Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sunday Fail : Anti-tank Dogs

Never work with children or animals showbiz types say, Russian Army troops probably said the same thing in WW2 when they tried to use dogs to destroy German tanks. The idea seems simple enough, strap a bomb to a dog and train it to go underneath a tank and then get it to release the bomb which can then be detonated. However training dogs to do just this proved impossible. One serious problem encountered was with bombs on a timer, the dog often returned to it's trainer with the bomb still attached to itself...

In the end the Russians decided they would have to sacrifice the dogs and turned the bombs into simple contact detonation devices. The dogs were trained to go underneath a tank, the bomb would touch the underneath of the tank and boom! It seemed to work well enough in training but when it came to try the bombs out for real one problem was the dogs had been trained with stationary tanks and didn't want to go underneath the Germans who unsportingly did not stop for the dogs. The different smell of German tanks compared to the Russian tanks with which the dogs had been trained also caused canine confusion. In the first attack 30 dogs were sent out but only 4 detonated their bombs near German tanks. This maybe doesn't seem so bad until you find out 6 dogs returned to the Russian trenches and blew up there instead!

The Russians did persist with the dogs and claim 300 German tanks were destroyed by the dogs though its not known how accurate this figure is. How many dogs died is also unknown but considering the earlier success ratio the number of dogs who perished must have been vast.

The use of dogs as an offensive weapon does not have a very distinguished record. Unfortunately thousands if not millions of Man's best friends had to die before people got the message that dogs plus bombs is not a good idea. Insurgents in Iraq are reported to have also tried using dogs with bombs but the lack of success has continued.

1 comment:

Jessica D'Amico (JeDa) said...

In a similar vein: http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sandiego/technology/mammals/