Austrian Napoleonic Armor. Napoleonic cuirass of the Austrian cavalry. Heavy cavalry breastplate from Napoleonic wars. The Austrian cavalry consisted of cuirassiers, dragoons, chevaulegeres (light dragoons), hussars and uhlans.
Napoleonic cuirass of the Austrian cavalry. Heavy cavalry breastplate from Napoleonic wars.
The Austrian cavalry consisted of cuirassiers, dragoons, chevaulegeres (light dragoons), hussars and uhlans. The twelve regiments of hussars were mostly Hungarians (eight were Hungarian, two were from Transilvania, and two from today Slovakia). The uhlans were Poles and Ukrainians from Galicia.
Austrian Napoleonic Cavalry
The men of the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Dragoon Regiment were Moravians, while those in the 1st and 2nd Dragoon Regiment were Austrians. The chevaulegers in 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th Regiment were Bohemians (Czechs), while in the 3rd were Poles from Galicia, in 7th were Italians. The 1st Chevaulegere Regiment was composed of Austrians.
The cuirassiers in the 1st Kaiser, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th Regiment were Bohemians and Moravians (Czechs), while in the 4th and 5th were Austrians. The Bussy Horse Jagers were made of French royalists (emigres) in Austrian service. Ironically this unit participated in the defeat of Bonaparte's grenadiers of Consular Guard at Marengo, 1800.
The Austrian cavalrymen were excellent swordsman and horsemen, well-trained and well-mounted and enjoyed great reputation in Europe. "...most Hungarians learned to ride in childhood and when out riding soon acquired a natural sense of direction, making them the ideal recruits for light cavalry duties." (- Hollins "Hungarian Hussar 1756-1815")
Equally good horsemen were the Poles. They formed the few regiments of Austrian uhlans who forced Napoleon to issue body armor to his horse carabiniers. The superb O'Reilly Chevaulegere Regiment was composed of Poles. (The French cavalry were known for bravery and their generals for tactical skills. Horsemanship and horse care however were not their virtue.)
For French cavalry officer, de Brack, the Hungarian hussars were some of "the best European cavalry." Sir Wilson wrote about the Austrian cavalry: "... both cuirassiers and hussars are superb".
Another British observer described their cuirassiers in 1814 in Paris as "outstanding".