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Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:48 am
by Amra
Hey Shadow Dragon are you still around ?
i need to prove the Life Guard are lights....

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 12:00 pm
by shadowdragon
Yup. Still around.

Well there’s what I wrote above...Lifgardet til hast (Royal Horse Guards. They shouldn't have a cuirass. They are in the lists as guard heavy cavalry but should be guard light cavalry. Prior to 1805 they were the light Life Dragoons - Latta lifdragonregementet - and in 1814 they wore a Russian style hussar uniform. The white uniform was their parade dress uniform but their campaign uniform, except for officers, was light blue.

Hard to prove a dragoon in many cases that a dragoon is heavy or light but the fact that their name was literally “light life dragoon” before becoming Life Horse Guards and that in the 1813-14 campaign they adopted Russian style hussar uniforms is persuasive for me. Perhaps those who think their heavies should say why - other than an unreferenced FoG list.

Also their sword was a light cavalry type.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Aug 05, 2018 1:34 pm
by shadowdragon
Amra wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 7:48 am
Hey Shadow Dragon are you still around ?
i need to prove the Life Guard are lights....
There are also historical paintings here: ... forms.html

The image that says "Light Cavalry" has a Royal Horse Guard trooper and the original painting is entitled "Royal Swedish Light Cavalry". There is a counterpart for the heavies.

Mike Horah did the original FoG lists and used Nafziger's orders of battle. I have all of the Nafziger Swedish lists for 1813-14 and there's some confusion; in most of the lists there's a "Lifgardet till häst" (i.e., Life Guard Horse) regiment but in the Battle of Leipzig list the Lifgardet till häst disappear and instead there's the a "Guard Dragoon" regiment. I believe that the "Guard Dragoon" regiment is the "Lifgardet till häst" regiment and the difference may be due to the source used by Nafziger and the translation, but who knows.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:29 am
by MikeHorah
There is clearly some ambiguity here over nomenclature. Not uncommon and in some armies names changed over the period even where roles did not. The confusion in the Austrian army at the turn of the century arose as Dragoons were merged with Cheveaulegers to form light Dragoons, a reform which was then reversed. Hybridity of uniform was probably matched by that of role in many regiments that never completed the transition.

But nomenclature aside the following ought to be good indicators.
1. Weapons – point or edged sabre and type of firearm. The latter would indicate whether it was for force protection or not or more aggressive skirmishing.
2. The mount – size in “hands” in the regs - in the field over time likely to be smaller of course unless a better source was found eg the Saxon heavy cavalry mounts after 1806 were expropriated by the French as they were so good. Breed however is also an indicator.
3. What it says in tactical regs and drill manuals about their role.

If there is this kind of evidence that suggests that a regiment has been incorrectly designated by troop type or new information that suggests that then by all means treat them differently. :)

New sources are also very welcome – eg Nafzigers’s 1814 is a treasure trove. I revised some lists and designed new ones in anticipation of a 2nd ed from that. :(

But I cannot now, some 8 years on, retrace my steps for all such decisions. I am on my third laptop since then and one went into a coma on being upgraded to W10 losing some files despite back ups :oops: . And even then I did not always copy an on- line file but kept it as a link only to go back to eg the Napoleon series. Often all I wanted was to be found in just a para or two maybe just confirming another source. I do not recall there having been a flag on the play for these units.

And one was mostly looking at ORBATS for size and shape of Corps and Divisions less for individual unit roles.

If wargames lists and rules were published to allow for references that would be so much better.

I did not rely exclusively on George Nafziger’s on line resource, excellent though that is. Wherever possible I used more than one eg Digby Smith.

But having said all that what distinctions do we actually draw in the rules for cavalry?

1. Movement - we make heavies slower especially in difficult terrain although I doubt in wet or boggy ground such as Waterloo lights would have gone a whole lot faster either.
2. In combat shock cavalry get +1/-1 dice versus infantry and light cavalry and cavalry v lighter cavalry get a + POA - er that’s it. :|
3. In the 1.5 Update we drew a distinction between regular and irregular light cavalry and gave the former a capability denied to other regular cavalry.

There is case for reviewing the distinction in role and capability of light cavalry in the era and other cavalry. The term medium cavalry which wargamers and others liked to use some years ago does not seem to have had any historical currency.

During the 18th century the main battle cavalry were Cuirassiers – the first line with Dragoons as they lost their dismounted role, becoming the second line ( but often regarded as inferior) and as they emerged ( from the Austrian irregular hussars ) light cavalry the third line. But it was the off battlefield role and value of the hussars that led to their wider adoption. By the 1780’s lighter cavalry were in wider use in many armies. But on the battlefield was their role actually any different to that of the Dragoons?

So perhaps the real distinction is off the battlefield and in games and rules with a strong operational content and perhaps with a lower level of operations eg Brigade rather than Corps .

The development of Divisions of reserve cavalry found from the cuirassiers or equivalent justifies the continued distinction of “ shock” we employ. In the British Army the Dragoons as named were by now the equivalent and one might say that in that army there were shock heavies and other cavalry.

