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Old 01-08-2011, 03:19 PM
James Langham James Langham is offline
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Default Cavalry in Twilight 2000

again, please comment.
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File Type: pdf TW2000 cavalry 08-01-11.pdf (280.7 KB, 466 views)
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:43 PM
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good stuff
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:14 PM
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Again, good stuff James. I like the formatting and the "interviews". You might want to mention the common use of cavalry as scouts. You could cite the U.S. 5th ID's 4-12 cavalry at the Battle of Kalisz as a prime and instantly recognizable example.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:26 PM
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Again, good stuff James. I like the formatting and the "interviews". You might want to mention the common use of cavalry as scouts. You could cite the U.S. 5th ID's 4-12 cavalry at the Battle of Kalisz as a prime and instantly recognizable example.
Version 2 will incorporate more on the tactical use as scouts and the 4-12. Anyone got any useful detail on 4-12?
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:01 PM
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This is a splendid addition to our growing body of material. Good work finding photographs to insert into your narrative. Your narrative voice is a good one. I look forward to reading more of your work, James.

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Old 01-08-2011, 08:23 PM
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Excellent material!!!
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Old 01-08-2011, 09:52 PM
Abbott Shaull Abbott Shaull is offline
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Yes a really well thought out and document write up. I know we have discussed the use of Cavalry but don't remember if it was on this forum, the old site before we moved here or over on Yahoo Groups...

One of the things that I always thought was that the number of troops in each troop and squadron were quite low until the Custer Last Stand thread and found out how large the 7th Cavalry and how many Officers and Troopers were assigned to other duties...include the Commanding Officer who seems to not have spent much time leading his Regiment...
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:36 AM
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The only real drawback to horse-mounted cavalry is the capacity of the horse to carry rider and equipment. While a bit dated (this is the official equipment and weights from the 1870s) the following list gives some idea of what could be carried.

Halter: 2lbs 1oz
Watering Bridle: 1lb 1.5oz
Bridle: 2lbs 13oz
Saddle: 14lbs 13.5oz
Saddle Bags (empty): 2lbs 2oz
Filling of near side pouch of saddle bags (rations): 11lbs 2oz
Filling of off side puch of saddle bags (1pr socks, 1 pair shorts, 2 shirts, 40rds
carbine ammo, toilet articles): 7lbs 8oz
Forage Sack (empty): 6oz
15lbs of oats in forage sack: 15lbs
Lariat and picket pin: 3lbs 1.5oz
Greatcoat: 4lbs 6.5oz
Brush and shoe pouch (empty): 1lb
Curry-comb and brush in near side pocket: 1lb 8oz
2 horseshoes and 15 shoe nails on off side pocket; 2lbs
2 blankets: 6lbs 14oz
Saddle cover: 1lb
Surcingle: 11.5oz
Saber and slings: 4lbs 12oz
Waist-belt and plate: 1lb
Pistol and holster: 3lbs 2oz
Carbine sling and swivel: 10lbs 4oz
Carbine cartridge box (empty): 1lb
24 rds of carbine ammo: 2lbs
Pistol cartridge box (empty): 4oz
12 rounds of pistol ammo: 14oz
Man: 140lbs

All of this gives a total weight for a five day field exercise of 240lbs, 12.5oz.

Now, of course certain items can be dropped from the list but the key thing to remember is that the weights carried must balance between the near and off-sides of the horses. This is to prevent injury to the animal. And the maximum load that can be carried is 240lbs. This helps explain the extensive train that has to support horse cavalry.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:47 AM
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Man: 140lbs
That right there is going to be a huge limiting factor. Even after a few years of short rations and no Burger King, few soldiers who grew up with late 20th century nutrition are going to be near that weight.

- C.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:29 AM
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That right there is going to be a huge limiting factor. Even after a few years of short rations and no Burger King, few soldiers who grew up with late 20th century nutrition are going to be near that weight.

