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IN DEFENSE OF THE HORSE: MAJOR GENERAL JOHN K. HERR, CHIEF OF CAVALRY

BOB SEALS

MAY 07, 2009

“Of most Cavalry officers, it was appropriate to say ‘he belongs to the Cavalry,’ but of Johnnie Herr it became fitting to say
‘the Cavalry belongs to him.’”[1]

-J. Franklin Bell, USMA classmate of 1902

             The aftermath of warfare is always a time of reckoning.  Political and military leaders, with the benefit of implacable historical hindsight, are able to look back with the wisdom of recent experience, and identify success and failure.  With crystal clarity not only the Cassandras but those who stood in the way of progress stand out like beacons in a dark night.  The Second World War is no exception to this reckoning.  After 1945 it was fairly easy to look back to the interwar period, between the two World Wars, and see the prophetic, and those considerably less prophetic also.  Subjects such as the elaborate fortifications of the Maginot Line, the growth of airpower, strategic bombing and the mechanization of ground armies all became historical fodder for this inevitable historical reckoning. 

            Mechanization of ground armies is one of the more vivid examples of the above.  The image of the slow and inefficient horse versus the cold, efficient armored vehicle, would serve as a metaphor for traditional military resistance to change and progress. Army leaders who stood in the way of the “rush to blitzkrieg” before the war became afterwards symbols of reactionary military thinking.  Major General John K. Herr, as the last U.S. Army Chief of Cavalry from 1938-42, has become a symbol; described by conventional wisdom as, in effect, the man who “lost it all,” in the words of Grow, for the institution of U.S. horse cavalry.  But does Major General Kerr deserve such a harsh verdict?  Recently historians have begun to challenge this assertion.  Considerable evidence suggests that Herr attempted to develop a cavalry organization that blended the use of motor vehicles and horses in the late pre-war period but was ultimately defeated by foes of horse cavalry, to include the Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall. 

            Such a hypothesis, no doubt, challenges accepted historical wisdom but General John K. Herr was much more than a “Colonel Blimp” caricature of typical military resistance to change.[2]  The reality is far more complex, and interesting, as with most history. He was not completely opposed to mechanization but advocated such measures under the tight control of the cavalry branch while retaining traditional horse mounted units.  Historians should re-examine the cavalry advocates during the interwar period, to include familiar but lesser known figures such as Generals Herr, and Wainwright, for example.  Their views deserve historical consideration vice knee jerk dismissal.  This paper will attempt to outline, and place into context, Major General John K. Herr and his efforts at maintaining the viability of horse cavalry, in the face of mechanization, to include focusing upon his years as Chief of Cavalry, from 1938-1942.  Until his death in 1955, General Herr continued to believe that “Cavalry properly modernized, trained and equipped has a place in modern war.”[3]

 

Background

“John K. Herr loved the cavalry—the tradition, the glamor, the bond between horse and man—everything!  As an old man his thoughts lingered on bygone days when he was astride a horse and he ‘felt like a great king.’  There was something special about men on horseback.”[4]

-Edward M. Coffman, 2004

         It is easy to dismiss General John K. Herr, as most historians do, as an anachronism that loved horses and did not have the intellect to understand the superiority of the tank.  John K. Herr, the man, and the last Chief of Cavalry, was not that simple.  It is necessary to understand John K. Herr the man, before assessing his performance as the last Chief of Cavalry. His background, training and career prepared him well to be the Chief of Cavalry; however, his temperament and combative nature guaranteed problems eventually with the man Winston S. Churchill called the “true organizer of victory,” Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall.[5]  Ultimately, Generals Herr and Marshall were almost on non-speaking terms, and their failed personal relationship, unfortunately, effectively destroyed the ability of some very capable U.S. Horse Cavalry units to contribute to victory in the Second World War.

 

Cadet Days

            “Congressman: Was it too dark for you to recognize the faces of your hazers?

            MacArthur:  I do not think it would have been if I had looked at them, but it is generally    

            customary for Fourth Class men not to look at those people who are hazing them.”[6]

-1901 Congressional Hearings

 

Major General John K. Herr, United States Cavalry, was very much a product of his times; that is, the late nineteen and early twentieth century.  The Herr family was originally Swiss in origin, emigrating from Switzerland in 1704 and eventually settling in New Jersey.[7]  Born in 1878 in White House, New Jersey to Judge Henry Burdette Herr and Virginia Buford Large Herr, his family was what was commonly described in the 19th century as to be one of “means.” General Herr’s father, Henry Burdette Herr, was a local judge, and it appears that his son inherited a strong willingness to stand up for his rights, with superiors or authority figures in general, most likely from the judge.  In later years General Herr had a tendency to write or speak almost as a lawyer presenting his case, or final arguments before a skeptical jury.

Graduating from Reading Academy in Flemington, New Jersey, in 1895 before the tender age of 16, Herr attended college for three years across the state line at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.  Herr appears to have been a fine student at Lafayette, maintaining a respectable 93.73 average in Latin Science, in addition to being a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the Washington Literary Society and receiving the Freshman Oratorical Prize.[8] A member of the class of 1899, he left Lafayette in 1898, after the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, in perhaps a burst of war time patriotism, to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Undoubtedly his influential father helped with the process, and Herr was one of a class of only 33 cadets admitted in the summer of 1898.[9]  It is remarkable that Herr was willing to undergo the rather brutal treatment of a plebe, or freshman, at the academy after completing three years of undergraduate work.

 His cadet years seem to have been a blur of activity, much of it athletically oriented.  A natural and versatile athlete, as a cadet he achieved considerable success in track, football, boxing, baseball and horseback riding, a forecast of things to come.  Herr won his coveted varsity letter A for baseball in 1900, and played in the first ever Army-Navy baseball game on May 18 1901, at shortstop, with Cadet Douglas MacArthur playing left field in the same game.  Herr got a base hit during the game.[10]  The cadet yearbook, The Howitzer, described Herr as a very capable baseball player who could play the infield or outfield, an accurate assessment of his athletic range.[11]

At the turn of the century the Military Academy was bedeviled by the peculiar problem of hazing within the cadet ranks, with Herr involved in the practice, almost ending his military career before it began.  By the turn of the 20th century the practice of humiliating or tormenting newcomers to the school had reached a peak, and was believed to be a contributing factor in the death of Cadet Oscar L. Booz, a classmate of Herr’s in the class of 1898. Cadet Booz resigned that year after four months of hazing, and died later from tuberculosis of the larynx.[12]  The United States House of Representatives conducted hearings in 1901 investigating the oft brutal hazing at the academy, with several cadets implicated in the practice.[13]

 Cadet Herr would be implicated in the hazing scandal and called before the Superintendant’s Investigative Board in May of 1901.  Details are sketchy but Herr was called before the Investigation Board and questioned for two hours by then Superintendent Colonel Albert Leopold Mills on 01 May 1901.[14] Standing his ground while being questioned for two hours by the board, Herr would be one of the 5 cadets dismissed with 6 cadets suspended from duty at the Military Academy.[15] 

Following this grilling Cadet Herr was dismissed from the academy, fought the dismissal, with most likely assistance from his father, the judge, and was reinstated as a cadet in a turbulent few months during the summer of 1901.  The significance of this episode, apart from almost destroying a promising military career before it began, was that it clearly demonstrated the willingness of Herr to stand up for his beliefs under pressure, and defy authority to the point of career destruction. These traits were again clearly evident four decades later as Cavalry Chief fighting for the survival of horse cavalry.  

Another significant event during his cadet days demonstrated his already considerable riding skills, which made him a natural for commissioning in the cavalry branch of the time upon graduation from the Military Academy.  At the time the Military Academy at West Point was a popular destination for visiting dignitaries to the United Sates, to include royalty from Europe and elsewhere.  In 1902, during the visit of Prince Henry of Prussia to West Point, each cadet performed a bareback riding stunt for the visiting prince in the indoor Riding Hall.  Cadet Herr amazed the Prince with his riding trick, who requested a repeat of the event on the spot.  Herr achieved a certain amount of international notoriety for his skill with accounts of the event dutifully reported in the local newspaper, and elsewhere.[16] 

Ever active, Cadet Herr survived the cauldron of his four years at the Academy with the occasional injury, to include once breaking his hand while boxing.[17]  More challenged in the classroom than at Lafayette College, Herr graduated in the bottom third of his class with a ranking of 45th out of 54 graduates.[18]  He was not listed in the Official Army Register during his tenure as one of the top five cadets in academic subjects such as Mathematics, French, Spanish or Practical Military engineering.[19]  In May of 1902 Cadet John K. Herr crossed the stage and was presented his diploma by then President Teddy Roosevelt, a fellow cavalryman himself.  Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the cavalry branch, he was assigned to the famous 7th Cavalry Regiment, “Garry Owen,” George Armstrong Custer’s old command, without a doubt the most famous and storied cavalry regiment in Army history.  It was to be a perfect assignment for a young officer, setting the tone for his 40 year career to follow.

 

Army Career

“On graduation I had asked for assignment to cavalry, first choice 5th [Regiment], second 11th [Regiment], third any other cavalry serving in the Philippines.”[20]

 

The United States Army that Lieutenant Herr joined that summer of 1902 was a unique institution, a far cry from the huge and powerful machine that became a force to be reckoned with in two World Wars.  After the Spanish-American War, the Army attempted to improve upon its performance with reorganization and modernization the order of the day.  Improvements in military technology posed challenges for the force, with some likening the era as one of “technical anxiety.”[21]  Change occurred slowly, within tradition, and the Army remained basically a small, frontier oriented force.

