As disturbing and sad as it may sound to animal lovers, the innocent creatures that have nothing to do with human hatred, conflicts and craving for power have been widely used in wars all over the world. Known as military animals, they are defined as non-human creatures that are used in warfare and other combat related activities. We often commemorate all the brave soldiers that have been killed in numerous wars all over the world but have you ever realized humans were not the only victims? In the World War I alone, for example, 16 million animals were used. Unfortunately, 9 million of them were killed in the war. From armored camels to spy squirrels, check out these 25 animals that have been used in war.
Since the horse is the most widely used animal throughout the recorded history of warfare, it should not be surprising to see this animal on this list. However, one particular horse rises above the rest. Its name is Sergeant Reckless, a horse that held official rank in the United States military. But what makes this horse so extraordinary happened on March 1953, when Sergeant Reckless made 51 solo trips in one day in order to resupply multiple front line units. She was awarded two Purple Hearts, a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal and several other military honors.
Though there isn’t one particular mule that stands out when studying war history, no one can deny the mules huge contributions to war. Because of their incredible ability to carry loads over difficult terrain unavailable to jeeps and even horses, they were used in many wars including World War I and II.
Dogs have (and continue to) play a huge role in war. From fighting logistics and communication to medical research and tracking, they have been very useful and loyal helpers in the battlefields. Probably the most famous war dog of them all was Sergeant Stubby which has been labeled as the most decorated ward dog of World War I and the only dog to be nominated for rank and then promoted to sergeant through combat.
The role of the military mascot has a surprisingly long tradition. Animals such as ponies and dogs are common unit mascots but members of the No. 32 Squadron, a Royal Air Force unit active in the World War I, chose a fox cub as their pet and companion. The famous picture showing a pilot with the fox was taken at Humieres Aerodrome, St Pol, France, on 5 May 1918.
Similarly to mules, oxen have been also used as beasts of burden, especially to transport heavy or siege artillery through heavy terrain. These animals played a major role during the American Revolutionary War, when they hauled heavy supplies and they were important links in the Continental Army’s logistical network. Contrary to their reputation, oxen are very intelligent animals capable of learning numerous commands.