The Light Dragoons, A Regimental History, Eric Hunt

The Light Dragoons, A Regimental History, Eric Hunt

The modern Light Dragoons regiment is descended from four earlier cavalry regiments - the 13th, 15th, 18th and 19th Regiments of Light Dragoons. Those four regiments were merged into two (the 13th/18th and 15th/19th) after the First World War and into their current form after the end of the Cold War. This short history traces the activities of all of these units from the early eighteenth century to the present day, taking in their participation in the Napoleonic Wars and the two World Wars, as well as the more minor conflicts and peace keeping operations that have kept the British army busy for most of its history.

This book is aimed at two markets. It was commissioned by the Regimental Council of the Light Dragoons, partly to educate members of the Light Dragoons in the history of their regiment and partly for the general public. Its author served in the 13th/18th, joining them in 1949. He ended his career at the Staff College and has written a number of other regimental histories, including one of the 13th/18th.

Hunt has chosen to organise his material by war, rather than regiment by regiment. This approach has eliminated the repetition that can come in multi-regiment histories, and has helped him fit so much history into eighty pages. It does somewhat reduce the amount of individual attention given to each of the precursor regiments, which can thus blur into each other, but given their eventual merger this probably isn’t a bad thing! It does also remind us that most regiments did similar things at the same time, something that isn't always apparent in tightly focused single regiment histories.  

I think this book achieves its objectives - it is a useful introductory history of the four original regiments, the two merged regiments of the Second World War and the current single regiment, tracing not only their campaigns, but also their evolution from cavalry regiments to an armoured reconnaissance regiment, with a brief spell as a tank regiment in the post-war period.

1 - Regimental Life
2 - Keeping the Peace
3 - Small Wars
4 - Major Wars of the 18th Century
5 - Major Wars of the 19th Century
6 - The First World War, 1914-18
7 - The Second World War, 1939-45
8 - Cold War
9 - 21st Century Operations

Author: Eric Hunt
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 80
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2011

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