Dragoons in Nine Years War

A section devoted to questions and answers for this period.
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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by Captain of Dragoons » Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:45 pm

Currently reading John Childs The Williamite Wars in Ireland 1688-1691 in anticipation of Barry's & co Ireland supplements. :!:

The campaign in Ireland saw great use of dragoons, from sizing fortified estates and river crossings, to rearguards and battlefield action, to the actions of ambushes and cattle raiding.

I think the style of war and the terrain of Ireland was perfectly suited to the traditional role of the dragoons to be able to fight mounted and dismounted.

Looking forward while reading Childs book there are lots of examples and scenarios for using dragoons as part of a DonnyBrook game.

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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by lee sherman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:11 am

During this period did the horse charge swords drawn or did they trot pistols drawn, and then sword fight? Just wondering because some say French cavalry was superior to the English was it because of different tactics or just quality of the mounts?

Also would the dragoons actually fire from the saddle their musket or was it just a part of the drill book like the musket had many steps to load but in reality never used?

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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by Captain of Dragoons » Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:10 pm

I believe in the French Army in the earlier period their was some debate to the sword vrs pistol and but my theory is the tactical circumstance would dictate. In the Nine Years War, French Cavalry was superb. At Neerwinden in 1693 French Cavalry at the charge with sword carried breastworks covered by Infantry. For some reason in the later period, the WSS, they reverted to firing with pistols.

Hopefully some of the well verse board members in this period can add more on this.

I know that Marlborough encouraged his cavalry regiments in the WSS to use the sword.

As for Dragoons firing from the saddle with a long weapon would be difficult. Hence for the most part dragoons would dismounted when firing their longer firearm.

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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by maciek » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:45 pm

During this period did the horse charge swords drawn or did they trot pistols drawn, and then sword fight?
They did both in the trot. Only Maison du Roi charged in gallop.
At Neerwinden in 1693 French Cavalry at the charge with sword carried breastworks covered by Infantry.
It's a myth. French historians admit that they followed Swiss Guards who breached the breastworks.
For some reason in the later period, the WSS, they reverted to firing with pistols.
Not quite reverted. They did it all the time. They used mix of cold steel and pistol fire in melee.
I know that Marlborough encouraged his cavalry regiments in the WSS to use the sword.
More precisely - to skip pistol fire. But they still charged in trot.

Bear in mind that real revolution in cavalry tactic was not abandoning pistol fire but charge in full galop. But to this one should have perfectly trained cavalry, because poorly trained troops charging in gallop can quickly become a disorganized mob. In the west (as oposed to the East - Sweden, Poland etc) the first army capable to do this was Prussian army of Frederic the Great.
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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by Captain of Dragoons » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:09 pm

Hello maciek
Not quite reverted. They did it all the time. They used mix of cold steel and pistol fire in melee.
IIRC I have read on this board and several others, along with a few written sources the theory that the decline of French Cavalry from the 9YW to WSS was bacause they used the pistol more then the sword.

Of course the reverse of the coin is that Grand Alliance cavalry greatly improve.

A combination of factors?

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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by lee sherman » Thu Jan 21, 2016 1:32 pm

maybe pistol was used so at least they got a 1st kill after all you cannot block a pistol shot as you would try and do from a sword swing or chop, maybe the French changed to try and kill as many cavalry troopers in the initial start of the melee as possible?
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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by Captain of Dragoons » Fri Jan 22, 2016 1:10 pm

In the case of British Cavalry for the WSS, they had two or three charges of powder issue for their pistols for picket duty.

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Re: Dragoons in Nine Years War

Post by maciek » Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:41 pm

I have read on this board and several others, along with a few written sources the theory that the decline of French Cavalry from the 9YW to WSS was bacause they used the pistol more then the sword.
I even read the article "evolution of French cavalry tactic in wargaming" showing that in early 70's most rulesets forced French players to use caracole :D

There is a lot of examples showing that French cavalry in WSS charged home with cold steel. In my oppinion Allied cavalry in WSS was better led and was more numerous than in LoA.
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