THE ARMIES AND WARS OF THE SUN KING 1643-1715: Volume 3 - The Line Cavalry, Dragoons and the Irish Wild Geese
The Cavalry: This section describes what was by very far Europe's largest cavalry force. It included the Gendarmerie de France, which was a privileged division between the guards and the line cavalry. The line cavalry evolved from a fairly standard heavy cavalry force in the 1640s to a more complex arm of the service that first added numerous dragoon regiments in the 1670s, a division of rifled-armed elite carabiniers in the 1690s and also the advent of Hussars as light cavalry at that time. The peculiar organization of the cavalry with its Mestre de Camp General, Colonel General is also described and some of its personalities had rather colorful careers. Arms, accoutrements and dress of the cavalry are discussed and also, the horses and the never-attained challenge of furnishing enough for some 60,000 troopers in the 1690s. By comparison, British cavalry hovered at about 7,000. This included efforts to develop better breeding and the advent of 'dressage' as we know it today from France's Louis XIVs era.
The Wild Geese: This expatriate force of Irish officers and men formed quite a different type of force. They were not mercenaries as other foreign regiments. They either belonged to the army that came with James II to France and, in the 1690s, formed his distinct army or served in the Irish regiments that formed a division within the French army. The Sun King subsided everything and it was a very good investment. One benefit was that he gained Berwick, a leading future marshal of France. The Irish were fine soldiers and, in time, also integrated into French society with success in government and business besides the army.
As in previous volumes, the last part of Vol. 3 features a large appendice listing all the regiments of the French cavalry from 1643 to 1715. Other appendices concern uniforms as described in the main contemporary sources. There will further be at least one appendice on opponent armies, certainly the Austrian army in this volume. Another topic is a list of French Protestant regiments in the British army. Includes 144 b/w illustrations, 32 pages of color plates, and 23 b/w maps.
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Updated as of 12/07/2023ABBREVIATIONS: dj-dust jacket, biblio-bibliography, b/w-black and white, illust-illustrations, b/c-book club addition.
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