One historian has likened the pre-World War One U.S. Army Cavalry to a close-knit family.[22]   In many respects this analogy is very apt.  In particular the cavalry was more a family than a combat branch. Uniforms and weapons had recently changed for the U.S. Cavalry of 1902, but the pattern of life was very similar to that from Indian Wars days.  Most units were spread out over the states in small, isolated garrisons, a holdover from frontier days.  Most officers in the cavalry knew each other, were sons of officers, and many were related by marriage.[23]  Herr was illustrative of this close knit familiar environment and in regards remained in the cavalry family for his entire life.  Second Lieutenant Herr was assigned to the 7th Cavalry, due to a recommendation from a fellow West Point officer, and more importantly due to the fact that a short stop was needed for the Regimental Baseball Team![24]

In 1902 the 7th Cavalry Regiment was stationed at Camp George H. Thomas in the Chickamauga National Military Park in Georgia.  This camp was a temporary one, established to train the flood of citizens volunteering for service in the recent war with Spain. Housing was primitive with bachelor officers and men living in tents.  From the start Army life seems to have agreed with the newly minted Second Lieutenant of Cavalry. 

Lieutenant Herr wrote home to his father the judge after arrival in Georgia to the effect that “There is no happier life than that of the Army and Navy…I am very fond of Army life and don’t suppose I will ever leave it.”[25]  John K. Herr never did. 

Service with the 7th Cavalry Regiment was unique, as Lieutenant Herr soon found out.  He wrote “To be a Garry Owen was held to be a mark of honor and pride and demanding utmost devotion to the regiment.  Often after festivities when Gary Owen was played by the band officers would draw pistols and shoot live ammunition through the tent floors or into the air.”[26]

Lieutenant Herr, at least from his unpublished account, seems to have been a fairly typical Second Lieutenant learning his profession.  He took pride in his military skills, to include riding and shooting, and was extremely happy to beat out his troop First Sergeant as the best shot, mounted and dismounted, in H Troop tests during his first year in Georgia.[27] Army duties were not onerous, with plenty of time throughout the year for leave, athletics such as baseball, riding, hunting, and various social activities.  An officer could expect to serve with his regiment for many years, given the slow pace of promotions, and only deployed overseas with his unit as circumstances warranted.

During his first assignment with the 7th Cavalry at Chickamauga Park in Georgia, officers were often detailed for horse related exhibitions, shows and the like.  During a troop detail at the Atlanta Horse Show, he met Miss Helen Maxwell Hoyle, one of four daughters born to Georgia native Eli DuBose Hoyle, a fellow West Point officer, who was at the time an artillery battery commander also stationed at Chickamauga Park.  Within a year Herr was engaged, and married Miss Hoyle, on 15 September 1903, beginning a good marriage that lasted almost 51 years.  His father-in-law went on to receive a star as a brigadier general in the field artillery, serving until the First World War, most likely a considerable benefit to his son-in-law’s career.[28]  Lieutenant and Mrs. Herr settled down with their first daughter, Helen Hoyle Herr, born the following year on 30 June 1904.  Soon afterward the 7th Regiment was alerted for overseas duty in the Philippine Islands, a possession acquired in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War.  A bloody insurgency soon developed in the Philippines, the so called Philippine Insurrection, lasting from 1899-1902.

Married officers were able to take families, and in June of 1905 the 7th Cavalry Regiment and the young Herr family departed San Francisco heading west towards the Philippines on the Logan.  Arriving in the islands the regiment, less one squadron, was stationed south of Manila near the Batangas Bay at Camp McGrath. Life was good at McGrath, in the Herr household, with a British nurse, a Chinese cook and Pilipino house boy, “All in all not a bad life.”[29]  A second daughter was born to the Herr family, while in Philippines, on 12 October 1905, Fanny deRussy Herr.  Lieutenant Herr at his new assignment was kept busy as the Squadron Post Exchange, Post Treasurer, Post Ordnance and Post Commissary Officer. After two years of somewhat uneventful duty in the islands the 7th Cavalry was replaced by the 9th Cavalry Regiment.   In July of 1907 the 7th Cavalry and the Herrs returned to the States to be stationed at the home of the cavalry, Fort Riley, Kansas.

It was at Fort Riley that John K. Herr discovered the sport that influenced his career and life the remainder of his days, polo.  A natural for the cavalry of the day, polo was very popular with officers especially, due to the considerable expense associated with the game.  Herr proclaimed “…I found in polo a game which appealed to all my traits, physical and mental and in which I could apply to the utmost degree all that I had acquired in the art of riding and horsemanship…a great school for the development [of] leaders in combat. ”[30]  Not possessing considerable wealth, Herr spent what money the family could spare for his passion.  Polo was a passion, and one that made him notable within the cavalry branch.  “In play, I was enthralled and when mounted on a splendid pony trained by me, I felt like a great king.  I owe much to polo.”[31]

Change was coming, albeit at a slow pace, as the Army continued in its attempts to modernize after the disorder of the Spanish-American War, that first decade of the twentieth century.  Already signs of mechanization had begun in 1906 with the purchase of six gasoline powered cars by the Quartermaster Department, but only, of course, after two years of testing.[32]

In 1910 Herr attended the Mounted Service School at Riley, before being selected the following year for duty at the Military Academy.  While at the academy Herr was promoted to First Lieutenant and served in the Departments of English, History and Tactics.  He had the opportunity to instruct many of the officers who became General Officers during the Second World War, and decades later recalled then Chief of Staff Eisenhower as a rather poor rider during his plebe year at West Point.[33]  Interesting enough Herr’s younger brother, Fred, was a cadet at the Military Academy during this time in the class of 1914, having followed in his brother’s footsteps at Lafayette College, West Point and ultimately in the cavalry.[34] 

After only two years of instructor duty at West Point Herr was assigned to the 11th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, the successor to Camp Thomas in the Chickamauga National Military Park.  Herr’s years back in Georgia included a period of duty out west in Colorado from 1915-16, where the 11th Cavalry joined the 12th Cavalry Regiment on a mission to maintain order during labor problems at the mines.[35]  Shortly after returning from strike duty Lieutenant Herr was reassigned to Hawaii and duty with the 4th Cavalry Regiment at Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu in February of 1916.

In the islands, in addition to playing polo, Herr also had time to ponder the future of the cavalry branch.  Normally considered by conventional history to be not very thoughtful, Herr in his letters, and later writings, displayed a considerable level of intellect and professional curiosity.  For example in October of 1916 he would write “The day of the cavalry instead of being past is more glorious than ever.  In Mexico the cavalry has done everything.  Our mobility enables us to go where the infantry cannot and we are able to fight dismounted as well as they.  Our country is too big for exclusive trench warfare and we cannot have too much cavalry…There has grown up in our country a very mistaken idea that the day of cavalry is over.  I believe we will find that cavalry has played and will play a most important role in the European war on the eastern front.”[36]   Cavalry did play a larger role in the war than most realize and it is only recently that historians such as Gervase Phillips, among others, have begun illuminating its role in that conflict.

 

First World War

“For exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services.  He showed marked ability as chief of staff of the 30th Division in the capture of Voormezeele and Lock Right in the Ypres Section in Belgium in September, 1918, and in the breaking of the Hindenburg line at Bellicourt, France, and in the operations against the Selle River and Sambre Canal, September 29-October 20, 1918.  By his energy, zeal, and persistent efforts, coupled with sound tactical judgment, he materially contributed to the success of the operations.”[37]

 

Like most American Cavalry officers in the First World War, Herr did not serve in a cavalry assignment.[38]  America entered the war in April of 1917, and Major, by this point, Herr played a role in turning the masses of civilians into a trained and capable Army.  Assigned to the 153rd Depot Brigade at Camp Dix, New Jersey, Herr formed the 5th Training Battalion before rotating overseas to France for staff duty with British forces and attendance at the Staff College.  After graduation, and turning down an assignment with the infant U.S. Army Tank Corps, he became the Chief of Staff of the National Guard 30th Infantry Division, “Old Hickory.”[39]  During his tenure as Division Chief of Staff Herr was promoted temporarily to Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (citation above) and Belgian Order of Leopold (Officer).[40] 

Tragedy struck in April of 1918 when Herr’s brother Wilmer was killed in the trenches while serving with the 2nd Infantry Division.[41]  The 30th Infantry Division with Herr as Chief of Staff was effective, seeing combat from August to November 1918 to include assaulting and capturing a portion of the Hindenberg Line.[42]  Returning to the states for temporary duty with the Army General Staff after the Armistice, Herr returned to Germany to serve with Army Occupation forces, receiving acclaim for organizing and serving as the Chief Umpire of the 1921 Maneuvers.[43] 

 

Post war

“Their struggle in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds had been great, and that they came through victorious was the greatest glory every attained by a military polo team from this country.”[44]

 

            The National Defense Act of 1920 set the tone for not only the postwar Army but the cavalry branch also.  Following a familiar pattern of expansion and contraction, the Army, logically enough, downsized to roughly 200,000 officers and men serving in the Regular Army.  Five years later the Regular Army was down to 130,000 soldiers total, a figure that remained fairly constant for a decade.[45]  An important provision of the 1920 act was to establish branch chiefs, at the Major General rank, for the combat arms of infantry, field artillery, coast artillery and cavalry.[46]  The branch chiefs did not exercise actual command and control over units in their branch but were responsible for equipment, personnel and training.  Additionally, the act abolished the American Tank Corps, giving responsibility for tanks to the infantry and scout, or armored cars, to the cavalry.  For the nation as a whole it was a “return to normalcy,” with public and congressional interest in a strong national defense or foreign policy at perhaps an all time low.  The first AEF veteran elected to Congress after the war proclaimed “Everybody had a bellyful of the damn army.”[47]

