horse use Churchill

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selewis
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This, from Vol. II History of WWII "Their Finest Hour" with a bit of the preceding paragraphs for context:

"Priorities
Note from the Prime Minister
October 15,1940

...3. At present we are aiming at five armored divisions and armored brigades equivalent to three more. This is not enough. We cannot hope to compete with the enemy in numbers of men, and therefore rely upon an exceptional proportion of armored fighting vehicles. Ten armored divisions is the target to aim for to the end of 1941. For this purpose the Army must searchingly review their demands for mechanized transport, and large purchases of M.T. must be made in the United States. The home Army, working in this small island with highly developed communication of all kinds, cannot enjoy the same scale of transport which divisions on foreign service require. Improvisations and makeshift must be their guides. A staff officer renders no service to the country who aims at ideal standards, and thereafter simply adds and multiplies until impossible totals are reached. A report should be furnished of mechanical transport, first, second, and third line of British divisions-

(1) For foreign service,
(2) For home service,
(3) For troops on beaches.

Any attempt to make heavy weather out of this problem is a failure to aid us in our need.

Wherever possible in England, horse transport should be used to supplement M.T. We improvidently sold a great many of our horses to the Germans, but there are still a good many in Ireland."


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Pat Holscher
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Churchill's book is a great one.

Later in that same volume he expresses regret about the extent to which the UK had become motorized in the civilian sector between the wars and muses about trying to reintroduce horses in some civilian roles.

One thing worth noting a bit is that while Churchill was expressing the truth, i.e., that the British lacked the industrial capacity to produce all of the mechanized things it required for the war, its industrial production was actually quite a bit higher than generally imagined. Indeed, the government intentionally allowed for the belief that it was smaller than it really was for propaganda reasons as it was felt that this would increase American support for supplying materials to the British effort.
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JV Puleo
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We should also keep in mind that Churchill was talking about civilian use of motor transport. Of all the belligerents in WWII only the U.S. and Britain were fully mechanized. The Germans used a huge number of horses although the Propaganda Ministry was careful not to show that very often...giving the impression they were more mechanized than they were. A few weeks ago I was reading a book about Operation Sea Lion that mentioned that the German loading tables for the invasion force included a large number of horses...to pull the artillery.
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Pat Holscher
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JV Puleo wrote: Mon Nov 09, 2020 11:12 pm We should also keep in mind that Churchill was talking about civilian use of motor transport. Of all the belligerents in WWII only the U.S. and Britain were fully mechanized. The Germans used a huge number of horses although the Propaganda Ministry was careful not to show that very often...giving the impression they were more mechanized than they were. A few weeks ago I was reading a book about Operation Sea Lion that mentioned that the German loading tables for the invasion force included a large number of horses...to pull the artillery.
Excellent point.
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Pat Holscher
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Indeed, just following up on Joe's last point, it's easy to forget that the combined Commonwealth/English industrial capacity was pretty impressive.

According to one recent British author (whose name I've forgotten) the sense we have of the British just barely hanging on but for American lend lease is something that was purposely exaggerated by Churchill in order to engender American support. US materials were needed, that's for sure, but British industrial capacity wasn't negligible. British aircraft production exceeded German production early in the war and the British produced a wide range of war materials. The UK relied on Canadian vehicle production in part, and came to rely on US production, but going into the war they were pretty much past the equine transport stage which not only made their Army more modern, in that respect, but which also made it easier to transport it from one location to another, something particularly important for an island nation. I don't think there was a single area in regard to war material where the British didn't manufacture something, from clothing to tanks. Indeed, in the last category, it's become easy to forget that the British were manufacturing their own tanks, augmented by Shermans, right to the end of the war.

Maybe only in regard to the Jeep were the British without an analogous Commonwealth produced variant, if compared to the US. And they made some things, like tracked Bren Gun Carriers or really specialized tanks, that the US didn't.
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JV Puleo
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We should also keep in mind that the Germans used an enormous amount of captured equipment, from small arms to tanks...their industrial capacity, while great, was never able to supply all their requirements while the US produced so much more than it could use that it could afford to aid both the British and the Russians.
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Content Author

Weapons of the Third Reich: An encyclopedic survey of all small arms, artillery, and special weapons of the German land forces, 1939-1945, 1979, by Terry Gander is an excellent work on this subject.

https://www.amazon.com/Weapons-Third-Re ... 385150903
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