The use of horses in warfares dates back to 4000 BC. They would often pull chariots or carry cavalrymen on their backs as they charged towards the enemy. They also pulled the wagons that contained an army’s supplies. The automobile itself and the vehicles that came after it attempted to improve upon the strength and mobility of the horse. When the United States Army adopted light tanks and half tracks the personnel were drawn from its horse cavalry units. WWII produced incredible advances in weaponry. In just a few short years, the U.S. had an atomic bomb and was making jet engines, but in the early days of WWII, the U.S. Army still had horse cavalry units and they made one of the last cavalry charges in the 20th century.
Unprepared for the Attack
Japan launched an attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, after attacking Pearl Harbor. Troops began landing just two days later, and the Americans in the Philippines were not prepared for the fight.
The 26th Cavalry Philippine Scouts
US General Douglas MacArthur at that time had to depend on his elite troops to protect the rest of his units that lacked training, equipment, and manpower. So he summoned the 26th Cavalry Philippine Scouts composed of Filipinos who enlisted and American officers, led by Colonel Clinton A. Pierce. Their plan was to slow down the Masaharu Homma’s onrushing divisions. Masaharu Homma was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army. The cavalrymen were exhausted from days of scouting in the hot jungle, but they found themselves saddling up and heading to Bataan, where they managed to reach the village of Morong ahead of Japanese troops.
Tanks vs. Horses
To their surprise, a vanguard of Japanese infantry arrived, and it was being led by tanks. The cavalry had little time to figure out a plan, so as reported by History News Network, they “flung themselves against the blazing gun muzzles of Japanese tanks. To the shock of the cavalrymen and the Japanese commanders alike, the cavalrymen scattered and drove back the armored squadrons.”