Cavalry (from French cavalerie, cf. cheval 'horse') or horsemen were
soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback.
historically the most mobile of the combat arms. An individual soldier
in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as
cavalryman, horseman, dragoon or trooper. The designation of cavalry
was not usually given to any military forces that used other animals,
such as camels, mules or elephants.
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.
Cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, and 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 speed, 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, although 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 motorized infantry and mechanized infantry units, or
reformed as tank troops. However, some cavalry still served during
War II, notably in the Red Army, the Mongolian People's Army,
the Royal Italian Army, the Romanian Army, the Polish Land Forces, and
light reconnaissance units within the Waffen SS. 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. Modern usage of the term generally refers
to specialist units equipped with tanks ("armored cavalry") or
aircraft ("air cavalry").
1 Role of cavalry
2.2 Ancient Greece: city-states, Thebes,
Thessaly and Macedonia
Roman Republic and Early Empire
Roman Empire and the Migration Period
2.5.1 Central Asia
188.8.131.52 Khanates of Central Asia
2.5.2 East Asia
2.5.4 South Asia
2.6 European Middle Ages
2.7 Greater Middle East
2.7.3 Maratha Empire
2.7.7 Ottoman Empire
2.7.8 Mughal Empire
2.8 Renaissance Europe
2.9 18th-century Europe and Napoleonic Wars
2.10 19th century
2.10.2 United States
2.10.3 Franco-Prussian War
2.10.4 Imperial expansion
2.11 First World War
2.11.1 Pre-war developments
2.11.2 Opening stages
2.11.3 Europe 1915–18
2.11.4 Middle East
2.13.5 Other Axis
2.13.7 United States
2.13.8 British Empire
War II to present day
2.14.1 Operational horse cavalry
2.14.2 Ceremonial horse cavalry and armored cavalry retaining
2.14.3 Non-combat support roles
4 Light and heavy cavalry
5 Social status
6 On film
7 Some cavalry forces
8 Some distinguished historic or contemporary horse cavalrymen
9 See also
12 External links
Role of cavalry
African horseman of Baguirmi in full padded armour suit
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.
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. 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 the
Assyrian army 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.
Parthian horseman, now on display at the Palazzo Madama, Turin.
The photograph above left 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. By the 4th century BC the Chinese during the
Warring States period
Warring States period (403–221 BC) began to use cavalry against
rival states, and by 331 BC when
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great defeated the
Persians the use of chariots in battle was obsolete in most nations;
despite a few ineffective attempts to revive scythed chariots.
However, 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
Roman conquest of Britain a century later
chariots were obsolete, even in Britannia. The last mention of chariot
use in battle was by the Caledonians at the Mons Graupius, in 84 AD.
Ancient Greece: city-states, Thebes,
Thessaly and Macedonia
Warrior's departure; an Athenian amphora dated 550–540 BC.
Main articles: hippeis and companion cavalry
During the classical Greek period cavalry were usually limited to
those citizens who could afford expensive war-horses. Three types of
cavalry became common: light cavalry, whose riders, armed with
javelins, could harass and skirmish; heavy cavalry, whose troopers,
using lances, had the ability to close with their opponents; and
finally those whose equipment allowed them to fight either on
horseback or foot. The role of horsemen did however remain secondary
to that of the hoplites or heavy infantry who comprised the main
strength of the citizen levies of the various city states.
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
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
particular advocated the creation of a small but well-trained cavalry
force; to that end, he wrote several manuals on horsemanship and
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 of
Macedon and Alexander the Great. In addition
to these heavy cavalry, the Macedonian 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. These wore leather armour
or mail plus a helmet. They were medium rather than heavy cavalry,
meaning that they were better suited to be scouts, skirmishers, and
pursuers rather than front line fighters. This combination of cavalry
and infantry helped to break enemy lines and were used effectively to
dominate the opponents of the kingdom.
The effectiveness of this combined-arms system was most dramatically
demonstrated in Alexander's conquest of Persia, Bactria, and
Roman Republic and Early Empire
Main article: Roman cavalry
Tombstone of a Roman auxiliary trooper from Cologne, Germany. Second
half of the 1st century 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. The weakness of
Roman cavalry was demonstrated by
Hannibal Barca during the Second Punic
War where he used his superior
mounted forces to win several battles. The most notable of these was
Battle of Cannae, where he inflicted a catastrophic defeat on the
Romans. 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
Julius Caesar had a high opinion of his escort of Germanic
mixed cavalry, giving rise to the Cohortes Equitatae. Early emperors
maintained an ala of Batavian cavalry as their personal 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 should be
underestimated, 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. On
Roman cavalry 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 undertake a similar reform. Nonetheless, the Romans
would continue to rely mainly on their heavy infantry supported by
Reenactor as a Roman auxiliary cavalryman.
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
The most widespread employment of heavy cavalry at this time was found
in the forces of the
Parthians and their Iranian Sasanian successors.
Both, but especially the former, 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 Roman–Persian
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.
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, 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.
Roman cavalry tradition of organized units in a standing army
differed fundamentally from the nobility of the Germanic invaders -
individual warriors who could afford to provide their own horses and
equipment. While there was no direct linkage with these predecessors
the early medieval knight also developed as a member of a social and
martial elite, able to meet the considerable expenses required by his
role from grants of land and other incomes.
