Tuesday, July 23, 2024

German troops still use mules for supply missions

In the challenging terrain of the Bavarian Alps, mules play an indispensable role in supporting the German Army’s mountain troops.

These hybrid animals, a mix of horses and donkeys, are capable of carrying up to 120 kg through rugged landscapes, making them invaluable for logistical support in the mountains.

Soldiers of the Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 (Mountain Infantry Brigade 23) regularly train with these pack animals to ensure their calmness and efficiency under pressure. The ability of mules to navigate difficult paths and carry heavy loads makes them essential for the operations of the mountain troops.


Historically, horses were the primary mode of transportation north of the Alps. Mules and hinnies—crossbreeds of horses and donkeys—were virtually unknown until the end of the Iron Age. However, recent research by an Austrian-German team has confirmed that the Romans introduced mules to the region in the first century. This conclusion is based on analyses of ancient DNA and teeth from archaeological sites, as reported in the “Journal of Archaeological Science.”

The significance of mules in military logistics was humorously highlighted by a defense industry analyst and consultant
Nicholas Drummond, noted, “The German Army’s mountain troops are equipped with a very sophisticated logistical support device. It runs on bio-fuel (grass/hay) and water. It can be programmed to carry out a variety of missions and is extremely reliable.”

In the Berchtesgadener Land, the resilience and reliability of these animals remain unmatched, providing a crucial backbone for the mountain infantry. The integration of mules into modern military operations reflects both a historical legacy and a practical solution for overcoming the unique challenges presented by mountainous terrain.

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Executive Editor

About author:

Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov
Dylan Malyasov is the editor-in-chief of Defence Blog. He is a journalist, an accredited defense advisor, and a consultant. His background as a defense advisor and consultant adds a unique perspective to his journalistic endeavors, ensuring that his reporting is well-informed and authoritative. read more



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