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"cavalry skirmishes -- horse size and quality" Topic

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doc mcb24 Nov 2019 6:06 p.m. PST

Can anyone suggest rules -- for any period, I suppose -- that do a good job with various sizes and qualities of cavalry horses? I'll be doing skirmishes with only a few dozen riders per side, but want to take into consideration the quality of the mount, along with the skills of the riders.

E.g. if a veteran of the 16th Light Dragoons is on a smaller and poorly fed horse, and is facing a young gentleman from a Virginia militia troop, brave but unskilled, but who happens to be mounted on a thoroughbred that can not only run rings around the British mount, but also outweighs it by a significant margin, what are the relative strengths and weaknesses in a melee?

Somebody has sure addressed horse types and quality in skirmish fighting. Any suggestions?

advocate25 Nov 2019 2:42 a.m. PST

I don't know a set that makes those distinctions.

Jozis Tin Man25 Nov 2019 7:11 a.m. PST

I am not sure either, but I like that you are taking that in to consideration. Quality of mount seemed to make quit a difference. Maybe if using Rebels and Patriots, I'd fiddle with the attributes to give the gentleman from Virginia an advantage in movement or charging?

Grelber25 Nov 2019 8:50 a.m. PST

Speed should be easy to model and adjust.
The size issue is also a matter of training.
Excuse me, you want me to run into that guy? What are you thinking?
I don't believe this is a straight forward physics problem: the larger horse will inevitably run down the smaller horse. I think there is a definite element of "playing chicken" here, and a smaller, better trained cavalry horse might well cause the larger horse to swerve aside, no matter what his rider wants. People can be trained to be doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, and the same goes for horses.


Pan Marek25 Nov 2019 9:55 a.m. PST

My reading on the AWI confirms that horses in America at that time were relatively scarce. Mounts were at best average in size, and this is one of the many reasons that cavalry was rarely used in a shock role.
Lack of horses contributed to the lack of cavalry, with some units being forced into an infantry role for lack of mounts.
It also meant that less than stellar mounts were used.

doc mcb25 Nov 2019 10:34 a.m. PST

That is generally true, but Virginia was a major horse producer because worn-out tobacco land would be converted to pasture for horses and cattle the local gentry would have stables of thoroughbreds these would not go to the army if they could help it, but if the young master went out to scout the British, he'd go on the best horse and his body servant would be with him on the second best horse.

historygamer25 Nov 2019 1:11 p.m. PST

Both British cavalry regiments were sent over as legion units – half dismounted (some carrying rifles) and the other half on horseback. The British did a good job of killing off a lot of their horses on the boat ride to Head of Elk in August of 1777.

The 16th was sent home early, only leaving the 17th, the British Legion, and Queen's Rangers, along with a lot of odds and sods little Loyalist horse units.

The limited number of horse actions don't really tell us much about mounts one way or the other. The issue is perhaps one that affects a campaign more than a battle.

British Grenadier rules does have a superior mount rating in the charge phase, though they are not skirmish rules.

doc mcb26 Nov 2019 2:29 p.m. PST

Colonel John Baylor ordered a thoroughbred from England, specifying quality comparable to Fearnaught, the leading stud in va at that time.

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