What were hussar regiments?

Hussar regiments have played a part of many armies around the world for the last 500 years

Picture of the charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland

Many European armies have formations of armoured troops that are called “hussars”, including the King’s Royal Hussars and Queen’s Royal Hussars in the British Army.

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These are descended from regiments of light cavalry that had the tasks of scouting ahead of a man army or launching raids far behind enemy lines.

Hussar regiments were noted for colourful uniforms which featured plenty of braid, fur caps, feathered plumes and tight trousers, but the distinctive element was the double, short jacket with the outer jacket worn slung over the shoulder in warmer weather.

Hussars are descended from regiments of light cavalry that had the tasks of scouting ahead of a man army or launching raids far behind enemy lines.
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The original hussars were irregular light cavalry in the Hungarian army which fought a form of guerilla war against the Turks in the 16th century. The traditional outfit of Hungarian horsemen was formalised into a more elaborate uniform when various nations began copying the hussar way of waging war by raising their own “hussar” regiments.

This article was taken from BBC History Revealed magazine