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FRENCH ARMY VETERINARY CORPS WW1
The above picture is the continuing research work of Willy Perrier of Verdun, France This is a rare picture with a Veterinary French Officer (fourth officer from the right wearing two medals, He is with a group of Artillery officers loading up a train at the beginning of the war. Note: Willy will be working on creating a French Veterinary Corps website in the future.
The French Ambulance for the wounded Horses in Service on the French Front 1917
HORSE SURGERY AT THE FRONT IN THE FRENCE VETERINARY CORPS
FIELD HOSPITALS FOR THE TREATMENT OF SICK AND WOUNDED AMIMALS
Time was when, in making war upon what we must now recognize as an altogether trivial and vastly inefficient scale, a very slight injury to horse and mule was ground for his retirement from the service, either by infliction of the death penalty or by the less severe punishment by abandonment. Even as late as 1870 when Europe was last the scene of conflict between first class powers, human surgery was in a very elementary condition as compared with its present high estate, and of animal surgery next to nothing was known or cared. Horses were plentiful, and to cut the Gordian knot presented by a gunshot wound in an equine flank or leg with the aid of a firing squad and a few chosen words about putting the poor brute out of his misery was alike cheaper and easier than to attempt its unraveling by any method calculated to restore the unfortunate animal to a state of usefulness.
Transporting a wounded horse on the Marne front
Today the horse has established his claim to better consideration. We read on every hand of the motorized artillery, motorized infantry, motorized transport, we are told that during the great German withdrawal of last spring cavalry action took place for the first time since the Boche dug himself in after the Battle of the Marne, and from all this we are perhaps prone to conclude that in this war the horse plays little part. But nobody who had been near the front, nobody who has seen the systematic fashion in which British and French agents have been combing over our horse market for three years past. Could possible share this misconception. In face of the incalculable enlargement of the whole scheme of warfare, the internal combustion engine has been powerless to displace the horse, powerless to do anything more than fill the great gap left between the supply of animals and the demand for power. Like everything else, horses and mules are found in this war in numbers never before approached.
Arrival of an ambulance at a French Veterinary Corps Hospital
And, as it has been necessary to exercise greater and greater scrutiny of resources in every direction, as it has been found imperative that an ever increasing percentage of the wounded men be restored to a condition permitting them to return service, that every bit of metal be recovered and used again and again, that guns and lathes, the machinery of destruction and construction, be kept from the permanent scrap heap by every conceivable means, so, too, it has been essential that the ultimate pound of energy be obtained from every animal, that no mount or beast of burden be permitted to go into the last discard until every expedient to save has been exhausted. For horses are scarce; no longer can the army chief shoot them or work them to death or turn them off with calm confidence that plenty more are to be had. Rather he must conserve them in every possible way, and so we have the field hospital for horses, illustrated on the top of this page.
The first adjunct of an ordinary hospital, the avenue through which it is supplied with its raw material, is the ambulance. Now a wounded horse or mule is just like a wounded man, sometimes he can proceed to the nearest relief station under his own steam, and sometimes he must be carried to the operating table. So connected with the horse hospitals at the front we find, sure enough, special horse ambulances. These are hardly so efficient as the more accustomed conveyances for human soldiers, in that the bulk of a horse, and the equine tendency to signalize all physical or mental anguish by means of flying hoofs, make it possible to accommodate but one passenger per trip. But wounded horses are not brought out of such desperate places as are wounded men, nor in such quantities; so this drawback is seldom found to be a serious one.
Shoeing a fractious horse at the infirmary
Once delivered to the hospital and turned over to the doctors, the first consideration is how the horse will behave under whatever treatment his injuries may call for. In the case of human patients this question is disposed of by the use of anesthetics. But a horse would kick up quite as much fuss at being chloroformed as he would at being operated upon; and besides, it is not customary to consider his feelings quite so carefully as those of a man. So he is tied up in such a manner that he cannot kick and cannot jerk the affected region away from the surgeon’s hands, and the work of patching him up proceeds. If the reader will but reflect that even so simple an operation as shoeing gets upon the nerves of many horses to the extent of making it necessary to restrain them, he will realize that it is not always a simple matter to render a horse sufficiently helpless so that knife and needle may safely be used upon him.
