The German Mountain Infantry Brigade is the last and only brigade in the German Army that uses horses and mules. The vast landscape of the Alps is their training area and the mules are used to carry heavy loads and supplies to troops in the mountains.
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.
“You’re working each day with the mules,” Sergeant Thiess continuing “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.”
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.