            The cavalry branch also felt the impact of the times.  Some four regiments had gone to France, with only one provisional squadron seeing action late in the war.[48]  The cavalry was now reduced to fourteen regiments at half strength.[49]  Returning from Germany in 1922, both Herr and the U.S. Cavalry were at a crossroads.  Opinions were varied as the future of the branch, some were convinced technological advances such as the machine gun had made cavalry obsolete, while others continued to believe the horse and its soldier could continue to contribute on the modern battlefield.  The most celebrated soldier of the day, General John Pershing, himself an old cavalry officer, stated that same year in 1922 “There is not in the world today an officer of distinction, recognized as an authority in military affairs in a broad way who does not declare that cavalry is as important an arm today as it has ever been.”[50]

            However, there was plenty of time for fun and sport in the post World War I Army Cavalry, with “an upsurge of interest in fox hunting, polo, steeplechasing, and in the competition of horse shows…all worked hard and played hard.”[51]  Major Herr, like many officers, always had time for polo.  Herr was one of the best players in the nation; in fact, and chosen in 1923 to play on the Army Polo Team for the International Military Championship.  A talented four man U.S. Army squad defeated the visiting British Army Polo squad three matches to two on the International Field of the Meadow Brook Club in Westbury, Long Island.[52]  This victory was later described as one of the greatest upsets in sports history.  Herr played at the number two position and scored a total of nine goals in the matches, a clear sign of his riding skills and offensive aggression.[53]  Herr’s notable career continued with attendance at both the Command and General Staff and War Colleges from 1924-27, in addition to earlier duty with the Army General Staff.[54]

During this decade the cavalry began experiments in order to adapt to the motor.  As early as October of 1927, Troop F of the 5th Cavalry, at the conclusion of First Cavalry Division maneuvers, had moved the entire troop, or company sized unit of “two officers, forty-five enlisted men and forty-eight horses, with full field equipment” on 12 World War One era Liberty Trucks.  The movement from Marfa to Fort Clark, Texas, was a distance of 288 miles, in little more than one day’s time.[55]  To Captain Charles Cramer, the Troop Commander, such an exercise demonstrated that “…cavalry (horses, men and equipment) by motor transportation as far in a day as infantry can be moved in that time by the same mode of transportation and still be ready to move out, mounted, in an hour or two after unloading.”[56]  The following year in 1928 the Army established an Experimental Mechanized Force at Camp Meade in Maryland, with a so-called Permanent Mechanized Force stood up two years later under the command of Colonel Daniel Van Voorhis.[57]  This force was not too permanent, in fact and was disbanded only one year later by the Army with assets transferred to the cavalry.  In respects this was symbolic as the Army throughout the 1930’s waxed and waned on the issue of mechanization, not quite sure of itself.

In 1931 the brilliant Army Chief of Staff, General Douglas MacArthur had proclaimed that “The horse has no higher degree of mobility today than he had a thousand years ago.  The time has therefore arrived when the Cavalry arm must either replace or assist the horse as a means of transportation, or else pass into the limbo of discarded military formations.”[58]  Of course, using the same logic, one could point out that the infantry, or artillery, for that matter, had no higher degree of mobility than a thousand years previous, also.  Additionally, the U.S. Army Cavalry had been looking for ways and methods, just as General MacArthur had suggested, to “assist,” or supplement, the mobility of the horse in an increasingly motorized world, as previously seen with portee experiments in 1927. 

One officer of the day called the entire decade of the 1930’s “lean years” for the Army and mechanization, and he was certainly correct.[59]  The cavalry branch was soon split between proponents of motors and horses.  Young “turks” in the branch such as George Patton, Daniel Van Voorhis, Adna Chaffee Jr. and Robert Grow led the charge for mechanization, becoming what one historian called the “American Armor’s Four Horsemen.”[60]  A detailed examination of these horsemen of mechanization is beyond the scope of this paper, but they represented one end of the spectrum and Herr the other. 

Herr’s successful career continued with service in the 2nd Cavalry at Fort Riley, before duty at the War College as an Instructor, becoming director of Military intelligence and Operations Training Courses at the College until 1932.  After a short stint with the 3rd Cavalry at Fort Ethan Allen in Vermont and Inspector General duty, he finally returned to the 7th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas, as Commander in 1935, serving as Regimental Commander until  his selection as the Chief of Cavalry.[61]

In addition to internal indecision regarding mechanization, Army leaders were further handicapped by the economic times and mood of the nation.   It was an era of arms reductions, cut backs and disarmament, with the U.S. President Hebert Hoover supporting efforts such as the World Disarmament Conference in 1932, which proposed abolishing all offensive weapons, to include tanks, and reducing land armies by a third.[62]  The Great Depression continued and in such a climate the Army had their hands full with simply attempting to survive, much less procure modern tanks, trucks and cars.

 

Chief of Cavalry

“I was in command of the 7th Cavalry at Fort Bliss Texas when I was notified of my appointment as Chief of Cavalry effective March 27, 1938.  I was under no illusion as to the lack of power of a chief of branch.”[63]

 

            The United States Army in 1938, as Major General John K. Herr assumed the duties of the Chief of Cavalry, was but a mere skeleton of the mighty force that won the Second World War.  Mustering less than two hundred thousand active duty soldiers and officers under Chief of Staff General Malin Craig, the Army faced a daunting task of attempting to modernize and mechanize its forces with a budget of only $ 492 million.  There was no urgent call for rearmament in the United States. For example, Time magazine in a major article on Third Army “war games” reported that “Since the U.S. is determined not to fight abroad and does not expect to have to fight at home, the public may well ask whether its half billion dollars is serving any purpose except to keep up with the Joneses of Europe and Asia.”[64] 

Asserting that most civilians did not care about the force or maneuvers since they were not for “keeps,” the new Army Chief of Cavalry General Herr was described in the same article as “…a grey horseman, onetime top-flight polo player, who hates to smell gasoline, does what he can to brake the trend toward mechanization at the cost of horsed units.”[65]  As Herr assumed office the cavalry branch consisted of 9,919 men and 895 officers organized into 2 mechanized and 12 horse mounted active duty regiments.  For his official Branch Chief picture General Herr was photographed, appropriately enough, mounted on his thoroughbred horse “Star Witness,” grandson of the legendary race horse “War Admiral.”[66]

            Within the cavalry branch there were many who welcomed the selection of Herr to be the new Chief of Cavalry in 1938.  Lucian K. Truscott, then a student at Fort Leavenworth, said of Herr: 

"A magnetic and pleasing personality, he was greatly admired and respected on all sides…an appointment that was warmly welcomed throughout the cavalry, for it was generally believed that his honesty, forthrightness, and outspoken dedication to the cavalry were the need of the hour in Washington…unfortunately he was impatient with those who might hold contrary views, and he did not hesitate to make his opinions of such persons known on any and all occasions.”[67] 

 

Most historians have not been so complimentary, to include Dr. Christopher R. Gabel, who describes General Herr as “…more interested in Cavalry’s nineteenth century traditions than in modern realities,” a refrain echoed by many.[68]

            There was still little doubt within the Cavalry Branch in 1938 as to its roles and missions.  Cavalry Officer Cadets in ROTC program learned in textbooks that:

 “The Cavalry is a mounted arm.  This means that all its officers and soldiers are mounted either on horses (in the case of horse cavalry), or in some form of motorized or mechanized vehicle (in the case of mechanized cavalry).  Thus equipped, cavalry is enabled to cover long distances with relatively high speed.  Since it is armed (except for the bayonet and tank) with essentially the same weapons as the infantry, cavalry constitutes, in addition to its mobility, a formidable fighting force.”[69]

 

 Cavalry missions continued to be the traditional ones such as ground reconnaissance, screening, exploitation, covering a retreat and pursuit. The characteristics of cavalry were summarized in the three words: “mobility, fire power, and shock.”[70]

            As Chief of Cavalry General Herr above all remained an advocate of the branch to the bitter end.  He was consistent in his core beliefs and principles; with these stressed again and again in his writings and speeches.  General Herr maintained that the United States had the best cavalry, horse and mechanized, in the world, with the strength of one supplementing the other.  He believed there was a continued role for the horse, just as roles existed for the airplane and motorized vehicles.  Horse cavalry was capable of conducting its traditional missions to include reconnaissance, pursuit, covering force and limited combat.  The U.S. Army might fight in areas, to include in the Western Hemisphere, with few roads.  The next war was going to be a war of movement, vice trench war, requiring considerable cavalry.  Finally, above all, cavalry was not the force of popular imagination, that is, no Charge of the Light Brigade “boot to boot,” but a mounted or dismounted force capable of fighting as well as infantry but with superior mobility.[71] Finally, General Herr always resisted conversion of the few horse cavalry units into mechanized, advocating instead expansion of forces.

            On October 17 1938 General Herr expressed his thoughts on the status of the branch in a formal memorandum to the Chief of Staff.  In this memorandum Herr expressed the opinion that the international situation required an increase in the size of the U.S. Army, to include an increase in cavalry, and that horse and mechanized cavalry “…supplement each other, and their best use is in combination and in large mass.”  Herr also advocated a Cavalry Corps consisting of two or more horse divisions and a mechanized division.  He also forecast, quite prophetically, that any war the U.S. engaged in the future “will in all probability, be a war of movement.”[72]

            Herr remained concerned throughout the year and submitted on the first of December an additional memorandum on Regular Army Requirements for National Defense, asking for a Cavalry Corps again with an additional four Horse-Mechanized Corps Reconnaissance regiments.  Herr also advocated the purchase and use of a huge amount of land in Texas from El Paso to the Rio Grande for a “field laboratory” to be used in training the projected increase in all Army forces.[73] This proposal, never acted upon, was in effect, a forerunner of the modern day Combat Training Centers such as the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA.

