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Default Horse Cavalry

Ed the Coastie 04-19-2004, 10:54 PM One of the things that I always liked about T2K was the return of horse cavalry. However, I found myself wondering recently just how practical it would be for such units to be formed in a war where automatic weapons are still extremely common. I can see cavalry serving as scouts, but not as line units.

Any comments?


antimedic 04-20-2004, 12:11 AM I would think that the troops would only use the horses to get around. Not much of a chance of a massed charge with sword and lance. But I due think that in one book that the Army of Silesia had lance armed cav. I sure against poorly armed civilians they would work, but charging a unit of well armed infantry, all that would lead to is horse meat for dinner. But the thought of horse cav is still pretty cool. In a game I had going, I had several mounted light infantry units fighting New America, Seminoles, and some Cuban insurgents in the Daytona, Orlando, Palm Beach triangle. They were very mobile, and there are many large horse breeding stables in the Ocala, Florida region.


Hatter 04-20-2004, 03:47 AM Good for crowd control as well.


TR 04-20-2004, 05:35 PM I've always thought that horse cavalry would still be effective... sure crowd control and against the general population who don't have automatic weapons it would be effective.

Even against modern military units it could be useful, roll up on their flank with cavalry while your infantry presses them from the front and watch the chaos.

I always envisioned law enforcement agencies in particular would go back to horse units in particular.

Just my 2 cents.



TiggerCCW UK 04-21-2004, 06:55 AM I have to say that I'd always envisioned the horses being used in a patrolling/scouting role, and as transport, rather than an offensive arm. On the other hand they would be effective (as noted above) against poorly armed/organised units, and they could also be very useful for exploiting weaknesses in an enemy line.


dawg180 04-21-2004, 11:51 AM Use the horses to get aroudn the flank, then dismount and fight on foot once contact with the enemy has been made. Pack horses to carry Ma Duece and her friends


Jason Weiser 04-21-2004, 01:54 PM It depends on a lot of factors...

1) The Soviets used Horse Cav in WWII and they were quite sucessful, so too did the Germans and many of their allies on the Eastern front. The distances were vast, and armor couldn't be everywhere. There were always open flanks, and hey, Horses are great for LRP work, gassing them up is as easy as letting them graze the grass.

2) Are you more in the mounted infantry or the shock role. If you're doing the shock role, then you'd better be praying the enemy doesn't have too much in the way of automatic weapons, 1 well sited RPK could ruin your whole day. If more mounted infantry, where all the horses do is get you to the LD, then that's probably more likely, but milage varies and so does cultural tradition. (Aka, US Cav tradition, for example, stems from the Civil War, we used our Cav more as dragoons, ride to the fight, dismount and shoot Spencer all day, the CSA would fight mounted but neither side resorted to sabre, it's actually a pretty tricky skill to teach, whereas in Poland, the sabre and lance tradition is pretty deep, and though the Polish Cav of '39 was trained to fight dismounted on most occasions, they did charge and fight mounted from time to time, and by the way, the Polish Cav charging German tanks, PURE BUNK!)


Andy-Shot 04-22-2004, 07:33 AM Unfourtuntely those Poles who charged the tanks on horseback didnt fair too well.

Calvary would make excellent Ready Reaction Forces, or could simply serve as transportation in a world where engine oil and gas are tough to come by. I would rather ride 30 miles on a horse than walk it... and worse case scenario, you have your dinner right there.

In a world where that has been thrusted back into low-tech, I think Horses would play a huge role. Sure a SAW would ruin your daily ride, but it would ruin your stroll through the woods just as easily, or even a casual sunday drive in a HUMVEE.


Jason Weiser 04-22-2004, 11:40 AM Originally posted by Andy-Shot

Unfourtuntely those Poles who charged the tanks on horseback didnt fair too well.

That's just it, they didn't, the whole thing got started when a Polish cav unit charged some German foot infantry and routed them early in the campaign, trouble was, the Germans had some armored cars behind the infantry, and they shot the hell out of the cav as they exploited thru. An Italian journalist saw the whole thing, and thus, a myth was born. In fact, the Poles knew about tanks, they had some themselves, including some of their own domestic designs. It's just they too suffered from the French "parcel the tanks out to the infantry model".


