Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Horses at War

Through the ages, the horse was ever present in and about the battlefield. Whether serving the artillery hauling guns, as a pack-horse carrying supplies, as a companion to the regular trooper, or as a charger and faithful friend to the officer, the horse was considered reliable and essential in war.

"Pals!" by British artist C.T. Howard. Postcard printed and published by J. Salmon, Sevenoaks, England.

Many distinguished generals of the past had a famous charger; Alexander the Great's 'Bucephalas', the Duke of Wellington's 'Copenhagen', Napoleon's white stallion 'Marengo', Lord Cardigan's 'Ronald', General Robert E. Lee's 'Traveller', Colonel Miles Keogh's 'Comanche', Lord Kitchener's 'Democrat', Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauval's 'Aristocrat', the German Crown Prince's 'Jiu-Jitsu' and the list goes on.

But the heroic deeds performed by the war horse were not limited to the charger. The artillery was reliant on the horse to transport guns and often in the firing line, and the army service corps to carry much needed supplies. 

New Zealand Artillery on the move transporting their guns. Date and location unknown.

Apart of New Zealand's military formation in the First World War was the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Their distinguished war service included action at Gallipoli, Sinai, Palestine and the Western Front. Of particular note, was the New Zealand involvement in the attack on Beersheba in 1917, and the Otago Mounted Rifles charge on Messines in June 1917.

Companions - A New Zealand soldier and his horse.