I grew up riding horses. They will charge people - that is just a fact. It is not theory with me, I lived it.
That being said; they will avoid, at all cost, sharp pointy things.
Yet there were examples of horsemen charging pikes / bayonets head on. Both in Antiquity, in Medieval and from 16th century onwards.That being said; they will avoid, at all cost, sharp pointy things
So I guess what you wrote here is true regarding untrained horses. Or maybe charge against a sharp pointy thing looks differently than we would imagine - maybe it looks like in my hypothesis (see the previous page), so horses maybe ride very close to pikes and then suddenly stop, then riders just engage in melee (trying to plunge through pikes walking rather than charging at full speed, or trying to break enemy pikes with chests of horses first, before plunging into enemy line). In such case a horse would jump into enemy pike and break it - of course I assume it refers to jumping into a wooden pole, not into a sharp point of a pike. This would require plunging into enemy pikes not frontally, but at some angle (from side) in order to avoid being harmed / hit by its sharp point.
An interesting discussion about the same subject also takes place here (I post there as Peter):
Examples of charges against pikemen (from Antiquity, Medieval, 16th century onwards) are mentioned there.
Last edited by Domen123; May 16, 2012 at 03:05 PM.
In the battle of Gaugamela, Persian and Indian cavalry armed with long spears managed to break through the line of Macedonian phalangites (pezhetairoi) at the point of contact of taxis (one taxis = "paper strength" of 1536 phalangites) under command of Simmias and taxis under command of Polysperchon:
Originally Posted by Arrian, Anabasis, III, 14
I thought that these articles I found provided some useful historical information and practical application to the subject by using historical sources, research, and application of the techniques to procure results.
Some significant quotes are here:
Charge of horse vs infantry:
"This is not to say that the effect of a charging horse impacting a foot soldier was inconsequential, or even incidental. I have witnessed first hand the impact of an armored knight and horse, colliding with a standing squire. The unfortunate lad was thrown a good fifteen feet and had the wind knocked out of him, while the show was halted and an ambulance was called to remove him from the field on a back-board. (He was only shaken up.) The Knight probably counted on the footman's fear of just such an impact to act as a kind of "psychological" weapon, to help open the wall. No doubt in combat, trampling an opponent is preferable to being killed, but it still places the horse's most delicate points of anatomy, his legs, at high risk. Without discounting the effect of a horse to ground collision, I say only that this was not the rider's primary intention but rather should be considered as a secondary effect of a shock charge."
On the purpose of the stirrup:
"Stirrups are a logical step in progression to aid in "rising" from the seat, which must be accomplished from the knees without them. ... They are perhaps best employed in assisting the rider to "rise" in his seat and so isolate the movement of his body from that of his horse. Such isolation is most helpful in firing projectile weapons like bows. This is likely the reason why the stirrups originated in the great horse cultures of the east, which are known as excellent mounted archers."
Reason for use of a leather jerkin or chainmail:
"The lance is forced back into the armpit, where it is gripped between the pectoral muscle and inside edge of the biceps and triceps. We learned fairly quickly that to perform a pass wearing only a light shirt or jacket would often result in a tear or abrasion commonly called a Quintain Burn. If the rider's grip was weak, the lance would slide back causing friction burns along the arm and chest. Repeated passes in one rehearsal often resulted in ugly bruises and bleeding. The effect was reduced when practiced in a leather jerkin or chainmail, though that too had its own peculiar tortures."
Impact of charge on rider and horse:
"If the angle of impact was too oblique, the lance would skip off the surface of the shield, and torque back against the rider's face, neck or chest. In order to prevent clothes-lining himself, or hitting his horse with the butt of the lance, we developed a technique called "windmilling". This was achieved by instantly releasing the "armpit grip" and raising the lance above the rider's head. The momentum of the point was allowed to carry the tip counter-clockwise, clearing the horse and rider' heads, and brought to a stop by the strength of the wrist alone. A weak grip could result in the lance simply flying away above and behind the rider. This exact move was also useful when the lance penetrated a shield or target, and the rider needed to release a lance to prevent himself from being unhorsed."
"If the lance does not break, then the rider must continue to "push" through the hit, either penetrating the target, or "unhorsing" it. This was accomplished while simultaneously moving the bridle hand forward even as the body recoiled backwards, and strength was expended to maintain the contact.
One of the biggest misconceptions about shock combat is that the combined weight of horse and rider is directly translated to the lance - As if somehow the horse, rider, and lance were one rigid mass. In fact, they may move down the field as one, but at the moment of impact, they react as separate units.
In reality the rider's body acts as a shock absorber, or buffer, between the lance and horse. It cannot be stressed enough that the rider's own strength and weight are the key to translating the mass of the horse into the force of impact. Although the size of the medieval warhorse gradually increased over time, the effective size of the lance and horse interface (the rider) did not."
