Literature Study GuidesWar And PeaceGlossary Of Military Terms

War and Peace | Study Guide

Leo Tolstoy

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War and Peace | Glossary of Military Terms


War and Peace follows the military history of the French invasion of Russia and the effects of Napoleon's rule on Russian society. To create the realism the novel achieves, Leo Tolstoy relied heavily on primary sources and his own experiences in the Crimean War.

adjutant: military officer who assists a senior officer, often a general, in administrative affairs

artillery: large guns that discharge cannonballs or other types of missiles

barrow: mound made with earth or stones, often used in early wars to create a defensive position

battalion: group of troops composed of more than one company or unit

battery: grouping of artillery equipment

cavalry: armed soldiers riding on horses

chasseurs: cavalrymen trained for quick maneuvers

Cossacks: Russians from the south and Ukraine who lived in independent communities, somewhat apart from mainstream society, and who were known for their horsemanship and fighting skills

Esaul: head of a group of Cossacks

field marshal: commander-in-chief of the army

fleches: earthen fortifications used on the army's flank

French dragoons: cavalrymen who were also trained as infantrymen

hussar: cavalryman who carried a saber and pistols

infantry: foot soldiers

quartermaster: officer in charge of clothing and food for the troops

rampart: raised, protective barrier

redoubt: protective barrier, sometimes enclosed

regiment: military unit made up of several battalions

saber: cavalry sword with a slightly curved blade

squadron: cavalry troop bigger than a unit but smaller than a regiment

sutler: someone, usually a civilian, providing supplies to the troops

Uhlan: Prussian cavalryman

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