- C.
That's the first problem. Its just a guess, but I have the feeling that the average trooper is going to be right around 160-170lbs...and don't forget that the horse on the previous list is a cavalry-trained Morgan breed...may not be too many of those running around Europe. So the actual horses available will be either draft horses which can carry more weight, but are slower and larger. Or a lot of ponies which are faster, but can't carry as much weight.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:00 AM
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It's occured to me that a lot of people on the list may not enjoy the sport of horse-back riding....and yes I am one of those. Following is a description of the various parts of a military saddle and what they do...

The saddle itself has a prommel (that pointee thing that sticks up at the front) and a cantle (that raised bar looking thing at the back), they are connected by a pair of trees (the bracing for the seat). The trees can be adjusted to better fit the horse's back. A prommel plate is the metal piece bolted to the prommel that is used to steady the rider as he mounts/dismounts. A cantle plate is bolted to the rear of the rear of the cantle and helps hold the cantle skirt on (this is the flap of leather that juts out about 5-6 inches from the back of the cantle.

Fastened to the trees are the stirrup-bar plates (these are the main connecting points for the stirrups). There are also several straps bolted at front and rear that will be used to secure equipment.

The seat is normally made from rawhide, nailed to the prommel and cantle and then laced to the trees with thongs.

The pad, normally made of sheepskin and stuffed with curled horse hair and guilted is then laced to the seat, prommel and cantle.

The girth is then attached to the tree by both thongs and a buckle/loop arrangment. This is the belly band that holds the saddle and rider to the horse.

2 Chapes are buckled to the trees, these are the leather pieces that protect the legs and buckle onto the stirrups.

2 Stirrups are buckled to the bottom of the chapes. These can be wood or metal and usually take a upside down U-shape with a flat bar on the bottom. Stirrups can be either open or closed. A open stirrup is vulnerable to snagging on branches, the rider's foot can also slip forward and allow the rider to be dragged (this is the reason why a trooper's boot normally has a higher heel). A closed stirrup protects the front part of the rider's foot, but conceals any damage to the stirrup (causing the rider to fall when he tries to mount).

The crupper is a Y-shaped strap that ends in a padded ring. The horses tail is inserted into the ring which slides up to the base of the tail, the top of the Y then buckles to the cantle. It is used to help stabilize the saddle when moving up and down hills.

The surcingle is another Y-shaped strap, the upper pieces buckle on either side of the prommel and the bottom strapped, formed into a ring, slips over the girth. It is used to stabilize the saddle when moving up and down.

The halter is the network of straps that fit around the horses held and a strap that runs down and is buckled to the surcingle.

The Bridle contains the bit, straps onto the halter and has two reins leading back to the rider.

The saddle blanket is about 54 inches square and is folded several times before being placed on the horse, the saddle is then placed and strapped into place.


The problem of converting a unit to horse-mounted cavalry would require a lot of careful scrouinging to get saddles and riding horses. Not to mention training troopers to ride, and the services of blacksmiths and saddlewrights...not exactly common jobs now days!
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:20 AM
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Nice work but as in previous talking about cavalry, I continue to disagree with several things.

I agree with the idea that Europe at the time of T2K lacks the proper number of horses but, provided you can get them, cavalry units can be very useful.

I agree about the fact that soldiers capable of caring for the horses will be in small numbers but that is not a real problem. Between 1917 and 1921, Trotsky managed to built the best cavalry in the world, numbering in thousands and coming out from nothing.

I also agree with the idea that cavalry will be mounted light infantry. However, they will be very usefull to conduct deep penetration raid against communication lines and peacefull towns.

I agree with the idea that lancers will be a question of fashion but, sabers will be readopted really fast, at least as a sign of pride.

Cavalry units can travel 60 miles in a day and they are very useful when used in collaboration with armored units. Rough terrain is their weekpoint not bad terrain. The germans experienced it in WW2. As their mechanized units were stuck in the snow and mud of Russia, the Soviet cavalry was freely conducting devastating raids on their rear.