So in combat were non shock regular cavalry really any different to light cavalry and is the latter’s different role not recognised nor material? We could just say of cavalry in the context of FOG(N) and Corps level battles

“ Some are Shock and some are specialist light cavalry with particular capabilities as specified but for most purposes most are just cavalry”

And dispense with the term “ heavy”?

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:44 pm
by shadowdragon
Hi Mike,

My “who knows” was more about Nafziger’s 1813-14 ORBAT that included Swedish troops where the Lifgardet Till Hast appears in all the ORBAT except for the Leipzig one where the Guard Dragoon’s appears but not in the others. My suspicion is that these are the same unit but Nafziger used different sources.....but without references, “who knows”.

Digby’s ORBAT for Leipzig seems to be from Nafziger or the same source used by Nafziger.

From all other sources, including Swedish ones, there was no such unit called “Guard Dragoons” in 1813-14. There was the Lifgardet till Hast which is armed with curved, light cavalry sabres in contemporary pictures. I’ve not seen a drill manual.

I agree with you with respect to war game distinctions. Some rules distinguish between “battle” and “campaign” cavalry instead of heavy / light. Can there be any doubt that the imperial guard light cavalry were equal or better to run of the mill dragoons?

A tid bit....I noted in Andrew Field’s latest books on the 1815 campaign that Exelmanns complained about his dragoons being used as light cavalry.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:46 pm
by shadowdragon
No slight on your efforts were intended. It’s a tall order producing all of those lists.

None intended for Nafziger either. His was a huge effort. An error or two is forgivable and indeed the error may be in original sources.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:10 pm
by MikeHorah
No offence taken! Genuine intelligent informed discourse is always welcome. I know too that you are pretty knowledgeable on this era and the previous century, so its fun.

Just to follow up

Digby Smith’s Napoleonic Wars Data Book under the Leipzig orders of battle for the Swedish Corps lists the Liebgarde-DrgR (5 Sqns) in the 1st Division and the LiebKurR (4 sqdns) in the Cavalry division confirmed in his book 1813 Leipzig and the Battle of the Nations. That will be where they came from I am pretty sure backed up elsewhere on-line maybe.

Re-consulting my Armies of the Napoleonic wars 1979 – von Pivka (AKA Digby Smith) it offers no illumination listing under “Cavalry” the Konungens Lif Garde til Hast and the Lif Regemente Dragon Corps but with no indication as to type. The Lif Kurassiere are described and as having a black Kurass until 1796 -but not listed. Sounds like a classic 18th century formation.

The Osprey Scandinavian Armies of the Napoleonic wars by Jack Cassin Scott ( 1976) is mostly narrative except where there are plates, few orbats. One shows Den Kongelige Livgarde Til Hast 1800 -1813 but only says it was squadron of 200. As to the language, the book covers Danish troops so maybe it’s more Danish than Swedish but you get no visual or textual clues. I have some conversational Norwegian but am a novice in construing these kinds of subtle variations.

Sounds like they are both - Nafziger and Digby - sourcing the same things. Not quite as bad as historians not even agreed on the date a battle happened in Italy in 1815.

But none of this is conclusive as to whether they were Heavy or Light cavalry or were actually the same regiment and of course we also often suggest using a campaign list to represent the national one and if they were not two regiments that is pretty silly! We were erring on the generous side I suspect to ensure a more attractive list? My instincts were to be more conservative but had to counter that sometimes in the interests of greater diversity .

But one might as readily have then had the opposite conversation with someone convinced they were not lights. And if there are any battle reports of them in 1813 which indicate their performance I have yet to come across them. Not that those would be conclusive, after all a French Carabinier regiment refused to charge in this campaign, showing fancy uniforms and titles do not make up for want of training or elan.( who knew?)

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 12:05 am
by shadowdragon
Hi Mike,

Because I've been collecting and painting up a Swedish army I took some time to track things down - so much easier these days with internet. I ended up referencing several Swedish websites...

Here's a good one by H Hogman…and I've specifically included the link to the cavalry page.

I also ended up with web pages for specific's the Swedish Wikipedia article for the Livgardet till hästäst

To summarize...

In 1791 the Mounted Life Regiment (Livregementet till häst….note the similarity of the name to the above Livgardet till häst, but these are not the same unit) was split into three units:

1) Cuirassier Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade (Livregementsbrigadens kyrassiärkår) - this is the Cuirassier regiment in the lists and became the Life Regiment Dragoons (Livregementets dragoner) in 1815
2) Light Dragoon Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade (Livregementsbrigadens lätta dragonkår), which in 1796 became the Hussar Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade (Livregementsbrigadens husarkår) - this unit was around in in 1813/14 but doesn't seem to have been deployed. In 1815 it was renamed the Life Regiment Hussars (Livregementets husarer)
3) Light Infantry Battalion of the Life Regiment Brigade (Livregementsbrigadens lätta infanteribataljon)

These did not become fully separate organizations until 1815.