No exact statement can be made as to the scope of the operations, which maybe performed successfully upon the patients of this equine hospital. The same difficulties that make it the custom in civil life to shoot a horse with a broken leg are met at the front. The only difference is that here the value of a live animal is so much greater and the technique of treatment so much part of the day’s work that means can profitably be employed for saving him and hastening his recovery which ordinarily would cost to much in labor and expense. Still, as our pictures would indicate, the big part of the work done in this hospital must necessarily be in connection with flesh wounds, and it is in the means for successfully coping with these and preventing infection that the novel service has made its greatest strides.
Treating a victim of mange in the dipping vat
Just as is the case with the human suffer, a horse is not ready for discharge immediately upon the conclusion of the operation. A period of convalescence follows, during which the wound must be kept under observation, maintained in aseptic condition, etc., and as one of our illustrations indicates, the processes and tools used here are substantially the same as those employed for the analogous work upon men. Further, if the nature of the case so demands, measures for restoring the patient’s strength to normal are likewise in order, so that in this as in the more accustomed variety of hospital, the convalescent ward is a feature.
It may be pointed out that the work of the regular field hospital is not confined to cases of actual wounding. Men get typhoid in spite of every possible precaution; exposure leads to pneumonia or the development of constitutional disorders; dysentery and other digestive or nutritive troubles will occur in the best regulated armies. All these must be taken care of in the hospital. The boast that death from preventable causes not directly connected with wounds received in action has been practically eliminated from the modern army is made possible first of course by prevention measures, but second only to these by the excellent hospital facilities which cure a sufferer instead of leaving him to die in his tent. So, too, horses will get the mange, will come down with one or another of the epizootic or casual ills to which horseflesh is heir. These incidents furnish a secondary field of activity for the “horse-pital” as Tommy Atkins undoubtedly dub it were it not that his normal pronunciation of the word debars him from this pleasantry, and a field little if any less in importance than the more spectacular one of repairing the damage of actual wounds.
Veterinary work near Monastir
In the Oise district; preparing to treat sore eyes
Doctoring a wounded artillery horse in Albania
THE HORSES IN THE GREAT WAR WW1
By Roland Bruneau
Presented on February 12, 2005
NOTE: I have received permission to use this material by Jean Blancou of the Society for the History of Medicine and Science Vets, France
NOTE: Because I have translated this report from French to English sometimes material has been lost in the translation.
During the Great War (1914-1918) the daily contacts between men and horses can be summarized in a few action words: select, food, work, cares, suffer, and be remembered. We are interested in horses, mules and donkeys, integrated into the French army on its theaters of operation. The statistics come mainly calculations and evaluations that were published by the Technical Section veterinarian.
STAFF AND THEIR MOVEMENTS
In times of peace, armies have only fairly small amounts of horses, necessary for the investigation of conscripts, senior professionals, laborers, or military interventions.
Each year the Minister of War sets the number and use of animals to be included in the army Remount. The military executes the commands by buying young horses, which constitute a reservation, and adult animals to maintain or increase staffing. In principle, purchasing is done in France, according to the region's resources: riders, artillerymen, head of horses, mules.
Horses are big deals in sufficient numbers, but the development of the truck automobile, the steam engines and railways, may lead farmers to switch production.
Since the war of 1870 - 1871, the riding horse cuirassiers and dragons to lack, because the animals are selected on performance at racetracks: trot and canter. The horse artillery must be mounted or attached, or both. The military Remount complains about not finding in the trade of animals in its "model", and buys, in the absence of choice, products of poor quality. The Haras, whose mission is to encourage, guide production horses for industry, commerce, and military requirements, are subject to criticism. His stallions planned to produce a horse of war, were imposed through the financial and political power of the half-Society. Yet purchases of Remount represent 3,000 to 4,000 horses for artillery and 7,000 to 8,000 riding horses.
