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In some games, there are [[MountedCombat horseback units]]. Given their speed, it can be a hassle or worse to deal with them, moreso if they are heavily armored. Thankfully, there are weapons to deal with them, both rider and steed. Not one for the horse lovers. Very much a part of TacticalRockPaperScissors.

One of the things that makes these units so effective is the fact that compared to expensive cavalry units, they are usually dirt cheap. Taking down an expensive unit with one that cost pennies can be very valuable in a fight where every coin counts.

Historically accurate: Most such weapons are based either on polearms (spears, pikes, etc.) or camels. Horses are scared silly of anything resembling a [[BladeOnAStick pointy stick]], and the longer the pointy stick the scarier it becomes. The fact that spears and pikes are really cheap and relatively easy to train with has historically made them excellent anti-cavalry weapons; indeed, the rediscovery of pike tactics by the Swiss and Dutch in the late Middle Ages is generally considered to be the real death knell for the age of knights (rather than gunpowder as generally assumed). Horses are also reputed to be scared or disoriented by the scent of camels; while this may not be true, reports of horse cavalry collapsing before camel cavalry are fairly consistent across time and place (from the time of UsefulNote/CyrusTheGreat through to the Arab empires, and in Central Asia as well).

SubTrope of WeaponOfXSlaying. See also AntiAir, AntiInfantry, AntiVehicle, and AntiArmor. Can lead to InertialImpalement.

Contrast InvulnerableHorses (although scenes involving such units may still pretty up their tactics by having them exclusively target the riders instead of the horses).



* In ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'', when the Scottish army encounters the English infantry, the Scots taunt them into attacking with heavy cavalry. As soon as the English are too close to pull back, the Scots drop their facade and pick up sharpened stakes, which [[InertialImpalement slaughter the horses]]. The depiction was graphic enough that the ASPCA investigated the footage to see if the horses had actually been hurt (good news, horse lovers; the horses were fine).
* In ''Film/{{Glory}}'', a southern cavalry unit charges through light woods against a Union rifle unit. They may have been counting on the wood to give sufficient cover - if so, it doesn't work. The cavalry is mowed down by the Civil War era single shot riles.
* Averted in the ''[[Film/LordOfTheRings The Two Towers]]'' at the battle of Helm's Deep: The orcs await TheCavalry's charge with raised pikes, but the rising sun (and/or Gandalf) starts shining so brightly that they can't see, and the charge breaks their lines.
** While CueTheSun doesn't cause them to break their lines like it does at Helm's Deep, the "pikes" used by the Orcs at Minis Tirith are shown to be pretty much useless against the [[TheCavalry Rohirrim]] when they charge. Whether this is just how fast the horses were going or due to the poor quality of the Mordor weaponry (pretty much every orc wore what looked like leather armor and their pikes were a ragged, messily-cobbled-together hedge rather than the long iron professional-looking pikes of the Isengard Uruk-hai) is a matter of debate. The fact that the orcs didn't have the discipline needed to hold formation like the Uruk-Hai did at Helm's Deep didn't help.

* Jerry Pournelle's ''King David's Spaceship'': on the planet Makassar infantry square techniques introduced from offworld are used to protect against barbarian cavalry attacks.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', the Clegane brothers are both fond of wielding swords big enough to be used in an anti-cavalry fashion.
* In the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' series, the pike formation is a standard Legion fighting technique and proves to be very handy in slowing down charges.
* In ''[[Literature/SixteenThirtyTwo 1632]]'', large tercio formations are quickly slaughtered by a M-60 machine gun.
* Referred to in ''[[Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms The Sleeping Beauty]]'' -- Siegfried doesn't normally ride, because as soon as he gets attached to a horse (easy to do when you can speak with animals) someone decides that the best way to slow down the big barbarian is to kill his steed.

* The ability to explicitly set spears and similar weapons against a charge (typically for double damage) in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' hails all the way back to its early editions, sometimes treated as a special fighter maneuver, sometimes more as a property of the weapon itself. While many monsters may simply make charge attacks on their own without needing to mount up first, the inspiration is still obvious enough.
* Bretonnian archers in ''{{Warhammer}}'' can set up stakes in front of them to prevent cavalry charges. If they panic and run, the stakes go with them.

* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'': [[CoolSword Long Swords, Zanbatos]], [[BladeOnAStick Horse Slayers]], and [[AnAxeToGrind Halberds]] are effective against horseback units.
** Most Lord/main characters usually have a personal weapion that is both Anti-Calvary and Anti-Armor. The [[RoyalRapier Rapier/Regal Blade]] is the most common, but some others are [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones Ephraim's]] [[BladeOnAStick Reginleif]], [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Lyn's]] [[EveryJapaneseSwordIsAKatana Mani Katti]], [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Hector's]] [[AnAxeToGrind Wolf Beil]], [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Caeda's]] [[BladeOnAStick Wing Spear]] and [[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Micaiah's]] [[LightEmUp Thani]].
* Many unit types in the ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpires'' series, most notably certain infantry such as the pikemen, can deal with cavalry. ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresIII'' gave ''ranged'' cavalry significant AntiCavalry damage as well.
** Camels and Heavy Camels (which is a bit of a misnomer, since the camels weren't any heavier, it was the armor of the riders that was) in ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII'' were very good at dealing with horsemen as well, and cost slightly less.
** In ''Age of Empires III'' most civilizations will end up using Musketeers as their anti-cavalry, since they don't suffer from the low speed and single-focus role of Pikemen and they scale better. Some civilizations also have access to [[BladeOnAStick Halberdiers]], who are just as good against cavalry as Pikemen but since they have a higher base damage and lower anti-cavalry multiplier they're better against other things.
** In the spinoff ''AgeOfMythology'' anti-cavalry infantry and cavalry are available to all four civilizations.
* ''Conquered Kingdoms'', a game from the DOS era has Lancers and lance-weilding Trolls who can kill cavalry in one hit, without taking any damage in return.
* ''VideoGame/TotalWar'' - [[BladeOnAStick Spearmen]] perform this function. The square formation in ''VideoGame/EmpireTotalWar'' is also used for this purpose.
** Some units can also put down sharpened sticks.
* ''VideoGame/RiseOfNations'' has three foot unit types: basic infantry, heavy infantry and ranged infantry (turns into basic (ranged, with rifles), heavy (ranged, with [[ArmorPiercingAttack anti-tank rifles or rockets]]), or [[FireBreathingWeapon flamethrower]] in the modern age and afterwards). Heavy infantry, initially pikemen or similar, are AntiCavalry. Later, the same units upgrade to anti-tank infantry as the cavalry upgrades to armor.
* ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' started to get into this. In ''Civilization II'', the Pikeman had double defense against mounted units, so that it was even more effective against them than Musketeers were. After the combat system was revamped in ''Civilization IV'' and again in ''Civilization V'', Spearmen and Pikemen have an advantage against mounted units (in ''Civ V'', it's a 100% bonus).
** Interestingly, the Camel Archer and Keshik (the unique Knight replacemets of the Arabs and Mongols, respectively) are not as weak against pikemen as other mounted units, because they're ranged attackers instead of heavy cavalry. [[FridgeBrilliance Under ideal conditions, they would never have to even get close to the pikemen to effectively attack them.]]
** In ''Civilization IV'', Rifleman have a moderate strength bonus vs. cavalry, representing their ability to fix bayonets to counter a charge. (Musketmen lack this bonus.) In ''Civilization V'', they no longer have this bonus; instead, Pikemen can be upgraded to Lancers (cavalry units themselves) which are especially strong against other cavalry units. In much the same way that Cavalry upgrade into Tanks, Lancers upgrade into [[AntiArmor Anti-Tank Guns]].
** Additionally, in the fourth and fifth games, a unit that gains enough XP in combat can be upgraded with the Formation promotion, making them stronger against mounted units.
* ''VideoGame/BattleForWesnoth'': No matter their other defenses, units on horseback are extra-vulnerable to piercing attacks like spears, pikes, and arrows. Made worse by the fact that some of these units can only make charge attacks on the offensive (for double damage infliced but also received) and some spear-carriers get the "first strike" ability, allowing them to potentially get one good stab in even ''before'' getting hit by said charge.
* Despite the aversions in the films, this is played very straight in ''VideoGame/TheBattleForMiddleEarth'' and is one of the few things that prevent massed Rohirrim charges from sweeping the field of enemy infantry. You can maneuver around the pikemen to attack, but they can also turn to keep the pikes towards your main force. The best case of (heavily upgraded) Rohirrim vs. pikemen head-on still leads to your charge being brought almost to a standstill, while the worst case is a lot of dead men and horses. [[TacticalRockPaperScissors But that's what mounted archers are for]]!
* ''VideoGame/MountAndBlade'' makes pikes and other long weapons an infantry-only weapon (meaning that you can't wield them on horseback) that can do rather respectable damage to cavalry when they charge into a mass of pikes. Against light cavalry, this will often unhorse or kill riders. It'll still wound and bog down heavy cavalry, enough for them to get surrounded by weaker infantry and ground down one at a time.

