Talk:Horses in World War I

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Warrior[edit]

Just came across this old Daily Telegraph article about the horse Warrior (Jack Seely's charger) which survived WWI, apparently regarded as a national hero, and lived to the age of 33 in 1941, when unfortunately WWII rationing led to him being put down http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1582562/The-mighty-Warrior-who-led-one-of-historys-last-ever-cavalry-charges.html. An interesting sidelight on the horses of World War I? David Underdown (talk) 14:45, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

Also some interesting stuff in this PhD thesis https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/handle/1826/3032 - since it's unpublished it may not be deemed reliable enough for an FA though. David Underdown (talk) 11:24, 15 November 2010 (UTC)
I've added both in as external links. The first one is a good story, but I don't think it really adds anything essential to what's already in the article. As for the second, as a copyrighted PhD thesis it is (IMO) a reliable source. However, at 300+ pages, it's going to take me a while to get through it and see if there's anything that can be brought into the article. There's enough information out there to make a 100k+ kb article on just the British cavalry on the Western Front, so the challenge is seeing if there's anything essential that's not already in the article that doesn't place undue weight on the Brits. Thanks for linking me to these, though - the continued work and scholarship is MUCH appreciated. Dana boomer (talk) 15:54, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
If nothing else, he makes a strong argument against the "no cavalry charges until the enemy's last machine gun has been destroyed" school of thought. David Underdown (talk) 09:22, 26 November 2010 (UTC)
This frum thread http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=116748 (obviously not a realiable source in itself) contains some interesting background and some pointers to som epossible other sources to explore. Includes a listing of the official British horse classification used by the army at the outbreak of war. David Underdown (talk) 12:02, 8 December 2010 (UTC)

New source[edit]

Potential new source, for when I get back to this article: Book discussing chemical warfare and horses. Dana boomer (talk) 16:04, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

Added. Dana boomer (talk) 15:53, 27 July 2011 (UTC)

monument in Minneapolis[edit]

This is a Google Maps street view of the monument in Minneapolis, a mention of which I added to the article. Michael Hardy (talk) 20:41, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

120% losses?[edit]

I was reading through the article, and it says Britain lost 120% of its equine forces in the Boer war? Is this possible - to lose everything you have, plus an extra 20% that you didn't? A table of equine losses is available in the following article supplied by the Australian military : www.army.gov.au/ahu/docs/The_Boer_War_Spence.pdf . Survivors of 150,000 were quoted by the Australian military source ... so it definitely did not look like 100%. By doing out the math, I came to a loss rate of 69.4%. It's a very nasty number, but it's more realistic and probable than the quoted "120%" in the Wiki article. Since this article is featured, and I have only done my limited research - I strongly suggest that others join me in verifying the 120% number. Incorrect information should definitely not be in an article, a featured one no less. I'm trying to puzzle out how a loss of 120% could be figured ... but I'm having a tough time here.

I will attempt to find the cited source to verify the validity of the numbers provided in this article. Assistance in this task, would be appreciated. --Kyanwan (talk) 21:17, 30 July 2011 (UTC)

Captured horses. Brightgalrs (/braɪtˈɡæl.ərˌɛs/)[1] 21:29, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
I see it's a possibility ... which I didn't take into account. --Kyanwan (talk) 21:35, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Also, a horse is mature at 3, so it's possible to lose all the horses they started with, but have replacements each following year, thus making it more than 100%. Same thing happens with humans - a unit can have more than 100% losses if you take into consideration replacements coming in after the unit started. Ealdgyth - Talk 21:56, 30 July 2011 (UTC)
Kyanwan, please see note 3, which says "This number was higher than 100 percent because additional horses were requisitioned and sent to the front, where they had a high attrition rate.". You'll also note that the article is careful to say "290% of the initial stock numbers" when the first statistic is given - this statement ("initial stock numbers") applies to all other statistics as well. So, say a unit starts out with 100 horses, and 90 of these are killed in the first month. 90 are sent to replace these, and of those 90, 30 more are killed. Therefore, you have 120 horses killed, which is 120% of the original total sent to the front. The note, and the figures, are (correctly) sourced to "Singleton, John (May 1993). "Britain's military use of horses 1914–1918". Past & Present: 178–204.", who uses these exact percentages (in other words, I did not compute them from other figures he provided). Dana boomer (talk) 02:05, 31 July 2011 (UTC)

additional information[edit]

The source cited unfortunately overlooked a number of operations fought during the Palestine, Jordanian and Syrian campaigns. Is there some way the following, including links to two Wikipedia good articles, can be incorporated into the Horses in World War 1 article?

