After rewatching the Great War episode on animals in WW1, I was wondering how big of a role animals had in WW2, was it as large as in WW1?

Obviously there’s horses used by militaries, as was evident in Operation Barbarossa. There’s also Chips, the most decorated dog of WW2. But how large was the role of animals throughout the war compared to the First World War since WW2 is famous for being heavily mechanized?


Pack animals like Donkeys, mules, horses and oxen were heavily used by many of the axis forces and to a lesser degree allied forces. Despite what the history books say and photos show only about 25-30% of the German forces were fully mechanized the rest relied heavily on animals as vehicles were limited and realistically mechanized armies did not fair well in the Russian theatre due to thick heavy mud and impassible roads. Animals figured heavily in the German war with the Soviets.

A conservative estimate puts the amount of animals used by all armies at around 7 million horses, mules, donkeys, oxen, camels and other animals the actual amount is thought to be considerably higher. You also have to remember animals were not only used for transportation and supplies but food as well.


And don’t forget the carrier pigeons.