Unit Uniform/Clothing/Weapon/Equipment Guidelines

Boleslav Orlicki’s Light Artillery


By Rick Orli  with contributions by Radek Sikora

(c)2001 richard j. orli



Pants and Hats

Boots and Shoes


Horse Tack

Other Pages:

General Overview - Polish Lithuanian Costume

Article: Polish Costume in the 17th C.

Patterns (Details on Design and Construction) (

Uniform Measurements Chart

Costume details and Domestic items Page, e.g. buttons, belts, mugs, chairs

Stockholm Roll, 1605 (New)

Ottoman Costume



Some equipments details from the Hamza

Information for new members

Go Home for Links


Our good friend Eric's Hussar supply shop is an obvious place to start looking.   


I am so grateful to Eric for doing some of the work for finding new sources of supplies and making beautiful armor.  When I started this several years ago, one of the most time-consuming exercises was finding and coordinating suppliers to get our first dozen guys ready for an event.

Equipment Item Artillery Dragoon Cavalry Possible Source -Questions?  ask Rick (see home page for contact information)
Hat Colpak. fur with a wool fabric or felt center. The flaps should fold down, so as to cover the ears in bad weather. The fur could be almost any kind you can find in a thrift store. Don't forget the egret feather! for now, 

See the posted pattern, and 

Rick Orli will  make a hat that is complete except for fur for 15$. and will add the fur for cost, if available. (I have shredded a couple of 'Goodwill' coats for the cause so far.) 

Footwear boots, shoes, or shoes/gaiters. Brown 'biker boots' are close, if slightly modified. Shoes or short boots can be straight last or right/left last of any 17th C. style. Gaiters can be a squarish piece of leather, laced up. Boots of Polish style. Western jack boots are marginally acceptable. I have ordered boots from running-Iron.com, and they are a bit slow, and I had problems with a pair. Then more problems with a 2nd pair and they took my money and gave me nothing.  Thieves. 

Look at the 2-piece cavalry boot, request yellowish buff leather; or 17th C. shoe.

Radek also has a Polish source that several of us have tried.  very good boots, mine are very comfortable, and are made very fast - 3 weeks from order to delivery.  These are the bright yellow boots beloved of the nobility and so are best for hussars and other richer types. 

Mark Wolff recommends Shrader-Bootmaker
1508 San Anselmo Ave.
San Anselmo, CA 94960

All infantry should wear 17th C. style shoes, available from several sources.


Shirt 17th C. style linen Sykes Sutlering http://sykesutler.home.att.net/
Underwear Don't ask, don't tell  
Coat-inner optional zupan like coat zupan, not uniform (red suggested) Creative Clothes (Kate Reynolds)
Thurmont, MD
Please contact through Rick

Uniform Measurements Chart

I've checked with Elizabeth Potter of Round Two Costumes - seems to have experimented with Polish style clothing, but is not at present accurate for the 17th C.

Coat-outer Red kontuz-like uniform coat Green uniform dragoon coat kontuz, not uniform (red suggested) Creative Clothes
Outer mantle (bad weather) optional sheepskin burka optional optional  
Pants loose breeches - non uniform loose breeches or Turkish-style pants- non uniform Creative Clothes
Belt plain or metal-decorated - non uniform same, with optional bow or carbine furniture.  
Saber optional - type 3 or hanger type 3 type 1, 2, or 3 I recommend Eric's Hussar supply shop  


Armart and Szecepan are not reliable at this time. we are looking for other sources. 
Other cold hand weapon axe, dagger optional war hammer, koncerz, palasce; mace for officers;




firearm none; optional pistol musket - matchlock or firelock (wheellock, doglock, flintlock) or carbine. Optional pistol. wheellock pistol(s). Optional firelock (wheellock, doglock, flintlock) carbine. Pistols and carbines http://sykesutler.home.att.net/
or Tatershal: http://www.infomagic.net/~gwylym/ta/ta.html

Doglock carbines: John Buck (contact me for how to reach him) makes excellent guns.

Doglock carbines: ENGLISH ARMOURIE
a good source for inexpensive muskets.
The doglock with french butt and 114 cm length is the
standard 'short' dragoon musket for Katski's. All you need to add is
a shoulder strap, and drill out the vent (shipped sealed).
The matchlock is the same I bought several years ago. It is a solid
reenactor's 'munition quality' (e.g., government issue... not fancy)
musket. shipping cost is about 50 BP.

wheellock carbine 

Various: Albion Arms (England) very nice but a bit expensive.

