Mules carry water to artillerymen during battle

British soldiers filling mule-drawn water-carts at a water depot near Ervillers. © IWM (Q 5307).
WarMule Thu, 05/06/2014 - 18:50

The Battle of Arras was a British offensive in the Spring of 1917 in which Australian, British, Canadian, Newfoundland and New Zealand troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front.

In this WW1 video footage you will see mules being led by soldiers carrying water to the gunners during the battle. What's interesting in this video is the condition of the mules themselves... their coats are shiny and their ears forward. The mules themselves would not have been on the Front itself but in the rear providing support to the soldiers.

In the fighting around Arras, the British suffered 158,660 casualties while the Germans incurred between 130,000 to 160,000. The Battle of Arras is generally considered a British victory due to the capture of Vimy Ridge and other territorial gains, however it did little to alter the strategic situation on the Western Front. Following the battle, the Germans built new defensive positions and a stalemate resumed. The gains made by the British on the first day were astounding by Western Front standards, but an inability to swiftly follow up prevented a decisive breakthrough. Despite this, the Battle of Arras taught the British key lessons regarding the coordination of infantry, artillery, and tanks which would be put to good use during the fighting in 1918.

World War I: Battle of Arras (1917)

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