War Horse Retires

His comrades in the Army would be first to admit that he has never really been the stiff-upper-lip sort.

So when Thomas the strapping black gelding retired after almost 20 years of impeccable military service yesterday, he bowed out in an emotional farewell, complete with goodbye kisses for everyone.

His slobbery smooches for the soldiers looking after him have become the stuff of legend in the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.  Click Here to read the rest of the article.

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New Book: Led by the Grey

One of my blog Readers just alerted me to this relatively new novel by Peter DeCosemo which looks to be very entertaining.  If you like science fiction and fantasy (which I do), military history (which I do), and horses (which I do), this looks like the perfect spring / summer read!

You can find out more about the book at this website: Led By the Grey. 

Right now the book is not available in the US but can be ordered directly from the UK through the website.

Another major attraction of the novel is that all procedes from sale of the Hardback will be to the Household Cavalry Casualty Fund.

I’ll post a review after I’ve read it.

War Horse: Sefton, British Army

Some times my various interests collide in interesting and unusual ways.  Recently I was discussing IRA bombing tactics as an example of the militant wing of an insurgent group dominating its political wing.  Nothing probably demonstrates this better than the July, 1982 bombing by the IRA of the British Household Cavalry guards.  The below is the report from the BBC as to what happened. 

Sefton, Lifeguard Cavalry Horse

One of the survivors was the Household Cavalry horse Sefton.  See his story here

The interesting aspect of this bombing is that it is really a major tactical mistake by the IRA.  Not in the sense that it didn’t achieve their objective of bring publicity to their campaign.  That was a tactical success.  But it was  a mistake in the strategic sense.  Killing horses and bandsmen had a huge public backlash against the IRA.  Even among the Catholic community of Northern Ireland, a bastion of IRA support, few could have sanctioned killing horses and bandsmen.  Especially when many of the horses were Irish breed.  

This attack makes the point that terrorism is really about information operations.  The side that manages the message the best wins.  Attacking bandsmen and horses is a terrible message.  In the years after 1982 the British army and government became expert at turning such IRA attacks against the terrorists.  The British were able to make such actions a net loss to the terrorists among their own supporters by carefully exploiting the negative images of the attack while avoiding an overt response to the bombing which would have increased support for the terrorists. 

See this discussion to see how the British strategy against the IRA changed over time. 

Many Americans were too young or have forgotten how savage the battle between the British and IRA was.  This might be a reminder.  

For additional reading on the time of troubles see: 

 

  

For more informaton on the Sefton story see:

British Army Horses Traveling

The Army have decided to reward their loyal horses with an off-duty trip to Blackpool.

Read Complete Article Here.

Another article Here.

Household Cavalry arrives in the Middle East.  Read Article Here.

Traveling Household Cavalry

 

The horse detachment blog below brought to the fore the continuing role of the ceremonial horse cavalry units around the world, especially in nations at war.  An interesting article was published in the British press a couple of weeks ago on the household cavalry musical ride doing an exhibition in the Middle East.  I have planned a more complete description of the mounted Household cavalry in a future blog.  For now, check out the article, and especially the excellent photos.  Also enjoy the below youtube video of the world’s most famous mounted ceremonial formation.

Note:  Moving in this formation are about 105 mounted troops, counting officers, colors, and buglers (but not the band).  This basically shows you four troops (American platoons) of horse cavalry –roughly the equivalent of a squadron (American company) of traditional European cavalry.  Look at how much physical space this unit occupies and imagine it moving at a gallop across country at 30mph.  That’s one tenth of a regiment!  Now imagine a thousand (a full regiment) or four thousand (a division).  At Waterloo the French cavalry charge consisted of about 9,000 cavalry.  Makes the point of the powerful physical and physiological effect of cavalry on the historic battlefield.  Something that few if any individuals alive today have experienced.