Mongol military tactics and organization
Mongol military tactics and organization and Mongol
Modern reenactment of
Mongol military movement
Xiongnu, Tujue, Avars, Kipchaks, Mongols, Don
Cossacks and the various
Turkic peoples are also examples of the horse-mounted groups 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.
Mongols at war 14th century
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. Tibetans also had a tradition of cavalry warfare,
in several military engagements with the Chinese
Tang dynasty (618 –
Khanates of Central Asia
Mongol mounted archer of Genghis Khan late 12th century.
Tatar vanguard in
Eastern Europe 13th-14th centuries.
Further information: Horses in East Asian warfare
Eastern Han glazed ceramic statue of a horse with bridle and halter
headgear, from Sichuan, late 2nd century to early 3rd century AD
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.
A bas-relief of a soldier and horse with saddle and stirrups, from the
tomb of Chinese
Emperor Taizong of Tang
Emperor Taizong of Tang (r. 626–649), c. 650
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). 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. The handheld
pistol-and-trigger crossbow was invented in
China in the 4th century
BC; 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.
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,
Dayuan were hoarding 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. 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.
Battle of Ichi-no-Tani, Japanese cavalry moving down a
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. The cavalry of Goguryeo, one of the
Three Kingdoms of Korea, were called Gaemamusa (개마무사,
鎧馬武士), and were renowned as a fearsome heavy cavalry force.
King Gwanggaeto the Great often led expeditions into the Baekje, Gaya
Later Yan and against Japanese invaders with his
cavalry. In the 12th 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
Goryeo lacked efficient cavalry units. He reorganized
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).
A mounted samurai with bow & arrows, wearing a horned helmet.
The ancient Japanese of the
Kofun period also adopted cavalry and
equine culture by the 5th century AD. The emergence of the samurai
aristocracy led to the development of armoured horse archers,
themselves to develop into charging lancer cavalry as gunpowder
weapons rendered bows obsolete.
An example is Yabusame (流鏑馬?), a type of mounted archery in
traditional Japanese archery. An archer on a running horse shoots
three special "turnip-headed" arrows successively at three wooden
This style of archery has its origins at the beginning of the Kamakura
period. Minamoto no Yoritomo became alarmed at the lack of archery
skills his samurai had. He organized yabusame as a form of practice.
Currently, the best places to see yabusame performed are at the
Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū in Kamakura and Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto
(during Aoi Matsuri in early May). It is also performed in Samukawa
and on the beach at Zushi, as well as other locations.
Kasagake or Kasakake (笠懸, かさがけ lit. "hat shooting") is a
type of Japanese mounted archery. In contrast to yabusame, the types
of targets are various and the archer shoots without stopping the
horse. While yabusame has been played as a part of formal ceremonies,
kasagake has developed as a game or practice of martial arts, focusing
on technical elements of horse archery.
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.
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 century BC) in which the cavalry forces of
five nations, called five hordes (pañca.ganan) or Kṣatriya hordes
(Kṣatriya ganah), attacked and captured the throne of Ayudhya by
dethroning its Vedic King Bahu
Manuscript illustration of the
Battle of Kurukshetra
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
cavalry troopers were requisitioned in ancient wars". 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".
Chandragupta II or Vikramaditya, one of the most powerful
emperors of the Gupta empire during times referred to as the Golden
Age of India
Rajput warrior on horseback.
Mahabharata (950 c BC) 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
Mahabharata and Vishnudharmotari Purana especially styles the
Kambojas, Yavansa, Gandharas etc. as "Ashva.yuddha.kushalah" (expert
cavalrymen). 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.
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. 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. This
obviously refers to Kamboja cavalry south of Hindukush.
Kambojas were famous for their horses, as well as cavalry-men
(asva-yuddha-Kushalah). On account of their supreme position in
horse (Ashva) culture, they were also popularly known as Ashvakas,
i.e. the "horsemen" and their land was known as "Home of
Horses". They are the
Aspasioi of the Classical
writings, and the Ashvakayanas and Ashvayanas in Pāṇini's
Assakenoi had faced Alexander with 30,000 infantry,
20,000 cavalry and 30 war elephants. Scholars have identified the
Aspasioi clans of Kunar and Swat valleys as a section of
the Kambojas. 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, were rebellious, fiercely independent
and freedom-loving cavalrymen who never easily yielded to any
Sanskrit drama Mudra-rakashas by Visakha Dutta and the Jaina work
Parishishtaparvan 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). These hordes had
Chandragupta Maurya defeat the ruler of
Magadha and placed
Chandragupta 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. Raghu of
believed to be
Chandragupta II (Vikaramaditya) (375–413/15 AD), of
the well-known Gupta Dynasty.
As late as mediaeval era, the Kamboja cavalry had also formed part of
Pratihara armed forces from the 8th to the 10th centuries
AD. They had come to
Bengal with the Pratiharas when the latter
conquered part of the province.
Kambojas were constituted into military Sanghas and Srenis
(Corporations) to manage their political and military affairs, as
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
Kambojas having been requisitioned as cavalry troopers
in ancient wars by outside nations.
European Middle Ages
See also: Horses in the Middle Ages
Normans charging in the Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century.
As the quality and availability of heavy infantry declined in Europe
with the fall of the Roman Empire, heavy cavalry became more
Infantry that lack the cohesion and discipline of tight
formations are more susceptible to being broken and scattered by shock
combat — the main role of heavy cavalry, which rose to the dominate
force on the European battlefield.
