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Cavalry thread

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    Posted: 13 Oct 2013 at 01:48

 

After over 3000 year of service on battlefields all around the world, the horse cavalry days were numbered and their use on battlefield practically ended during WWII period.(however small horse cavalry detachments were used by US for patrolling West German-Czechoslovakia border and after the war.

Cavalry role on battlefield changed during with time. The milestone of development was;

 introduction of stirrup, saddle  and horse collars. Introduction of guns were also detrimental for change of tactics and personal armament.

During the long existence, the horse cavalry was used for reconnaissance, cavalry charge, riding communication ant interdiction of enemy supply.

Heavy cavalry was used as a principal break through force long after introduction of gunpowder and even during WWII there were numerous successful charges by cavalry of many nations.

During WWII Horse Cavalry was used by many nations, notably by;

 US in Philippine campaign ,Japan (mostly in China) Italy, Romania, Hungary,Germany and Soviet Union  on Eastern Front, Eastern Africa and Balkans,

Poland during September 1939 campaign 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2013 at 02:44
After all these years of engaging in warfare and bloodshed, the faithful animal goes back to its rightful place... helping human in farming or simply joining the nature.
"Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thought, Good Word, and Good Deed" Zoroaster.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2013 at 03:12

Belligerent armies (estimation only) horses stock

 

France

Germany

Hungary

Italy

Japan

Poland

Romania

Soviet Union

United Kingdom

United States

National stock of horses

2.9 million (1930)

...

860 thousand (1930)

942 thousand (1930)

...

...

...

21 million (1940)

1.2 million (1930)

14 million (142)

Horses employed by the military

>520 thousand (1939)

2.75 millio

...

...

...

...

...

3.5 million

...

...

Maximum number of cavalry units deployed

...

6 divisions
(February 1945)

2 divisions (1944)

...

25 regiments (1940)

38 regiments (1939)

(1942)

80 light cavalry divisions
(December 1941)

...

13 regiments (1939)

Largest cavalry formation deployed

Corp

Corps

Division

Division

Brigade

Brigade

Division

Group (Army equivalemt)

...

Division

Main role(s) of horse elements in the military

Mobile troops

Field logistics

Mobile troops

Mobile and
colonial troops

Mobile troops

Mobile troops

Mobile troops

Mobile troops,
logistics

Logistics,
colonial troops

Nucleus of the Armored Forces

 

Interesting-US army purchased 20000 horses in 1940. So for them the Cavalry was still usable on battlefield.



Edited by Goral - 13 Oct 2013 at 03:14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Oct 2013 at 03:26
In US, I have seen police riding on horses only in Las Vegas every new year eve.
"Turn yourself not away from three best things: Good Thought, Good Word, and Good Deed" Zoroaster.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2013 at 13:07
Not only in Las Vegas
A mounted U.S. Park Police officer in Washington, D.C
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2013 at 01:57

edwin ramsey"LOS ANGELES–An era in U.S. military history came to a close last week with the death on March 7 of Colonel Edwin Ramsey in Los Angeles, Calif. Ramsey led the last horse-mounted cavalry charge in the history of the United States Army.

On January 16, 1942, Ramsey led a troop of the 26th Mounted Cavalry Regiment in a successful attack on the Japanese-held town of Morong on the West Coast of Bataan. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

At the time of his death Ramsey was 95 years old. He had been active personally and in veterans’ affairs right up until the end. His comrades-in-arms call Colonel Ramsey “a true American hero.”

Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Price Ramsey was a first lieutenant in the United States Cavalry at the beginning of World War II, stationed in the Philippines.

When the U.S. forces on Bataan surrendered to the Japanese, Ramsey refused to give up and escaped into the jungle where, over the next three years, he organized Filipino guerrilla forces that eventually numbered 40,000 fighters.

He was hunted down by the Imperial Japanese Army and by the communist Huk guerrillas, but he managed to escape each time they drew near. At one point during his years in the jungle he was deathly ill and had his appendix removed by a Filipino doctor who used a pocketknife and no anesthesia.

General Douglas MacArthur personally awarded Ramsey the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart for the success of his guerrilla organization, his heroism and his combat wounds.

After the war Ramsey returned to the United States, then spent five years in Japan as an executive with Hughes Aircraft Corporation, and more years in the Philippines as a private businessman before he retired in California.

He has been honored by presidents and recognized by the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, which to a large degree are modeled after Ramsey’s guerrilla organization in World War II. His wartime exploits are preserved in the book Lieutenant Ramsey’s War and the documentary film “Forgotten Soldiers.”








