Thursday, August 28, 2008


This is coolbert:

"Never attack on ground chosen by the enemy."-- Gonzalvo Fernandez de Cordoba, “El Gran Capitán”

Interesting episode on the travelogue program "Globe Trekker" the other night.

American backpacker is exploring the remote areas of Peru. Attempting to find surviving remnants of Inca culture, as it existed before the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores.

Looking for places where the language [Quecha], villages, culture, festivals, etc., have remained more or less unchanged for the last five hundred years.

During this particular episode of GlobeTrekker, the Inca uprising of 1536, is mentioned. Inca warriors, confronted by the massed cavalry charges of the Spanish, DID use a variety of stratagems to deal with Spanish tactics that hitherto they [Inca] had no answer for.

Confrontations between the wedges of Spanish cavalry, horses and men both armored, and the massed formations of Inca warriors, men-a-foot, almost without exception resulted in disaster for the latter!

Cavalry, men in armor astride horses, wielding steel weapons, were just something the Inca warrior had not encountered before. A type of warfare outside the realm of their [Inca] experience. Before the Inca could devise a means of combating the Spanish, their Empire had been defeated and the Inca subjugated!

See this previous blog entry of mine. Suggested ways by which the Inca could have defeated the Spanish cavalry:

Means and methods, stratagems, some which WERE adopted by the Inca during their rebellion of 1536.

Means and methods to include:

* Using archers. Tribesmen, probably Jivaro Indians, from the jungle area east of the Andes Mountains. Missile firing troops engaging the Spanish at a distance. Normally a form of warfare eschewed by the American Indian as being unmanly. American Indians preferred the close-quarters style of combat.

* Fighting from hillsides, craggy areas, slopes. Negating the mobility of the Spanish cavalry.

* Digging pits in the ground. Creating a landscape over which the Spanish horsemen would be hesitant to ride. Those heavily laden horses, stepping into a pit, might become lame, hobbled, or break a leg.

* Flooding of fields. Again, creating a landscape which impeded the forward progress of a Spanish cavalry wedge.

[during the Globe Trekker program, it is mentioned that the Spanish horsemen at times fought with the water up to the bellies of their horses!]

None of this "combat engineering" of itself would have defeated the Spanish cavalry. NOR was it intended to. Was meant to make the Spanish disperse, deploy, slow them down, channelize the cavalry wedge. Make the Spanish conform to the plans of the Inca, and not the other way around.

Alas, for the Inca, the uprising of 1536 was too little, too late. The Spanish, with the help of numerous American Indian allies, defeated the game efforts of the subjugated Inca! The Inca was learning how to combat and fight the Spanish - - but NOT in time!!


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