The Anzac Mounted Division formed in Egypt in 1916 and was composed of four Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) mounted brigades from the Australian Light Horse and the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. All had fought at Gallipoli as infantry. Members of the division engaged Turkish troops at the Suez Canal in mid-1916. They successfully stopped a major German led Ottoman advance at the Battle of Romani and captured major Turkish strongholds at Magdhaba in August and December 1916 and at the Rafah in early 1917. Along with British infantry, they participated mounted in the First, dismounted in the Second and mounted in the Third Battles of Gaza. As a result of casualties the Anzac Mounted Division was reformed with three brigades and the Australian Mounted Division was formed about this time with three brigades. These two divisions were, along with the Yeomanry Mounted Division were formed into Desert Mounted Corps and along with British infantry participated mounted and dismounted in the Battle of Mughar Ridge and dismounted in the Battle of Jerusalem (1917) in 1917. In February 1918 along with British infantry Jericho; the Anzac Mounted Division and 60th (London) Infantry Division participating in the First Transjordan attack on Amman (1918). These two divisions along with the Australian Mounted Division participated in the Second Transjordan attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt across the Jordan River. The Desert Mounted Corps occupied the Jordan Valley during the summer. In mid September as part of the Battle of Megiddo the Anzac Mounted Division captured Amman (capturing 10,300 prisoners in nine days), while the Australian and Yeomanry Mounted Divisions along with the XXth and XXIst Infantry Corps, participated in the main attack on Ottoman positions on the coast which led to the capture of Damascus. After the armistice troopers reoccupied Gallipoli in December 1918.[1] --Rskp (talk) 03:57, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

I'll defer to the lead editor, Dana, on this question of how much to add and where. We do have to keep some balance of all nations and focus on the most significant events or else the article could devolve into a trivia list of every last battle fought. However, your information is very helpful and the link is appreciated. We very much appreciate your providing this info and being so very gracious and helpful! Montanabw(talk) 23:08, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Roslyn, thanks for the additional info. However, this article is supposed to be an overview, and at almost 65 kb and over 6,000 words, it's already getting fairly long. It's not supposed to be a discussion of every battle ever fought, and instead is supposed to just hit the highlights. We also have to be careful of undue weight - the ANZAC section is already almost as long as the entire continental Europe section. While the information above is interesting, this article is supposed to be about the horses themselves, not the cavalry divisions, and so in writing this article I have just tried to hit the high points of the battles and focus more on the various uses of the horses, rather than "they fought in this battle, then this battle, then this battle, then this battle, etc". That's why I find the quote at the end of the ANZAC section so useful - it actually talks about the horses, their strengths, their weaknesses, etc. Hope this makes sense.Dana boomer (talk) 14:20, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Dana, thanks for your explanation. However there are good reasons why the Australian and New Zealand section should be longer than the continental section as the horses were involved in more operations and the role they played was crucial and successful. Though I am not suggesting a lengthy description, just brief mention incorporating links to the really important uses made of horses, Falls could be the authority. For example, the Battle of Romani really has all the hallmarks of a highlight; in particular the use made of horses during the days prior to the battle of Romani and during the battle the Ottoman advance on the Suez Canal was stopped. The two horse brigades which conducted the series of reconnaissances were eventually reinforced by another two horse brigades on the day of battle when they closely cooperated with an infantry division to prevail. Another highlight of the use of horses is the battle of Mughar Ridge during which, at Summeil light horse held attacking Ottoman divisions, at Mughar Ridge the yeomanry successfully charged the centre and at Ayun Kara the mounted infantry demonstrated the great strength of their unique attacking style. Further the three Transjordan operations and the battle of Meggido all demonstrate the importance of the horses in successful and unsuccessful battles. Links to these operations would enhance your article but the mention of the 2nd Gaza should be reconsidered as horses had no role in this battle; the light horse, yeomanry and mounted rifles all fought dismounted. These normally mounted units also fought dismounted during the Battle of Jerusalem where the terrain did not allow the use of horses apart from briefly and ineffectively by the yeomanry. Regarding Ottoman cavalry, the only time I've come across them being used in operations was the attack on the northern flank during the 2nd Transjordan; Falls could be a useful source or possibly Erickson. Is there any possibility that you can reconsider your position and incorporate links to these really important examples of the use of horses in World War I? Regards, --Rskp (talk) 04:50, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Oh Roslyn my deah, Whilst you make some good points about looking at specific uses and possibly substituting some more horse-centric operations for less horse-centric ones, to say the ANZAC section SHOULD be longer than the Euro section is an open invitation to edit-warring. Horrors! =:-O There might be an argument for more info on the active involvement of horse-based regiments against the Ottomans in general, particularly the significant strategic battles, (that bit on Suez is intriguing) and in the process adding the emphasis on ANZAC involvement, but the organization needs to focus on the USES of horses in the various theaters of war. If there is a good argument for substituting one action for another due to greater involvement or more strategic value for horses, (say more on Megiddo and less on 2nd Gaza, perhaps) that's possible. But once we start laundry-listing the accomplishments of various nations, the "what about us?" phenomenon can quickly escalate into very annoying wiki-drama. All of which is to say that I hesitate to dive too deep into this because we don't want to accidentally wind up rewriting the article. Montanabw(talk) 22:19, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Is there a problem including an operation that changed the course of a campaign and was heavily reliant on horses (Romani) and at the same time cutting one that was an infantry bloodbath where horses played no part (2nd Gaza)? --Rskp (talk) 05:16, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
I have no problem with that, as long as you make sure to add extra sources if the information is not in the reference already given. Dana boomer (talk) 10:45, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Picture[edit]

