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Chapter XIII

Contents

CHAPTER XIII

Animal Procurement

The Army Veterinary Service concerned with the professional and technical supervision over the procurement and processing of remount animals for the U.S. Army in World War II included as many as 50 Veterinary Corps officers. They were assigned to purchasing boards, remount areas, remount depots, and quartermaster units and organizations in the Zone of Interior and in such oversea theaters as the South and Southwest Pacific areas, the China-Burma-India, Mediterranean, and European theaters. This personnel, included in the organic composition of the worldwide remount activities and organization, provided professional services for, and supervisory care over, 140,000 horses and mules coming into U.S. Army remount depots (including returned animals) and during the tenure of their stay until issued, sold, or transferred. The animals actually procured included the 60,000 purchased in the Zone of Interior, the 6,000 purchased or obtained by reverse lend-lease in Australia, and the many thousands which were captured, requisitioned, or received from the Allied military forces in the China-Burma-India, Mediterranean, and European theaters. In China, animals were procured for the Chinese military forces by a Sino-American Horse Purchasing Bureau whose U.S. veterinary officers were sent into far-distant Tibet. Additional animals were purchased by the U.S. Army in the Hawaiian Islands, New Caledonia, and Fiji Islands.

The Army Remount Service, under the control of The Quartermaster General, was responsible for the procurement of animals and animal feed for the Army; the control over the care, training, and issue of animals at the remount depots, and the supervision of the Army Horse Breeding Plan (1, 2). However, those professional and technical aspects relating to the health and efficiency of animals within the Army Remount Service were matters properly referred to the Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, and were supervised by the veterinary service with purchasing boards, remount areas, depots, and quartermaster remount units.

ANIMAL PROCUREMENT IN THE ZONE OF INTERIOR

For the administration of animal procurement activities in the Zone of Interior, the United States (and its territories) was divided into several remount purchasing zones or areas. Originally, four such zones were described but these, becoming involved in the administration of the Army Horse Breeding Plan after World War I, gave way to remount purchasing and breeding areas, each with an area headquarters. As many as seven such areas were designated during World War II, and their headquarters locations


490

and geographically defined limits varied from time to time, but by the end of the war only six were named. Each such area included a headquarters veterinarian who was responsible to the officer-in-charge for the conduct of the veterinary service of the remount area (3). This included the investigation of the sanitary conditions surrounding the procurement and transportation of military animals in the area, the supervisory control over the veterinary officers assigned to the one or more purchasing boards that may be operating within the area, and the furnishing of professional services for the Army Horse Breeding Plan. Some few headquarters were located in remount depots, but many of them had their own veterinary dispensary facilities where disabled animals from the purchasing boards could be treated or where Government-owned stallions could be wintered and reconditioned for reissue to civilian stallion agents.

During World War II, no major difficulties were experienced by the headquarters veterinarians in the animal procurement programs throughout the remount areas. Dourine was the only disease occurring in the civil horse population that caused a temporary halt to procurement in three States during 1940-41; glanders, mange, and ringworm were unreported. However, equine influenza and the related diseases were observed at many civilian assembly points, but steps were taken to lessen their seriousness. The latter included requests for contractors to furnish clean and suitable sales barns or stables and to assemble their offerings of animals just before the scheduled times of visit by the purchasing boards, which then transshipped the newly purchased animals into the remount depots as soon as was possible. Another action taken to minimize the chances of infection among animals being offered to Army procurement was the naming of as many as 12 to 30 inspection and shipping points within a remount area rather than asking contractors to concentrate any large number of animals at one or two points. This matter was of great importance when mules were purchased because most of them were obtained through dealers; on the other hand, where horses were bought direct from breeders and ranches, these problems did not arise. The "art of bishoping," which made the determination of the animal's age more difficult, and the traffic of rejected animals into the other remount areas was observed in only a few instances. A large number of mules were rejected from procurement on account of deformities of the feet which were caused seemingly by improper or neglectful trimming by the original owners.

In the remount area where animal procurement was not an extensive activity, the headquarters veterinarian also served on the animal purchasing board within that area. Usually, only one such board operated at any time within a remount area; the examination of animals for procurement could be made concurrently on the same itinerary of travel which was followed to inspect the Government-owned stallions standing at stud within the remount area. However, the two together more frequently comprised too great a


491

workload so that most headquarters veterinarians were furnished an additional veterinary officer who was assigned to the purchasing board.

The quartermaster purchasing board included the Veterinary Corps officer as a board member, who was given the title of purchasing board veterinarian. Under the technical supervision of the headquarters veterinarian of the remount area wherein the board was operating, he conducted the physical examinations on all animals offered for Army procurement and supervised the sanitary conditions under which the animals were collected by contractors and their subsequent handling and shipping by the purchasing board. The purchasing board veterinarian also conducted the mallein test for glanders on all animals, whose ownership actually was not transferred to the Army until the test results became known, and identified the animals in accordance with the Preston brand system. Under the conditions of rapid procurement of large numbers, the animals were identified with a temporary brand (with paint or silver nitrate) at the purchase points and then branded and mallein tested on arrival at the receiving remount depot. In all matters, the veterinary officer was directly responsible to the officer-in-charge or the purchasing officer of the board (4).

The veterinary officer's physical examination of each animal was made for the purpose of determining the animal's age, physical condition, health, and soundness, and was followed by a specific recommendation of acceptance or rejection from purchase by the board. This was conducted in a positive, thorough, and systematic manner, without bias of any kind and with the best professional judgment: sometimes, it was made concurrently but usually followed that inspection by the purchasing officer which included the determination of the animal's type, conformation, color, height, weight, sex, and mannerisms as specified in the regulations of the Army and procurement documents (5, 6). The procedures and the physical health standards used by the Army Veterinary Service during World War II were quite similar to those originally developed in 1918.

During World War II, or for the calendar years 1940 through 1945, the Army Veterinary Service examined 129,949 horses and mules for procurement; of this number, 60,230 (or 46.35) percent)1 were recommended for acceptance, (table 37)  (7, 8). Rejections totaling 18,085 animals (or 13.8 percent) were made on account of improper age (3,911) and a variety of pathological disqualifications such as diseases of bone and the organs of locomotion (approximately 8,100 animals), diseases of the nervous system and the organs of special sense, particularly the eye (1,700 animals), wounds (1,200 animals), diseases of the skin and cellular tissue (1,200 animals), and infectious and parasitic diseases (1,000 animals), mostly equine influenza and related diseases of the so-called shipping fever group. The remaining number of

1This acceptance number compares favorably with the Quartermaster Corps information (18) on the procurement of 56,926 animals (26,403 horses and 30,523 mules) in the fiscal years 1941-45.  


492

unaccepted animals included rejections which were made on account of improper type or class of animal as determined by the purchasing officer.

TABLE 37.-Veterinary physical examinations conducted on mules and horses procured for the Army in the Zone of Interior, by year, 1940-45

Year

Animals examined

Animals recommended for acceptance

Animals recommended for rejection

 

Number

Number

Number

1940

39,112

18,545

6,390

1941

31,853

13,565

5,657

1942

14,224

7,219

1,564

1943

20,260

10,746

2,254

1944

17,514

7,368

1,587

1945

6,986

2,787

633


Total

129,949

60,230

18,085

Sources: (1) Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office 1941. (2) Reports, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, 1942-46.

REMOUNT DEPOT SYSTEM

The remount depot system operated under the control of the Army Remount Service as the intermediary between the animal purchasing boards and the mounted units of the Army. The onset of World War II found this system in the Zone of Interior as comprising three permanent quartermaster remount depots; these were located at Front Royal, Va., Fort Reno, Okla., and Fort Robinson, Nebr. Their holdings, as of 1 July 1940, totaled 861 animals. A fourth facility was acquired during October 1943, when the Kellogg Arabian Nursery, received as a donation, was established as a quartermaster remount depot at Pomona, Calif. (fig. 48). Other than the depot at Pomona, which became the U.S. center for the furtherance of the Arab breed of horses and was integrated into the Army Horse Breeding Plan, the depots were operated mainly for the purposes of receiving remount animals from the purchasing boards and maintaining them during the periods of their processing, conditioning, and training prior to issue to mounted units and organizations. Including the newly purchased remounts and the animals which were returned from Army camps and the units which were dismounted during the war, the animals coming into the four depots approximated 100,000 animals. In connection with the remounts, the depots alone were specially equipped and organized to process animals with a minimal amount of so-called administrative losses,2 estimated not to exceed 3 percent of the number of animals newly purchased (9, 10, 11).

