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Dogs have been an important animal which has been assisting humans in warfare but sadly, they were never recognized as someone or something that contribute to the outcome of the war, well not until World War II. Some even utilized a training program which restricts foods to jack up their hunger and increase their efficiency of detecting foods underneath the enemy’s tank. Their body will be equipped with a few remote explosives and when they were running beneath the tank, the explosive will be triggered which would explode and kills the dog along with the tank; this particular dog has been called as the anti-tank dog. It’s a freaking suicide squad but due to the fact that the dogs are hungry and they have the tendency to attack allies instead, they weren’t used frequently. How successful was this strategy you asked? Well during the World War II, Soviet forces have successfully eliminated close to 300 German tanks by utilizing 300 hungry mine-equipped dogs. They were small, agile and quite intelligent making it difficult for the opponent to disable them.
There are only close to 3000 dogs which have been formally conscripted into the United State army in 2010 and I expect the number is much bigger now considering how efficient they are in providing alternate ways of gathering intelligence. A report which has been published in the British Online Publication in 2010 has revealed that one of the elite forces in the United State, the US Navy Seal has been equipping some of their war dogs with expensive equipment which are capable of performing various feats mostly gathering information through all sort of recording devices like video camera that would be able to record and provide live feed to the base of operation and audio recording devices to gather evidence. If you think it is easier for enemies to eliminate such dogs when they were found, you were mistaken. They are equipped with various protective equipment which can increase their chance of survival such as bulletproof vests and weapons; one of the best covert operatives, won’t you say?
Everyone knows that dogs have a heightened sense of smell. They are capable of detecting odors in parts per trillion which are considered 10,000 times more accurate than the human’s smell. To put it into something that everyone would understand if you can sense sugars which have been added into your morning coffee, dogs can smell the same amount of sugars in a million gallons of waters; it’s like you were able to smell one rotten fruit which is kept in barrels of a few million good fruits. They are often being used to search for things related to warfare; mines, weapons, smuggled stuff, escaped enemies and even an ambush. It’s pretty much futile to try and ambush a group of veteran soldiers and war dogs (they might already know you were there to ambush them). Sergeant Gordon Moen, one of the veterans of the Vietnamese war claimed that paying attention to your dog might have been worthwhile, even more so if that could have saved your life. Canines, for example, will show some signs and indications whenever they detect something “foreign” nearby. It is worth noting that dogs which can perform such a feat are highly trained, not your usual pet dogs.
Now, you were shot in the middle of a war, you were badly hurt but not to the point of dying; what would you do then? Of course, you will crawl to the nearest concealed area such as bushes which would make it difficult for enemies and even your comrades to be able to find you. Medics, in particular, were concerned with the ability of an injured soldier to keep on fighting. They will follow from the back, fixing soldiers with the highest rate of survival (small or moderate wounds) so that they can keep on pushing forward. However, finding injured soldiers among the dead/unfamiliar territories is not an easy task. Most of the safe and rescue missions were carried out at night which make it harder for them. In the midst of the darkness, came a rescue dog which is also known as the Red Cross dog that would be able to detect an injured soldier to be brought to the main camp and get treated. If you aware, in the movie or in a real setting rescue mission, a dog is an important part of the rescue effort. They can smell, hear and see better at night which make it easier for their masters.
It’s practically undeniable that dogs do contribute a lot to the outcome of warfare. They can run twice as the speed of an average human, equipped with better sensory organs and probably fight much better than humans too. Most of the dogs used by Romans were trained to attack humans relentlessly but today, war dogs are trained to hold a certain area, defensively. They are designed to catch, hold down enemies and sure, kill them if necessary. They are fearless and loyal, as long as they are being kept well by their masters. Well, unless they are agents of the anti-tank squad, they should have been fed and kept accordingly, I’m sure of it.
Famous War Dogs
Let’s talk about a dog which has been awarded Purple Heart, Silver Star and sure, the Distinguished Service Cross for its services in the World War II, Chips. Unlike any other dogs which are bred for war purposes, Chips was donated by its previous owner and assigned to a private to be trained as a war dog. It is a mixed dog, bred from German Shepherd, Siberian Husky and Collie. Although it seems like a sad story, this is probably the best turning point for Chips as after the war, it has been awarded and recognized as one of the most well-decorated war dogs the United State government has ever owned. It helped bring down Italian squads that have been pinning down United State soldiers with a set of machine guns. During the fight, Chips broke away from its owner, attacking all of the gunners, successfully disarming them with only a minor powder burns and a scalp wound. I guess Chips did all of the pinned soldiers a favor, isn’t it?
Although he was honored with three awards for its services, they were revoked immediately after. It’s not surprising since back then, dogs are rarely recognized for their contribution to their services. Chips served 8 war campaigns and none of it yields even a single commendation; fortunately, it was a dog. However in 2018, a few decades after, Chips was honored with an award equivalent to the Victoria Cross for its services in the World War II. Rest in peace, Chips.
This is a one paragraph story of a war dog who protected its owner from the Viet Cong guerrillas during the Vietnamese war in 1966. Bob Thorneburg, a 2nd class Airman was doing a patrol near the cemetery located in Vietnam. It was a nice and quiet evening, which can be considered unusual in the midst of war. While walking through the trees, suddenly, Nemo (a German Shepherd) started to bark. At the same time, a few guerillas army of Viet Cong started to shoot at them with a few rounds of bullets. Nemo hastily attacked the shooters which gave Bob sometimes to contact the airbase for some reinforcements. It’s difficult since Bob’s shoulder was shot and after making the call, he fell down into oblivion. Fortunately for him, Nemo has killed all of the invading soldiers.
Later, it walked towards Bob and sat beside him. When reinforcements arrived, Nemo wouldn’t allow even Bob’s comrades to touch him. It was a difficult time and without proper treatment, Bob will bleed to death. The other soldiers realized that Nemo’s eyes have been shot so probably it can’t see properly. It can only recognize its owner through a sense of smell and after a veterinarian arrived, both Bob and Nemo were brought to the base camp to be treated; both of them made it through and live. Even if Nemo has recovered, it still can’t see much so it was retired from the forces and the army provided it with a kennel to commemorate its contribution to saving Bob. Nemo died 6 years later
Let me say this, I wouldn’t have expected that a Yorkshire Terrier can be a war dog. They seem so cute and docile but for Smoky, it is an underestimated statement of what their species are capable of doing. She survived up to 150 air raids and has been one of the most useful dogs, exhibiting a keen sense of hearing which could have warned its handler regarding incoming artillery strikes. During the construction of an airstrip located at the Philippine Island in Luzon, Smoky plays an important part if pulling a telegraph wire through a narrow opening which saves everyone times and effort. Obviously, Smoky was never meant to be used as an attack dog, I mean, what do we do if we are getting attacked by a Yorkshire Terrier? That was pretty overconfident even for a war dog.
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