French 4th Hussar at the battle of Friedland, 1807.

Military history

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Cavalry (from French cavalerie, cf. cheval 'horse') or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest (after infantry and chariotry) and the most mobile of the combat arms. A soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, horseman or trooper.

The designation of cavalry was not usually given to any military force that used other animals, such as camels or mules. Infantry who moved on horseback, but dismounted to fight on foot, were known in the 17th and early 18th centuries as dragoons, a class of mounted infantry which later evolved into cavalry proper while retaining their historic title.

From earliest times cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, making it an

"instrument which multiplied the fighting value of even the smallest forces, allowing them to outflank and avoid, to surprise and overpower, to retreat and escape according to the requirements of the moment."[1]

A man fighting from horseback also had the advantages of greater height, speed, and inertial mass over an opponent on foot. Another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent.

The mobility and shock value of the cavalry was greatly appreciated and exploited in armed forces in the Ancient and Middle Ages; some forces were mostly cavalry, particularly in nomadic societies of Asia, notably the Mongol armies. In Europe cavalry became increasingly armoured (heavy), and eventually became known for the mounted knights. During the 17th century cavalry in Europe lost most of its armor, ineffective against the muskets and cannon which were coming into use, and by the mid-19th century armor had mainly fallen into disuse, with some regiments retained a small thickened cuirass that offered protection against lances and sabres and some protection against shot.

In the period between the World Wars many cavalry units were converted into motorised infantry and mechanised infantry units, or reformed as tank troops. However some cavalry still served during the Second World War, notably in the Red Army and the Italian Royal Army. Most cavalry units that are horse-mounted in modern armies serve in purely ceremonial roles, or as mounted infantry in difficult terrain such as mountains or heavily forested areas.


Role of cavalry

In many modern armies, the term cavalry is still often used to refer to units that are a combat arm of the armed forces which in the past filled the traditional horse-borne land combat light cavalry roles. These include scouting, skirmishing with enemy reconnaissance elements to deny them knowledge of own disposition of troops, forward security, offensive reconnaissance by combat, defensive screening of friendly forces during retrograde movement, retreat, restoration of command and control, deception, battle handover and passage of lines, relief in place, linkup, breakout operations, and raiding. The shock role, traditionally filled by heavy cavalry, is generally filled by units with the "armored" designation.


Assyrian cavalry


Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was largely performed by light chariots. The chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians.[2] The chariot was quickly adopted by settled peoples both as a military technology and an object of ceremonial status, especially by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom of Egypt as well as Assyrian and Babylonian royalty.

The power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, but was offset by the difficulty of raising large forces and by the inability of horses (then mostly small) to carry heavy armor. Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Persian Parthians and Sarmatians.

The photograph above right shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC. At this time, the men had no spurs, saddles, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was much more difficult than mere riding. The cavalry acted in pairs; the reins of the mounted archer were controlled by his neighbour's hand. Even at this early time, cavalry used swords, shields, and bows. The sculpture implies two types of cavalry, but this might be a simplification by the artist. Later images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse.

As early as 490 BC a breed of large horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armour (Herodotus 7,40 & 9,20). But large horses were still very exceptional at this time. Excepting a few ineffective trials of scythed chariots, the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in civilized nations by the time of the Persian defeat at the hands of Alexander the Great, but chariots remained in use for ceremonial purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph, or for racing. The southern Britons met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, but by the time of the Roman conquest of Britain a century later chariots were obsolete even in Britannia.

Ancient Greece: city-states, Thebes, Thessaly and Macedonia

Warrior's departure; an Athenian amphora dated 550–540 BC.

Cavalry played a relatively minor role in ancient Greek city-states, with conflicts decided by massed armored infantry. However, Thebes produced Pelopidas, her first great cavalry commander, whose tactics and skills were absorbed by Phillip II of Macedon when Phillip was a guest-hostage in Thebes. Thessaly was widely known for producing competent cavalrymen, and later experiences in wars both with and against the Persians taught the Greeks the value of cavalry in skirmishing and pursuit. The Athenian author and soldier Xenophon in particular advocated the creation of a small but well-trained cavalry force; to that end, he wrote several manuals on horsemanship and cavalry operations.

The Macedonian kingdom in the north, on the other hand, developed a strong cavalry force that culminated in the hetairoi (Companion cavalry) of Philip II and Alexander the Great. In addition to these heavy cavalry, the Macedonian combined arms army also employed lighter horsemen called prodromoi for scouting and screening, as well as the Macedonian pike phalanx and various kinds of light infantry. There were also the Ippiko (or "Horserider"), Greek "heavy" cavalry, armed with kontos (or cavalry lance), and sword. They wore leather armour or mail and hat. They were medium cavalry, rather than heavy cavalry. They were good scouts, skirmishers, and chasers.

The effectiveness of this combined-arms system was most dramatically demonstrated in Alexander's conquest of Persia, Bactria, and northwestern India.

Roman Republic and Early Empire

Tombstone of a Roman auxiliary trooper from Cologne, Germany. Second half 1st C. AD

The cavalry in the early Roman Republic remained the preserve of the wealthy landed class known as the equites—men who could afford the expense of maintaining a horse in addition to arms and armor heavier than those of the common legions. As the class grew to be more of a social elite instead of a functional property-based military grouping, the Romans began to employ Italian socii for filling the ranks of their cavalry. At about the same time the Romans began to recruit foreign auxiliary cavalry from among Gauls, Iberians, and Numidians, the last being highly valued as mounted skirmishers and scouts (see Numidian cavalry). Julius Caesar himself was known for his admiration of his escort of Germanic mixed cavalry, giving rise to the Cohortae Equitates. Early emperors maintained an ala of Batavian cavalry as their bodyguards until the unit was dismissed by Galba after the Batavian Rebellion.

For the most part, Roman cavalry during the Republic functioned as an adjunct to the legionary infantry and formed only one-fifth of the showing force. This does not mean that its utility could be underestimated, though, as its strategic role in scouting, skirmishing, and outpost duties was crucial to the Romans' capability to conduct operations over long distances in hostile or unfamiliar territory. In some occasions it also proved its ability to strike a decisive tactical blow against a weakened or unprepared enemy, such as the final charge at the Battle of Aquilonia.

After defeats such as the Battle of Carrhae, the Romans learned the importance of large cavalry formations from the Parthians. They would begin to substantially increase both the numbers and the training standards of the cavalry in their employ, just as nearly a thousand years earlier the first Iranians to reach the Iranian Plateau forced the Assyrians to a similar reform. Nonetheless, they would continue to rely mainly on their heavy infantry supported by auxiliary cavalry.

Reenactor as a Roman auxiliary cavalryman.

Late Roman Empire and the Migration Period

In the army of the late Roman Empire, cavalry played an increasingly important role. The Spatha, the classical sword throughout most of the 1st millennium was adopted as the standard model for the Empire's cavalry forces.

The most widespread employment of heavy cavalry at this time was found in the forces of the Parthians and their Iranian Sassanid successors. Both, but especially the latter, were famed for the cataphract (fully armored cavalry armed with lances) even though the majority of their forces consisted of lighter horse archers. The West first encountered this eastern heavy cavalry during the Hellenistic period with further intensive contacts during the eight centuries of the RomanPersian wars. At first the Parthians' mobility greatly confounded the Romans, whose armoured close-order infantry proved unable to match the speed of the Parthians. However, later the Romans would successfully adapt such heavy armor and cavalry tactics by creating their own units of cataphracts and clibanarii.[3]

The decline of the Roman infrastructure made it more difficult to field large infantry forces, and during the 4th and 5th centuries cavalry began to take a more dominant role on the European battlefield, also in part made possible by the appearance of new, larger breeds of horses. The replacement of the Roman saddle by variants on the Scythian model, with pommel and cantle,[4] was also a significant factor as was the adoption of stirrups and the concomitant increase in stability of the rider's seat. Armored Cataphracts began to be deployed in eastern Europe and the near East, following the precedents established by Persian forces, as the main striking force of the armies in contrast to the earlier roles of cavalry as scouts, raiders, and outflankers.

