Field Artillery Training – knots

Knots were important in the day-to-day life of the gunner and driver. Although the Field Service Pocket Manual gives four pages of diagrams of eighteen different kinds of knots, gunners and drivers seemed to need only a few of them – for securing horses and mules.

The animals need to be tethered not only to the proper rails and posts in their wagon lines, but also in less regimented locations. “The chief considerations in securing a horse by the reins or head rope are to prevent him injuring himself: (wire fences or spiked iron railing should obviously not be used) or breaking his reins by treading on them. The knot used should be capable of being quickly tied and untied and should not be likely to come unfastened through the horse fidgetting about.”(1)

A draw hitch works with a rail; half hitches, clove hitches and slip knots are most commonly recommended in the Field Artillery Training manual. Horses can be tethered to tree branches:

tethering to branch.png
Or they can be kept from straying by tying their reins to their own knees, their girths, or their stirrup irons.

coupling horses.png

Coupling horses can also prevent their straying: hard to move when your rein is fastened to the saddle of a horse looking in the opposite direction – and there’s only six to eight inches of rein between head and saddle. One or two more horses can be tied onto the original couple – and none will be going anywhere. They won’t be comfortable, either, but this is presumably a temporary measure.


(1) Field Artillery Training. HMSO. 1914.92-93.

The diagrams are also from Field Artillery Training, pages 93 and 94.

Copyright 2016. See “More about this project.”


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