The Soldierly Hot-Dogs
“Who Let The Dogs Out?” This is a very popular song recorded on 1998, but I doubt it had already long existed during the World War II. Who was the ‘composer’ on that time then? Needless to say, Soviet Union was the first country to let the dogs out to the bloodthirsty battlefield on 1924. However, the dogs were used for other military purposes at that time rather than to bomb a tank in a kamikaze way.
Not until 1930s the idea of using dogs as mobile mines was developed and that was the time that the dogs got HOT!! Nevertheless, the main purpose of the ‘Hot-dogs’ idea is to counter the mighty German tank in order to stop the German advance the Eastern Front of World War II.
How It Works?
The chassis of a tank was believed to be the weakest part. As a result of this, a group of dogs were trained to run to the belly of the tank with the bomb fitted on their back, release the bomb by pulling with its teeth a self-releasing belt and return to the operator. It sounds easy and simple, but not for a dog.
The training was failed. The dogs became confused when exposed to a number of targets at different locations and often returned to the operator with the bomb unreleased, which in a live situation would have killed both the dog and the operator.
Constant Failure Bring Simplification
Now, the dogs would be starved first and trained to look under a Soviet tank for food once being released from their pens. Nonetheless, the major difference was the dogs would no longer return to the operator but the bombs would be detonated right away upon the dogs contact with the tank.
Realization of the plan was a little less successful. The dogs would sometimes be loosed into a battle just to turn around and find a friendly tank to climb under. This is because of the dogs were trained to go under Soviet tanks, which were running on diesel and the German tanks were running on gasoline causing the dogs were not familiar with the smell. Very often the dogs would spook at the rumble of a running engine and run away from the battle or return to the handler. In such cases, the handler had to shoot the returning dog with no other option.
The efficiency of using anti-tank dogs in World War II remains uncertain but Soviet army claimed that 300 German tanks were taken out by using them. Due to the inconsistency and large contingent of anti-tank dogs ran amok and thus posed an unnecessary threat to allies, the anti-tank dogs were pulled out from the battlefield soon after. Interestingly, the training of anti-tank dogs continued until 1996.