Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare

  • Jack Gassmann
Keywords: cavalry, medieval warfare, small unit tactic


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.

How to Cite
Gassmann, J. (2021). Thoughts on the Role of Cavalry in Medieval Warfare. Acta Periodica Duellatorum, 2(1), 149–178.