as Kavallerie one designates mounted military units. The word Kavallerie became toward end 16. Century to the equivalent French word cavalerie takes, which came out again from Italian cavaliere for riders.

One marks usually only with horse or camels mounted troops as Kavallerie; notbut soldier, those on other animals (e.g.War elephants) ride. Furthermore the use of the term Kavallerie for a troop body presupposes that the completely outweighing number of this troop is mounted and is also kavalleristisch used. Therefore e.g. is. mounted infantry - or artillery officer noneKavallerist, just as little as a mountain hunter, that uses its stretcher animal occasionally as a riding animal. Also the riding artillery does not rank therefore among the Kavallerie. The term rider army can include however all unit types of mounted soldiers of most diverse riding animals and branches of service.

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in military tactics was mounted units up to the end 19. Century an important factor. They extended the tactical possibilities of an army uncommonly. ThatSpecial one to the Kavallerie was its mobility, speed and striking power.

The Kavallerie was one of the most important and at the same time strongest units of the antique ones, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Thus it played an important role also in the crusades. To in late 19. Century insidebattles were delivered highly to Ross.

The most effective opponent of the Kavallerie in the Middle Ages were the Pikeniere, which tried with large lances to kill the horses. Therefore one protected Schlachtrösser in west and Central Europe since that 14. Century with a Rossharnisch in such a way specified made of metalplates.

In Persia, Eastern Europe and Byzanz the Schlachtrosse was already protected starting from late ancient times with a union from shed or chain network. Probably the first horse arms in the antique central Asia developed.

Also today some regiments for tradition reasons still lead their old in many statesKavallerie designations, although they are equipped with modern armoured vehicles long. At the US army starting from 1964 for the war in Viet Nam from former (in the meantime motorized) Kavallerie regiments air landing federations with helicopters were set up; one held Kavallerie also here to the designation. Due to the breaks in German military historythe assignment of a concrete federation tradition for the German Federal Armed Forces forbade itself. Their armored reconnaissance troop inherited the old gold-yellow collar mirror color of the Kavallerie however with the clearing-up as major task of the easy Kavallerie also.

easy Kavallerie with elbow

the combination of humans, elbow, arrow and horse is a very effective weapon system, as many peoples had to experience to their disadvantage. To the well-known rider peoples the Hyksos and the Skythen belong oldest to us; most well-known probably are the Hunnen, Mongols, the North American Indians and the rider troops of the osmanischen realm (among other things Sipahis).


the easy Reiterei of used small, fast and agile horses. The riders did not carry or only easy armament. The classical rider peoples used short, strong elbows of large Kraft and Reichweite. The so-called Kompositbögen of the rider peoples consists ofup to 16 wood and horn parts glued. The advantage of chords and horn exists in its higher ability to store and also again (to the arrow) deliver energy. The efficiency of such well built Kompositbogens with appropriate possible shaping is higher than a conventionalElbow from wood, which would break immediately with identical layout. Mongolian and Turkish rider elbows had a Zuggewicht of on the average 75 Pound and shot particularly co-ordinated light arrows 500 to 800 m far. This Kompositbögen was - against the landläufigen opinion - in range and striking powerthe long elbow quite equally. By means of more particularly “more armor-piercingly” arrows it was for example possible for the Mongolian riders to penetrate also heavy arms.


troops on distance with arrows could never get involved tactics rider armies überschütten and had in close-in engagements. Slower opponents without effective long-range weaponswere often chanceless. Thus the rider troops of the part ago realm in the battle destroyed with Carrhae (53 v. Chr.) the putting ions of the Crassus. With their idea to central and Western Europe in 9. and 10. Those spread century Hungary as mounted elbow contactors fear and frightin the entire west and eastFrankish realm. Humans added at that time everyone father our the sentence: “and free us from the arrows that Hungary, oh gentleman!” (de sagittis Hungarorum libera nos, domine).

