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Light horse

From Academic Kids

Alternate meaning: Lighthorse (American Indian police)
Missing image
AustralianLightHorseBrigade.jpg
The Australian Light Horse in Palestine during World War I

The Australian Light Horse soldiers were mounted infantry who served during the Boer War and World War I. The Light Horse differed from cavalry in that they usually fought dismounted, using their horses as transport to the battlefield and as a means of swift disengagement when retreating or retiring. A famous exception to this rule was the charge of the 4th Light Horse Regiment at Beersheba on 31 October, 1917. In 1918 some light horse regiments were equipped with swords, enabling them to fight in a conventional cavalry role during the advance on Damascus.

A light horse regiment is roughly equivalent to a battalion, but containing only about 500 men (whereas an infantry battalion would contain about 1000 men). Around a quarter of this nominal strength (or one man in each section of 4) could be allotted to horse-holding duties when the regiment entered combat. A regiment was divided into three squadrons, designated "A", "B" and "C", (equivalent to a company) and a squadron divided into four troops (equivalent to a platoon). Each troop was divided into about ten 4-man sections. When dismounting for combat, one man from each section would take the reins of the other three mens' horses and lead them out of the firing line where he would remain until called upon.

The Australian waler horse was the common mount for the light horsemen.

A number of Australian light horse units are still in existence today, generally as mechanized infantry units.

See Also: Light horse field ambulance

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