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Pack Animals in Support of Army Special Operations Forces; FM 31-27

United States. Department of Defense. Department of the Army, Headquarters

Published by United States. Department of Defense. Department of the Army, Headquarters, Washington DC, 2000
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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Various paginations (approximately 125 pages). Illustrations. Glossary. Bibliography. Index. Three-holed punched and two staples at left side between the punch holes. Approximately 8.5 inches and 11 inches. Cover has some wear and soiling. Distribution was restricted but there is evidence that this restriction is no longer applicable (copies on line). This manual provides guidance for training Army special operations forces (ARSOF) personnel in the techniques of animal pack transport and for organizing and operating pack animal units. It captures some of the expertise and techniques that have been lost in the United States (U.S.) Army over the last 50 years. The chapters on care, feeding, and veterinary medicine compose a considerable portion of the manual; however, this material is not intended as a substitute for veterinary expertise nor will it make a veterinarian out of the reader. ARSOF personnel must have a rudimentary knowledge of anatomy and physiology, common injuries, diseases, feeding, and watering to properly care for the animals and to avoid abusing them from overloading or overworking. Though many types of beasts of burden may be used for pack transportation, this manual focuses on horses, mules, and a few other animals. One cannot learn how to pack an animal by reading; there is no substitute for having a horse or mule while you practice loading a packsaddle. The manual is useful for anyone going into an environment where these skills are applicable. Field Manual (FM) 31-27 is a guide for ARSOF personnel to use when employed in training or combat situations using pack animals. For millenia, horses carried the armies of the world. Other pack animals, along with horses, carried the heavy loads of food, ammunition, and equipment but horses predominated as the mounts for cavalry and the draft power for heavy artillery and supply wagons. But that all changed during a very short time in the early twentieth century. Rapid mechanization, starting in World War I, transformed armies by substituting machine power for animal power. In the first half of the 20th century, horses and mules, once the mainstay of military transportation, all but disappeared from those roles. The internal combustion engine that emerged in the early 1900s quickly found its way into military equipment and operations. In World War I, trucks greatly reduced the former dependence on horses while tractors were introduced as artillery prime movers and the tank appeared for the first time. Between World Wars I and II, a debate raged over the proper role of armored vehicles for cavalry and infantry support as well as the suitability of motor transportation for supply and artillery under varying conditions. Infantry was augmented by tanks but, for a few decades, horse cavalry continued. By the late 1930s, as World War II loomed, the Cavalry became partially mechanized, expanding that mechanization and joining with tanks to form the Armored Force for World War II. Reconnaissance was transformed by jeeps and motorcycles, as well as aircraft, another role lost by the horse. Except for a few battle zones of exceptionally rugged conditions, legions of pack animals were almost completely replaced by the hundreds of thousands of trucks produced during WW II. A few die-hard Cavalry officers insisted on maintaining a minimal capability to train and manage animals, in case of war in very unfavorable terrain, like Italy or CBI in WW II. This faith was actually rewarded in Afghanistan in 2001-2002 where Special Forces found that the only option for movement in parts of that harsh and rugged land was by horse or mule. Understanding that pack animals have their unique uses, even in a time of computers, lasers, GPS and the stealth bomber, the Dept. of Defense authorized the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center to create a rigorous Animal Packers Course for all the services and the Army Special Forces issued a field manual on the subject. Presumed First Edition, Bookseller Inventory # 73764

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Pack Animals in Support of Army Special ...

Publisher: United States. Department of Defense. Department of the Army, Headquarters, Washington DC

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Staplebound

Edition: 1st Edition

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Founded and operated by trained historians, Ground Zero Books, Ltd., serves the book collector, the scholar, and institutions. We focus on the individual, and pride ourselves on our personal service. Please contact us with your wants, as we have many books not yet listed in our database.

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The mailing address for Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (a subchapter-S corporation) is
P.O. Box 8369, Silver Spring, MD 20907-8369. You can reach us by phone at 301-
585-1471, by fax at 301-920-0253, or by e-mail at gzbooksltd@aol.com. Ground Zero
Books, Ltd., is owned & operated by R. Alan Lewis & Lynne Haims.


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