2 Responses to Mister Here’s Your Mule!

  • “Smokin’ me pipe on the mountings, sniffin’ the mornin’ cool,/ I walks in me old brown gaiters along o’ me old brown mule …” (Kipling, ‘Screw-guns’),

    Brigadier Shelford Bidwell, author of ‘Gunners at War’ wrote disparagingly of “Kipling’s nauseating poem, sung to the dirge of the Eton Boating Song by former mountain gunners and others in their cups”.

    The last incarnation of the screw-gun was the Italian OTO-Melara 105mm pack howitzer which was designed to be mule-portable, and was used by the RA and RHA in the 1970s as a stop-gap between the 25-pr (which was too heavy to be heli-portable) and the 105mm Light Gun, which is still in service.

  • The Army Mule is the mascot of the US Military Academy.

    Fun fact: “Shavetail” has two definitions: 1. a newly Army broken mule – to distinguish it from a seasoned one; and 2. a second Lieutenant. We called them “jeep” this or that, or anyone new, in general, was an “FNG.”

    From TIME, 26 January 1942:

    “A butt for dreary jests, a homely beast to look upon, the U.S. mule—4,500,000 strong—is again coming into his own. Farmers, threatened with a tractor shortage, are buying mules. The U.S. Army is getting set to bargain for more than 15,000. Dealers in such mule marts as Memphis and East St. Louis, Ill. think a mule boom is in the making.

    “Though the Army today has only about 7,000 mules—about half the number it had ten years ago—it has never discovered anything on wheels that could replace the mule. As careless of heat and cold as of man’s advice, the mule… ”

    The mules were heavily used in the mountainous, meat-grinder that was Italy under Gen’l. Marc Clark. They brought up ammunition and rations and, sadly, brought down KIA’s.