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This is a direct transcription of a small pamphlet printed by the Quartermaster Dept, circa 1924. It is the most concise and descriptive reference on the Phillips Pack Saddle I've seen yet, so I've included it in it's entirety. This document courtesy of the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.



Tests of pack saddles for the purpose of replacing the cumbersome and crude Aparejo in combat organizations were started in 1908 when the War Department equipped one squad of each Machine Gun Platoon with the English Pack Saddle and one squad with the Aparejo. The tests covered a period of three years. Neither type of saddle was satisfactory, but much valuable information was obtained as a result of these tests. The end of these tests was the starting point in the development of the Phillips Pack Saddle.

The need for a suitable pack saddle was keenly felt when our troops entered Mexico in 1916 and again when the World War came upon us.

With the great increase in the number of modern weapons of war, machine gun and machine rifle units; radio, wire and other signal packs; demolition and pioneer packs, kitchen and other troop packs, there developed the need for a pack saddle which would enable pack animals to accompany cavalry at all gaits as well as a saddle suitable for cargo at slower gaits. Pack transportation at Cavalry gaits was recognized as a different and bigger problem than pack transportation at the pack train gaits of amble and walk.

Further tests of pack equipment begin in earnest in 1919 upon the return of our troops from France. The World War demonstrated the need for equipment simple in design, that could be used by National Army troops with a short period of training. Practically all standard types of foreign pack saddles and American types were tested by boards of the several services.

The Phillips Pack Saddle, as designed by Lt. Col. Albert E. Phillips of the Cavalry, won each of the service tests in which this saddle was entered. The Infantry test was conducted by the Infantry School at Camp Benning in 1920. The Mountain Artillery test was conducted by the Pack Artillery Board, 4th Artillery, in 1922-23, and consisted of over five hundred miles of marching. Three separate tests were conducted in the Cavalry by the 1st Cavalry Division, covering eleven hundred and fifty miles of marching, in each of which the Phillips Saddle won first place.

As a final result of all tests, the Phillips Pack Saddle was adopted for the Cavalry service on July 26, 1924.


The Phillips 'Pack Saddle Model 1924 represents the highest development of the pack saddle. Briefly, the saddle consists of two pads and a frame, with specially designed accessories of breeching, breast strap and cinchas.

The back or outside of the pads is of selected tan leather, reinforced with spring steel ribs, arranged longitudinally to assist in maintaining the shape of the pads while the contact side is covered with the highest grade woven felt or calf-skin as desired. The pads are stuffed with long curled hair, which retains its resiliency indefinitely. The pads are molded to form and are rights and lefts; new pads may be requisitioned as required. There are three handholes on the outside or back of each pad for adjustments. The pads are equipped for attachment to the frame.

The frame is scientifically designed so as to be light in weight, and to withstand hard usage; to lend itself readily for nil pack purposes, such as carriers for top loads and hangers for side loads and is free of all projections. A small hook on each bottom bar eliminates a lash cinch when the diamond or other hitch loads are packed. This hook is used with foot-rests on the corners of each pad, the rope passing around the foot-rests. These foot-rests also keep the pads off the ground when the saddle Is removed from the animal in camp.

The pads are attached to the frame by staple fasteners at the top of pads and by aluminum pockets at the bottom of the pads. Brass locking pins through the pockets lock the pads to the frame. The pads are easily and quickly attached to, or detached from the frame without the use of tools.

The saddle is equipped with two mohair cinchas and is cinched principally with the front one. With cinchas properly adjusted this method allows the hind quarters to travel through their natural swinging motion. The cinchas are equipped with a specially designed but simple device for rapid cinching and quick release of cinchas without tying or untying of knots.

The breeching was developed with the saddle and differs from all other types of breechings. It was designed to function at all gaits and satisfactorily fulfills requirements.

The breast collar is useful for fast gaits and up hill work.

There is considerable flexibility to the saddle and it is suitable for either horses or mules. The pack animal has considerable freedom of movement under the saddle and can gallop with agility.

Tests have demonstrated that the saddle will not only save animals, but insure the loads being present when needed. The average soldier may be taught to handle the saddle in a short period of time.

The Cavalry saddle weighs 50 pounds. The Artillery-Cargo saddle weighs 58 pounds. 94.5 June 20, 1929
[hand written note/correction to manual in bold]

One Phillips woven mohair pad is issued with each saddle. This pad shapes itself instantly to the contour of the animal's back; is durable, soft, cool, and easily cleaned. It replaces the woolen blanket and the canvas lined corona. This pad has met the enthusiastic approval of every one who has used it. The pad will not of itself cause an injury.