The Violent Ways Humans Have Used Animals As Weapons

War Elephants

Source: Wikimedia

Humans have used animals as weapons for thousands of years. 2,000 years ago, Hannibal led the Carthaginian army riding war elephants to fight Rome. In reply, the Romans set pigs on fire and let them run free through enemy ranks to frighten the elephants.

In World War II, British Special Ops thought of stuffing dead rats with explosives and spreading them throughout Germany. They hoped that the Germans would gather the rats and dispose of them in industrial furnaces, causing explosions powerful enough to trigger catastrophic boiler failures. However, the Brits dropped the plan after their first shipment of explosive rats was intercepted by Nazi forces in 1941.

War Animals: Bomb-Wielding Soviet…Dogs

Starting in 1930, the Soviets began training dogs to blow up enemy tanks. Initially, the Russians tried to teach the dogs to drop bombs under tanks and then return to their handlers. Unfortunately, the training was too complicated, and the dogs frequently returned with the explosives still attached. Ultimately, the Soviets modified the bombs to detonate on impact, turning their dogs into unwilling canine kamikaze.

War Dog Brigade Animals as Weapons

The Russian dog brigade. Source: Socyberty

War Dog Museum

Dog with the explosive harness and trigger attached. Source: Prime Portal

According to official Soviet records, the anti-tank dogs were highly successful, damaging around 300 German tanks. Yet once you look past the propaganda, you’ll see that the program was actually a failure. As it turns out, your average pooch can’t tell the difference between a German Panzer tank and a Soviet T-34. Therefore, the dogs sometimes took out Russian artillery by mistake. On other occasions, the dogs were frightened by gunfire and ran back to friendly trenches.

Animals as Weapons Dog Tank

The biggest mistake the Russians made was using their own tanks while training the dogs. Source: Today I Found Out

Radu Alexander
Radu is a freelance writer who specializes in historical, scientific and offbeat topics.
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