Thursday, July 19, 2012

Iron Rations for Long-nosed Friends

A couple of weeks ago, I featured an item about “Iron Rations” for World War I cavalrymen. But what of the trooper’s mount? 
Depending on season and weather, horses could graze and access water. Extra energy was supplied by a small supply of grain or corn. A canvas bucket was slung on the saddle for watering.
Aside from those small items, what was a cavalry horse burdened with, besides the soldier himself? Picture this:
- rifle and bucket for same
- bandoleers of ammunition
- bayonet
- sword and scabbard
- saddle
- iron rations for trooper
- mess tin
- spare horseshoes
- hay net
- two blankets
- greatcoat
- picketing peg
- wallets (front-of-saddle leather bags)
Add to that any extra items carried by a trooper—ciagrettes, matches, would take a healthy animal to function under the load, but the result was a highly mobile, versatile fighting unit. (source: ““It’s a charge, boys, it’s a charge!” Cavalry Action at Moreuil Wood 30 March1918” by John R. Grodzinski and Michael R. McNorgan, in Fighting For Canada Seven Battles, 1758-1945”.

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