Cavalry are defined as horse-riding warriors.
Cavalry are defined as horse-riding warriors. There are at least eighty-four different species of horses in the world, and the rider always seeks to find a size of horse that matches the classification of duty. Because a trained cavalry horse and rider can be four to five times more expensive to equip and train than an infantryman, only about one-fourth of the large national armies from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries were composed of cavalry.
The types of cavalry used since 1500 are classified as heavy, light, and medium. Heavy
Cavalry reached the height of its use and development during the Napoleonic Wars
The sixteenth century is significant in the development of cavalry warfare; technical and strategic advances in weaponry and the formalization of full-time national professional armies took place during that time. Gunpowder weapons such as muskets, pistols, and artillery could penetrate a knight’s armor and could kill from beyond the reach of swords, axes, or spears. Significant increases in population, commerce, and trade enabled political leaders to build large national treasuries from taxes and to pay, train, and equip professional armies and officers. The French Wars of Religion (1562-1598), the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), and the English Civil War (1642-1651) resulted in the development and sharing of new skills, tactics, weapons, and equipment.
Friedrich Wilhelm von Seydlitz leads the decisive cavalry charge at the Battle of Rossbach (1757) during the Seven Years’ War.
The Hundred Years’ War
Steel-tipped arrows and the
During the French Wars of
King Gustavus II Adolphus of
Gustavus is also credited as the first military leader since Alexander the Great (356-323
Gustavus also revolutionized the use of firearms in battle. In recognition of the fact that firearms such as the pistol and musket were inaccurate, unreliable, and time-consuming to reload, Gustavus forbade the use of the caracole and decided that cavalry would attack quickly, in large numbers, primarily with swords. He trained his cavalry to attack in three lines. The first line would fire a pistol volley, then all three lines would charge with the sword. The pistol was used only during the ensuing close-contact melee fight. Each regiment of his cavalry was supported in its attack by medium, musket-armed cavalry, known as musketeers, and two light 4-pound cannons, each drawn by one horse or three men.
A regiment in the Swedish
During the Thirty Years’
Russia’s Cossack Imperial Guard advance into Turkey in 1877 during the Third Russo-Turkish War.
Historians believe that during the English Civil
In the army of the French king Louis
Cavalry warfare reached its historical peak during the reign of
In 1805 Napoleon created a Cavalry Reserve
An important component of the Cavalry Reserve Corps was the Imperial
Cavalry made up approximately one-fourth of an army during the Napoleonic era, and the largest numbers of cavalry in battle were at Eckmühl
Napoleon’s army was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig in
During Napoleon’s last battle at
After the Napoleonic Wars cavalry remained a sizable portion of most national armies. In the wars that followed, cavalry were slaughtered when they charged firmly placed infantry and artillery. During the Crimean War
The most famous Crimean War battle was the Charge of the Light
During the American Civil War
On July 1, at the Battle of Gettysburg, Union general John
The Franco-Prussian War
A cavalry duel during the American Civil War.
One innovative cavalry tactic of the war involved the Prussian high command reversing traditional policy by ordering all the cavalry ahead of the army. This resulted in a massive screen between the opposing armies, blinding the French and keeping the Prussians completely and accurately informed of every French move.
At the Battle of the Little Bighorn
During the Spanish-American War
At the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, the U.S. Seventh Cavalry was almost entirely wiped out by a superior number of Sioux.
On September 2, 1898, at the Battle of
At the beginning of World War I
Two significant cavalry actions occurred in the Middle East (Arab) sector of the war, where British and Australian forces were fighting mostly Turkish forces. On October 31, 1917, at the Gaza-Beersheba
At the Battle of
There were no cavalry battles during World War II
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Cavalry: Ancient and Medieval
Knights to Cavalry
Armies and Infantry: Modern
Naval Development: The Age of Sail
Naval Development: The Age of Propulsion