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De rol van het paard in Wo1.(British military horse)

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Auteur Bericht

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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Mei 2008 14:47    Onderwerp: De rol van het paard in Wo1.(British military horse) Reageer met quote

At the beginning of the war, cavalry units were considered by many to be the elite of an army. Many senior officers were drawn from their ranks.

The cavalry had traditionally played a key role as the army's "mobile arm" charging through breaches made in enemy lines to carry through the attack.

Cavalry still proved effective in this role in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Palestine, but the nature of the Western Front made them almost an anachronism.

Breaches in enemy lines were rare and even when they occurred the cavalry where immobilised by the trenches and wire defences. They were also hopelessly vulnerable against the power of modern artillery.

Many senior officers blinded themselves to the reality of the situation, wasting huge resources on maintaining cavalry regiments when they could accomplish nothing. By the end of the war the majority of cavalry that had actually fought were dismounted and used as infantry.

This failure of the cavalry reinforced the need to discover another "mobile arm" capable of overcoming the problems of the "new" warfare.

This need was only satisfied by the development of the tank.

Life for the British Army Officer before the war had a number of advantages to civilian life. Below is Lt Rory Macleod of the Royal Horse Artillery's account of the summer of 1914.

"If we had enough horses we could hunt 6 days a week, 4 days with the fox-hounds & 2 with the harriers. Even the subaltern doing section training could hunt occasionally. He would put on his hunting kit with a military Great coat on top and a forge cap, and, on hunting days, took his section in the gun sheds by electric light on such things as gun drill at 6 am, and the other drills, until it was time for him to leave and, on his return from hunting his poor men were subjected to lectures in the barrack room to make up time. The country house people were extraordinarily kind. We were often asked out for meals, or to tennis or dances, & sometimes invite us to stay the night and hunt the next day. Once I drove to a place, danced all night, hunted the next day, then on to another house for dinner and more dancing. I got back to barracks in the early morning with only enough time to change my clothes & go straight onto parade".

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Percy Toplis

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BerichtGeplaatst: 21 Jan 2011 23:39    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Britain's military use of horses 1914-1918
May, 1993, by John Singleton


In that understandably neglected volume, Animal War Heroes, written in 1933, the story is told of seven gun horses attached to F Battery, Royal Horse Artillery. They were shipped to France in August 1914 and took part in the retreat from Mons, the battles of First and Second Ypres, Festubert, Aubers Ridge, Vimy Ridge, the Somme, Hill 70 and Cambrai, as well as the desperate campaigns of 1918, collecting a number of wounds along the way. On 8 August 1918 they further distinguished themselves by rescuing some stranded guns during a German attack. F Battery's horses survived to retire to England where they entertained friends by balancing sugar lumps on their front hoofs and tossing them into their mouths.(1)

On the eve of the Great War the British army possessed a mere 25,000 horses, but by the middle of 1917 it had 591,000 horses, 213,000 mules, 47,000 camels and 1 1,000 oxen. Between 1914 and 1920 the Remount Department spent 67.5 million [pounds] on the purchase, training and delivery to the front of horses and mules.(2) Once these animals joined their units, they needed to be fed and watered, and when they fell sick or were wounded they required and often received a high standard of veterinary care. The ability to mobilize a vast force of animals for transportation, reconnaissance and raiding purposes was crucial to the efficient conduct of war in the early twentieth century. Horses were as indispensable to the war effort as machine guns, dreadnoughts, railways and heavy artillery, yet because of our fascination with the history of technology we never give them a second thought. The only comparable study is DiNardo and Bay's account of horse-drawn transport in the German army in World War Two.(3)

The pages of the Illustrated London News show how the image of the horse's place in war evolved between 1914 and 1918. During the early months of the war, the cavalry were depicted in dashingly romantic terms, in pursuit of an ever-fleeing foe. At the battle of St Quentin, the Scots Greys and a Highland regiment were portrayed re-enacting the glorious stirrup charge of Waterloo, the text adding the unnecessary explanation that the "Germans were taken aback at the sudden and unexpected double irruption, and broke up before the Scottish onslaught ... ".(4) At later stages in the war the horse was revealed in less glamorous, but equally gallant, roles. In an illustration of 1917, entitled "Fidelity", a frightened horse was shown in no man's land, guarding the body of its dead master, "to whom it was evidently still faithful". A tank was drawn in the background, possibly as a reminder that there were dramatic changes afoot in the conduct of war.(5) Also in 1917, a powerful illustration of a battery advancing under heavy fire emphasized "the heroism of the horses ... [and their] grim fortitude", in a situation which offered no romance, but only "mud, shells, chaos, and more mud -- and death!"(6) Yet, by the end of the war, the horses of the Royal Field Artillery were depicted in an old-fashioned pose, galloping to victory with plenty of "dash and go". Britain had won, and it was possible to forget the recent past and to indulge in a celebration of the traditional imagery of the war-horse.(7)

A number of questions are addressed in the following pages. Why did the army need so many animals? Where and how did they obtain them, and did they get value for money? How did they keep them in working order? How did they dispose of wornout or surplus animals? What were the alternatives to horse and mule power? These are primarily economic issues, but they also give scope for considering the relationship between human beings and animals and their suffering in early twentieth-century warfare.



During most of the nineteenth century, the purchase of remounts was a matter for individual regiments and their commanding officers. There was a certain degree of competition for the best animals, and it was not unusual for commanding officers to dip into their own pockets to make sure that their units were splendidly mounted. Many military horses came from Ireland, which also developed a thriving export trade supplying the Belgian, Austrian, Russian and German armies.(8) In 1887 the army decided that this ad hoc approach was unprofessional and established a Remount Department to centralize the procurement of horses for units stationed in the United Kingdom. This reorganization was accompanied by the creation of a horse reserve. Owners were encouraged to register their animals with the authorities, promising to sell them at a fair price to the army in the event of war, in return for an annual pension of 10s. per beast. In order to advance the breeding of horses suitable for military purposes, a Royal Commission was set up in 1888 to distribute modest annual grants to the owners of good thoroughbred stallions.(9)

Despite these reforms, the start of the Boer War plunged the Remount Department into chaos. It had been accustomed to supplying about 2,500 horses each year in peacetime, but during the South African conflict it had to find a total of 217,000 horses and 94,000 mules. The reserve comprised a mere 14,500 horses, and so it was necessary for the army to enter the open market. It proved impossible to obtain sufficient animals in the British Isles, and purchasing missions were sent to the United States, Canada, Australia, the Argentine, Spain and Austria-Hungary. Overseas markets supplied about three-quarters of the army's orders for horses (excluding those acquired or captured locally) and all of its mules.(10) Many unexpected difficulties were encountered, particularly in the United States, where Boer agents succeeded in damaging a Remount Department ship with a bomb.(11)