The late Roman cavalry tradition and the mounted nobility of the Germanic invaders both contributed to the development of mediaeval knightly cavalry.


A Moroccan with his Arabian horse along the Barbary coast.
Arab camel cavalry

Early organized Arab cavalry under the Rashidun caliphate was a light cavalry armed with lance and sword, its main role was to attack the enemy flanks and rear. Armor was relatively light. The Muslims' light cavalry during the later years of Islamic conquest of Levant became the most powerful section of army. The best use of this lightly armed fast moving cavalry was revealed at the Battle of Yarmouk (636 AD) in which Khalid ibn Walid, knowing the importance and ability of his cavalry, used them to turn the tables at every critical instance of the battle with their ability to engage and disengage and turn back and attack again from the flank or rear. A strong cavalry regiment was formed by Khalid ibn Walid which included the veterans of the campaign of Iraq and Syria. Early Muslim historians have given it the name Mutaharrik tulai'a( متحرك طليعة ), or the Mobile guard. This was used as an advance guard and a strong striking force to route the opposing armies with its greater mobility that give it an upper hand when maneuvering against any Byzantine army. With this mobile striking force, the conquest of Syria was made easy.[5]

A Mamluk cavalryman

The Battle of Talas in 751 CE was a conflict between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate and the Chinese Tang Dynasty over the control of Central Asia. Chinese infantry were routed by Arab cavalry near the bank of the River Talas.

Later Mamluks were trained as cavalry soldiers. Mamluks were to follow the dictates of al-furusiyya,[6] a code of conduct that included values like courage and generosity but also doctrine of cavalry tactics, horsemanship, archery and treatment of wounds.


Central Asia

Xiongnu or Hun, Tujue, Avars, Kipchaks, Mongols, Cossacks and the various Turkic peoples are also examples of the horse-mounted peoples that managed to gain substantial successes in military conflicts with settled agrarian and urban societies, due to their strategic and tactical mobility. As European states began to assume the character of bureaucratic nation-states supporting professional standing armies, recruitment of these mounted warriors was undertaken in order to fill the strategic roles of scouts and raiders. The best known instance of the continued employment of mounted tribal auxiliaries were the Cossack cavalry regiments of Tsarist Russia. In eastern Europe, Russia, and out onto the steppes, cavalry remained important much longer and dominated the scene of warfare until the early 17th century and even beyond, as the strategic mobility of cavalry was crucial for the semi-nomadic pastoralist lives that many steppe cultures led.[7]

Tibetans also had a tradition of cavalry warfare, in several military engagements early on with the Chinese Tang Dynasty (618–907 AD), including Emperor Taizong's campaign against Tufan in 638.

East Asia

The Mongol cavalry pursuing their enemy.
A bas-relief of a soldier and horse with saddle and stirrups, from the tomb of Chinese Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626-649), c. 650

Further east, the military history of China, specifically northern China, held a long tradition of intense military exchange between Han Chinese infantry forces of the settled dynastic empires and the mounted nomads or "barbarians" of the north. The naval history of China was centered more to the south, where mountains, rivers, and large lakes necessitated the employment of a large and well-kept navy.

In 307 BC, King Wuling of Zhao, the ancient Chinese ruler of the former State of Jin territory, ordered his military commanders and troops to adopt the trousers of the nomads as well as practice the nomads' form of mounted archery to hone their new cavalry skills.[8] Soon afterwards the cavalry tactics employed by the State of Zhao forced their enemies in the other Warring States to adopt the same techniques in order to mount any effective attack against their swift movements on the battlefield.[9]

The adoption of massed cavalry in China also broke the tradition of the chariot-riding Chinese aristocracy in battle, which had been in use since the ancient Shang Dynasty (c. 1600 BC-1050 BC).[10] By this time large Chinese infantry-based armies of 100,000 to 200,000 troops were now buttressed with several hundred thousand mounted cavalry in support or as an effective striking force.[9] The handheld pistol-and-trigger crossbow was invented in China in the 4th century BC;[11] it was written by the Song Dynasty scholars Zeng Gongliang, Ding Du, and Yang Weide in their book Wujing Zongyao (1044 AD) that massed missile fire by crossbowmen was the most effective defense against enemy cavalry charges.[12]

The Qianlong Emperor in ceremonial armor on horseback, painted by Giuseppe Castiglione, dated 1739 or 1758.

On many occasions the Chinese studied nomadic cavalry tactics and applied the lessons in creating their own potent cavalry forces, while in others they simply recruited the tribal horsemen wholesale into their armies; and in yet other cases nomadic empires proved eager to enlist Chinese infantry and engineering, as in the case of the Mongol Empire and its sinicized part, the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368). The Chinese recognized early on during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) that they were at a disadvantage in lacking the number of horses the northern nomadic peoples mustered in their armies. Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141 BC-87 BC) went to war with the Dayuan for this reason, since the Dayuan were hording a massive amount of tall, strong, Central Asian bred horses in the Hellenized–Greek region of Fergana (established slightly earlier by Alexander the Great). Although experiencing some defeats early on in the campaign, Emperor Wu's war from 104 BC to 102 BC succeeded in gathering the prized tribute of horses from Fergana.

Cavalry tactics in China were enhanced by the invention of the saddle-attached stirrup by at least the 4th century, as the oldest reliable depiction of a rider with paired stirrups was found in a Jin Dynasty tomb of the year 322 AD.[13][14][15] The Chinese invention of the horse collar by the 5th century was also a great improvement from the breast harness, allowing the horse to haul greater weight without heavy burden on its skeletal structure.[16][17]

The horse warfare of Korea was first started during the ancient Korean kingdom Gojoseon. Since at least the 3rd century BC, there was influence of northern nomadic peoples and Yemaek peoples on Korean Warfare. By roughly the 1st century BC, the ancient kingdom of Buyeo also had mounted warriors.[18] The cavalry of Goguryeo, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, were called Gaemamusa (개마무사, 鎧馬武士). King Gwanggaeto the Great often led expeditions into the Baekje, Gaya confederacy, Buyeo, Later Yan and against Japanese invaders with his cavalry.[19]

In the 12 century, Jurchen tribes began to violate the Goryeo-Jurchen borders, and eventually invaded Goryeo Korea. After experiencing the invasion by the Jurchen, Korean general Yun Gwan realized that Goryeo lacked efficient cavalry units. He reorganized the Goryeo military into a professional army that would contain decent and well-trained cavalry units. In 1107, the Jurchen were ultimately defeated, and surrendered to Yun Gwan. To mark the victory, General Yun built nine fortresses to the northeast of the Goryeo-Jurchen borders (동북 9성, 東北 九城).

The ancient Japanese of the Kofun period also adopted cavalry and equine culture by the 5th century AD.

