The Suicide-Bomber Dogs Of Soviet Russia

“The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.” —Mark Twain

In a Nutshell

In 1924, the USSR approved the military use of canines during warfare. In the ’30s, however, they decided to make them a little more destructive than they had planned. Using Pavlovian-esque conditioning techniques, these dogs were trained to destroy tanks.

The Whole Bushel

In 1924, the Revolutionary Military Council of the USSR sanctioned the use of stray dogs for military purposes. The dogs were generally used for search and rescue, food transportation, and courier duties. In the ’30s, however, the USSR realized these dogs could be trained and conditioned to unwittingly sacrifice themselves for the Soviet cause by strapping mines to their torsos and then training them to search for food on the underbellies of tanks.

In 1935, the first anti-tank dogs were trained. Using the 12 canine schools that were originally used to train some 50,000 dogs for less nefarious purposes, they conditioned these dogs by starving them and hiding their food under tanks. During warfare, these dogs were strapped with bags that carried explosives with a lever that stuck up in the air and detonated the explosives when they crawled under tanks.

In their war debut in 1941, most dogs were too frightened by the tanks as they were moving, simply because they were trained using stationary tanks without turrets and machine guns. These dogs would run to the tanks, become frightened and turn around, only to be shot by German soldiers or the Soviets themselves. Some dogs returned to the Soviet line only to have the explosives detonate and kill Soviet soldiers.

German soldiers examined dead dogs shot on the battlefield and studied the explosive mechanisms. The German propaganda machine used these findings to attack the Soviets and to tell the public of their cowardice. The Nazis were all too happy to use this example of Soviet animal abuse to stir up public hatred of the Russians. The Nazis themselves, in an act of twisted irony, enacted several anti-animal abuse laws, such as the banning of vivisection in animals (but obviously not human beings).

Use of these dogs died down after a year or two as they were not proven to be effective.

Show Me The Proof

The Soviet Suicide Dogs of WWII
The Soviet Union And Their Use Of War Dogs

  • rhijulbec

    How very, very sad. How inhumane. What bastards.

    • ConnorHaberland

      Yes, it seems the USSR had a poor track record with animal rights.

    • R5h2x

      You might be glad to know that most of the dogs were trained on SOVIET tanks, so on the battle field the dogs rushed under the SOVIET tanks and blew the SOVIETS up.

      • rhijulbec

        Well, I wouldn’t say glad…dogs still died. But how dumb were they…the Russians I mean?

        • R5h2x

          Well, it’s not like the had a billion German tanks to blowup, but still……

  • rupi pal

    Now im glad ussr got their ass kicked thats sick and uncool they were that desperate smh

    • ConnorHaberland

      The Viet Cong and various insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan have also tried this technique. I am not sure of the success rate in these cases.

    • KT

      …the ussr won.

      • ConnorHaberland

        Yes, they did. And during the Cold War they came seconds away from pressing the button due to a computer glitch that told them the US launched ICBMs at them. Luckily the man who saw this computer message decided against passing it along to his superiors because of the high possibility that it was a mistake and nuclear disaster was averted.

        • ConnorHaberland

          To clarify: I meant to say the USSR was on the winning side of World War II. The anecdote about the Cold War is separate.

  • Hillyard

    There should have a special place in hell for scum using dogs as suicide bombers.

  • Brp Goyo

    The Nazis themselves, in an act of twisted irony, enacted several anti-animal abuse laws, such as the banning of vivisection in animals (but obviously not human beings).

    The last five words made my day :DD

  • Brp Goyo


    • ConnorHaberland

      I’ve read about those as well. They weren’t successful by any means either. Animals should be kept out of the entirely human creation that is war.

  • LuvsHorror

    Interesting little tidbit. Sad, too.

  • Djalabajoe

    In 1943 the US trained dogs at Fort Belvoir to carry explosives into bunkers . The “Demolition Wolf ” program trained dogs to carry a canvas pouch containing a bomb into a bunker and wait until it exploded on a timer. Fortunately for the dogs their timing was not great and they would sometimes return to their handlers without entering the bunker or without waiting in the bunker long enough for the bomb to go off .There were also concerns that in battle frightened dogs would also seek out their handler and the program was cancelled.

  • Liege_Lord

    Sad examples of the animal abuse, but gotta be impressed by the innovation. Also, the U.S.A still uses animals in warfare, including dolphins which are trained to disarm sea mines and locate enemy submarines.

    • ConnorHaberland

      I have read about the dolphins role in warfare, and the U.S. does use dogs, albeit without explosives strapped to them with the sole purpose of tricking them into blowing themselves up.

  • anonymouse72

    Hitler was by far the smartest villain in the world.

    Stalin, he must have been the dumbest.

  • TheUnknownTruth

    While Cruel it could of been a viable tactic the key here is the article said STRAY dogs so in hindsight sacrficing a dog that is basically homeless and uncared while possibly saving dozens of Human lives doesnt seem that In Humane to me. Ask any parent that choice of their child dying in a war or some Dog off the streets Only the CEO of Peta would pick the child.

  • Valkyrie

    Not only are dogs mistreated in the USSR what about in the good old US of A? Service Dogs used in war zones once retired despite how many lives they have saved, even those awarded medals for bravery get impounded and put to sleep, they are deemed too dangerous to be re-homed. Yet they are good enough to save people’s lives …I’m surprised that they haven’t thought of shipping them all off to China for 40 peices of sliver to be cooked alive and eaten…bastards!

    • Valkyrie

      oops my bad .. Hannibal Lecter mode there methinks…40 pieces of silver…. -_-