A Special Presentation From Hahn's 50th AP K-9, West Germany

...it started with a iron curtain and
ended with a wall coming down!

K-9 History's Photo Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

U.S. versus THEM

SiteBuilder 1961, Soviet Handler '61

There Was A War...It Ended With Silence!

There was a war...

With real casualties. Real people died! Though most often it was clandestine and subtle, it ranged worldwide, cost many lives, evoked much heroism and lasted what seemed like for ever.

There was a war...

It was America's longest war, and no it wasn't Vietnam! There were to be no medals...or battle steamers! And there were no victory parades. There are no momuments or museums built, no special day designated to mark the victory and to honor the sacrifices made by Americans to achieve it, it did not rate even fireworks.

There was a war...

The Americans who fought it... patrolled barbed-wire borders, flew secret reconnaissance flights in hostile skies, stood alone guarding flightlines and missile sites, sailed submarines in the oceans depths and manned remote communications stations in desolate locations, served in vital roles.

There was a war...

The theatre of operations, were located in West Germany, the borders of Turkey, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, and even in Iran, the DMZ Zone of Korea, the islands of Okinawa and the Philippines, the global skies and even here in the USA.

There was a war...

It was a struggle against the Soviet Union and international communisms...and we won!

There was a war...

And as Senator P. Gramm so elegantly said: "The brave men and women, who served America in the military between the begin- ning of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, won a big victory, that brought more freedom to more people world wide than any other military victory in the history of mankind."

There was a war...

Won by "Cold War Warriors," "Peace Time Veterans," "Dog Handlers," just doing their job, and we salute them all.
Thom F. Newton, 2000
50th SiteBuilder

Peter Schneider's

Of Dogs And Germans!

Peter Schneider is one of Germany's best known political essayists. The short story "Of Dogs and Germans" is taken from his book "The German Comedy: Scenes of  Life After the Wall" written in 1990, not even one year after the opening of the Berlin Wall.

Schneider takes his readers on an insider's tour of Germany. In the story "Of Dogs and Germans", for example, he describes the fate of the dogs that had been guarding the Berlin wall in former East Germany and uses their fate as an example of the paradoxes and absurdities of life in the absence of the wall.


When God created the German, He gave him the German shepherd as a companion. And I for one will not be swayed by any claim that the dog was originally Scottish or Irish, for if the German shepherd wasn't German by birth, it has certainly proven itself German by choice. At every turning point in modern German history, the shepherd has stuck to its post with steadfast determination. When Adolf Hitler was so disappointed with his Germans that he shot himself inside his bunker, he not only left his people without their Fhrer, but a German shepherd without its master an event that inspired Gnter Grass to write a 700-page novel entitled Dog Years. And when the Berlin Wall fell and Erich Honecker fled to the Soviet Union, he was not only abandoning seventeen million Germans, but thousands of German shepherds as well.

Of course, it's safe to presume that Honecker had no personal relationship with his many loyal four-legged sentries; after all, they guarded not just his house in Wandlitz, but the entire East German state. Nevertheless, these animals so closely connected with the Germans were the first to feel the wounds left by the cutting edge of history on November 9. Overnight they lost their jobs as well as their homes in the kennels along the border.

The true dimensions of their service didn't become known until after the Wall came down. All told, the East Germans kept over 5,000 dogs along the border, including approximately 2,500 watchdogs and 2,700 so-called horse dogs. They weren't all German shepherds, for in the egalitarian workers' state, these aristocrats had no choice but to share space with Rottweilers, schnauzers, and all types of mixed breeds.

Germans on both sides of the Wall were moved by the news that thousands of their favorite dogs had lost their masters during the night of November 9. They feared the worst. In the collective imagination, the desperate, forlorn dogs gathered along desolate stretches of border to howl at their one remaining employer, the moon. People even expected to see wild and dangerous packs of homeless animals prowling the suddenly accessible streets of West Berlin.

Wall Dog!

But nothing of the kind happened. Immediately after the Wall opened, the West German Tierschutzverein (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) began negotiating with the East German Ministry for National Defense. After many tortuous special sessions, the Society finally announced, in January 1990, that 2,500 Walldogs would settle in West Germany within the following eight weeks. Hundreds of sympathetic single households along with dozens of families with children spontaneously expressed their willingness to adopt. But a shadow soon darkened this bright moment of East-West accord as the dogs became the occasion for a typically German dispute this time between Western and Eastern shepherd experts.

