Horses 1

As we have noted, good horsemanship is essential to effective artillery work. A hundred years on, it is hard for a mechanized world to realize just how important horses were to the first world war.

Historically, horses had served two purposes in war — as mounts for the cavalry and for transport — hauling guns, ammunition, supplies, and carrying officers hither and yon.  Slowly motorized vehicles took over some of these functions, ambulances for instance, but when the going gets rough, four legs beats four wheels hands down.  In addition to horses, the army used mules and camels for transport in various theatres of war.

4 R

Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854 by R. Caton Woodville (1)

Cavalry, both light and heavy, work well in a mobile war, with charges and counter-charges across open terrain. Though the mobilization of troops in 1914 for war included cavalry regiments, by 1916 their usefulness, though not their popular glamour, had diminished as the Western Front settled into entrenched lines and potholed barb-wired no-man’s-land.

(1)  From Stephen Luscombe’s British Empire website.

Copyright 2016. See “About this project.”

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