War Dogs Track The Scent of Culture?

By The History Detectives Team
8 July 2009
Category: Viewer Mailbag

Comment from viewer Mike Flynn:

During conversations (with my father) about the war in Europe it once came up that he could "smell" the Germans. I found that odd so I asked him how. His explanation was that the German uniforms, food, tobacco products etc. were different and had their own specific smell. When he entered a bunker that had recently be taken, he could smell their recent occupation of the bunker.

During my stint in Southeast Asia, I also noticed the same thing about the Viet Cong and was told by special forces not to use mouthwash or tooth paste in the bush, because the Viet Cong could track it as well by the smell. I was told the smell could travel for miles in the water.

So, while creating armies of wild war dogs as a weapon is far fetched, I know that the dogs used in Viet Nam could "smell", with their more acute sense of smell, the enemy, not because of their "Asian-ness", but because of their clothes and diet etc. which did make them smell different.

A good example is the fish spice called (sp?) Nuk Maam that they used like we use salt. It is very pungent and easily identified even to the human nose.

A matter of culture not ethnicity, that often separated the quick from the dead.

Mike Flynn

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