In this second article the author describes a possible reason for knights being pictured with lances overhand and underhand
Possible reason Knights are pictured with lance overhand and underhand in the Bayeux Tapestry:
"But what to make of his reference that the chieftain "... bore a great long dart, which he cast with much skill." One might be tempted to say that without saddle he could ONLY throw the "great long dart" and would never couch it. But by referencing Froissart's contemporary mention of tilting at posts and breaking "light" lances, I think it is more likely that the Irish utilized a very light lance - something longer than a "spear" or javelin but not as heavy as the lances used by the English. Such a lance could be used over hand, underhand, thrown OR couched - just like the images on the Bayeux tapestry illustrate."
Sections of the Bayeux Tapestry illustrating lances held overhand and underhand
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
Spoiler Alert, click show to read:
Here are the links to the articles:
Last edited by Judeman266; September 24, 2012 at 04:59 AM.
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Fundamentally, there is a world of difference between hitting an immovable object and something that can be forced out of the way upon impact. Also bear in mind that while a horse will charge into a body of men, it almost certainly will aim itself between two people, so it's not hitting either square. Both will be glancing blows (to the horse) - still solid, but not as solid as hitting straight on.
A horse has enough mass that if it hits you at any speed, you are going to move. The energy is going to be in you for the most part. The horse won't stop so that kinetic energy is transferred into you, like the board. The horse might get bruised, you will get broken.
I also want to add that earlier in this thread, and in the OP, it was argued that a horse won't run into a solid object. Total BS. I used to own a horse, granted he was flippin' crazy, but he'd run as fast as he could into his fence. Busted right through it more than once, after repeated charges. He once ran into my mother, too, in the middle of a wide open field with plenty of places he could have gone that didn't involve colliding with the human.
I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume that anything a horse will do of it's own volition, it can easily be trained to do on command. I will also assume that, as a general rule, anything horse A will do by his own volition, horses B, C, D ad infinitum can usually be trained to do.
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Just one more - FINAL - account describing a cavalry charge, that will convince you ONCE AND FOR ALL !!!
This account was written by a very reliable man... Winston Churchill himself !!! And he personally charged there !!!
It was a charge that took place in year 1880:
"The heads of the squadrons wheeled slowly
to the left, and the Lancers, breaking into a trot, began to cross the
Dervish front in column of troops. Thereupon and with one accord the
blue-clad men dropped on their knees, and there burst out a loud, crackling
fire of musketry. It was hardly possible to miss such a target at such
a range. Horses and men fell at once. The only course was plain and welcome
to all. The Colonel, nearer than his regiment, already saw what lay behind
the skirmishers. He ordered, 'Right wheel into line' to be sounded.
The trumpet jerked out a shrill note, heard faintly above the trampling of
the horses and the noise of the rifles. On the instant all the sixteen
troops swung round and locked up into a long galloping line, and the
21st Lancers were committed to their first charge in war.
Two hundred and fifty yards away the dark-blue men were firing madly
in a thin film of light-blue smoke. Their bullets struck the hard gravel
into the air, and the troopers, to shield their faces from the stinging
dust, bowed their helmets forward, like the Cuirassiers at Waterloo.
The pace was fast and the distance short. Yet, before it was half covered,
the whole aspect of the affair changed. A deep crease in the ground--a dry
watercourse, a khor--appeared where all had seemed smooth, level plain;
and from it there sprang, with the suddenness of a pantomime effect
and a high-pitched yell, a dense white mass of men nearly as long as our
front and about twelve deep. A score of horsemen and a dozen bright flags
rose as if by magic from the earth.
Eager warriors sprang forward
to anticipate the shock. The rest stood firm to meet it. The Lancers
acknowledged the apparition only by an increase of pace. Each man wanted
sufficient momentum to drive through such a solid line. The flank troops,
seeing that they overlapped, curved inwards like the horns of a moon.
But the whole event was a matter of seconds. The riflemen, firing bravely
to the last, were swept head over heels into the khor, and jumping down
with them, at full gallop and in the closest order, the British squadrons
struck the fierce brigade with one loud furious shout. The collision was
prodigious. Nearly thirty Lancers, men and horses, and at least two hundred
Arabs were overthrown. The shock was stunning to both sides, and for
perhaps ten wonderful seconds no man heeded his enemy. Terrified horses
wedged in the crowd, bruised and shaken men, sprawling in heaps, struggled,
dazed and stupid, to their feet, panted, and looked about them. Several
fallen Lancers had even time to re-mount. Meanwhile the impetus of the
cavalry carried them on. As a rider tears through a bullfinch, the officers
forced their way through the press; and as an iron rake might be drawn
through a heap of shingle, so the regiment followed. They shattered the
Dervish array, and, their pace reduced to a walk, scrambled out of the khor
on the further side, leaving a score of troopers behind them, and dragging
on with the charge more than a thousand Arabs. Then, and not till then, the
killing began; and thereafter each man saw the world along his lance,
under his guard, or through the back-sight of his pistol; and each had
his own strange tale to tell.
