Book Review:
Napoleon's Red Lancers

By Ronald Pawly
Artwork by
Patrice Courcelle


One of Napoleon Bonaparte's most elite units were the courageous and dashing men of the scarlet-clad Dutch Red Lancers. Even among the great units of the era, their loyalty and professionalism stood them apart.

Originally hussars and part of the bodyguard of the Dutch royal family, the Red Lancers gained their fearsome new weapons after 1810 when Holland was absorbed by France.

Discipline was originally a bit of a problem, usually caused by high spirits more than anything else, but the arrival of the strict Baron Eduoard Colbert as regimental colonel began an association with Napoleon and the Imperial Guard that made the Lancers a legend.

They covered themselves with glory during the ill-fated 1812 invasion of Russia, suffering huge losses, but iron discipline and unit pride ensured the survival of the regiment.

Again in 1813 and 1814 they distinguished themselves with bravery and loyalty and again showed the feared Russian cossacks they could not be taken lightly.

After Waterloo, it was the Red Lancers that escorted Napoleon away from the scene of his army's destruction.

In Napoleon's Red Lancers, Ronald Pawly, has given us a superb look at one of the great military regiments of the Napoleonic Era.

Pawly is regarded as the leading authority on the regiment and he has packed in a wealth of detail on its leaders, particularly Eduoard Colbert, its origins, training, weaponry and campaigns.

There are some wonderful black-and-white portraits of the Red Lancers' officers and Patrice Courcelle's colour artwork is rich with uniform details.

Napoleon's Red Lancers will fit very nicely on any Napoleonic buffs home library shelves.


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