Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cavalry

Like the Imperial cavalry, there were four main branches of cavalry: cuirassier, harquebusier, dragoon and Finnish.
The cuirassiers were usually German Reiters equipped in 3/4 armor but the troop type was very infrequent due to the cost of the armor.
More common was the harquebusier. The Swedish harquebusier often wore blackened breast plates front and back. The coats tended to be either blue or red in color. Buff coats were not as common as the elkhide used in the coat was exported for the necessary cash to fuel the Swedish war machine. The native Swedish cavalry was reliable but the German cavalry was very mixed in quality from hardened veterans to hastily recruited units that had yet to be issued standards. The German cavalry was distinctively inferior to the Imperial. As a result, Gustavus Adolphus stengthened the cavalry by attaching commanded shot to the squadrons.
Dragoons were mounted infantry only rarely remaining mounted in a battle.

The Finnish cavalry, like their Croatian counterpart, were useful in skirmishing and harrassing the enemy.

Courville Cuirassiers
Formed in 1628, the unit was first commanded by Hünecken. In 1631 command transferred to Nicolas de Courville. Fought at Werben (August 1631), Lech (April 1632) and Lutzen (November 1632) where the unit was in the first line on the left wing which was commanded by Duke Bernhard of Sachsen-Weimar.
At Nordlingen (September 1634), the unit was part of the left wing under Bernhard. After Nordlingen, the regiment was disbanded along with the Anhalt Horse and reformed into the regiment Bodendorf. This reformed regiment transferred to French pay in 1635.

Anhalt Horse
This Saxon Regiment was raised in 1632 and commanded by Prince Ernst von Anhalt-Bernburg. At Lutzen (November 1632), the unit fought alongside the Löwenstein Horse.
At Nordlingen (September 1634), the unit was part of the left wing under Bernhard. After Nordlingen, the regiment was disbanded along with the Courville Cuirassiers and reformed into the regiment Bodendorf. This reformed regiment transferred to French pay in 1635.


Ostgota (East Gothland) Horse
The regiment was raised in 1623. It was shipped to Germany in July 1630. The regiment was commanded by Claus Dieter Sperreuter to late 1631 and by Lennart Nilsson Baat until his death at Lutzen (November 1632). The unit carried a red standard.
The unit was part of the Pomeranian campaign (September 1630 to January 1631) and was present at the battles of Breitenfeld (September 1631) and Lech (April 1632). At Lutzen (November 1632), the unit was in the first line on the right flank along side the Smaland Horse. Later joined Duke Georg von Braunschweig-Luneburg and was on the right wing at the battle of at Hessich-Oldendorf (July 1633). In 1634, the regiment was commanded by Axelson and was part of Baner’s army. It remained with Baner and participated in the breakout from Stettin in 1638.
Fought in as part of Torstensson’s corps at Schweidnitz (May 1642) and later the unit was part of the standing Swedish army which supported Wrangel in his 1648 advance into Bavaria.

Smaland Horse
The regiment was raised in 1623. It was shipped to Germany in July 1630. The regiment was commanded by Count Per Brahe from 1630 to 1631 and by Fredrik Stenbock from July 1631. The unit carried a blue standard until 1635 when it switched to a yellow standard.
First participated in the Pomeranian campaign (September 1630 to January 1631) and later at the battles of Breitenfeld (September 1631) and Lech (Apirl 1632). Commanded by Stenbock at the battle of Lutzen (November 1632), the unit was in the first line on the right flank. During the battle, Stenbock was shot in the foot and Gustavus Adolphus assumed command of the regiment. Charging into the fog, the King was separated from the troopers and killed by a detachment of Piccolomini’s Arkebusiers.
Later joined Duke Georg von Braunschweig-Luneburg and was on the right wing at the battle of at Hessich-Oldendorf (July 1633).
At Wittstock (October 1636), the unit was part of Baner’s corps but seems to have missed the battle as it is not part of the Order of Battle. It then fought in as part of Torstensson’s corps at Schweidnitz (May 1642) and later the unit was part of the standing Swedish army which supported Wrangel in his 1648 advance into Bavaria.

Uslar Horse
Originally formed in 1630, the unit was first commanded by Sigfrid v. Damitz. In 1631 command went to Fr. Moritz v. Uslar. In late 1632 the unit was transferred to Markgraf von Baden and then to Wendt von Cratzenstein.
This Hessen-Kassel unit was also known as Landgraf Wilhelms Liebgarde. The unit was part of the Pomerania campaign (September 1630 to January 1631). At Lutzen (November 1632), the unit was in the second line on the right and guarded the Swedish camp.
The regiment was disbanded in 1633.

Henderson Dragoons
Formed in 1631, this Scottish unit was raised by Henderson for the Duke Wilhelm of Weimar. The unit was on foot in the front line reserve in the center at Lutzen (November 1632) as the Dragoons had no horses at this time. See Forlorn Hopes for a better idea of how the unit performed at Lutzen.

Kagge Dragoons
Originally raised in 1630, the unit was commanded by Lar Kagge. It was disbanded in 1635 after the defeat at Nordlingen.
At Hessich-Oldendorf (July 1633), the unit was on the right wing which was commanded by Duke Georg von Braunschweig-Luneburg.



Comments
The attached cavalry colours are speculative and are based on the coat of arms of the respective region or commander. The names stem from Protestant units at the battle of Lutzen.




Isenburg Horse, Löwenstein Horse

Sources
Flag images: http://www.ngw.nl/indexgb.htm
Text: Osprey’s The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (2) Cavalry (Men-at-Arms 262)
Uniforms of the Thirty Years War by Bill Boyle in Time Portal Passage Summer 2000
Osprey’s Lützen 1632 (Campaign 68)
Battles of the Thirty Years War From White Mountain to Nordlingen, William P. Guthrie, Greenwood Press, 2002.

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