Light Dragoons: The Making of a Regiment, Allan Mallinson

Light Dragoons: The Making of a Regiment, Allan Mallinson

The current Light Dragoons regiment (as of 2013) was formed by the merger of two older regiments, which were themselves formed after the First World War by the merger of four earlier cavalry regiments (the 13th, 15th, 18th and 19th Hussars, merged into the 15th/19th and 13th/18th in 1922). The four original regiments were formed during the Eighteenth Century, starting with the 13th in 1715 and ending with the 19th in 1781. Since then they have fought in all of Britain's major wars and most of the minor wars, and the current Light Dragoons has been involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Having four original regiments to study means that Mallinson is able to cover just about every British military commitment since they were forced formed - single regiment studies often have to miss out one or more quite major wars because their subject spent that period on garrison duty somewhere quiet. Some individual regimental histories either stop or reduce the amount of detail after a merger, but with the combined regiment as the main focus that doesn't happen here. The two mergers are viewed more positively here than is often the case.

There is an interesting account of the Charge of the Light Brigade, which makes it rather clearer how the difficulties of terrain and the different physical views of the various commanders led to the disaster. The section on the cavalry during the First World War shows how valuable it was during the fighting in 1914 and again in 1918, rather against the common view. The eventual mechanisation of the by then two squadrons is also covered well.

This is a useful, well written and often entertaining account of the role of the light cavalry in the British Army across three centuries, and also a good example of a regimental history.

1 - The Glorious Reinforcement
2 - Breaking More Windows with Guineas
3 - The Elephant, Superscribed 'Assaye'
4 - To Cooperate with the Spanish Armies
5 - Waterloo
6 - Retrenchment at Home, Mixed Fortunes in India
7 - The Crimea
8 - Unavoidable Involvement in Colonial Wars
9 - No End of a Lesson
10 - Charging Ahead
11 - Still a Use for Cavalry
12 - Going the Distance
13 - Amalgamation and Mechanization
14 - The Road to Dunkirk
15 - Normandy to the Baltic
16 - The Empire Recedes
17 - Fighting the Cold War
18 - No Option But Change
19 - The New World Order: a Decade of Operations
Service of the Light Dragoons 1715-1922
Service of the Light Dragoons 1922-1992
Titles borne by the Regiment

Author: Allan Mallinson
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 384
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2012 edition of 1993 original

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