Messenger Dogs and Carrier Pigeons (Germany, 1918)
Military Notes on Training and Instruction, No. 1; Training and Instruction Branch, War Plans Division, General Staff, US Army, Washington, August 1918
Although this article isn't specifically about the CEF, it has been tagged as such to keep it with other First World War material.
Detachment of Messenger Dogs.
(From French Military Advisory Mission Bulletin)
This detachment is commanded by a lieutenant, who has charge of the pigeon service at the same time.
The total personnel is about 70.
This detachment at the present time has 26 messenger dogs. Two men are thus assigned to each dog—the man who sends a message and the man receiving it. Except in the case of absolute necessity these men always work with the same dog.
These dogs have charge of the liaisons between the command posts of company commanders, battalion command posts in line or as support (K.T.K. or B.T.K.) and regimental command posts. They maintain liaison for 3 and 4 kilometer distances.
Men and dogs remain about 10 days in the sector and have 20 days' rest—the latter usually spent in training.
Detachment of Carrier Pigeons.
This section is commanded by the same officer who commands the messenger dog detachment.
The personnel includes 1 feldwebel; 5 pigeon attendants (Taubenpfleger) to take care of the pigeons; 5 porters (sometimes more) (Taubentraeger) who carry baskets of pigeons to the various command posts, either in wagons or on their backs.
These pigeons maintain liaisons between battalion and division command posts. Each battalion command post has, almost regularly, at least 4 pigeons. Company command posts are rarely provided with pigeons.
A movable loft is kept near the divisional command post. This is a wagon with one story slightly raised, harnessed to two horses. It can shelter about 150 pigeons, which is the normal allotment per division.
The use of night flying pigeons seems to have been very satisfactory so far.