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Polish Lancers

Polish Lancers

Lancers of the Guard (Chevau-Légers-Lanciers de la Garde Impériale)

In 1807 Napoleon authorized the raising of a guard regiment of Polish light horse. They were to be given French instructors and training. In 1808 at the Battle of Somosierra, Napoleon ordered them to charge against a heavily fortified Spanish artillery position. Armed with only sabres and pistols, they overran four batteries, capturing over 20 cannons and decisively turned the tide. Following this, almost legendary, feat Napoleon proclaimed "Poles, You are worthy of my Old Guard I proclaim you my bravest cavalry!". Promoted to the Old Guard, they were then given lances, remained at the Emperor's side until Waterloo, and were never defeated by enemy cavalry.

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