Herr also proposed that the Ordnance Corps develop a lightweight antitank weapon that could be carried in a “pack,” specialized trucks to carry horses, and, in conjunction with the Chief of Infantry, a replacement to the scout car, manufactured by the Bantam Car Company, the famous “jeep” of World War II.[74]

 

1939

“During the past 8 years, cavalry has conducted intensive study and development in mechanization.  Our studies and experiments have convinced us that we can apply automotive machines to the execution of cavalry missions to a very considerable extent.  We are satisfied that the iron horse is here to stay.”[75]

 

            1939 was a critical year for the world and the cavalry.  War clouds gathered in Europe as the Axis powers continued rearming and reading for war.  In the United States, preparations were considerably less intense.  For example, on 03 February 1939 General Herr testified before the Congress reference the Army 1940 Fiscal Year budget, an illustrative example of the myriad of duties encompassing the Chief of Cavalry position.  Herr defended a budget increase in the Cavalry School, at Fort Riley, Kansas, to the pathetic tune of $ 2,405 for hiring and supplies.  More importantly Herr took the occasion to attempt to defend and explain the value of horse cavalry to his congressional audience.  He proposed an active duty Army Cavalry Corps of 1 Mechanized Division and 2-3 Horse Divisions.[76]  Three weeks later General Herr approved plans for the activation of a Mechanized Cavalry Division for fiscal year 1941; unfortunately these plans were disapproved several months later in May of 1939 by the Army Staff.[77]

The summer of 1939 also saw George Marshall become the acting Army Chief of Staff, replacing Marlin Craig.  In July General Herr approved plans converting one squadron of the 2nd Cavalry at Fort Riley into a mechanized unit.

The shock of war again in Europe on 01 September 1939 further illustrated General Herr’s willingness to expand U.S. Army mechanized cavalry.  The world was shocked by images of German panzers rolling into Poland, with some now convinced that any and all horse cavalry were obsolete.  Days later Herr addressed the Army War College and again called for the expansion of the mechanized 7th Cavalry Brigade into a division with additional mechanized divisions for each field army.  War in Europe did not bring about any large change in American policy as FDR declared a limited state of national emergency in September with only paltry increases in the Regular Army and readiness in general.[78]

The first of September marked not only the beginning of the war in Europe but also the date General George C. Marshall was sworn in as the Army Chief of Staff.  The only member of the American staff to serve from the beginning in 1939 to the end of the war in 1945, Marshall has assumed mythic status.[79]  An infantryman, and consummate staff officer throughout his career, General Marshall was determined not to repeat the mistakes of the First World War, to include ruthlessly eliminating officers considered to be too old for wartime service.  He reached, ironically, mandatory retirement age in 1944 but did not retire.  Additionally, some have maintained Marshall was not sympathetic to cavalry as a branch in general.[80]  With Marshall as Chief the stage was set for conflict with Herr, perhaps due to their differing personalities.

 

1940

“It must be remembered that instead of charging with drawn sabers or lances the modern cavalry rarely fights mounted; for the most part it fights dismounted.  It simply maneuvers mounted in order to get advantageous positions…Under no circumstances will foolish mounted attacks be made against overwhelming firepower.”[81]

 

            The pace of world events quickened the following year in 1940, with the United States, its Army and cavalry struggling to keep pace.  In respects political decisions, made by FDR and Congress, did not help the Army to include limited mobilization which included activation of the Army National Guard and the first ever Peacetime draft.  The induction of massive amounts of men swamped the Regular Army and actually weakened the force due to widespread material shortages.[82]  In addition to such problems at the unit level, the Army General Staff felt the strain also. In the official history of Army organization and administration, James E. Hewes Jr. describes the period in general as “The General Staff Breaks Down, 1939-1941.”  Furthermore, nowhere in the Army Staff was there “…a center of energy and directing authority,” with functions “held together by custom, habit, standard operating procedure, regulations, and a kind of genial conspiracy among the responsible officers.”[83]  General Herr later contended that the conspiracy was not so genial, and was directed against horse cavalry.  July of 1940 also saw Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair appointed to the General Staff, a personal selection by General Marshall.  Again, official Army history years later described McNair as “an ardent armor supporter…who delivered the coup de grace to the horse.”  By the time of said coup in 1942, General McNair was the Chief of Army Ground Forces, with all combat arms under his control. [84]

Herr and the U.S. cavalry attempted to keep pace with events in Europe and maintain relevance.  Army and Corps Headquarters began to fill out with new units and men, with a new organization, the Horse-Mechanized Corps Reconnaissance Regiment, stood up to provide a robust reconnaissance capability for the expanding corps and divisions.[85] These Horse-Mechanized Regiments, initially the 4th and 6th Regiments, attempted to combine the advantages of motor and horse methods of transportation, using the portee concept pioneered in the previous decade.  Such regiments consisted of two squadrons, or battalions; one motorized squadron equipped with scout cars, “bantam cars” or jeeps, and motorcycles, and one squadron mounted on horses with prime movers or trucks for long distant movements.  Motorized anti-tank, engineer and signal platoons rounded out the regiment.  With training, “A squad of eight men and eight horses, with forage and rations and complete equipment, including light and heavy machine guns in pack, could be loaded on a truck and its trailer in from five to seven minutes.”[86] 

Many of the National Guard Cavalry Regiments were to become Horse-Mechanized Regiments, based upon equipment availability.  For example the Ninth Army Corps at Fort Lewis in Washington state was assigned the 115th Cavalry from the Wyoming National Guard, and performed “exceptionally well” in training leading up to American entry into war.[87]  Since becoming Chief General Herr had advocated the mixture of horse and motorized elements, and such regiments were entirely in keeping with this principle. 

The spring 1940 Louisiana maneuvers was an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of this new Horse-Mechanized Regiment, and the cavalry in general; however, all eyes were on the Provisional Tank Brigade.  At the conclusion of the maneuvers, at a secret meeting held by armor advocates, with Herr not invited, the decision was made to take mechanization away from the cavalry and infantry branches.[88]  The Armored Force was created the following month in July of 1940, but the horse cavalry came away pleased with the new horse and mechanized regiments.

After Louisiana, Colonel Coulter, the commanding officer of the 4th Cavalry Regiment would write in his post exercise report, of his unit “It marched four thousand miles from Fort Meade South Dakota, to the Louisiana Maneuvers and return at an average rate of 25 miles per hour, demonstrating its ability to march as a unit under all circumstances.  In view of its ability to provide elements or combination thereof, in accomplishing assigned missions, the maneuvers clearly indicated that the present organization of the horse and mechanization regiment is, in general, sound, and the regiment is capable of performing the missions for which it was designed, namely reconnaissance, security and limited combat, for the infantry corps.”[89]

            Again some current scholars, further removed from the times, have denigrated the Horse-Mechanized Regiment as “curious,” perhaps due to the transportation of horses on trucks.[90]  One wonders why the transportation of horses on wheeled vehicles is considered any more curious than the movement of infantry, artillery or armored vehicles by truck or trailer.  In any event the opening round was not to Herr and the horse cavalry, but the match was not yet over.

 

1941

“It was felt, by many, and with considerable bitterness, that these maneuvers were rigged to limit the activities of the cavalry, for the pressure was on from certain quarters to eliminate the mounted service.”[91]

 

            The year 1941 saw the U.S. Horse Cavalry transition from peace to war, going from maneuvers, again, in Louisiana and the Carolinas to actual combat in the Philippine Islands.  General Herr, and the cavalry branch in general, were keenly aware of the precarious nature of horse cavalry units after the initial Louisiana maneuvers and Armor Force creation the previous year.  It was to be a make or break year for the horse cavalry, and General Herr.

            Considerable success was achieved by horse cavalry during the second Louisiana maneuvers in September of 1941, despite exercise restrictions.  During the first phase of the maneuvers the still horse mounted 1st Cavalry Division, placed upon the western flank of the Blue or Third Army, was able to move 44 miles in 20 hours undetected, cross the rain swollen Sabine River, and hit the Red, or Second Army in the rear.  The Third Army division the horse mounted cavalry hit, ironically enough, was the 2nd Armored Division, with troopers “creat[ing] something suspiciously like real panic,” among tanks and troops.[92]  Additionally the 106th and 113th Cavalry Regiments performed admirably during the exercises, performing traditional missions such as screening and providing covering actions for standard infantry divisions.  Life magazine journalists described armored troops as “cocky and brave” at the start, but “silent and unhappy” by the conclusion of the week long exercise phase.[93]  No less a critic than General McNair had praise for the 1st Cavalry Division’s performance, and identified poor reconnaissance as one of the most serious shortcomings from the Louisiana maneuvers.[94]  The Armored Force’s performance was handicapped by circumstances to include terrain, weather, and inability to mass combat power.[95]

            Large scale Army maneuvers continued later in the year in the fall in the Carolinas.  Once again the spotlight was on the horse cavalry, as the maneuvers promised to be a test of the Army’s mechanized forces.  The Army General Staff chose at this point, to reorganize, without consulting and over the protests of Herr, the two Horse Mechanized Regiments in the maneuvers, the 6th and 107th Cavalry, into a horse pure 107th Regiment and a motorized pure 6th Regiment.  Obviously this violated cavalry doctrine of the time, with Herr’s protests dismissed by General Marshall as anger over not being consulted over the reorganization.[96]  Such anger seems to have been not entirely misplaced.  The Carolina maneuvers were considered to be not as successful for the horse cavalry as those in Louisiana, but again the infant Armor Force had significant problems working with other branches as a combined arms force.  In particular the 1st Armored Division was singled out for what is now described command and control problems, and was kept in the maneuvers only by the return of destroyed tanks to service every midnight.[97]

            It is interesting to note that one historian has described the outcome of the maneuvers as “Chaffee’s tanks and armored cars ran circles around the harried troopers of Major General Kenyon A. Joyce’s First Cavalry Division, they convinced the Army brass that the horse no longer had an important part to play in modern warfare,” but such an assessment is incorrect.[98]

            Another was dismissive of the cavalry’s success in the maneuvers, describing it only as a “few minor actions” with the future for the cavalry doomed.[99]   But the considerable success of the horse mounted cavalry during the maneuvers of 1941 seems to have had little to no effect for the future of the force.  Only four days before the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor General Herr spoke before the U.S. Horse and Mule Association, as always defending the branch.  The nation was now officially at war, with at least one horse mounted Cavalry Regiment on the front lines. 