The news of the impending transfer unleashed the wrath of the West German Shepherd Association, who then accused the society of insufficient expertise and carelessness. The Association claimed that the border dogs were much too "dangerous" for inexperienced animal lovers. They had been kept "without social contact with humans," they would become more and more "difficult to integrate into families" as they grew older, and they were "scarcely capable of being reeducated for normal daily life." Moreover, dogs that were "too heavily predispositioned" would be far better of staying "over there."

The West German mass media immediately cashed in on the excitement. Front-page articles spoke of "blood-hounds" and "killer beasts"; the dogs were described as asocial and psychologically unstable many had even had their incisors sharpened to a fine point with a special file. One thousand were so dangerous they needed to be put to sleep. Dogs that had been raised under stalinism were too "influenced by their environment" to be suited for house pets.

These allegations cut the East German dogkeepers to the quick, and for perhaps the first time in history, friends and foes of dogs joined hands in common protest. Experts from East German animal shelters spoke of Western smear campaigns reminiscent of the Cold War. From two pathological biters (that really did have to be put to sleep) the West German press had made 1,000 and the reasons were obvious. For if 2,500 East German dogs suddenly flooded the market where they currently sold for about $60 apiece the overall price would be sure to drop. In order to protect the Western purebloods from this evaluation, their Eastern brothers and sisters were being systematically defamed. Whereas in fact, the East Germans claimed, the poor border dogs were really the "last victims of Stalinism," and as such deserved special care and understanding. Far from being misanthropic, the dogs who had served with the border patrols were actually "very much in need of love" and eager for affection: since they had worked in shifts, always serving at least four different masters, they had been deprived of the special master-dog relationship.

Wall Dog!

What's more, the dogs were uneducated and completely incompetent; they couldn't even bite on command. Really, they had just been "dummy dogs," running back and forth along the Wall, the harmless embodiments of their own myth living scarecrows for humans. Not a single refugee had ever even been nipped by one of these dogs. On the contrary, every Wall-jumper who had given them a friendly click of the tongue was welcome to pet and scratch them behind the ears. These purported descendants of the Baskerville hound had only two things on their minds: a humble meal and a little tenderness. In fact, one West German buyer even returned a particularly majestic specimen, indignant that the animal hadn't uttered a peep when burglars broke into his house.

The East German defenders of the homeless border dogs grew downright alarmed when they realized that the negative propaganda had actually enticed whole flocks of undesirable buyers. Pimps looking for a "killer beast" strolled up and down in front of the East Berlin kennels; dog maniacs suffering from Napoleonic complexes saw the opportunity to compensate for their small stature by acquiring a gigantic German shepherd. Nor were prospective buyers from abroad lacking. Stories circulated about rich New Yorkers who flew Pan Am to Berlin for one day just to purchase a Wall-dog for their Fifth Avenue apartments. The head of the East Berlin Border Patrol's Canine service told of a spaniard who tried to acquire several dogs at once for medical experiments, of Koreans and Chinese who were eyeing the animals as major ingredients for tasty culinary specialties from down home. The orphaned dogs' East German wardens grew more suspicious with every passing day. They began to subject Western clients to oral and even written tests designed to separate "serious" dog lovers from "dubious" ones.

Unfortunately only a small number of the German shepherds could be placed in East German homes, due to the well-known shortage of living space. Moreover, forty years of antifascist training had evidently affected the taste of the East German populace, who now preferred house pets that could not possibly be identified as symbols of power, aggression, or domination: parakeets, cats, and miniature rabbits.

The dispute has now died down. Almost all the border dogs have been successfully adopted, and there's little talk of problems of integration. Many of the new arrivals who first reacted to canned food in all its western variety with upturned noses or even diarrhea have successfully adjusted. Most have overcome their fear of elevators and escalators. They are no longer afraid of unknown canine species and have stopped running away at the sight of miniature poodles wearing knitted caps and leather jackets. Almost all are proving themselves willing to learn, even to the point of understanding commands in dialects other than Saxon.

Remains Of The Wall!

But whenever they accompany their new Western masters on walks near where the Wall once stood, they are suddenly deaf to every call and run their programmed beat without veering right or left. The Wall itself has disappeared so completely that even native Berliners can't always say exactly where it used to stand. Only the Wall-dogs move as if tethered by an unseen leash, with absolute certainty, following the old border along its wild zigzags through the city just as though they were looking for, or maybe missing, something . . .

