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US forces on horseback fighting Taliban
UPI | 11/15/01 | PAMELA HESS

Posted on 11/16/2001 1:19:58 PM PST by kattracks

WASHINGTON, Nov 15, 2001 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan are taking part in combat operations against the Taliban and have had close scrapes with enemy fire, according to two unclassified dispatches from troops Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz released Nov. 14.

The messages, dated Oct. 25 and Nov. 10, describe scenes of great bravery and danger, and indicate some of the apparently easy battles were more harrowing than they appeared.

A U.S. element was nearly overrun by Taliban troops on Nov. 6 but remained in position to call in air support from U.S. Navy and Air Force planes, ensuring that the Northern Alliance forces were not defeated, according to a Nov. 10 message.

"I have personally witnessed heroism under fire by (two U.S. non-commissioned officers from the Army and Air Force) when we came under fire last night, which was less than 50 meters from me. When I ordered them to call close air support, they did so immediately without flinching even though they were under ... fire," states the Nov. 10 dispatch. "These two examples are typical of the performance of your soldiers and airmen. Truly uncommon valor has been a common virtue amongst these men."

U.S. troops are moving about on horseback with the Afghan fighters, and they describe how the poorly equipped fighters have been squaring off against Taliban tanks, mortars, artillery, personnel carriers and machine guns.

"A tactic which I think became outdated with the introduction of the Gatling gun," quipped the Special Forces soldier in an Oct. 25 message.

The message talks about a Northern Alliance sniper who walked more than 10 miles to get to the fight and "who was proud to show me his artificial right leg from the knee down."

Armed with few bullets and light arms, the opposition has pressed swiftly forward in battles, killing many Taliban and suffering only light casualties themselves.

"We have witnessed the horse cavalry bounding overwatch from spur to spur to attack Taliban strong points -- the last several kilometers under mortar, artillery ... and (sniper) fire. There is little medical care if injured, only a donkey ride to the aid station, which is a dirt hut. I think (the opposition) are doing very well with what they have. They have killed over 125 Taliban ... while losing only eight," said the Oct. 25 message.

U.S. air strikes have made all the difference in the war, the messages suggest, and the Afghan opposition is grateful.

"We couldn't do what we are (doing) without the close air support. ... Everywhere I go the civilians and (opposition) soldiers are always telling me they are glad the USA has

come. ... They all speak of their hopes for a better Afghanistan once the Taliban are gone. Better go. (The local commander) is finishing his phone call with (someone back in the States)."

Wolfowitz said in a speech in Washington Wednesday that the U.S. soldier then joined a cavalry attack.

The Nov. 10 message describes the triumphant, but rag-tag parade into Mazar-i-Sharif in "begged, borrowed and confiscated transportation." Mazar fell to the opposition on Nov. 9.

"While it looked like a rag-tag procession, the morale into Mazar-i-Sharif was a triumphal procession. All locals loudly greeted us and thanked all Americans. Much waving, cheering and clapping even from the women. ... (U.S. Navy/U.S. Air Force did a great job," states the message.

Fewer than 200 U.S. special operations forces are operating inside Afghanistan. Many of them are linked up with "Northern Alliance" groups and have been helping to resupply troops and call in air strikes. Others are set up along the road linking Kabul to Kandahar, attacking Taliban troops as they retreat to their southern stronghold.

Still more Special Forces are poised in Pakistan for raids into Afghanistan.

By PAMELA HESS, Pentagon correspondent

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; mazaresharif; mazarisharif
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To: mvscal
American Troops on horseback.. Now THAT'S a bunch of horse$hit.


21 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:14 PM PST by SGCOS
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To: dr_who
Rough riders. Yeah.
22 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:14 PM PST by samtheman
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: kattracks
Wow, just like the Polish cavalry in September 1939 that we so like to ridicule and bring up as a quick example of idiocy, powerlessness and whatever sin we wish to exemplify at that particular moment! But this is different because hey, this is our cavalry! (Jes' jestin', of course!)
24 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:16 PM PST by Revolting cat!
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To: MindBender26
At the command PREPARE TO DISMOUNT TO FIGHT ON FOOT, every fourth trooper becomes a horse holder. When the other troopers grab their rifles and dismount they hand the reins of their mounts to the horseholder as he rides by. The dismounted troopers form a skirmish line while the horse holders go to the rear. The horse holder has to control his own mount and three others while the dismounted action takes place.
25 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:21 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: headsonpikes
depleted uranium for all!!!
26 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:23 PM PST by rockfish59
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To: mvscal
No, you had to see these guys on BBC video!

