I am not sure whether the livestock on campaign would be as capable as those straight from stables on exercise.

I have trawled through the sources above and corresponded with a number of people with far more knowledge than I, and the overwhelming conclusion is that flowing round or through would be the norm. Any attempt to cross would be potentially disastrous even if the obstacle were to be contested.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.