The highly mobile two-wheeled war chariot, carrying a driver and an archer and armed with a short compound bow revolutionized military tactics after 1700 BC.

The chariots were the masters of the battlefield, providing both speed and long ranged attacks. They fought in closed ranks overwhelming the enemy by the quantity of missiles rather than by their accuracy. But the most important part of this weapon was the war horse. Horses drilled to become fearless aggressive beast gave the riders great courage and advantage, so that the tide of battle swung in favor of the horsemen and the best horses.

The horse in war at that time was the equivalent of atomic warfare of today – there was no answer to it!

ancient egyptian chariot

In the 15th century BC, Pharaoh Tutmosis III had over a thousand chariots at his disposal and the Great King of the Mitanni had amassed several times that number. As the two sides clashed on a battlefield, try to picture these huge numbers of vehicles charging across the plain straight towards you, the enemy. The psychological impact of such a charge on the combat soldier’s mind would have been enormous!