The activities of the Remount Department were viewed with grave misgivings and their officials were accused of incompetence and corruption. In Spain the remount officers toured the bullrings to trade with gypsy mule dealers. It was the custom of many dealers to file the teeth of their animals to make them appear younger, a practice known in England as "bishoping". When thousands of animals were being bought by inexperienced agents it was inevitable that many decrepit specimens were forthcoming.(12) Some officers tried to conceal their ignorance, and refused to listen to advice from their colleagues. One is reported to have declared, as if shopping at Fortnum and Mason's: "I am not paid to haggle over prices ... I am not used to haggling over anything when buying it for myself, and I am certainly not going to do it here".(13) A special court of inquiry was formed to review the activities of the remount service, and a British captain at New Orleans was accused of taking bribes from mule dealers, although no conclusive evidence was found to substantiate this charge.(14)

Judged by the price and quantity of the animals purchased, the department's performance did not seem quite so bad. The average sum paid for a cavalry horse during the Boer War was 25 [pounds]. 10s. in the United States, 28 [pounds] in Canada and 15 [pounds] in Australia, compared with 45 [pounds] in Britain. Adding freight charges, Australian horses were delivered to Cape Town at a cost of 30 [pounds]. 3s. a head. Britain's capacity to call upon the equine resources of the Americas, Australasia and Europe enabled it to keep down prices in the home market, which rose by a modest 15 per cent during the war.(15) There were bitter complaints about the quality of the horses and mules used in South Africa, but contemporary veterinary analysis suggests that the Remount Department was not to blame. Animals were not given adequate time to adjust to South African conditions before being sent to field units. Foreign and colonial horses fared worst of all because British troopers did not understand their different temperaments and dietary requirements.(16) The Remount Department learnt its trade reasonably well during the Boer War, and this stood it in good stead in times when the demand for its services was even greater.

After the return of peace in 1902, the horse reserve was increased to 25,000 and somewhat more generous grants were made to the breeding industry. There were unsuccessful calls for controls on the export of horses, and for action to restrict the development of mechanical transport, which it was feared would lead to a fall in the number of draught-horses suitable for conscription in an emergency.(17)

Developments in Germany were watched with growing interest. As in Britain, the tradition in Germany had been for each unit to buy its own horses. A new system was introduced in 1900, however, involving a regular census and inspection of all horses in the country. Beasts were graded and a picture built up of the nation's horse stock. A horse muster commission was established in each corps to draw up detailed orders for the impressment of animals. These orders would be carried out prior to the full implementation of Germany's mobilization plan.(18) British observers were impressed by Germany's national stud, the primary function of which was to ensure an adequate supply of good-quality riding- and draught-horses for the army. The services of these excellent animals, many of which were imported from the United Kingdom, were made available at subsidized rates to the owners of mares. Other subsidies were offered, and it was the policy of the German army not to quibble about the price asked for an animal: "giving a small breeder more than he demanded was not unknown if the animal appeared more valuable than the owner supposed it".(19) In the early 1900s the net cost to the German taxpayer of these schemes was 190,000 [pounds] per annum, while the British government subsidized horse breeding to the tune of a mere 5,000 [pounds] per annum, rising to 40,000 [pounds] in 1911.(20) Many considered the British policy to be extremely foolish, but the Boer War had shown that it was possible for a nation which controlled the sea-lanes to obtain large numbers of horses at modest prices from all corners of the globe. Britain could afford to neglect domestic breeding to a greater extent than could Germany.

As the prospect of a European war loomed on the horizon, the Remount Department and the police conducted an inventory of horses in 1911-12, in order to select 130,000 horses which could be called up in an emergency. Under the Army Act it was possible to impress horses on payment of a fair price, subject to the owner's right of appeal to the county court. Most horse owners were willing to co-operate with the inspectors, but there were a few exceptions, such as Farmer Knox of Upper Baynton Farm near Westbury, who refused to allow an officer from the Wiltshire Regiment to see his stables until threatened with a search warrant.(21)

Britain and Germany had revolutionized their techniques for procuring army horses in the decades leading up to 1914. The British relied on drawing in supplies from the wider world, while the Germans attempted to stimulate domestic production by artificial methods. Avner Offer, in his work on the agrarian origins of the Great War, shows that Britain and Germany tended to adopt these divergent strategies over a wide range of economic issues.(22) But the overall emphasis given to horses in the plans of both countries was by no means anachronistic. Warfare was remarkably horse-intensive in the early twentieth century, and in the German army the ratio of horses to men had risen from one to four in 1870 to one to three in 1914.(23)



Just as the demands of the Boer War had far exceeded the Remount Department's expectations, so did those of the First World War. The initial phase of mobilization passed off without any serious hitches. Before the war a list of retired officers willing to help in the horse mobilization programme had been drawn up. These gentlemen received urgent telegrams on 3 August. Colonel McFall, the district purchasing officer for Waterford, was told to "be at your post pay begins from noon today".(24) It was hard work and McFall was soon suffering from insomnia. Within twelve days the British army had successfully impressed 165,000 horses.(25) The large haulage companies and municipalities were among the major suppliers of animals, although the demise of the horse bus meant that the London bus companies were less prominent than they had been in 1899. The railway companies had secured the exemption of their horses from compulsory purchase, arguing that they could be of greater help to the war effort in conveying soldiers and their equipment to the stations.(26) In Germany, the mobilization scheme was on a far larger scale and involved the acquisition of 615,000 horses.(27)

The British army may have paid over the odds for some of the animals drafted in August 1914. Given the urgency of the situation mistakes were inevitable. The War Office indicated that 70 [pounds] was the appropriate price for an officer's charger, but there were a number of cases in which sums between 110 [pounds] and 200 [pounds] were paid. In order to deflect criticism, the army pointed out that its price-lists were merely guide-lines, but it could not deny that some purchases were of an "extravagant nature". In Ireland, the problems were more serious. Many unsuitable horses had been bought, particularly in southern Ireland, where 12 per cent of them had to be resold to the public, compared with 0.3 per cent of the horses obtained in England. This state of affairs was attributed to a combination of the inexperience of purchasing agents and the craftiness of the Irish, who substituted inferior horses for those which the British thought they had bought. It was estimated that 53,000 [pounds] was wasted in these Irish transactions and as a result of inadequate facilities in the reception depots.(28)

After August 1914 the British army did not attempt to make further large-scale compulsory purchases and chose to rely on the market mechanism. Between 1914 and 1920 the army acquired a total of 469,000 horses within the United Kingdom. It appears that in some situations officers were not permitted to offer more than a certain price, for example 75 [pounds] in the case of shire-horses.(29) [TABULAR DATA OMITTED] But detailed figures for the prices actually paid are not available, making it difficult to come to any firm conclusions about the responsiveness of the market to the huge increase in the army's annual demand for horses. In the table a proxy measure is used, namely the price of draught-horses bought by the Great Northern and Great Eastern Railways. Although series of this nature must be treated with caution, it seems that the overall rate of increase in the price of railway horses between 1910-13 and 1918 was not substantially different from that of the Board of Trade's wholesale price index. During the middle years of the war, railway horses were cheap in relation to other commodities, but between 1917 and 1918 there was a rapid increase in horse prices. A very similar pattern can be observed in the prices of Clydesdales at the Lanark October sales during the war.(30) Several factors may have contributed to these price movements, such as the high elasticity of overseas supplies in the early years of the war, the increasing pressure on shipping in 1917 and 1918, and the steady depletion of the domestic stock of animals.