South Asia

In the Indian subcontinent, cavalry played a major role from the Gupta Dynasty (320-600) period onwards. India has also the oldest evidence for the introduction of toe-stirrups.[citation needed]

Indian literature contains numerous references to the cavalry forces of the Central Asian horse nomads like the Sakas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Pahlavas and Paradas. Numerous Puranic texts refer to a conflict in ancient India (16th c. BC)[20] in which the cavalry forces of five nations, called five hordes (pañca.ganan) or Kśatriya hordes (Kśatriya ganah), attacked and captured the throne of Ayudhya by dethroning its VedicKing Bahu[21]

Manuscript illustration of the Battle of Kurukshetra
Coin of Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya, one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire during times referred to as the Golden Age of India

The Mahabharata, Ramayana, numerous Puranas and some foreign sources numerously attest that Kamboja cavalry was frequently requisitioned in ancient wars. V. R. Ramachandra Dikshitar writes: "Both the Puranas and the epics agree that the horses of the Sindhu and Kamboja regions were of the finest breed, and that the services of the Kambojas as cavalry troopers were requisitioned in ancient wars ".[22] J.A.O.S. writes: "Most famous horses are said to come either from Sindhu or Kamboja; of the latter (i.e the Kamboja), the Indian epic Mahabharata speaks among the finest horsemen" .[23]

Mahabharata (950 c BC)[24] speaks of the esteemed cavalry of the Kambojas, Sakas, Yavanas and Tusharas, all of whom had participated in the Kurukshetra war under the supreme command of Kamboja ruler Sudakshin Kamboj.[25] Mahabharata and Vishnudharmotari Purana especially styles the Kambojas, Yavansa, Gandharas etc. as "Ashva.yuddha.kushalah" (expert cavalrymen).[26] In the Mahabharata war, the Kamboja cavalry along with that of the Sakas, Yavanas is reported to have been enlisted by the Kuru king Duryodhana of Hastinapura.[27]

Herodotus (484 c BC–425 c BC) attests that the Gandarian mercenaries (i.e. Gandharans/Kambojans of Gandari Strapy of Achaemenids) from the 20th strapy of the Achaemenids were recruited in the army of emperor Xerxes I (486-465 BC), which he led against the Hellas.[28] Similarly, the men of the Mountain Land from north of Kabol-River equivalent to medieval Kohistan (Pakistan), figure in the army of Darius III against Alexander at Arbela with a cavalry and fifteen elephants.[29] This obviously refers to Kamboja cavalry south of Hindukush.

The Kambojas were famous for their horses, as well as cavalry-men (asva-yuddha-Kushalah).[30] On account of their supreme position in horse (Ashva) culture, they were also popularly known as Ashvakas, i.e. the "horsemen"[31] and their land was known as "Home of Horses".[32] They are the Assakenoi and Aspasioi of the Classical writings, and the Ashvakayanas and Ashvayanas in Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi. The Assakenoi had faced Alexander with 30,000 infantry, 20,000 cavalry and 30 war elephants.[33] Scholars have identified the Assakenoi and Aspasioi clans of Kunar and Swat valleys as a section of the Kambojas.[34] These hardy tribes had offered stubborn resistance to Alexander (326 c BC) during latter's campaign of the Kabul, Kunar and Swat valleys and had even extracted the praise of the Alexander's historians. These highlanders, designated as "parvatiya Ayudhajivinah" in Pāṇini's Astadhyayi,[35] were rebellious, fiercely independent and freedom-loving cavalrymen who never easily yielded to any overlord.[36]

The Sanskrit drama Mudra-rakashas by Visakha Dutta and the Jaina work Parisishtaparvan refer to Chandragupta's (320 C BC–298 c BC) alliance with Himalayan king Parvataka. The Himalayan alliance gave Chandragupta a formidable composite army made up of the cavalry forces of the Shakas, Yavanas, Kambojas, Kiratas, Parasikas and Bahlikas as attested by Mudra-Rakashas (Mudra-Rakshasa 2).[37] These hordes had helped Chandragupta Maurya defeat the ruler of Magadha and placed Vhandragupta on the throne, thus laying the foundations of Mauryan Dynasty in Northern India.

The cavalry of Hunas and the Kambojas is also attested in the Raghu Vamsa epic poem of Sanskrit poet Kalidasa.[38] Raghu of Kalidasa is believed to be Chandragupta II (Vikaramaditya) (375–413/15 AD), of the well-known Gupta Dynasty.

Crimean Tatar soldier fighting with the soldier of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Europe's steppe frontier was in a state of semi-permanent warfare until the 18th century.

As late as mediaeval era, the Kamboja cavalry had also formed part of the Gurjara-Pratihara armed forces in 8th/10th centuries AD. They had come to Bengal with the Pratiharas when the latter conquered part of the province.[39][40][41][42][43]

Ancient Kambojas were constituted into military Sanghas and Srenis (Corporations) to manage their political and military affairs, as Arthashastra of Kautiliya as well as the Mahabharata amply attest for us. They are attested to be living as Ayuddha-jivi or Shastr-opajivis (Nation-in-arms), which also means that the Kamboja cavalry offered its military services to other nations as well. There are numerous references to Kambojas having been requisitioned as cavalry troopers in ancient wars by outside nations.

European Middle Ages

Horse-mounted Normans fighting in the Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century.

Although Roman cavalry had no stirrups, their horned saddle allowed the combination of a firm seat with substantial flexibility. But the introduction of the wraparound saddle during the Middle Ages provided greater efficiency in mounted shock combat and the important invention of the stirrup enabled a broader array of attacks to be delivered from the back of a horse. As a greater weight of man and armor could be supported in the saddle, the probability of being dismounted in combat was significantly reduced.

In particular, a charge with the lance couched under the armpit would no longer turn into pole vaulting; this eventually led to an enormous increase in the impact of the charge. Last but not least, the introduction of spurs allowed better control of the mount during the "knightly charge" in full gallop. In western Europe there emerged what is considered the "ultimate" heavy cavalry, the knight. The knights and other similarly equipped mounted men-at-arms charged in close formation, exchanging flexibility for a massive, irresistible first charge.

A 13th century depiction of a riding horse. Note resemblance to the modern Paso Fino.
A Hussite war wagon: it enabled peasants to defeat knights

The mounted men-at-arms quickly became an important force in Western European tactics. Medieval military doctrine employed them as part of a combined-arms force along with various kinds of foot troops; however medieval chroniclers tended to pay undue attention to the knights at the expense of the rank and file, which led early students of military history to suppose that this heavy cavalry was the only force that mattered on medieval European battlefields, which was not the case.

Massed English longbowmen triumphed over French cavalry at Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt, while at Gisors (1188), Bannockburn (1314), and Laupen (1339), foot-soldiers proved their invulnerability to cavalry charges as long as they held their formation. Once the Swiss developed their pike squares for offensive as well as defensive use, infantry started to become the principal arm. This aggressive new doctrine gave the Swiss victory over a range of adversaries, and their enemies found that the only reliable way to defeat them was by the use of an even more comprehensive combined arms doctrine, as evidenced in the Battle of Marignano. The introduction of missile weapons that required less skill than the longbow, such as the crossbow and hand cannon, also helped remove the focus somewhat from cavalry elites to masses of cheap infantry equipped with easy-to-learn weapons. These missile weapons were very successfully used in the Hussite Wars, in combination with Wagenburg tactics.

This gradual rise in the dominance of infantry led to the adoption of dismounted tactics. From the earliest times knights and mounted men-at-arms had frequently dismounted to handle enemies they could not overcome on horseback, such as in the Battle of the Dyle (891) and the Battle of Bremule (1119), but after 1350s this trend became more marked with the dismounted men-at-arms fighting as super-heavy infantry with two-handed swords and poleaxes. In any case, warfare in the Middle Ages tended to be dominated by raids and sieges rather than pitched battles, and mounted men-at-arms rarely had any choice other than dismounting when faced with the prospect of assaulting a fortified position.

