Home Forums Horse and Musket Napoleonic How do you class lancers?

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    Some consider them light cavalry, some consider them to be higher élan dragoons armed with lances.

    Some countries converted dragoons to lancers, others converted light cavalry regiments such as chasseurs or hussars to uhlans.

    Learned opinions?


    The Bandit

    Otto Schmidt

    In my 18th century  game there are  three types of cavalry. Heavy cavalry which everyone is terrified of (for no good reason whatsoever) dragoons, which would rather shoot than melee, and everyone else. lancers fall into the last category and get no special benefits either way.  Heavy cavalry have 14 to 17 figures on a 6″ frontage 5″ deep stand. They get a melee of 4 (largely because of the snazzy drum horse and musicians. Dragoons and light Cavalry are  are on 2 6″ by 2.5 inch stands. They have a melee of 2 and a fire of 2. Their drum horse is not so nice but they do have trumpeters and with the two stands you can extend your frontage. Light cavalry have the same basing, same 15 figures or so , and the ability to extend their frontage and that’s it.  One other type of stand mounting is possible. This is on a 3″ by 2.5′ stand with six to a regiment. These are called SCUM! You can have the same sort of vile persons in the infantry. Both are gotten from elite regiments who can break down before the battle into these stands. These stands can be used independently, and  always seem to be in the way when someone wants to move, always get a little plinking fire which annoys to no end, and which are extremely hard to kill, like a fly in an outdoor bistro.  That’s why they are called scum.  Lancers often wind up as SCUM!



    Norm S

    Light cav with a +1 bonus on initial melee – I think that sort of  rule harks back to Featherstone days.


    Wargames convention is to give them some sort of first round melee bonus.

    In the sorts of games I play, they tend to  just be ‘cavalry’, particularly in WW1 or higher level Napoleonic games. iirc CnC Napoleonics has some special rules for them, but I only look those up when I need to.

    Lancers in medieval times are of course a very scary propostion, but all that armour, big horses and well trained nobles largely account for that.  So they aren’t ‘cavalry’ but ‘knights’ (thank you DBA).





    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke


    Well, my question essentially comes down to:

    Do you consider them light cavalry?

    Do you consider them dragoons (some day “medium” cavalry)?


    The Bandit

    Lagartija Mike

    It depends on their role, to skirmish and harass or deliver shock of impact tactics. If the latter, cavalry; if the former light cavalry.

    Glenn Pearce

    Hello Bandit!

    The first thing is they are generally light cavalry as they were not on heavy horses. For the most part French Dragoons were on medium mounts. I think when the French converted their Dragoons to Lancers their horses were maintained but changed over time.

    Handling a lance was not an easy skill to master so there is definitely a training element to consider.

    Over the course of the period the lance seemed to gain acceptance more and more as the best weapon for light cavalry. There were also a number of conversions after the period including some heavy cavalry (who maintained their mounts). It clearly moves on to become the weapon of choice for cavalry. So it is seen as a weapon of advantage.

    If you look closely at the actual regiments and the various countries that used Lancers they are generally considered to be at least on par with Hussars who are pretty much considered as elites.

    So when you put it all together we concluded that we had no choice but to treat regular lancer regiments as elite light cavalry.

    Hope that helps.

    Best regards,


    Thaddeus Blanchette

    As members of the boojwahzee, myself.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

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