Para dogs in WWII.

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by vvaannmmaann, Jul 30, 2013.

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  1. There is one buried in Ranville War Cemetery with his handler, Emile Cortile from 9 Para. Both were killed on D Day by "friendly aircraft". Thery had landed well away from the drop zone and were killed by a straffing allied aircraft which mistaken them for Germans. According to an interview with Otway, the handler had been selected because he had been a poacher.

    I have never understood the thinking behind para-dogs. What were they supposed to do?
  2. Well, technically it wasn't friendly fire as the dog indeed WAS a German Shepherd.
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  3. "Collateral damage": Alsatian = Occupied French
  4. Do? It's got a parachute on and jumps out of plane. If it had a proper hat on it would be perfect.
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  5. Call all other dogs hats?
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  6. [​IMG]

    Seven paratroopers of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment pose with the regimental mascot "Geronimo" prior to a paratroop training exercise in 1943. Sgt. John Carson Smith (standing, at left), wounded in action; Pvt. William H. Witt, killed in action; Pvt. Lewis S. Toye, killed in action; Cpl. Walter L. Choquette (kneeling, at left), executed at Graignes by the Waffen-SS,Pfc. John D. Williams, injured in training; Pvt. William McDade, wounded in action; Pvt. Bernard E. Kelly (front) taken prisoner of war.

    Geronimo survived to be hit by a car in 1947
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  7. In theory - like any war dog they are supposed use their superior nose and ears to detect approaching enemy long before troops (even airborne ones) are able to do.

    In practice - war dog allocated to ambush stop party snuggles down between me and its handler, drops off to sleep and wakes with a start when the ambush is sprung.
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  8. Wordsmith

    Wordsmith LE Book Reviewer

    When I was in the space cadets may years ago we saw a demo by the dog handlers at Brize Norton. They told us that one of the reasons the dogs search so enthusiastically for drugs is that they get given a sample if they find any. So the dog searches for drugs because it likes getting stoned. No change there then.

    The other thing that stuck out in my mind was the cadet who volunteered to be the target for the dog to chase down and restrain. After being fitted out in the padded gear he was told to trot a hundred yards off, then the dog would be released. He duly did that and the dog was let off the leash. Instead of running off he charged at the dog, screaming his head off. The dog took fright and p*ssed off to general amusement, leaving one seriously hacked off handler....

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  9. Post WW11 we didn't appear to have further use for 'para' trained dogs although dogs were used on the operational sorties in Borneo, Malaya and all campaigns since but arriving by vehicle or helio.

    There were no airborne 'signs' ie harnesses et al of the means of parachuting with dogs within No1PTS. There were loads on data on out of the norm special loads but no dog harnesses / parachutes. I went to Tancos in Portugal on a short exchange visit in the early '70's to find that the Portuguese parachuted with dogs. They had a harness which was clipped on two extended straps and positioned beneath the reserve. I only ever saw the dog(s) in training descents and not when the jumper carried an operational load with a dog as well.
    The jumper landed with the dog attached to his harness in those times

    Currently there's hundreds of canine photos in para free-fall mode
  10. The dog was a spy.

    A shepherd spy.

    Or emergency rations.
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  11. They keep and they are more obedient than a goat.
  12. So why were there no war dogs on the establishment of other units needing to detect an approaching enemy e.g. units of the Recce Regiment, non parachute infantry battalions, commandos etc.
  13. I am not sure whether dogs were actually "on the establishment" for a para bn, but graduates from the War Dog School at Potters Bar were certainly used by both para and non-para infantry.

    "Bob, a white dog of no particular breed, was the first to win the Dickin Gallantry medal given by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals and the Allied Forces Mascot Club in London. He earned these awards on a cold and rainy night in North Africa.
    Attached to the Queen's Own Royal West Kents, an infantry outfit, he was sent out with a patrol, camouflaged with paint, like the others Tommies. Suddenly, he froze and nothing would budge him, although the men could not see any indication of trouble. But a few seconds later, a movement betrayed the presence of the enemy. The patrol then withdrew and skirted around this spot, discovering a German unit, that had moved up unexpectedly. If the patrol had advanced a few yards further, the men might have been killed or captured." From K-9 History: Great Britain's War Dogs!