Station: [10] Dragoons and Uhlans

M: During the garrison’s heyday, several thousand soldiers were stationed in Ludwigsburg – wearing a colourful jumble of different uniforms.

F: In the display case on the right, you can see the uniform of the 25th Dragoons “Queen Olga”. Württemberg used to have two dragoon regiments, one based in Stuttgart, and one in Ludwigsburg. The latter was founded in 1806. If you look at the epaulettes on the light blue tunic, you’ll notice an orange O surmounted by a crown. The letter represents the regiment's namesake, Queen Olga.

M: The term dragoon refers to a light horse soldier. The dragoon regiments were part of the mounted infantry. In other words, they went to war on horseback, but they fought on foot. The main advantage of dragoons was the ability to deploy them flexibly.

F: Being mounted, they were able to move rapidly from one deployment site to another and catch the enemy unawares. However, as a hybrid of infantry and cavalry, the dragoons always had to put up with a degree of ridicule.

M: The large black and white photograph shows the Ludwigsburg Dragoon Regiment. The picture was taken in 1907 in an open area called Langes Feld – Long Field. The Long Field hosted large-scale exercises known as the “Kaisermanöver”, in which some 20,000 soldiers took part. Guest of honour at the spectacle, which lasted several days, was none other than Kaiser Wilhelm the Second.

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F: In the display case opposite, you’ll find the blue and yellow uniform of an Uhlan – a lancer. Württemberg had two Uhlan regiments, one based in Stuttgart, named the "Red" Uhlans, and the "Yellow" Uhlans in Ludwigsburg. No prizes for guessing the reason for the names.

M: Uhlans are also classed as light cavalry. Their most important duty was reconnaissance. The epaulettes, which served as the regiment's badge, feature a stylised W. Again, this is a reference to the regiment's namesake: King Wilhelm the First. Unlike other regiments, the Uhlans wore epaulettes while going about their daily duties, and not just when they were on parade.

F: The Uhlans’ headgear is distinctive: the square lancer’s helmet, or czapka. The word is Polish and simply means “cap”. Depending on the fashion, the czapka might resemble other headgear, such as the spiked helmet in this case. But it always had the typical square “mortar board” crown.

Foto: © Garnisonsmuseum Ludwigsburg