A Russian fighting bear with its crew.

Tricky beasties, ursines. All last night Mr. Rigby had regaled Newkirk with tales of them eating their handlers.


Fighting bears are a fabrication used mainly by the Russians. They are also known as ursines. They are very large bears which can be used to fight and to carry loads.

Deryn and Newkirk collect a package from a bear when the Leviathan crosses over the Trans-Siberian Trailway, a road that is used by the bears to transport supplies across Russia. Starving fighting bears are the creatures that surround Nikola Tesla and his Russian assistants when he attempts to investigate the cause of the damage in Tunguska. The Leviathan drops the dried beef that was contained in the package to distract the bears while they pick up Tesla and the Russians, and Tesla fends them off with his walking stick .

Russia sends fighting bears against Austria-Hungary, which seems to be one of the primary difficulties Austria-Hungary is having during the war. During battle, a squadron of bears would have razor spurs fitted on their legs, and carry a group of riflemen.