horses in world war one - .horses in world war one horses were heavily used in world war one. horses

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  • Horses in World War One

    Horses were heavily used in World War One. Horses were involved in the war's first military conflict involving Great Britain - a cavalry (a group of

    soldiers) attack near Mons (Mons was a place in Belgium at which the first battle occurred between the British and the German soldiers. in August 1914. Horses were primarily to be used as a form of transport (take or carry (people or goods) from one place to another) during the war.

    When the war broke out in Western Europe in August 1914, both Britain and Germany had a cavalry force that each numbered about 100,000 men. Such a large number of men would have needed a significant number of horses but probably all senior military personnel at this time believed in the supremacy (the state or condition of being better or superior) of the cavalry attack. In August 1914, no-one could have dreamed of the horrors of trench warfare. This is the reason why the


    Germans advancing on horseback to Marne

  • cavalry regiments (unit of an army typically commanded by a colonel and divided into several large groups of soldiers) were considered the best. In fact, in Great Britain the cavalry regiments would have been seen as the senior (the highest level) regiments in the British Army, along with the Guards regiments, and very many senior army positions were held by cavalry officers.

    However, the cavalry charge seen near Mons was practically the last seen in the war. Trench warfare made such

    charges (attacks) not only impractical (unreasonable) but impossible. A cavalry charge was, for the most part, an old method for fighting--from a bygone military era and machine guns, trench complexes and barbed wire made such charges all but impossible. However, some cavalry charges did occur despite the obvious reasons as to why they should not.

    In March 1918, the British launched (started) a cavalry charge at the Germans. By the Spring of 1918, the war had become more fluid (solders were able to move about better during the latter part of this war) but despite this, out of 150 horses used in the charge--only 4 survived. The rest were cut down by German machine gun fire.

    However, though a cavalry charge was no longer a good, workable military tactic, horses were still invaluable (very important) as a way of transporting


    Photo taken at the battle at Mons

  • materials to the front. Military vehicles, as with any mechanized vehicles of the time, were relatively new inventions and they often broke down. Horses, along with mules, were reliable forms of transport and compared to a lorry needed little upkeep.

    Such was the use of horses on the Western Front, that over 8 million died on all sides fighting in the war. Two and a half million horses were treated in veterinary hospitals with about two million being sufficiently cured

    that they could return to duty.


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