Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Grey's Scouts Ride On

We think, understandably, that horse cavalry's a thing of the past but it wasn't in Rhodesia in its courageous if doomed Bush War in the 1970s.

Facing a shortage of vehicles, petrol and the logistical reality of having to operate in rugged terrain, Rhodesian security forces raised an experimental unit of horse infantry, MIU (Mounted Infantry Unit) to take the war to the enemy.

The MIU proved successful despite initial criticism from units such as the Rhodesian Light Infantry and SAS. By 1975 the MIU had produced tangible results, the experiment worked:

The intimidating psychological effect on terrorist and tribesman alike of the man on the horse quickly gained the MIU a hard reputation and led to a widespread respect for the 'Mahout'. The sight of a horseman, with rifle levelled, crashing through the mealies towards a terrorist was more than enough to terrify the most hard-core commissar (leaders of terrorist gangs styled themselves 'political commissars').

The MIU became the Grey's Scouts, named after Captain Grey who raised cavalry against the wizard rebellion in Matabeleland in 1896, and fought with distinction.

Horse soldiering's made a comeback since the 1970s, not least in central North Texas where membership in irregular mounted units under the honorary colonelcy of First Lady Melania is both prized and sought after.

Thanks, Mattexian, for the reminder.

Ride On,



Jules said...

So why do you not have a horse, LSP? Spit-spot! Get to it!

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Cannot think of a more uncomfortable saddle (and I have ridden one - briefly). They can be adapted as a pack saddle.

LL said...

Don't listen to Jules. Better to ride somebody else's mount than to buy your own. It's sort of the "lease don't buy" thing that applies to a lot of other things in life. If it flies, floats, etc. lease, don't buy.

Kid said...

Those muzzles are awfully close to the horses ears. I imagine there's some breaking in time there.

And what LL said.

LSP said...

That, Juliette, is an excellent question and I'd like another horse. But it'd have to be in town. Fence off the car park pasture and build a walk-in?

LSP said...

I've never ridden on one, WSF, but interesting. The Rhodesians would move straight from walk to canter/gallop/run, perhaps the saddle had something to do with missing out trot?

LSP said...

Thanks for the advice, LL. I've been riding other people's horses for a while and that's fine but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Maybe I should lease a Raptor, or is that too showy for a padre?

LSP said...

Kid, you can imagine the training that went into that 7.62 ride 'n shoot...