horses crashing into soldiers like tanks

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hruza

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Thing is, his comment didn't say destrier was a breed.
No he did not, but he implied it in the description. Destriers were not cross between anything.


This isn't proof Arabian horses were considered destriers.
Any horse could have been considered Destrier, if it fulfilled the requirements. As I said above, Destrier is not a breed. Again:

The word destrier does not refer to a breed, but to a type of horse: the finest and strongest warhorse.


It says they're strong and possess superior stamina. They were not, however, as large as most European knights would have wanted in a destrier.
European knights did not want their horses to be large:

They apparently were not enormous draft types.[7] Recent research undertaken at the Museum of London, using literary, pictorial and archeological sources, suggests war horses (including destriers) averaged from 14 to 15 hands (56 to 60 inches, 142 to 152 cm), and differed from a riding horse in their strength, musculature and training, rather than in their size.


Medieval war horse been large is nothing but a pop culture myth.

The breed standard stated by the United States Equestrian Federation, describes Arabians as standing between 14.1 to 15.1 hands (57 to 61 inches, 145 to 155 cm) tall, "with the occasional individual over or under".[3] Thus, all Arabians, regardless of height, are classified as "horses", even though 14.2 hands (58 inches, 147 cm) is the traditional cutoff height between a horse and a pony.
And again:

Recent research undertaken at the Museum of London, using literary, pictorial and archeological sources, suggests war horses (including destriers) averaged from 14 to 15 hands


Modern Friesians are draught horses, yes, but in the late Middle Ages, such horses were commonly sought after as destriers due to the rising need for horses capable of carrying a great deal of weight with little effort.

As draught horses go, Friesians are on the light side and even today are used under saddle. Indeed, there's no indication that the modern Friesian is overly different than its medieval ancestor. As far back as 11th century depictions, we can see horses resembling the modern Friesian carrying knights.

It's also not entirely correct to say draught horses didn't exist during the era. The term "draught horse" is relatively recent, but the role of a draught horse and the selective breeding that went into that role existed quite far back. The role existed as far back as the 12th century, at the very least.
Again, draught horses did not exist during Middle Ages. They were bred later. There simply were not there to be sought for or resemble anything. Mules, oxen and bulls were mainly used to do heavy drawing. Moreover draught horses does not make good war horses anyway:

Another faulty assumption is that to obtain a strong, battle-effective mount fit to carry an armed and armoured fighter, the horse would have to be cross-bred with draughts (e.g. Shire or Belgian – or the ever-popular Friesian, a carriage-horse). But heavy draughts do not make an appearance until the High to Late Middle Ages. Until the advances in agriculture, in rigging and tack, the pivoting axle and whippletree, and the mould-board plough, which came together from the 9th C onwards, the European heavy draught animal was the ox, not the horse.35 Anyway, draughts are built for just that: to pull, not to carry, and to plod or stride steadily, not to dance.36

Combat Training for Horse and Rider in the Early Middle Ages, Jürg Gassmann



Dyrrhachium? Tours? Bouvines? William Longespee at Bouvines, who charged deep into enemy lines (well after his lance would've made contact) and was captured? There are several cases of armies relying on the weight and mass of horses to break enemy lines. Lances merely amplified this by focusing that force on a fine point. This doesn't change the fact that horses colliding with enemy warriors wouldn't push right past them in most cases. Parthia managed to require remarkably dense formations of heavy infantry to stop, and this was long before the age of heavily armored knights.
Citations please.

Those are accidents.

Horses don't like to run into objects, but they will.
By accident.

Why do you think the cavalry hammer and anvil was such a classic strategy throughout ancient and medieval warfare? Horses are fine trampling enemy fighters, particularly if they're not ready for the horse.
"Hammer and anvil" is name of the tactics, horses were not hammers literary.

In general, the role of the cataphract unit was to charge and smash into enemy lines taking advantage of the sheer mass and armor that would have inevitably instilled terror into the hearts of the defending infantry.

