inmh (inmh) wrote in little_details,

World War I: Injured Horses and People

Setting: England, July/Early August of 1914, very beginning of World War I.

Terms Searched: Essentially, I searched for "horses" and "broken legs", "horses" "shooting injured horses", "World War I" got some of what I was looking for: I found articles that discussed how injured/suffering horses were dealt with in WWI and general information on why broken legs are bad news for them. I also found on Wikipedia the American Academy of Neurology's grading-scale for concussions, which I'm using as a reference. However, some of the questions I have here are a bit too specific/unusual for Google.

(Warning, somewhat grim discussion of unpleasant horse death/injury below the cut)

Scenario: An English soldier is riding a horse during a training exercise, test, etc, just know that they're not far from the camp/military base and it's not during a fight. They are going rather quickly, and the horse falls- I'm thinking a hole or a rock, as my previous searches have told me that those might be sufficient enough to make a horse fall (And in those sources, speed was always a factor in how badly the horse was injured). The soldier goes flying off, dislocates his arm, bangs his head (he gets a Grade I concussion according to the AAN guidelines), and gets a fair-sized gash on his head as well. The horse is badly injured as well, and another soldier decides that it is badly injured enough that he's going to shoot it and put it out of its misery.

Essentially, I'm looking for answers for the following:

1) I know the legs are a really bad place for a horse to be injured, but if the fall is bad enough is it realistic to say that neck/back damage could happen as well? If going fast enough, could a horse fall and do enough damage to its back/neck/legs that killing it immediately would be considered appropriate?

2) I know that shooting injured horses happened in World War I, as an article I found discussed it. However, the article and others I found dealt more with mid-toward the end of WWI, and less of the very beginning. So would it have been realistic to say that a horse that was badly injured during training/what have you in July of 1914 would be shot? Or would there have been another method of killing that was maybe... I don't know if "nicer" is the word I'm looking for, but less bloody? And again, this is assuming that the horse is very, very badly injured and that the person doing the shooting has enough knowledge of horses to know there's no real help to be had for it.

3) This is pretty specific, but does anyone know what would have been procedure for moving an injured soldier (I don't plan on giving him a neck injury, but suppose they suspect he has one)? He's dizzy, probably not able to walk very well, and somewhat confused. He has a few friends that have come to help him out, so I assume they wouldn't just let him get up and walk back on his own- so would proper procedure be to get a stretcher, or to just help him get up and support him as he walks? And again, he's either on or very close to the military base/camp where he came from so medical personnel are presumably nearby (unless that wasn't the case in 1914?)

4) Are there any medical facts for treating a dislocated shoulder and concussion (or general military medical procedure) in 1914 that I should be aware of? How long would this soldier be kept from duty? I'm referencing the AAN guidelines mentioned above when I say he has a Grade I concussion, which means no unconsciousness, the confusion only lasts about fifteen minutes. I don't know if he would be out for a week, a month, only a few days? They're still gearing up to go to war, mind you, so there's no actual fighting for him to be participating in just yet.

Thank you to anyone who can help me with this, as I know those questions are a bit detailed and specific. Just want to make sure the story is as realistic as possible.
Tags: 1910-1919, uk: military: historical, ~animals: horses, ~medicine: injuries to order, ~medicine: injuries: head injuries

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