Military Animals – Past and Present

War-wounded military dog awarded charity medal

A military dog who lost her leg on duty in Afghanistan has received a vet charity’s medal honouring the work of animals in war.

Lucca, a 12-year-old German Shepherd, suffered injuries including the loss of a leg during a search for improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in 2012.

She received the medal at a ceremony at Wellington Barracks in central London.

The Dickin medal, founded in 1943, is awarded by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) charity.

Lucca was trained by US Marine Corps as a search dog to sniff out munitions and explosives, and according to the Marines, protected the lives of thousands of allied troops.

On her final patrol Lucca discovered a 30lb (13.6kg) IED and, as she searched for additional explosives, a second device detonated.

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Military Dog Lucca Injured in Afghanistan Retires

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See BBC News for full story

A U.S. Navy dog handler at the War Dog Memorial in the National War Dog Cemetery at Naval Base Guam.

Belgian machine guns pulled by dogs

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Military animals

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25 Animals You Won’t Believe Went To War

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Military animals are domestic animals that are used in warfare and other combat related activities. As working animals , military animals serve a variety of functions. Dogs , pigs , oxen , camels , horses  and other animals are sometimes used for transportation and bomb detection. Elephants , pigeons  and rats  are also used during wartime, while dolphins , and sea lions  are in active use.

Meet the animals Troopers

Anti-tank dogs

anti-tank dog

 

Bomb-sniffing bees

bomb-sniffing honeybees

Dolphin spies

dolphin in the U.S. Navy's Marine Mammal Program

During the First and Second World Wars, carrier pigeons were used to transport messages back to their home coop behind the lines. When they landed, wires in the coop would sound a bell or buzzer and a soldier of the Signal Corps would know a message had arrived. He would go to the coop, remove the message from the canister, and send it to its destination by telegraph, field phone, or personal messenger.

RAF Fox

RAF fox mascot with pilot in WW1

There are many stories of animals who became companions to soldiers during World War One. Here is an RAF fox mascot sitting on a plane with the pilot during World War One.

Rat Catchers

the rat catcher with text resized

Red Cross Dogs

French Red Cross dogs line up for inspection on the Western Front, 1914.

War Elephant

A war elephant was an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat.

The war elephant’s main use was to charge the enemy, breaking their ranks and instilling terror. Elephantry are military units with elephant-mounted troops.[1] They were first employed in India, the practice spreading out across south-east Asia and westwards into the Mediterranean. Their most famous use in the West was by the Greek King Pyrrhus of Epirus and in significant numbers by the armies of Carthage, including briefly by Hannibal.

In the Mediterranean, improved tactics reduced the value of the elephant in battle, while their availability in the wild also decreased. In the east, where supplies of animals were greater and the terrain ideal, it was the advent of the cannon that finally concluded the use of the combat elephant at the end of the 19th century, thereafter restricting their use to engineering and labour roles.

War Horse

 Horses carrying ammunition in Flanders,

The first use of horses in warfare occurred over 5,000 years ago. The earliest evidence of horses ridden in warfare dates from Eurasia between 4000 and 3000 BC. A Sumerian illustration of warfare from 2500 BC depicts some type of equine pulling wagons. By 1600 BC, improved harness and chariot designs made chariot warfare common throughout the Ancient Near East, and the earliest written training manual for war horses was a guide for training chariot horses written about 1350 BC. As formal cavalry tactics replaced the chariot, so did new training methods, and by 360 BC, the Greek cavalry officer Xenophon had written an extensive treatise on horsemanship. The effectiveness of horses in battle was also revolutionized by improvements in technology, including the invention of the saddle, the stirrup, and later, the horse collar.

Many different types and sizes of horse were used in war, depending on the form of warfare. The type used varied with whether the horse was being ridden or driven, and whether they were being used for reconnaissance, cavalry charges, raiding, communication, or supply. Throughout history, mules and donkeys as well as horses played a crucial role in providing support to armies in the field

See Wikipedia for more details

 

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