The effect on other sectors of the loss of so many animals is difficult to deduce with any certainty. Peter Dewey argues that the shortage of horses forced farmers to work their remaining animals much harder and to experiment with tractors. Breeding mares had to be used for work in the fields, a practice which reduced both the numbers and quality of the next generation. Later in the war, a few convalescent horses from the front were used in prisoner-of-war ploughing camps, and 10,000 surplus and worn-out army horses were bought by the Food Production Department for use on farms.(31)

Considerable efforts were made to obtain animals from overseas. After the initial engagements in France, which were alarmingly expensive in terms of horse-flesh, the British turned their thoughts to the procurement of remounts for the six new armies which they intended to raise. The first four of these armies would require a grand total of 245,000 horses to bring them up to strength. In September 1914 the director of remounts, Colonel Birkbeck, informed the quartermaster general that the United Kingdom could supply 68,000 horses for the new armies but thereafter, "Our home resources are ... exhausted, [and] unless we are seriously to interfere with the distributing trade ... We must therefore import 177,000 animals". He regretted that the new armies would have to rely on mules for some forms of transport, although it was hoped that they would not be reduced to employing mules in gun teams.(32)

Although Australia and South America were expected to help, North America was to be the main source of supply and provided 429,000 horses and 275,000 mules before the armistice.(33) When the war began, the British wondered whether the Americans' policy of neutrality would interfere with the purchase of animals. But they had nothing to fear, and by November 1914 British remount delegations were established at Kansas City, Denver, St Louis, Chicago and Fort Worth. Since such huge numbers of horses and mules were required, the British operated through firms of dealers. Animals were collected together at large inland depots before being sent by train to convenient ports such as New Orleans for embarkation. On this occasion, there appear to have been no allegations that British officers had dealt corruptly. When the Americans entered the war in 1917 a joint committee was set up with the British to co-operate in the purchasing and shipping of animals. Between 1914 and 1918 a cargo of between 500 and 1,000 animals left for Europe every one-and-a-half days, and the British spent a total of 36.5 million [pounds] on animal purchasing and administration in North America.(34) However, the United States had a stock of approximately 21 million farm horses and could easily absorb these large British purchases. Moreover agricultural horses were facing growing competition from tractors. The Great War had no appreciable effect on American horse prices, which fell slightly between 1914 and 1918.(35)

Shipping these animals could be a dangerous and costly business. A handful of horse transports were attacked by the Germans. On the Atlantic run 6,600 horses and mules were sunk and sixty-three killed by enemy shell-fire in the course of the war. But the overall rate of loss in transit was less than it had been in the Boer War, largely as a result of the use of ships which had been specially converted for carrying animals, and better veterinary and feeding arrangements. The main problem was one of space in this period of acute shipping shortage. Horses and mules needed to stretch their legs and, if conditions were too cramped, as they had been on many of the vessels taking horses to South Africa, they were liable to injure themselves. Officials of the American Expeditionary Force calculated that animals took up almost seven times as much room per short ton as the average wartime cargo.(36)

The cost of shipping animals from the United States was approximately 10 [pounds] per head, or 25 per cent of their value, according to estimates made in 1914. Since it was hoped that light draught-horses could be bought for 40 [pounds] in America, compared with 50 [pounds] in England, these freight charges would have brought the cost of American animals roughly into line with those of British animals.(37) It has not been possible to discover the freight charges which actually prevailed in later years. But, taking into account the rise in the ratio of British to American horse prices during the war, American horses would have been an even better buy in 1918, in the absence of an astronomical increase in shipping costs.

When the animals landed in England they were sent to remount depots for training and to await their orders for France. This was a further improvement over Boer War procedures, when horses were unloaded at Cape Town and put on to trains for the war zone as soon as possible. In the Great War animals were given more time to adjust to a new climate and diet before they were expected to face the enemy. The existing remount depots in 1914 were very small and only accommodated a few hundred horses each. During the winter of 1914-15 an expansion programme was instituted, and a large new depot was opened at Romsey with space for up to 5,000 animals. At such depots animals were fattened up after their arduous journeys and introduced to their military duties. The spread of contagious diseases was a particular problem on long sea voyages and it was sensible to cure sick beasts before sending them to the front.(38) When the time came for taking a batch to France there was panic in the depots. Major Boileau of Swaythling remount depot wrote an exasperated letter to his wife on one such occasion in 1915: "we are sending over thirteen shiploads this week ... The Colonel is going off his head and we don't know what will be his next "crank"'.(39)

The British Remount Department also supplied animals to other armies, including the Canadians, Belgians, Australians, New Zealanders and Portuguese, and even provided the American Expeditionary Force with 18,000 beasts. It made sound economic sense to centralize the purchasing and distribution of animals. When the New Zealand Expeditionary Force set sail for the Old World it was accompanied by its own horses. Before long, it was recognized that reinforcing the army with remounts from New Zealand would be wasteful of shipping, since similar animals could be supplied by the British.(40) As a result, the Remount Department became a major multinational business and was the leading player in the inter-continental horse trade.

Once again, the contrast between the experiences of the British and the Germans is instructive. The only means by which the Germans could import large numbers of horses was through the conquest of foreign territory. The French estimated that the number of horses, mules and asses in the districts occupied by the Germans fell by 375,000 during the war. The Ardennes draught-horses would have been particularly useful to the German transport and artillery departments.(41) Germany also obtained 140,000 horses from the Ukraine during the war. But these sources of supply were not comparable to those available to Britain. In the debates about the possible withdrawal of forces from the east for use in France in the autumn of 1918, the need to maintain horse deliveries was stressed by Ludendorff: "the Ukraine is absolutely necessary to us ... We could not carry on the war in the west without horses from the Ukraine".(42) Germany had no access to world horse markets and was seriously hampered in its ability to prosecute an animal-intensive war against seafaring countries such as the United Kingdom.



In Wipers, where the whizz-bangs dance,

I mused upon the Great Advance.

. . .

Our freshest troops, our A.S.C.

It was that gave us victory!

. . .