On the eve of the First World War, the French Army (including Algeria and Tunisia) has 156,000 horses, including 100,000 saddles, and about 40,000 to 50,000 for the couplers, 7,500 young horses, and aged 3 at 4 years. In Morocco 25,000 horses are raised and unavailable for the metropolis. The national herds of horses were adequate in terms of quantity and quality in order to ensure the country's security in the case of requisitions? Veterinarians Chomel military Jacoulet and give a positive answer as to a total population of animals estimated at 3,230,000 head, including 750,000 broodmares. The answer is no according to the overall ability of livestock or direction driven to livestock.
The requisition of animals is the culmination of an enormous amount of work, identification, and then grading. The Commission filing aims to give definite military jobs to animals that could be requisitioned. It includes a veterinarian (civilian or military), and is chaired by an officer of a weapon climb, whose voice is decisive. Donkeys are excluded from the requisition plan.
Calling leads to a sudden increase in numbers. Thus, after 5 months of war the army requisitioned by France 730,000 equines, and 20,000 in Algeria. We must equip units on a war footing in horses and cars. For example, the weapon of Train - responsible for military transportation - which in peacetime has squadrons of 250 to 300 men, had to mobilize 25,000, and harness horses and cars confiscated. In 1916 and 1917, there was shopping, about 55,000 and 50,000 heads.
The statistics do not always distinguish the purchase requisitions. Either by 1915 145,000 beasts (130,000 in France and 15,000 in Algeria), and in 1918: 150,000 (France, Algeria and Tunisia). The levies in the national herd in the form of purchases and requisitions are high.
For the first time in history France is massively horses and mules.
At the beginning of the conflict, a few mules are bought in Spain. A French military mission moved quickly Goes to the United States, in New York. It has officers, buyers sedentary or mobile, in civilian clothes: these "commissions" include purchasing a rider or a gunner and a veterinarian. While most of the animals come from North America (Canada excluded), a few tens of thousands are from the Argentine Republic. These animals are poorly prepared, but rustic. Health problems that are encountered during the crossings are frequent and poorly controlled.
Data on imports of horses and mules are as follows: 1914: 30,000; in 1915: 250,000, in 1916 230,000; in 1917: 45,000. Either a total of 525,000 head. The suspension of imports was due to the war the German submarine, the priority given to supplies of war, and especially to food of the civilian population and military. Since they can feed her equines, the French army reduced his herd by 100,000 in 1917, while continuing the engine of his armies. It is unclear how many donkeys imported into France who worked during the battles of the Somme and Verdun. These small equines are from North Africa (Algeria), the cattle herd, estimated at about 274,000 head, does not appear to have diminished after the levies needed to meet defense requirements. The French expeditionary corps in the East has used donkeys purchased or confiscated on the spot.
To compensate for losses, rising units established, the Army continues its registration started in peacetime. The following summarize the horses and mules incorporated in the Army during the conflict in 1914: 955,000, in 1915: 395,000, in 1916: 285,000 in 1917: 95,000 and at the end of the war in 1918: 150,000.
From 1914 to December 1918, 1,880,000 horses and mules are incorporated. During this period, nearly 100,000 animals are supplied to the American army.
The requisitions and purchases made in France, including settlements, amounts to 1,355,000 horses and mules (or 72% of the total), while imports account for heads 525,000 (or 28% of the total).
At the time of the armistice, prior to demobilization, the French army account 740,510 animals, the number of animals, dead, missing, slaughtered, reformed is: 1,880,000 head, heads least 740,510, or 1,140,000 heads. According to the technical section veterinarian, these losses are minimal. Approximately 150,000 mules have been incorporated into the French army, which nearly 35,000 bought or requisitioned in 1914. Donkeys are absent from statistics.
THE ANNUAL CHANGES
The following data concerning animals in the area armies of the North and the North-East of France: 1914 (December 31) 955,000 over five months; 1915 (1 January) 589,799; 1915 (December 31) 793,293; 1916 (December 31) 888,919; 1917 (December 31) and 686,003 at the end of the war in 1918 (Dec) 43,0986.
The figures show a net decline of the herd. From 1915 to 1918 the losses minimal amount to 960,000 animals. During the five months of 1914, they exceed 180,000. For the French mobilized, the beginning of the conflict was also the deadliest.
