Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare (Jack Gassmann) - APD2(2014)

Citation Information: Acta Periodica Duellatorum. Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 149-177, ISSN (Online) 2064-0404, December 2015


This article explores the role of cavalry in medieval warfare starting
with it’s origins in the Carolingian age, examining how cavalry was used as a
strategic asset within the context of the period on at an operational level, as well
as the tactics they were likely to have employed. Due to my interest in both
medieval warhorses and mounted combat research into the context and use of
medieval cavalry was a natural by-product. Using primary resources such as
first-hand accounts and period artwork as well as secondary literature, the article
summarizes the findings of my research. Most historians, despite the recognition
that field-battles were not the heart and soul of medieval warfare, still judge
medieval cavalry by their performance within them. My findings show a much
greater concentration on small unit actions, both in armament and organization,
with cavalry centred on chevauchées on raiding and subduing castles in swift
commando type take and hold missions. The diversity of mounted forces are
also examined in the context of the lance and the integration of mounted
crossbowmen and bowmen for combined arms tactics.