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DateOriginal Topic
20th January 2005Saving dismounted horsemen during retreat
By Coll

Were cavalrymen trained in the art of
'collecting' fellow troopers on foot, who, having been thrown from their horse, or the horse killed, but the rider still able to stand while the 'rescuer' on horseback is still moving to prevent risking his own life by stopping ?.
20th January 2005kieran
ah i they might of done with there saber but i dont think the british army retreated very often
20th January 2005Coll
I've just read over my question above and realised it is very badly worded, so I'll try again.

When mounted men are retreating with horses stumbling or being killed throwing their riders to the ground, were those still on horseback able to pick up the dismounted troopers, while still travelling at a reasonable speed, thanks to expert training for such an event, allowing them to hoist their comrade onto the back of the horse, without slowing too much or even stopping ?.

Or have I just watched too many films ?.
21st January 2005Andrew Garton
Lt.Horace Smith-Dorrien did stop to aid a wounded Mounted Infantay private,however it was not long before his own horse was killed and he continued on by foot.It seems to me that most troops knew that it was live or die and simply did there best to escape.Though Melvill and Coghill both lost there lives when Coghill turned back to rescue Melvill who had the Queen's Colours swept away in the flooded Buffalo River.J.A.Brickhill an interpreter did not stop to help one Band -Sergeant Gamble even though its as if he could have.Anyone feel free to correct me if they think Im off the mark here!
21st January 2005Keith Smith

I do not believe that British troops received specific training in picking up comrades whose had been dismounted. They, and their Colonial friends, were, however, superb horsemen and there are numerous examples in this war where such actions occurred. On the day before Ulundi, Buller's FLH was ambushed and several men were unhorsed. One rescuer himself dsmounted and tried to get his comrade on his horse, then rode off with him. Another tried to do the same, but the man was too heavy and had to be abandoned. See also examples at Hlobane and, I think, Khambula.\

21st January 2005Graham Alexander
I think that Keith is correct in his statement that cavalry troopers did not receive specific instructions in collecting unhorsed comrades.
I have ridden horses for many years and the chances of scooping up a dismounted man whilst remaining in the saddle yourself is virtually nil. The only way that it could be done is to offer a stirrup to the person and allow them to swing themselves up behind you. The horse would have practically come to a halt antway whilst this proceedure was taking place. Realistically, both riders should mount a stationary horse, but the proceedure would take some time. With Zulus charging towards you and a terrified horse plunging and rearing the operation takes a very brave man to stop and try it. Hlobane is the classic example of this proceedure taking place and I can only wonder at the bravery of the men who successfully carried out the act and saved many comrades from certain death.
21st January 2005Coll

Thanks for your replies.