THE WEAPON CAVALIER
These are steps, and expectations that have worn the French cavalry, sometimes moving at a brisk pace, sometimes at no
Figure 1: French cavalry at the Petit Morin 1914
The high command French live in fear of being surprised or overwhelmed by the enemy. Many orders, such as "all… staffing considerations must give way to the need to win battle…” which did not take into account the possibilities of animals were given. From the Battle of the Marne, from 6 to 9 September 1914, the weapon cavalier (Figure 1) can make only modest services, it has not delivered any major battle, and the condition of livestock will only ' worse. That rapid wear shackles, by stages, sometimes approaching 100 km, which handicaps horses.
The van forging, pulled by four horses could not follow the bulk of the cavalry, has compelled farriers working in the emergency without power needs. Not dessellés for several days, it was impossible for animals to recover: Letard, who was at that time using Staff Veterinarian party campaigning on July 31, 1914, note at the end of August in his memoirs: "On the wounds healed and cleaned, replace it the Stool, while horses suffering apprehensive news, Sagging back and geignent… like men. " Regarding the saddle it is surprising to find in veterinary publications, lessons switching operations in the early twentieth century, which indicates the speed, with which the animals have become unavailable and the need to monitor.
Other factors have accelerated the melting of staff. Riders, exhausted, have little time to maintain their mounts. The refueling oats and hay quickly becomes problematic.
How to supply a large number of horses - and not just those in the cavalry - when travel is continuing, the lines of communication bottled mixed units at a retirement? The possibility of living in the country knows its limits very quickly, when the territory has been occupied by a troupe. The insufficient watering horses contributed to the ruin of livestock during the hot days of August, but the heavy package. As for the horses requisition squads assets, it became apparent that their presence would diminish the value of the cavalry combative. Horses close to the blood, assigned to officers, more accustomed to the team with the coverage that bivouac, have hardly resisted. Partly disassembled, reorganized, better equipped and trained, the cavalry Metropolitan will stay closer to the trenches, in anticipation of a war of movement, it will not be an actress.
Upon entry into war, the command French sees his caliber gun "75" covers the essential needs. The coupling includes 6 horses, which are mounted 3 (porters, and three non-assembled sub-called "yards"). At the mobilization, 60% of the animals come from the requisition. Drivers should be working their animals as a team and it was a problem throughout the conflict. The artillerymen wanted horses for two purposes, out of necessity a subset can replace a rod holder or even in the absence of an animal, continue the journey. Depending on their place in the features animals are more or less popular ones, but starting a battery, its mobility in a wet or loose soil, a time to trot a bit long, tiring quickly heterogeneous couplers; this is the reason why, artillery, and unlike the weapon cavalier, overwork herd was chronic. The gun was designed for a full coupling from everywhere, every beast tracte 350 kg.
In 1914 artillery features 3840 pieces of "75" and 308 heavy artillery pieces, in 1918, there were 4968 pieces of campaign 5128 and heavy guns. Meanwhile the proportion of Foot compared to the number of combatants has increased from 69% to 48%, while the gunners changing from 20 to 37%. The movement of heavy requires their partial demolition; the journey is at a slow pace, and the distance remaining low. Hitches hippomobiles include 8 to 10 horses in the difficult sections need to be doubled or even tripled. The barrel and all its components weighing up to 7 tons. The length of slack, up to 10 meters, the columns are getting longer, turn becomes difficult. The alternatives to animal traction are the railroad (heavy artillery force), traction motor vehicle (tractor wheels or tracks, towing by a truck in bandages), and the load on a truck.
The power and compactness of the gasoline engine, its ability to function on a continuing basis, in spite of frequent incidents, improve mobility units. When the coupling of a battery of 30 campaigns has traveled 40 kilometers, the same unit reaching a plateau car had traveled 60 to 100. If the use of inanimate engine is suitable for loads exceeding 3.5 tons, the horse remains useful for traction in difficult conditions.
