What was the Noble Pontifical Guard?

Introduction The Noble Guard (Italian: Guardia Nobile) was one of the household guard units serving the Pope, and formed part of the military in Vatican City. It was formed by Pope Pius VII in 1801 as a regiment of heavy cavalry. Conceived as the Pope’s personal guard, the unit provided a mounted escort for the… Read More

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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 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 is Cavalry?

Introduction Cavalry (from the French word cavalerie, itself derived from “cheval” meaning “horse”) are soldiers or warriors who fight mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms, operating as light cavalry in the roles of reconnaissance, screening and harassing in many armies, or as heavy cavalry for decisive shock attacks… Read More