Posted by Mike on January 31, 2007
In Reply to: "Dogs off chains". posted by Feargal Kinsella on January 11, 2007
: In sailing circles, when the wind is very strong it is sometimes said to be blowing "dogs off chains". Possibly this means that it is strong enough to, literally, pull a dog from its tether chain, but is there another explanation or origin for this phrase?
Comes from a British Navy command "Havoc"
"Cry havoc and unleash the dogs of war" - Shakespeare.
Dogs of war are unruly rable of the lowest kind of soldiery (marines historically), they were unleashed from the battle by the order "Havoc" to rape, pillage, and loot.
A wind strong enough to cause havoc.