Die Pferde der 10. Batterie
und ihre Pfleger
The 10.Batterie, one of the three Batteries from the IV. Abteilung/Artillerie Regiment 277, was destroyed during the fightings in the Falaise pocket (Normandie).
After following the remainings of the 277. Infanterie Division during its disastrous retreat through France and Belgium, the few survivors were sent to Hungary. On 4th September 1944, they were incorperated in the newly formed 10. Batterie that was to become part of the 277. Volksgrenadier Division. The IV. Abteilung had a new structure and a strength of only two batteries (10. and 11.). Each Batterie was armed with six 15 cm schwere Feldhaubitze 18. As before, the IV. Abteilung was completely horse drawn.
On 29th October 1944, the 277. Volksgrenadier Division was sent to the Eifel region to take over a sector starting from the Forsthaus Wahlerscheid in the north to Losheim in the south. Their task was to secure and defend the first line of the Westwall. These static positions were retained during November and the first weeks of December before the start of the Ardennes offensive. Artillerie Regiment 277 was spread out along this sector in support of the Grenadier Regiments.
During this static period the horses from the 10. Batterie were sheltered in local barns and stables. They were only brought outside when there was a thick fog , this provided protection against allied air attacks.
After the experiences during the winter of 1941, The German Army stopped clipping the hair of the horses at the beginning of the winter. Too many horses died due to cold exposure during the previous winters, so they would let the horses grow their winter coats. This way they were better protected against the elements, but this also required extra care like grooming the longer winter coat with a straw wisp to dry the horses when they were wet from sweat or rain. When standing outside, the "Woilach" (this is the German Army saddle blanket) was used to cover the horses back and fixed with the "Deckengurt" (blanket strap).
The Deckengurt shown here is the model that can be adjusted to all sizes of horses. Clearly visible are the makers code, date and Waffenambt stamps.
The type of "Feldhalfter" (fieldbridle) the horses are wearing, have different sizes. In this case the size is 2.