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Cuirassiers and Harquebusiers, Thirty Years' War by FritzVicari Cuirassiers and Harquebusiers, Thirty Years' War by FritzVicari
ENGLISH (based on V.Brnadic, Imperial Armies of the Thirty Years' War (2), R.Brzezinski, The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (2), K.Roberts, Pike and Shot Tactics, 1590-1660, AA.VV., Armi da Fuoco (Mondadori)):

According to R.Brzezinski, at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War there used to be two recognized kind of cavalry units: the cuirassiers and the harquebusiers.

CUIRASSIERS:

The cuirassiers were highly armored big men on big horses. They used to wear a costly three quarter armor, usually blackened, that ensure them protection from enemy bullets, together with a closed helmet, the most distinctive model being known as the Savoyard helm. They were armed with a pair of wheellock pistols attached to the horse saddle and a sword (Brnadic even suggest the use of old fashioned, long broadswords). During the 30s, the cuirassiers began to abandon their heavy armors being equipped, at the end of the war, not much differently from napoleonic or later cuirassiers with only a breast armor (and sometimes back) and an opened helmet as body protection.
Both Brzezinski and Brnadic agree on the cuirassiers tactics in the XVII century: deployed in usually 12 deep formations, they slowly marched against the enemy, speeding up their pace as they advance, slowing down only to shoot their pair of pistols. After the pistols were shot to create confusion amongst enemy ranks, the first file of cuirassiers would have charged with swords in hand, while the second was free to decide to shoot the pistols or join the melee. The ineffective "caracole" tactic, which consisted in the first ranks shooting their pistols and turning back, is described by both authors as a degeneration caused by low morale or fear to lose life or a costly horse, not as a standard tactic.

HARQUEBUSIERS:

The harquebusiers served mainly as supporting units for the cuirassiers, shooting into enemy ranks before the melee started, and for light duty, such as reconaissance.
They were armed with an harquebus or a carbine (not much difference between the two, according the Brzeziski) and a pair of pistols, but hardly armoured as well as the cuirassiers.

WHEELLOCK MECHANISM:

The whellock mechanism was a pretty complex one and it was generally reserved to cavalry or elite units being quite difficult and costly to produce. To shoot a loaded weapon (read "the musket" for basic information about the loading of matchlock weapons [link] ), one would have need to place some pyrite in the dog's jaws and to arm the dog, placing thus the pyrite in contact with the wheel and the powder pan. Pushing the trigger would have caused the wheel to turn, causing a friction that fired out the bullet.

DRAWING:

Figure A: a fully equipped cuirassier, holding this savoyard helm in his right hand. Not the plumes that richly adorn the helm and the cloth around the cuirassiers' torso. Cloth such as that was used as a field sign, being generally worn by officers or wealthy soldiers.
Figure B: how the carbine/harquebus was attached to an harquebuisier.
Figure 1: a disarmed wheellock pistol and its sheath (fig. 2).
Figure 3: an armed wheellock carbine
Figure 4: wheellock mechanism.
Figure 5: a Savoyard helmet with its face visor opened and neck protection attached.
Figure 6: a Burgonet with cheeck protection. The Savoyard helmet was simply an heavier variant.
Figure 7: an Harquebusiers' officer's armor, with arms and legs protection.


ITALIANO (basato su V.Brnadic, Imperial Armies of the Thirty Years' War (2), R.Brzezinski, The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (2), K.Roberts, Pike and Shot Tactics, 1590-1660, AA.VV., Armi da Fuoco (Mondadori)):

Secondo R.Brzezinski, all'inizio della Guerra dei Trent'anni la cavalleria era divisa in due tipi di unità principali: i corazzieri e gli archibugieri.

CORAZZIERI:

