Warhorse: Cavalry in Ancient Warfare

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Today, there are virtually no cavalry regiments ready for battle, although in some Third World countries there are still organized mounted soldiers. Endurance, speed and agility were all affected by the weight the horse had to carry. This is why some horses were breed heavier to carry armor and charge forcefully while others were used for scouting and speed. The culture also affected the type of horse that was used as every civilization had varying military needs.

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In some places one type of horse was favored while in other places many types were used. Although agile in combat like the light weight horse, they did not have the endurance or intense speed.

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This was the primary horse used in the Middle Ages in which they were known as destriers. Heavy weight horses weighed between and pounds and were the ancestors of modern draught horses.

Armies and Tactics: Greek Armies during the Persian Invasions

They were used to pull heavy loads such as weapons and supply wagons. They may have also carried the heaviest armored knights in the Late Middle Ages. It did not matter whether the horse had to be trained to pull chariots, be ridden as cavalry or carry a knight, a lot of training was necessary in order to overcome the horses natural instint to run from the noise, blood and confusion of battle.

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Apart from getting used to all the un natural elements of warfare, some animals may have also been trained to kick, strike out and bite turning themselves into weapons. In most of the cultures, the horses had to be controlled primarily with the legs and shifting weight of their riders.

Warhorse : cavalry in ancient warfare

They also had to be comfortable with any necessary tack or protection placed on them. The balance and agility of a horse was also crucial to its effectiveness as a warhorse; the modern discipline of dressage comes from the training of warhorses in agility and obedience. Subpages 1 : Age of the Warhorse. The use of mounted cavalry was revolutionized once again with Alexander the Great and his mounted Companions during his campaigns across Europe.

Phil Sidnell challenges the common view that ancient cavalry were useful for scouting and raiding but left the real fighting to the foot soldiers.

History of the War Horse

In fact, he argues, they were often used in a shock role and proved decisive on many occasions. The famous victories of great generals such as Alexander, Hannibal and Julius Caesar could not have been won without a full appreciation of the battle-winning potential of the cavalry. Drawing heavily on the ancient sources, Warhorse takes the reader on a thrilling ride through numerous vividly recreated battles, from the earliest civilizations to the Battle of Hastings, to reveal the horsemen of the ancient world in their full and deadly glory.

It should become a classic.

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Sidnell nevertheless persuasively argues his points in an imaginative, thorough fashion. Illustrated with 14 excellent photographs and drawings seven in color and a helpful glossary, though lacking battle diagrams and a bibliography, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers.

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Sidnell charts a clear course across these centuries, and beyond. Although his main audience will be academic. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter.