The Minute Book
Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Cavalry Horses Supplanted by Armored Cars
Topic: British Army

British Army Cavalry Horses Supplanted by Armored Cars

The Southeast Missourian, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 10 March 1936

Many army officers thought the mechanization would stop there, but it was only the start of what one veteran warrior with military indignation described in a letter to The Times as "downright horse stealing."

London, March 10.—(UP)—Old army men are grumbling over their whiskies-and-sodas in the officers' clubs these days because the machine age has robbed the cavalry of its horses.

"Egad, sir!" they sputter, "What good is a soldier without a horse. Remember The King's Own Hussars at Khyber Pass, and the Ninth Royal Lancers in the siege of Delhi."

The government's decision to mechanize the cavalry, substituting armored cars and light tanks for steeds, has brought loud wails from old army men who assert that many of the most glorious fighting traditions of Britain's fighting forces will be shattered.

Cars Steel Plated

Eight of the nation's famous cavalry regiments will disappear and in their places will be units of steel-plated, fast-traveling cars carrying fighting men who once rode proudly into battle on horseback, lances tilted and swords flashing.

The revolutionary change did not come easily. The War Office argued for several years against the die-hards of the military service before winning them over to the idea that modern means of warfare have out-moded the cavalry.

Nowadays an army in the field moves rapidly, with 70-mile-an-hour tanks in advance. Fast protective reconnaissance is necessary—faster than horse cavalry.

Substitution of gasoline for hay and oats as the mobile fuel of Britain's lancers actually began two years ago when two cavalry regiments were converted into armored car regiments. They were the 11th Hussars, known as "Prince Albert's own" with the Duke of York as colonel-in-chief, and the 12th Royal Lancers whose colonel-in-chief was the Prince of Wales, now King Edward VIII.

Many army officers thought the mechanization would stop there, but it was only the start of what one veteran warrior with military indignation described in a letter to The Times as "downright horse stealing."

The change-over from horse to motor strips romantic color from several cavalry regiments whose rich tradition extends back 250 years and through a dozen or more bitter campaigns.

Guards Date to 1685

One of these is the First King's Dragoon Guards, commonly known as the "K.D.G's." who date back to 1685 and the days of the Duke of Monmouth's rebellion. Every British schoolboy has read and recited of its valor in the battle of Sedgemoor and in Flanders under King William. It also served in the battle of Minden and in the Crimea before Sevastopol.

The Queen's Bays or Second Dragoon Guards also organized in 1685 to fight under King William in the Irish and Flanders campaigns. A hundred years later the regiment gained the honor of "The Queen's Bays" and every man was mounted on a long-tailed bay. It participated in the relief and capture of Lucknow.

The Senior Subaltern


Posted by regimentalrogue at 12:01 AM EDT

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