If you can do a kit, that is are a VERY competent amateur gunsmith... we are talking about tempering springs yourself, and doing lots of metalwork and woodwork... try the Rife Shoppe.

cartridge box none. Small or F&I war type. See diGrasse/images/ArtilleryKontuz.jpg

and design of same.

G. Godwin


Dragoon box is close, but don't like the belt

Rob Madden, contact through Jan W.

small pouch, money purse etc. optional Various
haversack optional  
jewelry and insignia optional  
armor none see hussar and pancerni descriptions Hussar armor and other neat stuff, contact

Eric's Hussar supply shop  

http://www.polishhussarsupply.com/ or Radek   http://strony.wp.pl/wp/radoslaw_sikora/WitrynaHtml/html/glowna.htmlor also see  kkart http://www.kkart.cz/

Tack none The McClellan cavalry saddle seems close as a modern saddle easily available as a repro. The central American and 'paso' saddles seem even more accurate.  Various, also Radek has a Polish source for saddles and caparisons - but the shipping cost for a saddle could be high.

Information for new members

For our unit, in our core 1673-1683 presentation, both the artillery and dragoons should have eastern-style outfits.  This is a matter of concern (for historical authenticity), as both unit types are 'foreign style' (foreign autoraiment).  As late as the 1650s, foreign autoraiment units wore uniforms of entirely western cut and detail. As costumes in the west became more similar to Polish costume - as in the case of 1670s French light cavalry hussars and dragoons explicitly adopting Hungarian or other eastern costume, the distinctly western character of the foreign autoraiment unit clothing began to fade. Rather than copying the uniquely western details of long coats 'of the Persian fashion', Polish military tailors allowed the costumes to show traditionally Polish detail, and later cut.

The Artillery will have red with yellow trim coats, the dragoons serving as fusiliers will have green/yellow coats.  Although an important scenario is 1683, we try to shoot for costumes of 1673.  This is the time of the famous battle of Cochim, another great victory against the Turks, and will help ensure that our costume would fit reasonably well if we do a 'Potop' (late 1650s) period impression, as well as 1683. 

dragoon1683.gif (242191 bytes)DragDragoon1680.jpg (152785 bytes)oon, 1683, eastern style.  Notice the cravat necktie, slightly loose pants, Polish boots, long coat.  Weapons include a pair of pistols, short musket, and saber.  To the right is the closest and best picture I can offer as a model for our dragoon uniform, except that our color is green, and the passamentrie button pattern on the breast is 3 sets of pairs (as per a documented 1674 fashion), rather than the even arrangement shown.

boot_one.jpg (8582 bytes)For footwear, Polish style boots, western jackboots, shorter boots reaching the upper calf, and shoes combined with simple handmade leather gaiters are acceptable.

Dragoons were commoners, and were organized the same way infantry were. 'Free companies' were often attached to artillery, and in the 1670s a special dragoon 'free company' was raised by Marcin Kantski, General of Artillery, specifically to provide field support to light artillery.  Marcin Kantski had been a dragoon officer at various times in his distinguished career.


McBridePolDragoon.jpg (127427 bytes)Dragoon, 1683, western style, detail, by Angus McBride from Brzezinski, Polish Armies 1562-1696. dragon koniecXVII.jpg (216473 bytes) (Pikeman in foreground) Based on copies of German watercolors made in 1680-1683. The dragoon to the right is from the 1690s.

Note the jackboots, collar, and the relatively short coat - Western European features.  The coat flaps are buttoned back , revealing the yellow lining.  The coat is red.  This man is from King Sobieski's guard dragoons.   Guard dragoons in the Vienna campaign were under the command of the Queen's brother, Louis, Marquis d'Arquien. It is known that in 1646 they wore red coats with yellow linings, although their color in 1683 is not certain.

Below, more dragoons, 2 from 1660s, rest from 1680s.

Dragooncornet.jpg (147210 bytes)Dragoon16602.jpg (135037 bytes)Dragoon16802.jpg (129507 bytes)dragoon16803.jpg (134408 bytes)

I have few good pictures of artillerymen to show. PolCannonFire.jpg (12510 bytes) Their clothing is known to have been of a mix of western and eastern styles. Most years, Crown artillerymen were in western outfits, but that was not always true, particularly after 1650, and as a private unit we would not necessarily be following that practice anyway.  Each unit was issued cloth of a uniform color, although the color and cut was not consistent. According to Brzezinski, crews were issued zupan-like coats in preparation for the Vienna campaign.  Horse Artillery crew would have been outfitted similarly to the dragoons.

kartman.jpg (6579 bytes)Left, Artilleryman in 1650s western outfit. 

