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The War Horse: Horses in Battle.

Updated on March 2, 2016
Horses at the front.
Horses at the front. | Source

Battlefield Horses.

An account of the life and death of horses when used in the British army during The First World war. Horses were used on the western and eastern fronts as well as the campaigns against the Turks. Many thousands were used in various roles and sadly many thousands were killed or maimed and had to be shot. The high command still considered that the cavalry had a major role to play. The British thought that the cavalry could charge the German positions where and when possible, then lead a breakthrough at that point in the German lines. Although initially they did make a positive contribution to the fighting, it became clear that the days of valiant cavalry charges were over. Particularly on the western front the cavalry were of little use towards the end of the war.

At Home.

On the home front horses were requisitioned from owners against there wishes. Which caused great unhappiness throughout the country. On arrival at the front the larger horses were used mainly for mobility. Mobile guns and artillery was drawn by horses as was ammunition. Food along with all provisions had to be drawn by the horses from supply depots at the rear, to the fighting men at the front. At times horses were overworked and underfed, often dropping with exhaustion. When this happened the horse was shot and another horse would be hitched into it's place in the line immediately.


In this ''War To End All Wars'' tens of thousands of horses were lost, but the human cost was much higher. Casualty figures show that Germany lost approximately. 1.7 Million Britain and the Empire lost 1 Million and the USA lost approximately 126,000. Millions more people were lost from other warring nations. The armistice was signed early on the morning of 11 November 1918. The guns fell silent at 11 am, that same morning.

What was it for.

Please read the above paragraph again, are we able to explain today why this terrible war was fought. The Generals accepted in their planning that casualties would be high. No thought was given to the human cost, the agony and the pain inflicted on the wounded and the dead. The unbearable pain and loss inflicted on the ones left behind at home - They also serve who only stand and wait. Well, it was said to be the war to end all wars. As we know it was not, those wounded and dead fought to end it all but in 1939 we started again. I have heard it said that war is natures pruning fork. Perhaps this is so.

.The First World War: The Pals Battalions.

© 2012 Graham Lee


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    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 3 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Don. Thanks for your visit and welcome comments.


    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      The War to End wars. I think hey may have believed it then, but it seems so odd now.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi mizjo. Thank you for your visit and very kind comments, also for taking the time to read so many of my other hubs. You are so right war is a disgrace upon humanity, but it will always be natures pruning fork I'm afraid.


    • mizjo profile image

      mizjo 4 years ago from New York City, NY

      How heart rending that those beautiful noble animals had to be sacrificed, but that is the way of war. You write history very well, factual without being maudlin. I have read your other hubs about your family at war and about the Yanks coming. Extremely interesting because we see the war through your young eyes.

      The war in Malaysia ended a couple of years before I was born, but my grandmother had a lot of horror stories about the abominable occupying army - every bit as cruel as the Nazis.

      History should never be forgotten or it could be repeated. Sadly for a few countries it goes on and on and on, generation after generation.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Eddy. Thank you so much for your valued visit. I'm glad you liked this one.


    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      A wonderful hub and here's to so many more for us both to share on here.


    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi sweetguide. Thank you for your interest and encouraging comment.

      Best Wishes.

    • sweetguide profile image

      sweetguide 5 years ago from River side

      Hi, Another great Hub full of really interesting information.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi carbon 12. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Best Wishes.

    • carbon12 profile image

      carbon12 5 years ago

      Thanks. Learn something new every day. History will teach us a lot about our future since history has a unique way of repeating itself.

      Have a great day my friend.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 5 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      I am so glad you enjoyed the hub thank you.

      Yes the poem says it all really, what we are really seeking but do not realise it is, 'Peace of mind'

      Best Wishes.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Enjoyed reading this! I always need a brush up on history, not one of my best subjects. Also thank you so much for recommending the poem The Man in the Glass. It moved me to tears! Welcome to Hubpages.