A Scarce WWI Period Forged Iron Caltrop c.1915

Origin: Probably French
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c. 1915
Height: 10”
Depth: 12”
Width: 13”

The very sculptural forged iron WW1 period Caltrop with twelve prongs riveted to the centre, mainly used to impede cavalry in combat, surviving from the battlefields of the early twentieth century.

It remains in good semi-excavated condition and proves totally un-meddled with. Having twelve prongs is more than most you would expect to see with three of the rivets from nine lacking.

Though the use of horses on the battlefield had declined steadily since the American Civil War, more than one million equines were deployed in cavalry forces during the course of the First World War. But gone were the days of the glamorized cavalry charges of past wars.

The diminished role of the cavalry, however, did not make them any less of a threat. One of the most effective means to stunt cavalry movements was through the deployment of caltrops—large four- or eight-pronged, metal spikes that impaled the horses’ hooves. Caltrops were also used to puncture and deflate pneumatic tires on motorized vehicles, a relatively new addition to the battlefield.

World War 1 lasted from 1914 to 1918 and casualties in the land forces amounted to over thirty seven million. In addition, deaths among civilian populations caused indirectly by war approximated to ten million.

A rare survivor and somehow a beautiful sculptural piece despite its gruesome intention and almost akin to a giant futuristic or prehistoric insect.