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"Miscellaneous: Use of Dogs, Speed of Vehicles, and German-Italian Relations" from Intelligence Bulletin

Miscellaneous section from the October 1942 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin, covering "Use of Dogs", "Speed of Vehicles", and "German-Italian Relations."

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on foreign tactics and equipment published for Allied soldiers. In most cases, more accurate data on foreign tactics and equipment is available in postwar publications.]

Use of Dogs, Speed of Vehicles, German-Italian Relations


a. General

Germany used dogs for military purposes during World War I and also is using them in the present conflict. Some are trained to carry messages, some to help locate opposing forces during reconnaissances, some to do guard duty, some to help locate injured persons on the battlefield, and others to pull or carry supplies over difficult terrain.

b. Breeds Selected

Several breeds of dogs are used for the military work. All dogs selected must be fairly large and strong, and capable of being trained. The German shepherd (police) dog generally is favored over other breeds, and numbers about half of all the dogs used by the Germans. The Doberman pinscher breed also is highly satisfactory and is widely used.

c. Training

Training of dogs for military service begins when they are only a few weeks old. At the age of 6 months they usually are given an examination to weed out those which prove unfit for additional training. Dogs which show any signs of nervousness are eliminated immediately. The others, to qualify for the additional training, must follow their masters over very rough terrain, both by night and by day, and they must show ability to get across ditches, streams, and other obstacles. And they also must not be afraid of battlefield noises.

d. Duties After Training

(1) Tracking dogs.—After the training period, the dog and its trainer are assigned to a company. The trainer remains with the company for about 3 weeks, or until the dog has become familiar with the new master, who is chosen from volunteers who are dog lovers. During this same period, the dog also becomes familiar with all the men of the company's reconnaissance party, with whom it will work later.

After the period of adoption, the dog must obey its master at all times. If well trained to work with the reconnaissance party, it can precede the patrol by 30 to 40 yards (without losing touch) and on scenting the presence of any stranger, warn the patrol by returning silently to its master. Some of the dogs are said to have been trained to signal the presence of strangers by pointing—much like a bird dog which has spotted a covey of quail. The dogs must not bark or whine. At the end of every reconnaissance, the dog immediately returns with its trainer to company headquarters. It must never stay in the front line.

(2) Messenger dogs.—The smartest dogs are used as messengers. The message containers are strapped to their backs or collars. They either find their way by memory or follow a scented trail. The scent is a mixture of 10 parts of water to 1 part of a substance which, when dissolved, looks like molasses and smells like root beer. The mixture is placed on the message trail by means of a container which allows about five drops per yard when it is carried at a normal walk.

(3) First-aid dogs.—These are trained to seek wounded or dead soldiers on the battlefield. The dogs have a short stick (bringsel) tied to their collars. When they find a soldier lying down, they take the stick in their mouths, return to their masters, who are ambulance operators, and guide them to the wounded. The dogs pay no attention to soldiers standing up.

First-aid dogs were credited with saving thousands of lives in World War I.

(4) Guard dogs.—These are trained to attack strangers or to give warning of their presence.

(5) Draft dogs.—These pull sleds or other small vehicles, usually in mountainous areas. Light loads sometimes are harnessed to the dogs' backs.


According to a captured German manual, the speed at which various German motor transports and armored-force vehicles travel while alone or in convoy is as follows:
(m. p. h.)
 In convoy 
(m. p. h.)
Motorcycles and cars 3822
Trucks with trailers 2015
Mark IG and Mark II tanks 1511
Mark III and Mark IV tanks 1511


Is there a spoke or two broken in the Axis?

There have been many reports for a long time that German and Italian soldiers do not get along well together. The Italians are said to hate the Germans, and the Germans, in turn, make sly remarks about the fighting abilities of the Italians. Some of these reports have come from official sources. The following extract from a German publication captured in Libya seems to bear out these reports:


"On the Tobruk front a large force of Italians attacked an enemy cyclist, causing him to dismount. After heavy and prolonged fighting they were able to puncture his tires. The front wheel was destroyed, and the loss of the rear wheel must also be considered possible. The handlebars are in our hands, but possession of the frame is still being bitterly contested."

"H. Q. Royal Italian Army"

The Japanese are said to make similar jokes about their Siamese (Thailand) allies.

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