As heavy cavalry increased in importance, it became the main focus of
military development. The arms and armour for heavy cavalry increased,
the high-backed saddle developed, and stirrups and spurs were added,
increasing the advantage of heavy cavalry even more.
This shift in military importance was reflected in society as well;
knights took centre stage both on and off the battlefield. These are
considered the "ultimate" in heavy cavalry: well-equipped with the
best weapons, state-of-the-art armour from head to foot, leading with
the lance in battle in a full-gallop, close-formation "knightly
charge" that might prove irresistible, winning the battle almost as
soon as it begun.
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
But knights remained the minority of total available combat forces;
the expense of arms, armour, and horses was only affordable to a
select few. While mounted men-at-arms focused on a narrow combat role
of shock combat, medieval armies relied on a large variety of foot
troops to fulfill all the rest (skirmishing, flank guards, scouting,
holding ground, etc.). Medieval chroniclers tended to pay undue
attention to the knights at the expense of the common soldiers, which
led early students of military history to suppose that heavy cavalry
was the only force that mattered on medieval European battlefields.
But well-trained and disciplined infantry could defeat knights.
Massed English longbowmen triumphed over French cavalry at Crécy,
Poitiers and Agincourt, while at Gisors (1188), Bannockburn (1314),
and Laupen (1339), foot-soldiers proved they could resist 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
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 the 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.
Greater Middle East
Religious war and Muslim conquests
Mobile guard and List of battles of Muhammad
Arab camel cavalry
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad made use of cavalry in many of his
military campaigns including the Expedition of Dhu Qarad, and the
expedition of Zaid ibn Haritha in al-Is which took place in September,
627 AD, 5th month of 6 AH of the Islamic calendar.
Arab mounted forces under the
comprised a light cavalry armed with lance and sword. Its main role
was to attack the enemy flanks and rear. These relatively lightly
armored horsemen formed the most effective element of the Muslim
armies during the later stages of the Islamic conquest of the Levant.
The best use of this lightly armed fast moving cavalry was revealed at
Battle of Yarmouk (636 AD) in which Khalid ibn Walid, knowing the
skills of his horsemen, used them to turn the tables at every critical
instance of the battle with their ability to engage, disengage, then
turn back and attack again from the flank or rear. A strong cavalry
regiment was formed by
Khalid ibn Walid
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.
Battle of Talas in 751 AD was a conflict between the
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, a code of conduct that included
values like courage and generosity but also doctrine of cavalry
tactics, horsemanship, archery and treatment of wounds.
Main article: Mamluk
The Islamic Berber states of North Africa employed elite horse mounted
cavalry armed with spears and following the model of the original Arab
occupiers of the region. Horse-harness and weapons were manufactured
locally and the six-monthly stipends for horsemen were double those of
their infantry counterparts. During the 8th century Islamic conquest
of Iberia large numbers of horses and riders were shipped from North
Africa, to specialise in raiding and the provision of support for the
massed Berber footmen of the main armies.
A Moroccan with his
Arabian horse along the Barbary coast.
Main article: Song of Roland
Qizilbash and Zamburak
Qizilbash, were a class of Safavid militant warriors in
the 15th to 18th centuries, who often fought as elite
Manikin of a Safavid Qizilbash, showing characteristic red cap
(Sa'dabad Palace, Tehran).
Sipahi and Akinci
Akinci of the Balkans.
Ottoman Ghazi cavalrymen during the
Battle of Nicopolis.
Main articles: Sowar, Zamburak, Howdah, Mahout, and
The Mughal armies (lashkar) were primarily a cavalry force. The elite
corps were the ahadi who provided direct service to the Emperor and
acted as guard cavalry. Supplementary cavalry or dakhilis were
recruited, equipped and paid by the central state. This was in
contrast to the tabinan horsemen who were the followers of individual
noblemen. Their training and equipment varied widely but they made up
the backbone of the Mughal cavalry. Finally there were tribal
irregulars led by and loyal to tributary chiefs. These included
Hindus, Afghans and Turks summoned for military service when their
autonomous leaders were called on by the Imperial government.
Akbar leads the
Mughal Army during a campaign.
Knighted cavalry and noblemen, painting by
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck (c.
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.
Husarz (Polish Hussar) by Józef Brandt.
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 to 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 Jean-Antoine-Siméon 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
Cavalry was important at Blenheim (1704), Rossbach (1757),
Eylau and Friedland (1807), remaining significant throughout the
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. However, in 1815 at the
Battle of Waterloo, repeated
charges by up to 9,000 French cavalrymen failed to break the line of
the British and German infantry, who had formed squares.
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
The charge of the Venezuelan First Division's cavalry at the
By the 19th century, European cavalry fell into four main categories:
Cuirassiers, heavy cavalry
Dragoons, originally mounted infantry but later regarded as medium
Hussars, light cavalry
Lancers or Uhlans, light cavalry armed with lances
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, from the
mid-18th century, had
Light Dragoons as light cavalry and Dragoons,
Dragoon Guards and
Household Cavalry as heavy cavalry. Only after the
end of the Napoleonic wars were the
Household Cavalry equipped with
cuirasses, and some other regiments were converted to lancers. In the
United States Army
United States Army the cavalry were almost always dragoons. The
Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army had its cavalry uniformed as hussars, but they
fought as dragoons.