Returning to the Livgardet till häst. It did not start out as a guard unit. It was raised in Finland in 1770 as the Finnish Light Dragoon Corps (Finska lätta dragonkåren). It's Colonel, Sprengtporten, helped Gustav III with the bloodless coup, so the regiment was given guard status as Light Dragoon Corps of His Majesty’s Life and Hussar Troops (Lätta dragonkåren av Konungens Liv- och Hustrupper) but was referred to as The Light Dragoons of the Life Guards (Lätta dragonerna av livgardet). In 1797 it was renamed the Light Life Dragoon Regiment (Lätta livdragonregementet) - note the similarity in the name to the Light Dragoon Corps of the Life Regiment Brigade above. In 1806 it was renamed the Mounted Life Guards
(Livgardet till häst). It was originally 5 squadrons of 50 which was reduced to 4 squadrons and then up to 400 troops in 1813.

As to light or heavy...

1) Period plates show them as light cavalry and armed with light cavalry sabres ( ... netti5.jpg)

2) The Wikipedia article specifically mentions them skirmishing during the Napoleonic wars ("Den 9 juni 1806 ändrades namnet ännu en gång till, då Livgardet till häst. Åren 1803–1815 som Napoleonkrigen pågick, deltog regementet i de svenska fälttågen i Tyskland med utmärkelse. Vid slaget vid Oravais i Finland 1809 arbetade regementet som beridna jägare tillsammans med Nylands Dragoner, en stridsteknisk specialitet på modet vid den tiden. Ryttarna placerades till häst i glesa linjer i fiendens närhet med uppgift att skjuta från hästryggen och vika undan något hundratal meter för att skjuta på nytt alternativt förfölja fienden på samma sätt. Jägarstrid till häst kräver mycket skickliga ryttare.")

3) The adopted Russian style hussar dress in late 1813

4) They started as "light dragoons" became "light dragoons of the life and hussar troops" then "light dragoons" again and finally LIfe Horse.

Now, as for Digby Smith's Liebgarde-DrgR, it's hard to say what regiment he's referring to as the language is German and not Swedish. Perhaps it's a reference to the name prior to 1806 - Lätta livdragonregementet - mixed with the post 1806 name of Livgardet till häst. It seems that he was referencing German source material and reviewing the above one can understand anyone's confusion. Just to round it out, in 1975, they did get the name Livgardets dragoner (Life Guard Dragoons or "Liebgarde DrgR".

So, in 1813-14, for the Swedish Guard cavalry we have the Cuirassier Corps (true cuirassiers) and the Horse Guards (light cavalry) and the Life Regiment Hussars. No where have a found any reference to a guard heavy dragoon regiment other than the references in orders of battle you mentioned.

If that's not convincing then there I will let matters rest. :-)

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:27 am
by MikeHorah
Pax! That is pretty convincing evidence for which much thanks - so delete the guard heavy dragoons altogether. Makes me wonder just how much other stuff one would look to change with new or newly found material given the chance at a 2nd ed especially if some of my usual sources are proving not so reliable as I thought. There are a number of lists I would dearly like to start from a clean page.

I am having a similar debate abut Baden Dragoons as Murawski Miniatures have brought some out and so far looking at pictures some say light dragoons and some dragoons - they may have been either at different times of course - and there is a suggestion they were brigaded with the sub regimental strength Garde Du Corps.

All that said what do you and any other folks think about my musings on the use of the term "heavy cavalry"? Does it create a false distinction - solely in the context of this rule set of course.

If one sees Shock cavalry and light cavalry proper as cavalry with capabilities that the general run of cavalry lack then debates like this are otiose. What becomes more interesting is the extent to which light cavalry regiments were actually particularly effective at their role - which is a training issue .They cannot all have been equally adept at the screening role etc and maybe many were there as the best they could do? We probably don't downgrade them enough or need a special category for below average cavalry.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:23 pm
by shadowdragon
I was looking at the Baden Dragoons recently and thinking the same thing about whether they were light or heavy dragoons...or maybe that's a distinction that isn't relevant - at least for FoGN.

I think there is something in your musings. I will post separately because any discussion would be lost in this thread. However, I'm not sure any rule set has it right to my satisfaction, which is, perhaps, because rules try to simplify a multi-factor issue into one or two factors. When you do that it there will always be one or two historical situations that won't come out right. The other problem is that there aren't enough historical cases that allow one to control for other factors to see how much influence a given factor had on an outcome.

Re: Swedish cavalry help?

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:05 pm
by shadowdragon
MikeHorah wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 8:27 am
That is pretty convincing evidence for which much thanks - so delete the guard heavy dragoons altogether.
My preference would be to change it to 'Guard Light Cavalry' - even though it's only a unit of 400 which is under the '500' for a small unit. However, I would still include it in the list as it is a unique unit on the table - even if it is a stretch. If that's a problem then one could allow a mixed 'Life Horse & Hussars' unit that would combine the Life Horse with a Hussar regiment. Anyway there was also a Guard Hussar unit, that I think was not deployed, but we allow Wurttemberg guard units as a "what if" corps - just to make the list more interesting.