Renaissance Europe

Knighted cavalry and noblemen, painting by Jan van Eyck (ca. 1390-1441).

Ironically, the rise of infantry in the early 16th century coincided with the "golden age" of heavy cavalry; a French or Spanish army at the beginning of the century could have up to half its numbers made up of various kinds of light and heavy cavalry, whereas in earlier medieval and later 17th century armies the proportion of cavalry was seldom more than a quarter.

Knighthood largely lost its military functions and became more closely tied to social and economic prestige in an increasingly capitalistic Western society. With the rise of drilled and trained infantry, the mounted men-at-arms, now sometimes called gendarmes and often part of the standing army themselves, adopted the same role as in the Hellenistic age, that of delivering a decisive blow once the battle was already engaged, either by charging the enemy in the flank or attacking their commander-in-chief.

From the 1550s onwards, the use of gunpowder weapons solidified infantry's dominance of the battlefield and began to allow true mass armies to develop. This is closely related to the increase in the size of armies throughout the early modern period; heavily armored cavalrymen were expensive to raise and maintain and it took years to replace a skilled horseman or a trained horse, while arquebusiers and later musketeers could be trained and kept in the field at much lower cost, and were much easier to replace.

The Spanish tercio and later formations relegated cavalry to a supporting role. The pistol was specifically developed to try and bring cavalry back into the conflict, together with manoeuvres such as the caracole. The caracole was not particularly successful, however, and the charge (whether with sword, pistol, or lance) remained as the primary mode of employment for many types of European cavalry, although by this time it was delivered in much deeper formations and with greater discipline than before. The demi-lancers and the heavily armored sword-and-pistol reiters were among the types of cavalry whose heyday was in the 16th and 17th centuries, as for the Polish winged hussars, a heavy cavalry force that achieved great success against Swedes, Russians, and Turks.

18th-century Europe and Napoleonic Wars

Cavalry charge at Eylau, painted by Simon Fort.

Cavalry retained an important role in this age of regularization and standardization across European armies. First and foremost they remained the primary choice for confronting enemy cavalry. Attacking an unbroken infantry force head-on usually resulted in failure, but extended linear infantry formations were vulnerable to flank or rear attacks. Cavalry was important at Blenheim (1704), Rossbach (1757), Eylau and Friedland (1807), remaining significant throughout the Napoleonic Wars.

Massed infantry was deadly to cavalry, but offered an excellent target for artillery. Once the bombardment had disordered the infantry formation, cavalry were able to rout and pursue the scattered foot soldiers. It was not until individual firearms gained accuracy and improved rates of fire that cavalry was diminished in this role as well. Even then light cavalry remained an indispensable tool for scouting, screening the army's movements, and harassing the enemy's supply lines until military aircraft supplanted them in this role in the early stages of World War I.

The greatest cavalry charge of modern history was at the 1807 battle of Eylau, when the entire 11,000-strong French cavalry reserve, led by Maréchal Murat, launched a huge charge on and through the Russian infantry lines. The French horsemen also proved that cavalry could be a decisive element during the Peninsular War in Spain.

19th century

By the 19th century, European cavalry fell into four main categories:

The charge of the First Division's cavalry at the Battle of Carabobo.

There were cavalry variations for individual nations as well: France had the chasseurs à cheval; Germany had the Jäger zu Pferd; Bavaria had the Chevaulegers; and Russia had Cossacks. Britain's only cuirassiers were the Household Cavalry, but Dragoon Guards regiments were classed as heavy cavalry. In the United States Army the cavalry were almost always dragoons. The Imperial Japanese Army had its cavalry uniformed as hussars, but they fought as dragoons.

Union Cavalry capture Confederate guns at Culpepper.

In the early American Civil War the regular United States Army mounted rifle, dragoon, and two existing cavalry regiments were reorganized and renamed cavalry regiments, of which there were six. Over a hundred other federal and state cavalry regiments were organized, but the infantry played a much larger role in many battles due to its larger numbers, lower cost per rifle fielded, and much easier recruitment. However, cavalry saw a role as part of screening forces and in foraging and scouting. The later phases of the war saw the Federal army developing a truly effective cavalry force fighting as scouts, raiders, and, with repeating rifles, as mounted infantry.

Post Civil War, as the volunteer armies disbanded, the regular army cavalry regiments increased in number from six to ten, among them the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment of Little Bighorn fame, and the African-American U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment and U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment. These units, along with others (both cavalry and infantry), collectively became known as the Buffalo Soldiers. These regiments, which rarely took the field as complete organizations, served throughout the Indian Wars through the close of the frontier in the 1890s.

19th-century Imperial Expansion

Cavalry found new success in Imperial operations (irregular warfare), where modern weapons were lacking and the slow moving infantry-artillery train or fixed fortifications were often ineffective against native insurgents (unless the natives offered a fight on an equal footing, as at Tel-el-Kebir, Omdurman, etc.). Cavalry "flying columns" proved effective, or at least cost-effective, in many campaigns—although an astute native commander (like Samori in western Africa, Shamil in the Caucasus, or any of the better Boer commanders) could turn the tables and use the greater mobility of their cavalry to offset their relative lack of firepower compared to European forces.

The British Indian Army maintained about forty regiments of cavalry, officered by British and manned by Indian sowars (cavalrymen). The legendary exploits of this branch lives on in literature and early films. Among the more famous regiments in the lineages of modern Indian and Pakistani Armies are:

The charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman
  • Queen's Own Guides Cavalry (now partitioned between Pakistan and India).

Several of these formations are still active, though they now are armoured formations, for example Guides Cavalry in Pakistan.[44]

The French Army maintained substantial cavalry forces in Algeria and Morocco from 1830 until the Second World War. Much of the Mediterranean coastal terrain was suitable for mounted action and there was a long established culture of horsemanship amongst the Arab and Berber inhabitants. The French forces included Spahis, Chasseurs d' Afrique, Foreign Legion cavalry and mounted Goumiers.[45]

First World War

Pre-war developments

Italian cavalry officers practice their horsemanship in 1904 outside Rome.

At the beginning of the 20th century all armies still maintained substantial cavalry forces, although there was contention over whether their role should revert to that of mounted infantry (the historic dragoon function). Following the experience of the South African War of 1899-1902 (where mounted Boer citizen commandos fighting on foot from cover proved superior to regular cavalry) the British Army withdrew lances for all but ceremonial purposes and placed a new emphasis on training for dismounted action.

In 1908 however the six British lancer regiments in existence resumed use of this impressive but obsolete weapon for active service. In 1882 the Imperial Russian Army converted all its line hussar and lancer regiments to dragoons, with an emphasis on mounted infantry training. In 1910 these regiments reverted to their historic roles, designations and uniforms.

Cavalry during opening stages

Austro-Hungarian cavalry, 1898.
German Cavalryman in September 1914, German South-West Africa.

In August 1914 all combatant armies still retained substantial numbers of cavalry and the mobile nature of the opening battles on both Eastern and Western Fronts provided a number of instances of traditional cavalry actions, though on a smaller and more scattered scale than those of previous wars. The Imperial German Cavalry, while as colourful and traditional as any in peacetime appearance, had adopted a practice of falling back on infantry support when any substantial opposition was encountered. These cautious tactics aroused derision amongst their more conservative French and Russian opponents but proved appropriate to the new nature of warfare. A single attempt by the German army, on 12 August 1914, to use six regiments of massed cavalry to cut off the Belgian field army from Antwerp foundered when they were driven back in disorder by rifle fire[46]. Once the front lines stabilised, a combination of barbed wire, machine guns and rapid fire rifles proved deadly to horse mounted troops.

