Portugese Dragoons

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Pat Holscher
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Wed Apr 10, 2002 9:50 pm

Miguel Freire sent these absolutely great photos of Portuguese Dragoons. Are these circa the 1970s? Great photos, thanks for sending them!

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Pat
Ron Smith
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Wed Apr 10, 2002 9:56 pm

Great pics!!!!

I am curious as to the long arm; is that a FNFAL L1A1 or a H&K? Also what type of side armm is that. So many questions!!!!!

It is apparent that those horses are not the gargantuans every one assumes is used but a practical sized_________________ (breed). I would like to get into the training of the horses and the style, length and scope of the equitation training for the Officers and troops. But I will pursue that in a different thread.

Regards,
Ron Smith
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Wed Apr 10, 2002 10:02 pm

Ron,

I was remiss in not posting the information that Miguel sent with these photos, here it is:

These are interesting pictures of a dragoon equipped to short-time operations and a captain with all gear for long-term operations (they could last 30 days), in this particular picture you can see the individual armament: Pistol Walther P-38 (9mm) and semi-automatic weapon G-3.
Pat
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Wed Apr 10, 2002 11:14 pm

Great photos
Great topics
Thanks for sharing
sam

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John M
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Thu Apr 11, 2002 11:39 am

Yes, excellent photos. Would be interesting to know the background to them.
Can't unfortunately see much of the saddle except for the knee rolls...and the loop for the (absent) circingle.
aLSO, cannot quite see the bit detail, but looks like a double rein attaching to a pelham?.
John.M.

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Thu Apr 11, 2002 9:17 pm

I wonder what the basic load amounted to weight wise? It looks pretty heavy. The G3 isn't a light weapon, and this trooper appears to have a bag that will hold something like four magazines, which wouldn't be lightweight.

Remarkable that this use was being made of cavalry in the early 70s while cavalry was also being used in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) at the same time.

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Ron Smith
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Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:17 pm

Pat,
I had suspicions that the weapon was a G3, and they are heavy. We had those in 86 for the Olympics at Houston. Magazines were carried on a LBV and were heavy, that has to uncomfortable on the waist and would account for a lot of weight. Good weapon though.

But in my opinion, having weight in weapons and ammo, and rations is better than fluffy impractical gear. I am curiouys as to how the horses reacted to a G3 firing from the saddle, it has a viscious muzzle blast and shock pattern.

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Ron Smith
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Thu Apr 11, 2002 10:30 pm

THESE are COOL!!! I knew that the Portuguese were using mounted troops in Angola and Mozambique in the late '70's, but this is the first time I have seen decent pictures of them.

The rifle is indeed the Heckler&Koch G3, just like the ones issued to the Bundeswehr, and more than likely with a full-auto switch, though usually used on semi. Note that he carries the butt in a bucket, much like the ones issued to German troops between the wars, but forward, much like a pommel holster. The Captain carries the butt of HIS rifle to the rear, a la German troops, and various other Europeans I'm sure. Actually, I am reminded of the various ways dragoons carried their muskets in the various European armies in the late 17th to early 18th Centuries. I guess a good idea is hard to keep down! I wonder if the Portuguese troops in the 1930's carried their Mausers in these same buckets?

What strikes me is actually how light they are loaded. A G3 weighs in at about 10 pounds, with the magazines at about 2 pounds each, so about 20 pounds in weapon and ammo. Light military saddle (or even English), with fairly minimal snivel gear. Very much like the photos I have seen of Grey's Scouts in Rhodesia at the same time, fighting the same enemy. Anyone have any pics of Grey's (or Sealous) Scout's on horseback?

Also, I note that in the field they are using a double rein bit, but I cannot tell if it is from the use of a curb and a bridoon, or a Pelham style bit. But the fellow posing is using a snaffle...though the cheek-pieces look like they are built to mount a bridoon and a curb. Interesting, and I suppose a holdover from the old stocks still in store (or use?) from the '30's and '40's.

Thanks for the pictures, I am really jazzed by them! COOL STUFF!