The large weaknesses of mounted elbow contactors were their space requirement and their light equipment.If they were close together to close combat with better armored opponents forced, they were usually subject. In addition they were not suitable for the participation in FE storages. Good rider troops needed many training and very good horses. The classical rider peoples such as Hunnen or Mongols revived practicallythe horseback.

The battle of Doryläum 1097 in the first crusade illustrates pro and cons mounted elbow contactors: It succeeded to the rider groups of the seldschukischen Sultans Kilij Arslan to encircle and fire at on distance an army of the cross drivers. The knights could oppose the arrow hail little. Suddenlyreinforcement under Gottfried of Bouillon appeared, and the Seldschuken saw itself for their part encircled. They could not flee no more and in close combat were destroying struck. The defeat of the Seldschuken with Doryläum was so complete that the cross drivers could cross practically undisturbed Anatolien.

Heavy Kavallerie with lances

the first heavy riders

the first heavily armored lance riders was the Cataphracti and Clibanarii of the Sarmaten, part ago, Sassaniden, the late Romans and Byzantiner. In the Middle Ages one set in west and Central Europe first in The so-called developed for Frankish realm on heavy riders. Frankish tank rider.

the knights

at the beginning 8. Century arose also in Europe the stirrup , which proved as favourable for the heavy Reiterei. In particular in connection with a high saddlemade possible it it the heavy Reiterei to implement in the full gallopp a lance impact without falling thereby from the horse to. In addition it stirrup and saddle made to the foot people more difficult to pull a rider from the horse to.

In the high Middle Ages the branch of service of the knights developed in west and Central Europe.They fought with a long lance, carried heavy chaining and disk armoring and rode on Schlachtrössern, which were trained particularly for the fight and carrying high weight.


the knights reached into the fast ride and partially in severalAttack waves with the lance as primary weapon on and perforated the opponent. The heavy lances were left after the lance attack to fall and the fight was resumed with the secondary weapons (sword , axe , controversy piston or the like). With its heavy Schlachtrössern opposing foot people was down-ridden. Becamea foot soldier of a knight lance from full gallopp, inserted under the shoulder, met, he was usually away-hurled with such a force that he upset several of his backers. This method of the attack was effective, but depended on many factors. The following tactics were usually effectively approximatelyheavy Reiterei:

  • Good long-range weapons: Both the long elbow and the arm chest could become dangerous the knights. Although the heavy, noble Reiterei of the Middle Ages often fought to foot or avoided at least frontal attacks offering no prospects, it occurred several times that knight armies accomplished its Kriegeridealen appropriate attack.The consequences were always devastating: With Crécy (1346) and Poitiers (1356) the French knights suffered heavy losses approximately English long elbow contactors; with Agincourt (1415) died over 5.000 knights in the arrow hail.
  • Bar weapons: The long mirror-image-eat the Scots and Swiss (Pikeniere) were a good choice. The fighters stood in close formation like the antique Phalanx. In the fight against the Scots the English knights showed themselves as just as borniert and arrogant as their French colleagues. In the battles of Stirling Bridge (1297) and Bannockburn (1314) were subject them against the Scots. When first copied the been subject Englishmen this tactics successfully against the Frenchmen, of who became Swiss it perfected. Now the formation was nearly impenetrable despite in the meantime longer become lances for knights. AlsoPiken armed Pikeniere were up to the end of the dreissigjährigen war important troops. As Gegentaktik in the fight against spades carriers the heavy Reiterei in the early modern times developed maneuvers like for example the Caracolla.
  • Use of terrain advantages: Lance riders needed firm, even soil and enoughPlace for their attack. An intelligent opponent avoided the battle on open field and rather placed themselves in swampy, hilly or wooded terrain to the fight. The Scots did this with Bannockburn and Stirling. Swiss oath comrades defeated the Austrian knights in the battle with Morgarten (1315), by attacking the knight army in a close place between a slope and a sump. The farmers of Dithmar opposed in the year 1500 with Hemmingstedt of the army of the Danish king. They opened dykes and flooded the country. Was the areafor a rider attack badly suitably, English knights often fought to foot and used their lances thereby like Piken. To foot one called fighting knights in England of Men RK arm.
  • Guerrilla war guidance: An enemy, who could slam shut very fast and disappear again, was a serious for heavy ridersProblem. It was important to have always also enough easy Kavallerie.

