the times of Frederick the Great, Prussia's cavalry had
a reputation that struck awe, if not fear, into its enemies.
The French were wary of Prussia's horsemen at the outset
of the 1806 Campaign,
but the reality was that their prowess had been allowed
to stagnate. Only in the late stages of the Napoleonic Wars
did Berlin's cavalry approach the effectiveness of its halcyon
the name, Prussia's cuirassiers had not worn the heavy
breastplates since 1790 and would not do so until
The main use for cuirassiers was as heavy battle cavalry
that could be thrown at the enemy to smash formations
or achieve the decisive breakthough.
the cuirassiers, the dragoons were the heavies of
the battlefield and would try to use their weight
of horse and speed to fracture enemy formations.
Prussian dragoons achieved some success at the debacle
of Auerstadt when
the Irwing Dragoons scattered some of General Gudin's
experienced infantry out of formation and left some
600 men casualties.
units were not regarded as being strong enough to
be used in the line of battle, so hussars were often
used to seek out ways to launch attacks on the enemy
Often hussars would advance on either side, or behind,
the cuirassiers and dragoons, and would then peel
off to probe the flanks and rear.