I am reading a most unique book “A writer at war” by Vasily Grossman, with the Red Army 1941-1945. In it (p.13) there is an interesting description of the Soviet Army using dogs in war: “These dogs were trained on Pavlovian principles. Their food was always given to them under a tank so they would run under armoured vehicles as soon as they saw one. The explosive was strapped to their backs with a long trigger arm, which would detonate the charge as soon as it touched the underside of the target vehicle.” How did the contraption look? May anyone post pictures of it?
Vlad, here a drawing from a German manual on Russian mines:
It was a rather simple mechanism with a trigger rod which was strapped onto the dog’s back.
As far as known this practice was stopped after it was established that the dogs could not distinguish between German and Russian tanks.
Here’s a link:
I’m sure other countries have tried similar “systems”, but I know Israel actually fielded a “demolition dog” unit against Palestinian bunkers in South Lebanon in the 1970s and 80s. Results were mixed.
The US Navy also used dolphins and small whales for placing charges and combating enemy divers. The Russians probably did/do the same.
Certain terrorists are much smarter. They strap the explosives to their own bodies. No training needed and they certainly know the difference between the hostile tank and the friendly tank.
Just in lack of smart bombs with GPS guidance.
The story is well - known and resulted in strict orders from the German military authorities to shoot down any unknown dog roving around close to the battle grounds.
And once we are on animals not to forget the US “bat bombs” of project X-RAY against Japan in WWII. Bats with incendiary timers strapped onto their backs were dropped inside a special cluster container filled with many of them. The container released the bats and they flew to buildings etc to hide there. After the preset time the timers set off the incendiary (and the bat on fire) and it was hoped to incinerate populated areas more effectively.
During development work “live” bats escaped and set a US base on fire. The project got cancelled after nuclear weapons became available.
Also interesting is project ORCON (ORganic CONtrol) by the US in WWII (and revived in 1948). It used Pigeons which were trained on a particular image. The pigeons were trained to pick the centre of an image of a ship (or other clearly identifyable object) by getting rewarded with food. Once inside a “pigeon-guided-missile” the image was exchanged for a window with a conductive layer glass. In air the pigeon kept picking the “real view” through the glass and correcting the course of the missile if the “target image” was not in centre. The condiuctive glass was connected to a servo steering system which corrected the missile path. Effectivity was surprisingly high at 50%. The project got cancelled.
And as Philippe already said, poor animals !!!
And here a “tank dog” during his training.
EOD. This T-34 has a commander’s cupola which means it is a German-captured tank, am I right? Where did you get this photo?
I have found the image in the internet. This one is a regular Russian version, the German cupolas looked different, were higher and had bigger and closeable vision modules.
Here the regular Russian:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:T34- … Detail.jpg
Here the German:
Poor animals, but AWESOME THREAD! Totally, “OUTSIDE THE BOX”, my favorite :-) Bat bombs! Totally crazy! Bats rule! So interesting. I had never heard of any of these with the exception of using marine mammals.
What is the deal with the obviously dummy gun barrel on that T-34/85?
Poor dogs !!! How about the people?? Sad commentary.
Who has an unopened box of this ammo? :D
[quote=“AKMS”]What is the deal with the obviously dummy gun barrel on that T-34/85?
Probably an unserviceable vehicle which has been cannibalized and is still good for training?
One night while I was working with a police officer/dog-handler friend of mine. I was telling him about the Soviet ‘dog mines’ and even showed him this photo.
After seeing it, he totally flipped out. It looked for a second like he was going to punch me, just for showing it to him. I’m glad I didn’t have the pic of the dog running under the tank at the time.
To be honest though, most people I tell about the ‘dog mines’ get really freaked out about it. People just really love dogs.
War does not leave much room for feelings I guess.
Thanks for sharing this image.
Is there any truth to the following?:
The most creative way to use a cat as a weapon happened in World War II. The United States
And then, there is always Kitten Cannon!