US in Afghanistan 2003, fair use
US Military in Afghanistan 2003

Remember Fallen Horses on Veterans' Day

Armistice Day, more commonly known as Veterans Day, provides us with an opportunity to commemorate the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at the end of World War I and marks the day when millions of people worldwide stop to remember those who have served and died for their countries in military conflicts throughout history.
This Veterans Day, spare a few extra seconds to remember the countless number of horses that lost their lives in combat alongside the brave men and women who served their nations.
Equine disease and casualties were not light during World War I:
  • More than 1 million horses and mules served for Britain alone--only 67,000 of those survived the war;
  • Horse deaths were attributable to battle injuries, disease, and exhaustion;
  • Some of the major equine diseases and ailments that plagued the horses were equine influenza, ringworm, sand colic, fly bites, and anthrax; and
  • More than 725,500 horses were treated by the British Army Veterinary Corps hospital during war--more than half a million of those treatments were successful.
Historically, horses were an important part of the military, and their use in conflict dates back as far as 4,000 B.C. By the First World War, however, the cavalry was no longer one of the most effective military units. Instead, cavalry charges were abysmal failures, as the horse and rider were clearly no match against enemy machine guns, trench warfare, barbed wire, or tanks.
Despite the changing face of the traditional "war horse," horses were still used extensively in World War II, mainly for transporting troops and supplies, acting as scouts, and for reconnaissance.
Sadly, horses that did survive the war often were not returned home with the surviving soldiers. Thousands of former war horses were slaughtered, and the remaining horses were either sold or reassigned (e.g., sent to India as remounts for the British Army).
Horses, mules, and donkeys are still used today in the Middle East conflict for transportation and for transporting supplies through the often rough terrain.
Horses are included in a multitude of war memorials, yet few of these memorials have been erected in honor of the horses themselves. Notable exceptions are the Horse Memorials at St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and at St. Jude-on-the-Hill in Hampstead, and the Animals In War Memorial in Hyde Park, London, UK. In the United States, a memorial to the horses that served in the American Civil War was completed in 1997 and stands in front of the National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Va.
An organization called the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) formally recognized the importance of horses in war by awarding three horses who served in World War II with the "PDSA Dickin Medal," an animal's version of the Victoria Cross.
More information is available from the History Channel's 2010 documentary "The Real War Horse."

Very interesting!! I will definitely be looking up the documentary mentioned above!

Btw ... Being new to blogging, I am not sure if this is an encouraged practice, or not.  However, since more often than not, the article of interest is lost with the passing of time (i.e. website is closed), or I can no longer located it,  I am posting them here for posterity.  All articles are posted in their entirety, not edited, and are linked back to where I originally saw them, and credit is given to the author (if it is known).

date Thursday, November 11, 2010

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