Wagon on wagon, team on team,

I watched their quarter-locks agleam,

Mad squadrons of my whiskied dream.

|Whips over' on each 'heavy draught'

They leaped the wire; and, leaping, laughed;

Then furious with uplifted crops

Hacked their red path through Clonmel Copse

In France and Flanders, as on all other fronts, horses and mules were required for two basic purposes. Some animals were needed to pull guns and wagons and carry packages, while others were supposed to wait patiently for the artillery and infantry to breach the enemy positions and then dash through and cut off their escape. During the peak month of August 1917, the British had 368,000 horses and 82,000 mules on the western front. One-third of these were for riding and the others were draught- or pack-animals.(44)

Horse transport played an essential role in maintaining the lines of communication. Supplies for British field units were taken by train from the channel ports to railheads approximately ten to twelve miles from the trenches. At the railheads they were unloaded on to motor trucks, or sometimes light railways, to be transported to an assembly point about five miles from the front line. The combat divisions collected their supplies from these advance depots and brought them forward by horse or mule power. Horses were used to pull the divisional supply trains because the last few miles of road were so badly cratered that they were impassable to all motor vehicles, except the heavy artillery's caterpillar tractors. At the battalion level, supplies were put in sacks and shifted by carrying parties.(45)

Each divisional supply train consisted of about 450 men, 375 animals and 200 wagons. Where possible it moved at night to remain invisible. The dangers encountered by such a column were vividly described by an American observer: "Day and night it is almost constantly under fire. A German gunner would rather pot' a food column than a trench, because it works a greater hardship. I have seen roads strewn with the debris of wrecked supply wagons and black with the bodies of dead horses".(46) According to John Glubb, experienced transport horses did not worry about shelling, and only gave "a plunge" when one exploded nearby.(47) They stuck to their task with remarkable stoicism, and one mule team driver, who was deaf, recollected that he knew when his mules were under fire because they pricked up their ears.(48)

After a hard day's work, in muddy conditions, it could take up to twelve hours to clean the horses and their harnesses.(49) At Flers on the Somme, in October 1916, horses were used to pull makeshift sledges carrying the wounded, because the mud was so bad that stretcher parties could barely walk.(50) The war diary of an Australian artillery unit at Passchendaele records that on one occasion the "whole eight batteries were as close to the Zonnebeke road as possible in the hope of getting ammunition up . . . many horses, on the short stretch . . . from the road to the battery, 80 yards of ground, sank down out of sight, the driver just keeping the head up until assistance arrived".(51) As the British advanced in the final weeks of the war, their motor transport was bogged down in the craters of the old front lines, and the army became increasingly dependent on horse transport to maintain a supply of ammunition and food to the forward units. At such a time, the horse also possessed the advantage of being able to run on an empty tank, at least for a short period.(52) Animals also formed the backbone of the transport services in other war zones. In the Sinai desert, for example, motor lorries sunk into the sand and large numbers of camels were pressed into service.(53)

Although the intensive use of animals in transportation is understandable, the wisdom of deploying cavalry in 1914 has been widely questioned. Most infantrymen viewed the cavalry with derision:

C is for the CAVALRY who, (so I've heard say)

Have not seen their gee-gees for many a day,

But soon they will mount them and gallop away,

And we'll all say good-bye to the trenches

Brian Bond argues that nobody seriously expected mounted units to attack well-defended positions. On the other hand, horsemen were invaluable for reconnaissance and liaison duties, and cavalry detachments, fighting as mounted infantry, had demonstrated their worth in the Boer War. Moreover, in favourable circumstances, cavalry formations could launch deep raids against the enemy's communications.(55) Admittedly, horses were useless in the trenches' but the prospect of a breakthrough and a return to mobile warfare could never be ruled out. The generals adjusted to the new environment by reducing the size of the cavalry relative to other arms. Ludendorff records that the less distinguished German cavalry regiments were split up, the men going into the trenches, and the horses into the artillery and transport services. The proportion of British soldiers in cavalry regiments fell from 9 per cent in 1914 to just 1 per cent in 1918.(56)

Douglas Haig remained convinced that, in the long run, the traditional pattern of mobile warfare would be resumed. As German resistance crumbled in the autumn of 1918, he was able to unleash his beloved cavalry to considerable effect. In November the cavalry was by far the most mobile arm of the British land forces and succeeded in keeping contact with the Germans. Haig wrote exultantly: "[if] I had at my disposal a much larger force of cavalry the fruits of victory would have been more rapidly gained".(57) This may have been wishful thinking, but at least the cavalry had shown its mettle.

Frequent calls were made during the war for economies in the use of horses. In November 1915 the prime minister, Asquith, reminded the army of the need for a stringent control over expenditure, remarking that he thought horses had "played an unexpectedly small part in this war".(58) Lord Kitchener, the secretary of state for war, ordered the appointment in 1916 of a committee to report on ways of reducing the number of horses. The Army Council commented that it was already using bicycles wherever possible and expressed its strong opposition to civil servants meddling in military matters. It seems that the government's main thrusts were aimed at the cavalry and the provision of officers' chargers, but it also suggested the more widespread use of motor transport. Haig replied with an irate defence of the cavalry, arguing that any cuts would have a catastrophic effect on the army's fighting capacity.(59) The War Committee retaliated by cutting back on the allocation of shipping for remounts, and in August the quartermaster general commented that this had led to a severe shortage of animals at the front. There were further clashes in early 1917, when the minister of shipping, Sir Joseph Maclay, confronted Haig at his headquarters. But the army defied most attempts by politicians and civil servants to secure economies in the use of horses and mules, and the stock of military animals increased from 535,000 in 1915 to 870,000 in 1917.(60)

The contribution of animals, especially to the transport services and artillery, was of central importance during the Great War. Without them, the guns would have run out of ammunition, the infantry would have missed breakfast, the distribution of mail would have ceased, and many urgent casualties could not have been evacuated from the battle zone. Without horses, the British army would have disintegrated.



