Saturday, December 20, 2014

Marines sent horse soldiers to China

Photos at Museum
 of the Horse Soldier
Though they rode camels in Tripoli in 1805, the Marines rode horses elsewhere around the world, from Africa to Latin America. They are best known, however, for their duty in China in the first half of the 20th century.

The Horse Marines served to protect Americans in and around the embassy in Peking (Beijing), the international community in Shanghai and the legation at Tientsin (Tianjin) from 1909 to 1938. This protection of U.S. citizens became especially important after the incident at Marco Polo Bridge in July 1937 as the Japanese began their attach on Beijing.

These horse soldiers were mainly from the 4th Marines; all were experts at using sabers and rifles. At one time, there were 1,500 Marines serving in the Horse Marines.  The horses they rode were ponies from Mongolia, because they were short and sturdy, perfect for riding around the Chinese countryside.

The China Marines, as these horse soldiers were called, disbanded in March 1938 at a review ceremony at Breckenridge Field in Peking.

Pictures of the Horse Marines in China can be found on a wall mounting at the Museum of the Horse Soldier in Tucson.