Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Art: Straight from the horses mask.

Screamers and Screamettes, I don't know where this mania for gas masks came from, but if you'll humor me, I promise not to indulge more than once a month.

During the joyous rush to unleash chemical hell on to the battlefields of World War I, soldiers on all sides quickly learned that humans weren't the only beasties that needed protection. Enter gas masks for horses and dogs. Gas masks for horses didn't last much longer than the First World War, when horses themselves became less and less important to modern armies (though, as late as 1948, the U.S. Army Officer Corp fielded the U.S. Olympic equstrian team). Dogs, however, remain popular instruments of war and, as you can see, there are many Cold War and later doggie gas mask designs.


zoe said...

yay! bizarre me, but i'll look forward to the updates.
these guys, and their animals, are so creepy looking...the birth of horror fiction, right there.

Sasquatchan said...

If my grandpa wasn't totally senile, I'd ask him how they got those masks on the dogs in the first place.. I can imagine it took lots of training (one to do it right, two to keep the dog from chewing your arm off while you try to put it on .. )

Army still employs horses, sort-of. Washpost had a great article about the "last" farrier retiring soon (after some 40 years of service).. He shoes the horses used in Arlington Cemetery ceremonies and what not. Was a good article, but probably a year old now.

Oliver said...

I'm guessing the main advantage for using dogs in warfare is their superior sense of smell. The problem is, if they're wearing gas masks then surely they won't smell much more than the mask itself?