American Army mules

Accession Number F07100
Collection type Film
Measurement 7 min 36 sec
Object type To be confirmed
Physical description 35mm/b&w/silent
Maker McKechnie, Frank
Place made New Guinea
Date made 16 August 1943
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Hundreds of Pack Mules have been brought to New Guinea for pack duties. These animals have not been tried out in New Guinea, but so far have done wonderful work with the British and American Armies in Sicily. They are sure footed and can go into places where it is impossible to go with a Jeep. They can be easily used for carrying supplies, guns and the wounded. It is a peculiar thing about the mules in that they detest dogs and they will follow a mare. The latter is due to instinct as they are bred from a horse and donkey. When a Pack Train goes out a mare is always taken in front with a bell around its neck. This keeps the herd in line. Unfortunately in the battle of Kokoda, these mules were not in New Guinea, otherwise some valuable work could have been done. Some mules are trained by the Medical Detachment. Captain Calvin E Gantenbein has devised a litter to carry the wounded. This litter was conceived and devised in New Guinea and should be a great asset in the near future. Mules can carry great weights sometimes up to three and fifty pounds and could go for six days without food. Their sustaining power is greater than any horse. When a mule pack goes out it is self sufficient in that it carries its own food, water, guns, ammunition etc. (adapted from film dope sheet). Film shows members of the 98 US Field Artillery, training mules, veterinary surgeon at work, loading disassembled 75 mm Howitzers on mules and mules equipped with litters transporting wounded.

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