Hello, dear readers! I hope you are well! After a long -but always excused- absence, I thought I should combine equestrian with my field of study and offer you an intriguing post! The use of equines in warfare!
Warfare technology has advanced in ways beyond our imagination, allowing for intercontinental exchanges of fire. The human race has learned how to take advantage of the outer space for military purposes and has developed intercontinental missiles which can carry nuclear heads that can terminate all sorts of life in a whole country. Let alone the development of stealth vessels and aircraft.
However, in the developed world sometimes we still use equine power in military affairs. And the task of those equines and their escorts is not symbolic and ceremonial, but rather strategic and crucial. So, I present to you the German Mountain Infantry Brigade, one of the very few combat forces of this kind left in this world.
This military unit is specialised in mountain warfare and has been proven valuable to NATO in a number of operations, including the intervention in Kosovo. Their training terrain is the harsh environment of the Alps, which includes rough paths and steep slopes.
The job of those animals is to carry supplies to the troops that are stationed in the mountains and their load can be anything from food and water to ammunition and heavy weapons. Now you will wonder, why not using motorbikes or helicopters instead of mules and horses? The answer is that only mules and horses can carry up to 150 kilogrammes on such a rough terrain under any weather conditions and without the risk of recognition by hostile forces.
The animals have their own, dedicated vets and blacksmiths and are well taken care of. Moreover, the attachment between the troops and the animals is evident. Below you can get a grasp of the German Mountain Infantry Brigade does.
This is a very, very useful way of using retired horses in my humble opinion!