Perhaps due to the confusion of transition from peace to war it was lost on most that, at least in the Philippine Islands, the horse mounted 26th Cavalry (Philippine Scouts) demonstrated the continued viability of cavalry as the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) resisted Japanese Army landings on Luzon.  Senior Army leaders such as the Chief of Staff George Marshall and G-3 McNair had already written off the horse cavalry, but the 26th Cavalry demonstrated such a decision may have been premature.

The 787 officers and men of the 26th Cavalry fought a classic cavalry delaying action as 1941 turned into 1942 against Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma and the Japanese Fourteenth Army.  The I Corps Commander, General Jonathan M. Wainwright, credited the sacrifice of the 26th Cavalry, losing half to three quarters of the regiment, with enabling his U.S. - Philippine North Luzon Force of 4 Philippine Army Infantry Divisions to withdraw into the Bataan Peninsula.[100] While on Bataan there was one last horse mounted charge.  First Lieutenant Ed Ramsey of the 26th Cavalry led a charge on 16 January 1942 against advancing Japanese infantry at the small village of Morong: “Bent nearly prone across the horses’ necks, we flung ourselves at the Japanese advance, pistols firing full into their startled faces.”[101]  The 26th Cavalry and General Herr were not going down without a fight.

            One bright spot after Pearl Harbor was the combat readiness of the horse mounted units for the branch.  It was good and getting better.  Before the end of 1941 the War Department reported the 1st Cavalry Division as ready for combat with the 2nd Cavalry Division and an additional brigade ready by March 1942, a high readiness rate for the horse mounted units.[102]

 

1942

“I considered myself to be the advisor of the chief of Staff on all matters involving cavalry and that I expected to be consulted by them when consideration was given to any plans or measures which concerned that arm.  They [General Staff] all assented to this but none of them carried it out.”[103]

 

            It was during those dark early days of American involvement in World War II that the War Department was re-organized, under the direction of General Marshall, ending the branch chief positions, to include the Chief of Cavalry, and horse cavalry in general.  The War Department General Staff system was broken, in words of the official history, and a planned solution was in the works. General Marshall and the General Staff were overwhelmed with the responsibilities of a global war and had to reorganize.  The so-called Marshall reorganization in 1942 created three field commands outside the existing War Department, an Army Ground Forces, Army Air forces and Services of Supply, in order to improve efficiency.  The official Army history of the reorganization describes those who protested, such as Herr, as “disgruntled,” but likewise describes the War Department as being organized in a “jury-rigged, extempore manner…under General Marshall.”[104]

However, after the March of 1942 there was no forceful advocate for cavalry, horse or otherwise.  The War Department’s General Staff Operations Division was actively involved in planning the global war, attempting to determine the number of divisions, armored, motorized, airborne, and so forth, required to beat the Axis.  The Operations Division projected a requirement of 140 Army Divisions, to include 46 armored and 23 motorized divisions, for mobilization.  Operations also recommended against the mechanization of the two existing cavalry divisions, the 1st and 2nd, interesting enough, given how contentious this issue was, only months before Pearl Harbor.[105]  But just as General Marshall made the decision to scale back the numbers of divisions needed, he also made the decision that horse cavalry was not needed for final victory.  This was a decision that many, to include Herr and commanders overseas, soon regretted.

Official Army history of ground forces stated “By the close of 1942 it was evident to General McNair that every man, weapon, and ship-ton made available to the Ground Forces must be used to the utmost, at whatever strain to individuals concerned.”[106]  This concern did not obviously extend to the horse cavalry divisions, the 1st and 2nd Cavalry, and various regiments across the U.S. at the time.  Literally months, and in some cases years, were wasted in “de-horsing” these cavalry units and converting such forces into either mechanized, armored or infantry outfits.  For example, for two years the combat ready evaluated 1st Cavalry Division cooled its heels in Texas, waiting for deployment orders to go overseas.  In the 2nd Cavalry Division’s case, one of the few racially integrated divisions in the Army at the time, the unit was inactivated, re-formed, sent to North Africa and inactivated a second time, surely some sort of World War II record of futility and waste.[107]

 

1943-1945

“I do not ask you to accept anything I say.  You must do your own thinking; you must try to think straight and evaluate things.  Only then can you arrive at sound conclusions.”[108]

 

            It was not long before some Army commanders in the field bemoaned the absence of horse cavalry and called for its return to the battlefield.  General Eisenhower was forced to admit that “There were many uses for and requests for and requests by subordinate commanders for horse cavalry during the North African operations…However, the advantages of horse cavalry did not outweigh the need for shipping space which was and still is critical and vital.”[109]  Subordinate commanders to include Generals Patton, Bradley, Truscott, Lucas, Eddy, Robinett and numerous commanding officers of regiments and troops, all called for horse cavalry and pack mule use, after fighting in North Africa and Sicily.[110]

            In the Pacific theater the need was also felt for horse cavalry.  The 1st Cavalry Division, appropriately enough, after landing on Leyte, rounded up all the horseflesh it could to include native ponies, captured Japanese horses and re-captured U.S. Army Horses, in order to form a horse mounted Provisional Reconnaissance Unit.[111]  This unit proved to be invaluable on Leyte and Luzon, to include the instrumental capturing of a bridge over the Penarnda River for advancing armored forces during the drive on Manila.[112]

The war was not yet over in Europe as U.S. Army began the doctrinal process of studying and staffing improvements to the standard infantry and armor divisions of 1945.  Reports were received from the theatres as to the inadequacy of divisional reconnaissance elements, to include the reconnaissance troop or company found in each division of the day.[113] 

For example, both Combat Commanders of the 11th Armored Division, Colonel W.W. Yale, Combat Command B Commander, and Brigadier General W.A. Holrook, Jr., Combat Command A, in Europe recommended the addition of horse cavalry into the armored division table of organization, in order to improve inadequate reconnaissance and pursuit capability.  These commanders reported an almost daily need for horse cavalry, with either a troop or squadron needed at division, reporting mechanized cavalry equipped with halftracks and armored cars as too road bound.  Brigadier General Holrook of Combat Command A stated that “The inclusion of portee horse cavalry in each armored division is earnestly recommended.”[114]

But all such requests from commanders in the field were for naught, General Herr and the horse cavalry were both put out to pasture in retirement, never to return.  All good things must come to an end and perhaps this was true for horse cavalry also.

 

Post World War II Activities

“The only supporting words in your article, was the simple statement that the cavalry charge was outmoded as being too slow and vulnerable, and that there was no action of the old sort in World War II.  As anyone who pretends to have even the faintest understanding of modern American Cavalry, knows that the charge as you understand it has been outmoded since our Civil War, it would seem to be a fair inference from your own words that what you know of modern cavalry is nil.”[115]

 

By the March of 1942 Major General Herr’s four year tour of duty as Chief of Cavalry was over.  He had reached, theoretically, mandatory retirement age, after almost 40 years of service in the Regular Army.   He was placed on the retirement list; however, he did not go gently into the good night.  Retiring with his wife in Washington, DC, only a mile or so from the White House, Herr would remain active; meeting, writing and speaking out in defense of the cavalry to any and all who would listen.  Riding stables and horses were nearby in Rock Creek, and Lafayette College honored him with the honorary degree of Doctor of Science, that year of 1942.  In addition to his untiring efforts on behalf of bringing back horse cavalry, he served from 1948-50 as President of the Army Mutual Aid Association.

General Herr would remain, in effect, the U.S. Army Cavalry Chief in exile, the fact that he did not have an official office or staff seems to have not slowed Herr down one bit.  J. Franklin Bell, one of Herr’s USMA classmates of 1902 would write in his obituary “Johnnie always gave forceful and fearless expression to his convictions; there was no timidity in him…In his dominating personality were typified the aggressiveness, the fearlessness, the colorfulness, and the dash of the U.S. Cavalry.’”[116]  This forcefulness continued right unto the end. 

Many of his old officers in the cavalry branch, who had served with distinction as commanders in the newly created Armored Divisions in World War II, continued to correspond with him and support the cause of the horse cavalry.  In retirement, Herr’s writings to newspapers, Congress, magazines, colleagues and interested individuals were considerable.   General Herr continued to be a burr under the saddle of the Washington Army establishment, and was always willing to confront military leaders in power who were not doing enough to bring back horse cavalry, in his opinion.

