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Western Front Cavalry Part 2

Work behind the lines

Cavalry also plays an important role in the rear area. These measures include traffic control, prisoner escort duties, strengthening police work and helping to build fortifications and trenches.

Western Front Cavalry Part 2

Small gain

Speed, maneuverability, and unloaded firepower

If the cavalry cannot make a large-scale breakthrough, sometimes they can use their speed, maneuverability, and unloaded firepower to support the infantry to establish and extend small distances in enemy lines of defense, such as Monchy-le-Preux near Arras (1917 year).

Some senior officials hope that these "bitten" methods can even create conditions for major breakthroughs in cavalry.

In Cambrai (1917), all four cavalry divisions were in operation, and the opportunity for tank breakthroughs supported by cavalry proved to be unrealistic. Enemy resistance, communication difficulties and delays in sending reinforcements hindered progress. But the cavalry continued to play a vital role in consolidating recently acquired positions and then helping to counter German counterattacks.

Western Front Cavalry Part 2

Mobility returns

After the German offensive (March 1918) and the Allied counterattack at Amiens (August 8-12), the mobile unit returned to the western front.

As the Germans advanced, the cavalry helped contain the offense, often acting as a mobile commando, restoring emergencies and fighting numerous defenders.

On March 30, 1918, some soldiers of the Canadian Cavalry Corps fought with fixed bayonets, while Lord Strathcona's cavalry squadron attacked the German infantry. The offense severely hindered their advance.

Advance

In the end, the German offensive was defeated, and the Allied victory in Amiens began a period known as the "hundred days." This was a series of offensives that prompted the Germans to return to the Armistice Agreement in November.

The cavalry will now return to the armored units, along with armored vehicles and new Whippet light tanks as cover for the advancing troops. The cavalry carried out reconnaissance, discovered the retreating enemy, angered his troops, and prevented the formation of a stable line of defense.

Western Front Cavalry Part 2

All weapons

Today, cavalry is increasingly seen as one of several maneuvering factors including aircraft, motor vehicles and cyclists. Armored forces became part of a complex and coordinated "all-arms" attack.

During this period, the cavalry has achieved amazing results locally. For example, in August 1918, the Fifth Dragon Cavalry Guard captured or killed more than 700 Germans in an offensive launched by the Haberni forces from dismounted soldiers.

On October 9, 1918, the Canadian Cavalry Brigade advanced 8 miles (13 kilometers) along the 3 mile front, capturing more than 400 prisoners and 100 machine guns, as well as several enemy artillery.

Western Front Cavalry Part 2

Aftermath

The importance of tanks, armored vehicles, and motor vehicles during the Allied victory in 1918 marked the absence of traditional cavalry roles.

After the war, senior commanders wanted to form a small but highly mechanized army. However, during periods of economic contraction, replacing horses with tanks and other vehicles was somewhat fragmented.

Nevertheless, the Army reduced the number of cavalry regiments from 31 to 22. They began to mechanize in the late 1920s, a process that was largely completed during the outbreak of World War II (1939-45).