Apart from the gun and artillery cavalier, horses and mules du Train (transport) mobilized in 1914, 140000 animals, more than 100,000 men, and 50,000 cars hippomobiles. Upon entry into war, the Automotive Service has 9000 vehicles requisitioned it double its fleet by the end of 1915 and in 1918, 43000 vehicles. From 1914 to 1916 the cargo will increase from 27,000 to 747000 tons, transport of troops 200,000 men to nearly 800,000. In June 1918 the Automotive Service is capable of transporting two divisions intact including infantry, machine guns, kitchens hippomobiles wheel, and artillery, with a minimum of horses to follow the infantry in the battle. The Armistice stops the development of these units, which require 150 buses per division.
The military took back little attention to mule: it bought in the United States where the industry remains mulassière traditional and prosperous. For their expeditionary corps in Europe, Americans imported from their homeland mules and mules in 1917 and 1918; these strong animals are hitched to cars, and even batteries from "75". According to some military, the real warhorse it is the mule.
Bâté, mullet still appreciated for its secure footing in the hilly areas where we need strength and endurance in the mountains, in warmer climates. Depending on their size animals weighing from 350 to 400 kilograms, are assigned to companies of the infantry machine guns (sometimes coupled with carts), and batteries mountain (Canon 65 mm caliber, separable) only Bldg. The well-bodied mules can carry up to 170 kg but less when working conditions are harsh. The burden must be balanced, if possible somewhat voluminous, because his swing fatigue animal. The bâts have for the most part a specific function (Exhibit, ammunition, oats…), but can be adapted to other uses. Columns mule tracks can be lengthy because the burden of each beast is still relatively modest compared to a coupling
A herd of mules requires careful monitoring of veterinary prevent, treat injuries, foot pain, wear monitor from the bracket. The farrier has a portable forge. A good precaution is not to specialize an animal in the same carriage. The unavailability of an animal causes an overload of his fellows, if men when the mule track is the only way of communication. In Vosges crews Carriers are insufficient to transport food and other materials, approaching nearly trenches. In addition to the huskies and the cable-were created in 1915, new companies mule tracks, which include about 600 warheads.
In November 1918, the army of the East, the French writer Roger Vercel, note about mules "was needed to ten in the morning, for their meat bâter keen to: fifty kilos on a wound, it make them crazy! In the evening, they s'abattaient stones in the road and waited Carriers, the air bothered, they have finished crever for débâter, because of the kicking they sent in agony.
In the area of Verdun in July 1916, the staff decides on an experimental basis, using donkeys bearing bâts indigenous because no vehicle can not venture on the ground shocked by the bombs. A flock of bourricots, divided into several batches must refuel men water, tools, and grenades.
The command questioned the ability of animals to make progress in any field, the load transportable behavior under fire, the width of the passages necessary to bâts, and the number of animals killed. The tests are used to determine a load of 50 to 60 kg is sufficient, much more than the bag of infantryman, but in reality these weights are largely outdated.
Small donkeys or walk uncovered in trenches; couffins rub against their sides and their legs, impeding travel. According to witnesses the behavior of donkeys is passive during loading, sometimes quite indifferent, and sometimes rather frightened under fire.
To force these donkeys to remain silent, their upper lip was cut vertically in a nostril: braiement every attempt to cause pain at the incision. Present in the Somme, Flanders, Artois, the Aisne, donkeys are at the service of the infantry, engineers, artillery, they are the last link in the transport chain before humans. "" Bourricots benefit from the fighters of a good child compassion.
FOOD AND HEALTH
THE RATIONS AND WATERING REGULATIONS
The daily rations of Horses are defined in terms of weight and work animals, and they include oats and hay. The ration of a horse wholesale deals may exceed 7 kg of oats and 6 kg of hay, that of a mule less than 5 kg of oats and 3.4 kg of hay. The alternative foods are planned for hygienic reasons, or because of the scarcity of fodder. The water per capita stands at 20 liters of water per day on average, without accounting for what is necessary to pansage.
THE REALITIES OF WAR
In peacetime, the crops French cover the needs of the national herd, except for maize. The war, its duration and its territorial scope, is a considerable shock for agriculture: mobilization of men, requisitions, purchase of animals, and disruption of transport. The fall in agricultural production is accentuated by the German occupation, which was partial or total, 11 French departments.