They were in full "into the valley of death rode the 600" mode. Most has AKs or M16. Heads were not up but down along the horses neck, full gallop, shooting as they went, overrunning Taliban hidey-holes!

Real John Wayne Sierra.

27 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:28 PM PST by MindBender26
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To: Cannoneer No. 4

Knew an old retired E-7 at Ft. Sill who had been a horse holder. Job was usually given to green kids or old semi-disabled privates. Those were days when men served 30 years and retured as Coroprals and Captains.

28 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:31 PM PST by MindBender26
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To: MindBender26
In the time of the North West Territories, the youngest member of a Five would hold the horses. This meant that the FNG's held the horses until they could be trusted in battle.
29 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:34 PM PST by 115thINTC
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To: kattracks
I am sure that they are using their mounted troops as maneuver elements and not in the role of Heavy Dragoons for shock value. I use shock in the sense of riding into massed shoulder to shoulder troops.

It would be interesting to work out tactical problems when you had a couple of hundred mounted troops to deploy.

30 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:35 PM PST by 115thINTC
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To: kattracks
The Great Wheel of History Keeps Turning The branch insignia of US Army Special Forces is the crossed arrows of the Indian Scouts.


Fiddler's Green

Halfway down the trail to Hell,

In a shady meadow green,

Are the Souls of all dead troopers camped

Near a good old-time canteen,

And this eternal resting place

Is known as Fiddlers' Green.

Marching past, straight through to Hell,

The Infantry are seen,

Accompanied by the Engineers,

Artillery and Marine,

For none but shades of Cavalrymen

Dismount at Fiddlers' Green.

Though some go curving down the trail

To seek a warmer scene,

No trooper ever gets to Hell

Ere he's emptied his canteen,

And so rides back to drink again

With friends at Fiddlers' Green

And so when man and horse go down

Beneath a saber keen,

Or in a roaring charge or fierce mêlée

You stop a bullet clean,

And hostiles come to get your scalp,

Just empty your canteen,

And put your pistol to your head

And go to Fiddlers' Green


31 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:36 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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Low-tech is sometimes the best method.

It has always worried me that we, and other modern nations have become too dependent upon high-tech electronic gadgets, particularly in the military. One blast of EMP from a nuclear detonation, and the circuits are toast. It's good to see that we have not abandoned the old ways.

32 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:36 PM PST by pocat
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To: kattracks
This war is gonna make a great movie!!! LOL!!!
33 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:37 PM PST by Theresa
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To: kattracks
<img src=">=
34 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:49 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: mvscal
Actually, there was another article posted today which contains the information that they ARE participating in cavalry charges. The source is Paul Wolfowitz. It isn't in this article, but it was in the other one posted today.

Very cool. High tech targetting and cavalry charges. I am impressed. VERY impressed!

35 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:50 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: Cannoneer No. 4
The Last Charge</CENTER

36 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:50 PM PST by Cannoneer No. 4
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To: samtheman
Remember what soldiers from other divisions would say about the First Cav Div patch?

The horse they never had

The line they never crossed. . .

37 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:52 PM PST by No Truce With Kings
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To: Miss Marple
if we start riding camels, I'll get nervous.
38 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:52 PM PST by majic12
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To: kattracks
Of Interest from a US Cavalary website discussion board in answer to a question as to the last time horse mounted cavalry (which the questioner incorrectly spelled "calvary") were used in armed conflict.

Actually, the US Army never had Calvary units, but it did, and still has, Cavalry units. A minor point admittedly, but as a retired Cavalryman, one I am keenly aware of. The 26th Cavalry did see service in the Philippines in 1941/42, however, I seem to recall that General Patton mounted some units in France in late 1944 for use in rough terrain. Not sure if that really counts though. The 1st Cavalry Division was dismounted (1943) and fought as an Infantry Division during the recapture of the Philippines. The actual answer to your question is that last time the US Army used Cavalry in a war was 1991 during the Gulf War. The last time they fought with horses was likely 1942 (as an organized body). I do recall running a route reconnaissance mission alongside the 1st Cavalry Divisions Horse Cavalry platoon in 1979 when I was in the 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry. The Horse Cavalry platoon was a ceremonial unit, but someone got the bright idea of sending them to the field with us for a day. They actually had some advantages in the rough country, but they were very careful not to hurt their mounts. Regarding the earlier problem trying to locate the Cavalry schools former library, you might try checking the Cavalry Journal, there may have been an announcement or article regarding the disposal.
39 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:56 PM PST by BansheeBill
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In certain unique terrain situations horses are still going to be the most efficient way for a military force to get around quickly.
40 posted on 11/16/2001 1:20:57 PM PST by John H K
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