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1st Cavalry Division

Horse Cavalry Communications

As of March 13, 2012

In the old horse cavalry, they used mirrors and signal flags to communicate and of course sent mounted couriers on horse back from unit to unit. But in the early days of armor, when the tank units were still using signal flags and hand signals, the horse cavalry had radios!


This was called a “Guidon Radio” The radio operator carried a radio in one saddle bag and a battery pack in the other saddle bag. He wore an aviators helmet with ear phones and the antenna ran alongside a cane pole which was carried as shown in the photo above like a Guidon and set in the stirrup. It worked on the principle of the old rhombic antenna like we used to set up in Vietnam where you ran Commo wire high in the trees and pointed it in the direction you wished to communicate with. Photo taken circa 1924 in the 1st Cav horse stables at Fort Bliss, Texas. This was the early equivalent of the Commander and his RTO.

 

Horse Cavalry Signal Troopers with a Pack Radio
Photo courtesy of the 1st Cavalry Division Association

 

Horse Cavalry Signals running Land Lines to OP’s, FAO’s and LP’s in the field


Signal Corps NCOs of the type attached to the Cavalry Regiments on the western plains and later on to the 1st Cavalry Division. These signal mirrors were often in use by Cavalry units on the western plains. Note the Stetsons blocked as was later worn by Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, but Stetsons none the less.

 

Later as they transformed from mounted horse cavalry to a more modern force, they still used the same type radio only mounted on a motor car as seen below:

 




Note the spot light mounted under one of the very first 30 cal air cooled machine guns. You will also see the old wire antenna running from the pole mounted on the hood of the vehicle to the antenna mount on the rear fender and the battery pack mounted on the back of the driver’s seat. This was the modern cavalry in 1925-26 at Fort Bliss, Texas.

 


Of course, they never forgot their cavalry roots and the sight of a mounted cavalry regiment in column as seen in this photo taken at Ft Bliss about 1924

All photos courtesy of the National Archives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared by:

Sam Reinert

CPT MP USAR (Ret)

Founder

545th Military Police Company Association

626 1/2 South 9th Street

Richmond, Indiana   47374  USA

(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX

http://545thmpassn.com/