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Re: Horses in the Modern Battle

From: Xile
Date: 1/7/2002
Time: 11:16:43 PM
Remote Name:


Tony, thank you for your topic for this discussion group, I disagree with rob in his reply that it is a waste of energy even thinking about it. One of the basics of strategy and tactics development is thinking about the worst possible tactical position to be in and develop a strategy to overcome the difficulties and achieve the objective, or to have the ability to withdraw intact. Another basic is to use the equipment and personnel at your disposal, however inferior, against an opposing force superior both in numbers and equipment, (i.e. horseback mounted light infantry against mech. Inf. And or amour.) To the best effect of the forces available to you. I do not believe that you are asking us to consider a deployed line cavalry charge armed with ’08 patt. Swords, bayonets or lances, against BMP’s or T72’s. The result would be spectacular and very short in duration. No the question you are asking, as you have written in your topic brief for this discussion group, (people should sometimes read and understand all information fully before offering an opinion) is how best to implement a unit of horse mounted soldiers as a segment of your total resources against the OpFor. You have described. Would they best be utilised in a: 1. Recon./Scout role accessing areas that may not be available to mech./soft skinned vehicles due to terrain or seasonal conditions i.e. “The Big Wet” 2. Supporting role with small configuration units such as long range recon. (Inf.) or infiltration/sabotage (Cmdo) in a resup. Role where aviation or vehicle support may draw unnecessary or unwanted attention. 3. Ceremonial role participating in celebration, morale or recruiting activities far behind the lines of the area of operation. My opinion is that a mounted force could be used in either of the first or second options I have described with advantage in using older cavalry (horse) tactics in combination with modern equipment (the Austyer or M203 really is a lot lighter than a SMLE mk. III) in section (4) strength could be quite useful in some situations. The only question I have in this regard is how best to logistically support such a unit in the field with its large quantity of consumables e.g. feed, shoes and veterinary care etc. Aerial support is not very practical, horses do not like helicopters, as one who as participated in a skill at arms display while a “Huey” hovers and lands nearby can attest to. And having the unit withdraw from their forward position/A.O. to R.V. with soft vehicle support daily, kind of defeats the purpose of having an adaptable independent scouting group. As all are probable aware modern conflicts, post 1960’s, have seen horse mounted troops, armed with automatic and rocket propelled weapons, used against tactical superior forces with good effect. Just because it is old and antiquated doesn’t mean that it can not be used effectively. Bare in mind the soviets still had W.W.II artillery pieces and T34’s propositioned for reserve units to use if called upon, right up to the end of the Soviet Union.

Something to think about anyway. Xile

Last changed: January 07, 2002