German Horse Drawn Transport. (and other nations)

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by Owen, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    There's a marvellous photograph in the new After The Battle 'Ruckmarsch' book on Falaise of a flakvierling being towed through a French town by Horse. Very evocative of the true state of their transport situation for much of the war.
    Funny that 'Signal' has so few images of equine transport. Not really the acceptable propaganda face of the Wehrmacht.
    It has to be said however that the picture of the SS 'Florian Geyer' mounted up is an absolute classic shot.
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Around Overloon in Holland, the two enemies were quite close together, At a certain time each day it was possible to hear the clip clop of the horse and rider bringing up the rations for the forward enemy troops.
    This was followed, and noted, as it was a regular event at about the same time each day.

    Then one day as the clip clop was heard a salvo was fired and they lost their supper.
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  7. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Anyone read either of these books?: Horses of the German Army in World War II

    Horses of the German Army in World War II (Hardcover)
    by Paul Louis Johnson (Author)


    Mechanized Juggernaut or Military Anachronism?: Horses and the German Army of World War II (Contributions in Military Studies) (Hardcover)
    by Williamson Murray (Foreword), R.L. DiNardo (Author)
    One of the great misconceptions of the World War II is the notion that the German Army was the epitome of mechanical efficiency, combining lightning speed with awesome military power. The author argues that, although the elite Panzer divisions were indeed formidable units, about 75% of the German Army were infantry divisions who relied primarily on the horse for transport. So, the author asks, how modern was the Wehrmacht during World War II? Could it have achieved a higher level of modernity than it actually did? This book takes an unusual approach to the study of the much mythologized German Army. In dealing with horses specifically, the author shows how the German Army was in many ways a throwback to the 19th century. How extensive was this antiquated dependence on horses, and was this a conscious decision on the part of the leaders of the German war machine? Did it have an effect on the army's organization and battle strength? What problems did the Germans encounter due to their use of horses? This study answers these questions from a unique perspective and may be useful to military historians, courses in military studies and the collections in public and academic libraries.

    Highly tempted, mostly by the P.L. Johnson one but it's not cheap so just wondering if anyone's seen it. Second one intrigues as the only other thing I've read by the same author was a very easy and informative read.
  8. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    This one of La Seine, is it advance of 1940 or the retreat of 1944?
    Could that be refugees on the left so 1940?
    Mixed Horse Picture 12
  10. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just picked up this little bit of info from page 218, "Barbarossa to Berlin" by Brian Taylor.

    Feb 1942.
    Since the beginning of Operation Typhoon in October '41, the OstHeer also lost 180 000 horses but replaced only 20 000.

    In the same period they lost 74 000 motor vehicles [not tanks] but replaced only 7500.
  11. Kyt

    Kyt Very Senior Member

    Not just horses:


  12. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    This all raises an interesting question; what're the resources better spent on? Mechanised/Motorised transport as achieved early on (with varying degrees of success) by many allied participants, or concentration on the armour based on a somewhat old fashioned transport structure as largely practiced by Germany?
    Strikes me as another example of the strange way Nazi Germany had of balancing needs, demands and capacity.
  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Reading of the Blitzkreig in the West and the Barbarossa campaign a constant remark is "......the Panzer units had to wait for the marching troops to catch up."
    I suppose Germany only had a finite amount of resources and it was best to concentrate on the Panzerwaffe.

    Churchill was constantly moaning about the size of the British logistical tail, with all those lorries and other vehicles they needed alot of mechanics, petrol etc.

    Did the German use of horses free up more men for the front or did the transport of horse-fodder create more problems?
  15. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD


    German troops using horse-drawn transport make their way towards the British forces in Hamburg to surrender.
  16. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Given the fact that the Wehrmacht was so dependant on the horse it makes the achievements early in the war even more astonishing. Actually were horses used in North Africa or was that the most mobile of war theaters?
  17. morse1001

    morse1001 Very Senior Member

    Given the fact that the Wehrmacht was so dependant on the horse it makes the achievements early in the war even more astonishing. Actually were horses used in North Africa or was that the most mobile of war theaters?

    There seems to be no mention of horse drawn transport in North Africa but remember we used used mules in all theatres of land operations
  18. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    A aspect of using horses by the Germans I hadn't thought of was the veterinary problems caused by captured animals.


    For example
    ............Elsewhere in the army combat areas, no precautions were taken against the collection and disposition of captured animals which might have been diseased. Aside from the shortages in the numbers of Veterinary Corps officers in such areas, little could have been accomplished anyway because, in the spring of 1944, there was a shortage of veterinary animal service equipment and supplies which was not relieved until the winter of 1944-45. In the interim, captured German Army animals, untested for glanders, were being used at a ground forces replacement depot and a prisoner-of-war inclosue in the Seine Base Section and the Brittany Base Section of the theater's communication zone (16).

    Following the start of the Fifth U.S. Army's final offensive through Bologna which saw the capitulation of the German Armies in northern Italy on 2 May 1945, an estimated 5,000 German Army horses and a few mules were found in the Po Valley.............................. While some of there were sick—a few having epizootic lymphangitis—the most serious disability in these horses was burns (figs. 85 and 86). Whether the burns were caused by Allied artillery fire and aerial bombing or by the Germans setting fire to their abandoned material was undetermined.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><O:P> </O:P>

  19. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Trucks do have the logistical advantage that no hungry soldier's going to start seeing them as a walking pork-chop. At least I don't think I've ever read about any encircled armies eating their vehicles.

    Don't think I've ever seen pictures of massed horse-drawn German transport in the desert either? Always seems to be Blitz's, Fords, captured gear etc.?? Horses must need a lot of water. Camels used much? I know I've seen a few shots of 'em but mostly in a 'holiday snap' kind of way.

    The Mule's a good point. It's almost a specialist vehicle in it's own right isn't it, probably still capable of going where vehicles find it extremely difficult to go... and then of course there's this recently posted pic o_O :
  20. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Now does this photo belong in this thread or the captured ammo thread?

    Private Stanley Davis of 5th Seaforth Highlanders rides a pack mule with a swastika emblem branded on the animal's neck, 16 August 1943. The animals were now being employed by 51st Highland Division in the hilly terrain near Mt Etna.(IWM NA5924)

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