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Animals at War

Discussion in 'Military History' started by A-58, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude Patron  

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    I read this earlier and thought it would fit here. When reading about animals in wartime, the cavalry horses always seem to take the forefront. I really like the story about that bear cub that Polish troops adopted and "served" with them throughout the war, and other stories about "war animals" have always interested me. And the story about the decorated cat on the British warship that destroyed the rodent infestation that was threatening the food stores of the vessel. When reading stories such as these, I wonder about what these brave animals are thinking. Let me know what you think about this story, and feel free to post your own stories as you see fit. Hopefully there will be many more interesting stories to follow.

    This story is from the American Civil War.

    Sallie, the hero bull terrier.

    1861 Sallie the bull terrier was adopted by the captain of a Union regiment when she was just a puppy. She grew up among the soldiers as they were preparing for what came to be the bloodiest part of the Civil War. During the drills, she would run alongside the soldiers and stand at attention during the daily dress parade. Even Lincoln himself was known to give Sallie a salute.

    During one particularly nasty battle, Sallie's regiment was pushed back into a nearby town. They were eventually able to push the Confederates back, and when they finally recovered what had been their absolute frontline days earlier they found Sallie standing vigil over wounded Union soldiers and watching over the dead bodies of her fallen allies. She had been doing that for three whole days. No hunger, no thirst, and definitely no charging Confederate army had been able to make her flinch one bit.

    In February 1865 an attack in the Petersburg lines that led to the demise of the whole first wave of the Union attack. Men of the second wave found Sallie's body and actually paused the attack to bury her while under heavy enemy fire.A few decades later, when a monument was constructed to commemorate the brave efforts of the 11th Pennsylvania regiment, the surviving soldiers insisted she be included.
     
    Half Track, 36thID and Biak like this.
  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good story. Reminds a bit of Greyfriars Bobby.
     
  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Great idea for a thread! I remember seeing a story about a certain Marine Private who happened to be a four legged creature but I'll let one of our esteemed colleagues post that.
    Since the Coast Guard get overlooked so often here's one;
    The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Campbell adopted a mixed-breed puppy in 1938. Little did they know that their canine companion would become a world famous Coast Guard veteran. He was, literally, a member of the crew, complete with all the necessary enlistment forms and other official paperwork, uniforms, and his own bunk. He sailed on board the combat-tested cutter through World War II and saw much action, both at sea and in port. As Life Magazine reported: "An Old Sea Dog Has Favorite Bars and Plenty of Girls in Every Port." Until recently he had the honor and distinction of being the only Coast Guardsman to be the subject of a biography! It was Sinbad of the Coast Guard, written by Chief Specialist George R. Foley, USCGR and published by Dodd, Mead and Company of New York during the war. The book made him an international celebrity.
    Although he served honorably, he did run into a bit of trouble on occasion, as any sailor might during a long career at sea. He caused an international incident in Greenland, another in Casablanca, and was busted in rank a few times for minor infractions. As another author noted:
    "Sinbad is a salty sailor but he's not a good sailor. He'll never rate gold hashmarks nor Good Conduct Medals. He's been on report several times and he's raised hell in a number of ports. On a few occasions, he has embarrassed the United States Government by creating disturbances in foreign zones. Perhaps that's why Coast Guardsmen love Sinbad, he's as bad as the worst and as good as the best of us."
    Regardless of the fact that he liked to blow off a little steam while on liberty, he was a brave and capable sailor when he was on duty. He earned the respect and affection of his shipmates during one famous battle when the Campbell fought it out with the Nazi submarine U-606. The cutter was severely damaged during the fight and the commanding officer ordered all but essential personnel off the ship. They transferred to a nearby destroyer but a tough and hardy few stayed on board the Campbell while the cutter was towed to safety, patching her hull and ensuring that she stayed afloat during the voyage. Among that few was Sinbad.
    He served faithfully on board Campbell for eleven years, garnering more sea time than most of his contemporaries, before finally retiring to the Barnegat Light Station. He passed away 30 December 1951 and was laid to rest beneath the station's flagstaff.

    View attachment 18283


     

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  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Theres a lot to write about here...both from the animal's point of view and the psychology of the men who served with the animals (Bull Terrior in this instance). Most people can guess the bulk of it...but theres so much the world is yet to discover about "other animals" (we are an animal "a part" not "apart" from them). Dogs and horses for that matter are group (social) animals...theres a big clue right there : )
     
  5. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    This dog is quite well-known over here-
    "Bamse (pronounced Bump-sa) was a large St. Bernard dog who lived in Honningsvag, Norway, with Captain & Mrs Erling Hafto. When Vigdis, the youngest of their four children, became seriously ill, Bamse guarded her bedside for twelve days and nights until the crisis was over. World War II broke out and Captain Hafto took Bamse with him on the minesweeper, 'The Thorodd', as a registered crew-member.
    The ship was stationed in Dundee and Montrose during the war, and Bamse became a great favourite of everyone. Wearing a personalised steel helmet, Bamse stood guard in the foremost gun tower and that was his action station until the war was over."
    Bamse - the legendary Norwegian Sea-Dog
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Hehe...right up the front! "C'mon Gerry...i'll have ya!"
     
  7. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    I agree, great idea for a thread ! I found this a while back when looking for info about the Marine dog cemetery. Found an article and much more here.

    Buddies: Soldiers and Animals in World War II

    Also, let's remember the mules in Italy. Vital for transporting along the Winter Line.
     