Herr’s book, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry, co-authored in 1953 with Edward S. Wallace, can be seen as the apogee of “drum and bugle” cavalry history; however, the work provides an interesting insight into his unwavering beliefs.  A fellow cavalryman, General Wainwright, wrote the introduction to Herr’s book and also continued to support the branch.  “The cavalry must be considered superior to the air force in bad weather, at night, and in heavily wooded country…The horseman can go anywhere.”[117]  Written in the dark days of the Korean War, Herr continued to advocate a good healthy dose of horse cavalry for what ailed the atomic era U.S. Army.  The force had turned its back on the horse, contributing to the limited war disaster in Korea.  Herr believed the stalemate would not have been possible with “…really mobile cavalry, mounted on horses and trained to fight on foot.”[118]

In his book Herr identified the factors that he believed caused the decline and fall of the U.S. Cavalry, to include German success, public opinion or miss opinion, industrial interests and good old fashioned branch jealousy. To General Herr the branch was “accused of living in the days of King Arthur – in a dream world,” with “as many pompous Colonel Blimps in its ranks as any other service, and against these and the mounted service in general a campaign of ridicule was launched which proved devastating.”[119]  General Herr was on firm ground in summing up that “…the case for the mounted cavalry: wars flow over all kinds of terrain, in all kinds of weather, and an alert enemy will try to fight in the kind best suited to his resources.”[120]

Not unsurprisingly, he was subjected again to ridicule, which continued decades after his death.   One leading military historian wrote “As late as 1953, a former chief of cavalry argued in a widely circulated book in favor of the potential value of mounted troops in the Korean peninsula!” clearly ridiculing the concept of horses being used in mountainous terrain from the comfortable vantage point of 2001.[121]  In fact, although the U.S. sent no horses or mules to the Korean War, captured animals were prized commodities by Army units fighting in the hills.  Both the 25th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions used horses and mules in the rough terrain of Korea, and went to considerable lengths to conceal their animals from other units for fear of theft.[122]  Unfortunately, General Herr would not live to see horses used again by the Army Special Forces in the hills of Afghanistan.

Major General Herr died at age 76 at the Walter Reed Army Hospital in 1955 and was interred at Arlington Cemetery, eventually to be joined in death by his wife and two daughters.[123] Regardless of one’s opinion regarding his strong views on horse cavalry and mechanization, his was a life well spent not only in service to nation but also to the Cavalry Branch he loved and led.

 

Analysis

“Although I am now retired, I cannot sit idly by and view with complacency, the dastardly sabotage of the American Cavalry.”[124]

 

It is true, as some have pointed out, that cavalry as an institution during the 1930’s was under attack in respects from within, mechanization, and without, a disinterested and often hostile American public and congress.  Each Chief of Cavalry in the postwar period was faced with making the best of a bad situation and General Herr was no exception.  As a mortal Chief of Cavalry Herr made both good and bad decisions, so how does one analyze his performance? 

General Herr’s performance was decidedly mixed but in retrospect one can argue that he was correct in more respects than incorrect.  He was correct in defending the branch, he was correct in his faith in the Horse-Mechanized Regiment, he was correct in the need for a close reconnaissance capability for Divisions and Corps, he was correct that National Guard units needed better leadership and additional training, he was correct that anti-tank measures would improve, he was correct that a bias existed against cavalry, and he was correct that there was a place for horse cavalry in the Second World War.

            General Herr, on the other hand, was wrong about the technologically advancing tank eclipsing the horse, he was wrong in underestimating George Marshall, and he was wrong in assuming there was a role for the U.S. Cavalry in World War II, unfortunately.

            It is interesting to note that one of the four pieces of equipment listed by General Eisenhower as “…vital to our success in Africa and Europe,” the jeep, was developed during General Herr’s tenure as Cavalry Branch.[125] Due to the cavalry branch’s unhappiness with the scout car’s limited off road mobility, a requirement was submitted to the American Bantam Company in Pennsylvania.  Originally called “bantam-cars or bantams,” appropriately enough, the vehicle would become known as the “jeep,” for various reasons, by 1941.  Ironically enough, General Herr would take pride after the war in initiating the development of the jeep, which arguably contributed greatly to the demise of the horse in the U.S. Army Cavalry, due to its superb cross country capability.

Additionally, some historians have contended that the blending of horse and motors, the portee concept used most prominently in the Horse Mechanized Corps Reconnaissance Regiments, was flawed or an abject failure.  As seen previously the portee system was the movement of horses, men and equipment by motorized trucks and trailers, similar to movement of tanks, infantry or artillery by prime movers to a desired location.  Portee has been described as “curious” by Gabel or unworkable by Hoffman, to cite but two examples.  Evidence exists; however, that this mixture of motors and horses was viable, in effect an early precursor to today’s horse trailers pulled by trucks often seen on the highways of America.  The last surviving officer of the horse mounted 26th Cavalry that fought so well in the Philippines wrote to the author recently “As for the portee system, that was the way I moved my troops TO the battlefield area, not ON the battlefield, and for that purpose it was excellent.”[126]

Cavalry, as a branch, has been described as obsolete for centuries now.  Cavalry was dead after the Boer War, it was dead after the First World War, and it most certainly was dead after the Second World War.  Then some sixty years later the world saw U.S. troops, now Special Forces, on horseback in the Global War on Terror after the events of 911.  We are told, once again, that these small unit engagements are the “last cavalry battles for the warhorse,” but this is a theme heard before.[127]  “Cavalry now conducts the business of war conversing on cell phones, supported by Stealth bombers, cruise missiles, and satellite intelligence.”[128]  Under certain circumstances, to include mission, enemy, terrain and troops available, small, highly trained units such as U.S. Army Special Forces Detachments still use horses and mules.[129] They are keeping, in a small measure, the legacy of General John K. Herr and the horse cavalry alive.

 

Conclusion

“You may accomplish victories, but I assure you that unless you know your cavalry, your victories will be Pyrrhic ones.  Yours may be an Antietam but never a Cannae.”[130]

 

            Major General John K. Herr is an important, but currently little known figure in U.S. military history.  As one can see from the historical material outlined in this paper, he never wavered in his advocacy for the cavalry as Chief of Cavalry from 1938-1942.  Most often General Herr is seen as a reactionary, “Colonel Blimp” cartoon like figure, of typical military resistance to change.  The reality is that Herr was not opposed to change, but like most of us, wanted change within tradition, as the Chinese proverb goes.  Change was limited mechanization of cavalry with tradition being continued reliance upon horse cavalry as the mainstay of the U.S. Army.

            The balance sheet for John K. Herr is a mixed one.  The proponents of mechanization, such as General Chafee, were correct that the day of the tank had arrived, but General Herr, to a lesser extent, was also correct in maintaining that the day of the horse in war was not yet over.  Horse mounted cavalry was still viable in the Second World War, witness the eight German and numerous Soviet cavalry divisions that fought during the war.[131]  The American and British Armies’ lack of horse cavalry, as the English Historian Gervase Phillips has recently pointed out, were the exception rather than the rule among land forces in World War II.[132]  Ultimately General Herr lost his battle in attempting to retain horse cavalry in the U.S. Army, most likely due to the complete breakdown in his relationship with Chief of Staff George Marshall.  After the war Herr wrote of the Chief of Staff that “The great trouble with Marshall was that he was swayed by a mass of prejudiced and uninformed opinions and gave relatively little weight to the expert opinion of the men who were really qualified to advise him.”[133]  Marshall, for whatever reason, did not listen to Herr by 1942, no matter how valid his arguments or creditable a performance by the Cavalry Horse Regiments in Louisiana, the Carolinas or Philippines.  

            In respects the wheel has come full circle.  Authors have asserted, as Chaffee did, that cavalry is not an armed force with horses, combat cars, jeeps or tanks, but rather a state of mind.  General Herr maintained that many did not understand horse cavalry and its capabilities.  In this respect he was correct.  The public, and Congress to an extent, continued to think of the branch in Napoleonic terms and images of outdated “Charge of the Light Brigade” tactics were a gross simplification that Herr was never able to overcome.  His combative nature most likely did not help but let it be said that he did write and speak of what he knew, the cavalry, and his opinions should be examined with scholarly respect, not ridicule.  Herr’s belief in a conspiracy or prejudice against horse cavalry on the Army General Staff does not seem absurd given the actual performance of the branch in large scale maneuvers in Louisiana, secret basement meetings, and actual combat in the Philippines.  Commanders in the field, at least in North Africa and Europe, called for horse cavalry throughout the war, with such requests routinely ignored back in Washington.

Historian Gervase Phillips is correct, twentieth-century cavalry has been a “convenient scapegoat for failures in war and the slow pace of modernization in peacetime,” with Major General John K. Herr, as the last Chief of Cavalry, becoming the American symbol of the failures and shortcomings of U.S. Army Cavalry in the interwar period.  Like the goat used by Aaron bearing all the sins of Israel on the Day of Atonement, Herr, and the branch itself, would be disbanded and sent out into the wilderness only four months after the entrance of the United States into the Second World War, a rather strange and curious action at the onset of a global war.   What use could have been made of Major General John K. Herr, the last Chief, and the U.S. Horse Cavalry, during the greatest conflict ever seen, the Second World War.

 

Select Bibliography

 

Selective Use of the following Records

 

Archives

 

Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

Special Collections and College Archives

Library of Congress, Washington, District of Columbia

U.S. Congressional Committee Hearing Collection

United States Cavalry Association, Fort Riley, Kansas

Various Cavalry Journal articles and documents  

United States Military Academy, West Point, New York

John K. Herr Collection

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia

George C. Marshall Papers (Marshall Foundation)

 

Primary Works

 

Army Register.  Adjutant General’s Office.  Washington, DC: 1901.

____________.  Adjutant General’s Office.  Washington, DC: 1902.

____________.  Adjutant General’s Office.  Washington, DC: 1903.

Bolte, Philip.  Brigadier General, USA, Ret., son of General Bolte, questions submitted by author, 09 December 2008.

Brokaw, Charles E.  “Extracts, Report of LTC Charles E. Brokaw Covering tour of duty with VI Corps in North Africa and Italy, 28 August-05 October 1943.”

Cullum, George W.  Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York since its establishment in 1802.  Saginaw, MI: Seemann & Peters, Printers, 1910.

