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Yuri Serebemnick





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 1:53 pm    Post subject: Types of troops in a horseless world         Reply with quote

Good evening gentlemen, I would like to know what kind of soldiers would be predominant in world where there is no horses. Would spearmen be any good at all? Would archer types be predominant? Would big shields be the norm to prevent archer's missiles?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

First thing that fell on my mind was that it would be rather similar to classical greek or Viking/Anglo Saxon warfare... But with better armor... Wink
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R. Kolick





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i have to agree with luka but archers are always effective nothing will ruin your day like a few well placed or mass of arrows
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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 3:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say, without horses, mobility would likely be provided by other beasts?
Camels and Elephants have been used in warfare, and could fulfil similar role as mobile shock-troops.

And of course we have the legendary Moose-cavalry experiments carried out during the Great Northern War...(I am not 100% sure it is fact or fiction, though)

But if you are after scenarios where a general has no access to any units moving faster than foot-troops, then I would suppose that missile troops and artillery would play a larger role, as the risk of them being overrun by mobile units would be less.

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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 3:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pre-Columbian American warfare answers these questions.
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

True! No horses (assuming this includes other herbivores large enough to ride) would mean less travel, and transportation of goods and ideas. I believe it was the Incans who had wheeled toys, but since they lived without draft animals, had no carts or wagons.

Horseless world would mean far less ability to transport food, so large cities would be more difficult to feed, plus your plowing would be done by hand, so less food even to transport!

It would effect all aspects of society, in a domino affect.

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Jun, 2012 6:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, there were no horses used for much of the Bronze Age in some parts of the world (though chariots took over in some places in the Late Bronze Age). Spears were certainly common, and there were various types of sword and axe. Bows seem to predominate early on. Problem is that we don't really know much about formations, or even numbers or organization.

Archaic and early Classical Greece? Plus Italy at the same time, basically early Iron Age. Heavy infantry with spear and shield supported by light infantry with shield and javelins, plus some slings, rock throwers, etc. Horses were certainly used for transport, and cavalry did exist, but it was rarely considered decisive. Really, same kind of thing you see in Anglo-Norse warfare! Lines of spearmen with shields, stuff getting chucked, some archery to liven things up.

Matthew
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Jun, 2012 12:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree, look up meso-american warfare,

Hassig, Ross (1992). War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica.
Hassig, Ross (1988). Aztec Warfare: Imperial Expansion and Political Control.

I highly recommend these books, though I preferred war and soceity, they are both very illuminating.

E Pluribus Unum
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Yuri Serebemnick





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you gentlemen for the answers.
I'm waiting for more.
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Pre-Columbian American warfare answers these questions.


If looking at it from a very early copper age standpoint.

The question is how common/rare would metallic products be? That needs to be answered too.

For infantry based armies though, there are a few models that could work. The Hoplite one, the Roman model, Saxon England, Norse, etc. etc.

Quote:
i have to agree with luka but archers are always effective nothing will ruin your day like a few well placed or mass of arrows


I don't think archery would be overemphasized. IMO, the English archery from the "longbow" period was most effective against cavalry. Infantry usually have large shields to protect them, and if armoured they are even tougher. I don't think archery was overly effective against hoplites or Roman legionairres. Even at hastings it seems the Norman srchery was not real effective against the shield wall of the Saxons. But cavalry have a generally unarmoured mount that is a bigger target and unarmoured, making them more vulnerable to missile fire.

Javelin armed infantry are another story though, like the classical peltasts. The javelin has better pentration it seems than almost any bow, but of course less range. They are vulnerable to cavalry and archers though.

But javelin armed infantry can come up to almost point blank range against a heavy infantry formation, throw javelins, retreat, and repeat. This was effective against the Spartans towards the end of the classical greek period. And without enemy cavelry to run them down, they would be in a better situation.

