Return of the US Horse Soldier in Afghanistan

Bill Mattocks

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I had no idea this was happening:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ed-hooper/post_709_b_688571.html
The value of lost skill sets is a lesson the DOD learned in Afghanistan in 2001 when Special Operations Groups turned in supply lists with the unusual requests for horse feed. Sixty years earlier the Army's last Chief of Cavalry General John Herr had correctly predicted tactical horsemanship was not obsolete in the modern army.
Soldiers conducting missions in the northern mountains of Afghanistan suddenly found themselves needing those cavalry skills. Horses and pack animals were the only efficient means of taking the battle to the enemy in the rugged country.
The DOD was at a loss, but the soldiers adapted. They learned tactics from the Afghan rebels in the field. They began appearing in the crowds at Civil War reenactments and entering the U.S. Cavalry Association's Annual National Competitions.
The living history events featuring period correct cavalry tactics became a classroom of sorts for members of the Special Operations Forces needing to learn hands-on horsemanship. The experience has reopened the book on the use of horses in modern American combat and the role they will play in the future.

Wow. Now this is something wild. The Cavalry learning, well, cavalry tactics from re-enactors who have preserved the accurate battle studies. Amazing.
 

Ken Morgan

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Cool. You do whatever you have to, to fight your enemy.
 

crushing

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Maybe the 1st Cav will now get on that horse and cross that river!
 

girlbug2

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I like it. I also like the fact that some mounted police officers are still used in New York City. They presence of horses are said to have a calming influence on civilians and officers alike.
 

CoryKS

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I watched this with great interest back in 2001 when the milbloggers were posting pictures from the northern parts of Afghanistan. The special ops guys embedded with the Northern Alliance would wait for the B-52s to hit the ridges where the Taliban were dug in and then run up on horses to clear out the trenches. Talk about adapting to conditions on the ground!


BTW, Rantburg is a good source for WOT and other foreign policy info. YMMV, those of a certain political mindset will hate it, of course.
 

MA-Caver

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Cool. You do whatever you have to, to fight your enemy.
Fight an enemy that has more experience on horseback than the average U.S. soldier?
Remember one of the Afghans favorite and oldest sport is grabbing a dead goat off the ground from a running horse and trying to carry it to some designated point while dozens of others are trying to steal it away from you any way they can. Just staying ON the animal at full gallop while this is happening takes good to exceptional equestrian skills.

When I read the title to the thread I kept hearing faint fife music playing "Garry Owen" in the background.
 

CoryKS

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Fight an enemy that has more experience on horseback than the average U.S. soldier?
Remember one of the Afghans favorite and oldest sport is grabbing a dead goat off the ground from a running horse and trying to carry it to some designated point while dozens of others are trying to steal it away from you any way they can. Just staying ON the animal at full gallop while this is happening takes good to exceptional equestrian skills.

When I read the title to the thread I kept hearing faint fife music playing "Garry Owen" in the background.

True, but they weren't on horseback, they were huddled in trenches dodging bombs. Totally different sport.
 

MA-Caver

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True, but they weren't on horseback, they were huddled in trenches dodging bombs. Totally different sport.
True that as well... and a sport that they also seem to be good at... because we can't just seem to get all of them (Taliban).

Remember the mighty Soviet Army tried and failed. Just because we have better technology and more modern equipment is that any reason to think we'll do better?

How long have we been there so far? 9 years... After 10 years the Soviets had to bail out (true by mutual agreement but they still bailed after failure) and this is because the U.S. helped the Afghan people... kinda ironic isn't it?
 

CoryKS

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True that as well... and a sport that they also seem to be good at... because we can't just seem to get all of them (Taliban).

Remember the mighty Soviet Army tried and failed. Just because we have better technology and more modern equipment is that any reason to think we'll do better?

Well, yeah. By any rational standard, we have done better. Afghanistan isn't known as the graveyard of empires for nothing. That may have been the case for the "mighty" Soviet Army, but not for us.

How long have we been there so far? 9 years... After 10 years the Soviets had to bail out (true by mutual agreement but they still bailed after failure) and this is because the U.S. helped the Afghan people... kinda ironic isn't it?

And we've been in Germany and Japan for like 60 years. ZOMG, quagmire!!1!! It isn't about the timeline. Again, there's no standard by which one could compare the US occupation of Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation. Different goals, different outcomes.
 

Tez3

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Fight an enemy that has more experience on horseback than the average U.S. soldier?
Remember one of the Afghans favorite and oldest sport is grabbing a dead goat off the ground from a running horse and trying to carry it to some designated point while dozens of others are trying to steal it away from you any way they can. Just staying ON the animal at full gallop while this is happening takes good to exceptional equestrian skills.

When I read the title to the thread I kept hearing faint fife music playing "Garry Owen" in the background.

We still have cavalry ( 9 regiments actually) and many soldiers who can ride (horses cheaper than tanks) We have the Household Cavalry one of which holds the record for longest sniper shot, The Kings Troop Royal Artillery with mounted guns, as well as other cavalry regiments who while using tanks still have a mounted section. Polo is very much an army sport, as is steeplechasing and fox hunting. Tent pegging is still taught as is taking off ones saddle while still riding and jusmping without saddle and stirrups. The Defence Animal Centre provides hundreds of horses for the army which along with the dogs the Army Veterinary Corps looks after. We have a mounted band too!

The army believes that horses teach a soldier more than riding, learning to ride has huge benefits for the modern military apart from those described in the OP.
 
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