Thursday, February 22, 2018

Alaskan dogs in the Vosges during the Great War

The winter of 1914-1915 in the Vosges was one of the most severe of the beginning of the century. On the ridges the snow often reached 2 meters in height and the accumulation of snow made the work of the mules long and difficult. Soldiers had to continually clear snow to clear the passage. Their work quickly proved ineffective.
"The situation of the soldiers who, in the front line, defend the very strategic blue line of the Vosges is catastrophic: cut from their rear base by heavy snowfall, it is impossible to supply them with food and ammunition”, says a report.
The front resists but thousands of Chasseurs Alpins lose their lives. It is essential to prevent the disaster from recurring the following winter, at the risk, this time, of the total invasion of French territory by the Germans.
Having lived in Alaska before the conflict, Captain Louis Moufflet of the 62nd Battalion of Chasseurs Alpins and the infantry Lieutenant René Haas, who before the war was a prospector of gold in Alaska propose to get snow and winter hardy dogs from Alaska.
A mission is sent to America, but shortage in funding and poor cooperation from Americans in the name of Neutrality (advocated by President Wilson, the United States will not enter the war until April 1917) are serious hindrances.
In the end, 436 dogs were assembled; harnesses made, seventy sledges constructed as well as five tons of prepared special biscuits. Together, they make up the largest dog pack ever gathered in the world and shipped to France.
The dogs did exactly what was hoped for and played an important part in winning the war. Three of the Alaskan dogs were decorated with the Croix de Guerre.


  1. Hello Daan,
    Do you know that the french athlete Martin Fourcade : wears the Tarte in the Troupe de Montagne french army? :
    Best greetings from France (I was born in les Vosges)


    1. Thank you, Guy. Good material for another post on The Beret Project!