2The cumulative administrative losses for the period from 1 July 1940 to 30 June 1942, covering the processing of 29,930 horses and mules in the remount depots, was 2.27 percent.


493

FIGURE 48.-Veterinary dispensary and horse-breeding building, Headquarters, Western Remount Breeding and Purchasing Area, Pomona, Calif.

The remount depot requirements of World War II were met with the expansion of the existent facilities at Front Royal, Fort Reno, and Fort Robinson to capacities for 12,500 animals (12). The expansion was started after the fall of 1940 when the Office of the Quartermaster General announced plans for processing 28,860 animals for the Army, including the National Guard that came into active military service, during the remainder of that fiscal year ending 30 June 1941.

Outside of the reception, processing and issue of animals, the remount depots also functioned as centers for breeding animals that would demonstrate the type animals most desired by the Army, aided in the operations of the Army Horse Breeding Plan, and conducted programs of research on animal diseases (13). These several operational activities were a guide to the operational organization of the depots veterinary service (14, 15, 16, 17) which included the depot veterinarian under whom a veterinary hospital was operated. The depot veterinary hospitals were authorized stall capacities equal to 10 percent of the depot's animal strength, but, as of December  


494

1941, they aggregated 233 hospital stalls and another 48 on loan against total animal strengths of 10,000 in the three remount depots. The depot's veterinary service was further divided into a section of receipt, quarantine, and issue; a breeding and nursery section; and another concerned with the medical supplies, food inspection for the depot command, and the inspection of animal feeds and forage. The depots also were sites for veterinary officer replacement pools and were centers for training in remount operations. The actual operational personnel of remount depots reached a peak of 20 veterinary officers and 200 enlisted personnel.

The veterinary service was continuous during the tenure of stay of the animals in the remount depots. The incoming animals were inspected at the time of their unloading from railroad cars or trucks and then were placed in specially selected corrals where they were maintained in quarantine status for 21 days under veterinary supervision. During the quarantine period, the remount animals were identified against the original purchase descriptions, and their temporary identifications (made by purchasing board veterinarians with white paint or silver nitrate) were replaced with the actual Preston brands. If not mallein tested for glanders before shipment into the depots, the animals were so tested, and again at the termination of the 21-day period. Including those also conducted on animals before shipment from the depots, the number of mallein tests that were conducted at the Fort Reno and Fort Robinson depots during World War II alone aggregated more than 200,000. Glanders did not become the disease problem of remount depots such as was experienced in previous wars and actually was reported only on two occasions. One involved a suspect clinical case noted at Fort Robinson during February 1942 but was not confirmed by intradermic mallein test or the laboratory complement-fixation test on samples of the animal's blood serum. The other involved 21 animals at Fort Reno that reacted as suspects to the intradermic mallein test; of these, 8 animals were positive to the complement-fixation test and were destroyed.

Equine influenza and related respiratory disorders occurred with great frequency and resulted in the need to hospitalize large numbers of animals for relatively long periods of time. For example, equine influenza and pneumonia accounted for 58.2 percent of the total cases of disease and injury reported at Fort Reno during the period from 8 September 1939 through 31 December 1941. However, the medical era of sulfonamide therapy was just beginning, so the case fatality rate at all depots was kept moderate. Then, as the war progressed and animals coming into the depots mainly included "seasoned" animals which were being returned from camps or dismounted units rather than "green" remount animals, the respiratory disease rate declined. At this late period of World War II, the incidence for injury exceeded that for disease. In fact, the only significant diseases appearing among depot animals in this late period was equine infectious anemia and a peculiar kind of toxemia which was named forage poisoning, at Fort Robinson. Table 38 shows the  


495

numbers and rates of animal disabilities experienced by the Army Veterinary Service at two remount depots.

TABLE 38.- Sick and wounded animals of the Fort Reno, Okla., and Fort Robinson, Nebr., Remount Depots, 8 September 1939 to 31 December 1945

Period

Average animal strength

Incoming animals

Animals issued or sold

Admissions for disease and injury

Died or destroyed

Total

Disease

Injury

 

FORT RENO REMOUNT DEPOT

 

Number

Number

Number

Number

Number

Number

Number

8 Sept. 1939-7 Dec. 1941

3,261

15,763

11,045

5,807

4,668

1,139

495

8 Dec. 1941-15 Aug. 1945

9,029

38,605

34,871

14,028

7,356

6,672

770

16 Aug. 1945-31 Dec. 1945

7,424

1,665

4,039

552

186

366

13


Total

6,885

56,031

49,955

20,387

12,210

8,177

1,278

 

FORT ROBINSON REMOUNT DEPOT1

 

 

 

 

Rate2

Rate2

Rate2

Rate2

8 Sept. 1939-31 Dec. 1939 

1,324

763

509

2,021.8

1,645.5

376.3

29.5

1 Jan. 1940-30 June 1940

983

75

845

1,147.6

722.3

425.3

20.4

1 July 1940-31 Dec. 1940

2,606

7,287

2,108

1,993.5

1,714.2

279.4

100.5

1 Jan. 1941-30 June 1941

3,334

3,063

5,053

956.9

719.3

237.6

61.8

1 July 1941-31 Dec. 1941

3,747

1,535

1,532

964.6

668.7

295.9

62.1

1 Jan. 1942-30 June 1942

3,781

4,435

316

634.3

331.0

303.3

42.2

1 July 1942-31 Dec. 1942

9,085

3,345

571

401.8

191.3

210.5

39.4

1 Jan. 1943-30 June 1943

11,403

5,092

1,706

350.5

194.7

155.8

77.4

1 July 1943-31 Dec. 1943

10,913

1,866

2,176

284.8

146.2

138.6

86.5

1 Jan. 1944-30 June 1944

8,103

3,902

4,955

333.2

167.6

165.6

86.6

1 July 1944-31 Dec. 1944

8,688

5,637

4,778

354.9

176.5

178.4

97.1

1 Jan. 1944-3 Sept. 1945

9,444

3,370

3,137

345.2

164.6

180.6

69.4

4 Sept. 1945-31 Dec. 1945

8,459

71

4,288

201.4

90.0

111.4

56.0


Total

6,471

40,441

31,974

480.5

290.6

189.9

71.4

1The arrival of animals into the Fort Robinson depot influenced the trend of the morbidity rate to the extent that newly purchased remount animals are demonstrably more prone to disease than the "seasoned" animals which may be returned from the Army camps and dismounted units. In this connection, mention must be made that the arrivals comprised remount animals only, for the periods, 8 Sept. 1939-31 Dec. 1939 through 1 July 1941-31 Dec. 1941. After the latter period, arrivals included both remount animals and a somewhat greater number of returned or "seasoned" animals.
2Animal rate per 1,000 animal strength.

The prophylactic inoculations made against equine encephalomyelitis, tetanus, and anthrax comprised a large part of the veterinary workload in the remount depots; at Fort Reno and Fort Robinson these aggregated more than 200,000 inoculations during the war period. For example, as a part of the annual vaccination program against equine encephalomyelitis that was developed for Army horses and mules in the Zone of Interior beginning in 1938,  


496

the Army Veterinary Service vaccinated (and revaccinated) the animals being maintained in the depots during each spring-summer season. At the two depots just named, 124,305 inoculations were made against this viral disease. The inoculations with tetanus toxoid, including the initial double injection and the stimulating (or booster) dose, totaled 81,242 at Fort Reno and Fort Robinson. The latter were a part of the protective vaccination program-of Army­wide application, started in early 1941-that was taken to give permanent immunity against tetanus and replaced the former use of antitetanus toxin in special cases of traumatic wounds.3 The third group of inoculations-single doses of intradermic anthrax spore vaccine-against anthrax was started at the depots in 1944 when the Veterinarian, China-Burma-India theater, asked that animals shipped into that theater be previously immunized against anthrax. Up to the end of 1945, the Fort Reno and Fort Robinson depots had made 12,628 such inoculations.

The same quarantine procedures and such prophylactic immunizations as were indicated were applied to horses and mules which were returned from camps and dismounted units. In fact, beginning in 1942, the processing of returned animals became as great an activity as had been the processing of newly purchased remount animals during the first few years of World War II, although mule procurements were undertaken during the later period when horse buying had been stopped. The remount depots thus became reservoirs of large numbers of animals surplus to military needs. Under these circumstances, the Front Royal depot was almost closed out by mid-1944 when many of its animals were transshipped to Fort Robinson or issued to a mountain division at Camp Swift, Tex., and the remainder were disposed of by sale. With this trend, the average animal strength at Fort Robinson increased from 3,781 for the first 6 months of 1942 to 9,085 for the next 6 months and remained at about that level for the succeeding 3 years. The animal strength of the Fort Reno depot was 9,029 for the war period, as contrasted with the average of 3,261 animals therein during the period from September 1939 to 7 December 1941.