The operating system of national resources in the area of military and at the rear, quickly enough: we need supplies abroad. The establishment and implementation plans are difficult. The economic mobilization Interalliée was hardly considered. In 1914 war broke out in the middle of wheat harvest, refugees backs and cereal imports are vital. During the last months of 1916, the needs are intensifying, the French government gives priority to food - who suffer restrictions - and supplies manufactured war. The winter of 1916-1917 was rude. In October 1917 military stores have only a few days oats. The submarine war has destroyed many Allied ships; the French merchant fleet has lost 30% of its capacity.
Throughout the war stewards and veterinarians are trying to save oats or find substitutes new, but failed. Long is the list of alternative foods: corn, barley, paddy, fèverole, bean… In early 1917 the ration has declined so much that experts consider then impossible to reduce the quantity of grain.
The hay is also the subject of substitutes, like molasses, marc apples, vine branches, reeds and gorse crushed, locust bean… North Africa provides the bulk of oats or its substitutes.
Since 1915, all of France hay are requisitioned, it is imported from the United States, Canada, sometimes poor quality. The straw sleeping men, despite all its vermin, sometimes becomes a substitute for hay. The animals of the French army in the East, have been more abused than their peers metropolitan, if we are to believe the health of a veterinarian major "For many periods ranging from one week to several months, hay n '
Not been distributed. These deprivations have never been offset by a strong restorative ration. The lack of fodder, food deprivation has changed the organs of the digestive system. The liver is stunted, the size intestinal very small, the animals cannot be rehabilitated. They suffer from pica, eat the earth and their excreta, absorption, which concludes with severe disorders."
Returning to France. Canned foods are grain products dense hay is bulky and has to be pressed. These fragments plants perishable fear moisture. Sometimes foods require preparation (flattening, crushing), it is necessary to have labor with machines. The Futter have problems of storage and transport. The gauge railway normal (or narrow-gauge in Verdun) can deliver huge amounts - cars have failed - but it should go as close to the front, relayed by other means of transportation. The pull horse has proved slow and a return wholly inadequate.
The war of the trenches will force the command to organize in 1915 water services, in charge of supplying troops and animals passing through or parking. We must restore or create adductions, install pumps to increase the water points.
In Champagne and in the Somme where water is scarce and in-depth engineering digging wells. The construction of wooden troughs, or conversion of small rivers, requires monitoring to avoid contamination, human or animal origin. A common method for purification of water for consumption of horses is to remove suspended solids through a filter made up of remnants of coal and rocks, which are contained in a crate.
During the conflict, equine how were they maintained? The Veterinary Staff Floriot says: "The absence or inadequacy of supervision are extremely important factors in the morbidity and mortality! Every time that the surveillance is slacking, health resent them does drivers and the riders away étrille, brush and sponge? The animals assigned to the infantry, artillery, transportation are most sought mostly at night, for this reason they are often only one passage daily instead of two. The stables summary, if no shelter, exposes livestock to the weather, and will contribute significantly to weaken animals, which are already suffering from poverty physiological.
THE INJURIES AND ILLNESSES
A horse on September has been affected by the canister; seven horses met at least three die (Figure 2). The year 1918 generates the greatest number of injuries. If fire kills, the statistics do not perceive significant improvement in the functioning of the Veterinary Service.
Furthermore, in the early twentieth century, pathology external includes a whole range of conditions: the lesions of the musculoskeletal system, skin diseases, injuries, whether from "war" or "tack”, the consequences of gassing (figure 3)
The wounds of tack affect just over one quarter of the workforce, scabies is close to this level of disease. The periods of preparation and time to battle increasing morbidity, and then with a lag, they increase mortality. The fighting in Verdun (1916 and 1917), Champagne (1915.1917), and especially the German and French offensives in 1918 were deadly.
