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Military Dogs of World War II (Paperback)

WWII

By Susan Bulanda
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Series: Casemate Illustrated
Pages: 128
Illustrations: B/W & colour
ISBN: 9781636243252
Published: 5th July 2023

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Animals, especially dogs, have served in all the wars of men since time immemorial. During World War II, most combatant nations employed dogs on the battlefield in a number of ways, including searching for injured men or downed airmen, detecting mines, carrying messages between units or dragging communications wires, particularly in difficult terrain, transporting supplies, and sentry duty.

This illustrated book is an overview of how dogs were trained and used in WWII by different countries, including the stories of some of the individual animals that served. It also summarises the various programs established to take care of the animals and send them home after the war.

As usual, this volume in the Casemate Illustrated series continues the photo-rich and recap smart text of previous volumes. What's different is the format: a country-by-country examination of training (mostly in US) coupled with extensive anecdotes of dogs doing heroic things -- messenger dogs, mine-detection dogs, casualty-finding dogs, sniper-finding dogs, and guard dogs.
An odd point made concerning Soviet dogs trained to run under tanks and detonate a mine. The book noted the dogs "could not run away fast enough and were wounded or killed. The Soviet high command stopped using anti-tank dogs" (p110). I had read that the program had been discontinued because the Soviet dogs mostly ran underneath Soviet tanks, not German tanks.
Some minor typos within, including "around around" (p93) which put a Beach Boys song in my head. Also, the photo of the "St. Bernard" (p105) doesn't look like a typical St. Bernard to me -- maybe it's a real skinny variety.
The book contains 150 black and white photos, two color illustrations, and five color photos.
If you like dog anecdotes, you'll love this book, especially if the named dogs receive medals. All sorts of breeds are covered.
Enjoyed it.

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society, September 2023

Article: Service Hound Roll of Honour

RAF News

About Susan Bulanda

Susan Bulanda is an author and certified animal behaviour consultant with the International Association of Animal Behaviour Consultants, and a retired adjunct professor.

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