1805 Hussar Facings
Cavalry Uniforms in Colour
in almost all armies, the cuirassiers were the decisive
arm used to break through an enemy through the sheer weight
of man and armour.
The Russian cuirassiers wore black-enamel curaisses, front
and back, and were, in the early-years of the Napoleonic
Wars, armed with a straight-bladed pallasch. The sword
was 82 centimetres long with a half-basket guard.
In 1809, the Russians replaced the German-based weapon
with a French-style sabre, which was 87 centimetres long
and had a three-bar guard.
Some cuirassiers carried short, rifled carbines for guarding
the flanks during an advance.
In 1803, the Russians discarded the old bicorne hat for
their heavy cavalry and introduced a very tall and distinctive
leather helmet that was crowned by a huge caterpillar
Tsar Alexander's accession
to the throne, the number of dragoon regiments was increased
at the expense of the cuirassiers.
Russian dragoons were armed with pallasches, like the heavier
cavalry, but made the switch to the French-style sabre in
Dragoons also carried muskets and bayonets.
Tsar Paul had set back most
of Russia's military with reactionary ideas, the hussars
fared well under the new ruler.
The light-cavalry arm was increased from one regiment to
nine by 1803 and a further two by 1811.
Hussars were armed with curved sabres.
made up the majority of Russian horsemen with an estimated
80,000 in service in 1805.
Feared by enemies for their lack of mercy and insatiable
greed for plunder, cossacks were ill-disciplined and not
much use against formed units.
However, when raiding, or harrassing units on the march,
they were in their element.