Andy-Shot 04-22-2004, 01:37 PM I didnt mean to make the assumption that the poles actually thought they were going to succede in charging the tanks with lances. From what I gathered of the event the Poles were stuck, and had no choice. Faced with the option to die standing or die charging, they chose to charge.

I'd have to go back at look it up again to make sure though. The Poles did surprising well considering they were being attacked by the some of the largest armies in Europe on both sides and they had no outside support or chance of getting any.


Abbott Shaull 04-23-2004, 12:44 PM Actually the Horse Cavalry units on the US and NATO lines would largely be units that role before the war were recon and screening forces. In the Horse Cavalry would be used as such. For the most part most of these units will be largely Assault Rifle, Sub-Machineguns, Squad Automatic Weapons, and Gernade Launchers with some GPMGs and Anti-Tank weapons sprinkle in.

A Cavalry Squad and Platoon would probably be organized along the lines of the Light Infantry Squad/Platoon with three Fire Teams for a squad. MG Teams and AT Teams would have 1 extra member. This extra Fire Team/Team Member would stay behind the fighting to hold onto the rest of the Squad or Team horse. Just like the Cavalry of Civil War era for the Union and the Indian War they would leave anywhere from third to a fourth of the force to police the horse.

Which seems like a large number when you consider look at Regiments and Division size units, but then again the food chain is more simplistic due to the fact these units have a tendecy to life of the land. So you really don't have all of those Engineer, Support, and other Misc units assigned. Maybe some Mortars on wheeled carriages to be used as Field Artillery and some pack mule and what not to bring some food and ammo. Then again for NATO at least most of these units would be used as screening and recon role. The larger units of Brigade and Division-size(not converted Armored Cavalry Regiments) would be used as reactionary force type stuff.

Yes, even as late WWII the Poles and Soviets had Horse mounted Cavalry. In fact the Soviets had large Corps and Army size units since they were easier to raise than the expensive Armored and Motorized Rifle(Mechanized) along with the fact that the Eastern Front wasn't a continous front. Large area could be control by a Cavalry Corps working as a Reactionary Force while other units were moved to where the fighting was.

Yet, also some of these Corps and Armies also served in the several Offensive actions too. Especially in Marsh areas and in the Winter when Tanks and what not didn't work all the time due to oil freezing in the motors. In fact these units were some of the German worse nightmares with winter took hold in Mother Russia. Aslo during Spring thaw they still kept the mobility. Next the Soviet really never were ones to worry about how or when they were able to resupply units on the front. If they happen to reach the unit they felt lucky.

I am surprise we didn't hear about any mounted Chinese Divisions with there wave type assault during Korea.

Next you have to remember the US had Horse Cavalry Division in WWII they were used to patrol the US-Mexican Border(2nd and 3rd Cavalry). Only the 1st Cavalry Division was in the Pacific and it still retain the Square Division(Pre-WWII Division Organization) organization of 2 Brigades that control 2 Infantry Regiments and fought as Rifle Infantry Division. It was about 1940 that the Triangle Division concept was started with the extra Regiment being used as a base to create new Divisions(3 Rifle Regiments).

Then again it is some food for thought.



Webstral 04-24-2004, 02:06 AM I agree with the guys who see horse cavalry in the recon mode. Horse-mounted units would make good screening forces, with horses carrying heavy machine guns, light AT weapons, and mortars. I'd have a hard time seeing very many of the romantic types who might fight from horseback surviving to make SFC. But using horses as organic trucks makes perfect sense.



Abbott Shaull 04-24-2004, 08:31 AM The German Army during WWII had a couple Horse Cavalry Division that were deployed mostly in Eastern Europe in the anti-partisan role mostly. I don't recall them being at the front at all unless the Soviets pushed the front to them... They were mostly rear area security.



antimedic 04-26-2004, 11:02 PM Towards the end of WW2 the SS cavalry divisions Florian Geyer ( 8SS) and Maria Theresia (22SS) fought in Budapest and were destroyed. I remember seeing photos of the Cav. troopers eating there old mounts. I bet horse mounted raiding parties would be a fun adventure in the war against the Mexican hordes in TW2000. Kind of like a reverse Ponco Villa. I wonder if there were any Cossacks in Division Cuba.


antimedic 04-30-2004, 06:11 PM Another thing I like about the whole return to the horse thing is the fact that there would be real horse artillery again. Sure would be fun to bounce around on a casion of 105mm HE rounds blazing across the Polish country side.


