The Polish Light Horse of the Imperial Guard were raised in Poland in 1807 when Napoleon created the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.
They were sent to Spain in 1808 where they were taught outpost duties by the famous General Lasalle. Their first proper action was at Somosierra Pass where one squadron charged entrenched artillery, losing every officer killed or wounded. This brave action so impressed Napoleon that he elevated the regiment to the ranks of the Imperial Guard, to the Old Guard.
Back in Europe with the Imperial Guard they fought at the battle of Wagram, after which the regiment was issued with lances. They distinguished themselves in the disastrous Russian campaign and the following actions of 1813 and 1814.
When Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814, one squadron formed part of his bodyguard. Upon his return for the 'hundred days' campaign the regimen took part in the massed cavalry assaults against the Duke of Wellington's infantry.