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Thread: Some interesting cavalry charges in WW2

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    Member shadowsrider's Avatar
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    Default Some interesting cavalry charges in WW2

    Despite typical opinion of lack of bravery of Italian soldiers I found a good example of opposite behavior.

    During British-Italian war in Eastern Africa a brave Italian officer mounted surprising cavalry charge against British Sikh artillery positions. First charge of 50 men surprised Sikhs but all the charging cavalrymen were anihilated.
    Soon Italians repeated their attempt:
    "When the British Army invaded in 1940 Guillet took to the desert with his force. In January 19, 1941 he led a remarkable charge through a British tank column that was all but forgotten in the sands of that desert sideshow. At the gorge of Cheru, Guillet, mounted on his champion white Arabian ‘Sandor’, Guillet led more than 500 of his troopers in a wild charge along the exposed flanks of the British 4/11th Sikhs Regiment of the 5th Indian Division. They charged the Indian soldiers, throwing grenades and firing at anything that moved at point blank range. They literally ran through the entire Indian formation and only narrowly missed capturing an English Brigadier. Sadly of the 500 men who charged more than 180 were left behind on the battlefield in the Indian positions, dead in their mounts. His force crippled, Guillet led his remaining men deeply into the desert, covering the Italian retreat.

    Read more at Suite101: Amedeo Guillet Cavalry Hero of WWII: The Last Italian Knight and Legend of the Desert http://ww2history.suite101.com/article.cfm/amedeo_guillet_cavalry_hero_of_wwii#ixzz0qoqagxsU"


    Also Americans and Britts had their WW2 cavalry charges:
    The year 1942 saw the embattled US and Filipino army fighting for their lives in Bataan against an invading Japanese army. On January 16, 1942 a young Lt Ed Ramsey led his 27-man Troop G of the US 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) in a charge against Japanese infantry in the village of Morong. Mounted on his horse Bryn Awryn, a chestnut gelding, Lt Ramsey led the last American cavalry charge to victory and was awarded the Silver Star after the war. The American cavalry carried no swords, since April 18, 1934, the issuance of swords to US cavalry troopers was discontinued, but they were packing the ubiquitous Colt 1911. The last British charge was made just two months later by Capt. Arthur Sandeman and 60 Sikh horsemen mounted on short Burmese horses of the Burma Field Force. They blundered into a force of entrenched Japanese soldiers and were repulsed after taking heavy losses. Capt Sandeman was killed with his saber in hand.

    Read more at Suite101: The Last Cavalry Charges: Mounted on Horses they Rode into Battle in WWII http://ww2history.suite101.com/artic...#ixzz0qoqlpu00


    And the greatest Italian cavalry charge:
    On August 24, 1942, after a day of masking movements and light skirmishing Colonel Bettoni decided a charge against the Soviet positions stood a chance of stopping them. At dawn of the next day, on a wet Ukrainian morning the regiment assembled. Mounting the charge to flying regimental flags, bugles, drawn sabers and a combined cry of hundreds of men calling “Savoia!, Savoia!” and “Caricat” (charge) the three mounted squadrons of Italians rode forward at a gallop into the Soviet lines. They transitioned through the traditional thousand year old practice of starting at a trot, then a canter then a full gallop. Supported by the dismounted 4th Squadron and the regiment’s machine gun squadron they broke the back of the 2000-strong Siberian 812th Infantry Regiment. In the victorious charge the Italians lost 40 cavalrymen (including the commander of the 4th Squadron, Captain Abba) with another 79 wounded and almost 100 precious horses but they inflicted over 150 casualties on the Soviets and captured some 900 unfortunate Siberians along with a collection of sixty mortars, artillery pieces and machine guns. The regiment, founded in 1692, by Gian Piossasco de Rossi from one of the oldest Italian noble families, won two gold medals and 54 silver medals for that day….and every old horse soldier in Valhalla shed a tear.

