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Osprey Men-at-Arms 262 : The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (2) : Cavalry

In 1621 Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, back from his eye-opening tour of Germany and his first campaign against the Poles, decided to do something about the poor quality of his native cavalry. His first measure, at first sight trivial, was quite radical in effect: he made his native arquebusiers give up their arquebuses, which appear no more in the muster rolls after 1621, and concentrated instead on supplying them with pistols. The native Swedish horseman's weapons thus became [ideally] a pair of pistols and a sword; and his armour, a back and breastplate and an open-faced helmet. As a troop type, Gustavus's cavalry reverted to the tried and tested class prevalent in the poorer, mostly Protestant areas of Northern Germany in the 16th century: the light horseman. Much of the fame of Gustavus Adolphus has founded upon his cavalry. He is said to have made his cavalry attack aggressively, training them to charge in with the sword instead of halting before contact and firing ineffectively with the pistol; in so doing he is said to have reversed the stagnation of European cavalry warfare, giving it back fluidity and vigour. Like much 'Gustavus mythology', however, the truth may well be quite different. Contemporaries were less than impressed, and his cavalry was surely second rate compared to other European forces, being far outclassed at Lützen by Wallenstein's cuirassiers. Richard Brzezinski explores the truth behind the myth, in an attempt to find the real story of Gustavus's cavalry. He examines their organisation, arms, armour, tactics and uniforms accompanied by many illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by Richard Hook.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Native Cavalry
  • German Cavalry
  • Cavalry Armour & Equipment
  • Buffcoats and Uniforms
  • Dragoons
  • Artillery
  • Identification Signs
  • Tactics
  • Conclusions
  • The Plates


The books in this series are;
Men-at-Arms 235 : The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (1) : Infantry
Men-at-Arms 262 : The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (2) : Cavalry

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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