Military Animals

War elephants, anti tank dogs, moose cavalry, carrier pigeons, donkey bombs, rocket cats, bear moats, bee hive missiles, explosive rats, the PDSA Dickin Medal and the dolphin arms race. Plus pop culture.

Music: “Pigeon Walk” by Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra (1937)



13 Responses

  1. Nice one. 🙂

    RadioLab had a really quite moving piece on the yellow rain/bee wee you mentioned, including an interview with one of the guys who’d lived in the forests of Vietnam (or Cambodia, I think, somewhere down that way) who believed his village had been affected by chemical warfare as a result of this yellow rain. Despite all the testing that had been done, which all pointed to it being something like pollen, he was absolutely convinced that it had been some form of chemical weapon. Worth a listen:

    And if you’d been there, close up to the bees, this is what it might look like:
    I wonder if you could train them. Bees are trainable, you know.

  2. Another fun one that occurred to me was world war Z (the entertaining and highly original book not the by the numbers zombie movie).
    When the American military deploy their counter attack against the undead horde they make extensive use of war dogs both as early warning against the zombies, screening for infection and also to attract the shambling horrors and draw them into ambushes.

    The story also references the soviet anti tank dogs or world war 2 with the military considering the deployment of so called Fragmutts.
    However this plan was shelved after one Handler, prevented from retrieving her injured dog from the encroaching zombies, shot her commander.
    After this is was considered unwise to expect the animal handlers to spend month training the animals only to send them to their explosive deaths.

    I’m also reminded of the excellent though brief scene in the terminator movie where watch dogs are used to detect T800’s

  3. Another thing worth mentioning – Roman war dogs were used to attack enemy armies and strike fear into foreign ranks. Other peoples used the same tactic against the Romans. Heavily featured in Rome: Total War video games.

  4. Little known fact: a ‘Slug Diamond’ (as Toren put it) is better known as a ‘Slimond’. Appropriate when you think about it.

    Sorry- just saw an opportunity to pull a ‘Kevin’ and I took it. 😉

  5. Any chance y’all could link us to the opening/closing music for this episode? It’s been stuck in my head, but I can’t find it anywhere 🙁