Wartime cross-dressers

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Hannah Snell (1723–1792) was a British woman who disguised herself as a man and became a soldier

Many people have engaged in cross-dressing during wartime under various circumstances and for various motives. This has been especially true of women, whether while serving as a soldier in otherwise all-male armies, while protecting themselves or disguising their identity in dangerous circumstances, or for other purposes.

Conversely, men would dress as women to avoid being drafted, the mythological precedent for this being Achilles hiding at the court of Lycomedes dressed as a woman to avoid participation in the Trojan War.


Fourteenth century[edit]

  • Joanna of Flanders (c. 1295–1374) led the Montfortist faction in Brittany in the 1340s after the capture of her husband left her as the titular head of the family. She wore male dress at engagements such as the siege of Hennebont.

Fifteenth century[edit]

Joan of Arc enters Orléans (painting by J.J. Sherer, 1887)
  • Onorata Rodiani (1403–1452) was an Italian mercenary who served as a cavalry soldier, disguised in male clothing and with a male name, under a condottieri (freelance commander) named Oldrado Lampugnano beginning in 1423.[1]
  • Jacqueline of Wittelsbach, Countess of Hainaut, Holland and Zeeland (1401–1436) led the Hoek faction (the aristocratic faction) in Holland. Jacqueline and one of her servants disguised themselves as soldiers to escape confinement in Ghent.[2]
  • Joan of Arc (1412–1431) is a folk heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in what is now eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War. After being captured by her enemies, she was burned at the stake for heresy when she was 19 years old. She journeyed through hostile Burgundian territory disguised as a male soldier.

Sixteenth century[edit]

Seventeenth century[edit]

Eighteenth century[edit]

Nineteenth century[edit]

Twentieth century[edit]

Fiction, legend and mythology[edit]


  1. ^ Clayton, Ellen Creathorne (1879). Female Warriors : Memorials of Female Valour and Heroism, from the Mythological Ages to the Present Era. Tinsley Brothers. OCLC 963750555.
  2. ^ Vaughan, Richard. Philip the Good. pp. 34–49.
  3. ^ a b The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies. Naples, Nancy A.; Hoogland, Renée C.; Wickramasinghe, Maithree; Wong, Wai-Ching Angela. Malden, MA. 2016. ISBN 978-1405196949. OCLC 933386043.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  4. ^ Davies, Christian (1740). The life and adventures of Mrs. Christian Davies, commonly called Mother Ross. London.
  5. ^ Dall, Wells Healey Caroline Wells Healey; Dall, Caroline (2010). The College, the Market, and the Court. Applewood Books. ISBN 978-1429043441.
  6. ^ "Charles Edward Stewart: The Young Pretender". The Scotsman. UK. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Five British heroes overlooked by history". BBC News. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  8. ^ Wakeman, Sarah Rosetta; Burgess, Lauren Cook (1994). An Uncommon Soldier: The Civil War Letters of Sarah Rosetta Wakeman, alias Pvt. Lyons Wakeman, 153rd Regiment, New York State Volunteers, 1862–1864. The Minerva Center. ISBN 0963489518. OCLC 30933373.
  9. ^ "Hispanics in the Military". Valerosos.com. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  10. ^ "The Hispanic Experience – Contributions to America's Defense". Houstonculture.org. Retrieved 2013-10-22.
  11. ^ "Kvinnorna som klippte håret, tog på sig manskläder och tog värvning", Studio Ett , Sveriges Radio, 7 October 2016. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  12. ^ Hirschfeld, Magnus (1930). The Sexual History Of The World War (revised edition 1946). Cadillac Publishing. Page 100.
  13. ^ Jones, David E. (2000). Women Warriors: A History. Washington D.C.: Brassey's. p. 134 ISBN 1574882066
  14. ^ Salmonson, Jessica Amanda (1991). The Encyclopedia of Amazons. Paragon House. p/ 236. ISBN 1557784205
  15. ^ Liepman, Ruth (1997). Maybe Luck Isn't Just Chance. Northwestern UP. p. 66. ISBN 978-0810112957.
  16. ^ Kruse, Kuno (2000). Dolores & Imperio : die drei Leben des Sylvin Rubinstein (in German) (1. Aufl ed.). Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch. ISBN 3462029266. OCLC 45543833.
  17. ^ "Germany embraces killer transvestite". The Age. 2005-02-25. Retrieved 2022-02-22.
  18. ^ "Profile: A trusted leader". news.bbc.co.uk. January 27, 2000. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
  19. ^ a b Spector, Peter (2016). The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies. Naples, Nancy A. Malden, MA. ISBN 978-1118905388. OCLC 933432480.