Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Sunday, January 25, 2004


This is coolbert:

For 3000 years, cavalry was one of the dominant forces on the battlefield.

An armed horseman was a weapon of war greatly to be feared, especially by sedentary societies, the urbanized city dweller.

Scythians, Huns, Mongols, were all great warrior societies that fought on horseback, and preferred to fight on horseback exclusively.

It was said that in Middle Age Europe, the armed knight on horseback was worth ten men-of-foot [infantry].

Even in say the 1800's, the most glamorous branch of any military was the cavalry. Well, this all ended during the last 100 years or so. The internal combustion engine and modern weaponry created conditions that eliminated the cavalry.

Well, mostly so, but not completely so.

There are still remnants that exist around the world.

In places such as China, Mongolia, and Tibet are found mounted forces. Employed as border guards. Patrol isolated roadless border areas that are inaccessible to motorized vehicles.

During the insurgency in what was Rhodesia, the gov forces employed a unit known as Grey's Scouts. Mounted scouts that did prolonged recon in remote areas. Commanded by an American by the name of Mike [Mad Mike] Williams.

In the latest Afghan war were scenes of American Special Forces (SF) leading charges on horseback against the Taliban. A SF commander sent a message back to headquarters that was quoted by Rumsfeld. "One day I am directing air strikes of B-52 bombers, the next day I am planning for cavalry assaults."

Even during WW1 and WW2 were cavalry used with success. In WW1 Australian cavalry led a successful breakthrough in the Negev desert [modern day Israel] that had a rate of advance against Turkish forces that has not been surpassed.

And Cossack horsemen were employed by both the Soviet and Germans. The Soviets would send numbers of lone horsemen maybe 50-100 miles forward of their advance to act as scouts. Find out critical information and relay the info somehow back to HQ.

With regard to the Mongol cavalry still in existence. A most interesting film clip shows how these horsemen train themselves and their mounts. This footage was shown at the start of a program that was part of the series on PBS called "The History of the World" or some such. Current day Mongol horseman is riding toward the cameraman, horse galloping at full tilt. The Mongol is sitting up straight in the saddle, and firing a SKS carbine at targets as he gallops along. Holding the carbine out in front of him and aiming with a stiff left arm holding the weapon. The horse had been trained to gallop along with in such a way that it would not bounce the rider up and down. An impressive spectacle of horsemanship and marksmanship!




Anonymous Danny Smith said...


Thank you for this informative article. I am very interested in seeing the video on the Mongol Cavalry training with the SKS if you could be so kind as to post a link.

Thank you

1:58 PM


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home