The word Hussar is of Hungarian origin and was used to describe a soldier of the light cavalry ( Poland had a heavy armoured cavalry type in the 17th century called Hussaria). The main developer of the Hussar was the Austrians who recruited from their Hungarian vassals, with the first regiments being formed around 1688 although the main growth and usage of the Hussar really belongs to the 18th and early 19th century. The word Huszar probably means one in twenty as selected for service by a ballot by the Austrians. Other nations also developed their own Hussar regiments often retaining the Hungarian style uniforms with fur caps and fur jackets(Pelisse), the British converted 4 light dragoon units to Hussars in 1805 but most nations had Hussar units before that including Prussia, France, and Russia. Hussars were skirmishers with light fast horses and also served as scouts for the main army, they tended to suffer badly if used for frontal assault (especially against well trained infantry) but excelled at pursuit and flanking attacks. Hussars of all nations tended to suffer to an even greater degree from the same faults as Napoleonic cavalry in general, that is they were impetuous and difficult to control and although generally having excellent moral they tended to get carried away.
How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, TDP. (30 September 2001), Hussar (Napoleonic), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_hussar_napoleonic.html