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a combat arm of the cavalry for action on horseback and on foot. The name “dragoon” is possibly derived from dragoon, or short musket. The first dragoon units were formed in France in the 16th century and were originally mounted infantry that dismounted to encounter the enemy. Beginning in the first half of the 17th century, dragoons were also used as cavalry in combat. In the 18th century through the 20th the majority of European armies had dragoons; classified as heavy or sometimes as medium cavalry, dragoons amounted to up to one-third of the whole cavalry. They were armed with pistols, muskets (later with carbines and rifles), sabers, broadswords, and swords.
The first Russian dragoon regiment was formed in 1631. In 1681, Russia had 25 lance and horse regiments with combat functions close to those of the dragoons. In the early 18th century the whole cavalry was made up of dragoons, with 34 dragoon regiments being formed from 1700 to 1708; and the first garrisoned dragoon regiments for police duty were formed in 1712. The number of dragoon regiments greatly declined in the middle of the 18th century and did not increase until the early 19th century, reaching 18 regiments in 1825. By the late 19th century the differences between various arms of the cavalry became blurred, and in 1882 all army cavalry regiments were renamed dragoon regiments. Hussar and ulan regiments, which did not essentially differ from dragoon regiments, were restored in 1907. In 1917, Russia had one guards and 21 army dragoon regiments. They were abolished in early 1918.
A. A. ZALESSKII