But perhaps this story is only a legend like the Wall itself.

K-9 History's Photo Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

France's Dogs of War!

Photos: Algeria 1962 & Indochina 1954

Very little is known about France's Dogs of War today, as all information concerning them is strictly classified, however in 1991, during the Gulf War, France used well over a thousand K-9 teams to protect their equipment and troops, compared to the U.S. 80 teams. It is thought, that France probably has the largest number of War Dogs in use today of any country other than Israel.

George Jumentier
& Sultan, Algeria

In the early ninties they favored the use of german shepherds, although not exclusively so.

In the French Army journal  Le Cynophile #15, there is a photo of what at first looks like a black rug seizing the leg of its young handler with mock ferocity, but in fact, it is a wooly black Galic version of a bob tailed sheepdog which were first used by their Mountain Division during World War II.

Training of the French dogs aims at the same objectives as in the British Army system ....to maintain the personality of each dog while educating it and again like the British, France's war dogs are also trained for a singular purpose!

Commands are also very similar, "Cherchez," which may be followed by encourgement "Qui, c est bien," when the dog is fairly on the trail.

Indochina,1954. Vietnamese K-9 Scout

Within France today, military working dogs are used by all of their armed forces, including the French Foreign Legion, and their national police (GIGN).

SiteBuilder: Photos 1 and 2 are courtesy of Daniel Jumentier, co-author with Benedicte Michoux, of the book, "Discovery of the White Shepherd,"  he has just completed his second book, on the history of France's Patrol Dogs. Photo No. 3 Blandford.

An Extremely Rare Look At What Was The Other Side Of The Cold War!

Soviet Union Military

Dog Training School

1990 - Just Before The Break Up Of The USSR

The Block Are 6" Square And The Soviet Dog Is
Carrying A Torch Of Fire, His Natural Enemy!

The Soviet's Dogs Of War!

At the USSR Dog Training Center, somewhere near Moscow, Soviet conscripts and dogs were trained for five months and then sent to their assigned units.

Between 20 and 30% of the soldiers bought their own dogs into the army program. These were Soviet conscripts, who were members of various dog training clubs located through out the USSR, and owned a suitable animal; the dogs would serve only with them and would return back home, when the conscripts were demobilized.

Search & Rescue Team...training Soviet style!

The remaining Soviet handlers would train with Government owned dogs, bred at the school, generally there were approx 800 conscripts in training at anyone time, which gives us an idea of the size of the school.

K-9 History Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

Soviet War Dogs In Afghanistan

December 1979 - May 1988

Soviet Sappers attached to the Combat Engineers used mine sniffing dogs to detect the thousands of our land mines, planted by the Mujahedin freedom fighters during the war.

Sniffer Dog and Electronic Detectors At Work!

German shepherds were the breed of choice, and much has been written about their mine clearing duties and the problems, that the Soviets had wiith them (dogs) working in Afghanistan's hot weather, the fatigue of long journeys by armored personnel carrier (APQ), how gasoline fumes dulled the dogs' sense of smell, and other issues addressed in the military press all testify to the attention the Soviets gave to this old but still important means of military support.

Sapper & Dog Riding Topside Of A Soviet ATC

The Afghans also tried an number of ways to baffle the Soviet Union's dogs, two of their favorites were: wrapping land mines in cellophane and/or sprinkling them with motor oil ...neither attempt worked!

Usually, an Soviet dog handler was responsible for four dogs; so that when a soldier arrived at a permament unit, he would take over the responsibility for dogs whose handlers had been released from service.

The Soviet Handlers and Dogs, were much like canine units from other countries, and were trained to guard various types of military installations, border patrols, to search for drugs and explosives, conduct search and rescue operations and unique to the Soviets to blow up tanks!

Suicide anti tank dogs were first used during The Great Patriot War, as WW-II is called, against the Nazis, and were still being trained by the Soviets as late as the mid 1990s!

Shown above, the Suicide Dog is carrying a pack, that would hold explosives, in its mouth is the trigger, which it would release, once underneath a tank ...you can guess what would happen next.

SiteBuilder Note: See Related Article On The NEXT Page About Russia's Use Of MWD Today!

K-9 History's Photo Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

Bundeschule der Bundeswehr

The German Army Dog School was founded on June 18th, in 1958, at Koblenz, Rhineland Platz, in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and is operated by the Veterinary Service of the Bundeswehr.