One assumes today a majority of the knights fought in many medieval battles to foot. Only during ideal area conditions and support by remote fighters one accomplished the attack on a Schlachtross.If the opposing foot people was equipped with bar weapons and fought in more closely formation, the knights pretended an attack and made turn immediately. Many foot soldiers regarded this as an escape and took up pursuit, whereby their formation dissolved. The knights made in this situationagain and rode the foot people turns down. Such a tactics was used for example in the battle of Hastings 1066 .

European Kavallerietruppen of the modern times


the Lanzierer formed the oldest Kavalleriegattung of the modern times. They were usually by a completeDisk tank or at least by a Trabharnisch, which reached up to the knees, protected. Their primary weapon was the lance, but in the second half 16. Century turned into they to lead also wheel lock pistols with itself. Lanzierer rode on heavy Schlachtrössern, often througha Rossharnisch were protected. Up to the beginning 17. Century came up the Lanzierer into the branch of service of the Kürassiere.

Italienischer Kürassier, zweite Hälfte des 19.Jhdts.
Italian Kürassier, second half of the 19.Jhdts.


the branch of service of the Kürassiere developed into the 1540er year and turned first nearly only tactics Caracolla on. As heavy Reiterei they formed for attack points. In 17. Most Kürassiere a Trabharnisch carried century inside, later the cure ASS. They were armed with various pistols (later often also a carbine) as well as a Pallasch, that in the course of the timethe only important weapon became. Some European armies maintained in 20. Century inside Kürassier units.


the Arkebusierreiter 16. and early 17. Century were armed with a wheel lock rifle, the Arkebuse in such a way specified. This rifle was shorter and easier thanthe Muskete. Arkebusierreiter carried usually only one helmet and a chest tank and were additionally equipped with a blank weapon.


the Dragoons formed 16 since that. Century a new kind of the Kavallerie, first as an infantry set on the horse, those normallybefore the fight served, since late 17. Century as independent Kavallerie branch of service beside the Kürassieren. Starting from later 18. Sometimes one divided century into heavy and light Dragoons, whereby in Great Britain, Hessen Kassel and Hanover the light Dragoons had similar tasks as the hunters tooHorses. France used still 1809 the Dragoons as infantry. These served Dragoons had to deliver however their horses to other Kavallerieverbände and were thus no genuine Reiterei more. Usually they used carbines and pistols, in addition Pallasch (heavy) or sword (light Dragoons). The university forming followedoften the model of the infantry, however with kavallerietypischen deviations like e.g. Riding boot and - trousers. The Dragoons did not carry armament, but in 19. Century waren Helme weit verbreitet. Die Bezeichnung Dragoner wurde wahrscheinlich nach dem französischen > dragon< designated, a hand-held weapon between small carbine and pistol.


the Kosaken, originally military farmers in the Russian Steppes, placed starting from late 16. And 19 applied for century the largest European Kavallerie armed force in. Century as the most effective easy Reiterei. In the wars of liberation Poland and Prussia set up own Kosakenverbände, to which however the social and cultural background of the “genuine” Kosaken was missing, thusthat they could not compete also with these seriously. In the Zarenreich the Kosaken was used often for the fight of internal unrests and acquired themselves with organized encroachments on the Jewish population (Pogrome) a doubtful call. In the Russian civil war the Kosaken fought predominantly on sidesthe revolution opponent, since they regarded socialism as threat of their privileges and way of life. The Kosakeneinheiten of the Red Army tied militarily and optically to the tradition of the tsarist Kosaken, without her their social structures took over. In 2. Many former tsarist Kosaken left themselves world warenlist from Germany to the Kollaboration.

Only end 18. Century could become generally accepted with the Kosaken a university forming of the clothes, which remained connected nevertheless the Russian Nationaltracht (far Kaftan and Pluderhosen). In late 19. Century approached the clothing of the usual university forming. Widens riding trousers andFur caps remained up to the conclusion characteristically. Beside the lance and the sword they were armed for approximately 1800 frequently also with a carbine.


