Dogs of WWII: The Soviet Edition

Obviously, there is a second part to this. As WWII went, the Soviets matched the Germans at every instance of silliness. It didn’t matter which side each of them was on.

Jackie, the Hitler-mocking dog, had a happy ending. The German Vice Consul wanted to put him – and his humans – on trial, but circumstances, by which I mean the not-altogether-inconsequential skirmish with the Soviet Union, intervened. But not all dogs involved in the war lived up to similarly uneventful golden years, a fact Boyfriend thought important to emphasize:

“Did you know that in the same Soviet-German battle of WWII (mentioned in the previous post), the Soviet Union used dogs to bomb German tanks? Of course, as you can imagine, the dogs had to be blown up too, for this to happen.”

"Wait... WHAT?!"

“Wait… WHAT?!”

As the history of Canis Lupus Familiaris goes, this was a tragedy of epic proportions. And it needs to be described as such.

Many moons ago, when the Great War hath ended,
‘Twas set up far away, a school that intended
To train beasts for battle
Make soldiers from cattle
A plan that was applauded and commended.

‘Twas mystical, the Soviet Union
A land of comradeship and communion
But behind hammer and sickle
Justice, it hath been fickle
The greed for power, truly Machiavellian.

But time stops for none; another war approached
“How to vanquish all,” the question, it was broached.
To fight alongside man
Help any way he can
Canis Lupus Familiaris was coached.

In the 1920s, when climes were peaceful yet
Military men took many a pet cadet
Hounds learned to sniff out mines
Rescued kin, mine and thine
Transported goods, nary a sign of sweat.

Rescue and transport dogs.

Rescue and transport dogs.

But in the 1930s, the world began to churn
Deadly flames of fascism, through Europe they did burn
“Our dogs, to carry bombs, let’s train;
‘Der Fuhrer’s’ shown us such disdain
Let’s blow their tanks to dust at every turn!”

Canis Lupus was trained to hold in his snout
Explosives designed to take German tanks out
He was to drop them and flee
Soldiers would then turn a key
The plan would succeed; there was ne’er a doubt.

Alas! Canis Lupus was confounded
With so many commandants surrounded
Sometimes he didn’t drop-and-flee
Or brought the bomb back with glee
Upon his mates the dynamite redounded!

“This worketh not,” the beaten soldiers claimed
Many a men, broken, bleeding, or maimed
“Let’s strap the bombs to Canis,
Yes! That’s what the new plan is!”
Hundminen, this bomber-dog was named.

The Hundminen plan. (Image source.)

The Hundminen plan. (Image source.)

But training for wartime, the task is never gentle
The dogs were put through torture, physical and mental
Starved for days, no water drank
The food all stashed under tanks
They crawled underneath on instincts fundamental.

They knew where to go, the training was on track
Next, the trainers strapped bombs to Canis’ back
Under hostile tanks he’d go
Tank and dog, both, off they’d blow!
A trick learned in time; the Germans had attacked!

But alas, they didn’t work so well, these bomb-bearing mules
Their training drills, while rigorous, involved no actual duels
Germans had spies, they’re read the logs
They rained gunfire on the dogs
(And they smelled different, Russian and German fuels!)

On the battlefield they lay, many a lifeless hound
Some died blown up in the air, and some fell on the ground
(The dog, look at the irony
Was a Shepherd from Germany)
Canis Lupus d’Alsace, your tragic tale resounds.

Russians clamored on the streets, “Our dogs are sacrificed!”
The army tried explaining; their stories ne’er sufficed
“The dogs took out 300 tanks!
Believe us, for we play no pranks.”
Such shameful lies, as statistics disguised.

The program for army dogs was publicly reviled
The army made numbers up, the people weren’t beguiled.
But the system, it was rotten
The dog slaughter was forgotten
Under “Epic Soviet Failures” the story was calmly filed.

Worst. Story. Ever.

Worst. Story. Ever.

Want to know more? Go here. And here. And read my previous post: Dogs of WWII: The Nazi Edition.

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