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Re: Russian Cavalry 1240-1450

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  • rickjs
    The easy answer to both is YES. The mid-early Rus heavy cavalry, including western such as of smolensk and kiew and Poland, looks much like mongol heavy
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 9, 2010
      The easy answer to both is YES. The mid-early Rus heavy cavalry, including western such as of smolensk and kiew and Poland, looks much like mongol heavy cavalry, with horse armor and of course the bow as either a main or secondary weapon. Ignore any picture you may see that looks like a mounted viking... probabally a fantasy - although most very early rus (pre 1100) was not cavalry but boat-oriented, and almost never tried to control the steppe.

      I have heard arguments that
      Horse armor seemed to be more important to those armies facing a bow-armed cavalry enemy, since lots of arrows raining down tended to fall on large targets, like horses, but the armor did not have to be extra heavy against indirect arrow fire. Horse archers seldom tried to kill enemy horses on purpose with close-range aimed fire, since they hoped to capture the valuable things. Infantry spearmen liked to kill horses just fine, but it was hard to defend against spears with light armor, so armor was not usually intened for that purpose.
      http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/ByzInfantryImages.htm has some pictures of 13th C. rus cavalry, if you pick through.

      --- In sig@yahoogroups.com, "rodger1uk" <rodger.w@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi,
      > New member.
      > I am new to Russian Medieval History; I have a number of books (and more on the way) but could anyone offer views on these points please:
      > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry of the various Principalities between 1240-1450 use any form of horse protection (quilted, lamellar etc)?
      > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry use the bow (I have read and heard many conflicting views on this).
      > Cheers
      > Rodge
      >
    • Lisa Kies
      Greetings from Sofya! I agree that there was likely some form of light horse protection. As for the use of archery by heavy cavalry . Well, my understanding
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 9, 2010
        Greetings from Sofya!

        I agree that there was likely some form of light horse protection.

        As for the use of archery by "heavy cavalry". Well, my understanding is
        that it's not that easy. "Heavy cavalry" is distinguished from the "horse
        archers" aka "light cavalry" by the lack of archery - by definition. Heavy
        cavalry was supposed to use spears not bows.

        BUT the horse archers included younger Rus men not yet strong enough to use
        the spear effectively. This is likely where the debate comes in. Many
        members of the Rus "heavy cavalry" were "light cavalry" in their younger
        days and so would likely have no problem with using the bow when the
        situation called for it.

        Thus it is very possible that a man who fought in the "heavy cavalry" one
        day, would be called upon to serve in the "light cavalry" the next - based
        on the changing needs of the battle/equipment/casualties. So the lines were
        probably very blurry.

        It may well have been like our Wars where the general says, "I need 5 more
        archers" so 5 men-at-arms drop their scutums and scrounge up some combat
        crossbows. This makes it difficult for modern researchers who like to have
        everything neatly categorized.

        I'm confused by the statement "Ignore any picture... that looks like a
        mounted viking....". Vikings wore chain mail shirts, so did the Rus and
        everyone else. Vikings carried straight swords, so did the Rus... and
        everyone else. Viking used helms similar to the Rus, and everyone else.

        If I were explaining what an early Russian cavalryman looked like to someone
        new to the subject, I would like to say that he would look like a cross
        between a Norman knight and a Byzantine or Mongol warrior (depending on
        century) but since most "newbies" have no idea what a Byzatine/Mongol
        warrior would look like, saying "mounted viking with oriental tendencies"
        wouldn't be too far off the mark. Although you'd probably have to explain
        that there were no horned helmets. ;-)

        At your service,

        Sofya


        On Tue, Feb 9, 2010 at 1:38 PM, rickjs <orlirva@...> wrote:

        > The easy answer to both is YES. The mid-early Rus heavy cavalry, including
        > western such as of smolensk and kiew and Poland, looks much like mongol
        > heavy cavalry, with horse armor and of course the bow as either a main or
        > secondary weapon. Ignore any picture you may see that looks like a mounted
        > viking... probabally a fantasy - although most very early rus (pre 1100) was
        > not cavalry but boat-oriented, and almost never tried to control the steppe.
        >
        >
        > --- In sig@yahoogroups.com, "rodger1uk" <rodger.w@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi,
        > > New member.
        > > I am new to Russian Medieval History; I have a number of books (and more
        > on the way) but could anyone offer views on these points please:
        > > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry of the various Principalities between
        > 1240-1450 use any form of horse protection (quilted, lamellar etc)?
        > > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry use the bow (I have read and heard many
        > conflicting views on this).
        > > Cheers
        > > Rodge
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------------------------------------
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >


        --
        ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Lisa M. Kies, MD aka Sofya la Rus, OL, CW, CSH, druzhinnitsa Kramolnikova
        Mason City, IA aka Shire of Heraldshill, Calontir
        http://www.strangelove.net/~kieser
        "Si no necare, sana." "Mir znachit Pax Romanov"
        "Nasytivshimsya knizhnoj sladosti."
        -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • RODGER WILLIAMS
        Thanks. This backs up information I found in The Lay of Igor. Much appreciated. Cheers Rodge ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 9, 2010
          Thanks.
          This backs up information I found in The Lay of Igor.
          Much appreciated.
          Cheers
          Rodge
          On 9 February 2010 19:38, rickjs <orlirva@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > The easy answer to both is YES. The mid-early Rus heavy cavalry, including
          > western such as of smolensk and kiew and Poland, looks much like mongol
          > heavy cavalry, with horse armor and of course the bow as either a main or
          > secondary weapon. Ignore any picture you may see that looks like a mounted
          > viking... probabally a fantasy - although most very early rus (pre 1100) was
          > not cavalry but boat-oriented, and almost never tried to control the steppe.
          >
          > I have heard arguments that
          > Horse armor seemed to be more important to those armies facing a bow-armed
          > cavalry enemy, since lots of arrows raining down tended to fall on large
          > targets, like horses, but the armor did not have to be extra heavy against
          > indirect arrow fire. Horse archers seldom tried to kill enemy horses on
          > purpose with close-range aimed fire, since they hoped to capture the
          > valuable things. Infantry spearmen liked to kill horses just fine, but it
          > was hard to defend against spears with light armor, so armor was not usually
          > intened for that purpose.
          > http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/ByzInfantryImages.htm has some pictures of
          > 13th C. rus cavalry, if you pick through.
          >
          > --- In sig@yahoogroups.com <sig%40yahoogroups.com>, "rodger1uk" <rodger.w@...>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > Hi,
          > > New member.
          > > I am new to Russian Medieval History; I have a number of books (and more
          > on the way) but could anyone offer views on these points please:
          > > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry of the various Principalities between
          > 1240-1450 use any form of horse protection (quilted, lamellar etc)?
          > > Did any Russian Heavy Cavalry use the bow (I have read and heard many
          > conflicting views on this).
          > > Cheers
          > > Rodge
          > >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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