  8. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    For one raised on a farm and raised pigs and calves until they were ready for slaughter....then ate them....I have grown into an old softy. I have read such stories, seen pictures of dogs taken on bombers and war ships, even a photo of a small dog on a U boat but cannot help but think if you really loved a dog or even cared for it would you subject it to 20MM cannot fire , electrical fires, bomb explosions, etc at 25,000 feet for the sake of companionship.

    I understand war dogs in combat though many were maimed and killed just like soldiers but they seem to be felt necessary by the military to save human lives. We use to raise horses and the thought of a horse being chewed up my a Maxim in WW 1 is not pleasant to me nor the cavalryman upon it. Being that the German army relied heavily on horses one cannot imagine how may were killed in combat or seeing French cows horses and pigs who unwittingly participated in the activities of Normandy. The scene in the "Pacific " of the soldier shooting a farmers cow surprised me or the rare piece of film showing a Huey door gunner shooting at a tiger in Vietnam.

    I am not trying to be negative, or self righteous, the good stories are wonderful, the others just casualties of war. As I said I have killed, cleaned and eaten many an animal in my youth, both wild and domestic.....without a qualm and who would not enjoy a fine "mess" of gravy smothered doves and wild rice ?. For some unknown reason unnecessarily harming creatures has started to get to me as I age. My apologies.

    Gaines
     
  9. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    Gaines, I fully understand.

    As we see our elderly years approaching, our views and appreciation of things change.

    We know domesticated animals and animals that were consumed, provided us much comfort or a full belly. I'll bet you never wasted a meal or abused one animal in your life. We appreciated what all animals provide for us humans.

    I can tell you that I have a sincere hate for zoos ! Being a lifelong outdoors man made me that way. As I get old, I have developed a deep admiration to wild animals. A bear roaming, a tiger hunting .... The migrating birds, the strutting turkey, or even the journey of the Monarch is nature at it's best. My admiration of wildlife makes it painful for me to see a wild animal caged.

    The animals you mentioned, the dog on the U Boat and the dog flying at 25,000 feet was just as scared as his master. But neither would have it any other way than face it together.

    Here's a good story about WW 2 dogs being returned to civilian life after the war. Of the 549 dogs that returned, only 4 could not be retrained to be a good ole house dog.... Enjoy !

    Marine Dogs of World War II
     
  10. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I agree Steve...Being a group animal, if the dog could talk, he'd say, his place is with the alpha...what happens to him, happens to me.
     
  11. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    For the animal lovers. A few years ago I befriended a fox that I named "Norman." Norman would come by when I worked nights and share my lunch with me. He got so tame that on cold nights he'd scratch on the door until I let him in, then curl up near my feet and go to sleep. We became very fond of each other and he'd let me pet him, but wouldn't go so far as to let me pick him up. Eventually, Norman began showing up with a larger fox following him, which is when I realized he was a girl and it was mating season. She disappeared somewhere to give birth (I suppose) and I never saw her again.

    Anway, some video of Norman.

    [video=youtube;CRqgTHLnEW0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRqgTHLnEW0&list=UUa8Ddxj_xCNEUuv89huzj9Q& index=9[/video]
     
  12. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I nominate the cat on HMS Amathyst if it does not have to be ww2 related...I don't do cats..I do dogs..But that cat deserved its medal.
     
  13. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Thanks guys , was not trying to put a damper on a great subject and it is nice you understand. Many people do indeed change as they age. I really enjoy the Marine dog stories. The thread really expands one's knowledge of conflict.

    Gaines
     
  14. Milleniumgorilla

    Milleniumgorilla Member

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    Not to forget Prince Rupert of the Rhine of ECW fame with his hunting poodle named Boye.

    Wiki:
     
  15. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    We need an dislike button....KD has brought a fox onto my beloved forum...Tallyho....Wifey get the shotgun...
     
  16. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    Saw a fox merrily trotting along the pavement near the city centre just after midnight the other night. It tried to do a runner when it heard my car, but because of all the snow and ice it was just running on the spot. When its claws eventually gripped, it shot through a hedge head-first into someone's garden.:D
    Anyway, someone mentioned Wojtek the bear, so here's his story-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wojtek_(soldier_bear)
     
  17. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It's KB if you please... :D

    You'd go mad around here since we're overrun with the fuzzy little guys. With the price of fur the way it is, nobody bothers to trap or shoot them any more.
     
  18. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist Patron  

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    A bit of a tangent, but related nontheless.
    "Carrying gas masks became routine for adults and children during the Second World War.
    But this collection of amazing pictures shows it was common place for dogs to be equipped with breathing apparatus as well.
    The array of fascinating pictures collected by blog Retronaut demonstrate how often canines were called upon to help with the war effort.
    The black and white photographs show a number of dogs in a range of situations, equipped with masks and fighting for both sides in the war.
    One picture shows two dogs in a trench with a German infantryman while another shows two Alsatians about to go out on patrol with two British soldiers.
    Dogs have historically been a valuable ally for soldiers in war so it is no surprise that safety equipment was designed specifically for them.
    They were tasked with a number of different jobs during the Second World War."

    Pictures surface showing dogs in gas masks during WWII | Mail Online

     
  19. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The irony here of coure is that foxes are vermin/ferral animals in the States and Australia (killed and extincted over a thousand species here alone) - And yet they are native to the UK??
     
  20. 36thID

    36thID Member

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