War may be horrific but we have been bludgeoning, stabbing, hacking, shooting, and bombing each other since the dawn of time. War was considered an inevitable part of life until the last century. Our history could pretty much be written in blood.
Humans get all the credit but we are not the only ones who have risked our lives for causes both noble and pointless. Horses and dogs have been engaging in battlefield heroics and getting slaughtered alongside us for thousands of years. Smaller numbers of other animal and bird species have also played instrumental roles in human slaughter-fests over the centuries.
These animals were never recognised for their bravery but we can’t really blame our ancestors for that. Animal rights only became a thing during the last 80 years or so. The shifting attitudes have resulted in greater recognition for the efforts our furry friends put into winning our battles.
This list contains 10 of the most incredible animals that have been engaged in warfare over the past 100 years.
10. Sergeant Stubby
In 1917, a soldier came across a stray dog of indeterminate breed while training on the grounds of Yale University. The US Army didn't have any working dogs at the time, so when his unit deployed, Corporal Robert Conroy smuggled the dog to France with him.
The unit named the dog Stubby due its small stature. This canine warrior went on to become a veteran of 17 battles and the most decorated dog of World War I. Stubby could hear the whine of artillery shells before they hit the ground, warned the unit of multiple gas attacks, and single-handedly (or mouthedly) captured a German spy.
He was injured several times but like all action heroes, he always prevailed. After the war Stubby was made an honourable Sergeant, met three presidents, became a sports team mascot, and got an obituary in the New York Times when he died in 1926. His remains are preserved in the Smithsonian.