It did get outdated, but it took generations and isn't quite yet done. Even in Afghanistan in 2001-2002 they fought on horseback. And the Wehrmacht, as motorized as it is said to be, used horses almost entirely for its logistics.
and allthough i think you are absolutely correct in thinking that cavallry got outdated by the machinegun.
Ahem... the Poles fell to the Germans AND THE Russians at the outset of WWII. They fell not because they made cavalry charges against tanks (which they may or may not have done) but because they got taken from both sides and their allies (England and France) were completely unable to defend them.
the real deathblow probably came at the beginning of ww1 when the polish tried to use their cavallery against the german panzar and armoured units (i belive i dont have to tell you how that ended). after that, most countries decomissioned whatever cavalery they had.
I've yet to see any hard evidence of Poles defending their homeland using cavalry charges against machine guns. And trust me, I've looked really hard. Personally, I think it was propaganda spewed by the English and French when their method of war (shared by the Poles) got stomped in a few weeks.
You see, when Germany and Russia attacked Poland, the Poles army was much larger than the Germans. And most of the Polish tanks were of French design, which were better than the early panzers. The Poles have been known historically for being tough soldiers in a scrap, having fought against Russia, Germany, Lithuania, Prussia, and more forever.
What the Poles tried to do is fight the static warfare as used in WWI. They set up their own version of the Maginot line, and their politicians insisted that they not give up any ground. The Poles then had to deal with trying to fend off armored advances by the Germans and Russian cavalry and tank advances from the other side, and they weren't allowed to manuevre. The result was that the Poles stood and died, savaged from two sides and relatively unsupported by their allies (who simply didn't have time to help out).
The shock that the French and English felt was dramatic. This early demonstration of manuevre warfare terrified everyone. The static warfare of WWI had been defeated in weeks. This invalidated France's maginot line. No one could believe it could have happened unless the Poles were complete idiots or complete cowards. History made it clear that the Poles were not cowards, and so began the Western European concept that the Poles were indeed complete idiots, along with the growth of 'Polack' jokes that really didn't end until Solidarity around 1980ish.
As for the horse not being used anymore after Poland 1939, it was used throughout WWII and into the Korean war. In cold climate conditions such as Russia, China, and Korea, nothing could (and can) beat a horse for logistical simplicity. Mostly used in the skirmish and scouting roles, it was also used in the depths of winter when German (and American in Korea) equipment started to fail.
The Zulus did win some of their conflicts against the English. The Zulus had superior strategic capabilities and a better command structure. Yes, Isandhlwana is another name for cock-up, since the English couldn't even unlock their ammunition boxes. Remember though that the Zulu conflict was before the advent of automatic weapons. And the Zulus eventually lost.
Never heard the bit about capoeiristas of Brazil fighting gun armed troops on the battlefield. Can you educate us on this one?
As for the Boxer rebellion, it was an unmitigated disaster for the Chinese. A huge embarressment. Whole martial arts traditions were lost forever. Anything else is revisionist history.
The Zulus used the "Bull Horn " tactic.
With the Boxer rebellion you were looking at a non industralize country verses foreign armies that were equip with the latest technical weopons of their time. It was a different time back then with the rise of Imperialisim and the rise of the industrial revolution.
The Zulus won their victories and the Chinese lost their battles against virtually the same technology.
The Zulus had superior logistics and strategy and tactics over the Chinese.
The Zulus were a young warrior nation with an incredible history of conflict and conquest. Their command structure was amazingly concise and competant. Their soldiers were well-disciplined and worked as a single cohesive unit. The could pull off the Bull Horn tactic because of their discipline.
The Chinese were old and arrogant in their power. The Boxers had little or no command structure besides very loud leaders whose dominating ability was a general hatred of anything non-Chinese. They may or may not have had kick-butt warriors, but they fought as individuals, not as soldiers.
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