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62

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 article on Barding we find the following (emphasis mine): During the Late Middle Ages as armour protection for knights became more effective, their mounts ...


45

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 horse itself. Its primary purpose is cross open terrain quickly, crash through the enemy line, and cause disarray. If they can do this from an open flank, rather ...


33

That's not exactly how it worked. As not everybody was able to become a knight (especially without richness), many squires were adult, sometimes more than 30 years old, and because of their experience, they were well-trained fighters. Don't think of heavy cavalry only as knights. For example, the regular heavy cavalry unit in Poland was called Chorągiew (...


33

The situation is complex. While the pike-or-equivalent must be of a sufficient length and density to be effective against cavalry, the longer the weapon the more difficult it is to adjust formation and facing. Cavalry's most effective weapon on the battlefield is its speed. A mass of spearmen facing one direction are easily flanked and broken up, and then ...


28

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 first one to use mounted archers. In the Classical Age, Persians/Parthians were famed for the use of this weapon. And they used it to inflict some painful ...


25

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 primary weapon of heavy cavalry is its momentum, while heavy infantry (among which musketeers from 18th century onward are counted) relies on its discipline in ...


19

As legend says, after they lost Battle of Kosovo (1389) Serb units, most notably their light cavalry, have spread to Hungary and then further over Europe. In Medieval Hungary, these became known as hussars since about 1432 (Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, p. 306); they were greatly developed by Matthias Corvinus (1443-1490)....


18

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 trying to hit each other but sometimes the horses get hit instead.. There's an article called Armour which says a lot about this. For example, The horse was ...


17

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, they just exchanged their horses for tanks. Artillery exchanged guns pulled by horses (and trucks) with self propelled guns (at least part of them, most armies ...


16

There are two things that the Mongols had to their advantage when they waged war, significant numbers and superior training and discipline. These two factors almost always ensured that they would have the upper hand in any engagement. I found one source that suggested that a typical military unit for the Mongols would consist of three major units. One unit ...


16

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 proper (or midgame). Prior to the invention of artillery, and breech-loading and automatic rifles, very little death is dealt out during the main course of ...


14

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 with only your legs while drawing a bow and accurately firing all while the horse moves...not a simple feat by any means. Roman (and Greek) society were founded ...


13

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 terrain. Cavalry was more often use for scouting, rapid flanking actions, harassing rear guard units, and rapid positioning of troops where they were needed. ...


12

Barbara Tuchman provides a a partial answer in A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: At fourteen or fifteen, when [the young noble] became a squire, the training for combat intensified. He learned to pierce the swinging dummy of the quintain with a lance, wield the sword and a variety of other murderous weapons, and know the rules of ...


12

As a melee fighter, heavy cavalry would have depended on armor to block melee weapons once they got in range, and that alone would justify its use. As far as effectiveness against firearms the best I've ever found is that quality armor of the time was somewhat effective against small arms and muskets at range, though muskets could easily penetrate at close ...


12

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 some protection against "spears," particularly those wielded by enemy infantry. Although Swiss "pikes" (about 50 years into the future from the end of the Hundred ...


11

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 later became a generic name (usually shortened to just reiters) for German cavalry mercenaries. Around the mid-16th century, advancements in firearms as well ...


11

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 Nadezhda Durova (aka The Cavalry Maiden), who fought in Napoleonic wars, mentioned some details in her well-known memoirs. That is how she depicted the standard ...


11

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 attack the flanks of Cataphracts. Ancient cavalry rode horses without Stirrups, meaning clubs or weapons with blunt force behind them stood a fair chance of knocking ...


10

I've found some evidence during the Mongol invasion of Japan (it is wikipedia, but it's cited to a reasonable, but not fantastic degree): "in 1274, the Yuan fleet set out, with an estimated 15,000 Mongol and Chinese soldiers and 8,000 Korean soldiers, in 300 large vessels and 400-500 smaller craft, although figures vary considerably depending on the source" ...


10

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 human going 100 miles was recently achieved by Zach Bitter, who went the distance over a track field in 11:47:21. The world record for 100 miles by a horse, ...


10

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 their shield, clothing, barding and sometimes on top of their helmets. It was very easy to see important nobles. The problem was what to do with them. The ...


9

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. Because of the nature of the weapon, and the training required to produce a proficient lancer, it had generally fallen from use by the mid 17th century. - ...


9

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. This is with the heavy lances most people seem to have in mind, when they think of a charge by heavily armoured knights. However, anecdotal, I'm friends with ...


9

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 commanders (General Below for instance was quite successful), terrain (dense forest), weather (heavy rain, deep snow), roads (deep mud), time of operations (...


9

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 them. Those pastures have to be guarded, lest the horses run away or the enemy runs away with your horses. Grass must be ready for consumption and for some ...


8

Infantry square I believe that the most obvious tactic against cavalry is the infantry square formation, which was used by ancient Romans, and later revived during Napoleon wars. But of course the main reason for their creation was to prevent any attack from behind. Still, there was a rule regarding horses in particular, not to shot too late, as wounded ...


8

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 had between 2 and 6 mounts per horseman). Mounted archers is the solution to most of your military problems. Everybody knew that, but most had two huge ...


7

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 the Hindenburg Line from late 1916 onwards. Despite what many ill-informed commentators say, many citing quite erroneous accounts by eye-witnesses who get the ...


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