The breed of dogs used are mostly: German Shepherds, and Belgian Shepherds Malinois, a breed with a very balanced set of virtues, a lot of temperament, faithful and they like working.

Dog training begins at the age of one and a half to 2 years old and consists of a six-week basic course, after which, the dogs will enter one of several advance courses, depending on their future use.

In the early ninties, the German Army had at least 3,000 dogs, that were trained at Koblenz; the current number is not known.

Like any other country, Germany's military working dogs are deployed to support their bases, air installations, and border security; there's also a small dog unit operating in Bosnia, to support their NATO peacekeeping troops.


....with the sudden breakup of the Soviet Union, former USSR countries started to declare their own independence one after another .....it didn't take long for this "new trend" to spread to the Balkans!

In June, 1991, the Republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from the former Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Army, under the control of Serbs, retaliated ...it was the beginning of an uncertain winter that ended with the outbreak of a full-scale, brutal war in early 1992, and also the beginning, first of an United Nations presences, and later on in 1995, the United States military with Nato Forces.

Nato's Operation Peacekeeping
Bosnia - Heregovina

Finnish K-9 Check Point Station

During the past 6 years, a compilation of soldiers from armies throughout the world have assumed the responsibility of providing a peaceful and stable environment for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but their job would not be possible if they did not feel safe themselves.

It's the job of two US Army MPs deployed to Camp McGovern, along with their military working dogs,  who are responsible for helping to provide security throughout the U.S. base camp.

Every night, the two K-9 Teams patrol the camp, making sure nothing out of the ordinary is happening, they check bunkers and all of the camp's fighting positions.

Their dogs are two certified patrol dogs, both Belgian Malinois, that are experts at detecting and detaining unauthorized personnel. Fortunately, they have not had to prove those skills yet.

According to one handler, things have been pretty quite!. They have done a few bomb sweeps on vehicles that have come on the base, but those have been few and far between and were to ensure force protection.

Generally, for the most part, the two handlers spend their free time developing their dogs skills. The dogs have strict training requirements, and being deployed is a perfect time to work on their training.

The dogs are trained daily, and everything that the dogs do is documented. Another part of their training, is rapport building. The more personal time they spend with their dogs, the more rapport they build and a happier dog works better.

Although the primarily use of the two dogs is to secure Camp McGovern, they could be called upon at anytime to provide force protection support for soldiers working outside the gates. On several occassions, the two K9 teams have been asked to sweep buildings to make sure they were safe.

Both handlers consider themselves lucky to be a part of the Army's military working dog program. When asked why, one answered: "People always ask me why I like working with Nero so much, I tell them that he is the best partner I could have."

"And that's because of the fact that the dogs are trained to respond and do not consider the consequence like people do. That gives me confidence in every situation," he said.

Just as the Nato Peacekeeping Force is committed to peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina, The two U.S. Army MPs  and their Dogs are committed to the safety and security of the soldiers at Camp McGovern.

The following article, was written by Jim Bartlett, Editor-in-Chief of the Bosnia Journal, a world news service of Pacific Interactive Media Corp, July 30, 1996. The article and photos are reprinted here with Mr. Bartlett's kind permission.

By Jim Bartlett
The Bosnia Journal

They call them "cohabitants," the mutts, mongrels, and abandoned dogs of Bosnia. They are everywhere, being left behind by people or armies who have left the field. Many times, NATO forces find themselves sharing the bombed out-ruins of the ZOS (Zone Of Separation) with them when they move in to occupy their checkpoints. There are standing orders that forbid adopting Bosnia's pups as mascots, but as the old saying goes, "You can't separate a boy from his dog."

Under General Order #1, it is forbidden for U.S. troops to adopt "Mascots", ie: dogs, lizards, cats, turtles, or I suppose, street urchins. However, as with every law, loopholes will be found. The best loophole of them all is the Dayton agreement itself. When NATO troops occupy an area they cannot force living things to depart that area unless they are the armed forces of the warring parties, and then only in the ZOS. Otherwise, all creatures in the area are considered cohabitants. Technically, this applies to dogs.

In addition, there is the freedom of movement clause that ensures that creatures will have complete freedom of movement throughout Bosnia. No one ever said anything about dogs. So long as they are not bearing arms and trying to cross the ZOS while doing so, they have freedom of movement as well. This could not suit the troops better.

