The story is told through the lens of the victor, and of those who can and know how to write. Therefore, history captures the stories of heroic military and political leaders and their exploits. But the mechanization of war came during the second industrial revolution and the invention of armored vehicles by Germany. Therefore, most of the history of humanity is full of military leaders on the back of heroic horses saving the day.
Between 1870 and 1914 there were numerous advances in the steam engine and the internal combustion engine. This made it possible to increase the mobility of troops and people.
Although the horse participated in the First World War, its vulnerability to new weapons and armored vehicles was also evident. The first battles took place with cavalry. However, the evolution of war highlighted the importance of the mechanization of war.
One of the examples of the use of horses in the First World War is the case of Laurence of Arabia. Lawrence of Arabia’s real name is Sir Thomas Edward Lawrence. It was he who stirred up the desert tribes of the Middle East to attack the Ottoman Empire. The main weapon of these peoples and of Laurence of Arabia was light cavalry to provide speed and mobility.
The trenches necessary for the use of weapons and armored vehicles made it difficult to use horses on all fronts. But this did not detract from the importance of the horse as a means of transport and courier. The messengers in general moved on horseback because it gave them speed and allowed them to travel almost any terrain.
Today we will learn some of the stories of the most famous heroic horses in the world and their fantastic stories.
The Horse of Lawrence of Arabia
The name of the horse that accompanied Lawrence of Arabia has been lost in the records. But some believe he named his horse “Arabia,” after the unborn Arab nation.
In his campaign with Faysal on the Shores of the Red Sea, Lawrence of Arabia pledged to help Faysal ibn Husayn, the third son of the protector and regent of Mecca Husayn ibn Ali.
Their help would make it possible to defeat the Ottoman Empire in its dominions in the Middle East and weaken it. Moreover, this would add men to the Allies on that front.
Although France and the United Kingdom wished to divide the Arab territories, although they had agreed with the tribes, and with Husayn ibn Ali himself, the creation of an independent pan-Arab state.
The betrayal of France and the United Kingdom to Husayn ibn Ali was known to Laurence of Arabia. However, he relied on the pan-Arab forces to consolidate in the territory, to placate the ambitions of the powers.
One of the most important moments developed in guerrilla warfare with the aim of achieving the uprising of the tribes against the Ottoman Empire. At that time Arabia, Lawrence and Faysal showed off managing to transform the profile of the war in that territory. Below, we will tell you a brief passage from the battle in Tabuk against his adversaries in October 2017. This text is based on excerpts from his personal memoirs.
The Battle in Tabuk, October 2017
A day full of light and dark. In the face of the dream of an independent pan-Arab nation, our allies have shown unparalleled strength… Maybe as much as my horse “Arabia”. That’s what I named after the future nation they were fighting for… we struggled.
Yesterday, “Arabia” saved my life. Our goal was to take the fortress of Tabuk. We certainly achieved the goal at great cost in lives, ours and those of the Turks and Ottomans. Some manage the operation of the train, and the others the military fort. Without numerical superiority, our advantage was surprise, always surprise. Surprise that Arabia with its speed allowed us.
“Arabia” was Faysal’s gift after learning of my support for their cause and my commitment to supporting them. And “Arabia” would be the present that Faysal and his father wanted to give to all the Arabs of the world. A strong nation to grow.
I discovered that “Arabia” lived up to its name, a thoroughbred Arabian horse. White as the sands of the Hijaz under the sun, and fast as the wind, like all the Arabian horses I know.
Arab civilization and heroic horses
Our life passed between war, the sun, food, women, and horses. A simple life I admired. Beneath the surface was a civilization full of culture and knowledge. My studies of archaeology demonstrated his incalculable contribution to modernity.
That day we launched a lightning attack on the Tabuk fort to secure the area and hinder the transport of troops. Our forces were our convictions, the fast horses, and the surprise of the enemy. The riders of the lightning attack had to go on horseback, because they were faster than the camels.
At dawn, we launched the attack mercilessly. It had to be quick if we wanted to succeed with the number of our fighters. And so it was, but not everything went as we expected.
Arabia saving the day.
Our sources had identified the enemy’s strategic points. We attacked quickly on 2 of the 3 points. The third point was able to alert the battalion. Already our forces set fire to the soldiers’ barracks, besieged them, and urged them to surrender.
But the captain had managed to entrench himself in the weapons depot. And it brought us a bigger surprise. We discovered with the sound of the rumble that they had a cannon that our intelligence sources had not reported. The blast knocked down 3 of the best riders. But Faysal was also in danger, and we had to save him.
I ran on the back of Arabia at full speed, while Faysal, riding a camel, was besieged by Turkish cavalry that had come out with the first alert. A contingent of infantry blocked my firing line to finish off Faysal’s attackers. Then Arabia reared up with the smoothness and stability necessary to put me in position to fire at the attackers. With three shots for three attackers, I ended up with the three horsemen who harassed the leader of our allies. If we had lost him, he would have lost the dream and, with it, the war.
In the shooting sight
Then Arabia, as if understanding what our next goal was, rushed to the canyon that had ambushed us. We already had his position after the first shot and he could no longer surprise us, as we had surprised the battalion. The cannon began to spin aiming at us, and Arabia ran in a semicircular shape, approaching the canyon avoiding putting us in the crosshairs…
And he kept running until I had a firing line to shoot down the gunboat. I shot him down, and at that moment Arabia stopped and started walking, as if knowing that we were already safe. This is how we end up with its advantages and also with its surprises. Although a lot of blood was shed later, we avoided defeat thanks to “Arabia”. At that time Arabia proved to be part of the ranks of the heroic horses of history.
History full of heroic horses and their fantastic tales
No doubt we find in the history of humanity hundreds of stories about heroic horses. In this article we will incorporate stories to share our passion for horses. We will tell you about the contribution of horses to the peace and concord of humanity.
For Gustavo Mirabal it has been a challenge to show the importance of horses in the history and evolution of human civilization. What better way to do that than to tell the stories of heroic horses and the fantastic stories of these?
We are waiting for you for our next stories.