Cattle


3 photographs in the same post for today! As stated by my friend Mike Brubaker yesterday in the comment to my previous post, the “modern” war of 1914 still contained elements of medieval warfare. Here’s another example of the link with medieval wars: the presence of cattle. This photograph was taken in Campolongo (a few kms west of Asiago) and shows us a German soldier “surrounded” by cattle. I let the experts define their race and tell me if these were “local” animals of if they were brought for the needs of K.u.K. Austro-Hungarian army. Note in the background the ruins of a house, probably destroyed during the fightings on the Plateau.

ox1

For sure, our photographer was probably very interested in these animals, because he photographied them several times. Here’s another photograph, of another breed. Did he find them exotic?

ox2

Or was he shocked by their scrawny look? We must remember that Austro-Hungarian civil population and soldiers heavily suffered hunger during the Great War.

ox3

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2 thoughts on “Cattle

  1. These wonderful photos would mean nothing without the context your traveling German soldier’s previous photos. Military planners since Roman times knew that with so many men stationed so far from supply depots, livestock should be as close as possible to the front lines. Especially when fighting a defensive siege war, it was of supreme importance to keep soldiers supplied with healthy food, which included fresh milk and beef. This would be true for both sides of the war too.

    The first cattle are a long horn variety, and I think there are very few that would adapt to an alpine climate. The last two photos show the distinctive Italian water buffalo from which mozzarella cheese is made. There were a great number of soldiers detailed to attend to horses and mules – farriers, teamsters, veterinarians, etc., but how many soldiers looked after dairy and beef cattle? Did they need armed protection from enemy cattle rustlers? Were there army shepherds for goats and pigs too?

  2. The ones in the first photo are Hungarian grey cattle. You can google the breed. Very hardy stock bred for its meat. The animals in the second and third photos are Hungarian waterbuffalo.

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