Eisenhower, Dwight D.  At Ease: Stories I tell to friends.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1967.

__________________.  Crusade in Europe.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1949.

Harmon, Major General Ernest N., Milton MacKaye, and William R. MacKaye.  Combat Commander: Autobiography of a Soldier.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970.

Hawkins, Hamilton S.  General Hawkins’ Notes.  Fort Riley, KS: Cavalry Journal, no date indicated.  A collection of Journal articles from 1914-1944.

Herr, John K.  “Testimony to Board of Officers Investigating Insubordinate Demonstration by Cadets April 16, 1901, USMA Special Order 71, April 17, 1901.”  West Point, NY: April 30, 1901.

Herr, John K., and Wallace, Edward S.  The Story of the U.S. Cavalry.  Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1953.

Herr, John K.  “Why Should the United States Lag Behind Other Great Powers in the Military Use of Animals?”  Cavalry Journal, Vol. XLI, January-February 1942.

Herr, John K.  “The Cavalry.”  Lecture presented at the Army War College, Washington, DC, September 19, 1939.

MacArthur, Douglas.  Reminiscences.  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1964.

Patton, George S. Jr., and Benson, C.C.  “Mechanization and Cavalry.”  Cavalry Journal, Vol. XXXVI, April, 1930.

Ramsey, Edwin Price and Rivele, Stephen J.  Lieutenant Ramsey’s War, From Horse Soldier to Guerrilla Commander.  New York, NY: Knightsbridge Publishing Company, 1990.

Ramsey, Edwin Price.  Oral History Transcript, Edward Price Ramsey, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), 26th Cavalry Regiment (Philippine Scouts), The California State Military Museum, accessed online, http://www.militarymuseum.org/Ramsey.html, May 12 2006.

_________________.  Email questions submitted by author, November 29, 2008.

_________________,  Email questions submitted by author, February 12, 2009.

The R.O.T.C. Manual Cavalry Basic, 11th Edition.  Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1940.

The Howitzer, United States Military Academy Yearbook 1900.  West Point, NY, 1900.

The Officer’s Guide, 9th Edition.  Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1942.

Truscott, Jr., Lucian K.  The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry, Life in the Old Army, 1917-1942.  Lawrence, KS: University of Press of Kansas, 1989.

U.S. Army, Field Manual FM 3-05.213: Special Forces Use of Pack Animals.  Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, June 2004.

U.S. Congress, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1940.  Hearings, 76th Congress, February 03, 1939.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1939.

___________, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1941.  Hearings, 76th Congress, March 11, 1940.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1940.

___________, Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Bill, 1941.  Hearings, 77th Congress, March 07, 1941.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 923, 1941.

Wall, John F.  An Account of the Meeting in Washington on May 31st, personal notes.  Camden, SC: 20 June 1951.

Whitehead, Arthur Kendal.  Odyssey of a Philippine Scout: Fighting, Escaping, and Evading the Japanese, 1941-1944.  Bedford, PA: The Aberjona Press, 2006.

 

Secondary Works

 

Arlington National Cemetery Website, John Knowles Herr, accessed on line, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jkherr.htm, November 24 2008.

Bielakowski, Alexander M.  US Cavalryman 1891-1920.  Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2004.

Blumenson, Martin.  The Patton Papers, 1885-1940, Volume I.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.

_______________.  The Patton Papers, 1940-1945, Volume II.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1974.

Broom, John T.  “The Commander’s Vision in Blue and Gray: The roles of Adna R. Chaffee, Jr., James H. Wilson and the American Civil War in the Development of American Armor Doctrine.” Ph.D. diss., Union Institute, 1993.

Coffman, Edward M.  The Regulars: The American Army 1898-1941.  Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004.

Chandler, Melbourne C.  Of Garry Owen in Glory: The History of the Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment.  Annandale, VA: The Turnpike Press, 1960.

D’Este, Carlo.  A Genius for War.  New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1995.

___________.  Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life.  New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2002.

Endicott, John E.  “Transformation of Military Affairs in the 21st Century.”  Remarks at the

Georgia Institute of Technology Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy.  Atlanta, GA: January 06, 2004.

Essin, Emmett M.  Shavetails & Bell Sharps: The History of the U.S. Army Mule.  Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997.

Gabel, Christopher R.  The U.S. Army GHQ Maneuvers of 1941.  Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1991.

Grant, John, Lynch, James, and Bailey, Ronald.  West Point: The First 200 Years.  Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 2002.

Greenfield, Kent Roberts, Palmer, Robert R. and Wiley, Bell I.  United States Army in World War II, The Army Ground Forces, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops.  Washington, DC: Historical Division, US Army, 1947.

Griffith, Robert K., Jr.  Men Wanted for the U.S. Army: America’s Experience with an All-Volunteer Army Between the World Wars.  Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982.

Hewes, James E., Jr.  From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900-1963.  Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1975.

Hoffman, George F.  Through Mobility We Conquer, The Mechanization of U.S. Cavalry.  Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006.

_______________.  Cold War Casualty: The Court-Martial of Major General Robert W. Grow.  Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1993.

Hoffman, George F., and Donn A. Starry, eds.  Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of the U.S. Armored Forces.  Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1999.

James, D. Clayton James.  The Years of MacArthur, Volume 1 1880-1941.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970.

Jarymowycz, Roman.  Cavalry From Hoof to Track.  Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2005.

Macgregor, Douglas A.  Transformation Under Fire: Revolutionizing How America Fights.  Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.

Matloff, Maurice.  American Military History.  Washington, DC: Office of the Chief of Military History, 1969.

Merrill, James M.  Spurs to Glory: The Story of the United States Cavalry.  New York, NY: Rand McNally & Company, 1966.  Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966.

Millett, Allan R. and Maslowski, Peter.  For The Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America.  New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994.

Morton, Louis.  United States Army in World War II: The Fall of the Philippines.  Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1953.

Nye, Roger H.  The Patton Mind: The Professional Development of an Extraordinary Leader.  Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group, Inc., 1993.

Pogue, Forrest C.  George C. Marshall: Education of a General, 1880-1939.  New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1963.

_____________.  George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory, 1943-1945.  New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1973.

Schultz, Duane.  Hero of Bataan, The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright.  New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1981.

Sorley, Lewis.  Thunderbolt: General Creighton Abrams and the Army of His Times.  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

Smith, Robert Ross.  United States Army in World War II: Triumph in the Philippines.  Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1963.

Urwin, Gregory J.W.  The United States Cavalry, An Illustrated History.  New York, NY: Blandford Press, 1983.

Weigley, Russell F.  History of the United States Army.  New York, NY: The Macmillan Company, 1967.

Winton, Harold R. and Mets, David R., eds.  The Challenge of Change: Military Institutions and New Realities, 1918-1941.  Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

 

Articles

 

Bell, J. Franklin.  “John Knowles Herr.”  The Assembly, October 1955.

Bielakowski, Alexander M.  “The Role of the Horse in Modern Warfare as Viewed in the Interwar U.S. Army’s Cavalry Journal.” Washington, DC: Army History, Summer-Fall 2000.

_____________________.  “The Last Chief of Cavalry – Major General John K. Herr.”  The Journal of America’s Military Past, Fall 2001.

_____________________.  “General Hawkins’s War: The Future of the Horse in the U.S. Cavalry.”  The Journal of Military History 71, January 2007.

Broom, John T.  “Armor’s Four Horsemen,” unpublished manuscript, no date.

Cramer, Charles.  “Portee Cavalry.” Cavalry Journal, Vol. XXXVII, Jan., 1928.

Grow, Robert W.  “Ten Lean Years.”  Armor, January-August 1987.

Harbord, James G.  “The Part of the Horse and the Mule in the National Defense.”  Cavalry Journal, Vol. XXXV, April, 1926.

Hawkins, Hamilton S.  “Notes: the Combination of Horse Cavalry With Mechanized Cavalry.”

Major General John K. Herr Obituary. Armor, March-April, 1955.

Mellini, Peter.  “Colonel Blimps’ England,” accessed on line, http://www.politicalcartoon.co.uk/html/history14.htm, December 30, 2008.

Phillips, Gervase.  “Scapegoat Arm: Twentieth-Century Cavalry in Anglophone Historiography.” The Journal of Military History, 71, January, 2007.

“Cadets Abolish Hazing.”  The New York Times, January 20, 1901.

“Army Setup Reported Due For Sweeping Reorganization.” The Washington Post, February 22, 1942.

“Arms Before Men.” Time, August 22, 1938, 1-8.

NC State Library, Thirtieth Division Old Hickory Operations, accessed on line, http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/WWI/30thOps.htm, November 24 2008.

“Streamlined Army.” Time, March 09, 1942, 1-2.

“Picks 9 Generals for Army Revision.” New York Times, February 24, 1938. 

“New Army Set-Up Delayed a Year to Broaden Test.” New York Times, July 18, 1938. 

“Cavalrymen Test Tactics of New Day.” New York Times, October 22, 1939. 

“New Stress Put Now on Cavalry.” New York Times, October 29, 1939. 

“Why Modern Armies Still Cling to the Cavalry.” Modern Mechanix, November 1932.

“U.S. Army Captures World Polo Title.”  New York Times, September 19, 1923.

“1st Cavalry Division on Leyte.”  Cavalry Journal 5, 4, 1945.

 


 

[1] Bell, J. Franklin.  “John Knowles Herr.”  The Assembly, October 1955.

[2] Mellini, Peter.  “Colonel Blimps’ England,” accessed on line, http://www.politicalcartoon.co.uk/html/history14.htm, December 30, 2008.

[3] Letter, Major General John K. Herr to Secretary of War Stimson; 09 June 1942.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[4] Coffman, Edward M., The Regulars: The American Army 1898-1941, (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004), 267.

