History shows that our smaller brothers are adopted in many countries of the world. Intelligence agencies around the world have been recruiting spies, pyrotechnicians for thousands of years, who can blow up, set fire, sow panic among people without being detected by super innovative gadgets.

A rat can derail a military train

Centuries passed, and military strategists and tacticians did not cease to be attracted by the picture of burning and exploding animals. During the Second World War, the Office of Special Operations (SOE), the British secret intelligence service, was engaged, in particular, in sabotage activities, coordinating political and propaganda operations, as well as supporting the resistance movement in the occupied countries of Europe.

Dreamers from the British Office worked on a project in which the main role was assigned to dead rats. The idea was to stuff them with explosives and combustibles, and then toss them to the heating systems or stoves of the enemy. For example, in locomotives or ship holds with coal. The stoker, without noticing, would have thrown a rat into the furnace along with a shovel of coal, an explosion would have followed, the ship would have gone to the bottom, and the locomotive would have taken off into the air.

Under the influence of temperature, rat corpses were supposed to explode, destroying equipment and people, in barracks and brothels (even so, according to acceptance certificates). Historians of military affairs, however, have not included this tactic in the list of effective measures against the enemy. Although, who knows, according to today’s realities.

The ancient Romans, already in the new century, were unable to capture the city of Hatra in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), and abandoned the siege, after its defenders began to throw clay pots with scorpions and poisonous spiders at them.

The Carthaginian fleet used poisonous snakes in sea battles: clay vessels filled with poisonous reptiles, hornets and bees were dropped onto enemy ships.

Soviet military theorists in the early 1930s decided to use dogs as weapons. Dogs were trained to crawl under tracked vehicles, primarily tanks: the animals were not fed for several days, and then the food was placed under a standing car with the engine running.

When an “anti-tank” dog with an explosive device attached to it climbed under the tank, the antenna on its back broke, this activated the detonator, and an explosion occurred that killed the animal and destroyed the equipment. However, there were also difficulties here – it turned out to be difficult in practice to reproduce the smell of an enemy tank, which is important for a dog. After all, the Germans used a different fuel, oil, paint.

The Americans did not find a place for dogs on the battlefield, but for dolphins – completely. Recall that the Americans prefer to fight in foreign territories. Training of dolphins, seals and walruses for military purposes has been carried out in the United States for more than 70 years.

These animals are used for echolocation: live sonars find mines, torpedoes and any suspicious objects, including submarines. In turn, a more specific application for dolphins was found in the Iranian army: they were prepared for the role of live torpedoes. There is nothing new. But the experience of using animals and fish in the army will always come in handy.

Four-legged with captain’s epaulettes

In our army for a century, our smaller brothers have long been taken to the coast. The military of the separate Arctic motorized rifle brigade of the Northern Fleet, located at the polar base in Alakurtti, Murmansk region, are practicing the technique of moving ammunition and equipment with the help of deer. We used these animals already during the Second World War: they transported the wounded and even took part in the attack on a German airfield in 1942.

Dolphins, of course. Even during the First World War, there is information about how the Germans poisoned these smart “animals”, which were trained by Durov himself.

And, of course, it should be noted the eternal companions of man – horses. Despite the fact that the Second World War is called the war of engines, horses played a significant role in the battles. Only according to official data, the number of horses in the Red Army was about 2 million. During the war, horses were used as a transport force, especially in artillery. A team of six horses pulled the cannon, changing the firing positions of the battery. The Germans also made full use of horse traction.

Convoys with food and field kitchens were delivered to the positions by horses. The fighters assigned as liaisons also often preferred a horse to a motorcycle. Despite the fact that the horse could not overcome more than 100 kilometers in a day, it could go where no equipment could go, and do it unnoticed. Therefore, horses were often used for swift raids behind enemy lines, for raids and sabotage. An example is the battle near Moscow in the winter of 1941.

Alas, in post-Soviet Russia, a horse can most often be seen in a sausage. Or used for commercial purposes. Zoos or phaetons in historical places.

For me, this is the most beautiful pet in the world. And the most “human” in nature. It has been with us for thousands of years.

Author Sergey Lebedev

Sergei Valentinovich Lebedev is a freelance correspondent for Pravda.Ru