Skip to comments.U.S. Special Forces Joined Charge On Horseback Against Taliban
Posted on 11/16/2001 1:16:12 PM PST by Stand Watch Listen
Washington -- U.S. special forces working with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan have ridden in cavalry charges against Taliban militia positions, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said.
``In Afghanistan, a country we think of in somewhat medieval terms, our special forces have taken a page from the past, from the history of the horse cavalry with our soldiers armed with swords and rifles, maneuvering on horseback,'' Wolfowitz said in a speech last night.
The Pentagon has said in general terms that U.S. special forces are working with Northern Alliance units to improve their military tactics, coordinate among their factions and direct strikes by U.S. aircraft against Taliban targets.
Wolfowitz read excerpts from declassified field reports that describe some of the experiences of those special forces in battle.
``I am advising a man on how best to employ light infantry and horse cavalry in the attack against Taliban T-55 (tanks), mortars, artillery, personnel carriers and machine guns -- a tactic which I think became outdated with the invention of the Gatling gun,'' wrote one commando in an October 25 report, Wolfowitz said. ``They have done this every day we have been on the ground.''
``I have observed a gunner who walked 10 plus miles to get to the fight, who was proud to show me his artificial right leg from the knee down,'' said the report.
The dispatch relayed how Northern Alliance horsemen ``bounded from spur to spur to attack Taliban strong points -- the last several kilometers under mortar, artillery fire. They have killed over 125 Taliban while losing only eight,'' the commando wrote.
``And with that,'' said Wolfowitz, ``one of our amazing special forces members went off on a cavalry charge with a Northern Alliance commander.''
Wolfowitz noted that in addition to attacking with cavalry, U.S. special forces have used 21st century communications equipment to ``direct close air support and bomber strikes, sometimes from halfway around the world.''
In one instance, a U.S. soldier described calling in air strikes to stop an attack by Taliban troops and avoid being overrun, according to a declassified report Wolfowitz read.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has hinted that the role of special forces will increase in hunting down Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders as they retreat from strongholds such as Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.
Special forces teams are operating on their own in southern Afghanistan calling in air strikes on retreating Taliban and al- Qaeda forces, ``interdicting'' their retreat, Rumsfeld said yesterday.
No Ramadan Pause
Wolfowitz said the U.S. will continue bombing Taliban and al- Qaeda forces during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts this weekend. There has been speculation that the bombing strikes would slow out of deference to Muslims and because the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces are in retreat.
``We have made it clear from the beginning that there are objectives that have got to be pursued regardless of Ramadan,'' Wolfowitz told Bloomberg News.
``Most Muslims understand that,'' Wolfowitz said. ``Obviously, we're sensitive to the fact that it's the holiest part of the Muslim year and that may have some tactical impact but we have to continue prosecuting this war. Hopefully, we'll have a lot less than we have to do by the time Ramadan comes to an end.''
Man what a rush that must have been.
This might be their only chance to do something like this.
This is why they do it.
These pics do not look too far removed from Ghengis Kahn....
Not too surprising, considering that Afghan society's not too removed from him either.
The 26th Cavalry (P.S.) was organized in 1922 at Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands from personnel transferred from the 25th Field Artillery (P.S.) and the 43rd Infantry (P.S.). The regiment was a non-divisional element of the U.S. Army's garrison in the Philippines. Prior to the beginning of World War II the regiment was permanently garrisoned at Ft. Stotsenburg, adjacent to Clark Field.
26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts)
At the beginning of World War II the 26th participated in the withdrawal of the Filipino and American forces on Luzon to the Bataan Peninsula. In a series of actions in December 1941 and early January of 1942, the regiment was essentially destroyed as an effective fighting force.
It participated in the last horse-mounted combat by any American cavalry regiment. All other cavalry units in the U.S. Army were dismounted and converted to infantry, armor or service units prior to entering combat.
With the surrender of American forces on Bataan in April 1942 the regiment ceased to exist with most of the survivors becoming prisoners of war. Individual American officers and Filipino enlisted personnel continued to fight against the Japanese forces throughout the the war.
The regiment earned the Philippines Islands campaign streamer for World War II.
From here: In addition to being a forerunner of modern Special Forces, Ramsey has the distinction of leading the U.S. Armys last horse cavalry charge on Jan. 16, 1942, in the village of Morogn on the west coast of Bataan.
Whoa! Garry Owen!!
From US Cavalry School
Ramsey, as a young cavalry lieutenant, led the last horse cavalry charge in American history when his platoon of the 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts) fought the Japanese on Bataan, 1941-42. The story becomes even more remarkable as Ramsey eludes capture and becomes an important leader of the resistance movement until liberation of the Philippines in 1945.
Absolutely astounding! But it is the cavalry charges, the fact that some of our special forces, upon seeing the success of these NA tactics, actually mounted steeds and joined in an attack together with the NA, that really knocks me out. I am SO PROUD of the courage of our military folk-GOD BLESS THEM ALL!
The caption reads:
`` Edwin P. Ramsey holds the book he wrote describing his exploits as a secret guerrilla fighting Japan in the Philippines in World War II. ''
Just wait until we make a "stealth" horse. Or maybe that's been tried before.
I want the President to bring these guys forward and give them all special recognition for this. I am serious, this to me is the sign of a true and valiant warrior.
I am impressed!
That is entirely correct. An 18D (SF Medic) is trained in veterinary science as well as human medicine. The goal of SF is to train and encourage indigenous people to oppose oppressive armies. One aspect of this training is the recognition that animals as a source of labor (water buffalo, horses, camels, donkeys etc) are very important to a people's survival. In fact, in the last phase of a SF Medic's training, the cadre shoot a goat with a .22 rifle and the candidate must keep the animal alive. If it dies, he fails.
Exactly. I've heard a lot of criticism of the NA for their use of horses against armor. But even the US Army uses dismounted Infantry against tanks. Why would putting an Infantryman on a horse be that much of a shock if it increases his mobility?
Mobility has its advantages...especially against mortar and artillery fire. You either hunker or move it.
general george custer bump!
And I thought the Movie was farfetched!
Oh, yeah. My late father joined up in 1937 as a buck private in the 106th Illinois Cavalry. And yes, they rode horses, McClellan saddles and the whole bit - he cried (and he wasn't alone) when, in 1941, they took them away. But the Army had mules all throughout WWII, and in the very rough country in Italy, in particular, that was a primary means of supply.
I still have his original sidearm, a .45 ACP revolver. And the 106th still has an association. About 10 years ago Dad went to a reunion and came back shocked - "Damn, boy, those guys are old!" Uh, yeah. But they'll smile when they read this story.