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East Front1

By December 1914, the great movements of the armies in the West had ended and the situation had settled into a stalemate that was more the product of mutual exhaustion than anything else. For the cavalry, the opportunity for large sweeping movements and attempts to out-flank the enemy were over. Up until the last months from August to November 1918, cavalry in the West played a limited role (although there are a few interesting episodes such as at Cambrai in 1917).

However, in the East the situation was dramatically different. With a front extending over a 1000 miles, the stalemate characteristic of the Western Front never set in quite the same way (by way of comparison, the Western Front was roughly 475 miles long). Often fronts formed as a result of mutual exhaustion between movements and with the right amount of concentration of forces, a breakthrough was achievable.

For the cavalry, conditions on the East Front were very conducive to cavalry operations even on the strategic level and there were numerous opportunities to carry out its traditional roles of reconnaissance, screening, and attacks on rear area formations.

Below are a few pictures of cavalry on the Eastern Front:

Cavalrymen of the Leib-Dragoner-Regiment No. 24 resting near Lyduvėnai, Russia (today, located in Lithuania), 24 May 1915. Image taken by Gustav Victor Lachmann, an officer in the regiment. From the collection of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 115279).‪

Cavalrymen of the Leib-Dragoner-Regiment No. 24 resting near Lyduvėnai, Russia (today, located in Lithuania), 24 May 1915. Image taken by Gustav Victor Lachmann, an officer in the regiment. From the collection of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 115279).‪

Cavalry East Front1

The recapture of Lemberg. Dragoons (unit unidentified) entering the city.

Cavalry East Front2

Uhlans (regiment unidentified) escorting POWs during the Battle of the San River in Galicia/GorliceTarnow Offensive of May,1915.

Now you are probably wondering how the 2 Chevauleger ties into this. Essentially, the 2 Chevauleger remained in the West during the war except for the 1 Eskadron which was detached from the regiment in April 1915 and sent to the Eastern Front. Specifically, it was assigned as the divisional reconnaissance element for the 11th Bavarian Infantry Division which had be formed in March 1915. The 1 Eskadron served with the 11th on the Eastern Front and later the Serbian Front until the division was transferred back to the West in March 1916 for the Battle of Verdun. The 1 Eskadron rejoined the regiment in March 1916 (the remainder of the 2 Chevauleger was stationed nearby to Verdun).

So yes, while we have a tenuous relationship with the Eastern Front as a unit, it is still relevant in that it presents a contrast in the way cavalry was used.

Horrido!

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