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Resource Centre Home > The Civil Wars > The Armies > Cavalry  
Cavalry officer and troopers on the monument to Colonel Astley in Patshull Church, Shropshire.
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A cavalry helmet
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For protection cavalry troopers usually wore back and breast plates of metal, over a leather buff coat, as well as a helmet. They were armed with a pair of pistols, with either flintlock of a wheellock mechanism, and a sword. Some cavalry may also have carried a short flintlock musket or 'carbine', though this was not common during the Civil War. Some cavalry, especially royalist forces, were often not so well equipped and might lack the body armour.

The idea cavalry regiment comprised 600 troopers, deployed 6 deep to engage. Cavalry tactics varied between different commanders and armies during the war. The older style of fighting, involving ranks coming to close quarters, firing pistols and then wheeling off to the rear for the next rank to fire, had been largely abandoned b y this time. However some commanders still halted to fire once before engaging hand to hand. In contrast the most successful cavalry, among whom Prince Rupertís royalist horse were first notable example in the war, charged home at a good round trot without halting to fire. He used the interlined musketeers to give the initial volley fire before his troopers charged home. It was the sheer momentum of the cavalry, each rank closely locked knee to knee, that would so often shatter a standing opposing regiment.


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