Hot answers tagged

62 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

I would contend that we tend to overestimate the effectiveness of bows vs armour, and that the armour would likely prevent at least some percentage of the damage to the mount. If we look at the wiki ...
user avatar
  • 33.8k
45 votes
Accepted

What tactical situations made the use of traditional horse cavalry effective in World War II?

Whenever 20th century cavalry comes up, it often gets confused with mounted infantry. So let's clear that up. Cavalry is trained to fight from horseback using pistol, sabre, carbine, lance, and the ...
user avatar
  • 52.6k
31 votes

Why didn't horse-mounted archers dominate the world until Genghis Khan?

So, if Genghis Khan's military was so superior to European knights and China's military, why weren't earlier powers, like Rome, crushed by similar weapons and tactics? Genghis Khan was far from the ...
user avatar
  • 12.1k
26 votes

Why were troops with bayonets often effective against enemy cavalry even though the bayonet was a "secondary" weapon?

An important aspect that seems to be neglected in many of the answers here is that while technical aspects cannot be completely dismissed, they are secondary to other concerns. To be specific, the ...
user avatar
  • 1,558
19 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

Knights didn't just face longbows. There were also swords, pikes, maces etc. on the battlefield and good plate armor also protected against firearms. Two knights fighting on the battlefield - they're ...
user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

Why are modern tanks regiments called cavalry?

Several reasons. First and foremost, they perform the same role on the battlefield, providing a fast moving spearhead. Second, and related, many of the units were cavalry units before getting tanks, ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
17 votes
Accepted

Why didn't horse-mounted archers dominate the world until Genghis Khan?

First the supply issue : The biggest reason for Horse archer scarcity is the training curve in becoming a mounted archer. It's not a simple task, you need to be able to ride and control your horse ...
user avatar
  • 2,689
16 votes

Physics of a heavy cavalry charge?

Your question is underpinned by a key misunderstanding of the course of an ancient or medieval battle: the slaughter occurs in the pursuit (or endgame if you will), not what might be termed the battle ...
user avatar
15 votes

Did the Vikings use horses in battle?

Short Answer Generally, there is no evidence in medieval sources for the widespread use of cavalry or horsemen in battle by the Vikings. The Vikings in Western Europe (from the late 8th century to the ...
user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Why did cavalry keep becoming a thing if spears were always around?

That's an overly simplistic way of thinking about cavalry. Battles usually didn't focus on cavalry charges (though they often were used as shock operations during battles) but massed infantry holding ...
user avatar
  • 10.9k
12 votes
Accepted

How were heavily armored Cataphracts killed?

Lighter, Faster Cavalry. The heavier the cavalry, the harder it is to maintain speed and perform sharp maneuvers. At the battle of Turin, Constantine used light cavalry with iron-tipped clubs to ...
user avatar
  • 187
12 votes

Did Cossack cavalry defeat German tanks during WW2?

There are no reports from the 13th cavalry division, luckily however all is described quite well in reports of the 15th cavalry division. Further I translated most important parts of that report: At ...
user avatar
  • 425
12 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

The long bow was a particularly effective weapon against armored cavalry, and the French were surprised by this fact. The (relatively thin) armor that you mentioned had earlier provided the horse ...
user avatar
  • 103k
11 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the black/devil riders?

You are referring to the Schwarze Reiters (i.e. black riders), named after the dark armour they wore. This was a type of cavalry that appeared in Germany after the decline of the medieval lancers, but ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
10 votes
Accepted

When did cavalry soldiers unsheathe swords?

The cavalry tactics could differ from century to century, yet when they got firearms, for sure, they had to learn quick swapping from firearm to a saber during the attack. The Russian cavalry officer ...
user avatar
  • 4,242
10 votes
Accepted

Have human runners delivered messages faster than horses?

I looked into this some more, and I'll share my findings here. 100 Miles Record In the FEI Endurance Riding Competition senior level, horses travel about 100 miles in one day. The world record for a ...
user avatar
  • 575
10 votes
Accepted

Were warhorses unable to graze in grass fields and thus needed to be manually fed an exclusive type of hay?

No. War horses are simply horses. Perhaps a little bit finicky with eating but not overly so. The reason why they were fed hay is different. You need a LOT of fields with edible grass to daily feed ...
user avatar
  • 17.2k
10 votes

Was it possible to "aim for the epaulette boys" during the Middle Ages?

Yes and no. Uniforms and rank insignia as we understand them didn't exist back then. It was very easy to see who was high(er) in rank, though. Members of the knightly class wore their coat of arms on ...
user avatar
  • 17.2k
9 votes
Accepted

How and why did the Cavalry lance temporarily fall out of favour during the 16-18th centuries?

Because lances were unwieldy but required significant training to be proficient in. Their usefulness was progressively declining against the increasingly attractive (and cost-effective) firearms. ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
9 votes
Accepted

Using a lance while on a charging horse against ground based enemy

Using the Wikipedia article as source, lances were indeed once-use items for shock attacks. If they hadn't splintered then they were sure to have gotten stuck, so they were intended to be dropped. ...
user avatar
  • 2,415
9 votes

What tactical situations made the use of traditional horse cavalry effective in World War II?

Sometimes Soviet Army (especially during the first two years of the war agains Germany, 1941-43) successfully used its cavalry units. Success depended on many factors including tactical skills of its ...
user avatar
  • 6,010
8 votes

What were the capabilities of a warhorse?

Talked with my favorite professional historian (who is also a professional equestrienne). She pointed to the Tevis Cup as one source that might be instructive. Most of the Tevis competitors are ...
user avatar
  • 30.9k
8 votes

Was the Napoleonic era cavalry armour effective against firearms?

Without getting too involved in a discussion of terminal ballistics, the Napoleonic period armour certainly offered some protection against firearms, but it was only effective up to a point. This ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Did armored cavalry have an advantage over unarmored cavalry in 18th/19th century?

The advantage of wearing cuirass was obviously protection. As you noted, it could deflect pistol shots, and in theory even muskets at distance. Perhaps the main benefit however, was in fact against ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
8 votes

Why didn't horse-mounted archers dominate the world until Genghis Khan?

Cost. It takes years of training to become a proficient foot archer, and much longer to become a mounted archer. A cavalryman is always far more expensive because of his mounts (plural; they usually ...
user avatar
  • 17.2k
7 votes

Were cavalry used in the First World War?

British Cavalry was surprising successful on the occasions it was employed by local commanders in small scale attacks exploiting gaps in the German defensive lines after the Germans had withdrawn to ...
user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Did Song troops spread black beans on the ground as a means to defeat the superior Jin cavalry? If so, in which battle?

Not sure if anyone will read this, but... From Baidu (https://baike.baidu.com/item/连环计/5842#ref_[2]_5340118): 1.毕再遇连环计 “Bi Zaiyu Uses Chain Stratagems” 宋代将领毕再遇就曾经运用连环计,打过漂亮的仗。他分析金人强悍,骑兵尤其勇猛,...
user avatar
  • 94
6 votes
Accepted

How was Takeda defeated at the Battle of Nagashino?

The Takeda attack destroyed the first palisades, but was unable to break through much further. Their army ended up smashing themselves against the second line. I can see how that could be described as ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible