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Special units

Dragoons

Dragoons can be included among special units through their historical traditions. In the past, there were several types of cavalry troops in the Monarchy. They had different armaments and were trained to perform other tactical tasks. After 1867, in parallel with the abolition of the armored cavalry and the cheval léger, the remaining three cavalry branches gradually received uniform equipment and armament. These were the dragoons, the ulan, and the hussars. Increasingly, they differed only in appearance, especially in uniforms and headgear. That is, they were equally equipped with a carbine, a pistol, and a uniform sword.

The dragoons were originally mounted infantry soldiers, the real battle-heavy heavy cavalry were the armored cavalry. But the dragoons also belonged to heavy cavalry. This was most evident in the selection of crew and horse stock: larger riders and horses were lined up for dragoons. There was yet another distinctive feature of the weapon type, nationality. The majority of the 15 dragoon regiments in the army at the beginning of the Great War were mainly of Czech nationality. Only two were mostly German and one Slovenian and one Ruthenian. The officers were, of course, much more colorful by nationality, the position of dragoon officer had a very high prestige in society, even in the circles of the aristocracy.

The dragoon weapon insignia could also be used for this esteem. The battle scene depicts a helmeted dragon on a horse preparing for a deadly blow. Also in the two photos in the post, the helmet is the most striking wear. The thick, padded, short jacket, boots, and equipment were similar for the other two mounted troops. The trousers were crescent red, the mint light blue. The dragon helmet was black with gilded decoration. The field cap, which was mostly worn instead of the helmet, was also a uniform red. I can only assume that when the cavalry was used as infantry, the cap was put on instead of the helmet. Would I also ask the readers for help if anyone knows what occasions they wore a helmet (trap, pick)? I guess it’s not just at parades.

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