Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Word of the Day -- Dragoon

The word dragoon originally meant mounted infantry, who were trained in horse riding as well as infantry fighting skills. However, usage altered over time and during the 18th century, dragoons evolved into conventional light cavalry units and personnel. Dragoon regiments were established in most European armies during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The name is possibly derived from a type of firearm (called a dragon) carried by dragoons of the French Army. There is no distinction between the words dragon and dragoon in French; both are

The word also means to subjugate or persecute by the imposition of troops; and by extension to compel by any violent measures or threats. The verb dates from 1689, at a time when dragoons were being used by the French monarchy to persecute Protestants.

The establishment of dragoons evolved from the practice of sometimes transporting infantry by horse when speed of movement was needed. In 1552 Prince Alexander of Parma mounted several companies of infantry on pack horses to achieve surprise.[2] Another early instance was ordered by Louis of Nassau in 1572 during operations near Mons in Hainaut, when 500 infantry were transported this way.  It is also suggested the first dragoons were raised by the Marshal de Brissac in 1600.
referred to as dragon. The title has been retained in modern times by a number of armoured or ceremonial mounted regiments.

According to old German literature, dragoons were invented by Count Ernst von Mansfeld, one of the greatest German military commanders, in the early 1620s. There are other instances of mounted infantry predating this. However Mansfeld, who had learned his profession in Hungary and the Netherlands, often used horses to make his foot troops more mobile, creating what was called an "armée volante" (French for flying army). The name possibly derives from an early weapon, a short wheellock called a dragon because the first dragoons raised in France had their carbine's muzzle decorated with a dragon's head. The practice comes from a time when all gunpowder weapons had distinctive names, including the culverin, serpentine, falcon, falconet, etc. It is also sometimes claimed a galloping infantryman with his loose coat and the burning match resembled a dragon.



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