22 April 2018

Warhorses of Germany: The Myth of the Mechanised Blitzkrieg

While many films have attempted to convey the experience of the Second World War European battlefield, none adequately portray the mayhem and suffering that befell untold thousands of horses, their bodies impacted by bullet, flame and bomb as well as disease, starvation and backbreaking toil in the searing heat of summer and the freezing winds and snows of winter. In great part, the role of the horse in the Second World War, and in particular their use by the Third Reich, has been eclipsed by the iconic images of the German mechanised Blitzkrieg.

In reality the so-called ‘military juggernaut’ was a myth – the Nazi war machine less metal and more horse flesh. While many of the horses were raised in military breeding centres, others were literally wrenched from farmers’ fields and strapped into harnesses, often fine-bred and unprepared for the rigours that awaited them.

The original photos in this book were in most part taken by German soldiers using their personal cameras to capture their special relationship with their four-legged comrades as well as recording the suffering and death they shared in a war that showed no mercy to any living thing, man or beast.

The War Horses of Germany provides an illuminating new insight into a little considered element of the Second World War. The use of horses by the Wehrmacht has been referred to in passing in the memoirs of Allied soldiers - particularly in relation to the devastation found in the Falaise Pocket where large numbers were killed alongside German troops - but this title provides an indepth look at the reliance on these animals to further the goals of the German Army, and is a valuable contribution to knowledge of the period.

Available from:
Amberley Books

No comments: