The British Army Regular Mounted Infantry 1880–1913  book cover
1st Edition

The British Army Regular Mounted Infantry 1880–1913

ISBN 9781138330047
Published June 27, 2018 by Routledge

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Book Description

The regular Mounted Infantry was one of the most important innovations of the late Victorian and Edwardian British Army. Rather than fight on horseback in the traditional manner of cavalry, they used horses primarily to move swiftly about the battlefield, where they would then dismount and fight on foot, thus anticipating the development of mechanised infantry tactics during the twentieth century. Yet despite this apparent foresight, the mounted infantry concept was abandoned by the British Army in 1913, just at the point when it may have made the transition from a colonial to a continental force as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Exploring the historical background to the Mounted Infantry, this book untangles the debates that raged in the army, Parliament and the press between its advocates and the supporters of the established cavalry.

With its origins in the extemporised mounted detachments raised during times of crisis from infantry battalions on overseas imperial garrison duties, Dr Winrow reveals how the Mounted Infantry model, unique among European armies, evolved into a formalised and apparently highly successful organisation of non-cavalry mounted troops. He then analyses why the Mounted Infantry concept fell out of favour just eleven years after its apogee during the South African Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. As such the book will be of interest not only to historians of the nineteenth-century British army, but also those tracing the development of modern military doctrine and tactics, to which the Mounted Infantry provided successful - if short lived - inspiration.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 The Quest for Mobile Firepower

Chapter 2 Foundations

Chapter 3 Doctrine

Chapter 4 Forging an Identity

Chapter 5 Training the Mounted Infantry

Chapter 6 Colonial Warfare and the Mounted Infantry Paradigm

Chapter 7 Imperial Perspectives

Chapter 8 A Wild Goose Chase: South Africa 1899-1902

Chapter 9 Remonstrance, Renaissance and Re-designation

Chapter 10 Demise

Chapter 11 Conclusions

Appendices Biographies of Senior Mounted Infantry Officers

Mounted Infantry Camel Regiment 1884–85 Composition

The Square at Abu Klea 1885

Development of the regular Mounted Infantry in South Africa 1899–1902

Evolution of tactics in South Africa 1899 – 1902: the ‘galloping charge’



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Andrew Winrow undertook a Masters’ degree by research in 2010 and completed a DPhil in 2014, both in Victorian military history, at the University of Buckingham. He is a member of the Victorian Military Society and was awarded the Society’s Howard Browne Medal for 2014. His research interests encompass aspects of the late Victorian and Edwardian armies and he has published articles in several military history journals. Dr Winrow is a full time NHS hospital consultant working in London.