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Remembered Today:

What does M.I. Stand for?


timsanders

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I have a postcard of No. 4 (M.I.) Company 2nd Bn North Fus taken in 1905.

Just wondered what the abbreviation M.I. stood for?

Thanks

T

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Mounted Infantry seems most likely in this context

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M.I. = Mounted Infantry

Mounted Infantry seems most likely in this context

Many thanks chaps.

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The term, and the concept, was used in the South African (Boer) War of 1899-1902, but had become obsolescent by 1914. To some extent, the Yeomanry of the Territorial Force were intended to act partly as mounted infantry.

Ron

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Ron Not merely obsolescent but obsolete. Pressure by the 'proper' cavalrymen did for the mounted infantry. Not least they thought that the mounted infantry bns would get up themselves and start to put on the airs and graces of true gentlemen Cavalry officers (for whom a considerable private income was an absolute essential. Strange really when you consider that mounted infantry were just what the cavalry became at Ypres in 1914.

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Mounted Infantry units operated in East Africa throughout the Great War.

Harry

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The subject of MI has been discussed before on the Forum.

Cavalry had not become MI in 1914: they had become cavalry who could fight dismounted. MI never had a cavarly role - their job was to get infantrymen somewhere more quickly than walking. In the Boer War they were a watchword (worse than the real cavalry - and that was saying something) for poor horsemastership, and, in effect, all they did was dilute "proper" infantry for no very good reason.

Post-South Africa there was a great deal of discussion about the role of cavalry and they had, indeed, taken on the role of fighting dismounted. The history of cavalry between the end of the SA war and the outbreak of the GW is fascinating.

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So the formation of cyclist units I guess Mr B? Horsemanship hard to master plus upkeep of horses v easy to ride bike and easy to maintain.

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Here's the photo I was alluding to in the OP. I'm sure uniform experts will be able to answer conclusively.

post-28615-0-63836200-1432202813_thumb.j

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I stand to be corrected, but I believe that MI units in East Africa were largely locally raised, as opposed to being formal British Army MI formations. The problems in South Africa were poor horsemanship in terms of animal care - losses were appalling - not merely riding. Certainly the objective of ensuring that cavalry could fight as infantry faced considerable hostility from some of the blue blooded in the cavalry. Fortunately it was overcome.

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What's your question related to uniform ?

(referring back to the OP) are these men Mounted Infantry?

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The MI is probably a "yes", then. In terms of uniform, while not on campaign or exercise, normal uniform would be worn. I guess there may have been trade badges of some form, but your picture ia almost certainly the MI.

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  • 1 month later...

Just spotted this, which may be of interest here, in FIELD SERVICE REGULATIONS PART I. OPERATIONS 1909.(Reprinted with Amendments 1912, in "CHAPTER I. THE FIGHTING TROOPS AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS", on p.15

"2. Mounted infantry act by fire. Yeomanry and mounted rifles other than mounted infantry act chiefly by fire but may, when they have received sufficient training, employ shock action in special emergencies. In these regulations the term Mounted Rifles is used
to include mounted infantry, yeomanry, and other mounted rifles. Mounted rifles, when co-operating with cavalry, assist the latter to combine fire with shock action ; when co-operating with other aims, their mobility enables a commander to transfer them rapidly from
one portion of the field to another, and thus to turn to account opportunities which he would be unable otherwise to seize.
"

Trajan

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