A Special Presentation From Hahn's 50th AP K-9, West Germany
WW II MASCOTS:
DOGS & OTHERS!
Featuring The History of The United States and Great Britain!
Not All Of The Dogs Of War, Were War Dogs ...A Young Marine Resting With His Mascot.
Everything From Generals
To A Private In A Foxhole!
There wasn't a military camp or installation in this country or abroad, that didn't have its quota of pet dogs during the war. They went on maneuvers and cross country hikes with the men, lined up with the ranks for inspection, they rode in every thing from tanks to planes or sat by generals in staff cars and by privates in jeeps.
Smoky, A Yorkshire Terrier, Mascot Of The 26th Photo Recon, 5th AF
They came in every breed, size, shape and color! Eisenhower had his black Scottie, Telek; tough guy George Patton had his bull terrier, Willie; and even Britain's Monty had his desert rats ...the Eighth Army!
They didn't care if their master was only a grunt in a foxhole on some battlefield, a general at HQ or a ship's captain ...or what uniform was being worned; as long as they were given water to drink, fed when there was food and petted once in awhile...they gave back ten fold!
Gen. Hill's Pet, 10th Mountain Div.
Their contribution to victory was one of morale. They didn't fight like their comrades in the K-9 Corps, but there is no denying that to the men, far from their families and sometimes facing death daily, that a devoted four footed pal was a link with home and the peaceful life.
Cuddles, Mascot of The 25th BG
And not all were dogs either, Cuddles, a black bear cub, was perhaps one of the more unusual mascots of the Army Air Force's 25th Bomb Group; shown above with his master, a radio operator of one our B-17s, on a mission to Germany.
ETO: During The Cherbourg Campaign,
11 Americans, 265 Germans And 1 Dog!
"There's a story told, that in France, during the Cherbourg campaign somebody made a mistake, which turned into an invasion front thriller with a tail wagging twister.
It demonstrates the American soldier's love for dogs extended even to the enemy dogs. And how eleven Americans captured an air base, 265 Germans ...and a dog.
A Captain William Gledhill was instructed to take a look at what was suspose to be an abandoned German airfield. So with a small detail of six soliders, a navy lieutenant and three sailors, they set off in two jeeps. Once near the field, they encountered some French peasants, who informed them that the airfield was still held by the Germans.
Once near the airfield, the American detail was greeted with a hail of machine gun fire. Hitting the dirt, Captain Bill Gledhill shouted to the Germans to surrender, at first with no result, but finally the enemy announce that they would...apparently they had seen some American tanks recently and thought they were about to be blasted from them.
Boxers At German Training School, Berlin 1936.
At first, the Germans with a white flag, came out by threes and twos, then dozens, until there were 265 of them standing with their hands raised. All those prisoners and a dog.
The dog was a big sturdy boxer...one of the Germans shouted to him..."Platz!" The dog sat up, extending his paw. And so delighted were the Americans, that they quickly confiscated the educated canine for a mascot and thereafter in an American outfit near Cherbourg the command was often heard, "Platz" - with the pooch sitting up and taking notice."
While Patton's Dog, Wasn't A War Dog
...Willie Was Certainly, A Dog Of War!
Willie The Conqueror!
It's well known, that General George S. Patton was an avid animal lover. He bought the first of many bull terriers just after World War I for his girls, Beatrice and Ruth Ellen, and named him Tank. Although Tank turned out to be stone deaf, the girls loved him and called him by thumping on the floor. In spite of his deafness, Tank some how always knew when Patton was arriving home and always met him at the front door.
Hey George! Wait For Me!
But the most famous bull terrier owned by General Patton was purchased on 4 March, 1944, and was named Willie, short for "William the Conqueror." Willie was devoted to the General, and followed him everywhere.
Last Photograph Of The Two Of Them, Before Patton Died
When General Patton bought Willie, he wrote in his diary, "My bull pup . . . took to me like a duck to water. He is 15 months old, pure white except for a little lemin [sic] on his tail which to a cursory glance would seem to indicate that he had not used toilet paper. . ."
Guarding His Master's Luggage & Belongings!
Willie wore jingle bells on his collar so everyone would know when he was around and he was rumored to be a prodigious "lover." He also supposedly had his own set of "dog tags," too!
Heart Broken, Sad And Alone!
General George S. Patton Jr., died December 21, 1945, at the Army hospital, in Heidelberg, Germany, following an tragic automobile accident; he was burried with his troops...the Third Army, and his grave was marked with a simple white cross.
France, Shortly After D-Day!
Willie, his constant companion during the war, was sent home to the United States, and lived out the rest of his life with the General's wife and daughters.
...Both Large And Small.
During World War II many animals served with and gave their lives for the British and Commonwealth forces, they served in every role imaginable from mine sniffers to mascots.