    Read more at Suite101: The Most Famous Cavalry Charge of WWII: Last Hurrah of the Savoia Cavalry Regiment in 1942 http://militaryhistory.suite101.com/...#ixzz0qorSdpjU

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    I dont remember where I've read about ww2 cavalry charges, but I remember reading that some russian general would have sent 50,000 or 500,000 men with horses charging against hail of machine guns? No idea is it true or not, some might know little bit more about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BafuD View Post
    I dont remember where I've read about ww2 cavalry charges, but I remember reading that some russian general would have sent 50,000 or 500,000 men with horses charging against hail of machine guns? No idea is it true or not, some might know little bit more about this.
    I don't think that amount of men would be right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BafuD View Post
    I dont remember where I've read about ww2 cavalry charges, but I remember reading that some russian general would have sent 50,000 or 500,000 men with horses charging against hail of machine guns? No idea is it true or not, some might know little bit more about this.

    100% True. For Russia is Strong!

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Highly unlikely. A cavalry division would have no more than 5-6,000 horses anyway. It is however quite possible that some Generals were in charge of 50 or 60,000 horses. Non-mechanised divisions used one hell of a lot of them for transport.

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    I have read somewhere about cavalry on the Eastern front during WWII (even Lancers IIRC). Also included stories about some mounted Russian partisans.

    Although they were not cavalry, I remember my father commenting about the Germans use of horse transport and all the dead horses he saw in Europe towards the end of the war. He told of trading K-rats with POWs for dark German bread and a slab of sausage. Said the Germans watched him and then laughed when he ate a bite. When he asked them, "vas" one of them said "rosswurst" (horse sausage). My father kept on eating.

    Thanks for the interesting thread.

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    Bush Lawyer, that's me! TheKiwi's Avatar
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    Mostly I think the cavalry on the eastern front was used as Dragoons, ie the horses were for transport only. There were still some occasions in WW1 where cavalry was used, including lancers.

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    Brave or stupid? I dunno if it's brave to charge you and your men to certain death.

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    cossack troops during wwII were still using their horses, most of the time they were only used as recon teams, but they also attacked convoys behind enemy lines, these attacks were frequent during winter months, and some of them still used their swords. Cossacks in german service are well known, because of their frequent appearence in signal magazines.

    thank you for that, I had no idea the italians were still using them, it was very interesting

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    I dont remember where I've read about ww2 cavalry charges, but I remember reading that some russian general would have sent 50,000 or 500,000 men with horses charging against hail of machine guns? No idea is it true or not, some might know little bit more about this.
    In fact, those were 5.000.000! And their relatives were sent to a gulag after that.

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    There was a Cavalry division in the Waffen SS during WWII 8th SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer, mostly used for anti partisan operations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8_SS

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    Going Rogue seraosha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Riflewizard View Post
    Brave or stupid? I dunno if it's brave to charge you and your men to certain death.
    As a Cavalryman, I feel confident in telling you to just STFU.
    Fiddler's Green is earned.

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    Australian charge near Beersheba on October 31 of 1917 was one of the most famous cavalry charges in WW1 - and it was victorious:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOuyPGyzNVA

    Charge of Rokitna - another victorious cavalry charge from WW1:

    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=75639

    The last cavalry charge in WW2 was conducted by Waffen SS (4. Kuban Cossacks Regiment) - it took place during the night from 7th to 8th of May 1945, but the charge was not successful. If it comes to successful cavalry charges during WW2 - just to mention the charge conducted by Soviet cavalry near Wlodawa on 22.07.1944, the charge of Polish cavalry at Bobrujsk (German Schönfeld) on 01.03.1945 or the charge of Italian Savoia Cavalleria which took place at Isbuschenskji on 18.08.1942, as well as vast majority of all charges by Polish cavalry in September 1939.

    German cavalry in WW2 - on the right German cavalry, on the left Cossacks in German service:



    More German cavalry:

    Poland 1939:



    [IMG]http://i27.*******.com/2qtzsyodotjpg[/IMG]

    France 1940:



    Belgium 1940:





    Soldier of the SS Cavalry Division Florian Geyer in Russia:



    SS cavalryman:



    SS cavalry:

    Last edited by Domen; 06-15-2010 at 11:49 AM.