After the termination of their 21-day quarantine and processing, the animals were reinspected at regular intervals. At any time, sick and wounded animals were removed from the corrals to the depot veterinary hospital for care and treatment. Preparatory to issue or sale, the animals were mallein tested and physically examined. It was an inviolate rule that no animal would be shipped from the depots unless it was sound, healthy, and particularly free of diseases of the respiratory system, and ringworm or other diseases of the skin. The depot veterinarians and the depot commanders together reviewed the last-minute preparations on the issues and sales of 88,000 or more horses and mules from the depots during World War II. This number (for the fiscal years 1941-45) included 49,600 issued (or reissued) in the Zone of Interior,

2Only one case of tetanus was reported among animals in the remount depots during World War II. This involved a remount animal 3 days after its arrival at Fort Reno and before vaccination against tetanus was begun. The case was successfully treated with antitetanus toxin.  


497

7,800 issued for oversea supply, 4,000 issued to the Coast Guard and other armed services, 300 issued to foreign governments, 3,507 supplied on lend-lease to the United Kingdom, 17,000 sold (excluding 9,400 animals which were sold at Army camps or by the Coast Guard), and 6,500 dying or destroyed within the depots (that is, administrative losses) (18). The animals within the remount depots on 30 June 1945, totaled 16,992 (or 12,454 mules and 4,538 horses).

OVERSEA THEATER REMOUNT OPERATIONS

Remount operations comparable to those conducted in the Zone of Interior came into existence in the South and Southwest Pacific Areas and in the China-Burma-India, Mediterranean, and European theaters. The mobilization planning relative to such operations in a war theater, that was undertaken during the peacetime years preceding World War II, was centered on the study of two types of quartermaster field units, the remount squadron and the remount troop. The remount troop was developed before World War II as a unit capable of receiving, conditioning, and issuing 400 animals and was designed primarily to establish and operate a so-called army corps remount depot. Three or more such troops were to be joined to form a remount squadron which was designed to operate a field army's remount depot (of 1,200-animal capacity) or a depot (of 7,200-animal capacity) in the area behind the army or communications zone. The units' organic veterinary detachments were equipped to establish veterinary dispensaries within these depots, but their primary mission was not so much the treatment of disabled depot animals as it was to maintain the depots free of disabled animals-these being evacuated to veterinary hospitals outside of the depot area (19, 20). The experiences of the Army Veterinary Service in World War I had shown that the remount depot was no place for disabled animals.

These two quartermaster remount units-the squadron and the troop-were continued in the organization of the Army throughout World War II.4 However, pacing the developments in the dismounting of the Army and the streamlining of tactical forces that had taken place during the 1930's, these units were removed from the type field armies and army corps. In fact, the beginning of the war found them classed as reserve units which would be deployed only where specifically needed. At this time, the internal organization of the remount squadron was standardized as comprising a squadron headquarters, four operational elements or troops, and a veterinary detachment of 5 officers and 24 enlisted personnel; it was designed to operate a field remount depot of 1,600-animal capacity (21, 22). The troop as a separate unit could operate a 400-animal depot and was organized to include a troop headquarters and a veterinary detachment of one officer and seven enlisted personnel (23,

4During the war, two small cellular teams or detachments were developed and described in a new T/O 10-500: Team B1 or Remount Detachment, and Team BJ or Augmentation Remount Detachment. The former could operate a 100-animal depot, which could be expanded into a 200­animal depot if joined by the augmentation unit; neither included attached veterinary personnel.


498

FIGURE 49.-New shipment of American mules in the corrals of the Army Remount Station, Grosseto, Italy, 25 April 1945.

24, 25). While a number of these type units were activated in the Zone of Interior, only two troop elements of remount squadrons were sent overseas-one to the South Pacific Area, but this unit was returned as a "paper organization" and then redeployed with the second unit to the China-Burma-India theater. Other oversea requirements for such units were met with the additional activations of two squadron troops and two separate troops within the South and Southwest Pacific Areas and the China-Burma-India theater.5 In

5These units included the following: Troop A, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron, activated in November 1942 in Southwest Pacific Area and disbanded in August 1944. Troop B, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron, activated in February 1943 in the South Pacific Area, utilizing personnel and equipment of Troop A, 252d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, which was returned during January 1943 as a "paper organization" to the Zone of Interior, and inactivated in October 1944 in the South Pacific Area. Troop A, 252d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, activated in May 1941 in the Zone of Interior, deployed to the South Pacific Area during May 1942, returned to the Zone of Interior as "paper organization," and redeployed during April 1944 to the China-Burma­India theater where it was redesignated on 1 January 1945, as the 475th Quartermaster Remount Troop, which was inactivated in February 1946 in the India-Burma theater. Troop A, 253d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, activated in March 1943 in the Zone of Interior, deployed in fall of 1944 to the China-Burma-India theater where it was redesignated the 476th Quartermaster Remount Troop, which was inactivated in December 1945 in the India-Burma theater. 698th Quartermaster Remount Troop, activated in July 1944 in the China-Burma-India theater and inactivated during November 1945 in the India-Burma theater. 699th Quartermaster Remount Troop, activated in July 1944 in the China-Burma-India theater and inactivated in February 1946 in the India-Burma theater. (The 528th Quartermaster Remount Troop, activated in December 1942 and disbanded in July 1944, was not deployed from the Zone of Interior.)


499

the European and Mediterranean theaters, the remount activities were organized under locally improvised depot organizations which followed the pattern of the typical field unit (fig. 49). Each such quartermaster remount squadron element, troop unit, and provisional organization had its own organic veterinary detachment.

Southwest Pacific Area

The Army Veterinary Service in the Southwest Pacific Area had its start with remount activities in April-May 1942 when the Quartermaster, U.S. Army Forces in Australia, requested the inspection of Australian Army animals at Goulburn, Australia, as to their suitability for riding or pack purposes (26). During the next 6 months, a horse-buying program was conducted, and 2,515 Army horses were transshipped from Australia to New Caledonia (in the South Pacific Area) (27, 28). With the exception of the single shipment of 477 horses on a U.S. animal transport which was accompanied by a Veterinary Corps officer, Australian personnel, including a veterinarian, were employed to assemble and transship these animals to New Caledonia.6

Just as this buying program in Australia was nearing completion, another was started in connection with plans to activate several quartermaster pack troops and field artillery pack battalions within the theater (29, 30). Requirements were set as high as 18,000 mules and horses, and, by the end of 1942, the U.S. Army Horse Purchasing Board (including a veterinary officer who soon became the board president), with station at Toowoomba, Queensland, had procured 216 horses and shipped 194 of these to a remount depot which was being established at Townsville. During the early months of 1943, the original planning on the use of pack troops and artillery battalions in the fighting on the jungle islands of the Pacific was abruptly cut back, and the objective of the buying program in Australia was reduced to 3,550 horses. These were transshipped from purchase points by railroad to Townsville where they were processed for issue. The mules, unavailable in Australia, were requisitioned from the Zone of Interior, but the two mule-mounted units which came into the Southwest Pacific Area were refused entry by Australian public health and animal regulatory officials on their expressed belief that the mules might introduce such diseases as equine encephalomyelitis, equine infectious anemia, and glanders. Instead, the two units-the 98th Field Artillery Battalion and Troop D, 16th Quartermaster Squadron-were diverted to New Guinea.

6Nine shiploads, totaling 2,048 horses, were loaded out of Brisbane, Melbourne, New Castle, and Sydney, Australia, on the Australian S.S. Jansenn during the period from 6 May through 30 November 1942. The shipment of 477 horses on the U.S. Animal Transport Tjinegara, departing on 20 July 1942, from Brisbane, was lost by enemy action against that transport (on 26 July 1942). While en route to Noumea, New Caledonia, the animal losses, on account of disease and injury, on the S.S. Jansenn totaled 16; thus, only 2,032 horses of Australian origin were received in the South Pacific Area.


500

The horse buying in Australia was halted during May 1943, although depot receipts of newly purchased horses were continued until mid-June 1943. The rate of procurement had been slowed down by seasonal rains, the distances of travel between purchase points even though an airplane was used, and the earlier limitations that only broken (or trained) horses be procured (31). Of course, the remount depot at Townsville had to be built and expanded and, lacking sufficient numbers of experienced personnel, could not receive any large numbers of untrained horses until after the spring of 1943. Incomplete reports indicated that 68 percent of the horses examined in Australia were accepted for Army procurement.

