W.W.I Horse ~ The role of horse in World War One

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Role Of Horse

Summer 1914

Deployment 1914

Mons 1914

Fighting Retreat

Elouges 1914

Road to Flanders

1st Battle of Ypres

Requisition 1915

Somme 1916

German East
Africa 1917

Beersheba 1917

Build up 1917

Cambria 1917

Damascus 1918

Armistice 1918

"Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the man on a horse"
Sir Douglas Haig 1927

At the beginning of the war, cavalry units were considered by many to be the elite of an army. Many senior officers were drawn from their ranks.

The cavalry had traditionally played a key role as the army's "mobile arm" charging through breaches made in enemy lines to carry through the attack.

Cavalry still proved effective in this role in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Palestine, but the nature of the Western Front made them almost an anachronism.

Breaches in enemy lines were rare and even when they occurred the cavalry where immobilised by the trenches and wire defences. They were also hopelessly vulnerable against the power of modern artillery.

Many senior officers blinded themselves to the reality of the situation, wasting huge resources on maintaining cavalry regiments when they could accomplish nothing. By the end of the war the majority of cavalry that had actually fought were dismounted and used as infantry.

This failure of the cavalry reinforced the need to discover another "mobile arm" capable of overcoming the problems of the "new" warfare.

This need was only satisfied by the development of the tank.