PODA WEAPONS DEVOLUTION 12
HORSE AND SHOT
Cavalry can be your shock troop to disburse infantry formation, given the type of warfare, but most likely not in the gunpowder age we most likely won’t see end ( whether that happens to be smokeless or black gunpowder remains to be seen ). Horse troops are valuable for their mobility in scouting and recon. And are great for long distance raids. As long as you keep them off the battlefield directly out of infantry formation rifle fire- although as recently as the German/French conflict in the late 1800’s where both sides had the first generation of breech loading centerfire weapons cavalry did play an essential role at times- they are necessary tactical units. Of course, only two groups may employ large horse units- bountiful agriculture areas or grassland ecosystems. Areas at the margins where the soil barely feeds people can’t support a horse population. And those areas supporting grass rather than crops are great for horse but they do limit the range their warriors may strike out from. Once they leave the source of their mounts feed they are immediately at a military disadvantage. I bring this up as it seems most folks just naturally assume once the cars sputter to a stop we will all cheerfully mount horses and gallivant about the countryside as gentlemen of yore. All very splendid, if you have an infrastructure to support them. You need endless grassland or few enough people and enough excess land for pasturage. And you need transportation of feed to areas that don’t provide it if your horse goes there ( different breeds have different feeding requirements- some can’t last long at all on wild food but need cultivated crops where others thrive on it ).
Artillery was the first use of blackpowder and it ushered in the age of fortified cities- a very different proposition from the luxury forts of kings in terms of expense which, together with the cost of cannon, pushed forwards centralization- and the end of localized power from a nobles castle. Then, it decimated the military advantage of knights and the eventual rebirth of rights of the populace. The end of serfdom and the beginning of democracy ( it took awhile, and was a bit on the bloody side ). But long before handheld weapons were practical, artillery reigned. And to a large extent it has always been the predominant battlefield gunpowder weapon. Cannon fire always inflicts the most casualties. You need infantry to protect the artillery yet artillery is infantries main foe ( tanks are the fusion of horse and shot but still need infantry to protect it- and aircraft has taken on the recon role. Of course, some idiots still keep trying to use aircraft as a substitute for raiding ). But, again, you are going to have nitrate and metal ore/smelting issues. Catapults are probably going to be the artillery of the post-apocalypse ( very shortly after the modern stock of shells is depleted ).
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