The Remount Depot, Townsville, was an operational facility of Troop A, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron, which was activated during November 1942. The depot was built largely through the labors of veterinary personnel (32), and, for many months (November 1943 through April 1944), its animal population averaged more than 3,200 horses and a few burros or donkeys. Through June 1943, the remount depot received approximately 3,600 newly purchased animals; later in that year, 1,200 animals, which were previously issued to mounted units, were returned. Including a veterinary detachment within the depot unit, a veterinary dispensary was established, but this was operated as a type of a veterinary hospital which cared for the depot animals as well as those more seriously disabled among the few mounted units which were stationed in the vicinity of the depot. Attempts to gain a separate veterinary hospital outside of the depot area, that would operate in support of the remount depot's and other unit's veterinary detachments, were not approved by the theater headquarters (33). Instead, the depot veterinary detachment was augmented by the temporary assignment of five separate veterinary detachments which were obtained from the Zone of Interior for assignment to mounted units. These were Veterinary Sections E, F, G, H, and I. Depot issues (and reissues) of approximately 1,600 horses were made, beginning in February 1943, to the 61st, 62d, 63d, and 68th Quartermaster Pack Troops and the 167th Field Artillery Battalion. The units were provided with separate veterinary detachments, but many of these returned their sick animals to the depot's veterinary dispensary for care and treatment.

Beginning in August and continuing through November 1943, during which time it had become evident that pack-mounted units were not essential to the fighting on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific, the four quartermaster pack troops and the field artillery battalion in Australia were dismounted or inactivated, and their horses were returned to the remount depot. Being advised by the War Department that the 3,200 animals in the depot were not needed elsewhere, arrangements were completed for their transfer to the Australian Army; the depot veterinary dispensary was closed on 28 April 1944, and the remount squadron troop was disbanded a few months later.


501

Up to the time that the veterinary dispensary, Remount Depot, Townsville, was closed, 1,883 cases of disease and injury were reported (34), as follows:

Average mean strength

2,329

Admissions:1

 

    

For disease

1,297

    

For injury

586


Total

1,883

Treatment-days

67,025

Average days per admission

36

Died or destroyed

241

Number admitted per 1,000 average animal strength per year:

 

    

For disease

419.4

    

For injury

189.4


Total

608.3

Number per 1,000 average animal strength per year died or destroyed

78.1

1Data include veterinary services rendered by the depot veterinary section for animals belonging to the 62d Quartermaster Pack Troop (January-September 1944) and the 63d Quartermaster Pack Troop (January-July 1944).

During the first 6 months of the period when the depot was receiving large numbers of remount animals from the purchasing board and processing them for issue, diseases rather than injuries constituted the major cause of animal morbidity. In fact, through June 1943, only 259 injury cases were recorded, whereas disease accounted for 1,041 cases. The latter, as would be expected among newly procured animals, included hundreds of cases of equine strangles, infectious rhinitis (or "colds"), and pneumonia. The animals had been procured during the seasonal cold and rainy season, but the more important factor contributing to the relative high rate of these respiratory diseases was that the Australian railroads were not equipped to unload, feed, and rest the animals at regular intervals during the long shipments from the purchase points to the remount depot. After the summer of 1943, when the depot's animal population had become "seasoned" and was being placed or maintained more or less on a ranch basis, the animal disease situation improved considerably. However, keratitis began to make its appearance among many animals, probably caused by wind and dust or by awns of certain grass seeds. Other commonly occurring diseases were trichophytosis (or ringworm) and tick infestations which were controlled by dipping or spraying the animals with lime-sulfur solution; gastrointestinal parasitisms were treated by the administration


502

of phenothiazine. During April 1943, the immunization program against tetanus was undertaken, but, before this was completed, three fatal cases of that disease were reported among the depot horses. Glanders-a disease from which Australia claimed to be free-was tested for in 1,400 newly purchased animals, and the test results were negative.

As the transfer of the horses to the Australian Army was nearing completion (in April 1944), the China-Burma-India theater expressed an urgent need for the animals; 2,336 of these were transshipped to that theater during the winter of 1944-45. Actually, the horses were processed for this movement by the Australian Army and then embarked on U.S. animal transports pursuant to the animal export laws and quarantine regulations of Australia;7 once loaded, the horses returned to the technical jurisdiction of the Army Veterinary Service or its Veterinary Corps officers who were assigned to these transports (35, 36, 37).

On New Guinea (in the Southwest Pacific Area), quartermaster remount activities were started during July 1943 when Troop A, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron (with station in Australia) established a forward echelon depot at Port Moresby. Mounted units on this island base were the 98th Field Artillery Pack Battalion, with approximately 1,200 mules, which had come from the Zone of Interior during February and June 1943, and Troop D, 16th Quartermaster Squadron, with 323 mules, which had arrived on 23 July 1943. Subsequently, with the dismounting of the latter unit (in October 1943) and the reorganization and subsequent dismounting (in March 1944) of the battalion, these unit animals were turned in to the remount depot-a peak strength of 1,352 mules being reached by mid-1944. The advance depot, having no assigned veterinary personnel, was originally dependent on the organic veterinary detachment of the quartermaster squadron's pack troop, but, after October 1943, its veterinary needs were met solely by the 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital which had set up station on New Guinea during February 1943. As illustrated in the following tabulation, from 1 August 1943, through 2 November 1944, that hospital treated 1,139 animal patients; most of these originated from the advance remount depot, although a few were evacuees from the pack troop and artillery battalion (38):

7These shipments included the Peter Silvester, with 30 horses, departing on 5 August 1944; the Virginian, with 640 horses, departing on 5 November 1944; the Charles W. Wooster, with 235 horses, departing on 8 November 1944; the Henry Dearborn and the Joshua Hendy, each with 320 horses, departing during November 1944; the Cyrus W. Field and the John J. Crittenden, each with 320 horses, departing during December 1944; and the William S. Halstead, with 151 horses, departing during February 1945. With the exception of the first shipment, all shipments originated at Townsville; the first originated from Brisbane. The Peter Silvester and the Charles W. Wooster also received mules at Port Moresby, New Guinea, before proceeding from the Southwest Pacific Area.


503  

Average mean strength1

746

Admissions:2

 

    

For disease

465

    

For injury

674


Total

1,139

Treatment-estimated days

41,353

Average days per admission

38

Died or destroyed

54

Number admitted per 1,000 average animal strength per year:

 

    

For disease

593.8

    

For injury

744.0


Total

1,337.8

Number per 1,000 average animal strength per year died or destroyed

72.4

1Only for period from December 1943 to 2 Nov. 1944.  
2During August-November 1943, the 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital treated only those disabled animals as were evacuated by the attending veterinarian for the depot, including 43 cases also received from the 98th Field Artillery Battalion and from Troop D, 16th Quartermaster Squadron. In the period from December 1943 to 2 Nov. 1944, the 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital alone provided the veterinary services required by the depot and also received 37 cases evacuated from the 98th Field Artillery Battalion (December 1943-March 1944), the latter being included in the statistical data.

No serious animal diseases were reported among the mules while on New Guinea. A few clinical cases of botrytimycosis were treated; cutaneous habronemiasis and thrush of the feet caused losses of animal efficiency, but these were reduced when the mules under treatment could be isolated in screened-in veterinary stables or removed from the muddy corrals during the rainy season. The healing of wounds, any kind of wound, seemed to take a long period of time and was usually marked with exuberant granulations of the healing tissues (39, 40).

Under much the same conditions that the horse-mounted units in Australia were canceled from the tactical planning and their animals were not needed in the Southwest Pacific Area, 1,340 Army mules on New Guinea were transshipped from the Advance Remount Depot, Port Moresby, to the China­Burma-India theater during the fall of 1944.8 With the fourth or final shipment of these mules (during November 1944), the 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital closed station and began preparations for movement into the Philippine Islands where it was to be used in the theater's food inspection service.

8These shipments included the following: (1) 650 mules on the Virginian, departing on 2 August 1944, and accompanied by 1st Lt. E. W. George, VC. (2) 285 mules on the Peter Silvester, departing on 14 August 1944, and accompanied by 1st Lt. H. L. March, VC. (3) 320 mules, departing 1 October 1944, and accompanied by 1st Lt. W. McClaskey, VC, (name of the transport was not determined; the transport casual detachment was designated 6629A). (4) 85 mules on the Charles W. Wooster, departing on 2 November 1944, and accompanied by 1st Lt. I. I. Franklin, VC. An additional 30 mules on New Guinea were disposed of by transfer to the ANGAU on 7 October 1944. The Peter Silvester and the Charles W. Wooster also received horses in Australia before proceeding from the Southwest Pacific Area.


