|This article is about the unit in Age of Empires III. For the technology in Age of Empires II HD: Rise of the Rajas, see Howdah (Age of Empires II).|
|First Appearance||The Asian Dynasties|
|Age Available||Fortress Age|
|Base Hit Points||667|
|Resists||20% vs. Ranged|
|Melee Multipliers||x2.75 Melee Cavalry|
x0.5 vs. Villager
|Range Multipliers||x2.75 Melee Cavalry|
x2.0 vs. Coyote Runner
x0.5 vs. Villager
|Area of Effect||1 (Melee)|
|R.O.F.||3.0 / 3.0 (Ranged and Siege)|
Howdahs are elephants that carry a howdah - which gave the units its name - on its back, with a gunner in the howdah. The man in the howdah uses his gun to shoot at units at a fairly good range and with a high attack, making it the most powerful ranged cavalry in the game. However, it has a somewhat low fire rate compared to Dragoons, and costs a lot of resources and population, which is its main disadvantage.
- Note: Elephant population can be decreased by a single point through use of the card "Professional Handlers".
Howdah pack the toughness of a War Elephant with an extremely powerful ranged attack able to kill most units in only one or a few shots. Howdah has a large amount of hit points, and a huge ranged attack. They can kill any Hand Cavalry unit in only a few shots, and are incredibly durable, but they are very slow for ranged cavalry units, and are hard to micromanage, balancing out their incredible military power. The Howdah is an excellent counter to Hand Cavalry and Artillery, and does well against most units, although they should stay out of melee combat with Heavy Infantry, and should usually stay away from ranged infantry altogether. The Howdah also has a quite high siege attack for a ranged Cavalry unit, and a group of them can do a fairly good job of taking out buildings, but this is offset by their huge cost and population usage.
Zamburaks remain a better choice for Light Cavalry as they cost only one slot of population. Despite the Howdahs' firepower, their slow rate of fire makes them ineffective against large groups of enemies, because their population cost does not allow a big number of them to be used in the fight. Furthermore, 6 Howdahs that cost 36 population slots will struggle against same population of Hussars, i.e 18 Hussars. They will only be able to take out a unit at a time because of their fire rate and usually be outnumbered, even by melee cavalry units who will get the chance to damage them a lot before dying when compared to Zamburaks. They remain a good option for taking out artillery units because these usually come in low numbers, although Siege Elephants remain a good option against artillery too.
"Howdah is the traditional name for a carriage that is strapped across an elephant’s back, allowing it to carry human riders, including the “mahout,” the beast’s human handler. Howdahs often featured grand decoration and were used as processional carriages. Early Mughal rulers preferred travel by elephant because of the impression it made, both during peacetime and at war. Although elephants have been used in warfare for centuries, the Mauryan Empire of ancient India first used the howdah in combat in about 300 BCE. Soon afterwards, elephant howdahs provided safety to many Carthaginian archers and javelineers during the Punic Wars of 264-146 BCE.
In battle, elephants with ornate howdahs acted as standard bearers, visual representations of the army’s might. More importantly, they provided a relatively safe location from which ranged units could gain a more expansive view of the battlefield and fire on their enemy from above. From this elevated vantage point, they could choose their targets more effectively."