Cavalry in Europe 1915-18

For the remainder of the War on the Western Front cavalry had virtually no role to play. The British and French armies dismounted many of their cavalry regiments and used them in infantry and other roles: the Life Guards for example spent the last months of the War as a machine gun corps; and the Australian Light Horse served as light infantry during the Gallipoli campaign. In September 1914 cavalry comprised 9.28% of the total manpower of the British Expeditionary Force in France - by July 1918 this proportion had fallen to 1.65%.[47] The German Army dismounted nearly all their cavalry in the West.

French cuirassiers, wearing breastplates and helmets, parade through Paris on the way to battle, August 1914.

Some cavalry were retained as mounted troops behind the lines in anticipation of a penetration of the opposing trenches that it seemed would never come. Tanks, introduced on the Western Front in September 1916, had the capacity to achieve such breakthroughs but did not have the reliable range to exploit them. Since mounted troops were too vulnerable and slow moving to act in effective support of the new weapon, history recorded no significant role for cavalry in mechanized warfare, and post war planning in the allied nations replaced horse cavalry with mechanized cavalry.

In the wider spaces of the Eastern Front a more fluid form of warfare continued and there was still a use for mounted troops. Some wide-ranging actions were fought, again mostly in the early months of the war.[48] However, even here the value of cavalry was over-rated and the maintenance of large mounted formations at the front by the Russian Army put a major strain on the railway system, to little strategic advantage.[49]

Mounted troops in Middle East

In the Middle East, during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign mounted forces (British, Indian, Ottoman, Australian, Arab and New Zealand) retained an important role of the mounted infantry variety. In Egypt the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and Australian Light Horse drove German and Ottoman forces back from Romani to Magdhaba and Rafa and out of the Sinai Peninsular in 1916. In 1917, after a stalemate on the Gaza – Beersheba line, British Yeomanry and the Australian and New Zealand brigades made a coordinated attack with British Empire infantry divisions and drove two Ottoman armies back to the Jaffa – Jerusalem line, capturing Jerusalem. After a pause in operations necessitated by the Spring Offensive in 1918 on the Western Front and the successful breaching of the Ottoman line near the Mediterranean coast, the 4th, 5th Cavalry and Australian Mounted Divisions of the Desert Mounted Corps advanced to captured the 7th and 8th Ottoman Armies and occupy Damascus and Aleppo while the fourth division: the Anzac Mounted Division; captured the 4th Ottoman Army and occupied Es Salt and Amman.[50]

Post World War I

A combination of military conservatism in almost all armies and post-war financial constraints prevented the lessons of 1914-18 being acted on immediately. There was a general reduction in the number of cavalry regiments in the British, French, Italian and other Western armies but it was still argued with conviction (for example in the 1922 edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica) that mounted troops had a major role to play in future warfare. The 1920s saw an interim period during which cavalry remained as a proud and conspicuous element of all major armies, though much less so than prior to 1914.

Cavalry was extensively used in the Russian Civil War and the Soviet-Polish War. The last major cavalry battle was the Battle of Komarów in 1920, between Poland and the Russian Bolsheviks. Colonial warfare in Morocco, Syria, the Middle East and the North West Frontier of India provided some opportunities for mounted action against enemies lacking advanced weaponry.

The post-war German Army (Reichsheer) was permitted a large proportion of cavalry (18 regiments or 16.4% of total manpower) under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles. The U.S. Cavalry abandoned its sabres in 1934 and commenced the conversion of its horsed regiments to mechanized cavalry, starting with the First Regiment of Cavalry in January 1933.

In the British Army, all cavalry regiments were mechanised between 1929 and 1941, redefining their role from horse to armoured vehicles to form the Royal Armoured Corps together with the Royal Tank Regiment.

The thirty-nine regiments of the Indian Army were reduced to twenty-one as the result of a series of amalgamations immediately following World War I. The new establishment remained unchanged until 1936 when three regiments were redesignated as permanent training units, each with six, still mounted, regiments linked to them. In 1938 the process of mechanism began with the conversion of a full cavalry brigade (two Indian regiments and one British) to armoured car and tank units. By the end of 1940 all of the Indian cavalry had been mechanised, receiving light tanks, armoured cars or 15cwt trucks. The last horsed regiment of the Indian Army (other than the Viceregal Bodyguard and some Indian States Forces regiments) was the 19th King George's Own Lancers which had its last mounted parade at Rawalpindi on 28 October 1939. This unit still exists (though in the Pakistan Army) with an armour TOE.

During the 1930s the French Army experimented with integrating mounted and mechanised cavalry units into larger formations. Dragoon regiments were converted to motorised infantry (trucks and motor cycles), and cuirassiers to armoured units; while light cavalry (Chasseurs a' Cheval, Hussars and Spahis) remained as mounted sabre squadrons. The theory was that mixed forces comprising these diverse units could utilise the strengths of each according to circumstances. In practice mounted troops proved unable to keep up with fast moving mechanised units over any distance.

World War II

Polish cavalry galloping through a bombed town during the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

While most armies still maintained cavalry units at the outbreak of World War II in 1939, significant mounted action was largely restricted to the Polish, Balkan and Soviet campaigns.

A popular myth is that Polish cavalry armed with lances charged German tanks during the September 1939 campaign. This arose from misreporting of a single clash on 1 September near Krojanty, when two squadrons of the Polish 18th Lancers armed with sabres scattered German infantry before being caught in the open by German armoured cars.[51] Two examples illustrate how the myth developed. First, because motorised vehicles were in short supply, the Poles used horses to pull anti-tank weapons into position.[52] Second, there were a few incidents when Polish cavalry was trapped by German tanks, and attempted to fight free. However, this did not mean that the Polish army chose to attack tanks with horse cavalry.[53] Later, on the Eastern Front, the Red Army did deploy cavalry units effectively against the Germans.[54] (See also Polish cavalry.)

A more correct term should be "mounted infantry" instead of "cavalry", as horses were primarily used as a means of transportation, for which they were very suitable in view of the very poor road conditions in pre-war Poland. Another myth describes Polish cavalry as being armed with both sabres and lances; lances were used for peacetime ceremonial purposes only and the primary weapon of the Polish cavalryman in 1939 was a rifle. Individual equipment did include a sabre, probably because of well-established tradition, but in the case of a melee combat this secondary weapon would probably be more effective than a rifle and bayonet. Moreover, the Polish cavalry brigade order of battle of 1939 included, apart from the mounted soldiers themselves, light and heavy machine guns (wheeled), Anti-tank rifle, model 35, anti-aircraft weapon, artillery like Bofors 37 mm anti tank gun or light and scout tanks, etc. The last, in Europe, cavalry vs. cavalry mutual charge took place in Poland during the battle of Krasnobrod when the Polish and German cavalry units charged each other.

The Italian invasion of Greece in October 1940 saw mounted cavalry used effectively by the Greek defenders along the mountainous frontier with Albania. Three Greek cavalry regiments (two mounted and one partially mechanised) played an important role in the Italian defeat in this difficult terrain.[55]

By the final stages of the war only the Soviet Union was still fielding mounted units in substantial numbers, some in combined mechanized and horse units. The advantage of this approach was that in exploitation mounted infantry could keep pace with advancing tanks. Other factors favouring the retention of mounted forces included the high quality of Russian Cossacks and other horse cavalry; and the relative lack of roads suitable for wheeled vehicles in many parts of the Eastern Front. Another consideration was that the logistic capacity required to support very large motorised forces exceeded that necessary for mounted troops.

