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The dogs of war

Discussion in 'Eastern Europe' started by wm., Apr 28, 2019.

  1. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    According to Curzio Malaparte, an Italian war correspondent in Russia:

    The armored cars, supported by the attacking units, had already penetrated deeply into the deserted plain. After the first rifle shots a heavy silence had fallen on the rolling ground covered with stubble and grass withered by the first autumn frost; the Russians apparently had abandoned the battlefield, fleeing beyond the river; several flights of large birds took wing from the acacia groves, clouds of little gray birds that resembled sparrows rose and twittered over the meadows, their wings throwing off dull flashes in the flame of the rising sun; from a far-off pool two wild ducks took to the air, paddling with their slow wings.
    Suddenly a few black dots darted out of a forest in the distance, then more and still more; they moved quickly, disappeared in the bushes, turned up nearer and rushed rapidly toward the German Panzers. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!—The dogs! The dogs!" cried the soldiers around us in terrified voices. A gay and ferocious barking came to us on the wind, the baying of hounds on the track of a fox.

    Under the sudden onslaught of the dogs the Panzers began to rush about zigzagging and firing wildly. The attacking units back of the armored cars stopped, hesitated and scattered; they fled here and there across the plain as if in the throes of panic. The rattle of the machine guns was clear and light, like the tinkling of glass. The baying of the pack bit into the roar of the motors. Now and again came a faint voice smothered by the wind and in the widespread rustle of grass. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!"
    Suddenly we heard the dull thud of an explosion; then another, and another. We saw two, three, five Panzers blow up, the steel plates flashing within a tall fountain of earth.

    "Ah, the dogs!" said General von Schobert passing a hand over his face. They were "anti-armored-car dogs" that had been trained by the Russians to look for food under the armored cars. Kept without food for a day or two, they were brought to the front line whenever an attack was impending. As soon as the German Panzers appeared out of the woods and spread out fanlike on the plain, the Russian soldiers shouted "Pashol! Pashol!—Off! Off!" and unleashed the famished pack. The dogs carrying cradles on their backs loaded with high explosives and with steel contact rods like the aerials of a radar set-up, ran quickly and hungrily to meet the armored cars, in search of food under the German Panzers. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!" shouted the soldiers around us. General von Schobert, deathly pale, a sad smile on his bloodless lips, passed a hand over his face, then looked at me and said in a voice that was already dead, "Why? Why? Even the dogs!"
     
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  2. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    had read about dogs being used for this, but never an actual battle with comment from a participant.
    thanks for that wm.
    similarly, read about dolphins being used against ships, but have never heard an anecdote
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    According to Wiki the US also trained dogs to carry explosives into bunkers, but never deployed them in actual combat. Soviets claimed damage to 300 plus armored vehicles, but this is debated by Russian post war sources and the training program was discontinued in 1942, strongly indicating the program was less than successful balanced against the cost/effort.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Didn't the Sovs use their own vehicles for training the dogs, which resulted in the dogs getting a bit confused? Nothing scholarly read on that by me.
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    According to Wiki that was part of the problem.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Okay, thanks. I'll root around in the references.

    WW2 nerd joke: I just pictured Karelian bear dogs going after a large German SP. :cool:
     
  7. wm.

    wm. Well-Known Member

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    The dogs were innocent, the people who deployed them improperly were. It's obvious they shouldn't have been released if Soviet vehicles were present nearby.
    I suppose this is why the story begins with the Russians apparently had abandoned the battlefield.

    The dogs themselves weren't that intelligent to do battlefield target identification reliably, they merely sought food under a large moving steel thing.
     
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  8. Class of '42

    Class of '42 Active Member

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    Came across this Left-Wing socialist article from 2017...what a laugh.

    "In the years following the Soviet victory in WWII, those remaining Soviet Red Army dogs marched in the May Day parades, and were even awarded medals for their bravery. The idea that the Soviet regime would have made use of a highly inefficient and cruel method to fight the barbarous Nazi Germans, is of course, a racist Cold War myth that has no basis in fact. Therefore, all the apparent facts and stories surrounding this issue in the West, are nothing more than a groundless conspiracy theory."

    Found this article which nullifies the above article of being full of you know what.

    "On the other hand, it seems the Soviets boasted of great successes. They claimed that at Stalingrad (1942-43), the dogs destroyed 13 tanks. Then at Kursk (1943), a further 16 were destroyed. It was alleged that the Hundminen destroyed a total of around 300 enemy tanks, although records show the more likely number was nearer 50 tanks".


    Anti-tank-Dog2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The Sovietds used to feed dogs under tanks. In battle they were armed with bombs and thd doggs ran under German tanks and the bomb antenna destroyed the tank. Clevrer ideea.
     
  10. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Didn't they feed them under Soviet tanks?
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The dogs understood they would be Fed under any tanks
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    My crew taught our hooch dog to eat under my bunk. He took to sleep there. The guys knew I was a cat person.
     

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