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The Illustrated Cavalry Versus Infantry

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The Illustrated Cavalry Versus Infantry
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Author(s): F. N. Maude
Date Published: 2013/07
Page Count: 168
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-149-6
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-78282-148-9

A special edition of Maude’s military history essays

The British military historian and soldier F. N. Maude was highly qualified to assess and write about the warfare of the 18th and 19th centuries. Maude’s writing reflects his understanding of how the armies of Europe had evolved up to the outbreak of the First World War. There can be little doubt that his three books on the great battles of the Napoleonic era—Jena, Ulm and Leipzig—are extremely useful histories and they remain in print in Leonaur editions. This book contains several linked essays in which Maude considers his subject in terms of tactics, logistics, equipment, training, morale and the performance of troops both on campaign and during battles. As well as the subject defined by the title of this book he gives particular attention to the refinement and performance of Prussian cavalry under von Seydlitz, the tactics of Napoleon’s forces and the activities of Wellington’s Peninsular Army. This special Leonaur edition enhances Maude’s text by including relevant illustrations for the first time; these make this edition unique and explain why the book’s original title, ‘Cavalry Versus Infantry,’ has been slightly modified to differentiate it from editions without illustrations. A useful addition to the libraries of military history students of the period.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket; our hardbacks are cloth bound and feature gold foil lettering on their spines and fabric head and tail bands.

Having told this to his officers, they rejoined their commands, and he gave the orders: “The left squadron, second line;

threes about; remainder left wheel; halt, dress!” and then “March!” The left squadron of the first line swung round on a

moving pivot till abreast of the directing squadron of the second line, and the remainder changed direction in succession

as they came to the wheeling point, and following on, another change of direction to the right when they reached the

above mentioned hill, which had meanwhile been crowned by a battery of eighteen guns (four 24-pounders, twelve

12-pounders, and two howitzers), brought them right across the heads of the three columns in which the French

cavalry were advancing. It was just 3:30 p.m. as the last squadron cleared the hill.<br>
Seydlitz, who had been superintending the movement from the hill, seeing he was now almost on the right rear of the

enemy, who meanwhile had begun to wheel towards the batteries on the hill, gave the order: “Halt; right wheel into

line!” He had fifteen squadrons in first line, and eighteen in second. The hussars, who had been covering his march on

the right, cleared the front, and formed up as a support on the left of the line. Then he sounded the trot, and the whole

line came over the brow of the hill, to the complete surprise of the French. They tried in vain to wheel up to meet the

coming storm, but it was too late, for the next moment the charge was sounded along the whole line, and the Prussians

dashed at them at the fullest speed of their horses, swinging round and overlapping the French in rear. The leading

regiments bolted and ran, but two Austrian cuirassier regiments and two French ones, “La Reine” and “Fitz-James,”

managed to get themselves clear of the broken head of the column, and to attempt a charge, but this was met by the

following second line of the Prussians, and completely ridden over.<br>
Then followed a sharp pursuit and mêlée, in which Seydlitz, having expended all his troops at hand, took part with his

sword as an individual. Meanwhile the infantry had appeared on the scene. By a similar flank march under cover, and

a wheel into line, they, too, had been thrown across the line of march of the French columns, and their fire and that of

the battery, which had advanced from its previous position, prevented all attempts of the French to form line to the front.

It was just 4 o’clock as the infantry fire began, and in fifteen minutes the French were shaking. Seydlitz, who had been

wounded in the previous mêlée, and had fallen out to get himself bandaged, had foreseen what was coming, and had

already rallied and re-formed his cavalry, and was waiting for the opportunity, and seized it at once, charging the

French on their right flank at full gallop with every available squadron, and by half-past 4 all organised resistance was

at an end.<br>
Of the Prussian infantry, seven battalions only had fired a shot, and of these five had fired two rounds per man only, the

remaining two from twelve to fifteen rounds each. The Prussians lost 3 officers and 162 men killed, and 20 officers and

356 men wounded, whereas they buried of the dead over 1,000 bodies and picked up some 3,000 wounded, besides

capturing 5 generals, 300 officers, 67 guns, 21 standards, any amount of baggage, and 5,000 prisoners, and only the

short day put a stop to their pursuit. <br><br>******<br><br>Meanwhile Seydlitz, with thirty-three squadrons, fifteen of

which were cuirassiers, the remainder hussars, had been moving round the Russian right on the further side of the

boggy valley of the “Zaber,”‘ on which their flank rested, and had caused adjutants and pioneers from each regiment to

reconnoitre and improve passages across it broad enough for half troop front. Seeing what was happening on the

other side of the stream, he now ordered each regiment to advance in column of half troops from its right and cross the

stream by the above mentioned passages, two regiments (ten squadrons) of cuirassiers to attack the pursuing infantry,

and the remaining regiment, his own, to charge the enemy’s cavalry, the hussars to follow as a second line. These

orders were obeyed.<br>
As each regiment crossed the bottom, it formed line to the front at the gallop, and went straight for its target. The shock of

the first line was not everywhere successful, but the prompt support of the following hussars completed the work; and

after a few minutes of hand-to-hand combat, the Russian cavalry was drawn from the field and their advanced infantry

practically destroyed. They were pursued up to the line of their own position in rear, which in the meanwhile had been

completed by great reserves, and there the rally was sounded, and Seydlitz withdrew out of range of the musketry and

re-formed his command, which had meanwhile been reinforced by the remaining squadrons of the right wing, which

had stood originally behind the infantry, which had been defeated and had come back on them in complete rout; but,

wheeling up their squadrons to let the fugitives through, they had again wheeled into line and charged the pursuing foe

in their front at the gallop at the same moment that Seydlitz’s cuirassiers and hussars attacked them in the flank.<br>
The Russians, however, had defended themselves with unusual desperation; trained in the Turkish wars neither to ask

nor expect quarter, they had balled themselves into clumps, and the cavalry had had to hew them to pieces.<br>
But Seydlitz, having rallied his squadrons, now determined to attack the remainder of the Russian right, which still stood

in battle order before him. Though they had brought up fresh reserves, the retreat of their cavalry had left their outer

flank exposed, and, he decided to avail himself of the opportunity. Taking with him three cuirassier regiments, which

stood in three lines at about 150 yards’ distance, he wheeled them into column of squadrons, left in front, and trotted

right past the Russian right, and then wheeled them into line to the right and delivered his charge. The Russians were

trying to close up the gaps between their lines by wheeling back the outer companies, but they were caught in the act,

and the whole mass, all who stood on the plateau between the two streams, and who formed the right wing of the army,

were ridden down and exterminated.<br>
The Russian centre lay thus uncovered, its right resting on a similar marshy hollow to that across which the first attack

had been made; but for the moment the risk of a third charge with his blown and disordered squadrons seemed to

Seydlitz too great to be undertaken. He therefore withdrew them behind Zorndorf, at a walk, in open column of

squadrons.