Dogs have been part of warfare since ancient times. The Romans used the breed Canis Molossus with success until they fought the Briton’s Mastiff, which were more powerful with broad mouths. So the Romans imported and used these dogs thereafter. The Romans started employing war dogs at about 101 B.C., which was 1 company of canines for each legion. They had dog attack formations and put chain mail and spiked collars on the dogs. Other ancient groups used war dogs such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Lydians.
At the Battle of Vercellae, also known as the Battle of the Raudine Plain 9101 B.C.), the female Teutons led the huge Kimber dogs to defend the laagers, which were wagon forts. The wagons were an improvised fort and were circled or placed into a rectangular shape for battle.
During the period of transition from antiquity to the Middle Ages, which is designated Late Antiquity or Classical Antiquity, Attila the Hun made use of Molossers in his battles. The Irish counterattacked the Brits with Irish Wolfhounds and the Brits had attacked them with dogs. The Irish also attacked the Norman invaders with Wolfhounds. A dog could pull a armored knight from his horse and then the Irish solder completed the defense.
During the Seven Years War between Russia and Great Britain, the former had messenger dogs. In 1580, Queen Elizabeth dispatched 800 war dogs to battle during the Desmond Rebellions. The French had dogs that guarded the French naval installations since the first part of the 14th century.; they stopped using them in 1770 because a dog killed a French naval officer. During the Russo-Japanese war of 1904 the Russians employed dogs as ambulance canines. During the Spanish American War, dogs were scouts for Teddy’s Rough Riders in Cuba’s jungles.
During World War II, the Russians used dogs to blow up enemy tanks. The dogs managed to disable 11 armored vehicles during a single battle. The German Panzergenadiers had orders to shoot every dog they saw because of the Russian success.
Dogs have been employed for various war purposes: pulling carts of wounded soldiers, pulling huge guns, and pulling phone wire from one spot to a distant place. Dogs have been used as sentries for a long time. In modern times, dogs were used as sentries by the United States during the Viet Nam War. They put dog teams ahead of bunkers and towers. They had been used also for finding weapon caches, detecting soldiers underwater breathing through reeds in Korean, Vietnam Nam, and during World War II. The dogs were very successful at detecting Vietcong intruders, so many more were employed beyond the initial 40 dog teams.
The French employed almost 1200 dogs during the Gulf War to guard their troops, supplies, and aircraft and the United States also used dogs during this war.
So during all of history, in different cultures, and eras the effectiveness of employing dogs for various wartime activities has been recognized and taken advantage of, though some ot the uses are obsolete, some are still useful today.
By eddyvdz from Pixabay