Romanian, Hungarian and Italian cavalry had been dispersed or disbanded following the retreat of the Axis forces from Russia. Germany still maintained some mounted (mixed with bicycles) SS and Cossack units until the last days of the War. 18th Indian Cavalry Regiment (later 18 Cavalry of Indian Army), fought in a dismounted role, in Tobruk as part of 9th Australian Division.

The U.S. Army's last horse cavalry actions were fought during World War II: a) by the 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS) in World War II - a small mounted regiment of Philippine Scouts which fought the Japanese during the retreat down the Bataan peninsula, until it was effectively destroyed by January 1942; and b) on captured German horses by the mounted reconnaissance section of the U.S. 10th Mountain Division in a spearhead pursuit of the German Army across the Po Valley in Italy in April 1945.[56] The last horsed U.S. Cavalry (the Second Cavalry Division) were dismounted in March 1944.

All British Army cavalry regiments had been mechanised since 1 March 1942 when the Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons (Yeomanry) was converted to a motorised role, following mounted service against the Vichy French in Syria the previous year. The final cavalry charge by British Empire forces occurred on 21 March 1942 when a 60 strong patrol of the Burma Frontier Force encountered Japanese infantry near Toungoo airfield in central Burma. The Sikh sowars of the Frontier Force cavalry, led by Captain Arthur Sandeman, charged in the old style with sabres and most were killed.

The last substantive and successful classical cavalry charge of the war - and the final such confirmed charge in history - was probably that made in August 1942 near Isbushensky on the Don river by a cavalry unit of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, or CSIR) on the Eastern Front. The 2nd squadron of the 3rd Dragoons Savoia Cavalleria Regiment of the Prince Amedeo Duke of Aosta Fast (Celere) Division, armed with sabres and hand grenades, outflanked an estimated 2,000 Soviet infantry while the remainder of the regiment took Isbushensky in a dismounted attack.[57][58]

Post World War II to present day

Polish PZL W-3 Sokół of the 66 Air Force Squadron, 25th Aeromobile Cavalry Brigade.

The Soviet Army retained horse cavalry divisions until 1955, and even at the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was an independent horse mounted cavalry squadron in Kyrgyzstan.[59]

While most modern "cavalry" units have some historic connection with formerly mounted troops this is not always the case. The modern Irish Defence Force (IDF) includes a "Cavalry Corps" equipped with Panhard armoured cars and Scorpion tracked combat reconnaissance vehicles. The IDF has never included horse cavalry since its establishment in 1922 (other than a small mounted escort drawn from the Artillery Corps when required for ceremonial occasions). However, the mystique of the cavalry is such that the name has been introduced for what was always a mechanised force.

United States Army Special Forces on horseback with the Northern Alliance of Afghanistan, which frequently used horses as military transport.

Some engagements in late 20th and early 21st century guerrilla wars involved mounted troops, particularly against partisan or guerrilla fighters in areas with poor transport infrastructure. Such units were not used as cavalry but rather as mounted infantry. Examples occurred in Afghanistan, Portuguese Africa and Rhodesia. The French Army used existing mounted squadrons of Spahis to a limited extent for patrol work during the Algerian War (1954–62) and the Swiss Army maintained a mounted dragoon regiment for combat purposes until 1973. There were reports of Chinese mounted troops in action during frontier clashes with Vietnam in the mid/late 1970s. The Portuguese Army used horse mounted cavalry with some success in the wars of independence in Angola and Mozambique in the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1964-79 Rhodesian Bush War the Rhodesian Army created an elite mounted infantry unit called Grey's Scouts to fight unconventional actions against the rebel forces of Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo. The horse mounted infantry of the Scouts were effective and reportedly feared by their opponents in the rebel African forces. In the 1978 to present Afghan Civil War period there have been several instances of horse mounted combat.

South and Central American armies maintained mounted cavalry for longer than those of Europe, Asia or North America. The Mexican Army included a number of horse mounted cavalry regiments as late as the mid 1990s and the Chilean Army had five such regiments in 1983 as mounted mountain troops (see Jane's "Armed Forces of Latin America" by Adrian J. English).

A number of armored regiments in the British Army retain the historic designations of Hussars, Dragoons, Dragoon Guards or Lancers. Only the Household Cavalry squadrons maintained for ceremonial duties in London are mounted.

Cavalry or mounted gendarmerie units continue to be maintained for purely or primarily ceremonial purposes by the United States, British, French, Italian, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Chilean, Portuguese, Moroccan, Nepalese, Nigerian, Venezuelan, Brazilian, Peruvian, Paraguayan, Polish, Argentine, Senegalese, Jordanian, Pakistani, Indian, Spanish and Bulgarian armed forces. The Army of the Russian Federation has recently reintroduced a ceremonial mounted squadron wearing historic uniforms.

The mounted President's Bodyguard of the Indian Army during a state visit by a foreign dignitary in New Delhi, India.

Several armored units of the modern United States Army retain the designation of "Armoured cavalry". The United States also had "air cavalry" units equipped with helicopters, though that designation has fallen out of use, with the term Air Assault coined for that mission and modern "cavalry" being retained for ground-based mobility. The Horse Cavalry Detachment of the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division is made up of active duty soldiers, still functions as an active unit, trained to approximate the weapons, tools, equipment and techniques used by the United States Cavalry in the 1880s.[60][61] In addition, the Parsons' Mounted Cavalry is a Reserve Officer Training Corps unit which forms part of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University.

The French Army still has regiments with the historic designations of Cuirassiers, Hussars, Chasseurs, Dragoons and Spahis. Only the cavalry of the Republican Guard and a ceremonial fanfare detachment of trumpeters for the cavalry/armoured branch as a whole are now mounted.

Cavalry of the French Republican Guard - May 8, 2005 celebrations

In the Canadian Army, a number of regular and reserve units have cavalry roots, including The Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal), the Governor General's Horse Guards, Lord Strathcona's Horse, the Royal Canadian Dragoons, and the South Alberta Light Horse. Of these, only the Lord Strathcona's Horse[62] and the Governor General's Horse Guards maintain an official ceremonial horse-mounted cavalry troop or squadron.[63]

Both the Australian and New Zealand armies follow the British practice of maintaining traditional titles (Light Horse or Mounted Rifles) for modern mechanised units. However, neither country retains a horse-mounted unit.

Today, the Indian Army's 61st Cavalry is reported to be the largest remaining non-ceremonial horse-mounted cavalry in the world.[64] It was raised in 1951 from the amalgamated state cavalry squadrons of Gwailior, Jodhpur, and Mysore. While primarily utilised for ceremonial purposes, the regiment can be deployed for internal security or police roles if required [65]. The 61st Cavalry and the President's Body Guard parade in full dress uniform in New Delhi each year in what is probably the largest assembly of traditional cavalry still to be seen in the world. Both the Indian and the Pakistani armies maintain armoured regiments with the titles of Lancers or Horse, dating back to the 19th century.

As of 2007 the Chinese People's Liberation Army employed two battalions of horse cavalry in Xinjing Military District for border patrol work (see website). In the wake of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, there have been calls to rebuild the army horse inventory for disaster relief in difficult terrain. Recent Chinese media reporting[66] confirms that the Chinese army maintains operational horse cavalry at squadron strength in the Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Light and armored cavalry

Alexander the Great using armoured cavalry, fighting Persian King Darius III

Historically, cavalry was divided into light and armoured cavalry and Horse archers. The differences were their role in combat, the size of the mount, and how much armor was worn by the mount and rider.