LD

"After God, we owe our Victory to our Horses"

Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada, 1543
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 8:44 am

Gentlemen,
It is good to know that you found this pictures "good stuff". You have a lot of questions to which I have answers. At the moment I am busy but I intend to give you further information tonight or tomorrow morning (european timetable) and provide a few more pictures. I remember you that you can find an article about the portuguese dragoons (which answer your questions) at Armor magazine on-line(US ARMY Armor branch magazine, issue May-June 1998)
See you later
Miguel
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 8:50 am

Very much like the photos I have seen of Grey's Scouts in Rhodesia at the same time, fighting the same enemy. Anyone have any pics of Grey's (or Sealous) Scout's on horseback?
A long time ago, in the original "Everlasting Lasts" thread, some shy person sent me a link to some Grey's Scouts photos. Of the two links, this is the one that is still functional. There's one photo of a Grey's Scout depicted. The other site which had been linked has a new URL which can be followed for more photos, the overwhelming majority of which are unrelated to this topic.

http://www.fnfal.com/falfiles/raw.html

The bucket method of carrying the rifle here is very interesting. I had wondered how a modern assault rifle would be carried while mounted. The bucket was used, as noted, by German troops prior to, and during perhaps the first year or so, of WWII. And the UK also used buckets. During WWII the Germans abandoned the bucket to carry the rifle, including the Stg44, across the back. Strangely, the Germans had abandoned this method in WWI, finding that in an emergency the soldier could be left without his rifle.

Pat
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 9:16 am

Gentlemen,
It is good to know that you found this pictures "good stuff". You have a lot of questions to which I have answers. At the moment I am busy but I intend to give you further information tonight or tomorrow morning (european timetable) and provide a few more pictures. I remember you that you can find an article about the portuguese dragoons (which answer your questions) at Armor magazine on-line(US ARMY Armor branch magazine, issue May-June 1998)
See you later
Miguel
I've downloaded that article and intend to read it tonight. I must say that it looks extremely interesting.

Indeed, I had not looked at an issue of Armor Magazine for probably 20 years, but it looks like it has really become pretty good. Some interesting historical stuff is being printed in it.

Pat
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 10:37 am

Once again, note in the photo of the mounted Rhodesian scout that the horse is not particularly large. If all other things are equal, a smaller horse is actually an advantage. If we assume that a modern trooper with gear weighs 175 lbs, then a horse one hand taller will require him to expend an extra 58.33 lbs/ft of energy every time he mounts the horse. A shorter, stockier horse would quickly become popular with the soldiers. The ideal horse at Fort Riley in peacetime and the ideal horse in a war zone may be two entirely different things!
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 10:37 am

I own a book over the Boer war (1899-1902) whose cover depicts a column of british cavalrymen, or maybe mounted infantrymen, carrying their Lee Metfords in the same way that the dragoons are, that means the butt into a leather bucket and a short leather strap forming a loop about 60 cmts. long around their left forearm. I’ll try to scan it and paste it later.
In the thread “Nations that still have mounted schools” is the link to that terrific article from Miguel “http://knox-www.army.mil/armormag/mj98/3dragoes.pdf.”

And having read it I stumbled on another good articles that I suggest,

http://knox-www.army.mil/armormag/mj98/3cowboys98.pdf that´s the story of the rescue of the Lippizaner horses by the U.S. Army in WWII.

These articles are very good also.


http://knox-www.army.mil/armormag/mj98/3trends1.pdf
http://knox-www.army.mil/armormag/ma97/2maniac97.pdf
http://knox-www.army.mil/armormag/ma97/2british97.pdf


Here is one more picture of the Grey Scouts http://www.geocities.com/rhodesiansatwa ... /RAW1.html

Oscar Torres Arrau
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Fri Apr 12, 2002 10:53 am

Kelton:

At the turn of the 20th century, up through the Great War, there was a running debate about horse size, with some very sound points being made for smaller theoretically hardier stock. Various articles appeared in the Cavalry Journal, and at least one small book was published on the topic. I will dig out my copy in the next day or so.

Interestingly, a British book called The Horse and the War, about the remount and procurement process for Allied (especially British) horses from North America makes the point that gun teams from the relatively smaller Percheron grade stock that was dominant in America held up far better in the field than did the English Clydesdales and Shires.