504

South Pacific Area

On New Caledonia (in the South Pacific Area), quartermaster remount activities were begun and a remount depot was established on 6-7 July 1942, when Troop A, 252d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, with 481 mules, arrived from the Zone of Interior (41). By this date, the 97th Field Artillery Battalion having arrived 3 months earlier-already had obtained a few animals from local sources and received some shipments of U.S. Army horses from Australia (in the Southwest Pacific Area). Most of these horses were turned in by the field artillery battalion to the remount depot in exchange for the American mules, and the horses then were reprocessed and issued to the 112th Cavalry Regiment which arrived on New Caledonia during August 1942. By the end of that year, approximately 3,000 horses and mules were assembled on this Pacific island base-781 mules coming in from the Zone of Interior and the Panama Canal Department,9 2,032 horses being received from Australia (in the Southwest Pacific Area),10 and 180 animals being bought locally.

During the early months of the next year, the 97th Field Artillery Battalion, with 947 mules and horses, departed for Guadalcanal where tactical operations had come under U.S. Army command, and, on 13 May, the 112th Cavalry Regiment returned 1,481 horses and mules to the remount depot prior to its departure for the Southwest Pacific Area. Therewith, the remount depot gained a peak animal population of about 1,700 horses and mules. These animals were cared for by the veterinary section included in the organic composition of Troop A, 252d Quartermaster Remount Squadron; this unit, during January 1943, was returned as a "paper organization" to the Zone of Interior, but its equipment and personnel were retained and used in the organization of the newly activated Troop B, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron. The latter's veterinary section was augmented by the Veterinary Detachment, 112th Cavalry Regiment, when that regiment was dismounted.

After mid-1943, the remount depot was concerned mainly with the examination of the horses and mules for combat serviceability and their processing for oversea shipment to the China-Burma-India theater. Beginning in September 1943 and continuing through the next 12 months, 1,571 animals (including 1,554 horses and 17 mules) were embarked on five animal transports departing from Nouméa, New Caledonia.11

9The mules arrived in two shipments: The Tjinegara, arriving on 6-7 July 1942, with 100 from the Zone of Interior and 381 from the Panama Canal Department, and the Peter Silvester, arriving during November 1942, with 300 mules.  
10See footnote 6, p. 499. The first shipment of these horses was received on 25 May and the last on 5 Dec. 1942.  
11These shipments included the Virginian, with 590 horses, departing on 23-26 September 1943; the Peter Silvester, with 308 horses, departing on 2-3 November 1943, and at another time, on 11 May 1944, with 152 animals; the Samuel H. Walker, with 352 horses, departing on 4 June 1944; and the Santiago Iglesias, with 169 animals, departing on 13 September 1944. The Peter Silvester's second voyage and the last-named shipment also included horses and mules being transshipped to the China-Burma-India theater from Guadalcanal and the Zone of Interior.  


505

During the period from 1 January 1943 through 17 September 1944, the depot's veterinary section, as augmented by the Veterinary Detachment, 112th Cavalry Regiment (Dismounted), treated 1,096 animal cases of disease and injury (42), as shown in the following tabulation:

Average mean strength

746

Admissions:

 

    

For disease

684

    

For injury

412


Total

1,096

Treatment-days

29,622

Average days per admission

27

Died or destroyed

188

Number admitted per 1,000 average animal strength per year:

 

    

For disease

534.9

    

For injury

321.7


Total

856.6

Number per 1,000 average animal strength per year died or destroyed

147.5

Disease conditions of common occurrence included thrush and separation of the sole of the feet, arthritis, and a dermatitis of fungus origin. All mallein tests for glanders were negative. Shortly after the last animal shipment was made, the depot's veterinary dispensary was closed (on 17 September 1944) and the remount unit-Troop B, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron-was disbanded on 14 October 1944. During mid-November 1944, the Veterinary Detachment, 112th Cavalry Regiment, departed from New Caledonia.

China-Burma-India Theater

The Army Veterinary Service in the China-Burma-India theater became concerned with remount activities first in connection with the lend-lease supply of animals to the Allied-sponsored Chinese Army in India (43, 44, 45). The latter included remnants of the Chinese 22d and 38th Divisions, which, having been forced out of Burma, were being reorganized to fight against the Japanese enemy. As early as September 1942, veterinary officers at the Rāmgarh, India, training center for the Chinese were supervising the receipt and distribution of British animals for these divisions. This activity lasted for more than a year. Then, in connection with the plans to deploy U.S. combat teams, with animals, into Burma, a quartermaster remount organization was improvised.   This was the 5321st Remount Depot Detachment (Provisional) which established station during November 1943 at the Rāmgarh training center; it transferred its operations northward to Ledo, during May 1944, where it was soon disbanded, being replaced on 13 July 1944 by a newly activated quartermaster remount troop.


506

At both depot sites, veterinary dispensaries were established by the 1st Veterinary Company (Separate) which had arrived in the China-Burma-India theater during the spring of 1943. Until the provisional remount organization had become operational, the Army Veterinary Service-utilizing Chinese military personnel-had received and processed the original shipments of U.S. Army animals arriving from the South Pacific Area.

During the latter part of 1944, the theater's remount service was gradually expanded to include four separate remount troops and a remount section. These were needed in connection with the continuation of plans to provide animals to the U.S. combat teams that were being deployed against the Japanese enemy in Burma and with new requirements to complete the mounting of the Chinese Army in India as the British animal supply dwindled. In fact, between June 1944 and July of the next year, approximately 5,300 mules and horses were supplied under lend-lease to this Chinese Army. These animals were brought into the China-Burma-India theater from the Zone of Interior and from the South and the Southwest Pacific Areas where they were surplus to military needs. Altogether, 29 animal transports with 10,703 animals arrived. Upon their disembarkation at Calcutta, India, after September 1944, the animals were processed for transshipment from the port to the remount depots in India and Burma by the 3113th Quartermaster Remount Section which was activated within the theater. The remount section, without its own attached veterinary personnel, referred its disabled animals to the 78th Veterinary Hospital Detachment which was activated at about the same time (in September 1944) and had established station in the port. Prior to September 1944, the disabled animals which had been disembarked from the transports and which could not be removed from the port area were cared for by an Indian Army veterinary hospital.

The remount troop units included the 698th Quartermaster Remount Troop which, upon activation during July 1944 within the theater, replaced the original depot detachment organization at Ledo, and the 699th Quartermaster Remount Troop which was organized at Rāmgarh. The Rāmgarh depot was augmented by Troop A, 252d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, which had arrived earlier with a shipment of animals from the Zone of Interior; during December 1944, the two units were transferred from Rāmgarh to Shillong, India. Troop A, 253d Quartermaster Remount Squadron, also accompanying a shipment of animals from the Zone of Interior, arrived and, during November-December 1944, established a depot at Myitkyina, Burma. On 1 January 1945, the foregoing two remount squadrons' lettered troops were redesignated, respectively, as the 475th and the 476th Quartermaster Remount Troops. Though each of the four remount troops had its own veterinary detachment, separate veterinary units, including two companies and five animal service detachments, set up hospital facilities in the vicinity of each remount depot (table 39).

Of the animals arriving in the China-Burma-India, theater, half of the 4,760 mules from the Zone of Interior actually belonged to the quartermaster  


507

TABLE 39.-Period of stay of veterinary animal service units in support of quartermaster remount depots in the China-Burma-India theater  

Veterinary unit

Rāmgarh

Ledo

Shillong

Myitkyina

Calcutta (port)

1st Veterinary Company (Separate).1

June 1943-July 1944.

May 1943-December 1944.

October 1944-V-J Day

---

---

2d Veterinary Company (Separate).

---

December 1944-V-J Day.

---

---

---

40th Veterinary Animal Service Detachment

July 1944-December 1944.

---

December 1944-V-J Day.

---

---

51st Veterinary Animal Service Detachment.

---

September 1944-August 1945.

---

---

---

52d Veterinary Animal Service Detachment.

---

September 1944-V-J Day.

---

August 1945-V-J Day.

---

78th Veterinary Hospital Detachment.

---

---

---

---

September 1944-July 1945.