Military intellectuals, such as Basil Liddell Hart and J. F. C. Fuller, attacked the British army of the 1920s and 1930s on the grounds that it was unduly influenced by cavalry officers who were temperamentally opposed to mechanization. In recent years considerable doubt has been cast upon this view by scholars who argue, first, that there was no horsy clique calling the tune at Horse Guards and, secondly, that the pace of mechanization in the British army, particularly in the transport corps and artillery, compared favourably with that elsewhere in Europe.(61)

Any charge that the British army was technologically backward in the earlier period, between 1900 and 1920, would be equally difficult to sustain. As early as 1901, the army conducted trials near Aldershot with steam-powered and petrol-driven lorries. At this stage it was by no means obvious that horses and motor vehicles would be substitutes rather than complements in military operations. The report on the Aldershot experiments was very encouraging. A five-ton lorry could do the work of three horse-drawn wagons, and it did not get tired when asked to climb hills.(62) But the internal combustion engine had a poor record of reliability, and in 1914 the British army could muster a mere 507 assorted motor vehicles.(63)

Hundreds of vehicles were requisitioned and purchased in August 1914 to accompany and reinforce the British Expeditionary Force. They soon saw action, and a squadron of British vans carrying soldiers' rations successfully charged a troop of German cavalry during the retreat from Mons. During the first phase of the war there was no standardization of models, and mechanical transport depots in France had to stock 32,000 different spare parts.(64) The director of remounts was among the advocates of a greater role for mechanical transport, and argued that a lengthy war would exhaust the world's reserves of horses.(65) Fortunately, the director's fears were not borne out, and the supply of horses did not falter, but it was a different story in Germany. General Ludendorff remarked that by 1917: "Our horses were getting worse and worse, and remounts came forward slowly. We had to make lorries to replace horse transport, although here, too, we were met with difficulties in the supply of material".(66) Wherever the Germans turned, they were confounded by shortages of basic war supplies.

By the time of the armistice, British forces around the world were equipped with 57,000 lorries and tractors, 23,000 cars and vans, and 7,000 motor ambulances. Among the more successful vehicles were the Rolls Royce armoured cars used by the navy in Flanders and by Lawrence in Arabia, and the 30,000 Model T Fords which became the standard light troop transports, patrol cars, and vans.(67) Perhaps the army's most urgent requirement was for a vehicle which could pull heavy guns through the most difficult terrain. This problem was solved by the caterpillar tractors being developed by the French and the Americans.(68) The American Holt tractor proved to be the toughest machine and was extensively adopted by the British. General Allenby's Egyptian Expeditionary Force had 288 Holt tractors and used them to pull his siege-guns through the hills to Jerusalem to subjugate the Turks.(69)

Mechanical transport made great strides forward in both quantitative and qualitative terms during the Great War. But did the decision not to mechanize before 1914 stem from prejudice in favour of the horse? Even the United States, home of the automobile industry, equipped its expedition against Pancho Villa in 1916 with pack-mules and horses rather than trucks, and had great difficulty scratching together a motorized force later in the campaign.(70) To have courted dependence on a means of transport untested in battle conditions would have been foolish in the extreme in 1914. In addition, some terrain was simply impassable to motor vehicles, and the limited productive capacity of the British motor industry would have hampered a major programme of mechanization.

Horses, mules and camels were able to demonstrate that hoof technology was far from obsolete between 1914 and 1918.(71) Michael Thompson estimates the horse population of Great Britain in 1911 (counting pit ponies, but not pleasure-horses) at 3,190,000 working animals. With an occupied population of 18,351,000, there were 0.17 horses per worker. The British army in 1918 possessed 828,360 animals of all sorts and 3,226,879 men, a ratio of 0.26 animals per soldier. In France, where the level of mechanization was greatest, the British deployed 395,941 horses and mules and 1,966,727 men, a ratio of 0.20 animals per soldier. If cavalry mounts and officers' chargers are excluded, this ratio falls to 0.20 in all theatres and 0.15 in France.(72) Given the lack of any mechanical alternative of proven reliability, the intensive military use of animals was not irrational, even for a country which has strongly favoured high technology solutions, such as dreadnoughts, advanced aircraft and nuclear weapons, to many of its military problems in the present century.(73)



Now let me see your transport, are your mules in good condition?

You must cheer them up if they're inclined to fret,

A blotting pad per head would be an excellent addition

To dry them if they ever start to sweat;

And now, when shoeing animals I'll tell you what to do,

You must always be as gentle as a lamb,

Just make the shoes of biscuit tins and stick them on with glue,

Farrier, do you know who I am?

Chorus. I'm General Sir Chloride H.K.L.M. Bunter, Bart ...

Military animals were kept on their feet by regularly filling their hungry bellies with hay and oats, and sterling efforts were made by the veterinary staff to assist beasts which fell ill, or were wounded, so that they could be returned to active service. Animals needed the same care and attention as lorries, tanks and, not least, men.

Fodder supplies were as precious as those of petroleum during the Great War. A horse ate about ten times as much as a man, and the delivery of hay and oats constituted a major burden on the army's transport services. To a certain extent, fodder could be obtained on the spot, and it was assumed in the Schlieffen Plan that the German cavalry would live off the Belgian and French countryside while it tried to outflank the allies.(75) This worked well enough when the armies were mobile, but during static warfare local supplies soon ran out and fodder had to be obtained from further afield. The British army imported most of its requirements from the United Kingdom and North America. Hay was particularly bulky, despite the use of mechanical presses to squash the bales into smaller bundles. Oats too were a nuisance to transport. The manufacturers of Quaker Oats put in a bid to supply army horses with cakes baked from compressed oats and molasses, but this proposal was dismissed as too extravagant. A cheaper expedient was adopted in the form of the installation of high-speed suction pumps at the French ports to reduce unloading time.(76)

In 1917 a fodder crisis threatened to disrupt allied military operations. German submarine activity was restricting the supply of oats from North America and a poor harvest was predicted in Italy. By June the Italians' stocks of oats were exhausted and there was a danger that their cavalry and transport would grind to a halt. There were substantial reserves of oats in Britain and Ireland, but the government was reluctant to release more than a tiny proportion of these to help the Italians. Lord Derby, the secretary of state for war, was able to persuade his colleagues that fodder stocks must be conserved, since on no account must British army horses be allowed to go hungry.(77)

Hay and oats were rationed in Britain, but the average working-horse continued to enjoy a better diet than its European neighbours. Stringent restrictions were placed on horse-racing during the war. The government claimed that racehorses were burning up energy at an alarming rate and eating more than their fair share of the supply of fodder. In fact, the racing industry was so small that its demand for fodder was insignificant. The underlying motive for the restrictions was to assuage public hostility towards frivolities when men were suffering and dying at the front.(78)

The Ministry of Shipping was far less interested than the War Office in the welfare of army horses, and continually pressed for economies in the consumption of fodder. In January 1918 the War Office reluctantly agreed to make modest cuts of two pounds in the daily oats ration of army horses, in order to free 500,000 tons of shipping. This left British army draught-horses with ten pounds of oats a day, three pounds more than their French, and seven pounds more than their Italian, counterparts.(79) The French and Italians felt insulted by this sop and redoubled their efforts to force the British to accept a more egalitarian distribution of fodder among the allies. They complained that the British horses were far too fat and ought to be put on a diet, even raising the matter at the Supreme War Council. An angry debate ensued, during which the British representatives accused the allies of falsifying the statistics of fodder consumption. Acting on veterinary advice, they flatly refused to make further cuts in rations.(80)

