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Old November 5th, 2012, 02:45 AM   #1
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Difficult to defeat archer cavalry army?

Is there an effective way to fight an archer cavalry force when guns weren't invented? Assuming the battle takes place in open field with no fortress in medieval period.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:14 AM   #2

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I've told many times here on Historum. Battle on the Fields of Chalons(Romans and Allies vs. Huns and allies) and Battle of Poitiers(Arabs vs. Franks) are examples how to fight archer cavalry army. Heavy infantry in strong and good order can always defeat such army.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:24 AM   #3

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Correct, Lucius, besides that a sizeable force of foot archers can make piece meal of an archer based cavalry force.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:28 AM   #4

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A combined arms army, might be the simplest combination, a good cavalry force, infantry and foot archers(foot archers outrange horse archers) i must say that the terrain that you choose give some advantage to the horse archers, (a more rough and mountain terrain is more advisable to fight horse archers.)
the horse archer great advantage is his mobility, he use his horse to enter shot his arrows and leaves really fast to a safety place in a basic maner the horse archer is a skermisher but he harass the enemy to the enemy defeat.
now the tactis the use of weapons of great range (foot achers and catapults) the foot archers is a great enemy of the horse archer he can outrange the horse archer and he can make area fire the horse acher can't he must aiming at the enemy(he need to come to close distance), in this maner he can stop the horse archer tactics, from closing distance and shooting their arrows, now the second phase the your cavalry you need a good cavalry to protect the flancks of your infantry and to attack the enemy horse archers.
a simple tact use the foot archers to mantain the enemy force at a distance of your army and them use your cavalry to engage the enemy in mele this completely cancels the advantage the mobility advantage of the horse archers

I must point that choosing a nore favorable terrain must be part of the tactic againts a horse archer army
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:35 AM   #5

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Guys I am bad in strategy, so your analysis was a really good reading for me.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 03:48 AM   #6

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The standard Romano-Byzantine approach was to:

Equip a proportion or all of your heavy cavalry lancers with bows, engage the enemy in two parallel lines, with small reserve detatchments behind them to deter or prevent outflanking moves. Don't persue retreating horse archers and maintain a deliberate advance to contact.
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Old November 5th, 2012, 04:14 AM   #7

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The Macedonians showed the way

When he saw that the Scythians were not retiring from the riverís bank, but were seen shooting arrows into the river, which was not wide here, and were uttering audacious words in their barbaric tongue to insult Alexander, to the effect that he durst not touch Scythians, or if he did, he would learn what was the difference between them and the Asiatic barbarians, he was irritated by these remarks, and having resolved to cross over against them, he began to prepare the skins for the passage of the river.í But when he offered sacrifice with a view to crossing, the victims proved to be unfavourable; and though he was vexed at their not being favourable, he nevertheless controlled himself and remained where he was.

But as the Scythians did not desist from their insults, he again offered sacrifice with a view to crossing; and Aristander the soothsayer told him that the omens still portended danger to himself. But Alexander said that it was better for him to come into extreme danger than that, after having subdued almost the whole of Asia, he should be a laughing-stock to Scythians, as Darius, the father of Xerxes, had been in days of yore.í Aristander refused to explain the will of the gods contrary to the revelations made by the deity simply because Alexander wished to hear the contrary.

When the skins had been prepared for the passage, and the army, fully equipped, had been posted near the river, the military engines, at the signal preconcerted, began to shoot at the Scythians riding along the riverís bank. Some of them were wounded by the missiles, and one was struck right through the wicker-shield and breastplat e and fell from his horse. The others, being alarmed at the discharge of missiles from so great a distance, and at the death of their champion, retreated a little from the bank. But Alexander, seeing them thrown into confusion by the effect of his missiles, began to cross the river with trumpets sounding, himself leading the way; and the rest of the army followed him.

Having first got the archers and slingers across, he ordered them to sling and shoot at the Scythians, to prevent them approaching the phalanx of infantry stepping out of the water, until all his cavalry had passed over. When they were upon the bank in dense mass, he first of all launched against the Scythians one regiment of the Grecian auxiliary cavalry and four squadrons of pike-men. These the Scythians received, and in great numbers riding round them in circles, wounded them, as they were few in number, themselves escaping with ease. But Alexander mixed the archers, the Agrianians, and other light troops under- the command of Balacrus, with the cavalry, and then led them against the enemy. As soon as they came to close quarters, he ordered three regiments of the cavalry Companions and all the horse-javelin-men to charge them. The rest of the cavalry he himself led, and made a rapid attack with his squadrons in column. Accordingly the enemy were no longer able as before to wheel their cavalry force round in circles, for at one and the same time the cavalry and the light-armed infantry mixed with the horsemen pressed upon them, and did not permit them to wheel about in safety. Then the flight of the Scythians was already apparent. 1,000 of them fell, including Satraces, one of their chiefs and 150 were captured. But as the pursuit was keen and fatiguing on account of the excessive heat, the entire army was seized with thirst; and Alexander himself while riding drank of such water as was procurable in that country. He was seized with an incessant diarrhcea; for the water was bad; and for this reason he could not pursue all the Scythians.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 06:42 AM   #8

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In other words, combined arms versus a one-dimensional force...
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Old November 6th, 2012, 06:50 AM   #9

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Fighting Marches of the Franks in the Latin East.

Heavier infantry, soaking up arrow fire as best they can, luring in cavalry archers ever closer until you unleash a heavy cavalry charge on them at a closer range where any elements of greater speed and manoeuvrability they might possess are relatively moot.
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Old November 6th, 2012, 07:21 AM   #10

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