Abbott Shaull 05-02-2004, 09:45 AM Actually I don't see them using the 105mm unless it was like the Divisional Fire Support Battalion. These would be more or less set up in Fire Support Bases like what was used in Vietnam war in the Cavalry AO. It would be too slow to rely move quickly enough. Now maybe bring some old 75mm Pack howitzer maybe.

I see them using 120mm mortars that have been placed on Carriages in the Field Artillery Batteries that travel with the regular Troop of a Cavalry unit due to their lightness and ease they would be able to set up and to break down. Even in the Civil War most Artillery units attached to Cavalry units were slow in being set up.

Artillery to Cavalry is a rich target to sieze when they have the surprise advantage.... Otherwise they make bigger targets...


TR 05-02-2004, 10:06 AM Of course the other thing to consider is the cottage industries that would spring up to support these units. Saddles and all the rest of their gear needs to be made, mended, etc. The horses have to be cared for so you woould have to recruit veterinarian's and the like.

Excessive food is going to have to be grown to feed them, so that means farmers would be planting bigger crops. Not to mention depending on where your at you would need stables converted from exsisting buildings or built from scratch.

I agree though I don't see the 105mm's being standard, weight and availability of them for horse drawn mounts would be factors. Mortars (60mm, 81mm, etc) would be a good start as there are large numbers of those that would still be in inventory and from a technology standpoint would be asier to manufacture from scratch if needed.

The old M1 and M1A1 75mm pack howitizers would be interesting to see in use again. They are still out there, in fact with the proper paperwork, licenses and money you can buy one for about $17,000 (sans ammunition).

Still the 75mm could be effective, 8000 meters of range to work with and firing a 14.0 pound explosive shell.

I think one might have to have new industries spring up to manufacture ammunition of course but potentially weapons as well. That would be the hard part, for Milgov they could probably do this and Civgov might be able to as well but few others could.

This would be a tremendous undertaking but could be a basis for whole new communitites being formed up. Small scale shops for machining and porduction, chemical labs for making the explosives, metallurgists working with small shops to get the raw materials or work with them to make shell casings and the like...

Just some thoughts on this all.

For Sale, M1A1 Pack Howitzer, Not By Me But Fun To See:


Until Later,



Abbott Shaull 05-03-2004, 08:47 AM Yes, the 60mm would probably be the biggest item assigned to a Troop. Much like Foot Infantry uses them. Each trooper would carry a round or two, if you going to fight maybe three or four.

81mm and larger will more than likely placed on carriages with small mobile wagon in tow for ammo.

Yes there would be a new industrial base spring up near location where these units exist. Which in turn is part of the reason why the front had became more or less static. Becoming more so for the forseeable future at least in Europe. One has to have food coming from somewhere and one has to protect.



ReHerakhte 05-03-2004, 09:01 AM As another thought on this, there are options that haven't been mentioned here. While the normal notion appears to be one soldier = one horse, there's no reason why pack horses couldn't be employed to carry other gear including support weapons. While not necessarily as fast as the standard mounted soldier, pack horses are typically faster than wagons when a mounted soldier leads them, (although the Royal Horse Artillery demonstration unit in the UK certainly show that a team of four horses can pull a limber and 76mm gun at impressive speed - they too have a mounted soldier leading the horses)

While not strictly cavalry, the Australian Camel Corps in the Middle East in WW1 carried Vickers machine guns and all the kit associated with it on pack camels... where there's a will there's way!




Abbott Shaull 05-04-2004, 10:06 AM Yes that is true you can use pack animials too. It would all really depend what the role the Horse Cavalry would be. I mean this thread has kinda lumped all Horse mounted troops into Horse Cavalry when there are several types of mounted troops.

You can have one standard Cookie-cutter type units in you campaign in which they serve all roles or you can specialized them into sperate roles as follow.