In the Crimean War, the
Charge of the Light Brigade
Charge of the Light Brigade and the Thin Red
Line at the
Battle of Balaclava showed the vulnerability of cavalry,
when deployed without effective support.
Union Cavalry capture Confederate guns at Culpepper.
In the early American Civil
War the regular
United States Army
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. The
distinguished 1st Virginia
Cavalry ranks as one of the most effectual
and successful cavalry units on the Confederate side. Noted cavalry
commanders included Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart, Nathan Bedford
Forrest, and John Singleton Mosby (a.k.a. "The Grey Ghost") and on the
Philip Sheridan and George Armstrong Custer. Post
Civil War, as the volunteer armies disbanded, the regular army cavalry
regiments increased in number from six to ten, among them Custer's
U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment
U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment of Little Bighorn fame, and the
U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment
U.S. 9th Cavalry Regiment and U.S. 10th Cavalry
Regiment. The black units, along with others (both cavalry and
infantry), collectively became known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
According to Robert M. Utley:
the frontier army was a conventional military force trying to control,
by conventional military methods, a people that did not behave like
conventional enemies and, indeed, quite often were not enemies at all.
This is the most difficult of all military assignments, whether in
Africa, Asia, or the American West.
These regiments, which rarely took the field as complete
organizations, served throughout the American Indian
Wars through the
close of the frontier in the 1890s. Volunteer cavalry regiments like
Rough Riders consisted of horsemen such as cowboys, ranchers and
other outdoorsmen, that served as a cavalry in the United States
Monument to the Spanish
Regiment of light cavalry of Alcántara
During the Franco-Prussian War, at the
Battle of Mars-la-Tour in 1870,
a Prussian cavalry brigade decisively smashed the centre of the French
battle line, after skilfully concealing their approach. This event
became known as Von Bredow's Death Ride after the brigade commander
Adalbert von Bredow; it would be used in the following decades to
argue that massed cavalry charges still had a place on the modern
Cavalry found a new role in colonial campaigns (irregular warfare),
where modern weapons were lacking and the slow moving
infantry-artillery train or fixed fortifications were often
ineffective against indigenous insurgents (unless the latter 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 with
In 1903 the
British Indian Army
British Indian Army maintained forty regiments of cavalry,
numbering about 25,000 Indian sowars (cavalrymen), with British and
Among the more famous regiments in the lineages of the modern Indian
and Pakistani armies are:
The charge of the 21st Lancers at Omdurman
Governor General's Bodyguard
Governor General's Bodyguard (now President's Bodyguard)
Horse (now India's 1st
Horse (Skinner's Horse))
Gardner's Lancers (now India's 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse))
Horse (now India's 3rd
Horse (Hodson's)) of the Bengal
Cavalry (later amalgamated with
7th Hariana Lancers to form
18th King Edward's Own Cavalry) now
18th Cavalry of the Indian Army
Horse (now 5 Horse, Pakistan)
Horse (now India's The Deccan Horse)
Horse (now India's The Poona Horse)
Horse (now India's The Scinde Horse)
Guides Cavalry (now Pakistan).
11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force)
11th Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry (Frontier Force) (now 11
Cavalry (Frontier Force), Pakistan)
Several of these formations are still active, though they now are
armoured formations, for example the
Guides Cavalry in Pakistan.
French Army maintained substantial cavalry forces in Algeria and
Morocco from 1830 until the end of 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. Both
Spain and Italy raised cavalry regiments from amongst the indigenous
horsemen of their North African territories (see regulares, Italian
Spahis and savari respectively).
Imperial Germany employed mounted formations in South West Africa as
part of the
Schutztruppen (colonial army) garrisoning the
First World War
Italian cavalry officers practice their horsemanship in 1904 outside
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 more effective than 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.
By 1909 official regulations dictating the role of the Imperial German
cavalry had been revised to indicate an increasing realization of the
realities of modern warfare. The massive cavalry charge in three waves
which had previously marked the end of annual maneuvers was
discontinued and a new emphasis was placed in training on scouting,
raiding and pursuit; rather than main battle involvement.
In spite of significant experience in mounted warfare in Morocco
during 1908-14, the French cavalry remained a highly conservative
institution. The traditional tactical distinctions between heavy,
medium and light cavalry branches were retained. French
cuirassiers wore breastplates and plumed helmets unchanged from the
Napoleonic period, during the early months of World
Dragoons were similarly equipped, though they did not wear cuirasses
and did carry lances.
Light cavalry were described as being "a
blaze of colour". French cavalry of all branches were well mounted and
were trained to change position and charge at full gallop.
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. The two German cavalry brigades involved lost 492 men and
843 horses in repeated charges against dismounted Belgian lancers and
infantry. Once the front lines stabilised on the Western Front, a
combination of barbed wire, machine guns and rapid fire rifles proved
deadly to horse mounted troops.
On the Eastern Front a more fluid form of warfare arose from flat open
terrain favorable to mounted warfare. On the outbreak of war in 1914
the bulk of the Russian cavalry was deployed at full strength in
frontier garrisons and during the period that the main armies were
mobilizing scouting and raiding into East Prussia and Austrian Galacia
was undertaken by mounted troops trained to fight with sabre and lance
in the traditional style. On 21 August 1914 the 4th
Austro-Hungarian Kavalleriedivison fought a major mounted engagement
at Jaroslavic with the Russian 10th
Cavalry Division, in what was
arguably the final historic battle to involve thousands of horsemen on
both sides. While this was the last massed cavalry encounter on
the Eastern Front, the absence of good roads limited the use of
mechanized transport and even the technologically advanced Imperial
German Army continued to deploy up to twenty-four horse-mounted
divisions in the East, as late as 1917.
