© Saumur Cavalry Museum

Assault of Hussars, First Empire, gouache by Lamotte

The French cavalry of the First Empire is certainly the most effective cavalry of the entire military history of France. Used with great skill by the Emperor, it is divided into two main types: light cavalry with intelligence and protection missions, and heavy cavalry, with mainly a mission of breaking ranks. This picture represents a hussar assault under the First Empire, led by General Lassalle (1775-1809) at Friedland. Shaken by the fire of the infantry and artillery, the enemy is responsible for "in wall" galloping, to enhance the effect of shock speed.