After infantry and chariots, cavalry formed some of the oldest military units in history. With lightning speed, mounted warriors often proved key to victory in many major battles. Although this advantage was mostly lost with the introduction of firearms and mechanized vehicles, WWII saw the last deployment of cavalry.

In 1939 Poland launched a number of unsuccessful cavalry attacks against invading German panzer units.

In August 1942, the Italian Savoy Cavalry , flanking the German offensive near Stalingrad, encountered a Red Army rear guard of 2000 men. Four squadrons of 150 Italian troopers moved toward the 812 Siberian Infantry Regiment in a walk, then charged directly into the superior Russian force with a ferocious saber attack. With the Siberian defense in complete disarray, the Savoy Cavalry dismounted and engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. With a loss of 40 men, the Italians killed 150 Russians and captured 500.