It's statements like this, and the existence of the flying wedge, that lead me to think otherwise. The point of the wedge, you see, was to break through the enemy formation and disrupt it. How do you do this but to drive your horse straight through the enemy ranks? How do you drive your horse through the ranks but by training it to collide with enemies?
Point of the wedge was to increase controlability of the cavalry unit as all horseman simply follow lead of the man on the point. Colliding in to line of infantry will only send the men and horses flying to the ground, and the only thing it will break is riders neck, if they were lucky enough not to land on the lance or spear before that.

And you break enemy ranks on horse the same way you break them on foot: by fighting them. That's why cavalry carries actual weapons. Horse was not weapon, horse was a transport device.

Nowhere does "breaking enemy formation" imply colliding yourself in to it.

Another thing to consider in general is that it was rarely one horse against a line of infantry. It was a line of horses. Friendly presences on the battlefield are a morale boon to men, and why not to horses? Horses tend to have a herd mentality anyway. Therefore if ten horses can be convinced to keep charging, could 50 or 100 not be expected to, for the most part, follow suit? After all, one of the primary components for training a medieval warhorse was to get it used to conquering its fear.
Sure, and thanks to the same herd mentality if ten horses decide to not suicide themselves on spears and pikes and stop, all of them will. Now how big chance there is to convince ten horses to commit suicide as opposed of the chance that ten will refuse to do so? I bet on a preservation instinct.

Besides, why on earth would you want to collide your horse in to infantry line if horse is literally the most expensive and hardest to replace part of your equipment and once dead or maimed, you're nothing but another foot man without any advantages of cavalry?

That's right, you wouldn't. Not under normal conditions.

You're way, way wrong about this. It's true that the "levy" as labeled at the top organizational level consisted of a noble house's obligation of military force. What you don't account for is the fact that only the central core of these were knights and household men at arms. The rest consisted of mercenaries and feudal levies, who were conscripted men from among a noble's subjects. In other words, the peasantry.

Typically the feudal armies consisted of a core of highly skilled knights and their household troops, mercenaries hired for the time of the campaign and feudal levies fulfilling their feudal obligations, who usually were little more than rabble. They could, however, be efficient in disadvantageous terrain. Towns and cities could also field militias.

As central governments grew in power, a return to the citizen and mercenary armies of the classical period also began, as central levies of the peasantry began to be the central recruiting tool. It was estimated that the best infantrymen came from the younger sons of free land-owning yeomen, such as the English archers and Swiss pikemen. England was one of the most centralized states in the Late Middle Ages, and the armies that fought the Hundred Years' War were mostly paid, professionals.
Free land-owning yeomen was nothing close to a rabble, they were well off middle class:

The Concise Oxford Dictionary states that a yeoman was "a person qualified by possessing free land of 40/- (shillings) annual [feudal] value, and who can serve on juries and vote for a Knight of the Shire. He is sometimes described as a small landowner, a farmer of the middle classes".[4] Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, Garter Principal King of Arms, wrote that "a Yeoman would not normally have less than 100 acres" (40 hectares) "and in social status is one step down from the Landed gentry, but above, say, a husbandman".[5] Often it was hard to distinguish minor landed gentry from the wealthier yeomen, and wealthier husbandmen from the poorer yeomen.

Yeomen were often constables of their parish, and sometimes chief constables of the district, shire or hundred. Many yeomen held the positions of bailiffs for the High Sheriff or for the shire or hundred. Other civic duties would include churchwarden, bridge warden, and other warden duties. It was also common for a yeoman to be an overseer for his parish. Yeomen, whether working for a lord, king, shire, knight, district or parish, served in localised or municipal police forces raised by or led by the landed gentry.



These were primarily unprofessional folk with a minimum of training. It wasn't until rather late in the medieval period that we started seeing more professional armies the likes of which England showed us. Your source draws specifically from the Anglo-Saxon military, which had a distinct system of fyrd service.


Knights were not professional folk either. There's difference between unprofessional and unskilled. Men that were levied as archers in to English armies were required to train every week by law. And you are free to reference all Medieval systems of levy that would raise armies full of "rabble".

Medieval armies been composed of "rabble" is nothing but another pop culture myth.

