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Re: US Cavalry

From: John Wilson email hugo@actrix.gen.nz
Date: 11/17/2001
Time: 4:11:52 PM
Remote Name:


In the time of Japanese invasion of the Philippines in December 1941, the US Army had there a 26th Cavalry, the Philippine Scout Regiment, under the command of Colonel Clinton A. Pierce, based at Fort Stotsenburg, Pampanga, about 100 km north of Manila, and nedless to say it was the only effective combat unit in the area.

The regiment was apparently badly beaten by Japanese aircraft, especially during the "Great Retreat" towards Bataan Peninsula, when they met some Japanese tanks in the middle of the highway. Panic broke out and some troopers rushed to and fro a waiting orders, crushing into others. The horses were driven wild by the shouting, and many of them bolted. Some horsemen were hit by the hail of fire from the Japanese tanks, while others were trampled to death by the terrified horses as they broke loose and ran in the darkness. On December 24th, the regiment was reduced to about 500 men, and it engaged in a skirmish at Binagoan, where the cavalry, despite the Japanese superiority, attacked the Japanese vanguard again and again, for what their commander, Colonel Pierce, was later promoted by Major-Generak Jonathan Wainwright into rank of Brigadier-General. Perhaps this the cavalry attack you have it in mind, in which Edwin Price Ramsay took part. I could find no other records about any other cavalry charges made by the 26th cavarly, as they safely reached Bataan, where they were engaged in a static fighting, until sharing the same faith as all other US and Filipino troops. Only three of four members of the 26th Cavalry apparently managed to save themselves from the encirclement. Any more information on this would be most welcomed.

In addition to this, I have found another interesting note. The last British cavalry charge in the history of British Army was made in the Pacific Theatre, in Burma in March 1942 near Toungoo about 250 km north of Rangoon, when Captain Arthur Sandeman with his column of two British officers and circa 100 troopers of the Burmanese Frontier Force aka 2nd Frontier Forces column was ambushed by the Japanese. Sandeman quickly re-assembled his men after the starting suprise, and led them with the battle cry "Sat Sri Akal" into a real cavalry charge against the Japanese positions. They never reached it, as Captaina Sandeman as well as all his men were literally wiped out by heavy machine-gun fire.

I could find no other details about Dutch cavalry actions in Java or Sumatra 1941-1942, so I assume no Dutch cavalry charges were made. Don't know ewither if Australia or New Zealand used any cavalry units in Pacific War 1941-1945. I guess not. Chinese used cavalry a lot, but that's another story, which certainly deserves a special treatment.

Written by Klemen Luzar; of interest generally - John

Last changed: November 17, 2001