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"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.

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Monday, 20 October 2008
The Australian Light Horse, Militia and AIF, Regimental Scouts
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

The Australian Light Horse,

Militia and AIF



Military Board, Light Horse Manual for the Drill Training and Exercise of the Light Horse Regiments of Australia, 1st January 1910, (Melbourne 1909), pp. 131 - 3.



[131] Although every man in the squadron is to be instructed in the duties of ground scouts, a sufficient number of men must be selected for their superior intelligence and good horsemanship, and especially trained as the scouts of the squadron. The duties of scouts are to ascertain whether the ground in the immediate vicinity, in front of the squadron (and on its flanks in column), is suitable for mounted troops, to point out obstacles, and to indicate the best points of passage. Scouts must be careful not to unnecessarily expose themselves to view on high ground, or against the sky line.

Single troops should always throw out scouts in difficult ground; a squadron should never manoeuvre over unknown or broken ground without being preceded by a ground scout. The number of scouts employed, and the distance to which they are to go out, must depend upon the nature of the ground and the rapidity with which the body is moving ; they must not, [132] however, be more numerous than is absolutely necessary, and must be sufficiently in advance to give ample warning of obstacles, but never out of sight of their squadrons.

Under ordinary circumstances, one man per squadron is sufficient, and, as a general rule, ground scouts should not be less than 200, nor more than 500 yards at the outside, away from their squadrons; if on a flank, they must know what sort of ground intervenes between them- and the column.

Squadron commanders are responsible (without any order) that one scout from each squadron gallops out to a point at a suitable distance, as explained above, in front of the centre of his squadron if in line, or line of squadron columns, or opposite the exposed flank of the squadron; in the latter case, also, the leading squadron sends out an additional scout ahead of the column. After reaching this point, each scout conforms as far as possible to the pace and to any change of direction of his squadron.

When moving fast over very difficult ground, two scouts may with advantage be sent out by each squadron; one man can then halt to point out a passage, while the other explores the nature of the ground.

The following signals are to be used by ground scouts:-If the ground is boggy, or otherwise impassable, they will halt and raise their rifles perpendicularly; they will then make for what ever point appears practicable, pointing towards it with the rifle.

If the ground within view in front and on either side is quite impracticable, a scout will face his squadron, raise his rifle and ride in to the squadron to report, [133] As the duties of ground scouts in broken ground take a good deal out of the horses, squadron commanders will be careful to equalize the work among their scouts, and to save all unnecessary galloping; thus, if a line retires over ground not previously traversed, fresh scouts will be sent out to the new front, and those already out will rejoin their squadron.


Further Reading:

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920


Citation: The Australian Light Horse, Militia and AIF, Regimental Scouts

Posted by Project Leader at 12:00 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2009 9:01 AM EADT
The Australian Light Horse, Militia and AIF, Glossary
Topic: AIF - Lighthorse

The Australian Light Horse,

Militia and AIF



Military Board, Light Horse Manual for the Drill Training and Exercise of the Light Horse Regiments of Australia, 1st January 1910, (Melbourne 1909), pp. 6 - 8.


Standard Cavalry Definitions

Alignment - The straight line on which the front of a body of troops is formed, or is to form.

Base - Two points placed a distance apart, to indicate a line by the prolongation of which the proper alignment of a line or the covering of a column is regulated.

Change of front - A new alignment, either meeting or intersecting the former alignment.

Change of position - Moving troops off their own ground, and reforming to the front or flanks on a new alignment.

Close column - Troops or squadrons at one horse's length from one another. (Leaders in line on the right and serrefiles on the left of their respective units.)

Column - Troops on parallel and successive alignments, at a distance from One another equal to their own frontage.

Column of Half Squadrons - Half squadrons on parallel and successive alignments at troop wheeling distance.

Column of masses - regiments formed in mass, one behind the other, at such a distance that brigade mass can be formed to a flank by each regiment wheeling.

Covering - The act of one or more men, or bodies of men, placing themselves correctly in rear of one another.

Deployment - Formation of line from column.

Depth - Space occupied by a body of troops from front to rear.

Directing unit - The body on which the direction, pace, and alignment of a line, or relative positions of the several parts of a column depend.

Distance - Space between men or bodies of troops from front to rear.

Dressing - Taking up an alignment correctly.

Echelon - A succession of parallel units facing the same direction, each on a flank and to the rear of the unit in front of it.

Flank - Either lateral extremity of a rank, line, or column also the direction to either hand of a body, at right angles to its front.

Flank, directing - That by which units march or dress.

Flank, inner - That nearer to the point of formation or direction; also that which serves as a pivot when a body is changing its direction.

Flank, outer - That opposite to the inner or directing flank.

Front - In a general sense, the direction towards which a body of troops, or a single man is facing.

Frontage - The extent of ground covered laterally by troops.

Horse's length and width - Length 8 feet [2.4m], width 3 feet [0.91m], which includes 3 inches [7.62cm] on either side of rider's knee.

Interval - The lateral space between men or units from flank to flank.

Line - Troops formed on the same alignment.

Line of Masses - A line of two or more regiments each formed in mass with deploying interval plus 16 yards between them.

Mass (Regiment) - Line of squadron columns, closed to two horses' lengths interval between squadrons.

Mass (Brigade) - A line of regimental masses closed to 16 yards [14.63m] interval between regiments.

Pivot fixed - The term applied to the pivot, when during the wheel the pivot man turns on his own ground.

Pivot moving - The term applied to the pivot, when during the wheel the pivot man moves on the arc of a circle.

Rank - A line of men side by side.

