What Animals Were Used for Military Purposes in Ancient Times?

Throughout history, humans have trained and used animals for a variety of purposes. From transportation to hunting, animals have been an integral part of human civilization.

One area where animals were extensively used was in warfare. In ancient times, various animals were used for military purposes and played a significant role in battles. Let’s take a look at some of the animals that were used for military purposes in ancient times.


One of the most iconic animals that were used in ancient warfare was elephants. Elephants were primarily used by armies from India and Southeast Asia, but they also saw action in parts of Europe and Africa. These majestic creatures could carry heavy loads, crush enemy soldiers with their weight, and even be trained to impale them using their tusks.

Cavalry Horses

In ancient times, horses were bred specifically for use in warfare. Cavalry horses were fast and agile, making them ideal for scouting missions and quick attacks on enemy lines. They could also be trained to trample enemy soldiers or pull chariots loaded with weapons.


Dogs have been used in warfare since ancient times due to their excellent sense of smell and hearing abilities. They were particularly useful in detecting hidden enemies or ambushes. Ancient armies often deployed dogs to protect campsites or to warn soldiers of incoming attacks.


Pigeons might not seem like an obvious choice for military use; however, they played a vital role as messengers during battles. Pigeons have an innate ability to return to their home base from long distances, making them ideal carriers of important messages between armies.


Camels are known for their ability to survive long periods without water or food, making them ideal for desert warfare. Armies from the Middle East and North Africa extensively used camels for transportation and as mounts for soldiers.

War Elephants

In addition to regular elephants, some ancient armies trained elephants specifically for combat. These war elephants were often armored and trained to charge enemy lines. They were particularly effective in breaking through infantry formations and creating chaos on the battlefield.


In conclusion, animals played a significant role in ancient warfare. From heavy-duty elephants to agile cavalry horses and loyal dogs, these animals helped armies win battles and conquer territories. Although the use of animals in warfare is no longer prevalent, their contribution to ancient military tactics cannot be overlooked.