It seems the javelin armed light infantry of classical and greek times went away with the increased use of cavalry - it would make sense that with cavalry they would have stayed around.
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Gottfried P. Doerler




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i go along with Gary. archery shouldn`t be overestimated.
imho archery is fine to disturb the enemy, maybe lead him to do something stupid, but not a thing to win a battle.

most classic empires like rome or alexander`s used little or no archery and fared pretty well.
but this must not necessarily lead to an increase of armour with the close-combat infantry.
infact, the greek hoplites, first beeing the spartans, dismissed the cuirass in the late 5th cent.BC in search of better mobility, to be easier closing in with the heavy-arching persians. they also trained this in so called "hoplitodromos" - race of hoplites.

so i think, the focus would be on more-or-less heavy close-combat infantry.
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Ryan S.





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 11:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is kind of broad. Extending no horses to mean no mounts and limiting it to pre-firearm European technology would suggest many of the same weapons. There are plenty of armies that fought with little or no horses, but they often were unique in other ways. I do however think that how they would be used would be different. Lack of horses effects not only for combat but supply, communications, and troop movements. Armies would not have been able to conquer and control as vast empires as they did. Soldiers may have carried less armor, etc.

Also, the roles of the cavalry would have to be replaced by infantry. There were several types of light infantry that had roles similar to light cavalry. Perhaps without the threat of cavalry charges, infantry formations would have been able to focus on protecting from arrows. Testudo anyone?
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David Gaál




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

People who sit in front of computers and are making biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. XD
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Gary Teuscher





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Perhaps without the threat of cavalry charges, infantry formations would have been able to focus on protecting from arrows. Testudo anyone?


Actually, I'd see more the opposite, with the absence of cavalry there would be lighter troops capable of closing with archers quicker than the heavy infantry perhaps.

But logic does not always dictate practice. For instance, Greek Heavy infantry was a red herring - they relied almost strictly on it, but were able to defeat s combined army like the Persians, primarily due to the Persian Heavy Infantry being very bad, or perhaps non existent, as they did not really have a heavy type infantry.

Now, you would think the the Greeks would realize that if they incorporated light infantry and cavalry, maybe a few missile troops with their ownheavy infantry, they would be real tough.

But they did not, so you have Persians fighting as a combined arms army with mercenary Greek infantry the follwoing century. And you have Spartan Mora's struggling against peltasts, struggling because they could not close with the enemy.

It took the Macedonian army to executs the concept of Heavy Infantry with supporting cavalry and light infantry.

Look at Xenophon too - he takes his army of Hoplites and srms some of them as light infantry so he can better counter the persian harrassing attacks on his exodus from Persia.
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Teuscher wrote:
Actually, I'd see more the opposite, with the absence of cavalry there would be lighter troops capable of closing with archers quicker than the heavy infantry perhaps.


When was sending light infantry against archers ever a successful tactic? Unarmored or lightly armored troops without bows or crossbows of their own tended to perform miserably against archers in British Isles, while heavily armored infantry often closed despite the hail of arrows.

On that note, English battlefield tactics in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries involved limited use of horses. I suspect the combination of lightly armored archers, modestly protected soldiers with polearms, and a heavily armored elite core would remain effective in a world without cavalry.

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R. Kolick





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[quote=On that note, English battlefield tactics in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries involved limited use of horses. I suspect the combination of lightly armored archers, modestly protected soldiers with polearms, and a heavily armored elite core would remain effective in a world without cavalry.[/quote]
i think that would be the most effective form of combat maby a mix of the hoplite heavy infantry supported by heavy archers
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Jun, 2012 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would focus not on just the weapons and armour but also on developing the bodies of the fighters to match their roles:

A) You want big and strong with decent endurance for heavily armoured troops.

B) Endurance marathon/iron man troops with medium armour coverage and weight, but trained to run all day to act as skirmishers or pursuit troops, or alone leaving behind the " heavies " if you have to get a force to some place far in a limited amount of time. Very good for the " Chevauché " equivalent tasks of cavalry raiding.

C) Short range " sprinters " lightly armed and armoured troops trained for maximum running speeds and agility for mostly close support of the heavy infantry.


Each of these 3 groups could be composed of hand and missile troops in varying proportions: The ( A ) heavily armoured could include crossbows and siege crossbows of low rates of fire but capable of compromising all but the heaviest armours, at least up close. Some archers for faster rates of fire.

