episode 17

Woof ! Boom !

Russia, Germany, China after 1930

published the 27 march 2017


Fetch !

The problem with anti-tank dogs was that they tended to take fright on the battlefield and scarper back to where they came from. The Russians were hoist by their own petard!

Cluster munitions

Some munitions, like the French army’s Ogre shell, are designed to be dropped from a great height to detonate in mid-air. The Ogre scatters 63 bomblets over five square kilometres, each becoming a randomly placed land mine. 98% of those killed and maimed by such munitions are civilians, which is why they are likely to be banned eventually.

Dolphins and rats

One idea mooted was to equip dolphins with explosives to blow up shipping, though it came to nothing. Now, other animals are used to defuse minefields. Rats are too light to trigger a detonation, so they are trained to sniff out the mines that lie scattered across large parts of the world.



  1. wikipedia (Dogs in warfare)
  2. wikipedia (Anti-tank dogs)
  3. Antipersonnel (LandMine photographies by Raphael Dallaporta)
  4. Wikipedia (Land mine)