L The List
Anti Tank DogsAnti-tank dogs (Russian: Собаки-истребители танков or Противотанковые собаки; German: Panzerabwehrhunde or Hundeminen, "dog-mines") were dogs taught to carry explosives to tanks, armored vehicles, and other military targets. Although the original dog training routine was to leave the bomb and retreat so that the bomb would be detonated by the timer, this routine failed and was replaced by the impact detonation procedure, which killed the dog in the process.
They were actively trained by the Soviet and Russian military forces in 1930–1996 and used in 1941–1942 against German tanks in World War II.
The U.S. military trained anti-tank dogs in 1943 for use against fortifications, but never deployed them.
Dogs strapped with explosives were unsuccessfully used by Iraqi insurgents in 2005.
Bat BombsBat bombs were bomb-shaped casings with numerous compartments, each containing a Mexican Free-tailed bat with a small timed incendiary bomb attached. Dropped from a bomber at dawn, the casings would deploy a parachute in mid-flight and open to release the bats, which would then roost in eaves and attics. The incendiaries would start fires in inaccessible places in the largely wood and paper construction of the Japanese cities, the weapon's intended target.
Developed by the United States during World War II, the plan was to release bat bombs over Japanese cities having widely-dispersed industrial targets. The bats would spread far from the point of release due to the relatively high altitude of their release, then at dawn they would hide in buildings across the city. Shortly thereafter, built-in timers would ignite the bombs, causing widespread fires and chaos.
Cat BombsIn World War II. The United States’ OSS (Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the CIA) needed a way to guide bombs to sink German ships. Somebody hit upon the inspiration that since cats have such a strong disdain of getting wet and always land on their feet that if you attached a cat to a bomb and drop it in the vicinity of a ship, the cat’s instinct to avoid the water would force it to guide the bomb to the enemy’s deck.
It is unclear how the cat was supposed to actually guide a bomb attached to it as it fell from the sky, but the plan never got past the testing stages since the cats had a bad habit of becoming unconscious mid-drop.
Death DolphinsA military dolphin is a cetacean trained for military uses. The United States and Russian militaries have trained and employed oceanic dolphins for several reasons. Such military dolphins have been trained to rescue lost naval swimmers or to locate underwater mines.
The U.S. Navy trains dolphins and sea lions under the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, which is based in San Diego, California. Military dolphins were used by the U.S. Navy during the First and Second Gulf Wars. About 75 dolphins are in the program.
The Soviet Navy operated a research facility to explore military uses of marine mammals at Kazachya Bukhta, near Sevastopol. The Russian military is believed to have closed its marine mammal program in the early 1990s. In 2000, the press reported that dolphins trained to kill by the Soviet Navy had been sold to Iran.
Due to the secrecy of such practice, rumors of military dolphins include training them to lay underwater mines, to locate enemy combatants, or to seek and destroy submarines using kamikaze methods. There has even been speculation about the potential development of sophisticated equipment, such as poison darts, sonar jamming devices, and more for dolphins, as well as training them for combat between cetaceans from both superpowers.
Elephants of WarA war elephant is an elephant trained and guided by humans for combat. Their main use was to charge the enemy, trampling them and breaking their ranks.
They were probably first employed in India, the practice spreading out across south-east Asia and westwards into the Mediterranean. Their most famous use in the West was by the Greek general Pyrrhus of Epirus and in great numbers by the armies of Carthage, especially under Hannibal.
In the Mediterranean, improved tactics reduced the value of the elephant in battle, while their availability in the wild also decreased. In the East, where supplies of animals were greater and the terrain ideal, it was the advent of cannons that finally concluded the use of the combat elephant at the end of the 19th century, limiting them thereafter to engineering and labour roles.
Land Mine Retrieval RodentsA Belgian company, APOPO, trains Gambian pouched rats to sniff out land mines.
APOPO, a non-profit organization, trains African Giant Pouched Rats, also known as giant pouched rats or Gambian pouched rats (genus Cricetomys), to detect land mines.
Bart Weetens, a Belgian national, founded APOPO to provide a low-technology solution to the global land mine problem.