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Special units

Mounted squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division

The reader may rightly ask, “What is special about a cavalry squadron belonging to a cavalry division? Riders among riders! ”

There were few things as sad that happened during the Great War than forcing the cavalry into a trench. And this is what happened, the riders moving in the open field in the fights, in the devastating artillery fire, were an easy target. As early as 1915, the shooter squads of the divisions were formed. In addition, half of the personnel was still equipped as cavalry, although they did not perform cavalry duties even then. At that time, regiment-sized cavalry detachments from existing cavalry soldiers were organized for longer or shorter periods as needed.

The number of cavalry then decreased, not least due to the lack of horses. The decree of March 13, 1917, reorganized the seven cavalry divisions that were still operating at the time into virtual infantry divisions. These included also the 1st Cavalry Division, consisting at that time of four Hussar regiments, the 4th, 7th, 12th, and 14th. The regiments were amended by a machine gun section with 4 machine guns and additional technical and other troops. For each cavalry regiment, only a section of 25 riders was left. These were combined into a squadron and used as division cavalry.

The badge that is the subject of the post is therefore the badge of the mounted squadron of the 1st Cavalry Division established in the spring of 1917. It is well known that the cavalry regiments, but especially the hussar regiments, wore a great variety of sometimes very exclusive badges during the Great War. Thus, it is not surprising that in the case of new units formed with reorganizations, such as shooters, this fashion of wearing badges has survived. The badge presented here shows that even with a small number of personnel, the unit badges, which were also used as distinctions, survived. I think the hussars employed as cavalry could have been extremely proud of not being forced into the trenches.

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