Medieval times weren't a uniform thing; every culture had its own methods. In most of Europe, particularly as feudalism took a strong hold, the system was more akin to what we popularly know as "feudal levies". In these cases, the term "levy" as you're reading it refers to a noble landowner's obligation to provide a certain number of troops for his liege's wars. It implies nothing specific about the quality of those troops, short of a certain number of trained knights being a part of the obligation in many cultures.


Oh but it does. Medieval law did not just specified how many men one is obliged to bring when called to arms, it also specify what equipment they should have.

"Training a horse to risk its life", as the comment you're referring to states, is not the same as training a horse to forfeit its life. That's what training them to charge into spears would be.


You are free to post all the historical sources that shows training of horses to collide in to infantry lines.

Not a single picture of a horse colliding in to infantry.
 
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The Luminary

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The Cav AI in bannerlord loves ramming into infantry and archers though and the infantry/archer AI does not care to dodge a full speed horse coming straight at it because they only take 2 damage. Absolutely no realism, dumb ai.

Cav can be less useful in sieges relative to their price that's fine. But if you're going to tell me that 200 archers can beat 400 cav in the open field flat terrain, completely unrealistic. If I took 2 damage from a cavalry going full speed and trampling me IRL while I had 150 hp, I would not try to dodge either.
 
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Mabons

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Honestly people can have their weird fetish of having no challenge in the game because their cavalry just melts through everything but quite frankly I want my game to be a little more interesting than that.

All this historical realism back and forth is pointless, Taleworlds want cavalry to be dominant. I remember hearing or reading somewhere that they actually had Spear AI so efficient that cavalry didn't get any kills at all when charging them that they had to tone it down or they would be useless.
 

Tork789

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Non of them shows example of horses colliding in to lines of infantry.
What about that:
On the first charge, Enghien's cavalry penetrated a corner of the Imperial formation, pushing through to the rear and losing some of the volunteers from Paris. As Cardona's ranks closed again, the French cavalry turned and made a second charge under heavy arquebus fire;
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ceresole

There are far too many historical sources talking about horses charging into infantry (and not only infantry) and either pushing through, getting stuck or dying on impact for me to believe that horses couldn't be trained to charge into static objects.
 
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Also horses are ****ing stupid and aside from training war horses to believe themselves invincible measures were taken to restrict their field of vision with visors or blinkers to avoid them making individual decisions.
That's actually quite inaccurate, horses are rather intelligent. In fact it's because they're so intelligent that they had to be trained to resist their flight instinct. The scent of blood, the sight of a corpse, the noise of battle, all these things make a horse naturally prone to startle and escape because, well, they're smart. When they smell blood, they know something dangerous is going on. Knights had to get their horses used to all these things before they were battle-ready.

In addition, horses are capable of turning, backpedaling, sidesteppng, and more without any input on the reins. They can learn to do this simply by measuring how their rider is leaning and knowing what he wants them to do. Horses will even learn which weapon their rider wants when approaching a rack, and will naturally go to that weapon. They could be taught to store energy, in half-measure idle steps, allowing them to charge on a dime.

Recent research has only expounded upon our understanding of how intelligent horses are.

• Blanket, no blanket: “Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences,” July 2016, Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

• Touch-screen use: “A horse’s-eye view: size and shape discrimination compared with other mammals,” November 2015, Biology Letters.

• Facial expressions: “Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse (Equus caballus),” February 2016, Biology Letters.

• Body language: “Domestic horses (Equus caballus) prefer to approach humans displaying a submissive body posture rather than a dominant body posture,” October 2017, Animal Cognition.

• Sending signals: “Domestic horses send signals to humans when they are faced with an unsolvable task,” November 2016, Animal Cognition.
And if you're still in doubt, a few concrete examples.

 
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GitiUsir

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Horses are not hunters they are prey, their eyes are on the sides of the head, they tend to panic when something is moving on their sides, they see worse in their front, so whenever they perceive something solid ahead they try to avoid it. If there is no space or time to avoid collision they will collide just as any other animal including humans.

