The dogs of war

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wm
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The dogs of war

Post by wm » 28 Apr 2019 15:24

From Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte, an Italian war correspondent in Russia.
The armored cars, supported by the attacking units, had already penetrated deeply into the deserted plain. After the first rifle shots a heavy silence had fallen on the rolling ground covered with stubble and grass withered by the first autumn frost; the Russians apparently had abandoned the battlefield, fleeing beyond the river; several flights of large birds took wing from the acacia groves, clouds of little gray birds that resembled sparrows rose and twittered over the meadows, their wings throwing off dull flashes in the flame of the rising sun; from a far-off pool two wild ducks took to the air, paddling with their slow wings.
Suddenly a few black dots darted out of a forest in the distance, then more and still more; they moved quickly, disappeared in the bushes, turned up nearer and rushed rapidly toward the German Panzers. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!—The dogs! The dogs!" cried the soldiers around us in terrified voices. A gay and ferocious barking came to us on the wind, the baying of hounds on the track of a fox.

Under the sudden onslaught of the dogs the Panzers began to rush about zigzagging and firing wildly. The attacking units back of the armored cars stopped, hesitated and scattered; they fled here and there across the plain as if in the throes of panic. The rattle of the machine guns was clear and light, like the tinkling of glass. The baying of the pack bit into the roar of the motors. Now and again came a faint voice smothered by the wind and in the widespread rustle of grass. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!"
Suddenly we heard the dull thud of an explosion; then another, and another. We saw two, three, five Panzers blow up, the steel plates flashing within a tall fountain of earth.

"Ah, the dogs!" said General von Schobert passing a hand over his face. They were "anti-armored-car dogs" that had been trained by the Russians to look for food under the armored cars. Kept without food for a day or two, they were brought to the front line whenever an attack was impending. As soon as the German Panzers appeared out of the woods and spread out fanlike on the plain, the Russian soldiers shouted "Pashol! Pashol!—Off! Off!" and unleashed the famished pack. The dogs carrying cradles on their backs loaded with high explosives and with steel contact rods like the aerials of a radar set-up, ran quickly and hungrily to meet the armored cars, in search of food under the German Panzers. "Die Hunde! Die Hunde!" shouted the soldiers around us. General von Schobert, deathly pale, a sad smile on his bloodless lips, passed a hand over his face, then looked at me and said in a voice that was already dead, "Why? Why? Even the dogs!"

Stephan
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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Stephan » 19 May 2019 17:01

Interesting. Usually its told these dogs experiments were unsuccesfull. Here we have one account (fictional???) they were fairly successful.
Also, as the germans did recognized the dangerits apparent this wasnt the first time this happened.

So, no major anti-tank weapon. But apparently sometimes useful, and most of all, something to terryfie even the bravest germans with...

Otherwise russian used often dogs as carriers of wounded, or dragging small wagons with wounded. Sometimes even to fetch wounded from battlefield when it was too dangerous to send in human field medics.

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Edward L. Hsiao » 19 May 2019 21:05

I don't know what to think of the account. Most eyewitnesses had said that not one success against German armoured vehicles were carried by Soviet explosive dogs during WWII on the Eastern Front. The explosive dogs were slaughtered to the last dog by German machine guns mounted on German armoured vehicles. I think the account that were mention by this Italian is false indeed! The Soviets sometimes were not animal lovers.


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Re: The dogs of war

Post by wm » 19 May 2019 23:21

Dogs are small and fast targets, they can run 100 meters in seven seconds - not that much time for slaughtering especially from armored vehicles with their no that great visibility from inside.

His description of General von Schobert (and his later death) is accurate, and he really was there - he didn't write that in Rome.

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 May 2019 04:40

Hi wm,

Yup, Malaparte really was there on the southern end of the Eastern Front, initially with the Romanians.

However, he was a journalist and novelist, not historian, so he could allow his imagination freer rein. Kaputt is sometimes described as a novel, whereas The Volga Rises in Europe seems to be more reportage.

If I remember rightly, in Kaputt he claimed that, when he interviewed Pavelic of Croatia, a bowl of Cetnik eyeballs was on the Poglavnik's desk. If true, one has to wonder how this was achieved? Did the Croation forces carry fridges with them to deliver the eyeballs fresh to his desk? Was the bowl perhaps itself chilled?

I would suggest that Malaparte was less than an entirely trustworthy, literal witness and could indulge in what is sometimes now called "faction".

Cheers,

Sid.

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von thoma
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Re: The dogs of war

Post by von thoma » 20 May 2019 04:48

From Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte
During an interview Curzio Malaparte was asked why he had chosen Malaparte's nickname
He answered ; Because Bonaparte was already taken.... :lol:
" The right to believe is the right of those who don't know "

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wm
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Re: The dogs of war

Post by wm » 20 May 2019 08:24

I'm rather sure there is no Pavelic in Kaputt, but it's true that Kaputt is (heavily) fictionalized.

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Art » 20 May 2019 10:14

Edward L. Hsiao wrote:
19 May 2019 21:05
Most eyewitnesses had said that not one success against German armoured vehicles were carried by Soviet explosive dogs during WWII on the Eastern Front.
there is a known ancient story about that:
Cicero,writing in the 1st century BC, tells of how a friend of Diagoras tried to convince him of the existence of the gods, by pointing out how many votive pictures tell about people being saved from storms at sea by "dint of vows to the gods", to which Diagoras replied that "there are nowhere any pictures of those who have been shipwrecked and drowned at sea."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagoras_of_Melos
Obviously there are no accounts from those who became killed.
It seems that accounts on employment of dogs are anecdotal at best (I would even say semi-mythical), on nobody examined it in detail.

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 May 2019 11:51

Hi Art,

I think the dogs really were trained and used, but without significant impact.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Art » 20 May 2019 14:30

Sure, dogs were only an auxiliary weapon with far less impact than anti-tank guns or mines. But considering that they were cheap, even limited results were probably satisfactory.

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Anatol » 28 Jun 2019 15:38

Dog-fighter tanks were taken into service in 1935.
In the war years it was formed 33 unit dogs squad a total population of 8,5 thousand heads. It should be noted that already during the war due to the lack of purebred dogs, the work of the tank fighter began to train mongrels. The first tank dogs blew up on July 27, 1941 under Rogacheva. Dogs fought near Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Bryansk, Rostov-on-don. In the dog killed around hundreds of enemy tanks in the battle of Stalingrad burned tank 63. Even at Kursk on their account were undermined by the 12 German tanks. And all the years of the war dog-fighters destroyed tank 304. However, this success was in large losses and for dogs. According to statistics, dog owners, on average, one undermined by a tank, had 13 dead dogs.
http://wwii.space/%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0 ... %BE%D0%B9/

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Re: The dogs of war

Post by Nakhodchanin » 07 Aug 2019 23:21

Hello all again! Thank You very much, Anatol for your link to such informative and interesting material! For my part, I would like to share links to documents on this topic, as after reading the material on the link from You, I was impressed. When I searching for documents on my own interests in hands got this - "Order No.OU/0885 Commander of troops of South-Western Front on organization of formation of platoon of dogs-tank destroyers from December 8, 1941" link:https://pamyat-naroda.ru/documents/view/?id=114792848
I can not resist the general moral and ethical side:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFm97ar ... x=585&t=0s

Best regards

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