With advance of body armor, can horse cavalry ever make a return?

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,638
USA
Title


PLA cavalry still train with sabre in hand for tradition.


New plates like level IV armor can stop multiple hits from 30 caliber rounds. With this, can cavalry ever come back?


 
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Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
No.

It is possible that horses could linger on in some very limited utility, but they'll never again be used in anything remotely resembling old timey cavalry. Modern weapons and mechanized vehicles rendered horse cavalry obsolete, and advances in body armor wouldn't change that.

Like the sword, they're gone for good.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,605
Dispargum
I can see an argument for a few places where the terrain is too rough for vehicles, but then that's what helicopters are for.


Maybe if the world runs out of oil and doesn't develop an alternative fuel? But body armor technology would have to improve much faster than firepower technology. Even if you could make kevlar (or better) body armor for horses there would still be problems. Horses are larger targets than people, you can't discipline a horse to keep quiet during night movements, soldiers are no longer familiar with how to take care of horses, etc.
 

aggienation

Ad Honorem
Jul 2016
9,813
USA
Its just traditional sport, nobody is using horses in battle, nor swords. Ballistic plates only protect the small portion of the body they cover, leaving a massive amount of vulnerable flesh for bullets and fragmentation to shred.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,520
Japan
Horses will have value in crowd control and policing... but in the military they will be ornamental/ceremonial rather than battlefield useful.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Horses will have value in crowd control and policing... but in the military they will be ornamental/ceremonial rather than battlefield useful.
The roles filled by horses in armies weren't all that romantic either, so their disappearance from modern warfare is nothing to mourn. If the poor brutes weren't butchered in a myriad of violent ways during battles, they were run down by the demands of the army, sheer exhaustion, and poor fodder. The worst thing to be in any army was one of it's horses.

Our wars are terrible enough without inflicting them on other species.
 
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Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,520
Japan
The roles filled by horses in armies weren't all that romantic either, so their disappearance from modern warfare is nothing to mourn. If the poor brutes weren't butchered in a myriad of violent ways during battles, they were run down by the demands of the army and/or poor fodder.

The worst thing to be in any army was one of it's horses.
Oh I’m not complaining old boy. 22 000 British and 29 000 Boers died 1899-1902... the British alone lost 365 000 horses and 50 000 mules (out of around 500 000)The Boers started with 86000 mounted men and had a similar wastage rate so we can guess at maybe 130 000 Boer horses. It was a holocaust for horses.

8 million horses killed in WW1.
20 000 horses died or required mercy killing after Waterloo.
 
Dec 2009
969
UK
Absolutely not.

Worst question I've ever seen.

Body armour lol? ......... what about the horse, explosives, armour piercing rounds, automatic weapons.

Imagine an armoured mount, like a modern Cataphract, lol trying to go head to head with armoured vehicles or charging a positions covered by snipers and LMG's.

I'm laughing just thinking about it.

............ what's next "Could the sling ever make a come back?"
 

Ancientgeezer

Ad Honorem
Nov 2011
8,898
The Dustbin, formerly, Garden of England
Oh I’m not complaining old boy. 22 000 British and 29 000 Boers died 1899-1902... the British alone lost 365 000 horses and 50 000 mules (out of around 500 000)The Boers started with 86000 mounted men and had a similar wastage rate so we can guess at maybe 130 000 Boer horses. It was a holocaust for horses.

8 million horses killed in WW1.
20 000 horses died or required mercy killing after Waterloo.


The memorial for Boer War horses, smashed up by the savages the year before last has been repaired and refurbished.

Although Australia and Canada have had Horse memorials to WW1 animals for some years, the UK only got around to erected one in 2015.




As far as the use of horses in warfare is concerned, they were very effective in both the Rhodesia and Namibia bush wars for scouting and mounted infantry--but that was against a low-tech insurgent enemy. Pretty useless against anyone with aircraft, heat sensors and long-range weapons.