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"The first principle-one that has always been asserting itself whatever the form of attack-is that mounted infantry theoretically are, and must eventually become, actually an infantry command. To attach them to cavalry is to mistake the raison d'être of the force. The horse, which the trooper is taught to regard almost as part of himself, is a mere means of locomotion in the case of the mounted infantry, and any tendency to regard it as influencing the conception of the force is to mistake its usefulness altogether, and would probably result in turning a good foot-soldier into a bad trooper.

"When attached to cavalry there is a danger that mounted infantry will be used for scouting purposes, reconnaissances, and vedettes, all of which lie properly within the duties of cavalry."

The fact seems to be that, while we should have a large and highly organised force of mounted infantry (and for home defence no troops could be more admirable and formidable than our present yeomanry regiments, if they would altogether adopt this new form of service), nothing can do away with the necessity of cavalry, and a very numerous force of cavalry. The only connection between mounted infantry and cavalry that should exist would be that if an infantry commander was ordered to support a cavalry movement, he would be able to do so with

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Have we seen anything in believe that the shock-power our present war to make us of cavalry can never in the future be employed against artillery and infantry? The fire of field - pieces, machineguns, and rifles is no doubt blasting in its effect when everything is in favour of the men who use them; but over and over again, though the Boers are no mean marksmen, we have seen our infantry advance against strongly held positions, sometimes to succeed in taking them, sometimes, alas! to retire, though it has been whispered that on several occasions when retirements were made a little more persistence would have resulted in success. Rifles are not always held straight. 'Maga' lately explained very clearly how the fire of artillery may often be discounted,' and machineguns have their limitations. If infantry, toiling slowly up precipitous hills, have been able to make good their purpose without suffering a greater

166 'Shot, Shell, and Bullets," Blackwood's Magazine,' February 1900.

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prepare to receive cavalry" will not be obeyed in the future with the same nonchalance and confidence as heretofore. A very stiff and steady formation will certainly be required, if cavalry suddenly appears within charging distance.

loss than was often incurred ceived a severe shock, which in old-time battles, shall not turned it aside and most likely swiftly moving cavalry be able, incapacitated it altogether; but when the fitting opportunity a 303, a Mauser, or a Lebel presents itself, to strike a blow bullet may hit a horse, and very much as it did a hundred even inflict a fatal wound, withyears ago? Against infantry out producing any immediate and artillery in a strong posi- effect upon the animal. Magation, or against unbroken zines might be discharged into infantry anywhere, it has an attacking squadron with a never been supposed, in the very small influence in checking range of tactics since the days the energy of its immediate of Frederick the Great, that rush. Infantry-men know this cavalry could ever reasonably perfectly well, and it may posadvance for attack; and if we sibly happen that the order say that they cannot do so in modern war, we only repeat the teaching of old, old combats. When Frederick ordered his squadrons to charge at Kunersdorf, did they not fall back broken and unsuccessful time after time from the Russian position? At Waterloo four grand attacks of the best disciplined and highest spirited cavalry in the world were successively rolled back from the British front. Why then should the power of horsemen be impeached because they can do no more to-day? It may be that our form of attack must be changed. Cavalry may have to move in looser order and spread over a wider distance when there is a possibility of encountering fire; but this has been often before suggested, and is a detail into which we cannot now enter.

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There is a very important point in connection with our cavalry in South Africa which is almost unknown to the general public, and the weight of which has not apparently been sufficiently considered even by the military authorities. Unfortunately, for reasons which cannot now be entered upon, there was great delay in despatching the first regiments from England. When they arrived at the Cape, there was urgent need of their services, and they were hurried into the field without delay. Now, it is well known that, after a voyage of three weeks, horses are very far from fit to undertake hard work. From long standing in cramped stalls their legs have generally become filled, and, having necessarily been fed at sea principally on soft food and with a very reduced quantity of corn, they have

for a time lost power and hard condition. After landing they should certainly have comparative rest and gentle exercise until they have got rid of their stiffness and have recovered their strength, and this will require, at the least, a fortnight.

In commencing life in Africa also, horses require a few days in order to become accustomed to the change in their grain diet, to eat mealies (Indian corn) instead of oats. This very necessary period of repose on landing could not be conceded to the horses of the regiments which were the first to arrive, and it is believed that the horses of the regiments which came later, and even the remounts, have had no better fortune. All have been sent to the front, to undertake very hard work and to submit to much exposure, while they were still stiff, soft, and out of condition, and while they still looked upon their rations of Indian corn with doubt and distaste. Small wonder if the poor brutes became rapidly knocked up, and when the time came for some special extra exertion, were hardly able to put one foot before another. And when a horse once thoroughly loses condition on service, and especially in Africa, it is a very long rest that is required to restore him to health and vigour, indeed it is very doubtful whether he will ever be himself again in anything like a reasonable time. It is not only that he has lost flesh and muscle; but he inevitably gets a frightful sore back, his eyelids become torn and ulcerated and are a playground for

countless flies, and small unhealthy swellings appear on his body. It is more than probable that the hurry with which our cavalry horses were sent to the front and put to the severest trials, before they had recovered from the effects of their long voyage, quickly produced this state of things in too many instances, and reduced our regiments to a state of practical inefficiency. It may well be a matter of consideration in the future whether, at any apparent military sacrifice, horses should not always, after long days in a transport, be thoroughly restored to condition before they are put in line of battle, instead of at once absolutely expending them beyond hope of recovery. In any case, when next we have to move troops over seas, the mounted branches of the service should be among the first to be despatched, so that their horses, on landing, may be put into really hard condition before they are called upon for great exertion.