I corazzieri erano grandi uomini armati di tutto punto e montati su grandi cavalli. Indossavano generalmente una costosa corazza da tre quarti, di solito annerita, che offriva loro protezione dalle pallottole nemiche, insieme ad un elmo con visiera - il modello più caratteristico era una versione modificata della borgognotta noto come elmo alla savoiarda. Erano armati di un paio di pistole a ruota appese alla sella del cavallo e una spada (Brnadic suggerisce persino l'uso di antiquati spadoni). Negli anni '30, i corazzieri iniziarono ad abbandonare le loro armature pesanti fino a essere equipaggiati, alla fine della guerra, non molto diversamente da un corazziere napoleonico, indossando solo una corazza pettorale (talvolta anche sulla schiena) e un elmo aperto come unica armatura.
Sia Brzezinski e Brnadic concordano sulla tattica corazzieri nel XVII secolo: schierati, generalmente, in formazioni profonde 12 uomini, marciavano lentamente contro il nemico, accelerando il passo man mano che avanzavano fino al galoppo, rallentando solo per scaricare il loro paio di pistole. A quel punto, creata la necessaria confusione tra i ranghi nemici, la prima fila di corazzieri avrebbe caricato spada alla mano, mentre la seconda era libera di decidere se scaricare le pistole o unirsi alla mischia. L'inefficace tattica del caracollo, che consisteva nello scaricare le pistole per poi immediatamente ripiegare, è descritta da entrambi gli autori come una degenerazione causata dal morale basso o dalla paura di perdere il proprio cavallo, non come una tattica standard.

ARCHIBUGIERI:

Gli archibugieri servivano principalmente come unità di supporto per i corazzieri, sparando nei ranghi nemici prima che iniziasse il corpo a corpo, e per compiti leggeri, come le operazioni di ricognizione.
Erano armati con un archibugio o una carabina (differenza non molto tra i due, secondo la Brzeziski) e un paio di pistole, ma difficilmente avrebbero indossato armature paragonabili a quelle dei corazzieri.

MECCANISMO A RUOTA:

Il meccanismo a ruota era piuttosto complesso ed era generalmente riservato alle armi della cavalleria o delle unità d'elite, essendo più difficile e costoso da produrre del sistema a miccia. Per sparare, avendo già l'arma carica, (vedi "il moschetto" per informazioni base sul caricamento delle armi a corda [link]), uno avrebbe dovuto inserire una pietruzza di pirite tra le mascelle mascelle del cane (la leva sulla destra) e, muovendo manualmente il cane, porre così la pirite in contatto con la ruota e il pentolino della polvere da sparo. Premendo il grilletto la ruota avrebbe girato, causando una frizione tra la pirite e la polvere da sparo che avrebbe sparato il colpo.

DISEGNO:

Figura A: un corazziere completamente armato, con in mano il suo elmo alla savoiarda. Notare le piume che adornano riccamente l'elmo e la fascia avvolta intorno al busto. Le fasce colorate venivano utilizzate come segno di riconoscimento sul campo di battaglia ed erano generalmente indossate dagli ufficiali.
Figura B: come si metteva a tracolla l'archibugio/carabina.
Figura 1: una pistola a ruota con il cane non armato e il suo fodero (fig. 2).
Figura 3: carabina a ruota con il cane armato.
Figura 4: meccanismo a ruota.
Figura 5: un elmo savoiardo con la visiera sollevata e la protezione del collo attaccata.
Figura 6: un borgognotta aperta con protezione per le guance. E' proprio da questo tipo di elmo che deriva l'elmo savoiardo dei corazzieri.
Figura 7: corazza da ufficiale degli archibugieri dei primi anni della guerra, con attaccate protezioni per le cosce e le spalle.
:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Are the Harquebusiers the same as Dragoons? Or like the forefathers? for they seemed to me to be very much the same equipped in most countries.
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:iconfritzvicari:
FritzVicari Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist
During the TYW, the Dragoons were basically mounted infantry, as simple as that. They simply had horses to fastly deploy on flanks or committing raids, scouting or whatever had to be done in haste. As Grimmelshausen stated in his novel "Simplicius Simplicissimus", once a dragoon fell from his horse, he rose a musketeer. On this, I've always read unanymous opinions. :D

The Harquebusiers were carbine or harquebus equipped cavalry, used to support pistol equipped cavalry, the Reiters and not to be confused with the Arquebusier (infantry equipped with arquebus). But I wouldn't be surprise to read a different definition. Talking about pre-industrial armies, one should not rely too much on this specific terms, knowing that according to the writer of the source, the nationality of the unit and the timeframe, the meaning may change.
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:icongabbanoche:
Gabbanoche Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Okay, because i'm going fucking mental on al english texts is says Harquebusiers and in Swedish they talke of GIIA Dragoon whom were fitted with axes and used sort of like engineers on horseback. And then you have all the talk of light cavalry and on every picture they look just the same as the fucking Harquebusiers... And i'm all like "whata fuck is going on here!?"
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