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
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%. As early as the first winter of the war most French cavalry
regiments had dismounted a squadron each, for service in the
trenches. The French cavalry numbered 102,000 in May 1915 but had
been reduced to 63,000 by October 1918. The German Army dismounted
nearly all their cavalry in the West, maintaining only one mounted
division on that front by January 1917. At the same date however the
Central Powers still had twenty-four divisions of horse cavalry active
or in reserve along the Russian Front.
German Uhlans after the capture of Warsaw, August 1915
Italy entered the war in 1915 with thirty regiments of line cavalry,
lancers and light horse. While employed effectively against their
Austro-Hungarian counterparts during the initial offensives across the
Isonzo River, the Italian mounted forces ceased to have a significant
role as the front shifted into mountainous terrain. By 1916 all
cavalry machine-gun sections and two complete cavalry divisions had
been dismounted and seconded to the infantry.
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 by the
British in September 1916, had the capacity to achieve such
breakthroughs but did not have the reliable range to exploit them. In
their first major use at the
Battle of Cambrai (1917), the plan was
for a cavalry division to follow behind the tanks, however they were
not able to cross a canal because a tank had broken the only
bridge. It was not until the German Army had been forced to
retreat in the
Hundred Days Offensive
Hundred Days Offensive of 1918, that cavalry were again
able to operate in their intended role. There was a successful charge
by the British 7th
Dragoon Guards on the last day of the war.
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. However, even here the value of cavalry was overrated 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. In February 1917 the Russian regular cavalry
(exclusive of Cossacks) was reduced by nearly a third from its peak
number of 200,000, as two squadrons of each regiment were dismounted
and incorporated into additional infantry battalions.
In the Middle East, during the
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Sinai and Palestine Campaign mounted
forces (British, Indian, Ottoman, Australian,
Arab and New Zealand)
retained an important strategic role both as mounted infantry and
In Egypt the mounted infantry formations like the New Zealand Mounted
Rifles Brigade and Australian Light
Horse of ANZAC Mounted Division,
operating as mounted infantry, drove German and Ottoman forces back
from Romani to Magdhaba and Rafa and out of the Egyptian Sinai
Peninsula in 1916.
After a stalemate on the Gaza—
Beersheba line between March and
Beersheba was captured by the Australian Mounted
Division's 4th Light
Horse Brigade. Their mounted charge succeeded
after a coordinated attack by the British
Infantry and Yeomanry
cavalry and the Australian and New Zealand Light
Horse and Mounted
Rifles brigades. A series of coordinated attacks by these Egyptian
Expeditionary Force infantry and mounted troops were also successful
Battle of Mughar Ridge, during which the British infantry
divisions and the Desert Mounted Corps drove two Ottoman armies back
to the Jaffa—Jerusalem line. The infantry with mainly dismounted
cavalry and mounted infantry fought in the
Judean Hills to eventually
almost encircle Jerusalem which was occupied shortly after.
During a pause in operations necessitated by the
Spring Offensive in
1918 on the Western Front joint infantry and mounted infantry attacks
towards Amman and Es Salt resulted in retreats back to the Jordan
Valley which continued to be occupied by mounted divisions during the
summer of 1918.
Australian Mounted Division was armed with swords and in
September, after the successful breaching of the Ottoman line on the
Mediterranean coast by the British Empire infantry XXI Corps was
followed by cavalry attacks by the 4th
Cavalry Division, 5th Cavalry
Division and Australian Mounted Divisions which almost encircled two
Ottoman armies in the
Judean Hills forcing their retreat. Meanwhile,
Chaytor's Force of infantry and mounted infantry in ANZAC Mounted
Division held the Jordan Valley, covering the right flank to later
advance eastwards to capture Es Salt and Amman and half of a third
Ottoman army. A subsequent pursuit by the 4th
Cavalry Division and the
Australian Mounted Division followed by the 5th
Cavalry Division to
Damascus. Armoured cars and 5th
Cavalry Division lancers were
continuing the pursuit of Ottoman units north of
Aleppo when the
Armistice of Mudros
Armistice of Mudros was signed by the Ottoman Empire.
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
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.
Lithuanian lancers training in the 1930s
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.
British Army mechanised all cavalry regiments between 1929 and
1941, redefining their role from horse to armoured vehicles to form
Royal Armoured Corps
Royal Armoured Corps together with the Royal Tank Regiment. The
Cavalry abandoned its sabres in 1934 and commenced the conversion
of its horsed regiments to mechanized cavalry, starting with the First
Cavalry in January 1933.
During the 1930s the
French Army experimented with integrating mounted
and mechanised cavalry units into larger formations.
were converted to motorised infantry (trucks and motor cycles), and
cuirassiers to armoured units; while light cavalry (Chasseurs a'
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.
The thirty-nine cavalry regiments of the
British Indian Army
British 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 mechanized initially, in the majority of
cases, to motorized infantry transported in 15cwt trucks. The last
horsed regiment of the
British Indian Army
British Indian Army (other than the Viceregal
Bodyguard and some Indian States Forces regiments) was the 19th King
George's Own Lancers which had its final mounted parade at Rawalpindi
on 28 October 1939. This unit still exists in the Pakistan Army as an
While most armies still maintained cavalry units at the outbreak of
War II in 1939, significant mounted action was largely
restricted to the Polish,
Balkan and Soviet campaigns.