In T2K they won't suffer from their worse ennemy: aircrafts.

Supply will be a problem of course but so it is for everyone. Cavalry units will have to develop their foraging technics. A standard soviet unit at the time of the russian revolution had about the lightest support unit (10-15% of the fighting force).

Whatever, they will not appear over night. If you take the case of pact forces you can expect most cavalry units to be from Siberia-Mongolia and Central Asia.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:33 AM
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The problem of converting a unit to horse-mounted cavalry would require a lot of careful scrouinging to get saddles and riding horses. Not to mention training troopers to ride, and the services of blacksmiths and saddlewrights...not exactly common jobs now days!
Trotsky managed to put factory workers from Moscow and Saint Petersburg on Horseback in weeks. Where is the problem to do the same with leasy westerners as we are? Of course you can walk back through the all of Europe.

I don't think that a US commander from Texas lost in the middle of Poland with the need to improve access to supply and protection of its flank will give you the choice. If I'm that commander and get my hands on 50-100 horses. I'll order one of my subordinates to organize a cavalry unit. Then, this unit will have to be used as scouts, raiders, covering forces and I'll use them as support mounted infantry to what is left of my armored force.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:47 AM
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Nice piece of work.

For anyone interested in this subject, I'd also recommend a book called "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton. It covers the activities of a US Special Forces Detachment working with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan at the end of 2001 and and has a fair amount of detail on the subject of US troops (some of whom were experienced horsemen, some of whom were not) operating on horseback.
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:06 PM
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I don't think that a US commander from Texas lost in the middle of Poland with the need to improve access to supply and protection of its flank will give you the choice. If I'm that commander and get my hands on 50-100 horses. I'll order one of my subordinates to organize a cavalry unit. Then, this unit will have to be used as scouts, raiders, covering forces and I'll use them as support mounted infantry to what is left of my armored force.
That might make it in as a quote!
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Old 01-09-2011, 01:48 PM
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In this thread and in other related threads here on this forum, several people have brought up the issue of Europe's low horse population in the 1990s making T2K cavalry figures unfeasible. Of course, just 50-odd years earlier, there were enough horses for most continental European militaries AND civilians to harness (literally) for use carrying cavalry and hauling wagons and even artillery pieces. In the intervening years, the population decreased dramatically as motor vehicle transport became more commonplace. So, how can we justify a mid-'90s horse population that could support the numbers of cavalry units (especially Soviet and WP) given in canon? Here are a couple of possible explanations.

Perhaps Cold War militaries in the T2K timeline somehow anticipated that horses would again become useful beasts of burden and began programs to breed horses for wartime military and/or civilian use. To me this seems fairly unlikely.

Another possible explanation is that the Soviet Union, shortly after (or even before) invading China, realized that they simply did not have adequate motor transport to support large scale operations. So, they began a crash horse requisition/breeding program to make up the difference. Originally, most of these horses were used as draught animals but, over time, proper cavalry units were formed and, as combat vehicles were destroyed or could no longer be repaired, horse cavalry became more common. In the use of horse cavalry, the USSR/WP took the lead, w/ NATO coming later to the party. Many horses were subsequently captured by NATO and used against their former owners. By 2000, horse cavalry was a fairly common sight.

What are your thoughts? Can you think of other ways to reconcile the RW horse population in Europe in the mid-'90s with the higher numbers implied in T2K canon?
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:03 PM
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In this thread and in other related threads here on this forum, several people have brought up the issue of Europe's low horse population in the 1990s making T2K cavalry figures unfeasible. Of course, just 50-odd years earlier, there were enough horses for most continental European militaries AND civilians to harness (literally) for use carrying cavalry and hauling wagons and even artillery pieces. In the intervening years, the population decreased dramatically as motor vehicle transport became more commonplace. So, how can we justify a mid-'90s horse population that could support the numbers of cavalry units (especially Soviet and WP) given in canon? Here are a couple of possible explanations.