Figure 2: Victims ignored Oise 1917, photo Jean Tournassoud
The main diseases reported in the herd are military glanders and scabies. The glanders, deadly little affection, has grown rapidly since the beginning of the campaign, veterinarians could not monitor the herd because of the war of movement. At the beginning of 1915 that the disease is reported; hospitalizations peak in the first half of the same year. This disease fall regularly until the armistice, while representing less than a horse or suspect morveux about 12,500 animals. These results were obtained by the general screening forms expressed or latent glanders (malléination), and the sacrifice of animals. It seems, however, that slaughtering have sometimes been too systematic.
Scabies is observed in all the warring armies. A horse on four scabby was recognized in the French armed forces. The ascent of this disease is huge, morbidity by 30 per 1000 in 1915, stands at 213 per 1000 in 1918. The common treatment is to mow the horse and the "pommader" work is crafted. The large number of scabby requires a change in the method and scale. Treatment with bathing pool in a drug solution, used successfully by the British during the Boer War has been applied in France (1916). Another method can be added to the previous, without excluding them: it is to lock in a volume just enough one or more horses whose head is kept out by a tight collar. From sulphur dioxide (obtained by burning sulphur) is introduced into the room and envelops the body of animals previously shorn two sulfurations at least appear necessary at ten-day intervals. The mortality caused by the gale, which stood at 15.8% in 1917, dropped slightly the following year. It is not clear whether this decline is due to the bathing.
The internal diseases include diseases of the digestive tract, overwork, and exhaustion. This simplified classification, which is used during the campaign, shows a slight variation of the disease. The herd of the French army in the East is a significant exception, because of its fragility linked to severe malnutrition. Approximately 30% of horses and mules of the French army were imported from the American continent, the highest number in the United States. The state health board ship and landing has been unpredictable. However, the animals from the Republic Argentina supported the trip better, despite a more difficult one crossing. The English who buy horses in the United States, using their fleets with their staff, have minimal losses.
THE RESULTS OF THE CAMPAIGN
From 1 August 1914 to 31 December 1918, each horse or mule to the French army would have been sick (injuries included), 7.16 times. The overall morbidity has varied over time; maximum 1914 (2694 to 1000 the number of horses), it changed little in subsequent years: from 1521 in 1673 to 1000. In the expeditionary corps morbidity is high from 1916 to 1918, it is highest in France in the area of armies in 1917 and 1918.
Morbidity total group of diseases is as follows: 16% contagious diseases; diseases internal 24% and 60% external diseases
Communicable diseases are the most heavily represented and cover multiple pathology. It is likely that distribution of animals performed only after symptoms have inflated the figures for external diseases at the expense of those of internal diseases. The mortality rate was calculated for the military including all health institutions; compared to the average overall, the record stands at around 853 deaths per 1000 horses. By referring to the average number of major armed forces, expeditionary corps lose their entire workforce, and in France there were 801 deaths per 1000 horses.
In 1925 statistics of the veterinary section French indicate that the annual average approximately 15% of the horses and camels, the latter being killed in greater numbers. These result would be the best compared to past wars.
In the German army 2,500,000 horses did campaign and each animal was treated an average of 3 times. Of the diseased animals 7,000,000, 666,000 were killed or died after treatment, 27% of the population-mobilized horse.
Less than 30% of horses and mules American Expeditionary Force died.
The ability of French Veterinary Service to treat the animals to restore them in his armies has been poor, in periods of low activity like those of large military activity.
Figure 3: Mules victims of mustard gas, Champagne 1917, photo Jean Tournassoud
THE DIFFICULTIES AND REFORMS
Nearly lines of fire, injured horses are completed, even if they are minor injuries. Priority is given to human beings and the continuation of military operations. A regimental the infirmary, the veterinarian will look after the animals able to stand and move, recovered in 8 days. In the battle zone, rearward ranging deposition éclopés or sick animals, (30 to 40 days), to veterinary hospitals can accommodate many animals for special care that do not exceed three months. Articles - anonymous or signed - appear in the press professionally since 1915, which criticized the operation of the veterinary service, emphasizing his organization irrational, its lack of resources, losses. The Veterinary Service English is cited as a model (figure 4)
Figure 4 English cavalry, 1914
The objective of the reforms of French Veterinary Service, from 1917 to the armistice, aims to create a whole, which focuses and adjusts to retreat and advance of the armies. The replacement of healthy animals should be faster, and the care of sick and wounded earlier in the interests of horses refueling units.
