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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Who Invented the Chariot?

 

Who invented the chariot?

The earliest recorded stage of the use of chariots is the Sintashta culture about 4100 years ago.

The chariot is a large two-wheeled carriage driven by horses.

They were used to protect herds of animals, battle and reconnaissance.

Who invented the war chariot?

The war chariot first started to appear from 2000 BC and became one of the decisive factors in the conduct of hostilities.

The chariots were as lightweight as possible, for less stress on the wheels.

They could travel very fast at that time – about 40 km per hour.

The reconstruction of the stages of the battle on the chariots led to the conclusion that the chariots were never used as a tank-like vehicle. 

They did not ram the enemy infantry, did not try to break the continuous formation of spearmen, swordsmen, and soldiers holding shields.

Drawing analogies with modern military equipment, the chariot was like an infantry fighting vehicle – the chariots entered the battle first, they accelerated strongly and rode towards the enemy ranks, then at a distance shoot an arrow or throw a spear.

They would then turn sharply and ride along the enemy’s formation, hitting them with weapons.

The high speed of the chariots allowed them in a high degree of probability not to be hit by retaliatory shots of the enemy.

Chariots were also used to deliver urgent messages in the battle, to transport wounded soldiers, for a relatively massive and quick transfer of infantry from one battlefield to another and for the movement of army commanders.

who invented the chariot
The spread of the chariots use through history.

 

 

However, during the period of the Persian state, tactics were developed – and a heavy version of the chariot was dispersed and sent to the enemy.

The chariot flew into the ranks of the enemy soldiers and inevitably after that disappeared as a combat unit. However, the chariot would cripple or kill a certain number of soldiers.

The number of chariots in an army could vary greatly.

In China and India, it was about one chariot per 100 soldiers.

In Assyria – one every 200.

In Egypt, the end of the II millennium – one for every 50 soldiers.

In the army of Carthage – one for 20 soldiers.

There are indications that the Hittites accounted for one chariot for every 10 soldiers, but this is unlikely.

Chariots in their time were quite expensive and high-tech products.

In Assyria, there was a royal factory for the production of chariots, and strategic materials were brought from all over the world known to the Assyrians.

 

Tactics of war chariots

Over the centuries, infantry developed methods of protection against attack by war chariots.

The person who invented the chariot would be surprised at how many tactics developed to use and defeat the chariot.

The Romans since the time of Julius Caesar have also developed effective methods to counter chariots.

In the battle of Magnesia, the attack of the seronos chariots of the Seleucid king Antiochus the Great was successfully repulsed by the soldiers of L. Cornelius Scipio.

Thus, the actions of well-trained infantry using the vulnerable sides of this type of weapon made it possible not only to defend themselves against chariots but also to force them to inflict serious damage on their own troops.

This circumstance practically eliminated the combat value of the sickle-chariots by the end of the Hellenistic era.

 

 

Reason for the decline in chariots

 

The person who invented the chariot would not take much pleasure in reading about its decline.

Chariots, in comparison with cavalry, are much less maneuverable, require more horsepower to move, and therefore have a less guaranteed range and a lower average speed.

Initially, domesticated horses were too short, stocky for the rider to confidently ride on them and fight against other people.

Horses developed and when the selection of horses reached the desired level, people began to abandon chariots.

A chariot is an expensive unit.

Starting from the Sintashta chariots, they were made of several types of wood; to process it, a high-quality tool was required.

The chariot breaks down and requires repair, and this complicates its use in the field, in isolation from repair shops and good craftsmen.

These factors led to the relatively rapid rejection of the advanced armies of the world from chariots in favor of cavalry.

At the same time, a number of peoples and rulers continued to try to use them as combat units, however, the effectiveness with each new battle steadily declined.

Sources:

Military chariots  // Military Encyclopedia  : [in 18 vol.] / Ed. V.F. Novitsky  
Military chariots // Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary  
Nefyodkin A.K. Origin and history of seronos chariots  

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