1The parent 1st Veterinary Company (Separate) was located at Ledo for the period from May 1943 to December 1944 when it was transferred to Shillong. The other dates relate to the detachments of that company unit.

pack troops and field artillery battalions which on arrival were assigned directly to the U.S. tactical forces (or the theater's Northern Combat Area Command). Otherwise, the animals arrived as "casuals" and were processed by the remount depot system of the theater's Services of Supply organization. Another 872 animals, mostly horses, were received from the British or the Indian Army on a reverse lend-lease basis. The veterinary situation applicable to these animals inside of the remount depots could not be determined. Before V-J Day, 5,300 animals-as previously noted-had been supplied to the Chinese Army in India, and 2,300 to 2,450 were transshipped to the China theater; after V-J Day, the animals remaining in the depots were disposed of by the transfer of 103 to the British and the sale of more than 1,000 through a Foreign Liquidation Commission.

In the China theater (formerly a sector of the China-Burma-India theater which was discontinued in the fall of 1944), the remount activities were limited to the supply of animals for the American liaison teams on duty with the Chinese armies and divisions, and the turnover to these activities of 2,300 to 2,450 animals which were marched over the Stilwell Road during the summer of 1945. The Chinese military forces in China, unlike the Allied-sponsored Chinese Army in India and Burma, had a kind of a remount service of its own in China. However, with the increased emphasis on the combat preparation of some of the Chinese armies and divisions, a Sino-American bureau was organized for the purchasing and transportation of military animals in northern China and Tibet (46, 47, 48). Army veterinary personnel were included in the membership of this bureau. Beginning in April 1945, the first of a group of 2,000 or more such horses were shipped into Hsi-ch'ang, China; others were assembled elsewhere in the Sikang Province as of V-J Day. The 45th and the 62d Veterinary Animal Service Detachments and elements of the 19th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital provided veterinary services for the  


508

Chinese animals in remount stations at Hsi-ch'ang and Kuei-yang. Most of the animals, as the result of a 6-week overland movement, arrived at these stations in poor physical condition and required a prolonged period of reconditioning.

Mediterranean Theater

In the Mediterranean theater, animals were procured by purchase, capture, requisition, confiscation, and shipment from the Zone of Interior; others were obtained by transfer and the evacuation of disabled horses and mules from the Allied military forces. Approximately 16,000 or more such animals, including those returned from units and organizations, were received and processed by the remount depot system of the Peninsular Base Section, an element of the theater's Services of Supply organization which supported the Fifth U.S. Army's northward advances against the German enemy on the Italian peninsula.12 This depot system had its start unexpectedly and shortly after that Army's combat divisions, landing at Salerno Gulf (on 9 September 1943), had called on their division veterinarians to organize and maintain animal pack trains (49, 50). Only pack trains could transport the needed supplies to the outpost positions in the rugged, roadless terrain of the Southern Apennine Mountains. At about the same time, with the uncovering of an Italian Army remount station at Persano (in mid-September 1943), the Veterinarian, Fifth U.S. Army, undertook the replacement of the animal losses in the divisional pack trains. A hundred animals belonging to the Italian station were collected from the countryside and were prepared for issue. During the next few months, Italian Army animals were requisitioned, and others were purchased from civilian owners; altogether, 1,100 mules and horses were obtained before the end of 1943. By this time, the newly assembled animals that became seriously sick and the disabled animals were being evacuated from the pack trains to the Fifth U.S. Army Provisional Veterinary Hospital which was organized with Italian personnel during December 1943 and to a French Army veterinary ambulance company.

During this early period, material assistance in the development of an animal supply was given by the Veterinarian, Peninsular Base Section, and then by that command's Quartermaster Remount Division which, in January 1944, gave way to a remount squadron type of organization, the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead) with its own attached veterinary detachment (49). The depot organization assumed operational control over the procurement, processing, and issue of animals for the U.S. forces in the theater and set up station at the remount depot sites when vacated by the Fifth U.S. Army. Depots, other than the one at Persano, were soon established at Santa Maria (on 15 November 1943) and at Bagnoli (on 16 December 1943). The

12While remount operations in the Mediterranean theater seem to have first originated at this time, combat divisions had procured and used animals earlier during the campaigns in North Africa and then in Sicily.  


509

depots, each having its own veterinary personnel, included veterinary dispensaries which also served as veterinary hospitals for many months, receiving disabled animals evacuated from the three or four veterinary evacuation hospitals that were deployed by the Fifth U.S. Army, as well as providing definitive care and treatment for depot issue animals. A share of their professional workload, however, was referred to a U.S.-supervised Italian veterinary general hospital, but it was not until the spring of 1945 that the depot veterinary dispensaries were completely relieved of their operational functions as base veterinary hospitals. At that late date, two U.S. provisional veterinary hospitals and two U.S.-supervised Italian veterinary hospitals were brought into the Peninsular Base Section and deployed to support the depot veterinary dispensaries and the Fifth U.S. Army's veterinary evacuation hospitals. (These new hospital organizations were the 2604th Veterinary Station Hospital (Overhead), 2605th Veterinary General Hospital (Overhead), Italian 1st Veterinary Station Hospital, and Italian 2d Veterinary General Hospital.)

Although the remount activities in the Mediterranean theater originated with the problems of maintaining the pack trains which were improvised within the combat divisions during the fall of 1943, they soon were redirected toward the supply of animals for U.S.-supervised Italian Army pack mule trains (or companies). These were assigned under the operational control of the Fifth U.S. Army's corps and divisions, and, coming into the army from Sardinia first during December 1943, eventually replaced all of the provisional pack trains of the divisions. The utilization of these units was based on the recommendations following a survey of Sardinia by the Veterinarian, Fifth U.S. Army, where 5,000 mules and 1,500 horses were found, together with much needed equipment, including two veterinary hospitals. By April 1944, veterinary personnel on Sardinia had embarked 1,262 mules and 53 horses on ships for Italy.

During the summer and fall of 1944, the remount depot system was greatly changed. The original facilities at Persano, Santa Maria, and Bagnoli were closed during May-June 1944, and, following the Fifth U.S. Army's breakthrough into Rome, one depot was set up for a short period of time at a racetrack in that city. Subsequently, remount depots were established at Grosseto and Pisa, with capacities for 4,000 and 600 animals, respectively. Then, on 14 September 1944, the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead) was divided into two parts: The 1/2-6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot, (Overhead) which was transshipped with the Seventh U.S. Army to Southern France and then transferred to the European theater, and the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead)-1/2, which continued to operate the depots at Grosseto and Pisa in Italy. The latter were later augmented with Italian Army remount units which were under the technical supervision of a new remount organization, the 2610th Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead), formed on 21 January 1945. This new organization, on


510

7 July 1945, replaced the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead)-1/2 which was disbanded during the following month (on 25 August 1945). 

Through June 1945, the remount depot holdings of animals reached a peak of more than 3,600 mules and horses. The Army Veterinary Service with the remount depot system of the Peninsular Base Section had treated 4,741 cases of diseases and injury (51, 52); the admission rates as based on the depot's animal strength by month had become considerably less after the winter of 1943-44 when the depots were first filled with almost any kind of animal that could be procured, and the depot veterinary dispensaries constituted the major veterinary treatment facilities in back of the Fifth U.S. Army. The animal disease rate within the depots was not unusually high considering that the average mean strength of 1,725 mules and horses over a 19-month period actually represented a constantly changing animal population. Arrivals, including returned animals and some animal patients, approximated 15,600, and issues, sales, administrative losses, and evacuated patients totaled 12,400. The 15,600 animals received included at least 3,900 from Allied British and French forces, 1,100 from Italian sources, 2,400 from Sardinia and Sicily, 2,881 mules brought in from the Zone of Interior, 1,000 recovered animal patients from Services of Supply veterinary hospitals, 90 from a miscellany of service units, and the remainder from the Fifth U.S. Army's field remount depots, pack companies, and field artillery battalions. The 12,400 animals disposed of included 1,500 for the British forces, 700 sold, 600 for the remount depot which was transferred to the European theater, 500 to Services of Supply veterinary hospitals for treatment, 90 for a variety of service units, 306 which died or were destroyed on account of disease or injury, and the remainder for the Fifth U.S. Army.

Despite the constant changes of the animal populations and the assembly of such large numbers from a wide variety of sources, the animal disease situation within the depots was relatively secure. On arrival, the animals were mallein tested for glanders and held in quarantine, during which time they were examined for physical condition. Stallions were ordinarily castrated. The more serious diseases reported among the depot animals included piroplasmosis and epizootic lymphangitis. The latter disease was controlled by the destruction of those animals found to be affected and led to the loss of a hundred horses and mules; it was seen in animals obtained in Italy as well as in those imported from Sardinia and Sicily. Piroplasmosis was reported in 70 animals, but only 21 of the cases terminated fatally or had to be destroyed because some success was obtained in their treatment with a trypanocidal drug, Acaparin. As would be expected, cases of mange, glanders, and tetanus occurred, but these were almost a rarity; in fact, clinical diagnoses of mange could not be confirmed by laboratory examinations. The respiratory disorders that are commonly seen in remount animals did not cause any great loss because most of the animals had been already "seasoned" or conditioned before coming into the depots.