You can ride them blinded with a lot of training and they will obey and will resist panic to a limit.

I think head on charges into packed formations are bad tactics derived from bad leaders. Probably they happened in the past but I don't think it was the usual charge. There were different formations in those battle lines and there were gaps between them. I think cavalry formations galloped among them causing chaos and mayhem, specially in unexperienced levies and troops in the rear.

Once a formation is broken it's killing time. But just as americans avoided heavily fortified islands in WWII and jumped from one advanced base to the next, or armored divisions aimed deep behing enemy lines, cavalry would avoid densely packed groups and prey on the dispersed troops.

This can be modelled in the game. Just think about it, would you crash your precious cavalry into a formation in good order? The enemy formation will be crushed but the price will be high for your cavalry too, not worth the trade in most situations.
 

Tork789

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I think head on charges into packed formations are bad tactics derived from bad leaders
It really depends on the situation. In battle of Marignano for example, it was simply necessary for gendarmes to charge straight into the swiss pikemen, because if they didn't, the swiss would capture the artillery and the battle would've been decided against the french. But because of the bravery of the gendarmes, relentlessly charging into the infantry again and again, the battle was won.
 

GitiUsir

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It really depends on the situation.
Yes, I know it was a popular solution in Napoleonic battles too, but I'd rather dismount the gendarmes in that case. Anyway I hope you got my point. It isn't a brilliant tactic but a messy fix.
 

Tork789

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but I'd rather dismount the gendarmes in that case
But then they'd be on the same level as the swiss and outnumbered, it's precisely their ability to charge with heavy horses that saved the day. I get your point, but I wouldn't call it a messy fix, rather just another tool among many others in the arsenal of a wise commander.
 

Wolfsblut

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The things people complain about are hilarious. Stand in front of a charging horse you can tell me about your experience after...
In the afterlife maybe.

I thought they was more op than warband as well until i saw video of 200 cav vs 200 heavy archers and they masacrate them...
Hope they not be so op, in warband cav was "easy win"
200 Cav should masacrate 200 archers, that is one of the purposes they have in a battle.
 

GitiUsir

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But then they'd be on the same level as the swiss and outnumbered, it's precisely their ability to charge with heavy horses that saved the day. I get your point, but I wouldn't call it a messy fix, rather just another tool among many others in the arsenal of a wise commander.
Point taken, you are right. Let's say cavalry commanders should consider other options before that picture of injuried horses, trampled men and general confusion for all formations involved, but then they can do it.
 

hruza

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What about that:

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Ceresole

There are far too many historical sources talking about horses charging into infantry (and not only infantry) and either pushing through, getting stuck or dying on impact for me to believe that horses couldn't be trained to charge into static objects.
Non of which implies that charge was made by crashing horses in to infantry. Just like infantry charge does not imply men running full speed in to enemy spears with their bodies. Just like tank charge does not imply tanks ramming other tanks. Other then by accident or act of individual self sacrifice. But those are exceptions, not standard tactic.

An French infantry charge in Argonne, France

Charge is nothing more then a military maneuver in which charging side advances rapidly and aggressively toward the enemy with the goal of engaging in (usually) close quarter combat with the aim of throwing enemy out of his position. Nothing more and nothing less.
 
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I think head on charges into packed formations are bad tactics derived from bad leaders. Probably they happened in the past but I don't think it was the usual charge. There were different formations in those battle lines and there were gaps between them. I think cavalry formations galloped among them causing chaos and mayhem, specially in unexperienced levies and troops in the rear.
According to accounts of crusader charges by those on the receiving end, it was quite a good tactic, actually. Even if you're a trained soldier with spear at the ready, when you see a giant mass of horseflesh storming at you, shaking the earth beneath your feet, your natural instincts will weaken your resolve, which leads to weaker formations that can be torn asunder by the charge. They were as much a morale shock tactic as a physical attack. There are enough accounts of straight-on charges - successful ones - for me to think it was quite a common thing.

In fact, a great deal of High Medieval battles opened with a mounted charge, particularly where the French were concerned. A great many battles put French mounted knights against enemy infantry, and they almost always opened with a straight ahead charge to break the enemy's lines.


