In a story that I am building, I want to have an elite force of cavalrymen who are totally mute.
In typical fantasy settings, soldiers in an army loudly announce their presence on the battlefield (The Ride of the Rohirrim in LOTR, for example. Theoden's army blow horns and yell and scream as they thunder across the battlefield towards their enemy). What I want is the exact opposite of this.
In this fictional Empire, soldiers who distinguish themselves are picked out and are offered the honor of joining an Elite Cavalry Force (still haven't decided on a name for them). If they accept, their vocal cords are slashed or otherwise removed/paralyzed to keep them from making any noise. They are dressed in armor that hides their faces and resembles the servants of the God of Death in their religion.
The basic idea is that this cavalry force would enter the battlefield, fight, kill, and die, in total silence. The fact that their faces are concealed further removes any hint of humanity, and my hope is that all of this produces an extremely damaging effect on the morale of any enemy forces they might face on the battlefield.
What I want to know is mainly 2 things:
Given medieval technology, is it possible to slash/remove a man's vocal cords without threatening his life? (The vocal cords are located in the larynx; would not cutting them out also incur the risk of massive blood loss during the procedure?) / Are there other ways to make a man completely silent other than simply training him to be?
Is there historical precedent for a similar strategy? I have personally never heard of silent soldiers, and it seems like it would go against the ethos of chivalry/bushido/other regional versions of a warrior's code.
Edits: I see a couple different counters to my question, and I'll try to answer them as best I can.
1: Why not just a vow of silence instead of cutting their vocal cords?
The idea of a vow of silence did cross my mind, but I thought it might be possible that a vow of silence can be broken by a cry of agony. I mean, people can barely win don't laugh challenges, so I would think a "don't scream in pain when somebody stabs you" challenge would be much more difficult.
2: Soldiers need to make noise by yelling and screaming to make them aggressive.
A fair point. I think the way I would work around this is by using only instruments. The important thing is that the soldiers are silent so the enemy thinks they are almost supernatural beings. Instruments such as war drums and horns could be used to amp up morale before a fight while still maintaining the illusion of the cavalrymen's inhumanity. Plus, you might be able to psychologically condition your soldiers to actually believe that they are the servants of the God of Death.