The German Mountain Infantry Brigade are the last brigade in the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) that use horses and mules. The mules are used to carry heavy loads and supplies to troops in the mountains. To work together as successfully as possible, the bond between soldier and animal must be very strong. The brigade relies heavily on the animals, who play a key role in an environment which is hard to work in, by providing troops with supplies in hard to reach places.
Sergeant Mario Thiess said: “The mules are strong, they are helpful, and they are honest. If you are good to the mules, the mules will be good to you. We are here to carry loads from our platoons, sometimes water, something to eat, munitions, heavy weapons. Our unit is very important for NATO because whenever there is a mission in the mountains, it’s very important to supply the troops. In our special terrain, we are the best.”
“You’re working each day with the mules,” Sergeant Thiess continues. “The whole day, and especially if you are on march in the mountains – five, six, seven every day. “You are always together with the mule. You are really good together. “If we have a long march, and it’s very high and it’s hard for me, then I talk to him and say – only a few hundred metres to go – we can do it.”
Previously, the German Mountain Infantry Brigade was deployed on NATO missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Learn how man and animal work together while out on deployment in the mountains. Footage includes various shots of members of the German Mountain Infantry Brigade working together with their mules during exercise Mountain Lion in the Alps.