Ancient Horse Elephant Disguise

David Sanderson Horses in History


Why would you want to disguise a horse as an elephant? Well … war makes people try crazy things.

In the Battle of Hildighati, fought in 1576 between the forces of Mewar, led by Maharana Pratap, and the Mughal Army, headed by Emperor Akbar’s general Man Singh, Pratap’s famous horse, Chetak, was made to wear a mask which would give him the appearance of a baby elephant.

The idea was that upon seeing the mask the enemy’s elephants would believe it to be a baby of their own species and therefore refuse to harm it. The extent to which the curious contraption might have worked is unknown, though that Chetak died near the battlefield after receiving a fatal wound from an elephant’s trunk sword seemingly suggests that it was unsuccessful…