Regiment - Two, three, or four squadrons (normally four), with regimental head-quarters. [Note: In the AIF, the establishement number of squadrons per regiment was always three. The full Militia and AIF Light Horse regimental organisation information may be found here: Peace establishment of Australian Light Horse, 1903-14. There were exceptions with the addition of a fourth squadron, mainly from regiments broken up for use as reinforcements at Gallipoli.]

Section - Four men, the No. 1 being the leader.

Serrefiles - Those riding in rear of a troop or squadron.

Squadron - Two, three, or four troops (normally four). [Note: In the AIF Light Horse the establishement number of troops was always four.]

Squadron column - A squadron with its troops in column.

Troop - One of the subdivisions of a squadron. [Note: In the AIF Light Horse the establishement number of men per troop was always forty two - ten sections plus two men.]

Wheeling - A movement by which a body brings forward a flank on a fixed or moving pivot. 


Further Reading:

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920


Citation: The Australian Light Horse, Militia and AIF, Glossary

Posted by Project Leader at 10:28 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2009 9:06 AM EADT
The Battle of Beersheba, Palestine, 31 October 1917, 5th ALHR, AIF, War Diary Account
Topic: AIF - 2B - 5 LHR

The Battle of Beersheba

Palestine, 31 October 1917

5th LHR, AIF, War Diary Account


War Diary account of the 3rd LHR, AIF.


The transcription:


31 October 1917

Day Patrols found. Regiment moved out with rest of Brigade for advance to rear of Beersheba to Point on Hebron Road near Sakaty.

Arrived at Hanam in Wadi el Saba at 0700 on morning of 31st.

After watering horses in this Wadi, the Regiment was ordered forward to support the 7th LH Regiment which had crossed the Hebron Road under very heavy shell fire and occupied a position in Wadi Itmy. The Regiment was heavily shelled crossing the Wadi Khalil and Hebron Road. High ground to the north and north-west was held by enemy with guns and machine guns.

This Regiment and 7th LH Regiment engaged enemy during the remainder of day and held outpost line covering Beersheba-Hebron Road and approaches from the north-east during night 31st October/1st November.


Roll of Honour


Lest We Forget

Posted by Project Leader at 9:33 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 8 October 2009 9:14 AM EADT
Colonel Husnu, Yildirim, Page 105
Topic: Tk - Bks - Yildirim

Another entry from the book written by Lieutenant Colonel Hüseyin Hüsnü Emir, called Yildirim. Every day, one page of the book will be posted. This is Page 105.

Colonel Hüsnü, Yildirim, Page 105.

[Click on page for a larger print version.]


These are events that led to the capture of Beersheba, 31 October 1917.


Further Reading:

List of all other Battle of Beersheba accounts  on the blog

Full listing of all material about Beersheba on the blog


Citation: Colonel Hüsnü, Yildirim, Page 105

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 19 October 2008 10:11 PM EADT
Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 20 October 1918
Topic: Diary - Schramm

Diaries of AIF Servicemen

Bert Schramm

20 October 1918


Bert Schramm


2823 Private Herbert Leslie SCHRAMM, a 22 year old Farmer from Whites River, South Australia. He enlisted on 17 February 1916; and at the conclusion of the war Returned to Australia, 10 July 1919.

During part of the course of his military service with the AIF, Bert Schramm kept a diary of his life. Bert was not a man of letters so this diary was produced with great effort on his behalf. Bert made a promise to his sweetheart, Lucy Solley, that he would do so after he received the blank pocket notebook wherein these entries are found. As a Brigade Scout since September 1918, he took a lead part in the September Offensive by the Allied forces in Palestine. Bert's diary entries are placed alongside those of the 9th Light Horse Regiment to which he belonged and to the 3rd Light Horse Brigade to which the 9th LHR was attached. On this basis we can follow Bert in the context of his formation.


The Diaries

The complete diary is now available on the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre Site at:

Bert Schramm Diary

Finding more about a service person. See:

Navigating the National Archives Service File 


Bert Schramm's Handwritten Diary, 20 - 26 October 1918

[Click on page for a larger print version.]

Bert Schramm

Sunday, October 20, 1918

Bert Schramm's Location - Kaukab

Bert Schramm's Diary -  I was sent into Damascus on duty today but was only there for a couple of hours. Got back to camp about 4.00.


9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary

9th Light Horse Regiment Location - Kaukab

9th Light Horse Regiment War Diary - Stephen, Lieutenant HH, returned from Field Ambulance. Elay, Sergeant RC proceeded to Cadet School Zeitoun. Bavin, 1729 Driver JP, died of illness.

9th LHR AIF War Diary, 20 October         



Darley, TH, With the Ninth Light Horse in the Great War, Adelaide, Hassell Press, 1924.

No Entry



Previous:  Bert Schramm's Diary, 19 October 1918

Next:  Bert Schramm's Diary, 21 October 1918

Sources Used:

Bert Schramm's Diary

National Archives Service File.

Embarkation Roll, AWM8.

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour

Nominal Roll, AWM133, Nominal Roll of Australian Imperial Force who left Australia for service abroad, 1914-1918 War.


War Diaries and Letters

All War Diaries and letters cited on this site should be read in conjunction with the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy which may be accessed at:

Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, War Diaries and Letters, Site Transcription Policy 


Further Reading:

Bert Schramm Diary

Bert Schramm Diary, Album

Bert Schramm's Photo Album

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, AIF

9th Australian Light Horse Regiment, War Diary, Day by Day Account

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920


Citation: Diaries of AIF Servicemen, Bert Schramm, 20 October 1918

Posted by Project Leader at 1:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 9 June 2011 11:00 AM EADT

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