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At the turn of Bronze and Early Iron Ages, the nomads of the Eurasian steppe brought about a new and progressive phenomenon in world military history: cavalry warfare. Spanning the vast distance from the Danube in the West to the Hwang Ho in the Far East, among nomadic peoples including the Cimmerians, Scythians, Sakas, Sarmatians, Xiongnu, and Xianbei, a universal mode of warfare, more or less similar in tactics, battle, arms and armor, and horse harness, dominated.
The chronological frames of the Early Iron Age are differently determined in various historiographical traditions, but for the history of steppe Eurasia the frame is customarily considered to begin in the 10th century
The light-armed cavalry was a basic military force of the nomads. Each nomadic man was an armed and skillful warrior. Judging from archaeological material and narrative sources, the nomadic light cavalryman was armed by bow and arrows, light javelin and/or lance, and probably lasso. The light cavalry consisted of the common nomads. Since the 7th c.
The tactical principles and fighting methods of nomads were conditioned by the composition of their army, with light cavalry prevailing. One of the main methods was raids, which varied in duration, range, and composition of personnel involved. The battle tactics of nomadic troops developed due to a need to overcome a resistance of deep infantry formation. Since the long spears of infantry inhibited close combat, nomadic horsemen first covered the adversary with a massive and dense, although undirected, torrent of arrows. After that, light horsemen approached and threw spears and javelins from shorter distances, thus causing confusion in the ranks of the infantry. Then heavy cavalry rushed into the breach for fighting with close-combat weapons, spears, and battleaxes.
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Please check back later for the full article.
Warfare in premodern Southeast Asia was shaped by the environment and political fragmentation across the region. Maritime trade connections saw the introduction and circulation of external models of warfare that would help to frame the way warfare in the region was depicted in indigenous literature and art. Firearms played a more direct role in determining the development of warfare in the region over the course of the early modern period. As a result of the 17th-century crisis and better firearms, the elephant declined in battlefield importance and was increasingly replaced by cavalry. The 18th century saw Southeast Asians field some of their best-organized armies, and the early 19th century witnessed a temporary revival of mainland naval strength. Nevertheless, the introduction of the steamship and better European military technology from the 1820s saw the decline of the remaining Southeast Asian armies by the end of the 19th century. Although indigenous states would attempt to modernize and catch up with Europe militarily, all of Southeast Asia, except for Thailand, fell under European control.