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Old March 9, 2015, 06:29 PM   #1
sourdough1938
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Last cavalry charge by US horse cavalry in combat

I do not remember where I read it now but I read an account of the last US cavalry charge by a participant in the battle. It was on the Battan penninsula against the Japanese invaders during the early days of WW2. The Japanese troops were crossing a river and the cavalry was given the task of delaying there advance. I believe it was a company. When they caught sight of the enemy they sounded the charge and attacked with their 1911 45s and I assume sabers. The Japanese hastily departed back across the river. It was probably something they had never considered! The cavalry having accomplished their task returned and those horses had only one more duty. Too become rations for the starving troops. Much better than to captured by the enemy.
I can almost picture it in my mind. Bugles sounding the charge, hundreds of horse hoofs pounding the ground, 45s banging away, sabers flashing. I think I would have sought refuge on the other side of the river also!
One moment of glory in what became a terrible and bloody defeat.
This is just something an old man (me) recalled reading somewhere and thought I would share it with you. MY memory being about as poor as it can get, I have probably made many errors. But I thought I was a story worth remembering.
Anyone with more knowledge please add or correct me if possible.
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Old March 9, 2015, 06:41 PM   #2
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I put this here because I didn't know were else to put it. It does have some history of the 1911.
Please post were it is most appropriate. Thanks Sourdough1938
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Old March 9, 2015, 07:46 PM   #3
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Undefeated by Bill Sloan discusses the actions of the 26th Cavalry during their defense of Bataan.

Yes, they mounted several horse mounted cavalry style attacks on the Japanese, including a mounted attack against Japanese light tanks that was somewhat successful.

I don't think they ever massed in the hundreds, but they certainly fought very bravely, their Regimental Commander deciding he would rather fight on as a guerrilla instead of surrendering.

I personally believe that was influence by him having to kill his horse.

And yes, they most certainly made good use of their issued M-1911A1 sidearms.
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Old March 10, 2015, 08:32 AM   #4
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Mind you, it only takes 25 horses to have a hundred hooves.
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Old March 10, 2015, 09:29 AM   #5
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A tad bit unrelated:

My father was in a Cav Unit prior to WWII. Idaho National Guard, 41st Inf Div.

He actually worked full time for the Guard, tending horses between drills.

Before Pearl Harbor the 41st was activated, they took their horses away and the were deployed to re-enforced Philippines. They were diverted as the Philippines fell.

They were eventually sent to Burma, where they were given mules. He always referred to the Cav. as the Mule Army.
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Old March 10, 2015, 02:24 PM   #6
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I think your information is interesting. Thank you. Where was your dad located in Idaho? I grew up in Moscow, Id. but don't remember there being any reserves or NG there. But then I probably would not have known if there were.
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Old March 10, 2015, 03:55 PM   #7
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"...and I assume sabers..." Nope. Gone before W.W. I. sniff.
It was considered very bad when a new troopie/junior officer shot his mount in the back of the head while charging with the pistol aimed over said head between the mount's ears too.
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Old March 10, 2015, 07:04 PM   #8
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I was wondering how they controlled their horse with a pistol in one hand and a sabre in the other. They did wear cavalry headgear and not steel pots I hope.
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Old March 10, 2015, 07:06 PM   #9
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While I find the Bataan thing generally plausible, I would think the terrain (assumimg jungle but I could be wrong) would not lend itself to a classic "cavalry charge". I could see a whole lot of aggressive pistol work from a highly mobile platform, overlooking intervening foliage that would frustrate a dismounted troop.

So, anybody with an original (or second-hand) source?

Edit: My apologies, I meant besides the Undeafeted source mentioned above? And I will check that out.

