World War 1 Tribute to Animals of World War 1
Military animals are trained animals that are used in warfare and other combat-related activities.
As working animals, different military animals serve different functions.
Horses, elephants, camels, and other animals have been used for both transportation and mounted attack.
Pigeons were used for communication and photographic espionage.
Many other animals have been reportedly used in various specialized military functions, including rats and pigs.
Dogs have long been employed in a wide variety of military purposes, more recently focusing on guarding and bomb detection, and along with dolphins and sea lions are in active use today.
The horse was the most widely used animal throughout the recorded history of warfare.
Early mounts could pull a chariot or carry lightly armored skirmishing forces.
With the appearance of heavier mounts and the invention of the stirrup, the horse-mounted cavalry became the most prestigious combat arm in Europe for several centuries.
A knight’s warhorse was trained to bite and kick.
The combination of the horse-mounted warrior armed with a bow made the steppe people’s armies the most powerful military force in Asian history.
With the appearance of modern ranged weapons and motor vehicles, horse use for military purposes fell into decline.
However, horses and mules are still used extensively by various armies today for transport in difficult terrain.
While elephants are not considered domesticable, they can be trained to serve as mounts, or for moving heavy loads. Sanskrit hymns record their use for military purposes as early as 1,100 B.C.
A group of elephants was employed by Hannibal during the Second Punic War.
They were employed as recently as World War II by both the Japanese and Allies.
Elephants could perform the work of machines in locations where vehicles could not penetrate, so they found use in the Burma Campaign.
Camels have typically seen use as mounts in arid regions (Camel cavalry).
They are better able to traverse sandy deserts than horses and require far less water.
Camels were employed in both world wars.
Camels are used by the Indian Army and Border Security Force for patrolling in the desert regions of Rajasthan.
Mules were used by the U.S. Army, the British Army, and the Indian Army during World War II to carry supplies and equipment over difficult terrain.
Pack animals that are innately patient, cautious, and hardy, mules could carry heavy loads of supplies where Jeeps and even pack horses could not travel. Mules were used in North Africa, Burma, and Italy.
They are also used for transporting supplies in mountainous regions.
It was necessary to have fifteen mules attached to the (Tank) battalion for the purpose of transporting ammunition and gasoline to tanks which were impossible to service with any type of vehicle this battalion possesses.
However, this is far from a satisfactory arrangement due to the limited amount of mules and the number of supplies needed in the positions After the action report,
751st Tank Battalion., February 1945, Section IV – Supply (page 190 of 242)
Oxen have been used widely in war as beasts of burden, especially to transport heavy or siege artillery through heavy terrain.