From Hannibal's mighty elephants to Genghis Khan's swift horses, or even those hoversharks the British used in the Falklands, animals have always been used in warfare to fight, and die, right alongside us.
But some animals go farther. We speak, of course, of the exploding animals, those four-legged friends who trotted bravely into battle for the sole purpose of blowing shit up. Even if they didn't know that's what they were doing.
What Were They Thinking?
1941 was a dark year for England. The Germans had already subjugated half of Europe, the Luftwaffe was pounding London from the air and U-boats were inflicting terrible losses along Allied shipping routes. Assailed on all sides, the English searched high and low for a chink in the seemingly impenetrable armor of the German war machine.
Then, someone said, "I've got it! Rat bombs!" And the entire course of the war was changed not at all.
"Look, all I'm saying is, I bought too many rats and we've got a ton of extra dynamite."
Dear God, What Have We Done?
Developed by the Special Operations Executive, these were actual rat carcasses stuffed with explosives. The plan was to sow German coal supplies with rat bombs in the hope that the rats would be shoveled into boilers along with the coal, whereupon the heat would detonate the bombs.
If successful, the damage to German infrastructure could have been massive.
Jesus, even the rat in the diagram looks like it's in pain.
That's a big freaking "if."
The Germans intercepted the first shipment of rat bombs and, alerted to the threat, began scouring their coal supplies for suspiciously stiff, bomb-shaped rat carcasses, whereupon the British gave up on the whole idea. Or at least, that's what they want the rest of the world to think.