Last edited by Arizona Fusilier; March 10, 2015 at 07:12 PM.
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Old March 10, 2015, 08:09 PM   #10
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I thought the last US cavalry charge was during the battle of Mazar I Sharif in 2001.
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Old March 10, 2015, 08:44 PM   #11
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I live in Arizona, a large part of the state is dry, But that is not true for all of the USA, The islands were the same in regards to the terrain, yes, you had jungle, but you also had cleared level ground, swamps, hills and so forth.
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Old March 11, 2015, 11:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
I think your information is interesting. Thank you. Where was your dad located in Idaho? I grew up in Moscow, Id. but don't remember there being any reserves or NG there. But then I probably would not have known if there were.
Sourdough:

My father was living in Boise at the time. The 41st Inf, is still the NG, split between Idaho, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and Washington.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41st_In...(United_States)

Quote:
The division had arrived in Australia with a reputation as "the top ranking National Guard division and one of the three top divisions in the whole Army"
As I said, my father worked full time for the Guard prior to being activated. Part of his duties required exercising the horses which to my father met taking a couple horses hunting in the mountains north of Boise.
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Last edited by kraigwy; March 11, 2015 at 11:24 AM.
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Old March 11, 2015, 11:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenick
Mind you, it only takes 25 horses to have a hundred hooves.
Math was never my strong suit. Hence the reason I went to Southern instead of Tech.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arizona Fusilier
So, anybody with an original (or second-hand) source?
If I recall correctly, the terrain where they massed for a charge was a flat, dry coastal plain. And I believe, I'll check when I can dig the book out, that the accounts of the 26th were taken from an interview with a Trooper who served with in the defense of Bataan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aikibiker
I thought the last US cavalry charge was during the battle of Mazar I Sharif in 2001.
I know the first SOF guys definitely made use of horses to move about with our Northern Alliance allies, but I don't know if they ever actually charged a Taliban position. And besides (and this is me speaking as a former 19D) those guys were Special Forces, they weren't Cavalry.
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Old March 11, 2015, 10:57 PM   #14
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Those snake eaters at Mazar I Shary just happened to have pony's handy, heck, they don't even qualified to wear the crossed sabers brass.
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Old March 11, 2015, 11:04 PM   #15
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My Daughter was in the Cavalry . Spent 09 there driving a MRAP .
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Old March 12, 2015, 07:13 AM   #16
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My dad joined the 22nd cavalry, Ohio national guard prior to WWII. At that time, it was half horse/half armored car, and they wore the full cav uniform, with riding jodhpur britches.
They were nationalized as the 107th cavalry.
After Pearl Harbor, they went California to train in the Mojave.
Their horse were taken away and given to the coast guard to patrol the coast of California. ..he said there were some sad troopers that day, as they had some fine mounts.
In any case, they were equipped with M8 armored cars and Stuart tanks, and sent to France sometime after D-Day.
They fought in the battle of Falaise Gap, and on into Germany.
He said they never lost their horse cav esprit d corps.
Dad wore his crossed sabers on his hat for the rest of his life...
I still have them, as well as his issue spurs.
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Old March 12, 2015, 09:17 AM   #17
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Interesting thread, and I read up some on that last charge. What isn't clear to me is what kind of soldiers actually did the charging. Some sources say the 26th Cav was a US unit, others say that by the time of Bataan the unit was mainly Filipino scouts, aka native troops with US officers. Does anyone have a definite description?
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Old March 12, 2015, 05:10 PM   #18
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Old March 12, 2015, 06:20 PM   #19
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The action took place at Moron (Morong), Bataan Peninsula, on Jan. 16, 1942. The 26th Cavalry Regiment was a regular US Army unit of the Philippine Scouts.

The Cavalry made several charges in Luzon, some successful, including one against Japanese tanks.

In February, the unit had withdrawn into the more rugged southern half of the peninsula, offering no opportunity for mounted actions. The horses were killed and eaten by the Americans and Filipinos.

The unit was just under 800 men at the start of the war. Less than 300 remained by the time they got to Bataan.

This is per "History of the US Army in WWII-The Fall of the Philippines ", the Green Books you see in the used bookstores.
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Old April 5, 2015, 10:12 AM   #20
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Lt. Ramsey's War; From Horse Soldier to Guerilla Commander

http://www.amazon.com/Lieutenant-Ram...ramsey%27s+war

Worth the read
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Old April 6, 2015, 11:21 AM   #21
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Old April 12, 2015, 11:18 PM   #22
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VERY cool.

I need to go to the U.S. Cavalry museum on Fort Riley, Kansas sometime soon.
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