The War Horses: The Tragic Fate of a Million Horses in the First World War

Halsgrove, 2011 - 144 pages
" ... Simply put, the 1914-18 war has become a metaphor for hell on earth. Alongside this tide of human cannon fodder was formed an equally large army of horses and mules - transport animals and cavalry mounts essential to the bloody business ahead. While men cheerfully volunteered in their tens of thousands, similar numbers of horses were being stripped from farms, liveries, hunt stables and from private ownership, packed on to ships and sent overseas. Over 8 million animals were thus engaged in the war worldwide. On the Western Front alone a total of a million horses died. Of those used by the British Army, themselves numbering almost a million, only around 60 000 are said to have been returned to the Britain at the war's end. The War Horses concentrates upon those groups of animals who were requisitioned rather than those 'professionally' employed by the cavalry, in other words the horses, mules and donkeys who took on the drudgery of heaving rations, guns and munitions up to the front line, returning with wounded and maimed men. The author draws upon over 200 photographs and eye-witness accounts to illustrate the actuality of war and the vital role played by the horse on the Western Front. Poignant memoirs reveal the bond formed between the fighting men and the animals in their care ..."--Publisher description.

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