WWII US Cavalry trooper





'





Edited by Goral - 15 Oct 2013 at 02:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2013 at 03:09



"General Washington promoted a Major in Moylan’s 4th Regiment to Lieutenant Colonel and gave him command of the 3rd Regiment. He was General Washington’s
third cousin, William Washington. He had served in the infantry from the beginning of the war and was one of the two officers wounded at Trenton. He proved to understand cavalry tactics, and is said to have said: "The sword is the most destructive and almost only necessary weapon a Dragoon carries."

Although recognized as being the most valuable weapon available for cavalry, swords were hard to acquire. Most American cavalrymen used home made swords manufactured here. However, after the victory at Saratoga, they received 149 heavy broadswords captured from the Prinz Ludwig’s Brunswick Dragoons. France also sent some fine sabers.

When the British captured Savannah, Georgia, Washington dispatched General Pulaski south to assist Major General Benjamin Lincoln. In the attempt to retake British held Savannah, Georgia, Pulaski was killed leading a cavalry charge. He has gone down in our history as the "Father of American Cavalry".

Failing to retake Savannah, General Lincoln retired to Charleston, South Carolina. British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton arrived with 10,000 additional troops, besieged Charleston and forced General Lincoln to surrender. Fortunately the American Dragoons were based 24 miles inland from Charleston and did not surrender, but continued the fight."

http://www.revolutionarywararchives.org/cavalry.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Oct 2013 at 03:14
Italians Army in Soviet Union 1942-the last horse cavalry charge in history  ?

Edited by Goral - 21 Oct 2013 at 03:17
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 00:12

The last true cavalry battle (horse cavalry vs horse cavalry) was fought  31 August 1920 during Polish- Soviet War.

“The Battle of Komarówwas one of the most important battles of thePolish-Bolshevik War. It took place on August 31, 1920, near the village of Komarowo (now Komarów) near Zamość. It was the biggest cavalry battle in the history of war since 1813 and the last great battle of any significance in which cavalry was used as such and not as mounted infantry.

The Battle of Komarów was a complete disaster for the Russian 1st Cavalry Army, which sustained heavy casualties and barely avoided being outflanked. After the battle, the morale of the 1st Cavalry Army collapsed, and the army which was once the most feared of the Soviet troops was no longer considered an effective fighting force.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Komar%C3%B3w


Polish Cavalry



Soviet Cavalry

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Nov 2013 at 04:49

Battle of Quatre-Bras

With the development of firearms, the charge of cavalry against formed square of infantry at the end of 18 and 19 century become to risky.

One of the last successful charge of cavalry against infantry  was at Battle of Quatre-Bras 16 June 1815 where one brigade of French Cavalry severely mauled British 33 and 69 Regiments

“Kellerman, who had arrived with only his forward brigade, received the order to charge Wellington's center to "overthrow the mass of the Allied infantry." Kellerman was astounded. A cavalry charge without infantry support against formed enemy infantry was suicide and would certainly lead to the destruction of his brigade. He asked Ney to confirm the order. Ney replied by saying "Go, but go then!"

Infuriated by this insane order, Kellerman charged with his cuirassiers and against all odds succeeded. They decimated the 69th Regiment, routed the 33rd Regiment and found themselves in possession of the crossroads. However, without infantry support and being fired upon by a concealed battery at almost point-blank range and two British regiments, Kellerman had to give up his hard-won prize and return to the French lines. During the retreat, Kellerman's horse was killed and he barely escaped capture by clinging onto the bits of two cuirassier's horses.”

http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/battles/hundred/c_chapter3.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Nov 2013 at 00:43

Notable cavalry charges in Polish history

·                Battle of Kircholm (September 27, 1605) - Polish cavalry 2,600 men supported with 1,000 infantry defeated 11,000 Swedes. Polish-Lithuanian winged hussars charged and completely defeated advancing Swedes.

 

 

 

  • Battle of Vienna (September 11–12, 1683): 20,000 Polish, Austrian and German cavalry led by the Polish king Jan III Sobieski and spearheaded by 3000 heavily armed Polish armoured lancers – hussars charged Ottoman lines. The largest cavalry charge in history.

 

·                Battle of Somosierra (November 30, 1808): During the Peninsular War Napoleon overwhelmed the Spanish positions in a combined arms attack, charging the Polish Chevau-légers of the Imperial Guard at the Spanish guns while French infantry advanced up the slopes. The victory removed the last obstacle barring the road to Madrid, which fell several days later.