Non of which implies that charge was made by crashing horses in to infantry. Just like infantry charge does not imply men running full speed in to enemy spears with their bodies. Just like tank charge does not imply tanks ramming other tanks. Other then by accident or act of individual self sacrifice. But those are exceptions, not standard tactic.

An French infantry charge in Argonne, France

Charge is nothing more then a military maneuver in which charging side advances rapidly and aggressively toward the enemy with the goal of engaging in (usually) close quarter combat with the aim of throwing enemy out of his position. Nothing more and nothing less.
You're equating modern military charges in the age of gunpowder to melee charges, though. They were different things. When you ran full speed at an enemy, especially on horseback, you didn't have the option of just stopping on a dime when your weapon made contact. Momentum alone would generally carry you body-to-body against them even if it wasn't the nominal goal.

Is it foolish to charge spears? Yes. Was it done anyway? Sometimes. A wise commander instead brought the spearmen to him, nice and slow, and looked for an opportunity to hit them in another direction. That doesn't mean that spear-to-spear charges never happened.

The shock value of a charge attack has been especially exploited in cavalry tactics, both of armored knights and lighter mounted troops of both earlier and later eras. Historians such as John Keegan have shown that when correctly prepared against (such as by improvising fortifications) and, especially, by standing firm in face of the onslaught, cavalry charges often failed against infantry, with horses refusing to gallop into the dense mass of enemies,[4] or the charging unit itself breaking up. However, when cavalry charges succeeded, it was usually due to the defending formation breaking up (often in fear) and scattering, to be hunted down by the enemy.[5] While it was not recommended for a cavalry charge to continue against unbroken infantry, charges were still a viable danger to heavy infantry. Parthian lancers were noted to require significantly dense formations of Roman legionaries to stop, and Frankish knights were reported to be even harder to stop, if the writing of Anna Komnene is to be believed. However, only highly trained horses would voluntarily charge dense, unbroken enemy formations directly, and in order to be effective, a strong formation would have to be kept – such strong formations being the result of efficient training. Heavy cavalry lacking even a single part of this combination – composed of high morale, excellent training, quality equipment, individual prowess, and collective discipline of both the warrior and the mount – would suffer in a charge against unbroken heavy infantry, and only the very best heavy cavalrymen (e.g., knights and cataphracts) throughout history would own these in regards to their era and terrain.

Charges were risky maneuvers for the attacker, but the payoff was substantial, and so they were quite common. The very fact that a cavalry charge required such training and discipline to execute effectively shows that they were, indeed, meant to be executed face-to-face with an enemy who could potentially stand their ground and whittle them away.

I point again at the Bayeux Tapestry, which clearly depicts cavalry charging head-on into a dense shield wall, and trampling the front ranks on their way.

 
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Tork789

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Non of which implies that charge was made by crashing horses in to infantry.
Are you sure? Because the following:
On the first charge, Enghien's cavalry penetrated a corner of the Imperial formation, pushing through to the rear and losing some of the volunteers from Paris
Is pretty straight forward to me, they had to push through the formation and not even once. They even chose the corner as the weakest point in the formation.
 

Twezie

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Nowhere does "breaking enemy formation" imply colliding yourself in to it.
Hruza, how else do the horsemen break the infantry formation if not by charging? By looking at them? By walking next to them and starting to fight them stationary? I dont get it.

I guess everyone else is wrong and you are right.
 

FBohler

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There is no such thing like historical accuracy in Bannerlord for Calradia is 100% fictional.
 

hruza

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You're equating modern military charges in the age of gunpowder to melee charges, though. They were different things.
They are exactly the same thing, just done with different means.

When you ran full speed at an enemy, especially on horseback, you didn't have the option of just stopping on a dime when your weapon made contact. Momentum alone would generally carry you body-to-body against them even if it wasn't the nominal goal.
Which is why you don't run full speed. And even if you would, you are perfectly capable of timing your stop with the impact of a weapon at the target. So can horse.