Perhaps Cold War militaries in the T2K timeline somehow anticipated that horses would again become useful beasts of burden and began programs to breed horses for wartime military and/or civilian use. To me this seems fairly unlikely.

Another possible explanation is that the Soviet Union, shortly after (or even before) invading China, realized that they simply did not have adequate motor transport to support large scale operations. So, they began a crash horse requisition/breeding program to make up the difference. Originally, most of these horses were used as draught animals but, over time, proper cavalry units were formed and, as combat vehicles were destroyed or could no longer be repaired, horse cavalry became more common. In the use of horse cavalry, the USSR/WP took the lead, w/ NATO coming later to the party. Many horses were subsequently captured by NATO and used against their former owners. By 2000, horse cavalry was a fairly common sight.

What are your thoughts? Can you think of other ways to reconcile the RW horse population in Europe in the mid-'90s with the higher numbers implied in T2K canon?
It's a really difficult thing to reconcile but I can't see cavalry programmes in place that early by armies.

I'm reluctant to abandon cavalry though as they are such an evocative part of the background.

A few random thoughts:

* the Soviets move to cavalry first, they probably have better access to horses. Maybe NATO initially starts by using captured horses.

* we are assuming that cavalry units are all cavalry. Maybe the proportion of mounted troops is lower than 100%. Not really keen on this as an option personally.

* Non-canon but a large economic crisis with rising fuel costs about 1990-1991 might result in increased horse use in certain areas at about the right time.

* One thing that dawned on me after writing is the appearance of an occasional horse towed artillery piece for atmosphere.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:16 PM
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* One thing that dawned on me after writing is the appearance of an occasional horse towed artillery piece for atmosphere.
I think this would be fairly common, especially in infantry divisions, come 2000. In WWII, a lot of German field artillery, if not a majority of it, was horse-drawn. The Soviets were better equipped, having access to Lend-Lease trucks, but they also used horses to pull artillery pieces.

There's a pencil drawing of what looks like a Soviet 122 or 152mm gun being drawn by horses in the v1.0 rulebook.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:17 PM
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Canon figures for horses are not that high in fact. A few thousands horsemen for the soviet with a more important amount for the Poles. Moreover, I agree, these units are probably not entirely made of cavalry.

For my part I use the 1988 figures which are higher than the mid-1990's figures. USSR has not collapsed and horses remain more numerous than today.

China: 11,000,000
USA: 10,500,000
Warsaw Pact: 9,000,000 (USSR: 5.7 / Mongolia: 1.9 / Poland: 1.4)
Mexico: 6,100,000
Brazil: 5,200,000
Argentina: 3,100,000

World: 64,600,000

First, remember than per canon most soviet cavalry is located in Poland where you have the most important number of available horses in Europe.

Second, USSR has been at war longer than NATO and indeed might have launched a major breeding program before the war. IMO the initial program was not intended for military use but to replace mechanization in the various collective farms (US industry is strong enough to supply both its military and the civilian market, I doubt that USSR Industry could do the same). As the war drags more and more vehicles to the front, they need to be replaced. As the industry focus solely on producing military equipments it cannot supply these same farms. Then, food has to be carried to the cities by horse carts.

Third, I always considered that the use of horses on the american continent was heavily underestimated. The conflict between Mexico and USA almost cannot take place without horses. Where do the Mexican find the number of vehicles needed for such a large scale military operation?

Fourth, breeding programs don't take so long. In 1985, France had 40,000 draft horses. By 1991 that number was back to 100,000. if you use that figure that gives you a potential number of horses in USSR equal to 20,000,000.