Both dragoons and artillerymen were commoners.  The infantry were as well, but officers and  most of the cavalry were gentry or szlatchta (the western-style arqubusers and the 'true' cossacks were the main exceptions to this rule.)






artyleria1.jpg (105962 bytes)At left an officer over the gun, and at right artillerymen. From
frontpiece of 'Artis magnae artilleriae pars prima" (1650) by Jan Casmir Siemienowicz.
artyleria2.jpg (107957 bytes)

Right, artillerists from a bas-relief on the tomb of Jan Casmir Siemienowicz in a church in Paris. Note the Polish-style outfits to the right.  (the bas-relief presents a battle in 1651 - Beresteczk)
.artillery1650_02.jpg (116934 bytes)

1640s-50s Artilleryman, with red sash; Fusiliers (fizylier) in red and
gray coats (kolet).



Artillery Uniform:  In red with yellow trim:

 ArtKontuz.jpg (127948 bytes)

This coat is a kontuz, summer-weight, modeled by deceased member of the szlatchta (gentry). lion.jpg (44580 bytes) Note the cartridge box, the wheellock pistol key hanging from the cartridge box (or waistbelt), the riding whip.  From mid 1600's, prob. about 1660. 

This is  the design to be used for the kontuz-like uniform artillery coat, red with yellow trim.  This is further detailed in the Patterns page, (except that the arm is NOT slit).  The dragoon coat is similar (at least from the front) but has different details.

We'll use this  colpak (pron. 'cowpack') hat design, as well.  Seems very typical for ourtorpedoHussar.jpg (37246 bytes) period.


Breeches: Not uniform; see Patterns page for acceptable variations.



Foote1683.gif (267561 bytes)Polish Style Infantry - relevant because both artillerymen and dragoons are essentially infantry.  Axes were almost universal among the infantry, and was a typical tool for an artillery piece. 




WEngineer_astrolabe.jpg (13194 bytes)  Engineer: with Astrolabe.WEngineerTools.jpg (14431 bytes)   Engineers and their equipment were typically part of the artillery train.                






A variety of cavalry/nobility impressions can fit within the context of our unit, given the flexibility of our scenario, our educational mission, and the absence of other Commonwealth units that might have other specialties. We recommend that new members  interested in a military impression, especially those without cavalry or substantial horsemanship experience, start as artillery crew or dragoon.

Light1683.gif (228003 bytes)Light Cavalry.  In 1683 much of the light cavalry was Cossack or Tatar; thislekka jazda (1).jpg (107965 bytes) looks to be of the Polish variety.  See also Rembrandt's Polish Rider, on the main page.



HusnPnzr1683.gif (120137 bytes)Hussar and Pancerni Cavalry.  The Panzer - mail armored medium cavalry- was the most numerous in Polish service.  Lance, pistol, bow, and saber were the usual weapons.padzup1.jpg (17692 bytes)padzup2.jpg (20663 bytes)  To the right is a view of a padded 'zupan' in red of the sort what would be worn under a Hussar's or Pancerni's armor.

kriter.jpg (19119 bytes)

Infantry and Rieter.  A very few western style rieters were in Polish service, although they were common in Swedish and Austrian service.   We do not recommend a Rieter impression.


karkbuz.jpg (10994 bytes) Arqbuser: German style cavalry 1650-1690.   Because they were armed with carbines, they were much used as skirmishers, along with dragoons.  Left lower, modeled by Rotmiestrz Rysard Buzenowski.  Substitute a 3-bar pot for this helmet, and it could be a picture of one of Cromwell's Ironsides. 



arqbuser.jpg (16843 bytes)

ArquebuserMounted.jpg (32434 bytes)   A thousand or so Polish Arqbusers were involved in the battle of Vienna.  To the right, a mounted arqbuser (from Stålhandske's kavalleriregemente, an affiliated unit).




wybraniec (3).jpg (84145 bytes)wybraniec.jpg
Polish infantry. He is wearing what appears to be a kontuz/zupan coat combination, but, as noted above, clothes worn by commoners were not called "zupan". If you were a peasant and put on a zupan, presto! -  it no longer was a zupan, but a simple, normal coat - "sukna". The outer coat front is tucked into the belt. Note the collection of pipes in the hat, the gourd powder flask, thin haversack/blanket roll, lit match, and axe.

