Now I Know - Now I Know: The Horse Hide

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving weekend! Happy Hannukah to those who celebrate, too! I'm back today with something new.

Also, if you are looking to save some money on your holiday shopping (and also support this newsletter), here's an easy way to do so: sign up for an account at Mercari, an eBay-like marketplace minus the auction aspect. They're giving you $10 off your first purchase if you sign up; if you end up buying something, they'll give me $10, too. It's a free $10 for each of us! -- Dan

 

The Horse Hide

Technology has dramatically changed what warfare looks like. Today, factions use laser-guided rockets, drones, satellites, and space-age mechanisms using self-sealing stem bolts or something or other. Turn back the clock a century, though, and war looked a lot different. In World War I, the technology of war was limited, with trenches, machine guns, sniper rifles, and artillery topping the list.

And, of course, the papier-mache horses.

Okay, maybe that was only a one-time thing.
Trench warfare, by modern standards, is kind of crazy. Each side would dig long holes -- trenches -- in order to protect their troops from gunfire and, to a lesser degree, artillery fire as well. If you exited the trench and made your way toward the enemy's trench, you risked getting shot -- you were out in the open, with little to protect you. The area between opposing trenches, known colloquially as "no man's land,"  was incredibly dangerous -- but also strategically important. If you could create an outpost in no man's land, you could monitor your adversary's movements, using that information to help guide your attacks.

Which is, in part, how the picture above happened. Horses -- real ones, not the papier-mache variety -- were valuable assets in World War I. As We Are The Mighty notes, horses "pulled ambulances, carried soldiers into cavalry charges, and were the primary means of transporting weapons, ammunition, and food supplies for each nation involved." But when a horse got loose and traveled into no man's land, it often didn't come back. Big, loud, and not aware of the dangers ahead, a rogue horse made for an easy target.

And that's exactly what happened at some point during the war. As Popular Mechanics reported back in 1918 (here's a pdf), a French horse galloped into the danger zone and, as one would expect, was quickly felled by enemy fire. A dead horse is no good to either side, so the horse's carcass just sat there, undisturbed -- until someone in the French military had an interesting idea. As seen here, the French had already been experimenting with papier-mache as a way to create decoys; they made real-ish looking heads and put them on sticks, and then popped the heads out from the trenches to draw fire. Seeing an opportunity, they decided to up their papier-mache game. As Popular Mechanics explains, "the French [ . . . ]  set camouflage artists at work fashioning a papier-mache replica of the dead animal. Under cover of darkness, the carcass was replaced with the dummy." A French soldier crawled into the horse-shaped shell, and, as History Daily explains, brought with him "a telephone wire that ran back to his own trenches so he could send back reports of German movements." 

Unfortunately for the French, the fake horse didn't actually provide much protection from artillery fire. After three days, according to Popular Mechanics, the Germans caught wind of the ploy, noticing a person crawling out of the horse hideyhole during a shift change. The Germans blew up the fake horse in short order, but per War History Online, "the first attempt was considered such a success it went on to be used again on a number of occasions." 

Whether those proved ultimately successful is, sadly, unknown, and even worse, no papier-mache "horse" hideouts exist from the war are still in existence today.
Want $10 free? (Yes, the image says $30, I'll explain.) Here you go!

Mercari is a free marketplace where you can sell stuff you no longer want -- or buy stuff from people selling theirs. Sign up at this link and they'll give you $10 toward your first purchase (and $10 to me) -- again, for free.

And if you want to sell stuff on Mercari, great! Once you sell stuff worth $100 or more, they'll give you another $20 on top!
Bonus fact: An odd casualty of the First World War? Mustaches. During the Crimean War, many British troops began growing mustaches and beards, likely to help them face (sorry!) the cold weather. The British people approved of mustaches, in particular, seeing them as a sign of manliness, and before the war was out, the military required that troops not shave above the lip. But gas emerged as a weapon of choice during World War I, and British soldiers were issued gas masks in response. As War History Online explains, "facial hair could prevent a perfect seal from being made between the skin and the mask," so in October 1916, the British military dropped the mustache requirement.  