Again:

But it is against the nature of a horse to ride into a solid obstacle, so the cavalry attack took one of two forms: Either the horse did a turn (a rollback, demi-pirouette or volte-face) before it met the target, or it passed the target.47 There is no tactically correct third choice – crashing into the target, with horse and rider being cast down, is documented, but can hardly be called “tactically correct” as the fighter is rendered hors combat.

-Executing a rollback in front of the target has two challenges: Firstly, if executed at speed, both horse and rider must be prepared for it and execute it with deliberation and on the correct lead, or the rider or both will fall. Secondly, on the battlefield, horse and rider will be part of a larger unit. Even three horses advancing in tight formation cannot execute a turn at the same time without bumping into each other.
This manoeuvre can come in two forms – either a complete, 180° volte-face, or a 90° wheel to the right or left; in the case of the wheel, the entire file would need to pass in front of the enemy formation, exposing it to missile attack.

-Passing the target requires the target to be loosely arrayed, as would be a foot unit fleeing or attacked from the flank, or a mounted unit.


Combat Training for Horse and Rider in the Early Middle Ages, Jürg Gassmann

And:

It is difficult to estimate just how many charges were decided without the two sides actually meeting. Expert on cavalry, Ardant du Picq, stated (with some exaggeration, just to make the point) that 49 of 50 one side hesitated, disordered and fled before contact was made. Approx. 75 % of the time this will happen at a distance, before they can see each other's eyes.
Officer of the Grand Duke Constantine Uhlans, Faddei Bulgarin, wrote that only those who never actually participated in cavalry battle talk about two opposite masses or lines of cavalry clash with each other and fight until one side is annihilated. Bulgarin wrote that it was not so, usually one side attacked and the other retreated, then the victor and pursuer was counterattacked by second line or reserves and overthrown and pursued in its turn.
Already in 18th Century, Mirabeau wrote that "veteran cavalry officers have told us that when two bodies of cavalry charge one another, it almost always happens that one party flees before the other can meet it. Saber blows are dealt only during the pursuit."
Often they will get closer. Even in these few cases where both sides colided, there was no shock at full speed, but a halt face to face and then an engagement.
If both sides were of equal morale then the horsemen would pass through each other's formation and come out on the other side. Sometimes they would continue forward until were overthrown by the second line of enemy's cavalry.


Cavalry Tactics and Combat during the Napoleonic Wars

Is it foolish to charge spears? Yes. Was it done anyway? Sometimes. A wise commander instead brought the spearmen to him, nice and slow, and looked for an opportunity to hit them in another direction. That doesn't mean that spear-to-spear charges never happened.
They happened fine, they just did not involve colliding horses in to spears.

Charges were risky maneuvers for the attacker, but the payoff was substantial, and so they were quite common.
No they were not. There are numerous examples of repeated charges. Repeated multiple times. Which would be impossible if horses were collided in to infantry line during charging.

Cavalryman is faster then infantryman, therefore he is perfectly safe as long as he keeps moving. He holds initiative and can dictate conditions of the engagement. Which is why colliding in to infantry line and even when surviving it, getting struck there, is stupid idea. The only danger to him are missiles and even then movement speed makes him hard to hit.

The very fact that a cavalry charge required such training and discipline to execute effectively shows that they were, indeed, meant to be executed face-to-face with an enemy who could potentially stand their ground and whittle them away.
How can you "whittle away" 400-500 kg horse colliding in to you at 60km per hour as you claim? You shrug it off?

I point again at the Bayeux Tapestry, which clearly depicts cavalry charging head-on into a dense shield wall, and trampling the front ranks on their way.
There is no depiction of collision between horse and footman on any of the pictures you have posted.

Hruza, how else do the horsemen break the infantry formation if not by charging? By looking at them? By walking next to them and starting to fight them stationary? I dont get it.

I guess everyone else is wrong and you are right.
How else infantry breaks the infantry formation?

I already told you that charging is a military maneuver, it does not imply colliding in to enemy with your body or that of your horse, tank, car, airplane or anything else. The only thing that is supposed to collide with the enemy is tip of your weapon or missile. How hard is that to grasp?

