War pig


War pig

War pigs, also known as incendiary pigs and sometimes known as "Fire pigs", are pigs speculatedFact|date=August 2008 to have been used at most rarely in ancient warfare as a countermeasure to war elephants. The pigs were allegedlyFact|date=August 2008 covered with tar, pitch, olive oil, or other flammable materials, set on fire, and driven towards enemy war elephants, with the intention that the elephants, terrified by the piercing squeals and oncoming flames, would flee in panic through the lines of their drivers' own army. A burning pig cannot be easily controlled, and could quickly turn into a loose cannon causing harm to friendly soldiers. However, the hope of stopping war elephants was enough to make war pigs a desirable tactic.

Pliny the Elder reported that "elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of a pig" ( [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Plin.+Nat.+8.9 book VIII ch. 9] ). Antipater's siege of Megara during the Wars of the Diadochi was reportedlyFact|date=August 2008 broken when the Megarians poured oil on a herd of pigs, set them alight, and drove them towards the enemy's massed war elephants. The elephants bolted in terror from the flaming squealing pigs often killing great numbers of the army the elephant was part of (Aelian, "de Natura Animalium" [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Aelian/de_Natura_Animalium/16*.html#36 book XVI, ch. 36] ). The Romans would later use the squeals of pigs to frighten Pyrrhus' elephants, thus winning a great victory (ibid., [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/L/Roman/Texts/Aelian/de_Natura_Animalium/1*.html#38 book I ch. 38] ). Procopius, in book VIII of his "History of the Wars", records the defenders of Edessa using a pig suspended from the walls to frighten away Khosrau's siege elephants.

Related military concepts include the concept of incendiary monkeys in China as a battlefield weaponFact|date=August 2008, the use of anti-tank dogs used by the Soviet Union to combat invading German tanks at close range, and the supposed proposal of military dolphins for mine-laying as an anti-ship weapon, and as anti-diver weapons (although these usages have been denied by the US military [http://www.ukdiving.co.uk/conservation/articles/dolphin_war2.htm] [http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sandiego/technology/mammals/NMMP_FAQ.html] , the use of military dolphins for mine-hunting is well documented [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/03/27/MN291465.DTL] ).

ee also

* Military animal


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