* The ''[[http://www.maxgames.com/guides/age-of-war-2.html Age Of War]]'' flash games had this.

* By the mid-18th century in Europe, it was considered nigh-suicidal for a cavalry unit to attempt to attack an infantry formation in any frontal fashion. For one thing, a whole bunch of guys on horses is hard to be sneaky about unless they attack from cover, and well-drilled soldiers could fire their muskets as many as ''[[MoreDakka three times a minute]]'', and assuming that the cavalrymen made it through that barrage intact, they would still have to deal with the [[BayonetYa bayonets]], which allowed them to use their firearms as spears to fend off charges. This forced cavalry into secondary roles, such as reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance; horses were increasingly used to also provide extra mobility to infantry, who would ride into battle and dismount to fight on foot. However, that is not to say that cavalry could not perform any combat roles at all: they could try and attack the flanks or the rears of formations when possible, or else pursue retreating enemies who had broken formation.
** The superiority of infantry armed with muskets and bayonet over unsupported cavalry was shown beyond all doubts in UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte's campaign in Egypt. The local Ottoman forces relied heavily on the Mamluks, specialized in heavy cavalry, and every time the Mamluks (either supported or unsupported by the barely-trained Ottoman levies) faced the French it ended in such [[CurbStompBattle loopsided victories for the invaders]] that, to this day, the word ''mammalucco'' (one of the two ways to say "Mamluk" in Italian) is synonimous with "hopeless moron". Much the same goes to the Portuguese ''maluco'', a synonym for "insane"
* The [[{{BFS}} Zanbato's]] intended purpose was to kill both horse and its rider, as well as the ''Zhanmadao'', which the former is based on.
** It's ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Zan (斬) = Slash,[[note]]Or strike[[/note]] Ba[[note]]Normally "Uma"[[/note]] (馬) = Horse, To (刀) = Sword.
* The Japanese Nodachi
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infantry_square Infantry Squares,]] Although this formation dates back to the Roman era, it was successfully employed on 18th and 19th century battlefields as a defensive formation to ward off cavalry. To compensate for the slow reload of flintlock muskets, infantry could form into hollow-centred squares roughly two or more ranks deep, possibly with the front rank kneeling and bracing their weapon on the ground. This formation not only presented attacking enemy cavalry with a bristle of bayonets that would be difficult to overcome, but allowed prevented cavalry from outflanking them, while also allowing the infantry to safely fire and reload their weapons. Though this was infrequent, infantry squares could break, especially if the troops involved were poorly trained or lacking in morale, which would often result in a massive rout.
** Could be averted when the cavalry forces had lances and effective projectile weapons (e. g. composite bows or pistols) of their own, as the Romans found against the Parthians at Carrhae.
** Squares also could get into trouble because of their lower mobility, especially after the introduction of horse artillery to accompany the cavalry, since the square's close formation made it an ideal target for cannonballs and especially canister/grapeshot. This could give cavalry the option to play a waiting game, forcing the infantry into a square, then have the artillery punch a hole in it and then charging home and cutting them to pieces.
*** In the Battle of Salamanca, in the Peninsular War, this was turned [[UpToEleven up to eleven]]: British infantry came over to ridge to engage the French, who deployed in line to receive the expected bayonet charge. Then, suddenly, the British heavy cavalry appeared before them, and the hurried to form square. The cavalry withdrew, the infantry advanced, and the French once more deployed in line, but not before taking quite some damage from the British volleys without being able to respond. Then, when the French were in line again, the cavalry charged and routed the French. Repeat three or four times all over the French left flank, and one realises why it was said that [[UsefulNotes/TheDukeOfWellington Wellington]] "defeated an army of 40,000 men in 40 minutes".
*** The wars between England and Scotland provided some good examples. The Scottish spearmen gained some notable victories when attacked by cavalry alone, but also suffered some massive defeats when forced to face English armies where cavalry and archers worked together on their own.
** In the days before percussion locks, heavy rain could make it harder or impossible to fire muskets, making squares vulnerable to lance-armed cavalry, as happened e. g. at the battle of Dresden in 1813. There were also instances where a dying horse crashed into a square, creating a gap that was then exploited by the cavalry to break the square.
* In the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guldensporenslag Battle of the Golden Spurs (1302),]] the Flemish forces managed to [[CurbStompBattle thoroughly trounce]] and demoralize the French cavalry thanks to several tactical advantages:
** The Flemish were positioned just behind ditches that couldn't be easily cleared by the cavalry forces, causing the cavalry to lose the advantage of open terrain;
** The Flemish forces used a combination of pikes to block the horses and a relatively new weapon, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goedendag goedendag]], to kill horses and rider;
** The Flemish [[TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized didn't care for feudal code of chivalry]] and killed the cavalry forces (most of them were noblemen) instead of taking them hostage.
* At the battles of Crecy and Agincourt during UsefulNotes/TheHundredYearsWar, the English forces, mostly commoners with longbows, defeated numerically superior French forces, mostly nobles on horses in armor, by the power of MoreDakka and the French [[WhatAnIdiot trying to charge through a swamp]].
** You forgot the Battle of Poitiers, where the [[TooDumbToLive the French did it again]]. A band of commoners ended the day by [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome capturing the King of France.]]
** Longbows were not the AntiCavalry component in these battles, but the stakes (aka long pointy sticks) the longbowmen drove into the ground prior to battle. When they did not get time to set up stakes, like at Patay (1429), it inevitably ended with a brutal massacre of longbowmen by heavy cavalry.
* Swiss mercenaries, armed with [[BladeOnAStick pikes and halberds]] routinely defeated cavalry forces, and if they didn't, they tended to [[PyrrhicVictory inflict such horrendous casualties that the enemy couldn't capitalize on their victory]]. Like the Flemings, they also didn't adhere to the guidelines of chivalry and took no prisoners.
* The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_and_shot Pike and Shot]] formation was invented expressly to deal with armored knight charges. It was so successful that [[GenreKiller it killed armored cavalry forever]].
** Not quite, as non-noble armoured cavalry (i. e. cuirassiers) continued to exist until World War I and was used to devastating effect e. g. in the Thirty Years, Seven Years and Napoleonic Wars. The latter actually saw a resurgence of cavalry armour and the reintroduction of backplates in some armies.
* Behold, the {{Caltrops}}, a passive anti-cavalry weapon designed so that no matter how it is dropped, [[BoringButPractical it always lands with at least one sharp point pointing upwards.]] Unwary calvary and infantry risk [[AgonyOfTheFeet severe injury]] if they step on one.
** Roman use of the caltrops [[GenreKiller murdered chariot warfare]]: after encountering [[SpikedWheels scythed chariots]] in their wars against the Hellenistic Kingdoms, Roman infantry started throwing caltrops and wait for the horses to step on them and stop in pain, at which point the legionaires would walk over them with (they wore thick-soled sandals that protected them from their caltrops) and calmly slaughter horses and charioteers. At least when they didn't get creative and pulled things like [[RefugeInAudacity coming so close to the chariots they couldn't build up speed and would]] ''[[NoSell bounce on the Roman shield wall]]''...
*** The Romans already had the caltrops ready due the Gauls also using a different kind of chariots, a fast one from which a warrior could lob javelins before closing in to jump on the enemy. While the javelins could be easily countered with the ''testudo'' (tortoise) formation (basically a shield wall where those behind the front ranks would place their trademark tower shields overhead to block projectiles), Gaulish warriors could still come in close and personal on their chariots... Hence the caltrops, that stopped these chariots just as well. By Caesar's time, [[GenreKiller Gaulish chariots had been abandoned]], and the only Celtic peoples who still used them were the Bretons, who hadn't meet the Romans yet.
** In later generations, these same weapons also proved to be useful against modern vehicles. Smaller ones could puncture tires. Larger ones could hinder the progress of tanks or other larger vehicles. They've even been dropped from airplanes. [[ObviousRulePatch And they are banned from the infantry barracks at Fort Benning, Georgia.]]
* Horses being startled by camels [[TruthInTelevision has some recorded evidence.]] When United States border patrol agents near El Paso, Texas tried to supplement their horseback patrols with a squad of camels, the camels so profoundly scared the horses that they were nearly unridable if there was a camel within several hundred yards. The project was scrapped shortly thereafter.
* In regards to modern cavalry (aircraft, armored vehicles, and the like), specialized missiles and guns are often necessary. Attack aircraft are often very fast and agile, and use the terrain for cover, meaning AntiAir personnel have a narrow window to engage them, [[WildWeasel especially if the Anti-Air units are the aircraft's target.]] Armored vehicles are often designed to be mobile bunkers, and require specialized weapons with either enough firepower to penetrate the heavy armor, or enough precision to [[AttackItsWeakPoint Attack Its Weak Spot]].