 

[5] Pogue, Forrest C., George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory, 1943-1945, (New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1973), 585.

[6] Grant, John, Lynch, James, and Bailey, Ronald, West Point: The First 200 Years, (Guilford, CT: The Globe Pequot Press, 2002), 115.

[7] Scrapbook,  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York..

[8] Stomber, Elaine McClusky, Lafayette College Archivist, email to author, 20 February 2009.

[9] Cullum, George W., Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York since its establishment in 1802, (Saginaw, MI: Seemann & Peters, Printers, 1910), 687.

[10] MacArthur Memorial exhibit, scorecard of Army-Navy game, May 18, 1901, MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, VA.

[11] The Howitzer, 1900 Yearbook for United States Military Academy, (West Point, NY, 1900), 97-100.

[12] “Cadets Abolish Hazing.”  The New York Times, January 20, 1901.

[13] James, D. Clayton ,  The Years of MacArthur, Volume 1 1880-1941, (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1970), 68-71.

[14] Letter, Cadet John K. Herr to Judge Henry Burdette Herr; 02 May 1901.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[15] Herr, John K.  “Testimony to Board of Officers Investigating Insubordinate Demonstration by Cadets April 16, 1901, USMA Special Order 71, April 17, 1901,”  (West Point, NY: April 30, 1901), 458-464.

[16] Newspaper article, Scrapbook,  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[17]Letter, Cadet John K. Herr to Judge Henry Burdette Herr; 27 July 1899.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[18] Army Register, Adjutant General’s Office, (Washington, DC: Secretary of War, 1903), 687.

[19] Army Register, Adjutant General’s Office, (Washington, DC: Secretary of War, 1901), 315.

[20] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[21] Millett, Allan R. and Maslowski, Peter.  For The Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America.  New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994. 331-332.

[22] Bielakowski, Alexander M., US Cavalryman 1891-1920, (Oxford, United Kingdom: Osprey Publishing, 2004), 13. 

[23]Ibid, 49.

[24] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[25] Letter, Cadet John K. Herr to Judge Henry Burdette Herr; 14 April 1903.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[26] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Arlington National Cemetery Website, Eli DuBose Hoyle, accessed on line, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/edhoyle.htm, February10, 2009.

[29] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[30] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Millett, Allan R. and Maslowski, Peter.  For The Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America.  New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994. 332.

[33] Unpublished article, Korea and Cavalry, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[34]Heilman, Jill, Lafayette College Office of Alumni Affairs, email to author, 19 February 2009.

 

[35] Herr, John K., and Wallace, Edward S., The Story of the U.S. Cavalry, (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1953), 230-231.

[36] Letter, Lieutenant John K. Herr to Judge Henry Burdette Herr; 09 September 1916.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[37] Chandler, Melbourne C., Of Garry Owen in Glory: The History of the Seventh United States Cavalry Regiment, (Annandale, VA: The Turnpike Press, 1960) 369.

[38] Bielakowski, Alexander M.  US Cavalryman 1891-1920,  49.

[39] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[40] Chandler, 369.

[41] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[42] NC State Library, Thirtieth Division Old Hickory Operations, accessed on line, http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/WWI/30thOps.htm, November 24 2008.

[43] Bell, 57.

[44] “U.S. Army Captures World Polo Title.”  New York Times, September 19, 1923.

[45] The Officer’s Guide, 9th Edition, (Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1942),  19.

[46] Hewes, James E., Jr., From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900-1963, (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1975), 22-23.

[47] Hoffman, George F., Through Mobility We Conquer, The Mechanization of U.S. Cavalry, (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006), 85.

[48] Harmon, Major General Ernest N., Milton MacKaye, and William R. MacKaye, Combat Commander: Autobiography of a Soldier, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970), 17-45.

[49] Urwin, 181.

[50] Bielakowski, Alexander M., US Cavalryman 1891-1920, 50.

[51] Herr, book, 247.

[52] “U.S. Army Captures World Polo Title.”  New York Times, September 19, 1923.

[53] Ramsey, Edwin Price, Lieutenant Colonel Cavalry, Retired, email questions submitted by author, February 12, 2009.

[54] Chandler, 369.

[55] Cramer, Charles, “Portee Cavalry,” Cavalry Journal, Vol. XXXVII, Jan., 1928.

[56] Ibid, 66.

[57] Coffman, 269.

[58] Hoffman,  Mobility, 146-147.

[59] Grow, Robert W.  “Ten Lean Years.”  Armor, January-August 1987.

[60] Broom, John T.  “Armor’s Four Horsemen,” email to author, December 17, 2008.

[61] Chandler, 369.

[62] D. Clayton James, 378.

[63] Unpublished memoirs, no date, Major General John K. Herr.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[64] “Arms Before Men.” Time, August 22, 1938.

[65] Ibid, 4.

[66] Chandler, 368.

[67] Truscott, Jr., Lucian K. , The Twilight of the U.S. Cavalry, Life in the Old Army, 1917-1942, (Lawrence, KS: University of Press of Kansas, 1989),  157.

[68] Gabel, Christopher R., The U.S. Army GHQ Maneuvers of 1941, (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1991),  29.

[69] The R.O.T.C. Manual Cavalry Basic, 11th Edition, (Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1940), 475.

[70] Ibid, 331.

[71] U.S. Congress, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1940.  Hearings, 76th Congress, February 03, 1939.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1939.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[74] Ibid.

[75] U.S. Congress, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1940.  Hearings, 76th Congress, February 03, 1939.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1939.

[76] U.S. Congress, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1940.  Hearings, 76th Congress, February 03, 1939.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1939.

[77] Hoffman, Through Mobility, 243-44.

[78] Millett, Allan R. and Maslowski, Peter, For The Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America, (New York, NY: The Free Press, 1994), 414-5.

[79] Pogue, Forrest C., George C. Marshall, Education of a General, 1880-1939, (New York, NY: The Viking Press, 1963), 2-3.

[80] Schultz, Duane, Hero of Bataan, The Story of General Jonathan M. Wainwright, (New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1981), 38-39.

[81] Major General John K. Herr, Military Establishment Appropriation Bill, 1941.  Hearings, 76th Congress, March 11, 1940.  Washington, DC: Senate Library, Vol. 846, 1940.

[82] Millett, Allan R. and Maslowski, Peter, 416.

[83] Hewes, James E., Jr., From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and Administration, 1900-1963,  (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1975), 62-63.

[84] Ibid, 66-68.

[85] Truscott, 170.

[86] Herr, book, 248.

[87] Truscott, 170.

[88] Hoffman, George F., and Donn A. Starry, eds., Camp Colt to Desert Storm: The History of the U.S. Armored Forces, (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1999), 57-59.

[89] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[90] Gabel, 29-30.

[91] Herr, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry , 250.

[92] Gabel, 66-86.

[93] Ibid.

[94] Gabel, Christopher R., The U.S. Army GHQ Maneuvers of 1941, (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1991),  88.

[95] Ibid, 120-121.

[96] Ibid, 126-128.

[97] Ibid, 143-146.

[98] Urwin, 186.

[99] Coffman, 393.

[100] Morton, Louis, United States Army in World War II: The Fall of the Philippines, (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, United States Army, 1953), 166-230.

 

[101] Ramsey, Edwin Price and Rivele, Stephen J., Lieutenant Ramsey’s War, From Horse Soldier to Guerrilla Commander, (New York, NY: Knightsbridge Publishing Company, 1990), 66.

[102] Greenfield, Kent Roberts, Palmer, Robert R. and Wiley, Bell I., United States Army in World War II, The Army Ground Forces, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops, (Washington, DC: Historical Division, US Army, 1947), 50-51.

[103] Herr papers.

[104] Greenfield, 66-71.

[105] Greenfield, 392.

[106] Greenfield, 291.

[107] Urwin, 186. 

[108] Herr, John K.  “The Cavalry,”  Lecture presented at the Army War College, Washington, DC, September 19, 1939.

[109] Brokaw, Charles E.  “Extracts, Report of LTC Charles E. Brokaw Covering tour of duty with VI Corps in North Africa and Italy, 28 August-05 October 1943.”

[110] Ibid, 10-12.

[111] “1st Cavalry Division on Leyte,” Cavalry Journal 5, 4, 1945.

[112] Smith, Robert Ross, United States Army in World War II: Triumph in the Philippines.  (Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1963), 216.

[113] Greenfield, 466.

[114] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[115] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[116] Bell, J. Franklin.  “John Knowles Herr.”  The Assembly, October 1955.

[117] Herr, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry , vii.

[118] Ibid, 255.

[119] Ibid, 253-254.

[120] Herr, The Story of the U.S. Cavalry, 261.

[121] Showalter, 231.

[122] Essin, Emmett M., Shavetails & Bell Sharps: The History of the U.S. Army Mule, (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1997), 195.

 

[123] Arlington National Cemetery Website, John Knowles Herr, accessed on line, http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jkherr.htm, November 24 2008.

[124] Letter, Major General John K. Herr to Secretary of War Stimson; 09 June 1942.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[125] Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1949), 163-164.

[126] Ramsey, Edwin Price, Lieutenant Colonel, Retired, Cavalry, email questions submitted by author, November 29, 2008.

 

[127] Jarymowycz, Roman, Cavalry From Hoof to Track, (Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2005), 216.

[128] Ibid.

[129] U.S. Army, Field Manual FM 3-05.213: Special Forces Use of Pack Animals.  Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, June 2004.

[130] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

[131] Phillips, 66.

[132] Ibid, 73.

[133] Unpublished memoirs, no date.  Cullum Number 4112.  John K. Herr Papers.  Archives of the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York.

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