What is a Cheval de Frise?

Introduction The cheval de frise (plural: chevaux de frise, “Frisian horses”) was a defensive obstacle, existing in a number of forms, principally as a static anti-cavalry obstacle but also quickly movable to close breaches. Refer to Czech Hedgehog, Caltrop, Dragon’s Teeth, Makibishi, and Sudis. The term was also applied to underwater constructions used to prevent… Read More


What was Cavalleggeri?

Introduction Cavalleggeri were an inferior category of cavalry during the classic period of feudal cavalry. This included knife-armed cavalry, lancers’ pages and mounted crossbowmen. Later, cavalleggeri became a subsidiary arm of the gendarmerie (refer to Light Cavalry). In 1498, Louis XII of France gave this name (chevau-léger) to his mounted companies, forming a sort of… Read More

What is a Sowar?

Introduction Sowar (Hindi: सवार, Punjabi: ਸਵਾਰ, Urdu: سوار‎, also siwar meaning “the one who rides” or “rider”, from Persian sawār) was originally a rank during the Mughal Empire and Maratha Empire. Background During the British Raj it was the name in Anglo-Indian usage for a horse-soldier belonging to the cavalry troops of the native armies… Read More

What is Light Cavalry?

Introduction Light cavalry comprises lightly armed and lightly armoured troops mounted on horses, as opposed to heavy cavalry, where the riders (and sometimes the warhorses) are heavily armoured. The missions of the light cavalry were primarily raiding, reconnaissance, screening, skirmishing, patrolling, and tactical communications. They were usually armed with swords, spears, or bows, and later… Read More

What is Heavy Cavalry?

Introduction Heavy cavalry was a class of cavalry intended to deliver a battlefield charge and also to act as a tactical reserve; they are also often termed ‘shock cavalry’. Although their equipment differed greatly depending on the region and historical period, heavy cavalry were generally mounted on large powerful warhorses, and were often equipped with… Read More

What was the Capture of the Dutch Fleet at Den Helder (1795)?

Introduction The Capture of the Dutch fleet at Den Helder on the night of 23 January 1795 presents a rare occurrence of a tactical interaction between warships and cavalry, in which a French Revolutionary Hussar regiment surrounded a Dutch fleet frozen at anchor between the 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) stretch of sea that separates the… Read More