Dove, elephant, cat, dog… These are animals that served as soldiers and sometimes spies in times of war

What is the common denominator between the elephant, pigeon, dog and cat? They all participated in wars and were trained for certain tasks. GEO magazine reviews five types of symbolism.

For a long time horses were the standard on battlefields, but over the centuries other animals arrived and had a very specific role.

Dogs, cats, pigeons… Horses weren’t the only ones that went to the front. “These animals, essential to the war effort, made it possible to save many human lives”insisted Florentin Leticier, during his address to the municipal council of the 14th arrondissement in Paris in 2018, a few days ago Placing a memorial plaque for war animals in the town.

To honor them, a medal was created in 1943 in England. The decoration of war animals, most recently “Boss”, two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who was awarded the Medal of Courage by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, continues for his bravery, after the discovery of more than 236 dangerous explosive devices.

Dogs, real multifunctional soldiers

GEO Magazine begins with man’s best friend, the dog! Whether in combat, guarding or tracking, the dog is a true ally on the front lines.

During the First World War, letters and medicines were hung on their backs, and they towed certain light weapons. Dogs have a civilian case, military handbook, identification plate and gear.

They are also particularly useful for finding buried people, thanks to their auditory qualities, the magazine identifies.

Today, dogs are still used by the military, especially during customs controls.

according to 30 million friendsIn 2016, nearly 500 dogs participated in various canine units: 450 in the Army, 12 in RAID and 4 in GIGN.


The animal was in great demand as part of the espionage mission between the Americans and the Soviet Union. The CIA developed a “sound kitty,” which has a microphone implanted in its ear and wireless transmitters implanted in its tail, in order to retrieve information, once dropped in strategic places.

However, the tests were not very conclusive, which put an end to this practice.


Also during the Cold War, marine animals were recruited to the side of the American and Russian militaries.

“Dolphins have the most advanced sonar known to science. They find more easily mines and other potentially dangerous objects on the ocean floor, which are difficult to detect with electronic sonar.”On his website, he explains that Naval Information Warfare Centerwhich manages the US Marine Mammal Program.

In Russia, there is no doubt that this project will be put to an end. Five new dolphins were purchased in 2016 and a sealed “St Petersburg” beluga was found in Norwegian waters in 2019…

the toilet

Widely known as “homing bath”It was a privileged means of communication during World War II, according to information reported by Geo magazine. France would have used about 60,000 pigeons and the British army no less than 100,000!

The United States also considered a kamikaze bath, but the project was ultimately unsuccessful. The bird was supposed to be housed in the bomb’s warhead and capable of aiming a missile at a specific target…well, not too categorical or too convincing!

the elephant

Mammals have long been considered life-size tanks to fight war alongside men.

For thousands of years, the elephant has been an important weapon, capable of trampling opponents by spreading it to the front lines. It was also particularly useful in carrying heavy loads.

As warfare became mechanized and the power of firearms developed, the use of war elephants was phased out in the 20th century. Bachederm is still used in Asia to carry payloads, whether munitions or building materials, especially during World War II until the Vietnam War, Geo reports.

Leave a Comment