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General Hawkins's War: The Future of the Horse in the U.S. Cavalry

From: The Journal of Military History
Volume 71, Number 1, January 2007
pp. 127-138 | 10.1353/jmh.2007.0004


During the interwar period, while some officers supported mechanization, others, who could accurately be termed "traditionalists", supported the horse. One of the most prominent of these "traditionalists" was Brigadier General Hamilton S. Hawkins. Hawkins contended that mechanized vehicles would never be capable or numerous enough to completely eliminate the use of horse cavalry. Even as mechanized forces dominated the battlefield during World War II, Hawkins continued to write about the need for horse cavalry. Faced with overwhelming evidence in favor of mechanized vehicles, Hawkins ultimately demonstrated that his advocacy of the horse was a matter of faith and not of empirical evidence.