Such disputes between the allies would have amazed the Germans, who experienced a fodder shortage of a far more desperate nature. Germany was a major importer of fodder before 1914, but underestimated the amount of oats and other feedstuffs that it might require during a long war. When supplies were unavailable, sawdust had to be mixed into the rations of German army horses, and many died of starvation. Some fodder was obtained from the occupied territories in the east but, as the war progressed, the effectiveness of the German cavalry and its horse-drawn transport was called into question. Ludendorff suggested that one of the benefits of the 1918 spring offensive was that it gave exhausted German animals an opportunity to feast on captured British fodder.(81)

Sick and wounded horses and mules were the responsibility of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. Up to 90,000 animals at a time were to be found in hospitals and convalescent homes with British forces throughout the world. On the western front the treatment of battle casualties was revolutionized. Mobile veterinary sections accompanied the combat divisions. Wounded animals were destroyed on the spot or taken to casualty clearing stations, where their injuries could be assessed and emergency treatment given. Survivors were evacuated to the main hospitals in horse-drawn ambulances or the motor vans donated by the R.S.P.C.A. Convalescent animals were sent to recuperation centres before being returned to the front. Preventive medicine was also practised and animals were regularly inspected for disease. One-third of the horses on the western front were provided with rudimentary masks which were effective against chlorine but not mustard gas.(82)

Gunfire and gas accounted for a surprisingly small proportion of equine mortality. On the western front, battle losses constituted about one-quarter of the total number of deaths between 1914 and 1916. Generally speaking, horses had most to fear from exhaustion and mud-borne and respiratory diseases, although at times of crisis battle casualties could be extremely high. The B.E.F.'s initial engagements in 1914 saw unexpectedly heavy losses in the cavalry, but casualties were highest in 1918, when 14,000 British horses and mules were killed during the German spring offensive, and a further 22,500 perished in the decisive allied attacks of the summer and autumn.(83) The highest death rates of all were in East Africa, where animal mortality in 1916 was 290 per cent of the initial stock of beasts, primarily as a result of tsetse fly.

Taking the war as a whole, each year 15 per cent of the animals employed by the British army were either killed, reported missing, died or abandoned. In the French theatre of operations the annual death rate was 17 per cent. These levels of wastage were similar to those of animals in civilian industry. By comparison, annual wastage in the Crimea had been 80 per cent, and in South Africa 120 per cent (of the initial stock), while in peacetime the army expected to lose about 10 per cent of its horses each year.(84)

The relatively low level of animal wastage in the Great War can be taken as a tribute to the skills of the veterinary corps, the sufficiency of fodder supplies, and the attention to detail of generals like Sir Chloride Bunter. But why was the British army so determined to keep its beasts in working order? Was it influenced by the growth of compassion for animals in Britain, a shift in private and public attitudes which has been well documented in the work of Keith Thomas and Harriet Ritvo?(85) It is easy to find examples of concern for the welfare of animals at the front. George Sherston, contemplating what would happen if the cavalry got "their chance on the Western Front", mused that "it would be a pity if they did, for I disliked the idea of a lot of good horses being killed and wounded, and ... had always been soft-hearted about horses".(86) Glubb wrote of his horse, Minx, with great affection: "I very rarely get angry with [her] ... and I only laugh at her as being a little minx, bursting with the joy of life".(87) It was not unknown for soldiers to fall behind their units to care for dying animals.(88)

High death rates among army horses in the Boer War had appalled animal welfare groups such as the R.S.P.C.A., and petitions were addressed to the government calling for action to be taken to reduce the suffering of wounded animals.(89) In the Great War the R.S.P.C.A. also played a prominent role, lobbying the government on animal welfare issues, and donating motor ambulances to the veterinary service. On the other hand, the dramatic improvement in the treatment of horses between the Boer and Great Wars could be explained on pragmatic grounds. Following the debacle in South Africa, the War Office accepted that horses were delicate and valuable military assets, which provided excellent service when properly maintained, but soon broke down when neglected as a result of poor training or a false sense of economy. It was fortunate for the horse that the imperatives of accountancy and compassion were in harmony between 1914 and 1918, for there can be no doubt that if they had not been, the army would have given accountancy the higher priority.



In 1918 the British army was the reluctant owner of thousands of unwanted horses, mules and camels. What was to be done with them? The disposal of army animals was a sensitive political issue in the United Kingdom. Although the public accepted that horses had to die on the field of honour, they insisted that veterans be found a decent retirement home.

During the battle of the Somme there was uproar in England over the sale of unwanted army horses to French farmers, who were alleged to be unfit to look after them. The sale of worn-out horses and mules to Egyptians created even greater indignation, and the R.S.P.C.A. threatened to withdraw its support for the war effort unless these shameful practices were abandoned. Bowing to such pressure, the government announced that all purchasers of army animals in Europe would be thoroughly investigated to ensure that they were of good character. Sales in the Middle East would be prohibited. Unwanted animals in hot countries would be destroyed to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.(90)

At the end of the war the army had to proceed with stealth. To allay public fears, the disposal of horses and other animals was placed under the jurisdiction of the veterinary corps. French and Italian farmers were rationed to no more than two animals each, and they had to produce a certificate of good behaviour signed by the mayor. About 45,000 animals were sold to French horse butchers, and the veterinary corps opened a carcass economizer plant at Cologne to extract fat and bones from the least marketable animals.(91) Regardless of the War Office's promises, horses continued to be sold to the Egyptians and were put to work in quarries and the transport industry. Dorothy Brooke, the wife of an English officer, exposed this scandal and in the 1920s established a charity to help the Victims.(92)

Over 100,000 horses were repatriated to Britain and sold at auction. Draught-horses were in greatest demand. At Ormskirk remount depot on 25 March 1919, for example, about 350 draught- and riding-horses, each with a set of ration coupons for obtaining fodder, were put up for sale, and attracted the interest of local authorities and brewers. The British army sold 225,812 animals at home and abroad and by March 1919 had received payments amounting to 7.7 million [pounds].(93) After the post-war restocking boom, the price of horses dropped sharply, however, and they were increasingly replaced by motor lorries and tractors.

Horses still had some friends in the army after 1918. Haig argued that, in some respects, horses were more versatile than aircraft, since they could operate in the dark and in bad weather.(94) In anticipation of future emergencies, a national stud had been established during the war, and in the 1920s modest subsidies continued to be given to breeders.(95) But interest in these schemes was not very strong. There was a growing emphasis on mechanization and Britain was the only power with a fully motorized army in 1939.