There is something special about dogs and young men. As a young man, my dog was truly my best friend. He never worried about what I wore, how I smelled, or how late I had stayed out. When I was growing up, we always had a few dogs running around and they were considered part of our family. We called them by their names and they had their own special places about the house that were strictly theirs, very much like our bedrooms. They were friends and protectors, and since childhood I could never understand people who didn't like dogs. It just seemed so impractical and cold-blooded.

The same apparently holds true for almost every American outpost I have visited. One in particular was checkpoint "Shark," north of Tuzla, and manned by A Company of the 3rd Battalion, 325th Airborne Combat Team from Vinchinza, Italy. When I arrived there, they were awaiting relief from the Russian forces who were to take over that sector. They were bored and cold and the only diversion from staring into the deserted no-man's land of the ZOS was filling sandbags and playing with the dogs.

When they occupied their lonely hilltop outpost, there was a whole family of canines living there. There was a papa dog, a mama dog, and four baby dogs. Under the Dayton rules, they were there first and were not combatants and therefore were cohabitants.

Captain Bill Burleson of Williamsburg, Virginia, briefed me on the situation when I arrived. His outfit had been out there for two weeks, just trying to stay warm and filling sandbags. The Serbs and Muslims had briefed them on the location of the minefields in the area, the engineers had marked or cleared them, and the warring factions had departed. All except for the dogs, who had established themselves in a blasted out shed next to his mortar section.

"You know when we came here we were pretty worried about the situation with dogs and whether or not they might be a threat to the troops with diseases and such," he told me, "but I had the vet come up from Tuzla and check 'em out. They came up clean so we let 'em stay." He went on to caution me to specifically refer to them as "cohabitants" and told me of the general order about mascots. "They're good to have around," he said "keeps the guys from going crazy and they're good for security. This is definitely their hill."

He was right. When coming up the winding road that fishooks along the 325's perimeter, and when going down again, the papa dog sounded off loud and clear, going down past the outpost's wire to keep an eye on me. He was a living, breathing trip-flare that never slept. His wife and children were up on that hill, the GIs were his friends, and anything that came near them got scouted out.

"We were up here the other night and they started going off." Rodney Pullen of Norfolk, Virginia, told me. "We got up and took a look with our starlights and didn't see anything, but something was out there and he either smelled 'em or sensed 'em. Either way, whatever it was, it didn't get close enough to worry about so that was cool by us."

So it seems. The paras on the hill also told me about how there were some mongrels that looked like they had gone wild and were roaming around in a pack. Mama and Papa had run them off as well, taking care of a potential problem in their own sort of dog way. So much for disease dogs in the wire.

For a while at Tuzla air base there was a shoot-on-sight order in effect for dogs seen within the perimeter. This caused quite a row, I was told when, the Americans first arrived. Seems that some Danish U.N. troops had been feeding one and had sort of adopted it when an American MP walked up and blew out it's brains with his Berretta. Quite the uproar, I was told, and the Americans chilled out after that. But that is Tuzla HQ and things tend to be tighter closer to the flag of command.

SiteBuilder Note: Since August, 2000, there's help now for the 'dogs of war' in Bosnia. At the request of the British government and their Army, the Horsham base charity, RSPCA, has gone into Bosnia to help with the plight of companion animals throughout the country. RSPCA has conducted a number of seminars for the dog catchers of Bosnia and has donated thousands of pounds worth of equipment to assist in the more humane treatment and care of the animals.

K-9 History's Photo Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

Spanish Army K-9 Bomb Detection Team

Spain's MWD Schools!

Spain has a number of army dog training schools, the first was the National School of Police Dogs of Canillas, created in 1945 at Madrid; the Guardia Civil Dog School, was founded 1951, in El Prado, Madrid; the Arteaga Army Dog School for training and breeding, was established in the quarters General Arteag, on May 1983; and finally the training center of the First Military Region in Espadilla from the Maestranza & Parque de Artillieria de Sevilla' was inaugurated on October 1st, 1983.

According to their Spanish Army Review: "The existence and permanence of these schools, some of them established for over fifty years, show the help, they provide to Spain's Armed Institutes that support them."

South Africa Defence Force, 1985

A Dog Centre was started in 1964 to train both handlers, and dogs for the South African Defence Forces and also to breed suitable dogs at their center at Owambo, South Africa.

