UNIT: Tang Elite Tiger Crown Cavalry 虎冠骑
For the full article about Tiger Crowns and elite Tiger Cavalry, check it out here.
These wings usually gathered the bravest and the highest quality of fighting troops and were tasked with 1. dangerous long distance scouting missions, 2. performing as shock cavalry troops maximized to turn the tide of battle at a decisive moment. For this purpose, they were saddled with the best horses, they were armed with a variety of weapons which allowed them to effectively respond to most situations as well as exploiting each vigorously. Aside from the standard cavalry lance and pikes, nearly all were also armed with the bows, sabers, halberds, and by the late Tang and the Five Dynasty and Ten Kingdom Period (907-979CE) even grenades and bomb slings.
Chanfron and barding (horse armor) of a 4th-7th century Chinese cataphract,
note the ostentatious plume Jisheng 寄生, lit. "parasite" on the horse's hip.
In terms of fashion: by 979, most correlating troops have eschewed the gaudy tiger helmets, however the idea of vanguard shock cavalries designated as "tigers" would remain long after the disappearance of the tiger crown.
Sancai tiger crown warrior, Henan region. Tang dynasty
The 虎翼, or "Tiger Wing," or "Tiger Wedges" usually denoting an elite cohort of shock troops that became a fixture of nearly every dynasty that succeeded the Zhou all the way until the abolition of the imperial system in 1912. Even during the Korean War, there were still divisions denoted as "Tiger Wings" (although by then mostly referring to motorized divisions) deployed in the conflict.
For more about the Tang military, please check out my
other Tang dynasty pieces.
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