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Horses & The Mechanized Myth of the Eastern Front

Advances in military technology, including tanks, jets and rockets, are among the popular images of Nazi Germany during World War II. But the reality is that horses still pulled two-thirds of the vehicles and supplied 80 percent of the German Army’s motive power. many memoirs played up panzer attacks, and therefore can be misleading regarding the nature of the army’s mobility.

As you’ll read in the May 2014 edition of Military Heritage Magazine, research and writing about World War II mobility has been mostly about oil and seldom about oats. Yet Germany’s failure to mobilize led to a reliance on horses, with more than one million still active near the war’s end.

Nazi Germany’s reliance on horses on the Eastern Front is downplayed in modern accounts, but the animals played an essential role during World War II.

John Perry’s unique article on the often-overlooked muscle behind the German war machine is just one many you’ll find inside Military Heritage’s May edition. You’ll also find:

“For Gold and Blood”
The papacy recruited Count Charles to lead an army to oust King Manfred of Sicily. The matter was settled at Benevento in 1266 in a grad clash of mounted knights.

“Outfoxed in Burma”
Lieutenant General William Slim sent a fast-moving column across the Irrawaddy River in January 1945 to capture the supply depot at Meiktila. The surprise attack hastened the collapse fo the Japanese position in central Burma.

“Massacre in Morocco”
The French responded to a request in 1911 from Sultan Moulai Hafid to help him put down a major rebellion. They crushed the rebels in bloody fighting and established a protectorate.

“Incomparable Bravery”
For more than two centuries, Poland’s winged Husaria were a dominating presence on the battlefields of Eastern Europe. They remain to this day an important symbol of Polish military tradition.

Let us know what you think about these and other stories inside the May issue by dropping us a line on our website. If you aren’t yet a subscriber, you can pick up a print or digital edition today and start joining in on the action.


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