My (small) wargames club (The Alvechurch Templars) has recently started using HoW with 25mm/28mm figures - and I must say it's providing an interesting diversion for several of the members. (Previously mainly Ancients was played - but at least 6 people have taken part in 7YW games so far.) Personally, it fulfils a decades old project of mine and much rebasing of figures has taken place to fit in with the rules.
The first of probably many questions is why dragoons have to dismount to shoot? My understanding is that several regiments of British dragoons were trained to shoot from the saddle, although I'll accept the argument that it wasn't a common practice it surely must have occurred.
I notice that another thread suggests that cavalry never dismounted to fight, which is a little at odds with the rules allowing it. I think dragoons should be allowed to shoot from the saddle or on foot - the issue for other cavalry types may well be different.
Hello Karl, not just British Dragoons but many other cavalry were trained to shoot from the saddle. The Austrian army used it as the most effective tactic against the Turkish cavalry. Other than that there is little or nothing to suggest it was used as a battlefield tactic in the west. Dragons did most of the scouting in the WSS and in that situation the use of mounted musketry and carbine fire could be useful in the bickering between small patrols. On the battlefield it proved ineffective. You could only fire one rank, a caracole is a slow process and leaves the firer very vulnerable to a sharp charge, controlling any sort of troop fire system was almost impossible and, despite training, horses don't like guns going off between their ears. By the 7YW most Dragoons were operating as heavy cavalry and charging on the battlefield. The scouting was mainly done by the new light cavalry types. Even in the WSS Marlborough was issuing his horse and dragoons with only one round of musket or pistol ammunition for use when guarding the picket lines! In game terms to give cavalry effective mounted fire would be to provide them with an effectiveness that just is not warranted. French Dragoons had a long history of getting off their horses to shoot, one that carried on into the Napoleonic wars, so it's warranted for them and open fo debate for others. Cheers, Rol.
As Rol said it. I never read that firing from the horse was really common. There were some special actions where it seamed to be propper. I think that it would be reasonable if cavalry that wanted not to pursue the beaten enemy shot on the retreating opponents.
It's right that the French used dragoons for a long time as infantry on horse back. Dragoons were used as pickets. This changed when Louis XV introduced several new units of light infantry since 1744. You may see the result of the new type of infantry during the battle of Fontenoy. There were some regiments of French dragoons present. But the arquebusiers de Grassin could serve as light infantry. Therefore some dragoons fought as infantry between Antoing and Fontenoy. Other stayed as a reserve near Tournai. No dragoons joined the famous attacks of the French cavalry during this battle.
The austrians and prussians used their dragoons as heavy cavalry. The horses and equipement were maybe to valuable to loose it in petite guerre. With their types of swords many dragoons looked like regiments of horse (where the cuirass was not in use).
Perhaps the british drilled shooting of their dragoons because they had no light infantry in the 1740s. It seams that all light-infantry-services were transfered from the british to the austrian light troops during the WAS. So there was maybe no Need to have special troops for service as pickets before the SYW.
Es marschierten drei Regimenter wohl über den Rhein...
I can't really add much to the above. If shooting from the saddle on the battlefield had any effect at all (which seems doubtful), I anticipated it would be at such short range that it could be counted as part of melee.