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Justin Pasternak




Location: West Springfield, Massachusetts
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Nov, 2006 10:38 pm    Post subject: Cavalry Charge         Reply with quote

Where their still cavalry charges with horses during world war 2, even with modern weaponry and battle tactics?
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Sun 26 Nov, 2006 11:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, sort of. I say "sort of" because the ones I have heard of weren't too successful. The most famous example is probably the Polish lancers "charging" German Panzers during the invasion of Poland in 1939, but the stupidly valiant picture this presents is false - the Poles were actually caught in a pincer movement and trying to break out. Cavalry have a reputation for being brave to the point of stupidity, but they weren't THAT crazy. I have also heard of an Italian cavalry charge in 1942, but never found details.

The last "cavalry" charge I know of was in 1953 in Borneo I think it was; a British mounted patrol caught a group of enemy in a jungle clearing; the sensible thing would be to dismount, take cover and fire, but instead they charged in and won.

Hope this is of some help, unfortunately I can't get to my references to check details.
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 12:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The last 'great cavalry charge' as it is usually remembered, is the one Chruchill took part in, somewhere in Africa.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 1:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
The last 'great cavalry charge' as it is usually remembered, is the one Chruchill took part in, somewhere in Africa.

Probably because Sir Winston was quite happy to write about it rather than any real historical claim to the title, there were far greater charges in the Great War and the Russian Civil War & Russo-Polish war. (Churchill's charge involved a single regiment, the later charges at times involved entire divsions(!).)
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Daniel Staberg




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 4:12 am    Post subject: Re: Cavalry Charge         Reply with quote

Justin Pasternak wrote:
Where their still cavalry charges with horses during world war 2, even with modern weaponry and battle tactics?

Yes, for example the Polish cavalry carried out at least 16 verfied charges during the 1939 campaign.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_cavalry#C...Propaganda
But mainly the Polish cavalry fought as mounted infantry, a role for which they were trained and equiped to handle. Indeed the Polish cavalry brigade had more anti-tank weaponry than many units of similar size.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_cavalry_b..._of_battle

Then there was the famous charge by the Italians in 1942
Quote:
On 23 Agust 1942 600 men of the regiment Savoia Cavalleria face in steppes of Isbuschenski very superior soviet forces, about 2400 Russians with artillery and mortar support.
The regiment Savoia Cavalleria, led by Col. Alessandro Bettoni, attacked in the morning of its 250th anniversary (it had been founded by Gian Michele Piossasco de' Rossi on 24 August 1692) shouting "Avanti Savoia!". The losses of the enemy were: 150 dead, 300 wounded, 500 prisoners (among them also the command of a battalion), 4 guns, 10 mortars, 50 machine-guns and hundreds of rifles. Savoia Cavalleria lost: 32 deads (3 officers), 52 wounded and 100 horses.
http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/...-2451.html


There were also a number of Soviet cavalry charges during the war but these seem mostly to have been acts of desperation and the Red Army's cavalry instead perfected the role of acting as mounted infantry in deep raids as well as beign used to exploit break throughs.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mounted infantry could still have value today I think if training horses and soldiers in quantity & quality was practical.

Afghanistan comes to mind !? In combination with modern vehicles and drone surveillance there might be some theoretical tactical / pursuit applications as long as nobody tries to charge well defended positions on horseback.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Mounted infantry could still have value today I think if training horses and soldiers in quantity & quality was practical.

Afghanistan comes to mind !? In combination with modern vehicles and drone surveillance there might be some theoretical tactical / pursuit applications as long as nobody tries to charge well defended positions on horseback.


interestingly Special forces sometimes do just that. I have a photo in a magazine somewhere of a US army commando-type, full armor, boonie hat, and M4 carbine with 203 launcher, mounted on a horse somewhere in Afghanistan. As I remember, he didn't look that happy about being on a horse though....


Of course, for most 'mounted infantry' roles, the truck, humvee, or helicopter are better options.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Nov, 2006 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lt. Edwin Ramsey, 26th US Cavalry (Phillipine Scouts) led the last "Cavalry" charge in US military history, in February of 1942 against a Japanese Infantry battalion. His platoon was scouting the Japanese advance, and caught them in the middle of crossing a river. Ramsey ordered "Draw Pistols!" "Advance!" "Charge!" and with a pistol charge managed to smash and totally disrupt the Japanese advance. Not for long of course, but long enough for him to manage to retreat and fight another day.

That being said, there were other MOUNTED charges in US military history after that. the 10th Mountain Division in Italy in 1944 had a mounted scout company, which purportedly tried a mounted charge. Unfortunately they hid out in a cherry orchard that the Germans had sighted their 88's in on...

Also, the first US action of the 21st Century was supposedly done on horseback, by US Special Forces in Afghanistan. I've seen pictures of the fellows riding into the fight, but I believe that they in fact dismounted prior to actually engaging the enemy with fire. But I could be wrong, as I've heard it both ways. Kinda cool, really! Cool

What is interesting about the operations in much of Afghanistan is that helicopters don't work so well there: too high an altitude. So horses are still the backbone of "mounted" operations in the higher elevations.

Allons!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Allen Reed




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Re: Cavalry Charge         Reply with quote

Justin Pasternak wrote:
Where their still cavalry charges with horses during world war 2, even with modern weaponry and battle tactics?


I have seen pictures of Russian Cossack cavalry attacking German tanks in the winter during WWII.

Of coure the tanks were frozen up because the German had not been able to properly maintain them for the cold weather.

Allen
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Kyro R. Lantsberger





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PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2006 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting thread. I am constantly marveled by the depth of knowledge one finds on this forum. I think the answers show a certain prejudice we have in some ways ---"Dumb Polaks/Italians/Insert charging tanks with horses." This is obviously ridiculous, but the idea of a mounted light infantry still creeping up in small scale engagements is fascinating.

Granted, mounted infantry in our mechanized army rely on Bradley's and Humvee's, but I can raise my right hand and swear over a mountain of broken side mirror glass that God did not plant trees far enough apart for Humvees to be truly mobile.
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2006 3:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter and Daniel-thank you for your replies and defending honour of polish troops.Many people believe in that terrible myth that our cavalry atacked tanks with sabers.It makes me angry every time I hear it(especially when the person is so confident of this and it is impossible to explain truth to him) Evil

It is intresting-after over 60 years propaganda still works...

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The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Nov, 2006 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
Peter and Daniel-thank you for your replies and defending honour of polish troops.Many people believe in that terrible myth that our cavalry atacked tanks with sabers.It makes me angry every time I hear it(especially when the person is so confident of this and it is impossible to explain truth to him) Evil

It is intresting-after over 60 years propaganda still works...


My apologies if I was perpetuating the myth of charging tanks on horseback with spear or sabre. Blush

On the other hand using cavalry to move troops armed with antitank weapons to get them quickly into position to attack the tanks, or using the horses to cross terrain difficult for tanks to get at the tanks or get away from them sounds like good tactics.

In 1939 the available antitank weapons I think were either small or large canon or heavy antitank rifles above .50 calibre or in the 20 mm to 25 mm range. ( Sort of portable but only effective on thin armour of early light tanks. )

At that time there were no portable bazookas or Panzerfaust ( spelling ? )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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