Hello, do you have something about this picture : Blue cross poster.jpg ? Nothing about The Blue Cross Fund in the article. --Tsaag Valren (talk) 15:42, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

Not sure exactly what you're looking for? The organization is mentioned, although not by name, in the Legacy section as "During World War I, artist Fortunino Matania created the iconic image Goodbye Old Man that would be used by both British and American organizations to raise awareness of the suffering of animals affected by war.", although this poster doesn't use the Goodbye Old Man image. There were multiple organizations (I know specifically of British and American ones, although I'm sure there were ones in other countries that I just haven't found mention of/am not remembering) that worked to help animals during this war and others, so the British organization, while admirable, doesn't really need more than a quick mention, IMO. The organization has an article at The Blue Cross. Dana boomer (talk) 14:33, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. They're known for helping the french cavalry, but I'm not a specialist fro World War I. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tsaag Valren (talkcontribs) 14:38, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

New book[edit]

I've just had my attention drawn to The War Horses: The Tragic Fate of a Million Horses Sacrificed in the First World War, Simon Butler, ISBN 978-0857040848, according to the Amzon bumph it "concentrates upon those groups of animals who were requisitioned rather than those `professionally' employed by the cavalry, in other words the horses, mules and donkeys who took on the drudgery of heaving rations, guns and munitions up to the front line, returning with wounded and maimed men. The author draws upon over 200 photographs and eye-witness accounts to illustrate the actuality of war and the vital role played by the horse on the Western Front. Poignant memoirs reveal the bond formed between the fighting men and the animals in their care; remarkable stories of compassion and kindness set against the harrowing background of `The War to End All Wars'." David Underdown (talk) 14:19, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Ye gods. OK. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Probably won't get to it until this winter, but this book and the 200+ page PDF you brought to my attention above are probably good reading fodder for an 8 hr plane ride in January. Sincerely, however, thank you for your continuing scholarship on this topic - this book (and the PDF) hadn't even crossed my radar. Dana boomer (talk) 13:34, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

engagements mid 1916[edit]

Can you tell me what operations 'Members of the division engaged Turkish troops at the Suez Canal in mid-1916,' refers to? As far as I know Ottoman troops only actually reached the Suez Canal in 1915 when they were fought off (from memory) by Indian Imperial Service troops. --Rskp (talk) 03:51, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Ah, I think I read the source wrong. It says "An attempt by the Turks to attack the Suez Canal in August 1916 resulted in it being intercepted and defeated by the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division in the Battle of Romani." I have tweaked the article a bit to reflect this. Dana boomer (talk) 10:44, 19 August 2011 (UTC)

Example[edit]