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    Polish cavalry raid near Krasnobrod in 1939 (and also fragment on combats against Polish infantry near Czesniki on September 21st):

    "Morning September 21st, swabian division (27 ID) marches towards the Vistula. A report comes, that the light division (4) was attacked by enemy forces from the eastern region and that it will not be able to hold for a long time... The entire regiment develops to an assault. Battalions attack the enemy in Barchaczow, supported by artillery and infantry guns fire... We receive reports... that the enemy also attacks from the north-east and from the east... The regiment is endangered. Polish machine guns constantly yap and yawn with fire. Polish artillery inflicts severe losses. Commander of the regiment gives an order: "Hold your positions! Entrench yourselves!". But even this entrenching doesn't help. Enemy artillery fire increases. These are not hastily broken remnants of the Polish Army... which attacked the light and own division, but a new, strong enemy. Also the second regiment of the swabian division had to be sent from the road to Zamosc towards the north-east. The third regiment, which was not taking part in the battle of Tomaszow and was torturing itself in march through the Rudka forests, received an order of hasty march and also enters combat. It was the regular battle between Tarnawatka, Komarow and Barchaczow."

    And combats near Krasnobrod against Polish cavalry:

    "During the night from 22nd to 23rd of September the fragmented VII Corps sets to an attack along the line Zamosc - south-east Zamosc. The start of the assault - September 23rd, 8 o'clock in the morning. Around 6 o'clock the situation is unchanged. Artillery received an order to lay fire on the march roads of the Poles, because many Polish columns were reported. The assault begins. Strong enemy resistance south of Zamosc...
    In the night the enemy attempted to advance to the south-west... through the gap between the VII and neighbouring VIII Corps... Regiments of the Brandenburgian Division (68 ID) stood in the region of Rudka, ready to retreat behind the Vistula. Then the order came: "Prevent the enemy breakthrough near Krasnobrod". The regiments returned. Two regiments marched straight on in eastern direction towards the gap, the third regiment to the north-east, to secure the wing of the fighting Swabian Division (27 ID)... Along the road Rudka-Jacnia a report comes from forward units: "To the east from the forester Kaczorki the company encountered the enemy. Enemy artillery fires on Jacnia. It asks for help." Second report: "The HQ of the neighbouring Corps (VIII AK) is hemmed and suffered huge losses." Along the road Jacnia - Krasnobrod and Jacnia - Rudka there are vehicles of the neighbouring division (8 Inf.Div.) - abandoned and partially plundered. Soldiers retreated... they fired all their ammo. In the southern part of the column remnants of the HQ formed a "hedgehog". Casualties among officers and riflemen are heavy. The situation is hopeless. Only calls of those coming with relief let to breathe. They greet the liberators from 68 Inf.Div. "It was just the matter of minutes" - said the officer of the general HQ and shakes hand of the newcomer. Counterattacks were being conducted further. Polish cavalry moved away, but before that numerous buildings had to be cleaned from it, Polish soldiers remained in hiding everywhere around... While along the southern front of the assault of the Brandenburgian, one regiment was attacking in eastern direction towards the road Zamosc - Tomaszow, the neighbouring regiment, fighting in the north, was no less strongly pushing towards Suchowola and Rachodoszcze. The Polish breakthrough attempt to the west had to be stopped. Again and again Polish units regroup and attack. Sometimes they even outnumber us. Polish cavalry attacks on horsebacks. But German counterattacks push it mercilessly to the east. The Brandenburgian Division accomplished its task: the gap had been closed... Around 4 o'clock the Poles once again attack the defensive line of this regiment of the Brandenburgian Division. Behind the second battalion of this regiment, which withdraws from Boza Wola, the Poles in pursuit capture Rachodoszcze and penetrate into locality Feliksowka. The Polish cavalry brigade managed to break through the gap between the two battalions of this regiment near Feliksowka. Suddenly Polish cavalry and infantry appears, attacking against this poorly defended position. The Poles tirelessly advance forward and blow the ring. They uncontrollably advance west, in order to later turn south, because the romanian border is their desired target."

    Source:

    "Wir zogen gegen Polen. Kriegserinnerungswerk des VII Armeekorps", pp. 51 and 55 - 62

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    Btw - paintings "Battle of Kutno" by Jerzy Kossak from 1939 (under the impression of Axis propaganda) :



    And here the "corrected" version from 1943, by the same author (Jerzy Kossak) - "Kutno 1939":


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