A cavalry is the mounted part of an army equipped with blank or firearms. These include camels or elephants used by some armies, which were used as mounts for military purposes.



The history of the cavalry:

From antiquity to the end of the 19th century, the cavalry was an important part of the armed forces of a country or ruler. Their special mobility, speed and tremendous power of attack enabled them to use crucial tactics that would not have been possible with normal infantry.

Already in times of the Sumer and Egyptians the military put on horses in the form of chariots or with arches armed warriors. These were able to perform quick surprise attacks and withdraw just as quickly.

The Roman Empire also relied on the cavalry. However, this was mainly used for border security in forts to quickly respond to enemy attacks can. Most of the Roman legions still consisted of ordinary foot soldiers.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the cavalry was to reach the pinnacle of its military existence. In the Franconian Empire, the so-called Franconian armored riders, who were equipped with chain mail on man and horse and with lances, emerged as an extremely difficult opponent. Later developed from these armored riders the genus of knights, which were even more armored and could achieve by the development of the stirrup significantly impact force with the lance.



Frankish armoured riders


Frankish armoured riders



With the emergence of the pikemen, the supremacy of the cavalry really shook for the first time. These foot soldiers, armed with long lances, made it impossible for a rider to get through in a closed formation. In addition, they were trained to drag the riders with the lances from the saddle if possible or injure the horses so far that they were no longer operational.
Another factor that ushered in the downfall of the cavalry was the development and introduction of firearms. Although at the end of the 17th century at the beginning of the 18th century the tactics could be adjusted and the cavalry could still be used militarily, but the downfall as a branch of service could no longer be prevented.


Kavallerie unter Napoleon

Cavalry under Napoleon


Especially since the Crimean War and the German-French War of 1870/71 and the introduction of machine guns, the function of the cavalry with the tactics of the frontal attack was no longer appropriate. In the positional warfare of the First World War, this was further clarified, as at the beginning of 1914 still some cavalry attacks were conducted on the Western Front. the losses were so high that there were no more attacks of this kind. Only on the eastern front riders were still used for reconnaissance purposes.



Hussars fight at the beginning of the 19th century


Hungarian hussars


Mounted clarification officer of the red army



With the Second World War and the until then advanced motorization of the armed forces horses were used basically only for logistical purposes, to a lesser extent still for enlightenment. The exchange of horse-to-vehicle in some of the armed forces, especially the US Army, has been a tradition of keeping the unit carrying the cavalry designation such as the 7th Cavalry unit of the US Armed Forces.



7. Cavalry regiment during the early days


7. Cavalry regiment badges


The 7th cavalry lands on Leyte, 20th of October, 1944


Today's Airborne Infantry (US Airborne Cavalry)






You can find the right literature here:


Roman Heavy Cavalry (1): Cataphractarii & Clibanarii, 1st Century BC–5th Century AD

Roman Heavy Cavalry (1): Cataphractarii & Clibanarii, 1st Century BC–5th Century AD (Elite) Paperback – November 20, 2018

From the army of Marc Antony in the 1st century BC, Roman generals hired Oriental heavy armored cavalry to serve in their military alongside the legions. These troops, both from the northern steppes and the Persian frontiers, continued an ancient tradition of using heavy armor and long lances, and fought in a compact formation for maximum shock effect. They were quite distinct from conventional Roman light cavalry, and they served across the Empire, including in Britain. They became ever more important during the 3rd century wars against Parthia, both to counter their cavalry and to form a mobile strategic reserve.

Displaying these impressive and imposing cavalry units using vivid specially commissioned artwork, this first book in a two part series on Roman Heavy Cavalry examines their use over the Imperial period up to the fall of Western Empire in the 5th century A.D.

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Dawn of the Horse Warriors: Chariot and Cavalry Warfare, 3000-600BC

Dawn of the Horse Warriors: Chariot and Cavalry Warfare, 3000-600BC Hardcover – November 2, 2015

The domestication of the horse revolutionized warfare, granting unprecedented strategic and tactical mobility, allowing armies to strike with terrifying speed. The horse was first used as the motive force for chariots and then, in a second revolution, as mounts for the first true cavalry. The period covered encompasses the development of the first clumsy ass-drawn chariots in Sumer (of which the author built and tested a working replica for the BBC); takes in the golden age of chariot warfare resulting from the arrival of the domesticated horse and the spoked wheel, then continues down through the development of the first regular cavalry force by the Assyrians and on to their eventual overthrow by an alliance of Medes and the Scythians, wild semi-nomadic horsemen from the Eurasian steppe. As well as narrating the rise of the mounted arm through campaigns and battles, Duncan Noble draws on all his vast experience as a horseman and experimental archaeologist to discuss with great authority the development of horsemanship, horse management and training and the significant developments in horse harness and saddles.

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Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224–642

Sassanian Elite Cavalry AD 224–642 Paperback – July 13, 2005

The Sassanians ruled the last great imperial Empire of Persia before the Arab conquests of the 7th century. Rome's only equal in the classical world, the Sassanian Empire had an enormous impact on the development of architecture, mythology, arts, music, military tactics and technology. Within the Sassanian military, the cavalry was the most influential element, and Sassanian cavalry tactics were adopted by the Romans, Arabs, and Turks. Their cavalry systems of weaponry, battle tactics, Tamgas, Medallions, court customs, and costumes influenced Romano-Byzantine and medieval European culture, and this book allows the reader to see how a little-studied eastern power affected the development of cavalry traditions in the western world.

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Bugles, Boots, and Saddles: Exploits of the U.S. Cavalry

Bugles, Boots, and Saddles: Exploits of the U.S. Cavalry Paperback – August 22, 2017

For three thousand years, the horse soldier has played a key role in both war fighting and in peace keeping all over the world, not only as a highly mobile strike force in battle but also as an instrument of reconnaissance and occupation, exploration, and irregular warfare.

The American tradition of the mounted warrior is a proud one. But in the first days of our revolution, it looked as if George Washington was prepared to dispense with the use of mounted troops altogether. Eventually he saw their value, and over the next hundred years the cavalry adapted itself to the needs and imperatives of the growing nation. This is the story of the US Cavalry.

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