511

During the last 6 months of 1945, the major effort of the Mediterranean theater's remount organization was directed at the disposition of its mules and horses. During this period, the 2610th Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead)-which had superseded the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead)-1/2-closed out the Grosseto depot (in September 1945) and centered its activities in Pisa. On 10 October 1945, the depot organization was discontinued, but the disposition of the animals was continued by the Remount Division, Office of the Quartermaster, Peninsular Base Section. By December 1945, only 50 horses and mules remained; dispositions had been made by the transshipment of 280 horses to Marseilles, France (in the Delta Base Section, European theater), the sale of 700 horses and mules to Italian governmental agencies, and the transfer of 2,800 mules (originally received from the Zone of Interior) to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration for supply to Yugoslavia (52, 53, 54).

European Theater

The Army Veterinary Service concerned with remount activities in the European theater evolved about the 6835th Quartermaster Remount Depot, which was the successor organization to the 1/2-6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead) (55, 56). It may be recalled that the latter originated with the 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead), in the Mediterranean theater, when it was divided into two parts; subsequently, this one part-including its own veterinary detachment-was transferred as a Seventh U.S. Army unit to Southern France, arriving at Marseilles on 20 October 1944. With the 600 to 700 mules and horses which were obtained in Italy and had accompanied the movement of the organization, remount depot operations were set up first at Is Surtille on 17 November 1944; a month later, these operations were moved to Chaumont, France. Through May 1945, the 6835th Quartermaster Remount Depot had received and processed 1,800 animals and had issued more than 750 of these, mostly mules, to the 513th Quartermaster Pack Troop. In the spring of 1945, the organization was designated to purchase 700 horses from the French in the European theater's Normandy Base Section area for transshipment to the Mediterranean theater, however, it turned out that no purchases were actually made (57).

After V-E Day, a few hundred captured German horses were processed by the depot organization which had reestablished station at Dornholzhausen, Germany, and another 650 animals, mostly mules, were disposed of either by sale to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration or issue to military government. Only 275 horses and 45 mules were in the depot as of the end of 1945. Throughout the period since its organization in Italy, the depot's veterinary detachment had treated 1,036 cases of animal diseases and injuries, as shown in the following tabulation:


512

Average mean strength

7,752

Admission:

 

    

For disease

470

    

For injury 

1566


Total

1,036

Treatment-days

19,686

Average days per admission

19

Died or destroyed

42

Number admitted per 1,000 average animal strength per year:

 

    

For disease

46.7

    

For injury

56.2


Total

102.9

Number per 1,000 average animal strength per year died or destroyed

4.1

1Includes 30 battle casualty cases admitted during the months of December 1943 through June 1944; in March 1944 alone, 23 such cases were reported.

By the end of 1945, also, U.S. military government controls were being enforced over the former German horsebreeding establishments at Kaisheim, Bergsteten, Altefeld, and Monsbach (58).

ARMY HORSE BREEDING PLAN

The Army Horse Breeding Plan, started in 1920, had for its objective the encouragement of the breeding of horses of the type which could best be used by the Army (1). It was operated to make available a large number of Government-owned stallions of suitable type and good breeding, which, in the hands of civilian stallion agents, could be bred to privately owned mares throughout the Nation. In December 1941, the number of such stallions approximated 566; all were kept under the professional care and technical supervision of the Army Veterinary Service.

Though operating on a reduced scale caused by manpower shortages, rising costs, and reduced military demands for horses, the Army Horse Breeding Plan during World War II gave origin to 39,000 foals.13 In the 1945-46 breeding-foaling season, 450 to 500 Government-owned stallions were bred to more than 11,000 civilian-owned mares; the resulting foal crop totaled 7,293 horses (59). It may be mentioned that the authority for the Army to conduct remount breeding was abolished on 1 July 1948, at which time, also, the Army Remount Service was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (60).

The distribution of Government-owned stallions and administrative controls over the Army Horse Breeding Plan were made by the same quartermaster remount area headquarters that supervised the procurement of animals in the Zone of Interior. The several remount area headquarters veterinarians, in addition to their responsibilities concerning animal procurement, conducted

13See footnote 1, p. 491.  


513

physical examinations on the stallions when coming into Government ownership, investigated the sanitary conditions under which the stallions were kept and used by the civilian stallion agents in order to maintain animal health and efficiency, examined the privately owned mares in order to protect the stallions' health and to discourage the mating of unsound animals, and assisted in the instructional program for bettering the principles and techniques used in the Nation's horse industry. The stallions-quite a few of which were donated by civilian owners-were specially examined against acceptances of any having diseases of bones and the organs of locomotion, chronic respiratory disorders, evidences of having been "nerved," congenital deformities, diseases of the reproductive organs, and those defects which were hereditary in nature. The Thoroughbred breed was predominant on the list of Government-owned stallions, but registered Morgan and Standardbred animals also were obtained. The Arabian stallions were especially advanced in the Plan after the fall of 1943 when the Kellogg Arabian Nursery was donated to the Army and became the location of the Pomona Remount Depot. On arrival at the remount area headquarters or depots, the new stallions were mallein tested for glanders, examined for fertility, and their blood specimens were laboratory tested for dourine and, if not recently immunized, for equine infectious abortion; these procedures were followed by branding and prophylactic inoculations against equine encephalomyelitis, equine infectious abortion, and tetanus. It was obligatory that only healthy and sound stallions be issued to the civilian stallion agents.

Following their issue, the stallions were reexamined in their places of standing at least once each year by the headquarters veterinarian. They were mallein tested, reexamined for fertility, revaccinated as might be indicated, treated for internal parasitism, and their blood samples were forwarded for laboratory examination for dourine and equine infectious abortion; also, such dental treatment and foot care as was required was given (61). Concurrent with this, the veterinary officer investigated and advised the civilian agents on environmental sanitation and the methods used in breeding and handling the stallions, including the technique of artificial insemination. To the extent that it was practical, the civilian-owned mares which were scheduled for servicing to the Government-owned stallions were examined for soundness. The mares, except those in the areas specifically exempted by the Surgeon General's Office, had to be tested and found free of dourine, but the mallein test for glanders was not mandatory. Periodically, these stallions were returned to the Army remount depots for reconditioning, physical examination, and test for fertility. During the war years, 1940 through 1945, approximately 700 to 800 agent stallions were examined at the Army remount depots.

At one time, a brood mare band of 50 animals was prescribed for each of the three remount depots, but, as of December 1941, the depots had aggregated 199 mares, together with 458 foals and a few stallions. In many ways,


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these were cared for and handled according to certain principles of veterinary sanitation and zootechnics, including artificial impregnation. In the five breeding-foaling seasons of 1940-41 through 1944-45, the depot-produced living foals numbered 557 (table 40). This number, when used in the computation involving the number of mares bred to determine a living foal percentage of 69.8, was an impressive index to the efficiency of the breeding techniques, brood mare band management, and programs of disease control. The most singular disease was equine infectious abortion (Salmonella abortivo equina) which since the early twenties was controlled by administering a bacterin agent to both mares and stallions (62). A so-called equine virus

TABLE 40.- Breeding-foaling results among remount depot brood mare bands, by year, 1940-45  

Breeding-foaling results

1940-41

1941-42

1942-43

1943-44

1944-45

 

Number

Number

Number

Number

Number

Stallions bred

10

11

16

12

15

Mares:

 

 

 

 

 

    

Bred

161

162

194

168

113

    

Conceived

139

133

168

132

83

Aborted:

 

 

 

 

 

    

Equine virus abortion

0

0

23

0

0

     Streptococcus genitalium

1

0

0

0

0

     Salmonella abortivo equina

0

0

0

0

1

    

Other causes

12

6

13

9

7


Total

13

6

36

9

8

    

Died before foaling

0

2

12

4

2

    

Died as result of foaling

0

2

0

0

1

Foals:

 

 

 

 

 

    

Living at birth

126

126

121

119

65

    

Living foal percentage

78.3

77.8

62.4

70.8

57.5

    

Died within 30 days:

 

 

 

 

 

         

Pyosepticemia neonatorum

0

2

1

3

2

         

Premature

0

0

3

0

0

         

Deformity of legs or joints

0

0

1

2

1

         

Other causes

4

3

3

1

0


Total

4

5

8

6

3

Not normal at birth

Unknown

Unknown

0

8

7

Source: Jennings, W.E.: Twelve Years of Horse Breeding in the Army. J. Am. Vet. M. A. 116: 11-16, January 1950.


