Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

the ww2 german army was 80% horse drawn!

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by sniper1946, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
  2. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    Messages:
    4,997
    Likes Received:
    236
    The reasons were :
    1)the Germans did not have the resources to motorize their army (nor did any other European country )
    2)the Germans did not have enough oil (nor did any other European country )
    3)more trucks =more drivers,thus less infantry
    4)A motorised army could not operate in the East(few roads,rasputitza)
    5)Trucks could not supply an army,only the railway could do it (the US army had the experience in september 1944 ).
     
    Fury 1991 and sniper1946 like this.
  3. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    thanks LJ, good response, ray..
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,821
    Likes Received:
    613
    That was the norm for most armies back then; the US, Britain, and those we supplied were the exceptions. The age of mechanization was just beginning.

    The biggest impact of Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union may have been not tanks or airplanes but the nearlly half-millon trucks, jeeps, halftracks, etc. we sent them. This was largely responsible for the Red Army's ability to conduct deep mobile offensives in 1943-45.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,238
    Location:
    Michigan
    I'm not sure this one is accurate. For one thing wagons need drivers too and trucks can move more per vehicle than a wagon can. They also need less to keep them moving and I suspect less support personel but I'm not at all sure about that one.
     
  6. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
    Yes "Iwd", you would still need drivers, and stable staff for horses where you need drivers and mechanics for trucks. Other than fuel (POL v grass and fodder), and somewhat better mobility in mud, horses are a trade off in the negative.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

    Joined:
    May 13, 2001
    Messages:
    14,439
    Likes Received:
    617
    80 % is too high, more like 70 % if that.......
     
  8. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
  9. Mehar

    Mehar Ace

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,366
    Likes Received:
    115
    Real men don't need cars, they march! (Blitzkreig joke) ;)

    Joking aside, given the size of the German army 20% is still a hefty number, it seems a bit hard to believe at first given how certain fronts could not be "catered" to efficiently by horses such as Africa, the Eastern Front (during certain seasons, conditions, etc)

    Does this number include tanks, armored vehicles, etc as well?
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,169
    Likes Received:
    1,466
    I remember a few stories from a guy I worked with years ago (most of which I can't share in an open forum) who was a cook during WW2 and spoke of also taking care of the Mules in his division. I found this site interesting and it confirms some of his stories.
    :HORSES & MULES DURING WW II
    A small snippet;
    Germany: German General Heinz Guderian, the father of the Panzers, was convinced that tanks could not be successful without logistical support from a specialized armored division. However, Guderian's request to motorize heavy artillery battalions was turned down. In his memoirs, he remarked, "The heavy guns remained horsedrawn, with unfortunate results during the war, particularly in Russia." German propaganda focused on the highly mechanized parts of the Wehrmacht that carried out the Blitzkreig, but even near the end of the war, in November 1944, of a total of 264 German combat divisions, only 42 were armored or motorized. The German Army maintained an average of about 1.1 million horses through the war with a single German Infantry Division using 4,000 animals. The great bulk of the German combat strength -- the classical infantry divisions -- marched into battle on foot, with their weapons and supply trains propelled almost entirely by horses or mules. The light and mountain divisions had an even greater proportion of animals, and the cavalry divisions were naturally mainly dependent on the horse. German Army independent cavalry units were used on all fronts, throughout the war. Use of cavalry actually increased toward the end of the war due to lack of motorized transport. Much of the field artillery in infantry divisions was horse-drawn, at least eight horses per gun, plus spare teams. The radios of each division were carried along on pack horses. [Information from: German Horse Cavalry and Transport, Intelligence Bulletin, March 1946.]
     
    sniper1946 likes this.
  11. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    good post, and link's biak, ray..
     
  12. sunny971

    sunny971 Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,612
    Likes Received:
    244
    wow 80%.. that seems like a lot.

    so were the horse drawn calveries effective in the war?

    Seems like the only advantage would be saving gasoline.

    there would be big problems if the horses were shot and killed. And the lack of food in the cold Russian winters would be another problem ..

    Wondering if this could be a possible reason for the German failure in the war?
    Horses/donkeys seem such an outdated means in warfare.
     
  13. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    source "weapons of wwII forum..

    Gunter_Viezenz wrote:
    lynn1212 wrote:from what i understand about 80 to 90% of tactical transport for the germans was horse drawn. only the elite units had many trucks and by american standards damn few even then
    I think it would have been a bit higher, but than again it is hard to find information about these kinds of things. I will have to look through my books real quick, I do recall reading that both Manstein and Guderian in their memoirs complained that they had a lot of French trucks which were inferior to the German ones. Furthermore, they lacked spare parts for these vehicles. But thana gain, they would have been commanding some of those 'Elite' units. With the exception of the 11th Army in the Crimea, they almost had no takes till they were going for Sevastepol.

    According to Spielberger, in 1 jan. 1943 there were 1.2 million morized vehicles in German service (all services) of which about half was German production, and there were a total of about 2200 types. What a logistical nightmare.
     
  14. sniper1946

    sniper1946 Expert

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Messages:
    12,560
    Likes Received:
    1,017
    a rewiev of this book...

    Volumes have been written on the equipment of the German Army of World War II, including tanks, trucks, motorcycles, weapons, and personal equipment, but little has been written on the horses that made up 80% of its transportation. Horses pulled everything an army needed in the field by wagon or on its back and more horses were used in World War II than in any other war in history. This book includes text from the U.S. Army Military History Institute publication MS #P-090. The participants of this study were among the most knowledgeable the German army could provide, and their conclusions constitute a critique of what probably was the last mass use of horses in warfare. If one really means to understand the performance and tactics of the Wehrmacht in World War II, one must understand the horse and its logistic requirements. Also, this book presents one of the most comprehensive photo collections of the men and equipment of the horse-mounted troops.
     
  15. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,238
    Location:
    Michigan
    That's a problem for the horse. If you are a soldier it may be a solution. It's a lot easier to eat a horse than it is to eat a truck. More nutricous as well ... :)
     
    Heinrich likes this.
  16. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2000
    Messages:
    5,734
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Festung Colorado
    Where did the Germans get all their horses? Was it a carry over from the days of Cavalry, slapping on a wagon-harness onto the horses originally bred to charge the lines?
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,238
    Location:
    Michigan
    There's a pretty good thread over on the axis history forum about this. They did have an extensive breeding program for horses but also captured/requisitioned a lot on the Eastern front. The thread is a fairly long one 6+pages as I recall.
     
  18. froek

    froek Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't know if it was posted before but Germany used more horses and more horses per man then Napoleon did to invade Russia 100 years earlier...
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,713
    Likes Received:
    1,501
  20. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    2,821
    Likes Received:
    613
    It may be a bit hard to appreciate for us who have grown up in an environment where everybody has cars and most goods move by truck, but draft animals were the primary means of moving people, goods, or anything that wasn't on the railroad. When Hitler called for a "people's car" it was because most people didn't have cars. Horses were an industry comparable to cars today (except they weren't imported from Japan). People bred and raised millions of horses the same way they did cattle, pigs, or any other livestock they had a need for. German, Russian, and other armies in WWII got horses the same way the Union and Confederacy did in our Civil War, because their whole society was horse-mobile.

    Perhaps instead of "The German army was 80% horse-drawn!" the title of this thread should be "The American army wasn't!" That was the novelty.
     

Share This Page