"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.
The following weeks will see the various pages of the Hotchkiss Machine Gun Pack for Cavalry. The Hotchkiss Gun was introduced in the Light Horse formations during the early months of 1917. The introduction of this robust and portable gun gave the Light Horse Regiments additional mobile fire power which considereably added to their ability to sustain light combat situations and defend against vastly numerically superior forces. Apart from being an excellent weapon, it was in much demand by the Turkish forces who considered the capture of a Hotchkiss Gun well worth any risks involved in the process. This is a manual produced in 1917 and illustrates the method by which the Hotchkiss Gun was packed and moved throughout the Palestine campaign.
One of the most complete set of Light Horse unit signals at Gallipoli belongs to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. Signals provide a window into the unvarnished form of history. These are the comments made by people who had important needs that required immediate attention. As such, they tell a story about a campaign that existed before the occurence of the newspaper reports leading to the Official Histories and all the other works that followed. Since they do not originate in a vacuum, it is the immediacy of the signal in a dense communication transfer that gives it a unique currency. It is a moment in time. We need all the other items such as the War Diary, Routine Orders and lastly, the published books to get a fully appreciation of the humble signal.
To ensure that this appreciation is available to many, over the coming months, a series of signals will be posted commencing from April till December.
Signal, 7 May 1915 ordering the supply of condensers, Page 1
22nd Corps Cavalry Routine Order 543, 8 January 1918 Topic: AIF - Fr - 22 Corps
Apart from the War Diary which presents a reflected view of Regimental history, one of the best sources of understanding the immediate challenges facing a regiment is to be found in the Routine Orders. They are a wealth of detail.
In this case, the 22nd Corps Cavalry Routine Orders for 1918 have been highlighted to illustrate the tempo of this formation from the beginning of the year towards the end of the war. The aim is to illustrate the tumultuous year that followed ending in the defeat of Germany. Too little is known of the role regarding the Light Horse in the drama on the Western Front. This should address some shortfalls of information.
22nd Corps Cavalry Routine Order 543, 8 January 1918
22nd Corps Cavalry Routine Order 543, 8 January 1918, p. 1.
[Click on page for a larger print version.]
22nd Corps Cavalry War Diary entry, 8 January 1918
As can be seen, the brevity of the War Diary entry does not give the whole story of the regiment.
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