On the HMS Duke of York, the ships mascot was a tabby cat named Whisky who became famous for sleeping through the battle during which the German ship Scharnhorst was sunk.
Some Cats Were Larger Than Others, Lion Mascot Of A So. African Rifle Unit!
And another cat called Susan attended the D-Day invasion after making herself at home on a landing craft of the Royal Navy.
Simon With His Dickin Medal
Perhaps the most famous animal mascot to receive the Dickin VC medal was Simon, the ship's cat who served on board the HMS Amethyst, a British escort sloop, just after WW II, in April 1949.
The sloop, a ship originally designed for convoy escort duty during the Second World War, was in China as Mao Tse-Tung's forces consolidated their hold on the country.
The Amethyst was trapped on the Yangtze River and shelled by the Chinese. The ship was hit 50 times. Seventeen were killed; 25 wounded. Simon was trapped in the wreckage and not found for four days.
HMS Amethyst After Returning Home To England
The Communist forces then besieged the ship for most of the summer. Despite his wounds, Simon continued his duties, hunting rats on the trapped ship, helping to preserve the dwindling food supply, until the incident ended. It should be noted, that Simon was the only cat to ever receive the award.
The Norwegian ship Thorod had a St Bernard by the name of Bamse, who would round the ships crew up by visiting them in their favorite bars and clubs.
Syrian Bear: Voytek Relaxing On Board!
One of the more unusual mascots was a Syrian Bear adopted by the Second Polish Transport Company in Persia, by the name of Voytek. The bear discovered an Arab spy, but the shower room had to be kept locked for his love of water would have drained the water supply. After the war he was handed over to Edinburgh Zoo (Scotland) after his owner was demobbed (discharged).
Mascots Of The USS Okhahoma
A Cocker Spaniel, Name Admiral Wags!
It was early in May, of 1942, a 33,000 ton American aircraft carrier had just taken part in the Battle of the Coral Sea, and now the gallant Lexington was in trouble.
To Rear Admiral Frederick C. Sherman, then captain and commanding officer of the carrier, and even to the newest seaman aboard, it was obvious that the ship was doomed.
Admiral Sherman gave the order to abandon ship!
As the men began to slide down lines over the side of the stricken vessel, the admiral remembered his dog. Admiral Wags, a cocker spaniel.
Wags originally belonged to Sherman's son, but after the boy went away to boarding school the dog attached himself to his sea going master and had been his constant companion on tours of duty for several years. He wore two stars on his collar to designate his rank.
When the fireworks started, Wags had scampered into the admiral's emergency cabin on the bridge and hid under the bunk.
During the excitement of the action, Admiral Sherman completely forgot about his pet. Now, as the commanding officer hurriedly made his way through the increasing and nearly suffocating smoke, he was worried.
The admiral groped his way into the emergency cabin, which was filled with smoke and acid fumes, and he later recalled that "for a brief moment I feared that the dog had suffocated."
He made a quick search of the cabin, but Wags had vanished. Admiral Sherman soon spotted him, however, taking refuge on another section of the bridge, a very frightened pup, waiting anxiously for his master.
It was a happy and quick reunion. Admiral Sherman nestled the little mascot under his arm and quickly went down to the flight deck, where he gave Wags to an orderly, who tied a life jacket around the dog and lowered him over the side.
True to naval tradition, Admiral Sherman remained aboard until the last man was safely off the Lexington. Then as he slid to safety down a line from the deck into a waiting boat, the torpedo locker exploded with a terrible roar. The admiral had escaped just in time.
The brave ship was then sent to the bottom with gun fire.
Admiral Wags was taken aboard a destroyer. Admiral Sherman was carried to a cruiser. Several days later, the pet was transferred at sea to the cruiser. Wags was overjoyed at being with his master once again, and needless to say, the feeling was mutual.
Admiral Sherman for his heroic act, received a medal from the American Humane Assoc.; Wags also received a medal for his participation in the Coral Sea Battle. It was given to him by the Tailwaggers Club of America, an WW II organization of dog lovers.
Sinbad's Battle Station, USCGC Campbell
USCGC Campbell's Mascot: Sinbad!
Probably the most famous Coast Guard mascot was a dog named Sinbad. He came on board the ship in 1937 when the USCGC Campbell made a port call in Portugal and served throughout World War II.
A "salty sea dog," Sinbad stood watches and ate and slept with the crew. Every time the Campbell would make a port call and liberty was granted, Sinbad would be the first off the ship.
Sinbad was as much a part of the Campbell as his two-legged shipmates. His contributions to that ship were incalculable in terms of the morale boost he provided.
To his shipmates he was the good luck charm that brought them through the countless battles with the subs, storms, and the terrible ice of the North Atlantic.
The "Tail" End!
Captured German And His Friend!
NEXT: OTHER ANIMALS WHO SERVED