Mules & Donkeys of World War 1

Army Mules and Donkeys

The Army Mule Mules required less food than horses. 

They were more tolerant of extreme heat and cold, and they could go for longer periods without water, critical in a battle where clean water was so scarce.

Mules were proven to be more resistant to diseases and disease-bearing insects, very low maintenance, and seldom needed shoes.

Less than half the mules died from infected bullet holes compared to the percentage of horses killed.

The first ship of animals departed in November 1914, and in the four half years of war 287,533 mules and 175 jacks were purchased.

Mules were branded on their near hindquarter with a 2-inch broad arrow and a letter or symbol denoting their origin. 13,000 Spanish mules were considered especially fine.

An astounding mule story tells of the mule traveling down the soft steep hillside when the earth began to give way.

He tossed his handler to safety, freed his load of mail (a highly prized reminder of home), and was then swept away to his death.

Nobody knew how he managed to save the mail and his handler, but all agreed he deserved a medal.

Mule trains were hitched in threes, 15 to 20 long, always traveling at a trot and under fire.

When a mule was hit he was unhitched, the ammunition boxes rolled off him, and the mule train just carried on, often 14 to 16 hours a day.

The Missouri mule was recorded with 64 mules being loaded with 100 kilograms EACH in just 14 minutes! Because of this very high prices were paid for quality mules.

Mules died alongside the horses and soldiers.

There was no way of digging a hole for dead mules so many were thrown into the sea washing up like submarine periscopes and reportedly panicking the Navy. 56,000 surplus mules were sold after the war.

Recommended Posts