It was in end 1998 that I came across this beautiful military innovation, I shall illustrate my experience with a short story. I can't think of any fake names so i will use my name as well as my bro's
The Year 1998, system AOE 1.
The Greek army made camp in a small hill surrounded by a forest. Their sovereign, Lord Gene, judged that this is a good spot to rest. Gene had a guest today, Vern, his younger brother. As usual Gene wanted to bring Vern around and show him the prowesses of his army.
"Look Bro, look at the power of my phalanxes, the might of my heavy cavalry. Their weapons are sharp and their armor strong, no one can crush me and I will crush these Assyrians as if they are ants."
"Indeed, your troops are impressive my bro. I am impressed with the speed by which u raise such an army in such a short time."
It was at this point that Gene heard the sound of hooves. He turned around and saw one of hos scouts was riding into the camp, the man was wounded and behind him were hordes of mounted men with bows. The scout didn't had a chance and was shot dead even before he reach the gate. Gene was enraged and he immediately gave the order for attack. At first the phalanxes were send out. But the enemy cavalry simply ride away, only to shoot the Greek foot when they were a distance apart. Seeing this danger, Gene immediately ordered his phalanxes back and his cavalry ride out to catch the enemy. But it never work, the enemy cavalry work in teams, while one horsemen was being chased by a greek soldier, two other men were shooting at the pursuers. Gene was losing men fast.
"Quickly my bro, we must stay within the range of our towers that is the best way out." Vern exclaimed. The two lords and their surviving escorts immediately retreat back to camp, using the camp's static defenses to hold out. The trick work...for a while. It was not long before the Assyrians brought their stone throwers and start hammering the towers.
"We are done for. "Gene exclaimed,"We got to retreat, Bro you had to flee via the west gate while i retreat from the north. Better for us to leave when there is time rather than dying with our men." Within minutes two groups of horsemen were riding out of the greek camp, with no possessions other than their own lives. Fortunately both lords managed to return to their respectives capitals and live to fight another day.
A month later, Vern received news that the entire Greek army was obliterated in that battle. With memories of the battle fresh in his mind, Vern immediately adopt the tactics and trained horse archers of his own. Tribes from the steppes were courted and incorporated in his army. Vern also developed anti-Horse Archer tactics involving cavalry, elephant troops and bowmen as well as special manuveurs.
From that time on, warfare doctrine between the two brothers has deviated and never look the same again. WHile the eldar brother emphasize on solid ranks, numbers and cold steel, the younger one emphasize on speed, manuveurs and training. Different doctrine led to different goals, Gene will eventually conquer the north and the west lands of hills and forest, while Vern will unify the steppes and deserts of the south and east where his light cavalry will reign supreme.
OK so here ends the romantisized story how my first encounter with horse archers. Bro was wiped out. haha but i actually came up with enuff tactics to ensure that i wasn't defeated when i face the assyrians. Anyway horse archers rock, the ability to shoot and avoid combat meant that victory is only a matter of time. This "horse archer" concept has dominate my mindset in military affairs for years now as it can be seen in the way i play games.
Hint: to defeat horse archers, there are 3 ways. It applies in real life as well(as proven by the persians)
Method 1: Very inefficient
Mass cavalry out all charge. This can onli work if we outnumber the foe by a lot a lot. something which is almost impossible given that horse archers are far cheaper and thus are fielded in even greater quantities(just compare turkic vs saracen. the former's cavalry outnumber the latter despite the latter's wealth and population)
Method 2: Can be effective
Charge of Light cavalry. We only need to outnumber the foe by a little. the ratio falls the faster our light cavalry move
Method 3: Very effective and PROVEN
Superb static counterbattery fire. Persians finally defeat the Sarmartians and Scythians etc with archers mounted on elephant. The huge beasts were almost immune to arrows(due to hide and armor) and the archers were protected by mini towers. Another good example is Richard the Lion-Hearted's march into Acre. He had three columns along the coast with the inner most column facing the sea and the outer most consisting of crosbowmen. The Saracens can't do much unless there is an element of surprise. The final example will be the advent of muskets. Given suffificent numbers + range + accuracy, its possible to shoot the horse archers down even before being shot at. This is why horse archers loses its dominance in later parts of history. When playing games (that dun have muskets) this effect can be achieved by grouping foot archers together although we may lose one or two guys its generally worthwhile as horse archers are a lot more expensive. yeah this is a similar logic to my infantry vs cavalry thread.