Like most western countries,  South Africa uses service dogs in its Armed Forces and by their National Police for explosive and mine detectors, sentry, patrol, and tracking duties.

SWA K-9 Specialist Unit...Counter Insurgent Trackers!

But the South West Africa Specialist Unit - the SWASpes from the Afrikaans - was perhaps, one of the World's most unusual units of any army. This follow-up specialized unit grew out of the S.A.D.F. peculiar  requirements of their counter insurgency campaign, for northern South West Africa during the eighties.

Its basic concept was to combine, and blend the skills of highly trained infantry and expert trackers with the mobility granted by horses and motorcycles and the special abilities of well trained dogs and their handlers.

As in any counter insurgency, the major difficulty faced by the SWAS was actually coming to grips with the insurgents ...you had to find them!

A composite unit of SWASpes had three main wings: mounted, motorcycle and tracking. Prospective members of the mounted wing and the future dog handlers were first sent to the SADF's Horse Centre, and the SADF Dog Centre respectively to learn the rudiments of their new trade.

The primary advantage that the mounties enjoyed over their foot mobile opposition was that of mobility, in terms of both speed and endurance. This mobility edge was fully exploited by the SWASpes, who learnt the 'art of tracking' while riding horseback.

The motorcyclists enjoyed much the same advantages as did the mounties, modified by a greater potential speed bought at the cost of noise.

Dogs were used by both wing elements quite successfully! In South Africa during the 1980s, a total of 800 dogs were being used, and 1,200 horses.

While the selection and training of both was very demanding,  all prospective trackers, faced a complete program designed to provide a thorough knowledge of spoor interpretation.

And what even the most skilled trackers couldn't achieve, well trained and handled dogs often could, a fact that was not lost on the security forces. SWASpes used several breeds of dogs, each in different roles.

The Alsatian (German Shepherd) remained the favourite dog, combining a good nose with discipline, intelligence, controllable aggresiveness and an alert nature, but preference in tracking went to the Labrador, and the Australian Sheepdog, although Alsatians, Bloodhounds and a Doberman - Rottweiler cross were also used with success.

Other duties assigned to the expert canine counter insurgents included mine,  and explosive detection during searches, and at roadblocks.

SADF Veterinary Services

The Directorate of Veterinary Services is one of the smaller, yet most dynamic and specialised directorates in the South African Medical Service (SAMS) today.

The directorate was founded in 1977, when the need arose for fulltime care of the animals used by the South African Defence Force. This entailed, not only medical care for the animals, but also nutrition, housing and breeding programs.

These remain the main priorities of the directorate, and have been expanded to such a degree that there are presently SA military veterinarians who only involve themselves exclusively with breeding, and medical care of, and surgery on all SADF animals.

In the 1980's, during involvement of the South African Defence Force in Namibia, veterinarians were deeply involved in the health and care of horses and dogs used in the bush war.

During the war, service dogs were primarily used for tracking, detection of explosives and drugs; and the horses were used for patrol work. Various follow-up operations and even attacks were performed on horseback.

SWASpes Introduced The Irish Packhound Concept

During the early 1980s, the SWASpes introduced the counter insurgency application of the Irish Packhound concept; using dogs to track, run down, and corner the quarry for the infantry or more practical, the mounties to deal with.

While these pack dogs were not particularly well disciplined and certainly responded somewhat erratically to commands, they did track extremely well,  and could keep up a speed of 15km for over 4 hours, peaking at 30km for 15 minutes.

It takes little imagination to realize, that this combination of mounties 'n pack dogs was one few insurgents could elude.

It is, in fact, very much the combination of the mobility of the mounties via horse or motorcycle and the skill of the tracker, dog combination, that made the SWASpes what it was.

To illustrate this by an example:

A tracker team on a follow up, picked up a relatively old spoor early one morning. A mountie section with their own trackers took it over from them, and continued to follow the spoor thru out the day.

By darkness, they had made up alot of ground, that the spoor was fresh enough for dogs to pickup and follow. A K9 unit of handlers and infantry was then brought up by vehicle,  and it followed the spoor through the night.

Early the following morning, the insurgents found their entire day ruined by the arrival of troops just as they were about to move on.

SiteBuilder Note: All photographs are courtesy of the South African's Military Information bureau, SADF, and the United Kingdom's Imperial War Museum.

Israeli Defense Force

Unit Oket'z aka The Sting!

