Date of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Josef Olmert

First Reader

Charles Brown

Second Reader

Charles Brown


This thesis explores the role of the horse as used by the German Army throughout the Second World War. Contrary to the propagandic image of a mechanized Germany and of the blitzkrieg, the reality of warfare at the time remained primarily dependent on the horse, as man and beast continued to engage in conflict side by side. Horses served a variety of uses within the German forces, from mounted cavalry to hauling artillery, with disasters and successes throughout the war. Employing vast numbers of horses, the Germans allocated extensive resources, and often found themselves relying on the animal when vehicles losses were high. The scope of this work includes a discussion on war strategy, select campaigns in which the horse played a pivotal role, the history of cavalry within Germany, and training of cavalrymen and their horses. It is important to understand the role of the horse within the scope and context of the German Army during World War II, in order to fully analyze and comprehend the German Army’s operations.

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© 2021, Katherine V McFarland