Régiment de Dragons
The Dragoons have been described as the ‘workhorses’ of Napoleon's cavalry and were essentially mounted infantry tasked with performing such varied roles as scouting, anti-guerilla operations and escort duties. At times they were used as infantry, though it was observed that their performance in the dismounted role was generally unsatisfactory.
Owing to a lack of French heavy cavalry during the Peninsular War, the dragoons were often called upon to take on the role of shock troops in battle.
According to an order of 1803, each dragoon company was to be made up of 54 mounted and 36 dismounted troopers though this strength was rarely achieved on a campaign. Two companies formed a squadron and four squadrons formed a regiment. There were a total of thirty French dragoon regiments during the Napoleonic wars.
Their uniforms consisted of a Grecian helmet that was made of brass and had a long horsehair mane.
Their coats were middle to dark green and each regiment had its own distinctive facing colour which was displayed on the lapels, turnbacks, cuffs and collars.
Mounted dragoons wore buff coloured breeches with knee-high boots. The dismounted dragoons wore ankle boots and black gaiters in the style of the line infantry.
They carried a model An XI straight cavalry sword with a leather scabbard, an IX model musket, bayonet and cartridge pouch and when mounted, two cavalry pistols.
310gm Limited edition of 50 c/w authentication certificate
Illustration by David Higham