______During the initial phase of the "Great Patriotic War" against the Germans the Soviets suffered from many shortages. One of these was an effective anti-tank weapon. The Red Army was equipped with several models of anti-tank rifles and a few anti-tank guns, none of which worked well against the newer model tanks the German Army was employing.
______Then someone came up with a brilliant plan: use trained dogs to carry explosives to German tanks. Better yet, train the dogs to climb under the tank's hull, where it would be particularly vulnerable.
______The Soviets rounded up some dogs and a few Red Army tanks which could be spared from the front and began training. When meat was placed underneath the steel monsters it proved to be all the incentive the hounds needed to get them to crawl beneath the lumbering machines carrying a harness that would later be filled with explosives. A lever-type trigger on top of the pack set off the detonator.
______The technique of using suicide agents who were NOT AWARE they were suicide agents must have been the inspiration for al-Qaida's 911 attacks.
______Then it came time to try the dogs out in battle. The dogs were brought up to the front while a tank battle took place nearby and were turned loose.
______Unfortunately for the Soviets the dogs ran towards the Red Army tanks, which looked and smelled just like the ones they had trained with, and ignored the strange German tanks. In the ensuing confusion some Soviet tanks were destroyed by the suicide dogs while other dogs were machine-gunned by the surprised crews to prevent the same thing from happening to them.
______The Germans did not let this go unnoticed. They rapidly spread information throughout the Eastern Front about these new hundminen and any unfortunate dog to wander near the lines were shot out of hand. It is said that within a year dogs could not be found anywhere near the front (it is suspected that the Soviets also shot dogs after word got around about how the misguided animals blew up several of their own tanks).
______The problems involved in using the dog mines proved to be insurmountable. The animals could not be "aimed" at specific targets, they were required extensive training (which did not always take), a continuous supply of the dogs had to be processed in order to replace "losses," the animals were vulnerable to being shot by the enemy tank's machineguns or by supporting infantry and, most important of all, the communist canines were ideologically unsound. After all, without Communist indoctrination the dogs might not attack with the proper enthusiasm or they might even defect to the enemy! Despite lining the dog's cages with copies of Pravda, showing them propaganda films and assigning commissars to the dog units Stalin could never quite trust them.
______The dog mines were not used on the Eastern Front after 1942 but Red Army literature continued to mention them throughout the war. Soviet-inspired dog mines may have been employed by the Viet Minh against the French in Indochina in the late 1940s and the Soviets themselves seem to decided to employ canines in more conventional roles, such as guard duties and, in Afghanistan, mine-sniffing.
WHAT COUNTRY HAS NO COASTLINE BUT BOASTS A NAVY?