In 1936-1937, the Soviet Union horse population was devastated under Stalin terror (and I'm not kidding). Four years later they had quite a fair number of cavalry divisions and during the winters of 1942 and 1943, the soviet cavalry was already everywhere. Among their major success, the victory at Stalingrad and the rapid offensive in Manchuria.
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Old 01-09-2011, 04:28 PM
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Third, I always considered that the use of horses on the american continent was heavily underestimated. The conflict between Mexico and USA almost cannot take place without horses. Where do the Mexican find the number of vehicles needed for such a large scale military operation?
I live in a rural area north of Tucson. Four of the households on my block of 14 houses (on 1.5 acres each) have one or more horses on the property. There's a weekly "rodeo" held next door to the local middle school. Tucson schools get two days off for Rodeo Break (in February) and the Rodeo/Stock show was a big annual event in Denver when I lived there.

My point is, based on first-hand experience, I agree with you Mo. There are a lot of privately owned horses here in the States. Plus, the BLM has to cull wild horse herds living on Federal land every couple of years. It's still a pretty controversial event.

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Fourth, breeding programs don't take so long. In 1985, France had 40,000 draft horses. By 1991 that number was back to 100,000. if you use that figure that gives you a potential number of horses in USSR equal to 20,000,000.
This is fascinating info, Mo. If the Soviets had started such a program in the early '90s, they'd be able to supply most of the horses used by both sides in the European war by 2000 on their own.

Perhaps claims that horse population figures for T2K were exagerated were... exagerated.
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:15 PM
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We have indeed talked about form cavalry units previously and the earlier thread is full of juicy goodness. http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.php?t=614
Note that the comments about the diminished availablity of horses still stands...
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Old 01-09-2011, 05:26 PM
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The key word here is potential. Nevertheless why should they be exagerated.

Prior to ww2, the Soviet Union had a little over 30 cavalry division (about 250,000 horsemen).

In T2K they have no more than that with an average of 1500 men in a cavalry unit. At most the red army has 50,000 horsemen. Why do you think this to be exagerated?

By 2000, that number is much lower:

USSR: 16,700 cavalry to which you add the 51st TD (4,000 in Austria). All of these units are probably not entire cavalry. That is equal to two WW2 cavalry division with one or two additional brigades.

Poland: 6,300 regular cavalry and 800 border guard cavalry.

Czechoslovakia: a few thousands mostly border guards.

Where do you see these figures to be exagerated especially as you have no indication on their level of readiness?
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:26 PM
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Where do you see these figures to be exagerated especially as you have no indication on their level of readiness?
I hope that this question was directed at me Mo because I agree with you completely.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:36 PM
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Don't forget that horses, and animals in general, are likely to have suffered even more casualties than humans due to the effects of the war. Radiation, disease, exposure, starvation are all going to hit them harder. Then there's predation by humans and other carnivorves (dogs in particular, potentially cats, rats and so forth hunting the smaller animals) looking for anything to fill their bellies in the cold long months post nuke.
While the world human population may have roughly halved, I see animal numbers (particularly horses, cows, pigs and other potential food animals) being absolutely decimated and down to maybe 5-10% of 1996-97 numbers. This percentage will be even lower in areas hit particularly hard by nukes, cold weather and rampaging hordes of starving citydwellers.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:37 PM
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Now that I have thought about it, I can easily see in europe the slow increase in the use of horses even before nukes fly for the simple reason that civilian access to fuel will dwindle fast from day one. By the time fuel supplies for the military dries up horse should almost be common outside cities, and more so the further out in the sticks you go. Whilst legbreaker has a very good point, I believe that civilians, even after the TDM, would see horses as far to valuable not to take some effort to protect them, which might lead to problems when the army comes looking for them. Another very valid point was brought up as well: gathering the tools and equipment needed, as well as the skills. Saddles and farriers don't grow on trees, but I could see some serious effort put into it the further along the war goes, but it will take time.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:49 PM
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Question Bicycle Cavalry?

This might take the conversation in a new direction, but I would think that as far as a mounted infantry version of cavalry goes, riding a bicycle would be superior to horseback in many situations.

