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Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS and Volkssturm.
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Postby Christoph Awender on 12 Apr 2004 10:30

Meldehundestaffel of 3.Geb.Div. on the transfer to the east.

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Postby Xavier on 21 Apr 2004 15:49

eastern front, unknown unit:
from http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... K:MEBWA:IT

regards

Xavier
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Postby MAX_theHitMan on 21 Apr 2004 16:14

ROLFMAO
I remenber reading that first post by @Timo Worst awhile back about the "dangerous russian mice". :P

panzermahn ~ Posted
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

sometimes i saw pictures of anti-partisan units had dogs (German sheppard of course) besides them..what is the organization of this animals in a military unit (division, battalion)

And how about pigeons? i'm sure the Germans used them to send messages just like the Allies?

Is there any difference between pigeons used by the Wehrmacht and the SS?

Does the pigeon unit used by the SS had siegrunen painted on it?

How about donkey and mule units of the heer and waffen ss Gebirgs division?


These are funny questions, but still, they should be asked. Otherwise we will never know.

I believe that even tho the partisans, or the resistance, didn´t have dog battalions, i am sure a few soldiers had a "mascot" to follow them around into battle, just like the german had a few mascots with them. I believe the french had a few chihuahuas, so they lost the war in 1940.
As for "pidgeons" in the SS ?? I´m not quite sure about this one, but there must had been some bird lover willing to train his pidgeons to carry out messages across the lines to the headquarters. Unless the pidgeon was a bit stupid and ended up delivering the "secrets" to the allies. Pidgeons often tend to do that. I have a friend who raises pidgeons and they often never come back home after being released from far away. That is why they invented the telephone.
BUT here is something about the German pidgeons --> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/special_repo ... 263333.stm
...and on this page-link you will find the rank for a "carrier-pigeon" soldier in the german army ---> http://www.skygodproject.net/history/ge ... _ranks.htm

As for donkeys and mules of the Wehrmacht? :D Sure there were donkeys and mules on the front. They were needed to pull the wagons and the cannons... even the wounded. I never read of any mule devisions, but I have found an interesting photo for you to see...


...and since we are talking about animals in the Werhmacht, why isn´t there any pictures of any "Dobermann´s" or " Rotteweller" dogs ever shown, except police dogs?

Someone once told me that these peculiar breed of dogs were originally breeded by the Germans back in WWII?

I´ve found this interesting link about the allied pidgeon force http://www.interbug.com/pigeon/messagin ... crate.html

...and a very interesting link to the "animal force" used by soldiers during the First World War http://www.gwpda.org/photos/animals.htm ---> which even included goats ! :P

I hope I have been of some help.

Cheers
MAX
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Postby MAX_theHitMan on 23 Apr 2004 21:26

As I replied before
...and since we are talking about animals in the Werhmacht, why isn´t there any pictures of any "Dobermann´s" or " Rotteweller" dogs ever shown, except police dogs?

Someone once told me that these peculiar breed of dogs were originally breeded by the Germans back in WWII?


I decided to investigate a little more on this matter and I came up with some interesting finds, that I would like to share with you, if anyone would be interested.

During World War I the Germans used dogs in the military service. The experience with military dogs during World War I led the government to establish an organization that would be involved in breeding and training military and police dogs. It is estimated that by the time the U.S. got involved in World War II that the Germans had trained 200,000 military and police dogs. The Germans also provided 25,000 trained military dogs to their ally, Japan, that were used in the war against China.

The Russians also trained and used dogs in their military. White Samoyeds were used to pull snipers on sleds close to enemy lines. In one part of the front, a team of sled dogs carried 1,239 wounded men from the battlefield and hauled 327 tons of ammunition within a five weeks time. Dog teams were used to pull guns, men, and supplies.

In America before World War II there was no formal training for military dogs. There was also very little use of dogs by the police. The use of dogs of any breed by the police and military really did not exist until World War II.

The Doberman Pinscher originated in Apolda, Germany around 1890. It takes its name from Louis Dobermann of Apolda. "Pinscher" means terrier. Louis Dobermann was aiming to breed a giant terrier for agility combined with strength and guard-dog qualities. The breed was originally called Doberman's Dog. The name Pinscher was later added.
In 1899, the National Dobermann Pinscher Club was organized in Germany. One year later, Otto Goeller, and other fanciers, drew up a standard for their breed. The German Kennel Club immediately gave official recognition of the newest breed.
The first Doberman's to enter the U.S. did so around 1908. But it wasn´t until WWII that the marines decided to use the dogs for service.
In the 1940's when Doberman Pinschers became war dogs, also known as " Devildogs", they were a new breed to most people in the United States. Wherever the Marine Devildogs went, they attracted the curious attention of people who had heard about the sleek and powerful breed but never had seen them.
And I always thought the Dobermann was the Wehrmacht´s favourite dog after the "Police Dog". I guess I was wrong. :( :roll:
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Postby Vikki on 07 Oct 2004 06:05

WOW, Christoph! All joking aside on this thread and in the Lounge, I missed the photos of the Schäferhunde you posted the first time around. What great pictures of these magnificent animals! Thanks for posting them!