'The division carried rifles, bayonets and machine guns, generally using horses as swift transport and dismounting to fight.' For a particularly good example of this fighting style in action, so to speak, see 'Battle of Mughar Ridge Aftermath 4.1 14 November - Action of Ayun Kara.' Do you think it might be possible to add a link? --Rskp (talk) 05:12, 20 August 2011 (UTC)

If something else comes out. Honestly, while the ANZAC troops used horses, and generally used them to good effect, so did many other countries (although not necessarily with the good effects). I could write a 100K article just on Britain's cavalry and equine logistics issues. This article is looking at every front of the war, and there was extensive horse warfare on every front. Russia had over 1,000,000 horses in service at the beginning of the war, Germany & Austria mobilized over 1.3 million in the first weeks of the war and the US sent 1,000,000 overseas during the war - this compares to the less than 150,000 Australian horses used during the war. Also, as this article is about the horses, not about cavalry divisions, weapons, people, or really even fighting tactics (unless they had a direct influence on the horses, such as charging against machine gun fire and barbed wire), we need to make sure that undue weight is not something we place on either individual battles or entire sections. So, battles should be removed if there is little or nothing unique about them, and battles should only be added if there is something unique about the horses in them. Dana boomer (talk) 10:01, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
Thank you - you know I am trying to work with you to improve this article. The link I am suggesting is not to the whole Mughar Ridge battle but to one section the Ayun Kara/Richeon le Zion action; the description of which happens to be a really good example of an attack method used by the Anzac Mounted Division whereby the troopers, their horses and the horse-holders worked together throughout the engagement. A British cavalry commander who had just arrived from the Western Front after witnessing a similar attack by the same division said he had never before seen mounted men dismount and fight as infantry and I concluded that it was a unique method of using horses in a mounted attack and that you might be interested in incorporating a link to it. --Rskp (talk) 01:07, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Is this worth a mention?[edit]

The Brooke Hospital for Animals had its inception in a lady coming to Cairo in 1930 and seeing lots of ill-treated ex-warhorses. Refs Brooke website, recent magazine article mentioning it. The article also mentions a warhorse-related exhibition starting in October at the National Army Museum in London (not the IWM), ref here NAM 86.138.46.203 (talk) 08:13, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

The Brooke is getting a lot of media attention thanks to the film of War Horse: [1]; surely it warrants a mention in the article? It still runs the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, 90 years on. 86.136.192.56 (talk) 17:54, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Maybe find us some really good source material (this is a featured article, everything must conform with WP:RS) and propose a nutshell of what to add and where it could fit without being awkward with what's there. We don't want to have a WP:UNDUE emphasis on any one thing, but we welcome ideas that could improve the article. Montanabw(talk) 22:36, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
The Guardian source above is good (it's not super-contentious information), and so I've added in a couple of sentences on this. I hadn't realized that the trust was initiated solely because of the plight of horses that had previously served in WWI, so it's a good tie-in. Dana boomer (talk) 23:14, 19 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank-you User:Dana boomer - it reads really well in the article now I think. (Slightly surprised that User:Montanabw doesn't think The Guardian is a reliable source). 86.136.192.56 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:23, 21 December 2011 (UTC).
Don't make assumptions, I just didn't bother to review a link that looks like "[1]" when I'm editing from a dialup connection. ;-) And, just because there is an article in a reliable source doesn't mean the actual content is worth adding, (All sorts of people put out press releases about non-notable things) but in this case it was. Montanabw(talk) 18:52, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Use of Austro-Hungarian mounted forces[edit]

I know that there is sensitivity about changes to an FA standard article but a minor error does appear in the introduction sentence which reads: "The Central Powers, Germany and Austria–Hungary, stopped using them (horses) on the Western Front soon after the war began". In fact no Austro-Hungarian units of any branch served in France or Belgium during the War and the k.u.k. cavalry saw action only on the Eastern Front, against Russia and Serbia (though on an extensive scale during the opening weeks of the conflict). Just being pedantic. Buistr (talk) 06:07, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Images[edit]

While I like the new images that were added, Montanabw is correct that proper licensing is especially important for images being placed in a article that is FA-status. Here are the images:

  • File:French cavalry prisonners.jpg - This has a license tag of author life + 70 years, but no indication of when the author died. So, for example, if the photographer was 28 when the photo was taken, and 78 when he died (1964), 70 years after death would be 2034. I think what you might be looking for is some sort of a "years since the first publication", but then you need to make sure that copyright was never renewed on the book, etc. If it was first published in 1916 and the copyright was never renewed, you should be safe as long as you find the right tag; however, as it stands now, the licensing is not valid.
  • File:French heavy cavalry Paris August 1914.jpg - First, the image where it was placed was creating bunching problems with other images, and I'm not sure the quality is high enough to justify removing another image in the section to make space for it. Second, and the larger issue, is the fact that the image is completely lacking source and author information - a big no-no.