Between 1914 and 1918 the success of the British war effort was heavily dependent on the horse. Warfare in the early twentieth century employed horses at least as intensively as did the economy in peacetime. Although the importance of the cavalry was declining, the volume of military stores and rations required at the front was much greater than it had been in earlier conflicts. In previous campaigns, such as those of Marlborough and Wellington, armies had been able to supply many of their needs from the districts through which they marched, but in trench warfare provisions had to be brought in from further afield. Modern armies were far more pigate than their predecessors in the expenditure of ammunition. As war became more capital-intensive, an increasing burden was placed on the military transport services. Motorized transport was somewhat more reliable than it had been at the start of the century, but there was still an urgent demand for large numbers of draught- and pack-animals. Vast sums were spent buying and shipping animals from far-flung corners of the globe to the battlefields. Britain, with its great empire and command of the oceans, was at a distinct advantage in this branch of logistics. The war created an international equine economy, in which the main actor was the British Remount Department.

Horses and mules were treated with greater care by the British army between 1914 and 1918 than they had been in earlier wars. Veterinary services were of a high standard and fodder rations were relatively generous. To some extent, these reforms reflected the rising compassion for animals at home, but it also made sound economic sense to conserve expensive military assets such as horses, and such practical thinking was uppermost in the minds of the generals and politicians.

Man and beast marched together into battle. There were few heroic charges, except perhaps in Palestine; instead an endless column of animals bearing heavy loads toiled through the mud and rain, often in darkness; frequently to the accompaniment of shell or machine-gun fire. It was difficult to squeeze drama or romance out of such material, although this did not deter the writer of the following lines, which are in honour of a driver of the Canadian Field Artillery, who was blown up near Ypres:

Grant that I die where bursting shrapnel sings,
My team upon a gallop toward the foe

