Thirty Years’ War Cavalry, 1618–1648

Bavarian Kürassiers and Harquebusiers in front of an Imperial redoubt.

Bavarian Kürassiers and Harquebusiers galloping past an Imperial redoubt. In the early 17th century there were three regular mounted troop types, lancers, cuirassiers, and harquebusiers. The lance quickly disappeared during the Thirty Years War and former lancer regiments converted to cuirassiers. The cuirassiers wore heavy armour, protecting them from pistol shots and sword cuts. A mounted attack would begin with a protracted pistol duel at close range, in order to disorganize the target unit, followed by a charge if the situation looked favourable. Harquebusiers were more lightly armoured, but they carried a long firearm which enabled them to engage enemy formations and support a cuirassier attack at longer ranges.


  • Swedish Horse, 1:72 Revell 02567
  • Horse Command, ¾ armour, closed helm (6), 15 mm Testudo TYC201
  • Horse Command, breast-and-back, Zischaegge helmet (6), 15 mm Testudo TYC202
  • Horse Command, (6), 15 mm Testudo TYC203
  • Cuirassiers, ¾ armour, closed helm, pistol (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC204
  • Cuirassiers, ¾ armour, pistol (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC205
  • Cuirassiers, breast-and-back, pistol (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC206
  • Cuirassiers, breast-and-back, sword I (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC207
  • Cuirassiers, breast-and-back, sword II (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC208
  • Reiter, hat, pistol (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC209
  • Reiter, buff-coat, hat, sword (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC210
  • Harquebusiers, breast-and-back (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC211
  • Spanish or Imperial lancers, ¾ armour (5), 15 mm Testudo TYC216
  • Plumes for cavalry hats/helms (40), 15 mm Testudo TYP2

Historical Employment

  • Imperial Horse, 1618–1648
  • Protestant Horse, 1618–1648
  • Swedish Horse, 1630–1648
  • French Horse, 1618–1648
  • English Horse, 1642–1648

Possible Conversions

  • Harquebusiers may be converted to dragoons, mounted infantry.

Related Films

  • The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers, starring Richard Chamberlain, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, Michael York, and Raquel Welch.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac, starring Gérard Depardieu, and Anne Brochet


  • Allevi, Piersergio: Zinnsoldaten, p. 112–113, 115
  • Asch, Ronald G.: The Thirty Years War: The Holy Roman Empire and Europe, 1618–48.
  • Asquith, Stuart: New Model Army 1645–60.
  • Brzezinski, Richard: The Army of Gustavus Adolphus (Vol. 2): Cavalry
  • Funcken, L. & F.: le costume et les armes des soldats de tous les temps, Vol. 1, pp. 123–131
  • Guthrie, William P.: Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nördlingen, 1618–1635
  • Guthrie, William P.: The Later Thirty Years War: From the Battle of Wittstock to the Treaty of Westphalia, 1636–1648.
  • Knötel-Sieg: Handbuch der Uniformkunde, p. 3
  • Wagner, Eduard: Tracht, Wehr und Waffen im Dreißigjährigen Krieg (Prag 1980)
  • Young, Peter: The English Civil War.

Mounted units played an important role in most battles of the Thirty Years War, because personal firearms and artillery were not accurate enough to dominate the battlefield. Foot troops relied on pikes and hedgehog formations to protect themselves from mounted attacks.

Miniatures of the Thirty Years’ War