A very serious form of inconvenience has been felt by some of our regiments in South Africa, probably indeed to a greater or less extent by all, and it seems to be one which might possibly be in some degree provided for in the future. When the tall, big-framed horses that were sent from England fell victims to the accidents of war or to exhaustion and disease, their places were taken by such remounts as could be furnished. These animals were perhaps hardy and serviceable, and, faute de mieux, they were

accepted gladly; but unfortun- to be wished that, when the time comes for discussion, the opinions of the men who have had practical experience will be fairly considered, and that implicit confidence will not invariably, as heretofore, be placed in the judgment of departmental officials, who too often make up their minds that a thing is good and useful when it is only flimsy, showy, and, above all, cheap.

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ately, compared with their predecessors, they were in many instances mere ponies in size. The great difficulty that presented itself was how to fit them with the saddles that were available. Of course the thing was done in the best makeshift manner possible, but at the expense of some want of efficiency, and not a little daily worry and anxiety to every individual trooper. Many people have long disliked the present iron saddle trees which are used by our mounted services, and think that the old wooden saddle tree was in many respects preferable. The wooden tree could always be mended by the regimental artificers if it was accidentally damaged, and its size could be reduced or enlarged; but the iron tree is immutable, no alterations in it can be made, and if it is in any way injured, there is an end of it. Many forms of saddles exist which have advantages over our English equipment, and as almost all our saddlery will have to be replaced when the present war is at an end, it would seem to be a good opportunity for making some useful changes in our service pattern. In any case, something might be devised to make each saddle to some extent adjustable to horses of different sizes. Many other articles of equipment have been tried in Africa and found wanting, and when they come home regimental officers will have much to say upon the subject. Even such simple articles as haversacks have been found to be utterly useless. It is devoutly

That cavalry must sometimes be called upon to act with carbines dismounted, and that they can act dismounted with the best effect, is a truism in modern war, and we have seen constant exemplifications of it within the last few months. Over and over again our troopers have seized and held kopjes and other positions of temporary importance; but nothing was more useful than the work of a squadron of the 12th Lancers under Lord Airlie and Major Eastwood on the fatal day at Magersfontein. It was freely said in the division that the presence of this squadron with the regimental Maxim gun under Lieutenant Macnaughton stopped the Boers from following up the Highlanders' disaster. From 6.20 A.M. till 3.30 P.M. the squadron was lying under a very heavy fire, and in that time it had worked its way to within 300 yards of the Boer trenches. By the time officers and men again could mount their horses, they might have been able to say that they had had as severe a piece of work as ever can fall to the lot of soldiers.

At Ladysmith, too, dismounted cavalry perforce played a very important part. When

their horses had to be turned into rations, Sir George White provided them with infantry rifles and sent them to occupy positions of defence. The official accounts of the great siege have not yet been published; but the gallant veteran, whose steadfast defence has been the crowning achievement of a brilliant career, has made no secret of his enthusiastic approval of the services rendered by his dismounted cavalry. That the troopers could be said to be able to rival the unconquerable infantry in its own sphere will be a proud memory for the regiments to which they belonged.

But, if cavalry soldiers may be called upon sometimes to act on foot, they must have a better firearm. The enemy's fire in South Africa has often been at ranges of 2000 yards, and even more. This distance is, of course, a long way outside the effective range of our carbines, and our men have been much at a disadvantage. In order to get an increased range, it may possibly be necessary to have longer and heavier carbines. This will be an inconvenience, but it must be faced if we are to hold our own in modern war. In the case of Lancers, at any rate, the balance may certainly be restored by doing away with the swords, which, to them, have proved as useless as they are weighty and cumbersome.

We know not what will be the theatre of the next great war in which England will be engaged; but we may take it for granted that in its conditions it will be very different from that now running its


course in South Africa. It is very possible that it may be in a more fertile country, where some supplies of food for man and beast will be found. may be waged against regular troops, whose actions may be guided by the conventional military ideas of Europe, and by the requirements of a civilised people; and it is more than probable that in the field against us will be found regular cavalry, highly trained, and led by scientific soldiers. If we have not thoroughly good mounted troops of our own, in numbers at least in proportion to our infantry and artillery, we shall have cause for deep regret. Mounted infantry will avail us nothing, infantry and artillery will be sadly hampered, if we cannot meet cavalry with cavalry, and if at a given moment we are not able to throw the shock-power of charging horsemen into the scale of battle. Our present campaign has been one of enormous difficulties; but we must not suppose that we shall ever have lesser obstacles meet. Their kind may be changed, but their magnitude will remain. Whatever they may be, they will certainly be such that cavalry will be necessary in order to overcome them. And if we should have to meet a regular army, it will undoubtedly include many men of trained and alert intellect, ready to detect any false movement and to profit by it to our loss, unless we have steady and well-trained cavalry ready to cover and neutralise a failure or to clinch an incipient suc



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