Are you sure? Because the following:

Is pretty straight forward to me, they had to push through the formation and not even once. They even chose the corner as the weakest point in the formation.
Where is the ramming horses full speed in to infantry formation involved?
 
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They are exactly the same thing, just done with different means.
They are not. The purpose and execution are both different. Modern charges are meant to flush enemies out of a position with morale shocks at best, but more commonly, to close distance for more accurate weapons fire across open ground with little cover. The point is to overwhelm the enemy with targets so that the majority of an element can assume closer positions behind new cover without the element losing much operational integrity, and it's mostly done as a matter of desperation. In a best case scenario, it can scare a smaller enemy element completely out of their own position.

Charges before the era of gunpowder (though there was some overlap into the 17th and 18th centuries) was to break enemy formations. The primary component of force strength in this era was unit cohesion. Groups of of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder provided many benefits, listing only a few...

1. Morale. The more comrades are at your side, the less likely you are to give into fear and flee. A study showed this was true even in the World Wars, which is one reason for the fireteam system we have today.
2. Overlapping protection. Shields layered over one another provided few opportunities for enemy projectiles or even spears to penetrate.
3. Intimidation. A cohesive wall of soldiers, spears pointed ahead, could terrify less experienced foes.
4. Staying power. A dense formation could hold ground and prevent the enemy from gaining access to good ground, passing through defiles, crossing rivers, and so on.

Thus the key to melee warfare was not the individual man's ability to kill another warrior, but rather in the cohesion of the armed forces when deployed afield. Charges were meant to break this cohesion. This was not possible unless ample physical force is applied. Simply stopping short and stabbing at the shield wall is not going to break that cohesion. You need to smash through it, and you do that by sending 350,000 pounds of galloping horse into the shield wall (lowball 17,000 for the horse, plus 50 or so for the barding, times 200 or so as an average).

Take a look at the wedge formation, uniquely designed to break enemy formations. A favorite of cavalry since the age of Alexander. Why? Because the purpose of shock cavalry was to break enemy formations. It was also used by infantry, of course, because it had a similar effect. Roman legionaries used this as well during the mid to late Republic, and in this observation we see a description of how the wedge achieved its goal:

The wedge was commonly used by attacking legionaries, - legionaries formed up in a triangle, the front 'tip' being one man and pointing toward the enemy, - this enabled small groups to be thrust well into the enemy and, when these formations expanded, the enemy troops were pushed into restricted positions, making hand-to-hand fighting difficult. This is where the short legionary gladius was useful, held low and used as a thrusting weapon, while the longer Celtic and Germanic swords became impossible to wield.
This required physically shoving through enemy warriors. Body to body. The bodies of the wedged troops were used to physically force a change in the enemy's formation. Now it's true that the wedge was also used to make charges easier to break off. In the instances of lighter cavalry, particularly in the Napoleonic era, if the infantry stood their ground and received the charge, they'd generally won. But we're talking about medieval cavalry. Medieval cavalry meant knights. Knights were heavy cavalry, and would absolutely call infantry's bluff if they stood ground with anything less than a braced wall of pikes.

If you want further proof, look at how a knight lances. Even if the horse could've stopped cold as soon as the lance made contact, it didn't. The knight rides through. That's where the actual power of the attack comes from. If you ride through contact and there are several ranks of unscathed men on the other side of your target, what do you think is going to happen?

Where is the ramming horses full speed in to infantry formation involved?
Please tell me you can grasp the notion that to go through a formation, starting on one side and ending up on the other, requires physical contact between your horse and their bodies. Do you reckon the horses just jumped over hundreds of soldiers' heads in a single bound? If need be, here's an illustration.


(Yes, this post is sarcastic, but there's a modicum of truth to it. Even in this fun, simplistic situation, physical contact is required to push from one side of a line to the other.)
 

KucukEniste

Sergeant Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVC
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I love how threads about game features derail to Wikipedia-driven history debate 😂
I mean someone started their sentence with the word 'realism' and hruza were online at the moment.
It' a completely normal phenomenon :grin::grin::grin: