The dash and colour of pre-WW1 military uniforms cannot fail to fire the
imagination. Different regiments adopted uniform styles based on medieval
history or traditional costumes of Eastern Europe.
Guard Regiments - The Kaiser's elite regiments, all granted permission to use
the star of the Order of the Black Eagle in their regimental insignia. These
troops were charged with guarding the Kaiser and were often deployed to
handle the toughest battle situations.
The Kaiser's cavalry regiments can be roughly divided into Heavy, medium and
ligh cavalry. The elite were the cuirassiers, the heavy cavalry, borrowing
their "lobstertail" helmets and breastplates from the knights of the Middle
Hussars - Decked out in their
fur busby, "kolpak," headgear and "Attila" jackets, hussar troops were feared
for their swift, ferocious attacks, like the Cossack horsemen they were
Uhlans - The medium cavalry of the Kaiser's
army were the Uhlan regiments, with their unusual, "Tschapka" helmets, with
the flat "mortarboard" top, patterned after the heroic Tatar lancers, of
Poland. Travelling light and quick, the uhlans were often deployed to make
rapid, penetrating attacks in advance of a main invading force - probing for
weak points, capturing prisoners for intelligence.
Dragoons - Also referred to as musketeers, dragoons were a compromise between
cavalry and infantry, the Kaiser's mounted rifle troops, highly mobile and
quick to deploy. Their link to the infantry is demonstrated by the special
pickelhaube helmet they adopted, similar to the line troops' pickelhaube, but
with a squared visor.
formations included Chevauleger (Light Cavalry), Garde Reiter (Mounted
(Royal) Guards, Leibgendarmerie (The Kaiser's Life Guards) and
Stabbsordonnanzen and Stabswachen (Staff Guards).
key reserve cavalry units were the Jäger zu Pferde horsemen (Mounted Rifle or
Mounted Skirmisher units).