On this occasion two living walls had actually crashed together.
The Dervishes fought manfully. They tried to hamstring the horses,
They fired their rifles, pressing the muzzles into the very bodies of
their opponents. They cut reins and stirrup-leathers. They flung their
throwing-spears with great dexterity. They tried every device of cool,
determined men practised in war and familiar with cavalry; and, besides,
they swung sharp, heavy swords which bit deep. The hand-to-hand fighting
on the further side of the khor lasted for perhaps one minute. Then the
horses got into their stride again, the pace increased, and the Lancers
drew out from among their antagonists. Within two minutes of the collision
every living man was clear of the Dervish mass. All who had fallen were
cut at with swords till they stopped quivering, but no artistic mutilations
Last edited by Domen123; February 23, 2013 at 07:59 PM.
Let me point out I am not an expert on anything I am about to talk about, and I may therefore be talking total bollocks.
There are three crucial elements in this argument - the rider, the horse, and the poor sod who is in the way of them both.
The instinct of a horse to run away from things is not easily conquered, which is why many horses refuse to jump over fences or fail to get over steeples in equestrian competitions - but if a horse sees an disorganized group of people, such as a mob of protesters or the long-suffering Peasants unit, they will run 'through' the unit - they will aim at the gaps they perceive in the mob, and in theory, this means that the horses would pass through the gaps like a golf ball through cheese. However, a group of horses will inevitably hit SOMETHING if it runs through a mob, and it will keep going until every horse stops - if only a few horses stop, they will be pushed aside by the horses behind them, which is an important element not represented in TW games - once a cavalry unit starts a charge, it is bloody difficult to stop!
Against an organised, solid block of large men, all with armor, shields and pointy objects, standing firm, no horse is going to throw itself in a million years. Even if a horse got past the spears of a group of Hoplitai,they would break legs and crack skulls against the shields and armor of the enemy. We know this, and so does the horse!
Horse riders are not idiots - they know as well as the animal beneath them that if they run headlong into a rank of pikes, they are toast. Expensive, well-armored toast. If you tell them to charge a flank, or a rear, they'll be much happier, and much more willing to get their animals up to full speed, and faced with the wrong side of a unit, much more likely to break it apart.
If a hundred men stand facing 20 horses and stand close together, with bristling pointy deathsticks, the horses will not go at them. If a hundred men face the other way, or break and run, they are going to be disorganized, and very soon they will be disorganized dead people.
I've tried to make the argument as simple as possible, that's my tuppence. Thanks to the mod developers, because this really is a cracking game - arguably better than RTW or M2TW!
I know this post hasn't been active for over a year and I don't know if my point has already been made (as I'm playing while writing this comment), but I think it should be clear the OP's argument is not based on evidence from the warfare of the "Hellensitic period".
Now, that's not to say that his argument is entirely wrong (However, I do note some flaws in his argument, from his use of Napoleonic Cavalry to the idea that the cavalry charge was "solely""purely psychological."). In fact, there are some incredibly valid points in Titus' argument, however, his valid and invalid (my perspective, of course) points add up to an argument both out-of-context and blatantly incorrect when seen as a whole. For instance, it's established fact by the 18th(ish) century that Cavalry charges relied heavily, or even entirely, on a psychological aspect. Which makes sense as cavalry still maintained "light" and "heavy" roles while losing much or all of the armor that their predecessors might of worn even 200 years earlier. However, that doesn't apply to the Hellenistic times.
However, PI is set just before and during the Hellenistic period, meaning that this is a time of warfare in which cavalry, though varied, had the ability, or attempts, to physically charge infantry units. This can be seen throughout the Hellenistic period, from Alexander's Granicus, Issus, and Gaugamela to Caesar's Alesia and Pharsalus.
Of course, that doesn't mean that the Cavalry was some sort of warhammer to smash through units. In fact, despite its advantages, the cavalry charge was a costly maneuver. For example, the Hetairoi at Gaugamela lost half its combat horses throughout the battle, with the dismounted riders dead or presumably linking up with the hamippoi. At the same time, contradictory to both "modern logic" and the OP's argument, Hellenistic rulers continued to utilize cavalry charges.
[A simple testament to physical cavalry charges can be seen in the interpretations of Hellenistic cavalry equipment. From cataphracts to companions, it's obvious that there was a physical aspect. For instance, given the equipment of a late(r) cataphract, is an entire cataphract unit supposed to veer off (with all their heavy armor and somewhat bulky lances) if some legionary formation doesn't break? That's nonsense, you'd lose more heavy horse before any contact than during the conflict.]
And I apologize if I got hot-headed and posted in a resolved issue, but I felt that my point (if it is original in this topic) needed to be posted.