From the Archives: The Christmas Truce: A brief moment in World War I when the two sides stopped fighting and instead, celebrated the holiday -- together.
Like today's Now I Know? Share it with a friend -- just forward this email along.
And if someone forwarded this to you, consider signing up! Just click here.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2021 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at http://NowIKnow.com via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your email address or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Older messages

Why the Day After Tomorrow is "Brown Friday"

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving! View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate! And to everyone of you, thank you so much for reading Now I Know! This is

Now I Know: The Forgotten History of Jingle Bells

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

It's not a Christmas song View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives As I mentioned yesterday, I'm taking a break this week; here's another Thanksgiving (you'll

Turkeys Aren't From Turkey. So Why Do We Call Turkey Turkey?

Monday, November 22, 2021

It's almost Thanksgiving! View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hope you had a good weekend! Thanksgiving is this week here in the United States, and I need a break, so

Now I Know: Let's Choose a Good Cause

Friday, November 19, 2021

Help me choose an organization to support View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! Let's Choose a Good Cause Hi! Today is Friday (i'm 99% sure) and therefore, it's

Now I Know: What Does the Fox Spray?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Trust me, you don't want to know. View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives I really love this title. Really. Also, today is sponsored by Curiosity Stream, your home for

🎙️ Find That Pod # 169

Friday, July 1, 2022

6 Great New Podcasts ADVERTISEMENT 6 Great New Podcasts Welcome to the 169th edition of Find That Pod. Welcome, as always new subscribers! To my fellow Canucks, 🇨🇦 Happy Canada Day! 🇨🇦 To my non-

Friday Finds (Cities, Investing, China, The Odyssey)

Friday, July 1, 2022

Read in your browser here. Hi friends, This week, I watched the penultimate cut of my documentary about Porter Robinson. Explicitly, it tells the story of his music career. Implicitly, it's about

Now I Know: The Wild Goose/Rabbit Rabbit Chase

Friday, July 1, 2022

It's the Now I Know Weekender! View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! If you're new to Now I Know, you'll notice that today's format is different than the rest

Google stacking for SEO

Friday, July 1, 2022

Have you heard of Google stacking Reader? This SEO strategy has been around for many years and was made public in many SEO circles by a group called Semantic Mastery. Essentially, Google stacking uses

Influence Weekly #239 - How Retail Workers Can Be Leveraged as Effective Brand Influencers

Friday, July 1, 2022

What's hot at VidCon | Gen Z's new favorite app Influence Weekly #239 July 1st, 2022 Executive Summary What's hot at VidCon Gen Z's new favorite app Emma Chamberlain Returns to Youtube

Wanna buy it?

Friday, July 1, 2022

You might have heard talk about 100 Twitter Templates? Here's a little peak inside! BTW, it was originally called “twitter formats” when I made this preview video. Got more questions? happy to

🎤 S.T.U.P.I.D. Email (Friday July 1st, 2022)

Friday, July 1, 2022

The STUPID Email (Swipe, Thought, Uplifting, Picture, Interesting, Drawing) This is a fun email for Friday July 1st, 2022. Hope you like it :) ​ 🎤 Listen to this email here: ​ ​ Swipe: Back in 1967 if

Big Money

Friday, July 1, 2022

Discover the top channels for creators, the most popular revenue streams, and more. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

An Interstellar Visitor

Friday, July 1, 2022

Science offers the privilege of following evidence, not prejudice. Snipette Snipette An Interstellar Visitor By Avi Loeb – 01 Jul 2022 – View online → Science offers the privilege of following evidence

👵 How to find areas that match a set of demographic variables and produce an infographic

Friday, July 1, 2022

Welcome back to The Monthly with All That Geo by me, Cristina. Each month I bring you a new learning experience on geospatial data visualisation, analysis and storytelling. In this issue: * New