(1) P. S. Baker, Animal War Heroes (London, 1933), pp. 14-17. (2) Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914-20 (London, 1922), pp. 397, 400. (3) R. L. DiNardo and Austin Bay, "Horse-Drawn Transport in the German Army", Jl. Contemporary Hist., xxiii (1988), Pp. 129-42. (4) Illus. London News, 12 Sept. 1914, p. 392. (5) Ibid., 27 Oct. 1917, p. 485. (6) Ibid., 13 Oct. 1917, pp. 420-1. (7) Ibid., 14 Dec. 1918, pp. 798-9. (8) John O'Donovan, The Economic History of Live Stock in Ireland (Cork, 1940), p. 278. (9) G. C. H. V. Anglesey, A History of the British Cavalry, 1816 to 1919, 4 vols. (London, 1982), iii, pp. 389-91. (10) Army (Remounts): Reports, Statistical Tables and Telegrams Received from South Africa, June 1899 to January 22nd 1902, Parliamentary Papers (hereafter P.P.), 1902 (Cmd. 963), lviii; Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry on the Administration of the Army Remount Department since January 1899, P.P., 1902 (Cmd. 993), lviii; Anglesey, History of the British Cavalry, iv, pp. 279-354. (11) Harold Sessions, Two Years with the Remount Commissions (London, 1903), p. 280. (12) Ibid., pp. 58-70. (13) Sydney Galvayne, War Horses Present and Future: or, Remount Life in South Africa (London, 1902), P. 50. (14) Proceedings of a Court of Enquiry on the Administration of the Army Remount Department, pp. 29-30. (15) Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Court of Enquiry on the Administration of the Army Remount Department, P.P., 1902 (Cmd. 994), lviii, pp. 312-13; Sessions, Two Years with the Remount Commissions, p. 47. (16) A. S. Head, "The Wear and Tear of Horses during the South African War", Jl. Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics, xvi (I 903), pp. 299-31 1. (17) Report of the Committee Appointed by the President of the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to Consider and Advise What Steps Should be Taken in England and Wales to Secure an Adequate Supply of Horses Suitable for Military Purposes, P.P., 1914-16 (Cmd. 8134), xxxix; Sir Alfred Pease, "Horse Breeding in Relation to National Requirements", Jl. Farmers' Club (Feb. 1915), pp. 21-50. (18) Arden Bucholz, Moltke, Schlieffen and Prussian War Planning (New York, 1991), pp. 162-3. (19) Walter Gilbey, Horse-Breeding in England and India and Army Horses Abroad London, 1901), p. 27. (20) Report on Adequate Supply of Horses Suitable for Military Purposes, p. 5. (21) Public Record Office, London (hereafter P.R.O.), W.O. 32/9134, Horse Registration Scheme, 1911; W.O. 163/18, Proceedings of the Army Council 1913, precis 681, pp. 221-3. (22) Avner Offer, The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation (Oxford, 1989). (23) Marti Van Creveland, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge, 1977), p. 111. (24) National Army Museum, London, 8407-20/1, Personal Record of Service of Colonel A. W. McFall, Telegram from H.Q. at Southern Horse Mobilization Area, Limerick, 3 Aug. 1914. (25) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 396. (26) E. A. Pratt, British Railways and the Great War, 2 vols. (London, 1921), i, p. 47. (27) Bucholz, Moltke, Schlieffen and Prussian War Planning, p. 162. (28) Army Appropriation Account, 1914-15, P.P., 1916, xvii, pp. 91-2. (29) Keith Chivers, The Shire Horse (London, 1976), p. 302. (30) Charles Douglas, "Scottish Agriculture during the War", Trans. Highland and Agric. Soc. Scotland, 5th ser., xxxi (1919), p. 57. (31) Peter Dewey, British Agriculture in the First World War (London, 1989), p. 61; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 862. (32) P.R.O., W.O. 107/17, Quartermaster General Papers, New Armies: Horses, Statements and Returns, Colonel Birkbeck to Q.M.G., 18 Sept. 1914. (33) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 396. (34) W. G. Lyddon, British War Missions to the United States, 1914-18 (London, 1938), pp. 206-11. (35) United States Bureau of the Census, Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1957 (Washington, 1960), p. 289; Benjamin H. Hibbard, Effects of the Great War upon Agriculture in the United states and Great Britain (New York, 1919), pp. 12-13, 21, 54-5, 66-7. (36) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 399; William J. Wilgus, Transporting the A.E.F. in Western Europe, 1917-1919 (New York, 1931), p. 491. (37) P.R.O., W.O. 107/17, Birkbeck to Q.M.G., 18 Sept. 1914. (38) H. M. Jessel, The Story of Romsey Remount Depot (]London, 1920); R. Hume, "Arborfield and the Army Remount Service, 1904-1918", Jl. Roy. Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, xxx (Apr. 1980), pp. 35-43. (39) National Army Museum, 8111-14/33, Papers of Major Lugard, Major H. W. Boileau to Mrs Boileau, 29 Sept. 1915. (40) War, 1914-1918: New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Its Provision and Maintenance (Wellington, 1919), p. 11; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 862. (41) Michel Auge-Laribe and Pierre Pinot, Agriculture and Food Supply in France during the War (New Haven, 1927), pp. 56, 62, 123. (42) E. F. W. Ludendorff, The General Staff and its Problems, 2 vols. (London, 1920), ii, pp. 662, 664. (43) "Some Dream", 20 Mar. 1916, in Patrick Beaver (ed.), The Wipers Times (London, 1973), p. 43. (44) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 400. (45) A. M. Henniker, Transportation on the Western Front, 1914-1918 (London, 1937); Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, pp. 858-60. (46) Isaac F. Marcosson, The Business of War (London, 1918), p. 69. (47) John Glubb, Into Battle: A Soldier's Diary of the Great War (London, 1977), p. 62. (48) I am grateful to Sally Sheard of the University of Manchester for this piece of her family's history. (49) Glubb, Into Battle, p. 89. (50) C. E. W. Bean, The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1916 (Sydney, 1929), p. 898. (51) C. E. W. Bean, The Australian Imperial Force in France, 1917 (Sydney, 1933), p. 904. (52) Henniker Transportation on the Western Front, pp. 460-1. (53) G. E. Badcock, A History of the Transport Services of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (London, 1926), pp. 85-111. (54) "A B.E.F. Alphabet", 5 Mar. 1917, in Beaver (ed.), Wipers Times, P. 178. (55) Brian Bond, War and Society in Europe, 1870-1970 (Leicester, 1983), p. 50. (56) E. F. W. Ludendorff, My War Memories, 1914-1918, 2 vols. (London, 1919), i, p. 385; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, pp. 65-6. (57) P.R.O., M.A.F. 52/3/L19000, Douglas Haig to R. E. Prothero, 1 Dec. 1918. (58) P.R.O., W.O. 163/21, Proceedings of the Army Council 1915-16, 174th meeting, 27 Nov. 1915, pp. 2-3. (59) Ibid., 175th meeting, 25 Jan. 1916, p. 3; 180th meeting, 22 May 1916, pp. 11-15. (60) Ibid., 186th meeting, 24 Aug. 1916, precis 835, pp. 50-1; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 396. (61) Brian Bond, British Military Policy between the Two World Wars (Oxford, 1980), pp. 127-90. (62) Report of Trials of Self-Propelled Lorries for Military Purposes Held at Aldershot from 4th to 19th December, 1901, P.P., 1902 (Cmd. 991), Iviii. (63) P.R.O., W.O. 161/8, History of the Department of the Senior Inspector of Mechanical Transport, 1918. (64) Marcosson, Business of War, pp. 2, 90. (65) P.R.O., W.O. 107/17, Birkbeck to Q.M.G., 18 Sept. 1914. (66) Ludendorff, My War Memories, i, p. 339. (67) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 877; Martin Adeney, The Motor Makers: The Turbulent History of Britain's Car Industry (London, 1988), pp. 83-9. Benedict Crowell and Robert F. Wilson, The Armies of Industry: Our Nation's Manufacture of Munitions for a World in Arms, 1917-1918,2 vols. (New Haven, 1921), i, pp. 12941. (69) Badcock, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, pp. 193-5, 245. (70) Crowell and Wilson, Armies of Industry, ii, p. 663. (71) In recent years the United States has attempted to build a military robot which walks like a mule over hilly ground. I owe this point to Bill Kennedy of the L.S.E. (72) Statistics for army animals are for August 1918; for soldiers, November 1918: F. M. L. Thompson, "Nineteenth Century Horse-Sense", Econ. Hist. Rev., 2nd ser., xxix (1976), p. 80; Department of Employment and Productivity, British Labour Statistics Historical Abstract (London, 1971), p. 207; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, pp. 36, 400. (73) David Edgerton, "Liberal Militarism and the British State", New Left Rev., clxxxv (1991), pp. 138-69. (74) "Eyewash", Dec. 1918, in Beaver (ed.), Wipers Times, p. 324. (75) Van Creveld, Supplying War, pp. 113-28. (76) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 844. (77) P.R.O., M.A.F. 60/98, Hay and Oats Control, Minutes and Memoranda by the Board of Trade and Board of Agriculture, 1917-19. (78) F. M. L. Thompson, "Horses and Hay in Britain, 1830-1918", in F. M. L. Thompson (ed.), Horses in European Economic History: A Preliminary Canter (Reading, 1983), pp. 50-72; P.R.O., M.A.F. 60/564, Central Council on Civil Supplies of the Forage Committee, Reports 1918-19; Wray Vamplew, The Turf: A Social and Economic History of Horse Racing (London, 1976), pp. 62-8; Roger Munting, Hedges and Hurdles: A Social and Economic History of National Hunt Racing (London, 1987), p. 42. (79) P.R.O., CAB 23/5, War Cabinet 328, 22 Jan. 1918, minute 17. (80) P.R.O., CAB 25/121/213, Supreme War Council, Minutes of the 30th meeting of the Military Representatives, 18 May 1918. (81) Joe Lee, "Administrators and Agriculture: Aspects of German Agricultural Policy in the First World War", in J. M. Winter (ed.), War and Economic Development: Essays in Memory of David Joslin (Cambridge, 1975), pp. 229-30, 234; Offer, First World War, pp. 60, 62-3; Ludendorff, My War Memories, i, p. 184. (82) L. J. Blenkinsopp and J. W. Rainey, Veterinary Services (London, 1925), pp. 538-9. (83) Ibid., pp. 538-9. (84) Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, p. 879; Blenkinsopp and Rainey, Veterinary Services, pp. 510-11; Hume, "Arborfield and the Army Remount Service", p. 37. (85) Keith Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England, 1500-1800 (London, 1983); Harriet Ritvo, The Animal Estate: The English and Other Creatures in the Victorian Age (London, 1987). (86) Siegfried Sassoon, The Complete Memoirs of George Sherston (London, 1937), p. 406. (87) Glubb, Into Battle, p. 181. (88) J. M. Brereton, The Horse in War (Newton Abbot, 1976), pp. 129-31. (89) Brian Harrison, Peaceable Kingdom: Stability and Change in Modern Britain (Oxford, 1982), p. 105. (90) P.R.O., W.O. 163/21, Proceedings of the Army Council 1915-16,196th meeting, 29 Nov. 1916, precis 845, pp. 68-9. (91) Blenkinsopp and Rainey, Veterinary Services, pp. 83, 681-91. (92) Dorothy Brooke, For Love of Horses: Diaries of Mrs Geoffrey Brooke, ed. Glenda Spooner (London, 1960). (93) Pratt, British Railways and the Great War, i, pp. 189-91; Chivers, Shire Horse, P. 307; Statistics of the Military Effort, 1914-18, P. 862. (94) P.R.O., M.A.F. 52/3/L19000, Haig to Prothero, 1 Dec. 1918. (95) Vamplew, The Turf, pp. 194-6; Chivers, Shire Horse, pp. 328-30. (96) Originally published in the Ladies' Home Jl. (1919), quoted in Baker, Animal War Heroes, p. xix.

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