The Comanche used to raid into Mexico. In the fall, small groups joined up and rode south on a network of trails, called the Comanche Trace. Some came from as far away as the Arkansas River. In places, there was a beaten path as much as a mile wide. They often rode at night, when the moon was full. Some allied tribes, like the Kiowa and Kiowa-Apache, accompanied them. Each warrior took three or four horses with him.
The Comanche raided as far as Jalisco. The Kiowa-Apache, who were the most daring, once came back with parrots. Mostly, though, they stole cattle and horses – tens of thousands of them – and kidnapped people.
Unless stopped by a real army, the Comanches could and did push back the frontier of settlement. “The Legislature of Chihuahua described the situation it faced in 1846. “We travel the roads…at their [i.e. the Comanches and Apaches] whim; we cultivate the land where they wish and in the amount they wish; we use sparingly things they have left to us until the moment that it strikes their appetite to take them for themselves.” “ Traveler Josiah Gregg said that “the whole country from New Mexico to the borders of Durango is almost entirely depopulated. ”
During the Civil War, when the US Cavalry and Texas Rangers were otherwise occupied, the Comanche pushed back the frontier in Texas by 100 kilometers or so.
These guys didn’t have to fight from horseback, although they could and did. if 50 raiders showed up suddenly at a small village, the local farmers were screwed, unless of course they had Yul Brynner, Charles Bronson, and Steve McQueen around.
The Comanche generally inflicted far more casualties than they suffered: in the winter of 1845-1846, 652 Mexicans and 48 Comanches were killed. At that, the Comanche lost more than they had t0 – they took extreme risks to recover the bodies of fallen warriors. And sometimes they seemed to seek out a fight rather than just raid – presumably in search of ‘undying fame’.
If the Yamnaya Indo-Europeans could ride, they could have inflicted similar havoc on Old Europe. They didn’t need dramatically better weaponry: mobility makes it work. Without a state and army, how could Old Europe have stopped it?
I wonder if multispectral satellite imagery could find signs of something like that Comanche trace coming out of the Ukraine.