First, minimal extra training. Most of the soldiers would be familiar with bicycles from childhood.

Second, significantly less specialized gear needed. And what is needed is often light weight and bike-portable.

Third, easier maintenence. Especially when you consider all the tangential apects of 'horse maintenence' like a breeding program, training the animals for combat, and feeding a large number of large & hungry animals.

Fourth, compare speeds & daily travel rates. A soldier on horseback has a significant short term speed advantage, but over a daylong march, probably covers 2 to 3 times as much ground as he would on foot. A soldier on a bicycle is slower in a the short term, but still faster than on foot. Over a full day of travel though, bicycle troops could travel up to twice as far as mounted troops.

I did a few quick minutes of research and found this site:
http://www.ultimatehorsesite.com/info/farandfast.html

It seems legitimate. Estimated average top speed of a horse 30 mph (48 km/h). It also lists daily distance traveled by cavalry troops (in a race) to be 60 miles (96 km).

Judging from my own experience, most people would be able to reach a max speed of 20 mph (32 kph) on a bicycle, but should be able to cover over 100 miles (160 km) total over an 8 hour day.

Another link: http://www.letour.fr/2010/TDF/LIVE/u...ent/index.html

I'll be the first to admit, a bike trooper would not be a trained and conditioned cyclist like a Tour De France rider, but I think it gives a good basis for comparison. A quick check through a handful of stages shows that they typically travelled 180-200 km per day. Most of the winning times (for just that day) were in the neighborhood of 4h40mins to 5h. Even considering the difference in fitness, allowing an extra 3h time to finish seems very reasonable.

End of my thoughts on the subject. And I won't take credit for this idea. I recently reread the Emberverse series by S.M. Stirling. Post-apocalyptic, with strong elements of fantasy that grow throughout the series. But he does try to make the situations as factually-based as the setting allows. And bicycle cavalry vs. horse cavalry is a recurring question in the various novels.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:58 PM
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We have multiple references in multiple books of "hordes of starving refugees" swarming over farmland like a plague of locusts. They stripped the countryside bare, eating absolutely everything with little regard for next years crops (in other words, they ate the seed which was supposed to be planted the following spring, thereby dooming hundreds of thousands, if not millions to death by starvation).
Given that environment, I doubt anyone would have been able to save many horses unless they rode them like the devil a few hundred miles through effectively hostile terrain to safety.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:58 PM
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All very good points, and by and large correct, though I think comparing the TDF to anything a soldier could do is a bit more of a stretch than you think, just my opinion. But the one advantage that horse has over bike is load. Horses simply carry more. And you can always hook a couple of horses to a wagon for bulky supplies - rickshaws don't count the same - that would demand the addition of trucks to a bike unit. That said, I can very easily see the presence of large numbers of bikes in units for those reasons as mentioned in the post, but they wouldn't be in the cavalry role that horse units would.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post
We have multiple references in multiple books of "hordes of starving refugees" swarming over farmland like a plague of locusts. They stripped the countryside bare, eating absolutely everything with little regard for next years crops (in other words, they ate the seed which was supposed to be planted the following spring, thereby dooming hundreds of thousands, if not millions to death by starvation).
Given that environment, I doubt anyone would have been able to save many horses unless they rode them like the devil a few hundred miles through effectively hostile terrain to safety.

Oh, to be sure. Especially in areas near urban masses and those that are "easy" to reach (ie along major road networks). Any farm within a hundred miles of a large urbanised area will be stripped bare, but the further out you get the more warning the farmers will have of what's coming and they will take steps to protect what's theirs. I tend to think that this is why there was any food available at all, and that doesn't count areas that have military units parked at, even at that early stage of the war, the senior commanders could see the train wreck coming and would take steps.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:15 PM
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Bicycle cavalry in WW1


http://www.canada.com/story_print.ht...8ee33&sponsor=

The mention of Baden-Powell and his kite photography is also interesting. Who needs a UAV?
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