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an early Kathy West ... bust

Hussars (from the Serbian husar: pirate) were originally a bunch of irregular light cavalry who existed around the end of the 14th century. They were active against the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century and acted on campaign like a pack of thieving pikeys. Their speciality was hit and run raids, scouting and main body screening.

This tradition of irregular light cavalry was well suited to the eastern European mentality with their wide open plains/steppes and Cossacks as opponents, so Hussar light cavalry were were sought after as mercenaries.

In Britain it was not till the American war of independence that the hussar became of interest. With huge areas of the USA to be patrolled and no real light cavalry tradition, German hussars were hired along with Hessian mercenaries.

By the time of the Napoleonic wars, Britain converted four light dragoon regiments to hussars in 1805.

The typical hussar was reckless and impetuous prompting Napoleon to say that he doubt that any would live to old age.

Napoleon's hussars created the tradition of sabrage, the opening of a champagne bottle with a sabre. Not to be tried without a lot of practice ... I've seen this done with a longsword and there was glass everywhere!

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