India – Part IV

Now it is time to turn to the real plodders of indian army. It is quite evident that they have significant amounts of rather questionable infantry – for example VBU 3, C class bowmen. Individually perhaps rubbish, but cheap and plentiful.

Indian army also had cavalry arm besides of the terrifying war elephants. VBU 3 medium cavalry is not something you are proud to field. On the plus side, like all things in India, they are relatively cheap and plentiful. Mobility can be asset, even though CL would beat CM any day in VBU 3 range.

Classical Indian cavalry was rank where one was born into. It’s potential and development was second to chariots and elephants, and only when the fundamental defects pushed chariots aside, did cavalry come into view as potential arm. By no doubt there was much debate about the role of the cavalry but unfortunately, elephants always held the highest rank. Cavalry never quite made it to the front ranks.

In the ancient Indian class system, equestrian rank was some steps above the infantry and (very probably quite few steps from common light infantry) and therefore possessed some privileges. Yet, unlike in Europe it had low esteem compared to elephant riders or charioteers. 

It is unlikely that there was proper training in the equestrian rank, if any during the time of Alexander. At least nothing that would favorably compare to the Macedonian standards. It is also doubtful that Indian cavalry performed large scale combat functions besides of scouting and pursuit of fleeing enemy. Yet it is evident that the potential was recognized, for there were very large cavalry armies in India.

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