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"Camel speed vs Horse?" Topic

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Field Marshal05 Nov 2011 9:21 p.m. PST

I have decided to write my own rules based on the In the Grand Manner for the Sudan.
I am currently working on movement and was wondering about Camel speed vs Horses.
I have light Cavalry moving at 10" in line. Now from my readings Camels are not as slow as some may think so how about 8" movement?


FoxtrotPapaRomeo05 Nov 2011 10:40 p.m. PST

Field Marshall,

Both horses and camels would normally move at slow speed (2-4 mph) but at a gallop, the camel could manage around 10-20mph for short distances, whereas the horse may do up to 30mph. Camels, however, are "extremely strong, and were able to move quickly across terrain which horses found difficult …", don't require as many water stops and possibly their smell scares horses. Of course they are more noisy and cantankerous then a horse.
link On June 4, 1856, the Army loaded the camels and they were driven to Camp Verde via Victoria and San Antonio.[1] Reports from initial tests were largely positive. The camels proved to be exceedingly strong, and were able to move quickly across terrain which horses found difficult. Their legendary ability to go without water proved valuable on an 1857 survey mission led by Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale. He rode a camel from Fort Defiance to the Colorado River and his team used 25 camels on the trip. The survey team took the camels into California, where they were stationed at the Benicia Arsenal.

link "Camels prefer to walk; however, they can run at a speed of 10-20 mph (16-32 kph)."

link "Camels have long, strong legs. Powerful muscles in the upper part of the legs allow the animals to carry heavy loads for long distances. A camel can carry as much as 450 kilograms, but the usual load weighs about 150 kilograms. While working, the animals typically travel about 40 kilometres a day, at a speed of 5 kilometres an hour."
Horses are live animals, not machines that can go on forever. They tire just like we do. However, some horses have shown amazing speed and endurance when asked for it-- here are some amazing feats and facts on how far, and fast, a horse can travel. See also: Horse speed in MPH page

In 1889, Dmitri Peshkov rode 5,500 miles from Albanzinski, Siberia, to St. Petersburg.

The Akhal-Teke, a rare breed from Turkmenistan, is known for its excellent endurance. In 1935, the historic ride that this breed is famous started. Twenty-eight riders on Akhal-tekes rode 2,600 miles fro Ashkabad to Moscows, including 215 across the harsh Kara Kum desert without water (where temperatures can reach 149F). They finished in eighty-four days.

Aimé Tschiffely – Rode 10,000 miles from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Washington, DC, starting in 1925. He rode two Criollo horses, both which survived the trip in good condition. Both were over age 14 when they started the trip; they lived to be 36 and 40.

1808: The Marquis of Huntley rode from Aberdeen, Scotland, to Inverness (105 miles) in seven hours on eight relays of horses. (Each horse averaged 15 mph for about 13 miles.)

1860's: The Pony Express averaged nine mph over 25 mile stages.

1880's, England: The Book of the Horse describes a good hunter as a horse which can ‘after a hard day which ends at dark, ten or fifteen miles from home . . . walk and shog (sic) for ten or twelve miles at about five mph

1886: Frank Hopkins (of Hidalgo movie fame) a military dispatch rider, rode a stallion named Joe 1800 miles from Galveston, Texas, to Rutland, Vermont, in 31 days (average 58 miles/day). Joe finished in excellent condition, after traveling no more than 10 hours/day.

1892: Prussian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers raced from Berlin to Vienna. The winner rode 350 miles in 72 hours. The horse died, as did 25 others out of 199 who started.

1920: The first U.S. Cavalry Mounted Service Cup race averaged 60 miles/day for five days, carrying up to 245 lb. of rider and gear.

1988, extreme terrain, regular Western saddle: A stable owner rode 100 miles through the San Juan Mountains in Western Colorado, crossing several 12,000+ ft. passes, in 17 hours, 20 minutes.

Modern Endurance Rides: The 100-mile rides are run by the same horse and rider in under 24 hours-- but there are usually 8 vet checks, where the horse is required to rest for 30 minutes, as well as pass a health check. That's 4 hours spent resting; also, the rider may get off and jog with their horse partway. These horses are also in top condition, and must pass many vet exams.

Today, in the Middle East, 26 mile marathons are won in just over an hour.

One horse and rider, during the Cross-Country day of the modern Three-Day Event, might achieve something like this: Two miles of 'roads and tracks' at 10 mph (brisk trot and canter); 2.5 mile steeplechase over 10 jumps at almost 26 mph (full gallop); 10 more miles of roads and tracks at 9 mph; 10 minute rest; 4.5-5 miles over 30 or more large and challenging fixed obstacles in natural rolling terrain at about 21 mph (gallop); and be fit enough to show-jump the next day. In other words, around 20 miles in less than two hours, with major jumping efforts involved.

link (a kilo is 5/8 of a mile in case you need to convert)
Horses speed varies with their stride length, body build, and other factors, but here is a basic idea of how fast-- in miles per hour-- horses move at their various gaits:

Walk: Roughly 3-4 MPH. A pleasure show horse can go as slow as 2 mph. Gaited horses-- who do not trot-- can do a 'running walk' as fast as 15 mph.

Trot: The trot is roughly 8-10 MPH. Again, a shorter striding horse could trot slower, and a horse with a long stride could move faster.

Canter/Lope: 10-17 MPH.

Gallop: This depends on the horse's condition and athletic ability. Some horses are not built to run fast an may only do a fast canter at their best; however, the gallop is about 30 mph.

Grizzlymc Inactive Member06 Nov 2011 4:57 a.m. PST

They taste better too.

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member06 Nov 2011 6:29 a.m. PST

there are no stirrups on a typical camel saddle. its harder to stay mounted when they run.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian06 Nov 2011 6:49 a.m. PST

It's worth considering that camels as ridden by the British camel corps must surely have moved much more slowly than those ridden by people who actually knew what they were doing.

It's also worth noting that, while the Ansar used some camel-mounted scouts, there are no records of anything like 'camel cavalry' fighting in significant numbers, and certainly none of camel-mounted troops charging the enemy.

AICUSV06 Nov 2011 1:16 p.m. PST

Comparing a camel to a horse is a lot like comparing a car with a truck. Both can do 60 mph, but how long does it take to reach that speed? Then, how are they in a turn?

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART07 Nov 2011 8:36 p.m. PST

FPR you are my hero. Mexican Jack, good insight. The subject has been a head scratcher for years. My take is that camels were simply transport or recon, not fighting mounts.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian07 Nov 2011 10:00 p.m. PST

I am glad to be your hero!

Now my head is swollen up and I am even more insufferable than usual :)

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART08 Nov 2011 8:31 p.m. PST

Foxtrotalpharomeo is my hero, you sir are merely insightful. But I still love your posts. Don't worry about my insipid rantings I'm the dope who gets excited about camel speeds.
You will all rue the day when I get a life!

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