Cavalry Charges: how effective were they?

Jul 2018
308
London
Hi all.

i was inspired by a thread developed a few weeks ago to prepare a video on the subject of cavalry charges. There is also a nice animation at the end, if you are interested!

Enjoy!

 

Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,749
Australia
Like most things, it depends. Some were decisive, like the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba, some were costly failures, like the Light Brigade at Balaclava. The timing, objective, ground, enemy forces , the opposing commanders, all variables that sometimes worked, sometimes didn't. I would say that usually cavalry was effective bu there were enough examples of failure to make most commanders cautious.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,988
MD, USA
It should be significant that every culture that had to deal with enemy cavalry basically designed its army to cope with stopping a cavalry attack. Even if it was as simple as not daring to go in harm's way without their own cavalry force. To me, that says that a cavalry charge was assumed to be potentially VERY effective. Good preparation could counter that, but you DID have to prepare.

Matthew
 
Jul 2018
308
London
It should be significant that every culture that had to deal with enemy cavalry basically designed its army to cope with stopping a cavalry attack. Even if it was as simple as not daring to go in harm's way without their own cavalry force. To me, that says that a cavalry charge was assumed to be potentially VERY effective. Good preparation could counter that, but you DID have to prepare.

Matthew
Definitely! This is the point I am making in the video! It is very difficult for cavalry to beat a formed infantry unit in absence of external help, but when the unit is not formed it becomes vulnerable, potentially very vulnerable!