The technical function of the veterinarian becomes clearer, but it remains the subject of an officer of a weapon mounted, for the staff, location and management of health facilities. A ministerial dispatch of November 23, 1918 announced that a veterinarian was committed to the Grand Headquarters, as a technical adviser, a position previously provided by a cavalry colonel, no doctor of animals.
The First World War was a conflict in which the killing and wounding took a Mass for men and equine. The monuments and plaques memory are many, in schools, businesses, cemeteries, public places. In France, the city of Saumur is known for its military cavalry school, museum of the horse. How, in this place, the memory of the men towards the noble animal has it expressed?
The monument to the dead of the town, built in 1925, is carved in stone a jumper anonymous; behind him a woman sitting in winged amazon symbolizes the victory. In the traditional equestrian statuary identified the character is a sovereign, a great master or a patron saint.
Faced with the cavalry school, the memorial has the distinction of being decorated and autographed on both sides. At the center of the monument two centaurs, mythical creatures par excellence, expressing the fusion of man and horse and the tribute of the weapon to his cavalier dead. On both sides of centaurs, two bas-reliefs, one shows traditional warfare of 1914, with indigenous riders, while in contrast, in 1918, riders dismounted keep the trench. The battlefield is a "no man's land" where tanks and evolve, in the sky, airplanes.
The other side shows the monument in its center, an imaginary scene: in the clouds, under the rays of a bright sun, a horse maintained in respect imposing an eagle symbol of the imperial Germany. Under this panel a dedication: "To the memory of veterinary military officers, non-commissioned officers, sergeants, riders died for France". Two bas-reliefs illustrating the role of veterinary military, shows one of the instruments (strings, lakes, entravons, surgical kit), the other a belt of farrier where his tools are hung. Other bas-reliefs expose stool, irons, Jaws, spears with their flame and topped with sage leaves. In a room of the castle of Saumur a plate in 1923 is dedicated: "For 1140000 horses dead French army during the World War from 1914 to 1918. The museum recognizing the horse. "
A Arras, on the monument to the dead, the military subjects alongside rural activities, as northern France has long been occupied by the Germans. In North Africa, the young Republic of Algeria has kept its capital in the monument to the dead of the colonial era. The Casablanca (representing a jumper spahi shaking hands of a Metropolitan), returned to France: the town of Senlis - and many others - has two monuments to commemorate the dead.
A Rivesaltes (Eastern Pyrenees), we can see a bronze equestrian statue of Joseph-Jacques Cesaire Joffre, a child in the country raised to the dignity of Marshal of France on December 25, 1916 (Figure 5)
The King of the Belgians, Albert 1er, has exercised his prerogative to order personal army. His grateful countrymen, with the support of veterans, have erected to his memory an equestrian statue. It is, since 1938, in Nieuwpoort, at the centre of a huge double peristyle circular brick. In France, the English Marshal Douglas Haig at the top of his horse, overlooks the lace de Montreuil (Pas-de-Calais). In this town the headquarters of the British Armed moved from 1916 to 1918; bronze was inaugurated in 1931, then a second time in 1950. The statue was recovered and fondue in Germany during the Second World War. The monument's most poignant is probably one of the London Division, in the heart of Chipilly (Sum). An English soldier embraces the nostrils of his horse injured. This work was conducted by H. Stone Gajoué, french sculptor. Under the auspices of the Animal Rescue of the American Red Cross, a plaque was affixed to the Ministry of war in Washington, with these words of General John Pershing:
The horses and mules of the Army were of inestimable value in the war leading to a happy ending. They could be found in any theatre preparedness and operations, fulfilling their duties faithfully and in silence, without being able to expect no reward or compensation. "In November 2004, England has inaugurated a memorial to all its soldiers dead animals in the war.
NOTE: I would like to thank Willy Perrier posting this report
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U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP
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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country’s history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved “Horse and Mule”. There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.
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