Husaren und Infanterie beim Kaisermanöver
Hussars and infantry with the emperor maneuver

the Hussars were first Hungarian partisans, became however since that 18. Centuryalso as regular troops set up, without losing their character as easy Reiterei for clearing-up and security missions. In 16. Jh. the heavily armored Hussaria in Poland from the easy Reiterei (wing Hussar) developed. The Hussar kind was taken over fast by all European great powers. The uniform thatHussar in 18-19 Jh. oriented yourself to the Hungarian Nationaltracht. Characteristically for this were a Zier lacing on the chest of the uniform jacket and a further tied jacket with Pelzbesatz, hung over the shoulder. As head coverage frequently a flat fur cap or also a Tschako served. The armamentthe latter consisted approximately starting from 1800 by carbines was supplemented and in the long run displaced of a sword and pistols. In Germany the Hussars kept additional to lances around 1890 like the entire Kavallerie.


end 15. Century called one in France Chevaulegers (franz.: “easyHorses ") those lance riders, who were more easily prepared than the other parts of the Kavallerie. Of the center 18. Century up to the end of the 1. World war used one this designation in parts of the German-speaking countries (in particular in Bavaria and Austria, not however in Prussia) for riders,those outwardly the Dragoons resembled, but like Hussars were used. In the napoleonischen France the designation was used more chevauleger for Ulaneneinheiten. At first the Chevaulegers possessed an easy Pallasch, later a sword and a carbine. In Bavaria they kept additional to lances around 1890 like the entire Kavallerie.


after disappearing the Lanzierer seemed to have the lance as military weapon retired. Nevertheless 18 became in. Century in different European States of small and usually short-lived federations set up by light lance riders, e.g. in France the Volontaires de Saxe. Onethe emergence of the Ulanen attributes itself - units to the traditions of the Mongols and act arene, in the large principality Lithuania, thus in the later east of the Polish Litaui union starting from that 14. Century established. The word “Ulanen” probably comes from the Turkish word “oglan” (meaning: young man) orthe word “oglan” comes from the Mongolian language and means in approximately “courageous Krieger”.

First designated Ulanenregimenter also really in such a way are in early 18. To find century in Poland. In Poland however lance riders had always constituted the majority of the Reiterei (Hussaria), and asafter the divisions of Poland numerous Polish Freiwillige under the flags of the French republic for the liberty of their homeland fought, used France to their traditional fate in handling the lance, in order to set up from their rows the first French Ulanenregimenter (chevau légers lanciers = light lance riders). Russia and Austria Hungary for their part Ulanenregimenter had recruited from in the Polish divisions “captured” Polish national children. Other countries such as Prussia and Great Britain followed the example and set up numerous Ulanen federations.Prussia set up also a regular Ulaneneinheit, the regiment Towarczys (comrade). The classification of these units was differently: Austrians and Russians set them v.a. as easy Reiterei, the Frenchmen and Prussia concentrated more on the frontal attack.

Österreichischer Ulan in der Uniform um 1860
Austrian Ulan in the uniform around 1860

in Germany ordered emperors Wilhelm II around 1890 the entire Kavallerie the lance, so that with outbreakthe First World War the German Reiterei actually from Ulanen existed, even if the other Kavalleriegattungen kept their traditional designations and uniforms. In the position warfare however the uselessness of the lances for the modern war guidance turned out. Again-purchased Poland did not only give the lances up andstill the majority of its Ulanen Reiterei beside swords, pistols, rifles etc. mit ihr aus. With the assault on Poland (1939) Polish Ulanen attacked last also with the lance.

The uniform of the Ulanen oriented itself often to the Polish Krakauer Nationaltracht, in particular at the characteristic capwith the square upper section (Rogatywka). Also a broad material trimming on the chest (Plastron) of the uniform jacket was typical for the Ulanen of all countries. Beside the lance, which was swords and the pistols it for approximately 1800 frequently also armed with a carbine.