Edited by Goral - 19 Nov 2013 at 00:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2014 at 04:29
In well balanced Persian Army reformed by Darius, cavalry was a very important part of general war doctrine. Persian cavalry, mostly Median Horsemen, were dressed and armed in the same way as Persian light infantry. They rode into battle, where they had four key functions. Before the battle started, their roles was to interrupt concentration and deployment of enemy forces.. In the early stage of the battle, the cavalry of Persian Army rode along deploying units, charging them and dispatching mass of arrows from their composite bows. Or hurling javelins..
When Persian infantry advanced within bowshot, the cavalry units withdrew to the wings of the Army with the task to outflank the opponents army.
Finally, when the enemy broke and fled, the job of cavalry was to pursue and keep the enemy forces from regrouping.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Goral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Feb 2014 at 05:38

Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD was a turning point that affected balance between infantry and cavalry in Mediterranean area. By 6 century, the armies of Justinian and Belisarius  were based on cavalry strength. The principal strength lay in mounted archers employing hit and run tactics. 200 year later, even Franks which fights previously as infantry, had taken to horse and turned into cavalrymen. (although different type of mounted warriors).The decisive factor influencing changes from the foot army to mounted  warriors was invention of stirrups and high saddles. This transformation occurred between 4 and 10 century AD when the  above inventions spread to Europe from the horsemen of steppe. Adding to this the horseshoe, (origin of this is unclear) the ascent of cavalry over the  foot soldiers becomes understandable.

During the remaining Middle Ages in Europe and Middle East, the Horse Warriors dominated foot soldiers which becomes  auxiliary force useful for siege warfare but not in the open field battles.

The population was divided on two classes, one who fought on horseback and another who did not. Horsemen constituted society, while the rest counted for nothing (or very little at the most). In Europe, the horseman principle weapon was a lance which grow longer (from initial short lance waived overhead) supported by sword. In the Middle East, the principal weapon was composite bow  supplemented by sabre.

The superiority of a horseman over  ordinary foot soldiers  was crushing to the point that warfare , strictly speaking, took place mainly between knights. The heavy cavalry becomes King of the Field. This position was only challenged after development of the weapon  which could penetrate knight armour from the distance. The time when commoner could kill knight from the distance spelled the beginning of the end of heavy armoured cavalry however heavy cavalry survived for another 200 years (aprox) from battle of Crecy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arlington Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2014 at 01:06
Fine articles sources and comments not to mention the photos by all concerned.
For those interested in a short history of the US mounted arm. See the following links.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2014 at 10:51
I was struck by George Orwells' experience of cavalry in the Spanish Civil War. The cavalry barracks (where he joined the republican POUM) had been ransacked and re-used as a militia base, and he recalls sleeping in a former stable smelling of horse urine and rotting oats. The horses had all been appropriated, and when his rag-tag unit begins to march toward their deployments in the hills, one young militiaman took great pride in galloping his horse here and there for dramatic effect, clearly enjoying a dramatic pose or two.

Compare that to Caesars description of gallic cavalry, in which he tells us how they were inordinately fond of their expensive horses and didn't like risking them, being more used to extracting tolls from travellers.

I note also the memoirs of a Wutemburg cavalry officer who went on campiagn with Napoleon in 1812 toward Moscow. At the start, it's all a jolly holiday, a chance to enjoy fine billets, food, and company in landed estates along the way. Later, when horses are dying off and Russian ponies used to try and replace them, he becomes a little frustrated, then when he's unhorsed and has to join the retreat in terrible conditions, his status as a cavalryman meant nothing, and you can actually see the change in perspective in the text.

Put someone on a horse and he feels superior. Sometimes he actually is, depending on society. or circumstance. But then, cavalry have since ancient times sometimes come unstuck.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Feb 2014 at 06:26
If my memory serves, the last mounted US cavalry charge was in 2001-2002 Afghanistan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TatianaIE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Sep 2014 at 12:44
Goral,  - going back to the one year old post with 2 photos - the second picture is not a picture of Soviet cavalry... First of all, it is not a historical photo, it is a modern costume game, or some thing along those lines. The pants with the stripes - it is from Cossacks uniform, but Cossacks never were a part of Soviet Army. The green uniform is a field uniform, not cavalry

Edited by TatianaIE - 24 Sep 2014 at 12:47
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