Early light cavalry (like the auxiliaries of the Roman army) were typically used to scout and skirmish, to cut down retreating infantry, and for defeating enemy missile troops. Armoured cavalry such as the Byzantine Cataphract were used as shock troops—they would charge the main body of the enemy and, in many cases, their actions decided the outcome of the battle, hence the later term "battle cavalry".[67]

During the Gunpowder Age, armored cavalry become obsolescent. However, many units retained cuirasses and helmets for their protective value against sword and bayonet strikes and the morale boost these provide to the wearers. By this time the main difference between light and battle cavalry was their training; the former was regarded as a tool for harassment and reconnaissance, while the latter was considered best for close-order charges.

Since the development of armored warfare the distinction between light and heavy armor has persisted basically along the same lines. Armored cars and light tanks have adopted the reconnaissance role while medium and heavy tanks are regarded as the decisive shock troops.

Social status

From the beginning of civilization to the 20th century, ownership of heavy cavalry horses has been a mark of wealth amongst settled peoples. A cavalry horse involves considerable expense in breeding, training, feeding, and equipment, and has very little productive use except as a mode of transport.

For this reason, and because of their often decisive military role, the cavalry has typically been associated with high social status. This was most clearly seen in the feudal system, where a lord was expected to enter combat armored and on horseback and bring with him an entourage of peasants on foot. If landlords and peasants came into conflict, the peasants would be ill-equipped to defeat armored knights.

A Trooper of the Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London

In later national armies, service as an officer in the cavalry was generally a badge of high social status. For instance prior to 1914 most officers of British cavalry regiments came from a socially privileged background and the considerable expenses associated with their role generally required private means, even after it became possible for officers of the line infantry regiments to live on their pay. Options open to poorer cavalry officers in the various European armies included service with less fashionable (though often highly professional) frontier or colonial units. These included the British Indian cavalry, the Russian Cossacks or the French Chasseurs d' Afrique.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries most monarchies maintained a mounted cavalry element in their royal or imperial guards. These ranged from small units providing ceremonial escorts and palace guards through to large formations intended for active service. The mounted escort of the Spanish Royal Household provided an example of the former and the twelve cavalry regiments of the Prussian Imperial Guard an example of the latter. In either case the officers of such units were likely to be drawn from the aristocracies of their respective societies.

On film

Some small sense of the noise and power of a cavalry charge can be gained from the 1970 film Waterloo, which featured some 2000 cavalrymen,[citation needed] some of them cossacks. It included detailed displays of the horsemanship required to manage animal and weapons in large numbers at the gallop (unlike the real battle of Waterloo, where deep mud significantly slowed the horses).[68] The Gary Cooper movie They Came to Cordura contains an excellent scene of a cavalry regiment deploying from march to battleline formation. A smaller-scale cavalry charge can be seen in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003); although the finished scene has substantial computer-generated imagery, raw footage and reactions of the riders are shown in the Extended Version DVD Appendices.

