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Hiya from Free Range Free Chat, our open thread about all things living on this planet, and all things planet related as it supports that life.. Today is Memorial Day of 2021, a day set aside to honor those in the military who have died fighting for our country.

As it happens, animals have fought beside us in our human wars since we began warring; while they get little choice in the matter, they have been a key asset, carrying supplies and the wounded, detecting gasses before we can, carrying messages, dropping bombs and at times simply serving as mascots. We remember them today, just as we remember soldiers who fought with them.

Happy Memorial Day to the News Views Community– what’s up with everyone? I’ve been absent taking care of my dad; I want to catch up. What’s going on with you, your animals, your piece of the world and your holiday activities? Pet stories are always welcome. . . . .whatcha got?

London’s full of war memorials, but this one goes beyond honoring the men and women who fought for the United Kingdom and the Allied forces. It’s dedicated to the many animals who served alongside the human soldiers throughout the 20th century. The memorial shows sculptures of two mules, a horse, and a dog, all posed near a cracked wall. A stream of other animals, including elephants and pigeons, is shown on the wall itself. It’s a touching tribute to the beasts of burden who had no choice but to enter the wars.
War elephants were usually deployed in the center of the line, where the imposing beasts would charge at up to 20 mph toward the enemy. They were also used to carry heavy materials across difficult terrain before tanks and helicopters were an option. The mere sight of elephants charging was enough to break lines and cause many armies to flee in terror. Only cannon fire made the war elephants impractical. The giant animals were resilient against musket fire, but provided a huge target for cannons. Off the battlefield, militaries still found ways to make use of elephants. As recently as 1987 Iraqi troops allegedly used elephants to transport heavy weaponry for use in Kirkuk.
The horse, Sgt. Reckless, is going to be the first recipient of the American Medal of Bravery for war animals at a ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in November. He served in the Korean War. (Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Navy has been training bottlenose dolphins to carry out marine patrols since the 1960s, after they were identified for their intelligence and military aptitude in a program of tests of 19 different types of animals, including birds and sharks.

A dolphin’s main military asset is its precise echolocation sense, which lets it identify objects underwater that would be invisible to human divers. Dolphins also use their eyes underwater, but by emitting a series of high-pitched squeaks and listening for the echoes that bounce back, they can make a mental image of objects they can’t see

Camels carry the wounded and supplies and can go long distances without water.

Even slugs could play a part in detecting gases. These creatures were particularly sensitive to mustard gas, which posed a real danger for soldiers in the trenches. The slug would respond by closing up its breathing holes and compressing its body.

Slugs were more sensitive to the gas than humans, so they detected it before the soldiers did. When the soldiers saw the slug behaving in this way, they knew it was time to put on their gas masks. Mice and Canaries were also used to detect gasses before the soldiers could.b

The Bat Bomb

This was a time where scientists on all sides were provided with tremendous resources and opportunities to dig into all sorts of research, with the purpose of bringing ruin to the enemy forces. For the United States, one strange and ill-fated weapon would come to be known as the bat bomb. While it might sound like a weapon utilized by Batman in the 1960s, the bat bomb’s purpose was to weaponize bats against the Japanese.

Small incendiary bombs were light enough for a bat to carry and would reliably start fires. The bats would be placed in a state of hibernation, induced by cooling the animals down enough to put them to sleep. In their hibernating state, they did not need to consume food, which meant they could be shipped easily. A container would open up, releasing the bats all at once, allowing them to swarm over their target, releasing their payloads. Vintage News

Sources: Animals in War Business Insider LiveScience

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