Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 19 >> Military Surgery to Minnesota >> Military Transportation_P1

Military Transportation

pack, aparejo, animal, mule, load, pounds and wagon

Page: 1 2

MILITARY TRANSPORTATION. In wheel transportation the wagon is the unit, and each animal can haul, on a conservative esti mate, 1,200 pounds gross or 700 pounds net load. In pack transportation the animal is the unit, and each can carry, also a conservative estimate, 300 pounds gross or 225 pounds net load. A given quantity of freight carried on packs requires three times as many animals as would be necessary to carry it on wheels. The larger number of animals means a proportion ate increase of the forage to be provided and in the labor of feeding, shoeing, etc. If, how ever, the country and season are favorable for grazing, the pack mule will get on without any forage, while the draft mule cannot. Other dis advantages of pack service are that packages must be limited in size and weight much more closely than for wagons; long articles, as tent poles, cannot conveniently be carried except by special construction, and loading of pack cargoes is an expert service which must be per formed by a few trained men, while loading of wagons is work in which all can participate.

The great advantage of pack transportation is its mobility, and this consideration is often paramount. A good pack train, well handled, can make two miles to one of the best wagon trains on good roads and more on bad ones, and can besides go where there are no roads and where the country is so rough that roads could hardly be made and wagons could not pass them if they were made.

Wagon transportation should be used unless the country is impracticable or the rate of march too rapid for wheels. The permanent pack train should be limited to the probable re quirements of rapidly moving columns, and in those baggage, etc., should he kept down to an absolute minimum. When great difficulties of wagon transportation are foreseen the draft mules should be broken to pack service and enough aparejos carried in the train so that in case the wagons must be abandoned one-fourth to one-third of the loads may be placed on the mules and the march continued. The com bination of harness and pack saddle which nat urally suggests itself in this connection is not practicable. Such a combination would make a very poor harness and a worse pack saddle.

The mule is the standard draft and pack animal of the United States service. He can best be described and understood by noting his points of difference from the horse, which he resembles very closely. The points of differ

ence in conformation are mainly larger, ducker bead, longer ears and smaller feet, larger girth, shorter legs and longer body. The relative dis position of bones and their angles are the same as for the horse.

Pack The adopted pack saddle is of the Spanish type, and is commonly called by its Spanish name, aparejo. Its principal parts are the body, the cover, the cincha and the crupper. These parts are subdivisions, which are less important. The accesssories added to the above to make the aparejo com plete are the corona, the blanket, the lash rope with its cincha, the sling ropes, the lair ropes and the mantas or pack covers.

The body of the aparejo consists of two pieces of heavy leather 24 inches wide by 58, 60 or 62 inches long, sewed together at the edges and across the middle of the length, forming two pouches, into which moss or hay if: stuffed to form pads fitting the contour of the animal on either side of the backbone. .In the American form the pads are given a pe culiar elastic stiffness by means of ribs of wood or metal extending from a saddle piece at the top of each pouch to a boot piece at the bottom. These ribs are stiffer at the front and more flexible at the back, varying uniformly between. They convert each pad into an elastic lever, by which the pull of the cincha on the bottom acts to raise the aparejo and its load from the backbone, while the stuffing distributes the load uniformly over a large space on the ribs. The stuffing is introduced through a hand hole in the middle of the underside of each pad, through which it is always accessible, and the finest art of the packer consists in fitting the pads to the shape of the particular animal which is to carry the aparejo, and keeping them so regardless of changes in the animal's con dition by shifting, removing or renewing the stuffing. If a bunch rises on the animal it can be worked down by taking out stuffing im mediately over it so as to take off the pressure at that point. Determine the proper point by wetting the top of the bunch and laying the aparejo on the mule. Aparejos and mules are numbered and the same pack is always on the same mule.

Page: 1 2