, or camelry
, is a
generic designation for armed forces
as a means of transportation
warriors or soldiers of this type also fought from camel-back with
spears, bows or rifles.
Camel cavalry were a common element in desert warfare throughout
history due in part due to the animal's high level of adaptability.
They provided a mobile element better suited to work and survive in
an arid and waterless environment than the horses of conventional
cavalry. The smell of the camel according to folklore alarms and
disorients horses, making camels an effective anti-cavalry weapon.
For this purpose Emperor Claudius
is said to have brought a detachment of camel cavalry as part of
his invasion force for conquering Britain
. The camel was
used in this way by many civilizations, especially in Arabia
and North Africa
Both camel and rider were sometimes armored like the contemporary
. The Arabs
used camels to great effect against their
enemies during the
. During the late
nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries camel troops were
used for desert policing and patrol work in the British, French,
German, Spanish and Italian colonial armies. Descendents of such
units still form part of the modern Indian, Moroccan and Egyptian
recorded use of the camel as a military animal occurred during the
Battle of Thymbra in 547 BC, fought between Cyrus the Great of Persia and Croesus of Lydia.
According to Xenophon
, Cyrus' cavalry were
outnumbered by as much as six to one. Acting on information from
one of his generals that the Lydian horses shied away from camels,
Cyrus formed the camels from his baggage train into the first Camel
Corps in history. Although not technically employed as cavalry,
they were crucial in panicking the Lydian cavalry and turning the
battle in Cryus' favor. There is a reference in historical records to
the Arab king Gindibu employing as many as 1000 camels at the
Qarqar in 853 B.C., although it is not clear how they were
employed during the battle.