This is an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars in general hosted by Marcus Wendel's Axis History Factbook in cooperation with Michael Miller's Axis Biographical Research and Christoph Awender's WW2 day by day.
...army [Heer, not Wehrmacht] horse and mule establishment strength was 537,000 upon the outbreak of war in 1939, rising to 771,000 by 1940 [...] by the time of Barbarossa, nearly 1 million horses were in service.
Great losses were caused by the terrible Russian winter 1941-1942. Between Dec. 1 1941 and March 15 1942 179,600 horses perished, mostly due to cold and hunger. In the same period only 20,000 replacement animals were provided*. As further replacements 129,000 horses had flowed to the Ostheer by May 1 1942**, of which some 60,000 had to be brought up over distances of up to 1,000 kilometers.
Due to the loss of numerous vehicles, demands to horse-units ["bespannte Einheiten"] rose***, so another 118,000 horses were acquired from occupied territories. Also, the troops themselves captured many horses, including Soviet state-owned panje horses. This enabled the horse- and draft animal stock to increase to 1.38 million, despite further big losses in 1943...
waldzee wrote:...While I’m not the ‘military harness expert’ Grant MacEwan was LWD, you raise an interesting point on ‘indirect fire’.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_World_War_I showed that combat transport horse under 14.3 hands were preferred, esp. in the latter stages of combat when aerial strafing became intense. Air strafing of supply columns in world War Two (...) was the major cause of Wehrmacht horse loss.
Heavy draft horses are at a real disadvantage, compared to warm bloods, when you have to pull the linch pin & scatter the teams...
waldzee wrote:Objection duly noted.
MacEwan's earlier works are not on line, unfortunatly. Suffice to say we named a University after him, in memorial.
'cold blood' is an archaic term, as all horses have the same blood temperature, more or less.. Heavy draft is the more accurate term.
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And since horses and mules are not as sturdy as cars and trucks, during the war on the Eastern front the German Army lost an average of 1,000 horses a day. About 75 percent of these losses were due to combat, 17 percent to heart failure brought on by overwork, and the balance, 8 percent, to diseases, exposure, and starvation.
The total number of horses used by the German armed forces during the war is unknown, but losses appear to have totaled about 2.7 million, nearly double the 1.4 million that were lost in World War I. This includes animals killed for food:
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