Polish uhlan with wz. 35 anti-tank rifle.
Warsaw in 1938.
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. 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. 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. Later, on the Eastern Front, the Red
Army did deploy cavalry units effectively against the Germans.
A German cavalry patrol in May 1940, during the
Battle of France.
A more correct term would 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, and 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 in 1939 included, apart from the mounted soldiers themselves,
light and heavy machine guns (wheeled), the Anti-tank rifle, model 35,
anti-aircraft weapons, anti tank artillery such as the Bofors 37 mm,
also light and scout tanks, etc. The last cavalry vs. cavalry mutual
charge in Europe took place in Poland during the
Krasnobród, when Polish and German cavalry units clashed with each
The last classical cavalry charge of the war was that made on March 1,
1945 during the
Battle of Schoenfeld by the 1st "Warsaw" Independent
Infantry and tanks had been employed to little effect
against the German position, both of which floundered in the open
wetlands only to be dominated by infantry and antitank fire from the
German fortifications on the forward slope of Hill 157, overlooking
the wetlands. The Germans had not taken cavalry into consideration
when fortifying their position which, combined with the "Warsaw"s
swift assault, overran the German anti-tank guns and consolidated into
an attack into the village itself, now supported by infantry and
Italian invasion of Greece
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 mechanized) played an important role in the Italian defeat
in this difficult terrain.
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. The main usage of Soviet cavalry
involved infiltration through front lines with subsequent deep raids,
which disorganised German supply lines. Another role was the pursuit
of retreating enemy forces during major frontline operations and
The last mounted sabre charge by Italian cavalry occurred on August
24, 1942 at Isbuscenski (Russia), when a squadron of the Savoia
Regiment charged the 812th Siberian
Infantry Regiment. The
remainder of the regiment, together with the Novara Lancers made a
dismounted attack in an action that ended with the retreat of the
Russians after heavy losses on both sides. The final Italian
cavalry action occurred on October 17, 1942 in Poloj (Croatia) by a
squadron of the Alexandria
Regiment against a large group of
Romanian, Hungarian and Italian cavalry were 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.
Finland used mounted troops against Russian forces effectively in
forested terrain during the Continuation War. The last Finnish
cavalry unit was not disbanded until 1947.
The U.S. Army's last horse cavalry actions were fought during World
War II: a) by the 26th
Cavalry Regiment—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. The
last horsed U.S.
Cavalry (the Second
Cavalry Division) were dismounted
in March 1944.
British Army cavalry regiments had been mechanised since 1 March
1942 when the
Queen's Own Yorkshire Dragoons
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 of The Central India Horse
(21st King George V's Own Horse), charged in the old style with sabres
and most were killed.
Mongolian cavalry in the Khalkhin Gol (1939)
In the early stages of World
War II, mounted units of the Mongolian
People's Army were involved in the
Battle of Khalkhin Gol against
invading Japanese forces. Soviet forces under the command of Georgy
Zhukov, together with Mongolian forces, defeated the Japanese Sixth
army and effectively ended the Soviet–Japanese Border Wars. After
Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact
Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact of 1941, Mongolia remained
neutral throughout most of the war, but its geographical situation
meant that the country served as a buffer between Japanese forces and
the Soviet Union. In addition to keeping around 10% of the population
under arms, Mongolia provided half a million trained horses for use by
the Soviet Army. In 1945 a partially mounted Soviet-Mongolian Cavalry
Mechanized Group played a supporting role on the western flank of the
Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The last active service seen by cavalry
units of the Mongolian Army occurred in 1946–1948, during border
clashes between Mongolia and the Republic of China.
War II to present day
Special Forces and Combat Controllers on horseback with the
Northern Alliance of Afghanistan, which frequently used horses as
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 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 of
Blue Hussars 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.
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. 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
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.
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.
Operational horse cavalry
Today, the Indian Army's 61st
Cavalry is reported to be the largest
remaining horse-mounted cavalry unit with operational potential in the
world. It was raised in 1951 from the amalgamated state cavalry
squadrons of Gwalior, Jodhpur, and Mysore. While primarily utilised
for ceremonial purposes, the regiment can be deployed for internal
security or police roles if required. 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
People's Liberation Army employed two
battalions of horse-mounted border guards in Xinjing
for border patrol work. The PLA mounted units last saw action during
border clashes with
Vietnam in the 1970s and 80s, after which most
cavalry units were disbanded as part of the major military downsizing
of the 1980s. In the wake of the 2008
Sichuan earthquake, there were
calls to rebuild the army horse inventory for disaster relief in
difficult terrain. Subsequent Chinese media reporting confirms
that the Chinese Army maintains operational horse cavalry at squadron
strength in the Mongolia Autonomous Region for scouting and logistical
Ceremonial horse cavalry and armored cavalry retaining traditional
Cavalry or mounted gendarmerie units continue to be maintained for
purely or primarily ceremonial purposes by the Algerian, Argentine,
Bolivian, Brazilian, British, Bulgarian, Canadian, Chilean, Danish,
Dutch, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Indian, Italian, Jordanian,
Moroccan, Nepalese, Nigerian, North Korean, Omani, Pakistani,
Panamanian, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian,
Senegalese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, United States, and Venezuelan
A number of armoured regiments in the
British Army retain the historic
designations of Hussars, Dragoons, Light Dragoons,
Lancers and Yeomanry. Only the
Household Cavalry (consisting of the
Life Guards' mounted squadron, The Blues and Royals' mounted squadron,
the State Trumpeters of The
Household Cavalry and the Household
Cavalry Mounted Band) are maintained for mounted (and dismounted)
ceremonial duties in London.
