By Simon Dunstan Osprey
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Extra resources for Challenger Mbt 1982-97
Cavalry was still divided into heavy, line and light, but this was no longer founded on weight but on differences in armament. Dragoons were equally likely to be found in heavy, line or light cavalry in various countries. In peacetime cavalry was organized in regiments of four to ten squadrons of decreased strength; brigades, divisions or corps existed only in Russia. During the American Civil War (1861-5) most of the Confederate (Southern) cavalry were organized in brigades, divisions and corps and constituted an independent force.
The appearance of machine-guns and rapid-fire artillery further limited the use of cavalry. In the South African (Boer) War (1899-1902), Great Britain used 18 cavalry regiments, which fought on foot most of the time. On the other hand, the Boers, using fast horses adapted to the local climate, 36 EPILOGUE mounted very successful guerrilla operations. Only once did the British undertake a large-scale cavalry operation: in February 1900, in the relief of the besieged town of Kimberley, a cavalry division 3,000 men strong took part, under the command of Sir John French, and backed by seven batteries of horse artillery was the largest cavalry force fielded since the Battle of Waterloo.
Divisions should therefore be drawn in three lines, by brigades: the rear lines would support the front, increasing the strength of the strike, shoring up the flanks, or serving as a reserve. Instructions provided for reconnaissance cavalry to move in the same formation: the first line would make contact with the enemy and puncture his security screen, the second would provide back-up, and the third would be a reserve. Infantry divisions in France were assigned one regiment of cavalry, in Germany a squadron, in Austro-Hungary and Japan three squadrons, and in Russia from one squadron to one regiment of Cossacks.
Challenger Mbt 1982-97 by Simon Dunstan Osprey