This is a suitable foul-weather overcoat for any class - rich or poor

uno27.jpg (45934 bytes) Barka/ Gunya

Equipment and Accessories



weapons.gif (85012 bytes)Eastern recurve bow, standard equipment for most cavalrybowpol.jpg (18599 bytes); on the right, the bow, of Turkish type, is unstrung; see the Archery page. Mace (buzdygan, a symbol of rank), hammer (nadjaick or obuch), Sabre. (from Zamoyski)

p_typeIII.jpg (8629 bytes) The most appropriate saber for dragoons (artillery crew would prob. not carry a saber, but might have a short hanger) is 'Type III'.  Cavalry or officers might use the karabella (Type II), type III, or Type I, although type Ia is a hussar style. For a detailed discussion of sabers,

see my Sabre web site.flail.gif (161054 bytes)

Saber scabbards were leather-wrapped wood, with metal fixtures.  Hangers were off the belt, itself usually leather, metal, or cloth. Most belts were 1-3 inches wide, rarely as wide a 3 inches.  See Accessories  

Western style weapons such as hangers, rapiers and smallswords may fit depending on period.rambp2.jpg (10856 bytes)

Firearms for artillery and dragoons include wheellocke, doglock, andrambpj5.jpg (12933 bytes) snaphaunce pistols and carbines.  The flintlock was invented in mid-century, and found much more rapid acceptance in the east than in the west.  Generally, flintlocks of an earlier design are acceptable- even up to French & Indian war period for the end of our period (relief of Vienna). Shorter matchlock muskets are OK for dragoons, especially before the 1670s.

rambp3.jpg (12791 bytes)

I believe that a lot of dragoons would have had matchlocks even in 1683 (remember that they were truly 'mounted infantry', not the hybrid light cavalry that they were becoming in western armies).  However, it is unlikely that these would have been assigned to artillery duty (barrels of powder and lit match, bad combination).  Even in the 1500s, when wheellock guns were rare and extremely expensive, they were used by the artillery guards and crew.  This is likely a point we will have to overlook, since we have access to more matchlocks than wheellocks. CartridgeCase.jpg (8983 bytes)

To the left is an illustration of a pistol or small carbine cartridge case from a contemporary illustration.  It seems to be slightly curved to the inside, so as to fit the body better.  I suspect it was made out of wood with holes for the cartridges drilled out, but may have been made of tin.  Either way, it was covered withcartridg.jpg (235042 bytes) leather, prob. medium weight.  It has small gussets (prob. of  a thinner leather) on the side of the cover, to keep out rain.  It's strap goes over the head or shoulder.  A small one like this would have 9-14 cartridges in two rows, or 11 as shown. The cartridge was made of paper.  Usually they included a bullet (ball), although at this time sometimes the balls were kept loose in a separate pouch. 

Cases could be very fancy, with facings of chased silver plates, sometimes set with jewels.  This would be appropriate for a moderately wealthy noble.


An extremely wide range of armor applies to Polish armies. At a time when mail was unused in the west, mail remained popular with the cavalry.

Mail tended to be made of bigger rings than western mail, and allowed the color of the zupan to show through. So, buy the cheaper 8mm rings, not the expensive 6mm ring armor!


armorhussar4.jpg (40413 bytes)The plate armor of the hussars tended to be made up in segments, and used a lot of brass fitting and trimmings. The reproduction armor to the left is owned by our group.pancernyClr.jpg (15997 bytes)


At right, a quite typical panzer medium cavalry mail suit.   Panzer cavalry was the most numerous type in Polish service throughout the XVII century. Note the figwood target.

The famous wings were also used by Tatars and some light cavalry,  who usually attached the wings to the saddles (see picture below, under Horse Tack).


 pancerny na koniu.jpg (27268 bytes)




Peasant, Townsman and Female Costume (and other military outfits) Are Illustrated in the General Costume Page

Horse Tack is illustrated in the General Costume Page

Camppolishcamp.jpg (53441 bytes)  to the right is a layout of a Polish 17th C. hussar banner's camp, at upper part is the rotmistrz and lieutenant, with their several wagons, large tent, and space for their many retainers, below are the other comrades, some with several retainers, some with only 2.  Note especially that horses are kept with their riders, in tent stables, rather than away from the camp on a line, as in western practice.   Below is a sub-camp for a wealthy comrade with about 3-5 retainers and 6 or so servants - stables for 8 good horses, and several other riding and draft horses would be elsewhere.  

miniPolCamp.jpg (4128 bytes)      The Turks had similar camps, keeping horses with the riders.

Go to Patterns

Costume details and Domestic items, e.g. buttons, belts, mugs, chairs
Article: Polish Costume in the 17th C.

Information for new members



More Russian Costumes http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser/Russia/