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
In the Canadian Army, a number of regular and reserve units have
cavalry roots, including The Royal Canadian
Hussars (Montreal), the
Horse Guards, Lord Strathcona's Horse, the Royal
Canadian Dragoons, and the South Alberta Light Horse. Of these, only
Horse and the Governor General's
maintain an official ceremonial horse-mounted cavalry troop or
In 2002 the Army of the Russian Federation reintroduced a ceremonial
mounted squadron wearing historic uniforms.
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
Several armored units of the modern
United States Army
United States Army retain the
designation of "Armored cavalry". The United States also has "air
cavalry" units equipped with helicopters. The
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.
Non-combat support roles
First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry
First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry is a volunteer unit within
Pennsylvania Army National Guard
Pennsylvania Army National Guard which serves as a combat force
when in federal service but acts in a mounted disaster relief role
when in state service. 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.
Some individual U.S. states maintain cavalry units as a part of their
respective state defense forces. The
Maryland Defense Force
Maryland Defense Force includes a
Cavalry Troop A, which serves primarily as a ceremonial
unit. The unit training includes a saber qualification course
based upon the 1926 U.S. Army course.
Cavalry Troop A also
assists other Maryland agencies as a rural search and rescue
asset. In Massachusetts, The
National Lancers trace their lineage
to a volunteer cavalry militia unit established in 1836 and are
currently organized as an official part of the Massachusetts Organized
National Lancers maintain three units, Troops A, B,
and C, which serve in a ceremonial role and assist in search and
rescue missions. In July 2004, the
National Lancers were ordered
into active state service to guard
Camp Curtis Guild during the 2004
Democratic National Convention. The Governor's
Horse Guard of
Connecticut maintains two companies which are trained in urban crowd
French cuirassiers, wearing breastplates and helmets, parade through
Paris on the way to battle, August 1914.
Polish cavalry galloping through a bombed town during the German
invasion of Poland in 1939.
PZL W-3 Sokół
PZL W-3 Sokół of the 66 Air
Cavalry Squadron, 25th Aeromobile
President's Bodyguard of the Indian Army
French Republican Guard
French Republican Guard — 2008 Bastille Day military parade
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great using armoured cavalry, fighting Persian King
Troopers of the
Blues and Royals
Blues and Royals on mounted duty in Whitehall, London
Turkmenistan ceremonial cavalry in the Independence Day parade 2011
A Mongolian horseman, 2013
Cavalry Squadron of Polish Army" on military parade
Light and heavy cavalry
Heavy cavalry and light cavalry
Historically, cavalry was divided into horse archers, light and heavy
cavalry. 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".
During the Gunpowder Age, armored cavalry units still 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 heavy cavalry was
their training; the former was regarded as a tool for harassment and
reconnaissance, while the latter was considered best for close-order
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
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
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'
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
Some sense of the noise and power of a cavalry charge can be gained
from the 1970 film Waterloo, which featured some 2,000
cavalrymen, 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). The
Gary Cooper movie They
Came to Cordura contains a 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
Other films that show cavalry actions include:
The Charge of the Light Brigade, about the
Battle of Balaclava in the
40,000 Horsemen, about the Australian Light
Horse during the Sinai and
Palestine campaign of World
The Lighthorsemen, about the
Battle of Beersheba, 1917
War Horse, about the British cavalry in Europe during World
Hubal, about the last months (September 1939 – April 1940) of
Poland's first World
War II guerrilla, Major Henryk Dobrzanski,
The Patriot includes light cavalry usage.
And Quiet Flows the Don
And Quiet Flows the Don depicts Don
Cossacks during the World
Some cavalry forces
Chinacos (Mexican irregular cavalry of the 19th century)
Blues and Royals
Blues and Royals (
British Army who with The Life Guards form the
Regiment and the
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment)
Cavalry Division (United States)
1st The Queen's
Chasseurs d'Afrique (French Army)
Grey's Scouts (
Rhodesian Army 1975–80)
Garde Républicaine (French Gendarmerie)
Horse Guards (Canada)
Guarda Nacional Republicana
Guarda Nacional Republicana (Portuguese National Guard)
Hakkapeliitta (Finnish cavalry of Thirty Years' War)
Hobelars (medieval light horse)
Hussars (British Army)
Light Dragoons (British Army)
The Life Guards (
British Army who with The
Blues and Royals
Blues and Royals form the
Regiment and the
Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment)
Horse (Australian Army)
Panserbataljonen (Norwegian Army)
Polish winged hussars
British Army Reserve Light
Hussars (British Army)
Regulares (Spanish Morocco)
Dragoon Guards (British Army)
Royal Lancers (British Army)
Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers & Greys) (British Army)
British Army Reserve Armoured Regiment)
British Army Reserve Light
Savari (Italian North African)
Scottish and North Irish
British Army Reserve Light
South Alberta Light
Horse (Canadian Army)
Spahi (French North African)
United States Cavalry
Some distinguished historic or contemporary horse cavalrymen
Georgios Stanotas Commander of the Greek
Brazil: Ataìde Barcelos Pereira, Regimento Osorio
France: Didier Courrèges, Cadre Noir
Italy: Giulio Serafini, COMFOD 1
USA: Edwin Ramsey, 26th
Elephantry, a cavalry unit containing elephant-mounted troops
Horses in warfare
Horses in World
Horses in World
Royal Canadian Mounted Police—accorded the status of a regiment of
Dragoons in 1921 and remained so until 1937.