The ( B ) skirmishing group should be 50/50 missile and close support troops, but might vary the proportions according to need with extra spare missile weapons.

The ( C ) " sprinter " troops mostly archers, slingers and javelins throwers, with a few polearm armed troops mixed in, these with a weapon capable of doing some damage to the heavily armoured but themselves being unarmoured or very little armoured except for a light helm and/or a light shield or buckler.

Troops would be selected and trained according to body type and tasks: All troops should be fit, but as you don't use a skinny marathon runner for weight lifting competitions, or expect sumo wrestlers to run fast, far, or for a long time or distance.

Tactically I would also use mobile heavy pavises or tower shields on wheels pushed along in front of the heavy troops and used as mobile forts and/or to protect the lighter skirmishing medium and light troops.

No cavalry but that doesn't mean that no animals could be used to pull carts but they would be unsuitable for the fast movement of cavalry and only useful for baggage and slow transports: I'm thinking oxen or something like them.

Ships like those used by the Vikings with shallow draft would be used as much as possible to carry cargo or move swiftly, but this only works where there are a lot of rivers or lakes, canoes would also work.

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Yuri Serebemnick





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
I would focus not on just the weapons and armour but also on developing the bodies of the fighters to match their roles:

A) You want big and strong with decent endurance for heavily armoured troops.

B) Endurance marathon/iron man troops with medium armour coverage and weight, but trained to run all day to act as skirmishers or pursuit troops, or alone leaving behind the " heavies " if you have to get a force to some place far in a limited amount of time. Very good for the " Chevauché " equivalent tasks of cavalry raiding.

C) Short range " sprinters " lightly armed and armoured troops trained for maximum running speeds and agility for mostly close support of the heavy infantry.


Each of these 3 groups could be composed of hand and missile troops in varying proportions: The ( A ) heavily armoured could include crossbows and siege crossbows of low rates of fire but capable of compromising all but the heaviest armours, at least up close. Some archers for faster rates of fire.

The ( B ) skirmishing group should be 50/50 missile and close support troops, but might vary the proportions according to need with extra spare missile weapons.

The ( C ) " sprinter " troops mostly archers, slingers and javelins throwers, with a few polearm armed troops mixed in, these with a weapon capable of doing some damage to the heavily armoured but themselves being unarmoured or very little armoured except for a light helm and/or a light shield or buckler.

Troops would be selected and trained according to body type and tasks: All troops should be fit, but as you don't use a skinny marathon runner for weight lifting competitions, or expect sumo wrestlers to run fast, far, or for a long time or distance.

Tactically I would also use mobile heavy pavises or tower shields on wheels pushed along in front of the heavy troops and used as mobile forts and/or to protect the lighter skirmishing medium and light troops.

No cavalry but that doesn't mean that no animals could be used to pull carts but they would be unsuitable for the fast movement of cavalry and only useful for baggage and slow transports: I'm thinking oxen or something like them.

Ships like those used by the Vikings with shallow draft would be used as much as possible to carry cargo or move swiftly, but this only works where there are a lot of rivers or lakes, canoes would also work.



I was thinking the same about the oxen.
The ships idea is new.
I like the pavise on wheels idea, it is really useful.
And about your troops idea i like them a lot.
Thanks for replying.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Logistic would be similar to the societies with horses because waterways had more impact on logistics and on a per food basis humans are good endurance work animals. Look at traditional Africa porters (http://vic.com/africa/images/kili/porter.jpg) or at the Korean A-frame that is cleverly combined with the stick in hand as a lever for loading, unloading and sometimes marching(http://freepages.military.rootsweb.ancestry.c...-frame.jpg). Animals with carts need expenive roads and without roads they need lots of food. These animals don't provide so much advantage compared to the solutions elsewhere that used and fed more humans and had thus higher population densities. A horse or oxen is not a car.
http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2011/12/the-ch...arrow.html Is a nice article on China that had all draught animals and opted for human powered transportation.
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Yuri Serebemnick





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PostPosted: Wed 20 Jun, 2012 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

New situation: All the animals are "intelligent" and will never serve humans. How does that change things?
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