If you have any questions regarding these images, please let me know. I'm searched long and hard for the images that are currently in the article, and I'm always on the lookout for more varied, informative and better-quality images to add in. Thanks, Dana boomer (talk) 00:13, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

And with War Horse (film) set for release on Dec 25, all the more scrutiny will probably hit this article. Montanabw(talk) 16:39, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hey! Lookee what I found! Cool? Should we add it if there is a place and licensing is OK?? File:USArmyVetHospitalWWIOperationInProgress.jpg Montanabw(talk) 17:34, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

Very cool! The licensing looks OK to me, so I've added it into the Casualties and upkeep section. Dana boomer (talk) 18:51, 20 June 2012 (UTC)

New material[edit]

I tossed this, at least temporarily, from the article mainspace until we can review sources and edit the text, which doesn't flow real well with the rest of the article. Montanabw(talk) 06:40, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

That's fine. I just thought you might be interested in this little snippet regarding the care of sick and wounded horses. --Rskp (talk) 07:12, 13 July 2012 (UTC)
Sorry about the duplications (on the dialup when that happened). It may be well worth adding, but needs some work, Dana is the best to review, as she has the strongest background. Montanabw(talk) 18:24, 17 July 2012 (UTC)

The Second Army returned from the Italian front in May 1918 to the Ypres salient, subsequently advancing through to the Rhine during the final offensive.[2] Veterinary sections were tested during these advances and pursuits when their access to the railway may remain the same, resulting in conducting parties convoying sick animals over extended distances.[3] Among the plans made prior to the final advance were the evacuation of sick and wounded animals. Marching cases were to be sent along unfrequented road, when a series of short stages of "sick-horse halts" were arranged for the animals from each division, on their march to the reception veterinary hospital at St. Omer administered by the DDVS Second Army (formerly No. 23 Advanced Veterinary Hospital). River transport was also planned while rail was reserved for more serious cases. [4] During the final offensive, a large proportion of the casualties suffered by the Second Army; 431 (260 fatal) from enemy shellfire and 69 (44) fatal) from bombs were "evacuated by the barges under ideal conditions for this type of cases."[5]


Honestly, I've read this over a few times now, and while interesting, I don't really see where it adds all that much to the article without being too specific (if that makes any sense at all). I've tried really hard not to put too much emphasis on the Allied nations (because that's where most of the English-language source materials focus), and detailing the evacuation plans for wounded animals for one army of one nation during one part of the war really seems like too much focus to me. Perhaps I'm missing something? Like I said, it's quite interesting from a military historian point of view, but I think it might be too much detail for what is an already fairly long overview article of horses during the entire war in every theater. Dana boomer (talk) 00:42, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
Don't stress - its just a fragment which I thought I might use but haven't and then thought it may be of interest in your article; being about the treatment of horses on the western front. Clearly you don't want your article to develop in this direction. That's fine by me. --Rskp (talk) 04:03, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
It's not a question of anyone's particular article, I think the issue is WP:UNDUE, the article is long and thus has to be carefully balanced across multiple areas. My own view was to think if there was a way to summarize what was particularly new or innovative to the conflict, such as the evacuation issues, perhaps, and even then, we may at most be able to add a sentence or two, not a whole paragraph. Montanabw(talk) 01:36, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Finally got around to adding a bit of this in (basically, left out most of the specifics and used it as general commentary on equine transport during the war). Check it out and see what ya'll think... Dana boomer (talk) 18:00, 11 October 2012 (UTC)
Looks pretty good, the "on foot... but reads a little clunky but my brain isn't sure how to de-clunkify it; maybe let it sit a few days and inspiration will hit. Montanabw(talk) 22:44, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

@Dana boomer: not sure if we can add anything from this, but interesting. Montanabw(talk) 03:02, 26 March 2014 (UTC)