Armored reconnaissance – a modern role in most militaries for
'cavalry' titled units
^ p.1, Menon
^ a b Ebrey and others, Pre-Modern East Asia, pp. 29–30.
^ "Roman-Persian Wars". Historynet.com. Retrieved November 25,
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^ Newark, Peter. Sabre & Lance. An Illustrated History of Cavalry.
pp. 23–24. ISBN 0-7137-1813-7.
^ Ebrey, 29.
^ Ebrey, 30.
^ Ebrey, The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, 41.
^ Peers, 130.we can right anything
^ Dien, Albert. "THE STIRRUP AND ITS EFFECT ON CHINESE MILITARY
^ "The stirrup – history of Chinese science." UNESCO Courier,
^ "The invention and influences of stirrup" Archived December 3, 2008,
at the Wayback Machine.
^ Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 322.
^ Needham, Volume 4, Part 2, 305.
^ Ebrey, 120.
^ Lee, Peter H & Wm. Theodore De Bary. Sources of Korean
Tradition, page 24-26. Columbia University Press, 1997.
^ "Invention of the Stirrup". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 2017-03-11.
^ p. 182–183, Pargiter.
^ 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)
War in Ancient India, 1944, p 178, V. R. Ramachandra Dikshtar,
Military art and science.
^ 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.
^ p.182, Pargiter
^ MBH 1.185.13; Felicitation Volume Presented to Professor Sripad
Krishna Belvalkar, 1957, p 260, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Shripad
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.
^ 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).
^ Herodotus, Book VII 65, 70, 86, 187.
^ 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,
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.
^ Hindu Polity: A Constitutional History of India in Hindu Times,
1943, p 145, Dr K. P. Jayaswal.
^ 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.
^ Age of the Nandas and Mauryas, 1967, p 49, Dr K. A. Nilakanta
^ "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
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 Constitutional 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.
Ashtadhyayi 4.3.91; India as Known to Pāṇini, 1953, pp 424,
436–39, 455–457, Dr V. S. Aggarwala.
^ See: History of Punjab, Vol I, 1997, p 225, Dr Buddha Prakash; Raja
Poros, 1990, p 9, Publication Bureau, Punjabi University Patiala.
^ In Sanskrit:
asti tava Shaka-Yavana-Kirata-Kamboja-Parasika-Bahlika parbhutibhih
Chankyamatipragrahittaishcha Chandergupta Parvateshvara
balairudidhibhiriva parchalitsalilaih samantaad uprudham Kusumpurama
^ Kālidāsa, 1960, p 141, Raghunath Damodar Karmarkar.
^ Indian Historical Quarterly, XV-4, December 1939, p 511 Dr H. C.
^ History of Ancient Bengal, 1971, pp 182–83, Dr R. C. Majumdar.
^ Indian Historical Quarterly, 1963, p 625.
^ Dynastic History of Magadha, 1977, p 208.
^ Epigraphia Indiaca, XVIII, p 304ff.
^ Koch, H.W. Medieval Warfare. p. 189.
^ Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, p. 231. (online)
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^ Robert M. Utley, "The Contribution of the Frontier to the American
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^ Paul Mathingham Hutton, "T.R. takes charge", American History 33.n3
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^ Howard, Michael; Howard, Michael Eliot (2001). The Franco-Prussian
War: The German Invasion of France, 1870–1871. Routledge.
p. 157. ISBN 0-415-26671-8.
^ Chandler, David. The Oxford History of the British Army.
p. 379. ISBN 0-19-285333-3.
Guides Cavalry (10th Queen Victoria's Own Frontier Force)
^ L'Armee d'Afrique 1830–1962, General R. Hure, Paris-Limogues 1977
^ Plates I & IV, "Under Italian Libya's Buring Sun", The National
Geographic Magazine August 1925
^ Woolley, Charles. Uniforms of the German Colonial Troops.
p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7643-3357-6.
^ Chandler, David. The Oxford History of the British Army.
p. 209. ISBN 0-19-285333-3.
^ Mollo, Boris. Uniforms of the Imperial Russian Army. p. 48.
^ Buttar, Prit. Collusion of Empires. p. 39.
^ David Woodward, page 47 "Armies of the World
^ page 570, Volume 5,
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^ Terraine, John. Mons: Retreat to Victory. p. 50.
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^ Pawly, R. The Belgian Army in World
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^ Buttar, Prit. Collusion of Empires. p. 209.
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^ Vladimir Littauer, page 6, Russian Hussar, ISBN 1-59048-256-5
^ page 212, The Oxford History of the British Army,
^ Sumner, Ian. French Poilu 1914-18. p. 12.
^ page 216, Vol. XXX, Encyclopædia Britannica, 12th Edition, 1922
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^ Nicolle, David. The
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^ Davies God's Playground Volume II p. 325
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