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abortion, reported first in 1937-38, reappeared in endemic proportions during 1942 at Fort Reno, causing 23 of the 49 pregnant mares to abort.

Equally as important as the animal disease controls were the studies conducted on the techniques of breeding and methods of managing brood mare bands and young horses. Higher rates of conceptions were shown among foaling mares than in the group of maiden (or virgin) mares and were more readily assured if the mares were selected on the basis of prebreeding bacteriologic examinations of the genital tract and if the foaling mares were not routinely bred during the foaling heat period (that is, ninth­day breeding).

References

1. TM 10-395, 18 Dec. 1941. 

2. AR 30-405, 15 May 1942. 

3. AR 40-2045, 16 Sept. 1942. 

4. AR 30-435, 29 May 1942.

5. AR 30-440, 2 Jan. 1929. 

6. AR 30-440, 18 June 1942.

7. Annual Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1941.

8. Annual reports, Veterinary Division, Surgeon General's Office, 1942-46.

9. Letter, Col. Edwin N. Hardy, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, 10 Dec. 1940, to officers in charge of remount areas and commanding officers of remount depots, subject: Ratings by Receiving Units.

10. Letter, Col. Edwin N. Hardy, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, 1 Feb. 1941, to officers in charge of remount areas and commanding officers of remount depots, subject: Administrative Losses in Issue Animals During Period, 1 July 1940 to 15 January 1941.

11. Letter, Col. Edwin N. Hardy, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, 18 July 1941, to all remount depots and remount areas, subject: Statistical Data Reference Processing of Animals at Remount Depots.

12. Letter, Col. Edwin N. Hardy, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, to The Surgeon General, 4 Oct. 1940, subject: Veterinary Hospital Facilities at Depots.

13. AR 30-415, 1 June 1942.

14. Miner, John W.: Veterinary History of the Reno Quartermaster Depot (Remount). Fort Reno, Oklahoma, 8 September 1939 to 31 December 1945. [Official record.] 

15. Sager, Floyd C.: History of the Veterinary Service at the Robinson Quartermaster Depot (Remount), Fort Robinson, Nebraska, 8 September to 31 December 1945. [Official record.]

16. Wolfe, William R.: Veterinary Service, Front Royal Quartermaster Depot (Remount), Front Royal, Virginia. Period: 8 September 1941 to 1 December 1944. [Official record.]

17. Shipley, Wayne D.: History of the Veterinary Service, World War II, Veterinary Service With Quartermaster Remount Depots: The Pomona Quartermaster Depot (Remount). [Official record.]

18. Report, Remount Branch, Service Installations Division, Office of the Quartermaster General. Quartermaster Corps Accomplishments in World War II. [Official record.]

19. Koon, G. H.: Organization and Functions of the Veterinary Service of the Medical Department in Campaign. Vet. Bull. 13: 39-108, 13 Feb. 1924.

20. The Veterinary Service. Army M. Bull. No. 19, pp. 183-185, 1926. 

21. T/O 10-95, 1 Apr. 1942.  


516

22. T/O&E 10-95, 21 July 1943. 

23. T/O 10-97, 1 Apr. 1942. 

24. T/O&E 10-97, 21 July 1943. 

25. T/O&E 10-97, 22 Jan. 1944.

26. Check sheets, Lt. Col. C. M. Cowherd, VC, to Chief Surgeon, Hqs., USAFIA, 30 Apr. 1942, and to Chief Quartermaster (Col. Gardiner, QMC), 4 May 1942.

27. Letter, Lt. Col. Robert H. Yager, VC, 18th Medical General Laboratory, to CG, USAFPOA, 8 Mar. 1945, subject: Tick Piroplasmosis Investigation, APO 502.

28. Whitehead, Jack O.: Veterinary History of New Caledonia. In History of the U.S. Army Veterinary Service, Pacific Ocean Areas, 7 December 1941-30 June 1945, by Wayne O. Kester and Everett B. Miller. [Official record.]

29. Smock, Stanley C., and Baker, Jack E.: History of the Veterinary Service in the Southwest Pacific Area, 1942-1945. [Official record.]

30. Weisman, Louis G.: History of the Veterinary Service in the Southwest Pacific Area, 1942-1945. [Official record.]

31. Letters, Lt. Col. Joseph H. Dornblaser, VC, President, U.S. Army Horse Purchasing Board, to Lt. Col. W. E. Hamrick, QMC, Office of the Chief Quartermaster, SWPA, 20 Dec. 1942, and 9 Jan., 23 Jan., 6 Feb., 15 Feb., and 27 Feb. 1943.

32. Annual Report, Department Veterinarian, U.S. Army Remount Depot, APO 922, 1943.

33. Letter, Col. John A. Considine, QMC, Remount Depot, APO 922, SWPA, to CG, USASOS, APO 501, 31 Mar. 1943, subject: Need for Veterinary Hospital at the Remount Depot.

34. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, Troop A, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron, January 1943-July 1944.

35. Letter, Australian Quartermaster General Military Board, Department of the Army, Melbourne, Australia, to General Purchasing Agent, USFFE, 14 Sept. 1944, Subject: Shipment of Horses.

36. Check sheet, Office of the Chief Quartermaster, to Chief Surgeon, Headquarters, USASOS, SWPA, 30 Sept. 1944, subject: Examination of Horses, with comment 2, 1 Oct. 1944, and comment 3, 3 Oct. 1944.

37. Letter, Capt. David Erlich, VC, Base Service Center, Base 2, APO 922, to Surgeon, Base Section, USASOS, SWPA, 22 Jan. 1945, subject: Transportation of Horses. 

38. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital, August 1943-2 Nov. 1944.

39. Quarterly Reports, Commanding Officer, 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital, July-September 1943, October-December 1943.

40. Annual Report, Commanding Officer, 16th Veterinary Evacuation Hospital, 1944. 

41. Kester, Wayne O., and Miller, Everett B.: History of the U.S. Army Medical Department Veterinary Service, Headquarters, United States Army Forces Pacific Ocean Areas, 7 December 1941 to 31 December 1945. [Official record.]

42. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, 112th Cavalry Regiment, January 1943-17 Sept. 1944.

43. Mohri, Ralph W.: History of the U.S. Army Veterinary Service in the China­Burma-India Theater. [Official record.]

44. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, CBI, 4 Nov. 1943-Sept. 1944. 

45. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, IBT, October 1944-December 1945.

46. The Veterinary History of the China Theater. [Official record.]

47. Shea, Richard A.: Activities in Tibet of American Personnel of the Sino­American Horse Purchasing Bureau, 30 September 1945. [Official record.]  


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48. Letter, Lt. Col. Ilia A. Tolstoy, AUS, to Col. J. G. Fuller, VC, Theater Veterinary Officer, Headquarters, USFCT, 19 May 1945, subject: Commendation of Officer-Major Bert Reinow-0-379830 VC.

49. History of the Army Veterinary Service in the North African and Mediterranean Theater of Operations. [Official record.]

50. Letter, Col. C. E. Pickering, VC, Veterinarian, Office of the Surgeon, Hq, Fifth U.S. Army, to Lt. Col. R. S. MacKellar, Jr., VC, Surgeon General's Office, 26 Feb. 1944. 

51. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, Quartermaster Remount Division, Headquarters, Peninsular Base Section, MTO, December 1943-January 1944.

52. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, 6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead), February 1944-June 1945.

53. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, 2610th Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead), July-10 Oct. 1945.

54. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, Remount Division, Office of the Quartermaster, Hq, PBS, 20 Oct.-December 1945.

55. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, ½-6742d Quartermaster Remount Depot (Overhead), 14 Sept-31 Oct. 1944.

56. Veterinary Reports of Sick and Wounded Animals, 6835th Quartermaster Remount Depot, November 1944-December 1945.

57. Semiannual Report, Veterinary Division, Office of the Chief Surgeon, USFET, January-June 1945.

58. Report, Veterinarian, Office of the Chief Surgeon, USFET, 1945. 

59. QMC Manual 22-2, May 1947.

60. Public Law 494, 80th Congress, 2d Session, approved 21 Apr. 1948.

61. Letter, Col. Edwin N. Hardy, QMC, Office of the Quartermaster General, 27 Dec. 1942, to remount areas, subject: Inspections of Stallions in Hands of Agents.

62. Annual Report of The Surgeon General, U.S. Army. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1920.

 

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