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5.0 out of 5 stars "The best and noblest part of the army", 20 Feb 2012
By 
No More Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Louis XV's Army (1): Cavalry and Dragoons: Heavy Cavalry and Dragoons Vol 1 (Men-at-Arms) (Paperback)
This is an excellently-illustrated introduction to the cavalry regiments of the army of Louis XV of France. There are many contemporary monochrome illustrations supporting the text. The colour plates are brilliantly-executed watercolours.

The Author - "A substantial part of Louis XV's army consisted of numerous regiments of guard cavalry, heavy cavalry and dragoon regiments, all of which were considered the best and noblest part of the army."

The Introduction -
"France had a population of between 22 and 25 million at that time, and maintained the largest standing army in Europe. In peacetime it might have amounted to about 200,000 men; in times of war, it could be anything up to half a million. The majority of the troops were stationed along France's borders with Flanders, Germany and Italy, with a few thousand garrisoning seaports and the colonies."

"Yet France could hardly be termed a military society. It had approximately one regular soldier per 110 inhabitants in peacetime and one per 65 in wartime, compared to one in 27 in peace and one in 14 in war in a military state such as Prussia. The ratio of officers to men in France was very high: one in 11 enlisted men in the 1740s compared to Prussia's one in 29. Thus up to half of the army's budget for pay went to officers, and, proportionally the French army cost about a third more than that of Prussia."

The Contents are -
P03: Introduction; The Royal Guard Cavalry
.Gardes du Corps; Gendarmes de la Garde; Chevaux-legers de la Garde; Grenadiers a Cheval de la Garde; Mousquetaires de la Garde; Gendarmerie de France; Gardes du Corps de Monsieur; Gardes du Corps du Comte d'Artois; Gardes du Corps du Roi de Pologne
P11: Heavy Cavalry
.Structure; Tactics; Uniforms; regiments (x61); Carabiniers; Post-1760 reforms
P33: Dragoons
.Uniforms; Regiments (x17)
P38: Standards and Guidons
.Liveries for musicians
P41: Plate Commentaries
P47: Bibliography; French & German Commentaries

The Colour Plates (between pages 25 and 32) -

A: Gardes du Corps, mid-18th century - 1, Trooper, Scottish Company; 2, Trooper, First French Company; 3, Trooper, 3rd French Company; 4, Kettle-drummer, 2nd French Company.
All these figures are in blue coats and red facings; #3 & #4, are mounted, #1 & #2 are on foot.

B: Gendarmes and Chevaux-legers Guard Companies, mid-18th century - 1, Trooper, gendarme Company; 2, Trooper, Chevaux-legers Company; 3, Gendarmes Company Trumpeter; 4, Chevaux-legers Company trumpeter.
Figures #1-3 are in red coats, #4 is in blue; 3 has lots of gold decoration, #4 has lots of silver and gold; #2-4 are mounted, #1 is on foot

C: Mousquetaires and Grenadiers a Cheval, mid-18th century - 1, Trooper, Mousquetaire, 1st Company;, 2, Drummer, Mousquetaire, 2nd Company; 3, Trooper, Grenadiers a Cheval.
Figure #2 is mounted, #2 & #3 are on foot, but with smaller mounted versions in the background; #3 has a blue coat, #1 & #2 have red coats with blue tabards.

D: Gendarmerie de France, mid-18th century - 1-3, Officer, Trumpeter, Trooper, Chevaux-legers du Dauphin; 4, Trooper, Gendarmes du Dauphin; 5, Trooper, Chevaux-legers de Bretagne.
Figures #1-3 are on foot, #4 & #5 are mounted; #1, #3, #4 are in red coats, #2 is in a blue coat with lots of silver, #5 is in a buff coat.

E: Cavalry of the Line, 1740s and 1750s - 1, Trooper, Cuirassiers du Roi Regiment, 1740s; 2, Trooper, Wurtemberg Regiment, c.1756-1761; 3, Cavalry trooper, 4, Kettle-drummer, Conde Cavalry regiment.
Figure #4 is mounted, the rest are on foot. Figure #1 has a blue coat and metal cuirass; #2 has a white coat, #3 a buff coat, #4 a red coat.

F: Cavalry of the Line, 1730s-1750s - 1, Officer, Nassau-Saarbruck Cavalry Regiment c1752; 2, Trooper, Rohan Cavalry Regiment; 3 & 4, Cavalry Officer & Trooper, 1740s and 1750s.
Figure #1 has a blue coat, #2 a white coat, #3 & #4 have red coats. Figures #1 & #2 are on foot, the others are mounted.

G: Dragoon Regiments, 1720s-1750s -
1, Drummer & Hautbois, Beufremont Dragoon Regiment, c.1724; 2, Trooper, Nicolai Dragoon Regiment, c.1730; 3, Trooper, Du Roi Dragoon Regiment, c.1750-1756.
Figure #1has a buff coat with blue cuffs; #2 has a red coat with green cuffs; #3 a blue coat with red cuffs. Figure #1 is mounted, the other two are on foot.

H: Dragoon Regiments, 1730s-1762 - 1, Guidon-bearer, Languedoc Dragoon Regiment, c.1735; 2, Trooper, Dauphine Dragoon Regiment, c.1750-1757; 3, Trooper, Apchon Dragoon Regiment, 1757-1762; 4, Trooper, Orleans Dragoon Regiment, c.1760.
Figure #1 is mounted, the others are on foot. Figure #1 & #2 have blue coats, #3 & #4 have red coats.

Further Reading -
The Military Revolution and the State, 1500-1800 (Exeter studies in history)
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Louis XV's Army (1): Cavalry and Dragoons: Heavy Cavalry and Dragoons Vol 1 (Men-at-Arms)
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