~FV
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Postby Vikki on 07 Oct 2004 06:51

By the way, Max, I have at least one piece of documentation that suggests at least limited use of trained dogs in the field by the Allies in WWI. It's one of those stereo view cards, with double pictures of (what I would call by modern standards) a large Australian Shepherd-type dog running down an embankment with a helmet in his mouth, while (French?) soldiers look on admiringly. It is titled Dog Reporting To First Aid Squad With Helmet Of Wounded Soldier. The explanation below the caption reads:

This was a common scene during the World War: thousands of wounded would have died on the battlefield but for the trained intelligence of dogs such as the one before us. The battles were on such a vast scale, covered such a wide extent of territory, so many wounded men fell in obscure spots, in dense brush, in shell craters, that they would never have been found but for these faithful animals. First Aid squads used large numbers of them in their search for the wounded. Even while the battle was on, the stretcher bearers, themselves in some depression of the ground which afforded some security from flying bullets, sent the dogs out to discover the whereabouts of the wounded. When the intelligent animal returned, bringing some article of clothing belonging to the fallen soldier to indicate that it had found him, they followed and brought the soldier in.

These dogs were carefully selected and were put through a long course of careful training, sometimes lasting for two months or more. Often a dog proved unfit for the work after weeks of effort had been spent upon it, and had to be discarded. They were trained to come and go in silence; not a single bark must carry to the enemy knowledge of their whereabouts. Their intelligence was marvelous, enabling them to find the wounded in almost impossible places.

Most of the dogs had fastened upon their backs blankets, in which buttoned pockets contained first aid appliances, bandages, flasks of cordial and medicines. With these many a soldier was able to staunch the flow of blood and maintain life until help arrived.


I don't have a lot of First War items, but this one is second only to the German postcard I have of a beautifully rendered drawing of a Shepherd with a large Red Cross tag on his collar, titled Der Sanitätsbund im Felde: Deutscher Schäferhund.
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Postby Vikki on 28 Apr 2005 04:50

For the history, first-hand accounts, and great photos of War Dogs in WWI, WWII, and other time periods:

http://community-1.webtv.net/Hahn-50thA ... index.html

~FV
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 05 Jul 2008 06:38

More photos of Meldehunde, including another slightly different version of the second picture posted by Christoph above. These, and the photos below, are from Alpenkorps im Angriff (Schützen-Verlag, 1940).
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 05 Jul 2008 06:51

Both horses and mules were used heavily by the Gebirgsjäger as pack animals. The horses used were often Haflinger, bred in Austria for their sturdiness in mountainous and other rough terrain. In the photos below, for example, they carry light artillery pieces.

Best,
~Vikki
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 09 Aug 2008 19:00

An article from the 23.12.1943 edition of Kölnische Illustrierte Zeitung on "recruiting" Haflinger for the military:
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 31 Aug 2008 06:07

Mules in use in southern Italy. Their use as Krankentrager is interesting, in line with their generally calm dispositions compared to horses.
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 31 Aug 2008 06:43

From Alpenkorps im Angriff: snowshoes for the Gebirgsjäger....and for the Gebirgspferde:
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Bernd R on 31 Aug 2008 14:52

Anyone ever heard about falcons in service of the Heer / Luftwaffe ? (small hint catched up over at the panzer-archiv)
Anything known about units like Heeresfalkner ? In France most probably.
with duties like : airfield protection against birds (so today one technique on all modern airports) , catching pidgeons of the resistance ?

Bernd :)
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby tigre on 31 Aug 2008 17:14

Hello to all :D; just a little complement..............

Der gebirgsjäger und die tragtier, today as yesterday.....................

Cheers. Raúl M 8-).
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Re: Animal Units in Wehrmacht and Waffen SS

Postby Vikki on 06 Sep 2008 19:43

Hello tigre, I love the "then and now" photos! There are some situations where even modern technology can't replace the good old mule or horse!


Bernd R wrote:Anyone ever heard about falcons in service of the Heer / Luftwaffe ? (small hint catched up over at the panzer-archiv)
Anything known about units like Heeresfalkner ? In France most probably.
with duties like : airfield protection against birds (so today one technique on all modern airports) , catching pidgeons of the resistance ?

Bernd :)

Interesting question, Bernd. There was a civilian Falconers' organization, the Deutschen Falkenorden (see collar insignia below). And as most civilian organizations that had any military application got taken up by the military, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case with that order too. As for pigeons--putting them to work for the military too--there was an Army specialty, Brieftaubenmeister, for those (probably an adjunct of Nachrichten troops?) working with carrier pigeons (specialty patch shown below). Somewhere I've seen a photo of the pigeons in use, with the message cylinder attached to their legs, but can't locate it now.

Best,
~Vikki
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