Hi Dr zuum,
Undoubtedly, the soldiers did see very large solifuges, but people tend to greatly exaggerate when they see such an “unusual” animal for the first time, especially for someone that has never encountered one of the smaller species of Solifugae. For someone who has never seen a solifugid and then suddenly sees a female Galeodes with a 6-inch leg-span, the memory of the arachnid’s size may be very exaggerated. Although, when dealing with any branch of science, you should never say something is impossible. Yes, it is possible there could be an un-described solifugid species with a 12-inch leg-span, and as awesome as that would be; I still say it is very unlikely.
The Solifugae are definitely interesting creatures. Personally, they are my favorite arachnids. Although short-lived, a single specimen can be very interesting to observe in captivity. They are voracious predators. Rhagodidae is an incredible family that contains very unique species, especially in the area of morphology.
I believe Warren Savary is one of the leading authorities on the order. The website is awesome. It’s a great reference. What is more awesome, though, is that he has discovered a new, and very unique, solifugid species!