Reiters (, or horserider, shortened from the original “Schwarze Reiter”—literally, "black riders" for the colour of their armour) were a type of cavalry, which appeared in the armies of Western Europe in the 16th century in place of the outmoded lance-armed knights, at the same time that cuirassiers and dragoons began to attain typological distinction from other kinds of cavalry. The Reiters raised firearms to the status of primary weapons, as opposed to earlier Western European heavy cavalry which primarily relied upon mêlée weapons.
The Reiters' main weapons were two or more pistols and a sword; most wore helmets and cuirasses and often additional armor for the arms and legs; sometimes they also carried a long cavalry firearm known as an arquebus or a carbine (although this type of horsemen soon became regarded as a separate class of cavalry—the arquebusier or in Britain harquebusier).
In general, the Reiters were expected to be able to engage their opponents both with firearms and sword. In the 16th century and up to about 1620, Reiters often formed up in deep blocks and used their firearms in a caracole attack in the hopes of disordering the enemy infantry before charging home and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. However, enterprising commanders such as Henry IV and Gustavus Adolphus preferred to employ their Reiters and other heavy cavalry in a more aggressive manner, ordering them to press the charge and fire their pistols at point-blank range (especially against well-armored enemies) or use their swords instead. Using either or both of these tactics, Reiters could be incredibly effective when properly employed. A particular case in point is the Battle of Turnhout, where a force of Dutch Reiters under Maurice of Nassau defeated the opposing Spanish cavalry and then successfully engaged the Spanish infantry with a combination of pistol volleys and sword-in-hand charges.
The Reiters mostly consisted of Germans and served in the armies of the German states, Sweden as "raitars", Poland as Polish: "rajtaria", and elsewhere. There were also Reiter regiments in Russia between the 1630s and late 17th century (see Regiments of the new order).
In the later 17th century the Reiters gradually merged into generic cavalry regiments and were no longer seen as a distinct class of horseman.
Reiter (German for horserider), is a type of cavalry, which appeared in the armies of Western Europe in the 16th century
Reiter may also refer to:
- Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider), a German group of expressionist artists in the early 20th century
- Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, a German heavy metal band
- Reiter (surname), a German surname
Reiter is a German surname. The surname is relatively frequent in Germany, and in most cases is locational, derived from places called Reit or Reith (a with an original meaning of "clearing"). A variant of the same name is Reuter. In some cases the name may also be occupational, derived from either Reitherr, the office of treasurer in Upper German towns, or from makers of winnowing sieves (Reiter), or from the term Reiter "horseman, cavalryman, curassier".
People with the surname include:
- Charlie Reiter, American professional association footballer
- Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich
- Hans Reiter, SS officer and Knight's Cross recipient
- Hans J. Reiter, mathematician
- Hans Conrad Julius Reiter, the German physician and researcher who gave his name to Reiter's syndrome (now referred to as reactive arthritis)
- Jeannot Reiter, former Luxembourg international footballer
- Josef Reiter (composer), Austrian composer
- Josef Reiter (judoka), Austrian judoka
- Ľubomír Reiter, Slovak footballer
- Madelyn Reiter, American politician
- Michael Reiter, American computer scientist
- Paul Reiter, a professor of medical entomology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France
- Philipp Reiter (b. 1991), German ski mountaineer and mountain runner
- Raymond Reiter, computer scientist
- Thomas Reiter, German astronaut
- William J. Reiter (1889-1979), American assistant director
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Reiter \Rei"ter\ (r?"t?r), n. [G., rider.] A German cavalry soldier of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
n. (context now historical English) A German cavalry soldier of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
Usage examples of "reiter".
That leaves us Father Lavigny, Mr Mercado, Mrs Mercado, David Emmott, Carl Reiter, Miss Johnson and Nurse Leatheran.
Nurse Leatheran, Miss Johnson, Mrs Mercado, Mr Mercado, Mr Reiter, Mr Emmott and Father Lavigny.
Miss Johnson and Mrs Mercado were there already, and after a few minutes Mr Mercado, Mr Reiter and Bill Coleman joined us.
Carey and Mr Coleman went out on the dig and Mr Reiter went off to the photographic-room.
The first person we saw was Mr Reiter, who was busy photographing some walling.
Lavigny was just going towards the archway and Mr Reiter was standing in the door of the photographic-room.
If, by any chance, one of the expedition staff was William Bosner, then Reiter was by far the most likely person.
In her treatment of Carl Reiter Mrs Leidner displayed really deliberate cruelty.
Father Lavigny is crossing the courtyard and Mr Reiter is at the door of the photographic-room.
Georg Grosz, Otto Dix and Max Beckmann, the Blaue Reiter group, the Fauves, Alfred Jarry and Brechtian Theatre, in the rich mulch of Anti-Semitism and Fascist insanity.
Kalvan would have liked a better ratio of foot to horse in the Royal Army, but here-and-now mercenaries were predominantly cavalry, reminiscent of the German reiters, Sixteenth Century mercenary pistol-wielding heavy cavalry who had dominated the battlefields of France during the Wars of Religion.