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Hunters to horses

the hunters to horses stepped end 18. Century in feature, as if some European States of (in particular France) the need according to a regular easy Reiterei recognized, however the costs of the list of aufwändig university-formed Hussar units shrank from. Like these they served primarily forIn addition, clearing-up and security missions, were used increasingly as Schlachtenkavallerie. Only starting from 1901 one in Prussia hunter set up to horses.

The uniform often oriented itself at that of the Hussars, was however usually less aufwändig. Only in the German Reich the university forming resembled thatthe Kürassiere. The armament consisted of a curved sword and carbine. In Prussia the hunters led horses to additionally lances.

modern trend Kavallerie

after the effect of modern artillery as well as of multi-loader and machine guns the employment of the Kavallerie in their classical role not possibly, Kavalleristen made again increasingly in the role of the original Dragoons, i.e. as a mounted and thus very mobile infantry were used. Already in the American civil war the Unionskavallerie had predominantly fought in this role, and so the Kavallerie with this task survived also the First World War. Witharising reliable cross-country motor vehicles however the horse increasingly redundantly became as progressive movement means, even if one fell back from lack of material or from tradition consciousness still into the Second World War inside to horses. The individual armament of the soldiers covered increasingly also automatic weapons, even if beside it asthe Kosaken still blank weapons were used. After 1945 Kavallerieeinheiten only more were used in few states for the active service, in particular for the employment in area inaccessible with motor vehicles (e.g. in the Soviet Union and in Switzerland). Starting from beginning of the 70's also the latter disappearedHorses from the military everyday life; only more few states (e.g. Great Britain, Argentina, France and Sweden) maintain in terms of figures small Kavalleriekontingente for representation purposes.


the tactical unit of the Kavallerie was the Eskadron (Schwadron), three to six Eskadrons educated a regiment. The furtherArrangement of the higher federations was different in the different armies as well as in the peace and war formation.


in Germany was in peacetime the brigade the largest purely kavalleristische troop unit , that consisting of two or more regiments with two infantry brigades each a uniformDivision command was subordinated. Only the guard corps had a Kavalleriedivision in peacetime. In the war a large part of the Kavallerie was arranged to independent Kavalleriedivisionen, while the remainder was assigned to the infantry federations.

Besides a Kavallerieinspektion and a Kavalleriekommission existed. The training of the Kavalleristen took place inthe military riding school (Kavallerieunteroffizierschule) as well as in the Kavallerietelegraphenschule.

Austria and France

in both countries the Kavallerie was partly in divisions, partly arranged into independent brigades.


in Russia was nearly throughout in divisions divided the Kavallerie, to the end of the19. Century set up one also two Kavalleriekorps.


  • Günter thorn, Joachim angel man: The Kavallerie regiments Friedrich of the large one 1756-1763, fog publishing house, 2000, ISBN 3-8955-5301-8
  • Friedrich Engels: Kavallerie in Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels's - works, Dietz publishing house, Berlin. Volume 14, 1961, Berlin/GDR. S.286-314.
  • Karl Heinz Gless: The horse in military affairs, Berlin, military publishing house of the GDR, 1980
  • Dietmar Kügler: The U.S. - Kavallerie legend and reality of a military elite unit, engine book publishing house, 1979, ISBN 3-8794-3626-6
  • George Nagyrevi v. Neppel: Hussar in world history, Wiesbaden, publishing house Emil Vollmer, 1975
  • Janusz Piekałkiewicz: Horse and rider in the Second World War, Herbig 1998, ISBN 3-7766-1756X
  • Klaus Christian judge: Kavallerie of the armed forces, fog publishing house, 2000, ISBN 3-8955-53107
  • Klaus Christian judge: History of the German Kavallerie 1919-1945, Stuttgart, engine book publishing house, 1982, ISBN 3-8794-3892-7
  • Herve de wake: Illustrated history thatKavallerie, Stuttgart, publishing house Huber woman field, 1982, ISBN 3-7193-0762X

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