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The role of animals in war has ranged from the utilitarian use of their particular physical characteristics and strengths to the matching of unique behavioral characteristics with needs not easily met by human abilities. That use has been enhanced in many cases by the formation of animal–human comrade relationships that are similar to comradeship between humans in times of war.

Until the firm establishment of mechanical replacements in the early 20th century, animals had always been used as beasts of burden and weapons in war. Elephants were part of combat strategy as early as the third century bce in the accounts of Greek and Roman wars. They could serve both in the transport of heavy materiel and in the formation of offensive stampedes, with the ...

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