Mounted Infantry/Dragoon: Which operates largely as infantry on the battle field and use the horse as a tool move around. These units would be basically a Light Infantry unit mounted on horse.(Mechanized/Motorized)

Recon-Screening elements: These units tend to smaller than the above unit and are used as the eyes and ears of a larger formation while they keep the enemy blind to where their parent units are. It support will depend on what the mission at the time is, but either way it will have to be able to move and/or relocate quickly.(Armored Cavalry/Divisional Cavalry)

Shock elements: These units would be raider and usually look similiar to the Recon-Screening elements. Probably large amount of SMGs and Carbines to allow the unit shoot while mounted. It Artillery support would have to move fast to keep up.(Armored)

Security elements: These would like Mounted Infantry but like the Shock units with very few support weapons and armed with large number of SMGs. Usually in anti-partisan patrol and security function which would have been done by MPs. These units aren't usually the best type of Cavalry, but there are exceptions.

Those are the basic four type of function that Cavalry has served. Through the ages and most of the time very few Armies had one cookie cutter type unit to serve all rolls.

To Mounted Infantry/Dragoon is probably the way most NATO Cavalry units are set up and they use what assets they need to perform their mission and it lends itself for the recon-screening type actions too. For the shock use they would tend to employ units that are stilled Armored and Mechanized somewhat. Security would be handled by MPs and Light Infantry units. Yet, in this type of organization they could be used as Shock or Security as needed with little trouble.(Artillery and pack animals may have trouble keeping up in Shock role.)

Where as the Soviets-Pacts have tended to strike a compromise to be Shock-Security with several SMGs in the units in which some units are better at Shock-type while other are better at Security. They try to do their jobs still on horseback and then move on.


antimedic 05-17-2004, 07:50 AM Another cool thing I just thought of. In the cities you would have horse drawn fire appartus again.


TR 05-17-2004, 06:04 PM I had also made up elements of the Indiana State Police for my Indiana update that were horse troop for law enforcement. There are a lot of possibilities, medical as well, you could have horse drawn carriages laden with medical equipment... and so forth.



TiggerCCW UK 05-18-2004, 02:32 AM I think the police would be amongst the first to return to using horses because a lot of forces still maintain a mounted section.


Ed the Coastie 05-18-2004, 10:24 AM I like the idea of the return of horse-drawn ambulances. That and fire equipment.

Of course, it's also possible that emergency equipment will be converted to alcohol fuel fairly quickly. After all, motorized equipment can usually respond much faster than horse-drawn units, and they don't have to travel relatively far so they aren't as affected by reduced range as are combat vehicles.


ChalkLine 05-22-2004, 07:26 AM Horses are so delicate, they also need trained (well trained) soldiers to deal with them . . .

The army veterinary corps is back though, and that can only be a good thing.

In my campaign (schlactebrucke), most of the rear area logistics is horse drawn, rapid field logistics is motorised. Rear area security use horses for sweeps and their prefered support weapon is a limbered Vasilek mortar, DshK HMG or other light wheeled weapon.

Horses, unfortunately, set of antitank mines. The front legs support 70% of the horses weight.

A horse will not feed after dark in strange country, in the ECW more than half the day was spent searching for suitable fodder by cavalry troops.


ChalkLine, formerly JimL


Abbott Shaull 05-22-2004, 09:12 AM Okay what is ecw...



ReHerakhte 05-23-2004, 12:50 AM Abbott,

I am pretty certain he means the English Civil War, my knowledge of English history from that time is very weak but I think it was also called the War of the Roses, the time of Oliver Cromwell. It was a fight between Royalists and Parliamentarians about (I think) the right of the Royal family or the members of the elected parliament to rule.

Anybody with a better knowledge than mine (and that aint hard!) on the subject, feel free to jump in and correct me.




ChalkLine 05-23-2004, 01:00 AM Sorry guys.

The ECW is indeed the English Civil War, from about 1642 to 1648 (I should know this, I studied the bloody thing, my mind is blank) I think.

The Wars of the Roses, an earlier sort-of-civil war is 1440s to 1486, fully armoured knights rather than semi armoured pike and shot.

The modern English Army had it's roots in the ECW and modern cavalry systems were worked out in many ways during the conflict, they had lost the lance but gained firearms and stayed an integral part of warfare.

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