Some cavalry forces

Some contemporary horse cavalry officers

See also


  1. ^ p.4, Rodger
  2. ^ p.1, Menon
  3. ^
  4. ^ The raised rear part of a saddle
  5. ^ p.239, Muir
  6. ^ tradition of al-furusiyya is defined by principles of horsemanship, chivalry, and the mutual dependence of the rider and the horse
  7. ^ This needs a re-write—the chronology is all over the place.
  8. ^ Ebrey, 29-30.
  9. ^ a b Ebrey, 30.
  10. ^ Ebrey, 29.
  11. ^ Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 41.
  12. ^ Peers, 130.we can right anything
  14. ^ "The stirrup - history of Chinese science." UNESCO Courier, October, 1988
  15. ^ "The invention and influences of stirrup"
  16. ^ Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 322.
  17. ^ Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 305.
  18. ^ Ebrey, 120.
  19. ^ Lee, Peter H & Wm. Theodore De Bary. Sources of Korean Tradition, page 24-26. Columbia University Press, 1997.
  20. ^ p. 182–183, Pargiter.
  21. ^ Harivamsa 14.1–19; Vayu Purana 88.127–43; Brahma Purana (8.35–51); Brahamanda Purana (3.63.123–141); Shiva Purana (7.61.23); Vishnu Purana (5.3.15–21), Padama Purana (6.21.16–33) etc.
  22. ^ War in Ancient India, 1944, p 178, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshtar - Military art and science.
  23. ^ Journal of American Oriental society, 1889, p 257, American Oriental Society; The Social and Military Position of the Ruling Caste in Ancient India: As ..., 1972, p 201, Edward Washburn Hopkins - Caste; Mahabharata 10.18.13; cf: Ancient Indian Civilization, 1985, p 120, Grigoriĭ Maksimovich Bongard-Levin - History; Cf also: A History of Zoroastrianism, 1991, p 129, Mary Boyce, Frantz Grenet.
  24. ^ p.182, Pargiter
  25. ^ MBH 1.185.13; Felicitation Volume Presented to Professor Sripad Krishna Belvalkar, 1957, p 260, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Shripad Krishna Belvalkar.
  26. ^ Ashva.yuddha.kushalah: Mahabharata 7.7.14; See also: Vishnudharmotra Purana, Part II, Chapter 118; Post Gupta Polity (AD 500–700): A Study of the Growth of Feudal Elements and Rural Administration 1972, p 136, Ganesh Prasad Sinha; Wisdom in the Puranas 1969, p 64, professor Sen Sarma etc.
  27. ^ Some Kṣatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 238, Dr B. C. Law - Kshatriyas; The Battle of Kurukshetra, 1987, p 389, Maggi Lidchi-Grassi - Kurukshetra (India).
  28. ^ Herodotus, Book VII 65, 70, 86, 187.
  29. ^ History of Persian Empire, p 232, Dr A. M. Olmstead; Arrian's Anabasis III, 8.3-6; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 216, Dr Raychaudhury.
  30. ^ Ashva.yuddha.kushalah: Mahabharata 7.7.14 Kumbhakonam Edition; See also: Vishnudharmotra Purana, Part II, Chapter 118; Post Gupta Polity (AD 500–700): A Study of the Growth of Feudal Elements and Rural Administration 1972, p 136, Ganesh Prasad Sinha; Wisdom in the Puranas 1969, p 64, prof Sen Sarma; etc.; Kashmir Polity, C. 600-1200 A.D. 1986, p 237, V. N. Drabu - Political Science.
  31. ^ Hindu Polity: A Constitutional History of India in Hundu Times, 1943, p 145, Dr K. P. Jayaswal.
  32. ^ i.e: Kambojo assa.nam ayata.nam. See: Samangalavilasini, Vol I, p 124; See also: Historie du Bouddhisme Indien, p 110, E. Lamotte; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133 fn 6, pp 216-20, Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee; Some Kṣatriya Tribes of Ancient India, 1924, p 238, Dr B. C. - Kshatriyas; Studies in Indian History and Civilization, 1962, p 351, Dr Buddha Prakash - India.
  33. ^ Age of the Nandas and Mauryas, 1967, p 49, Dr K. A. Nilakanta Sastri.
  34. ^ "Par ailleurs le Kamboja est régulièrement mentionné comme la "patrie des chevaux" (Asvanam ayatanam), et cette reputation bien etablie gagné peut-etre aux eleveurs de chevaux du Bajaur et du Swat l'appellation d'Aspasioi (du v.-p. aspa) et d’assakenoi (du skt asva "cheval")" (See: Historie du Bouddhisme Indien, p 110, E. Lamotte; See also: Hindu Polity, A Contitutional History of India in Hindu Times, 1978, p 140, Dr K. P. Jayswal; Political History of Ancient India, 1996, p 133 fn 6, pp 216–20, (Also Commentary, op. cit., p 576, fn 22), Dr H. C. Raychaudhury, Dr B. N. Mukerjee;; History of Indian Buddhism: From the Origins to the Saka Era, 1988, p 100 - History; East and West, 1950, pp 28, 157–58, Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente, Editor, Prof Giuseppe Tucci, Co-editors Prof Mario Bussagli, Prof Lionello Lanciotti; Panjab Past and Present, pp 9–10, Dr Buddha Parkash; Raja Poros, 1990, Publication Buareau, Punjabi University, Patiala; History of Panjab, Vol I, (Editors): Dr Fauja Singh, Dr L. M. Josh, Publication Bureau, Panjabi University, Patiala; History of Poros, 1967, p 89, Dr Buddha Prakash; Ancient Kamboja, People and country, 1981, pp 271–72, 278, Dr J. L. Kamboj; These Kamboj People, 1979, pp 119, 192; Kambojas, Through the Ages, 2005, pp 129, 218–19, S Kirpal Singh etc.
  35. ^ Ashtadhyayi 4.3.91; India as Known to Pāṇini, 1953, pp 424, 436–39, 455–457, Dr V. S. Aggarwala.
  36. ^ See: History of Punjab, Vol I, 1997, p 225, Dr Buddha Prakash; Raja Poros, 1990, p 9, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University Patiala.
  37. ^ In Sanskrit:
    asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parasika-Bahlika parbhutibhih
    Chankyamatipragrahittaishcha Chandergupta Parvateshvara
    balairudidhibhiriva parchalitsalilaih samantaad uprudham Kusumpurama
    (Mudra-Rakshasa 2).
  38. ^ Kālidāsa, 1960, p 141, Raghunath Damodar Karmarkar.
  39. ^ Indian Historical Quarterly, XV-4, December, 1939, p 511 Dr H. C. Ray.
  40. ^ History of Ancient Bengal, 1971, pp 182–83, Dr R. C. Majumdar.
  41. ^ Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 625.
  42. ^ Dynastic History of Magadha, 1977, p 208.
  43. ^ Epigraphia Indiaca, XVIII, p 304ff.
  45. ^ L'Armee d'Afrique 1830-1962, General R. Hure, Paris-Limogues 1977
  46. ^ R Pawly, pages 10-11, "The Belgian Army in World War I", ISBN 976 1 84603 448 0
  47. ^ page 212, The Oxford History of the British Army, ISBN 0-19-285333-3
  48. ^ First World War - Willmott, H.P., Dorling Kindersley, 2003
  49. ^ Stone, Norman (1975). The Eastern Front 1914-17. Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-684-14492-1. 
  50. ^ Falls, Cyril; G. MacMunn and A. F. Beck (Maps) (1930). Military Operations Egypt & Palestine from the outbreak of war with Germany to June 1917. Official History of the Great War Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence. 1 and 2 Parts I and II. London: HM Stationary Office. OCLC 644354483, 256950972 610273484, 644354483, 256950972. 
  51. ^ Zaloga, S. J. (1983). The Polish Army 1939-45. London: Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-417-4. 
  52. ^ Time Staff (April 22, 1940). "The New Pictures". Time.,9171,763905-1,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  53. ^ Davies God's Playground Volume II pp. 324-325
  54. ^ Davies God's Playground Volume II p. 325
  55. ^ "The Armed Forces of World War II 1914-1945, Andrew Mollo, ISBN 0-85613-296-9
  56. ^ Personal memoirs of Colonel Ernest Neal Cory, Jr., Esquire
  57. ^ Dr Jeffrey T. Fowler, "page 45 "Axis Cavalry in World War II", ISBN 1-84176-323-3
  58. ^ Nicholas Farrell (October 31, 1998). "Sabres for savoy". The Spectator. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  59. ^ Carey Schofield, Inside the Soviet Army, Headline, 1991, p.133-134
  60. ^ First Team! Horse Cavalry Detachment
  61. ^ Hubbell, Gary. "21st Century Horse Soldiers." Western Horseman, December 2006, pp. 45-50
  62. ^
  63. ^ The Honours, Flags, and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces
  64. ^ India Polo Magazine
  65. ^ Henry Dallal, "Horse Warriors - India's 61st Cavalry", ISBN 10 0954408314
  66. ^ Global Times 20 November 2009 and Xinhua News Agency 22 August 2011
  67. ^ p.490, Lynn
  68. ^ Waterloo Film review by Major J G H Corrigan. Accessed 2008-02-07.


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  • Cavalry — Cav al*ry, n. [F. cavalerie, fr. It. cavalleria. See {Cavalier}, and cf. {chivalry}.] (Mil.) That part of military force which serves on horseback. [1913 Webster] Note: {Heavy cavalry} and {light cavalry} are so distinguished by the character of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cavalry — 1540s, from M.Fr. cavalerie (16c.), from It. cavalleria mounted militia, from cavaliere (see CAVALIER (Cf. cavalier)). An O.E. word for it was horshere …   Etymology dictionary

  • cavalry — [n] troops riding horses army, bowlegs*, chasseurs, cuirassiers, dragoons, horse, horse soldiers, hussars, lancers, mounted troops, Mounties, rangers, squadron, uhlans; concept 322 …   New thesaurus

  • cavalry — ► NOUN (pl. cavalries) (usu. treated as pl. ) ▪ soldiers who fight on horses or in armoured vehicles. DERIVATIVES cavalryman noun. ORIGIN Italian cavalleria, from cavallo horse …   English terms dictionary

  • cavalry — [kav′əl rē] n. pl. cavalries [Fr cavalerie < It cavalleria < cavaliere: see CAVALIER] combat troops mounted originally on horses but now often riding in motorized armored vehicles cavalryman [kav′əl rēmən] n. cavalrymen [kav′əl rēmən] …   English World dictionary

  • cavalry — /kav euhl ree/, n., pl. cavalries. 1. Mil. a. the part of a military force composed of troops that serve on horseback. b. mounted soldiers collectively. c. the motorized, armored units of a military force organized for maximum mobility. 2.… …   Universalium

  • cavalry — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. horse soldiers, horsemen, dragoons, hussars; armored or mechanized cavalry. See combatant. II (Roget s IV) n. Syn. hussars, dragoons, rangers, light cavalry, heavy cavalry, air cavalry, Cossacks,… …   English dictionary for students

  • cavalry — [[t]kæ̱v(ə)lri[/t]] 1) N SING The cavalry is the part of an army that uses armoured vehicles for fighting. The Cavalry were exercising on Salisbury Plain. ...the US Army s 1st Cavalry Division. 2) N SING The cavalry is the group of soldiers in an …   English dictionary

  • cavalry — n. 1) to commit cavalry 2) heavy; light cavalry * * * [ kæv(ə)lrɪ] light cavalry heavy to commit cavalry …   Combinatory dictionary

  • cavalry — cav|al|ry [ kævəlri ] noun uncount in the past, the part of an army consisting of soldiers who rode horses a. used in the names of some groups in modern armies: the Queen s Household Cavalry the cavalry HUMOROUS people who come and solve all your …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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