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Sat Apr 13, 2002 6:35 am

Some information about Portuguese Dragoons concerning some of your questions:
-The first and second remount came from South Africa, the third came from Argentina;
-The saddle and all the other gear came from the old stocks still in store: The saddle was a model from 1938 with some improvements in 1942. The bridle is from 1941. Concerning the bucket where the rifle is carried, I asked a veteran (a retired colonel who commanded the experience platoon in 1967 and took the pictures of the trooper) what it was but he was not able to specify, just “old gear to carry something”. The point is that I have never seen such a gear being used in the 20, 30 or 40’s. The Portuguese cavalry used a long bucket to carry the Mannlicher carbine and later the Mauser (hope Pat will post a picture).
-When the enemy contact was not likely the G-3 was carried in the bucket, when the contact was expected it was carried ready to be used. Then a Walther P-38 pistol was given to every trooper and it was carried in the hand ready to be used on horseback, the G-3 was used on foot.
-The horse adaptation to the shooting was made with old cavalry methods: first one shot while the horse was eating down, then two shoots next day until a final stage with the trooper on horse back emptying a full magazine (hope Pat will post a picture).
-The equipment on horseback followed the old cavalry rule. One pack sack for the horse the other for the trooper (hope Pat will post a picture).

Miguel
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Sat Apr 13, 2002 10:39 am

Miguel,
I will be most interested to see the pictures of the long bucket for the Mannlicher and the Mauser.
Many collectors of military horse equipment have, in recent years, added to their collections long "mystery" flap top buckets. These have erroneously been thought to be for the British SMLE rifle. I brought the matter up on the UP site some time back and eventually a poster reckoned to have identified them (I think for a light machine gun...but need to check back through my files)...but he provided no evidence.
There are 2 types of this bucket. One type is in unused condition and purpotedly came from storage in Portugal ..in quantity...a few years ago. The other type is a similar design, but longer, less of them..and appear to have had much use.
Anyway, I await photos with interest,
John.M.

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Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:59 pm

Miguel, go ahead and send the photos, I'll be happy to put them up.

I can recall that thread that John is mentioning from the UP site. It'll be interesting to see if it is the same.

Pat
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Sat Apr 13, 2002 7:12 pm

I can't thank Miguel enough for these photos. Very interesing.

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Last edited by Pat Holscher on Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sat Apr 13, 2002 7:23 pm

And here's the photo of the Mauser in the bucket sent by Miguel:
Image

Which model of Mauser is this? Portugal manufactured its own variant, the M1904, which was not a true Mauser but had Mannlicher Carcano features. Howevever, Portugal also received some 98s, including a K98k variant, at one time or another. This one doesn't look like a M1904 due to the fixture in the stock, but perhaps a carbine variant specifically for cavalry was manufacture of which I am unaware. This was often the case, and these weapons are generally more obscure than the more common rifle variant.

Also note the axe, also being carried. That say almost as much about field conditions as the rifle does.

Again, thank you very much for these most interesting photos.

Pat
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Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:48 am

Yes, thanks Miguel, we are certainly seeing some very interesting photos on the site now.
Regarding my specific question re carbine/rifle buckets...the long bucket shown is not as my long "flap-top" buckets. In fact I am certain it is a British SMLE rifle bucket, the pattern introduced in 1905.
I am ignorant re Mauser carbines and rifles but thought a feature was that the bolt projected sideways making fitting in the type of bucket in the photo difficult?...comments?.

Anyway, this particular discussion has yet again brought my attention to the mystery flap-top buckets. I could get a photo scanned for Pat to put on the site but an example can be viewed under the heading "British Tack Room" on ...
www.geocities.com/wwihorse. The bucket was certainly not designed for the SMLE rifle.
This bucket was discussed on the "disappeared" UP Saddle site and I recall that a poster eventually claimed to identify it as British made for the 1902 Madsen LMG. No proof was provided and this may or may not be correct.
These buckets circulatedthe collectors market in some quantity some years ago, were purpotedly from store in Portugal and appear to be in unused condition.
John.M.


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