Anti-tank dogs, also known as dog mines, were starving dogs with explosives harnessed to their back and trained to seek food under enemy tanks and armoured vehicles. By doing so, a small wooden lever would be tripped, detonating the explosives.
The dogs were employed by the Soviet Union during World War II, to be used against German tanks. The dogs would be starved, then trained to find food under a tank. The dogs quickly learned that being released from their pens meant to run out to where a tank was parked and find some victuals. Once trained, the dogs would be fitted with an explosive charge and set loose into a field of oncoming German tanks. When the dog went underneath the tank—where there was less armour—the charge would detonate and gut the enemy vehicle.
Realization of that plan was less successful. The Hundeminen, as they were called by the Germans, had been trained using Soviet tanks, and would sometimes be loosed into a battle only to turn round and attack the Soviets' own forces. Other times the dogs would spook at the rumble of a vehicle's engine and run away.
Despite the problems, the anti-tank dogs were successful at disabling a reported three hundred German tanks. They were enough of a problem to the Nazi advance that the Germans were compelled to take measures against them. An armoured vehicle's top-mounted machine gun proved ineffective due to the relatively small size of the attackers and the fact that they were low to the ground, fast, and hard to spot. Orders were dispatched that commanded every German soldier to shoot any dogs on sight, for fear they might be rabid. Eventually the Germans began using tank-mounted flame-throwers to ward off the dogs. They were much more successful at dissuading the attacks—but some dogs would not stop, neither for fear of the fire nor of being burned.
However, in 1942, the achievement of using the Anti-tank dogs became a downfall when a large contingent of anti-tank dogs ran amok, endangering everyone in the battle and forcing the retreat of an entire Soviet division. Soon afterward the Anti-tank dogs were withdrawn from service.