Unit 7142

Palgat SAR. Courtesy D Cohen

The Sting is the Israel Defense Force Special Forces' K-9 Unit. Unlike other IDF K-9 Units, who are responsible for: security on major military bases, border patrols, riot control, etc and duty at road checkpoints, Unit 7142 dogs deal exclusively with special missions.

The Unit was founded in 1974 by Yossi Lebook, who became its commanding officer. Lebook approached IDFs Army Chief of Staff at the time, Haim Bar Lev, with the idea of setting up the unit of dogs and trainers to assist the military in combating terrorist attacks. Bar Lev agreed and the Dog Unit became a great success.

Once classified as "top secret," it first became known publicly, after the failed 1988 SF Operation, named "Blue and Brown."   The Unit which operates independently from the Israeli Land Corps, receives its orders directly from the IDF's General Staff (the MATKAL), and its headquarters are located at Sirkin AFB.

The Unit consists of 4 sections:

Palgat Terror
Palgat Gama
Palgat Hamitanim
Palgat Search & Rescue

Each Palga uses a unique dog, trained according to its special objectives. Breeds used are: Dobes, Bloodhounds, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and others.

The specific training methods of the Dog Unit are secret. The trainers are specially selected and are instructed for eighteen months; only then, do they receive the dog with whom they'll work for the rest of their service.

Today, for our story, we're only concern with Palgat Terror, this Palga is the only K-9 Unit of 7142, who is defined as an assisting unit for Special Forces' CT/HRT missions. In 1988, Palga Terror dogs were used in Operation: Kahol ve Hoom.

Operation "Blue and Brown"

(Dec. 8, 1988, Operation: Kahol ve Hoom)

The operation's multi-goal was first, to kill Ahmed Jibril, the head terrorist leader of the PFLP-GC (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command), and secondly take out his various headquarters, deep inside Lebanon.

Most of the PFLP-GC headquarters, were located in caves, situated on high buffs, off the Lebanonese coast. IDF staff decided that it would be impossible to take them out by air assault...ground assault was the only way!

Several units were involved in the raids: Shayetet 13 (Navy Commandos), Sayeret Golany (Special Forces) and Palga Terror's dogs, from Unit 7142.

A high casuality rate was expected!

Palga Terror

The plan called for Flotilla 13 to clear the beach, and for the Sayerets to get the Palga Terror Unit close enough to the targets, so that they could release their dogs, who were carrying packs, containing C4 remote control explosives.

The dogs were to enter the caves and explode, killing all the terrorist inside, but like everything else, in the blue and brown operation, the dogs didn't do what they were suppose to.

Photo Courtesy of A. Susterman
Former Palga Terror Rottweiler!

Some didn't go were they were told; some of the explosives went off prematurely; and some didn't explode at all. Four of the dogs, Rottweilers, were killed immediately by the terrorists. 

Everything that could go wrong...did. Then it was up to the Special Forces ground units to clear the caves, but the heavy fortifications bogged them down and they had to be extracted by helicopters under heavy fire with one of their commanders killed.

To make matters worst, a squad of 4 men was missing, and the Sayeret Golany's commander that was killed, was carrying sensitive classified maps and equipment, which was captured by the terrorist.

December 9th, The Rescue!

Once contact was made with the missing squad, IAF fighter bombers were sent in to keep the Palestinian forces pinned down, enabling a rescue attempt.

The close proximity of the terrorists however, prevented rescue helicopters from landing and the Cobra gunships were sent in! Under very heavy fire, a pair of Cobras descended towards the stranded soldiers and carried them on their skids to the Navy boats waiting off the Lebanese coast.

The entire operation failure was published by the Israeli media, setting off a public outcry, about the high loss of soldiers, and particularly the way the dogs were used.

SiteBuilders Note: To read more about Unit Oket'z 7142; their weapons, how the handlers and dogs are trained; what happens to the dogs when they can't be retrained, it will surprise you...and other missions...visit their Website located on the 50th Link Pg. access off the K-9 History: The Dogs Of War's DoD Page!

K-9 History's Photo Album: The Cold War ...a moment in time!

The USSR's Central Dog Training School, 1961

For forty-five years the peoples of the world held their breath and survived ...US verus Them.  And now, that confrontation was over.

On Christmas Day, December 25th, 1991 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist. The Red flag with its gold hammer and sickle, prophesying a world wide workers' revolution that never came, was lowered over the Kremlin for the last time ending the Cold War.


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