Operation Cowboy – How American GIs & German Soldiers Joined Forces to Save the Legendary Lipizzaner Horses
The war in Europe was just days away from ending when a strange episode played out along the German-Czechoslovakian border. More than 350 American GIs had just fought their way through enemy lines to reach the town of Hostau. The settlement, which was still in the hands of a detachment of Wehrmacht soldiers, was home to some remarkably valuable treasure: several hundred prized Lipizzaner horses. The famous and rare animals, which had been seized by the Third Reich as part of a bizarre wartime livestock breeding program, were now in the path of the advancing Red Army where they faced almost certain destruction. Fearing for the horses’ lives, the German officer in charge of the stud farm sent word to the Americans that he and his men would surrender en masse if the U.S. Army promised to get the beasts out of harm’s way.
Inside the Secret Pigeon Service, an unlikely weapon in the fight against the Nazis
It may sound like the product of an over-imaginative mind, but Operation Columba, a clandestine British bid to gain intelligence from occupied areas, was very real. Between 1941 and 1944, 16,000 avian agents, hidden in canisters with little parachutes attached, fell to the ground in rural France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The plucky pigeons sparked hundreds of tiny acts of resistance: villagers sending back messages, tied to the legs of the birds. One group of villagers, led by a local priest, provided intelligence so valuable it was shown to Winston Churchill.
Classic turn-based strategy games: Conflict-Series
If you like classic turn-based PC war games and legendary strategy board games make sure to check out the highly rated Conflict-series for Android. Some of the WWII Campaigns include Axis Balkan Campaign, D-Day 1944, Operation Barbarossa, France 1940, Kursk 1943, Market Garden, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Rommel's North African campaign, and the Battle of Bulge. In addition to WWII some other time periods include Korean War, American Civil War, First World War and American Revolutionary War. The more complex campaigns like Operation Sea Lion, Invasion of Norway, and Invasion of Japan 1945, include Naval element and handling logistics of supply flow.
(available on Google Play & Amazon App Store since 2011)
Warhorses of Germany - The Myth of the Mechanised Blitzkrieg
While many films have attempted to convey the experience of the WWII European battlefield, none adequately portray the mayhem and suffering that befell untold thousands of horses. In great part, the role of the horse in the Second World War, and in particular their use by the Third Reich, has been eclipsed by the sturm und donner of panzers and Stukas, the iconic images of the German mechanized Blitzkrieg. In reality the so-called 'military juggernaut' was a myth – the Nazi war machine less metal and more horse flesh.
750,000 British dogs and cats euthanised upon the outbreak of WW2
A new book, 'The British Cat and Dog Massacre: The Real Story of World War Two's Unknown Tragedy' tells the heartbreaking, but little-known, story of the 750,000 dogs and cats euthanised upon the outbreak of the Second World War.
Nazis passed a number of really strict animal protection laws in 1933
The Nazis will always be remembered for their cruelty so it's strange to hear that they treated animals with respect. When the Nazis came to power, they passed laws to protect animals. In 1933 the Nazis passed laws regulating the slaughter of animals. Hermann Goering announced an end to the 'unbearable torture and suffering in animal experiments' and it was said that anyone who treated animals as inanimate property would be sent to a concentration camp. Among other things, the law forbade any unnecessary harm to animals, banned the inhumane treatment of animals in the production of movies, and outlawed the use of dogs in hunting. Cutting the tails and ears of dogs without anesthesia was also banned, and livestock were supposed to be killed humanely.
In pictures: Animals who won medals for bravery in conflict
Photo gallery: Animals who won medals for bravery in conflict.
American World War II plot to bomb Japan with bats
Imagine: a quiet, tense night in the middle of wartime. A plane rips through the air above your city, rupturing the stillness. The bay doors open, and out whistles a bomb. It drops and drops. Everyone braces. But when it explodes, the city is filled not with the flash of impact, but with hundreds and hundreds of tiny, whirling bats. This ridiculous vision—in which Japanese cities were destroyed by a giant bomb full of bats that were themselves carrying tinier bombs—was called Project X-Ray, and it was but a claw's breadth from becoming a reality.
Aurochs: How Hitler and Goering resurrected extinct species to make Nazi super cows
A breed of cow that went extinct in the 1600s but was brought back to life by Hitler has made the headlines across the UK. Devonshire farmer Derek Gow had to slaughter most of his herd of Heck because of their "incredibly aggressive" behaviour. Some of the animals would try to kill anyone that approached and, as a result, have been turned into sausage meat. Aurochs, or Bos primigenius, died out in 1627 in Poland. They were a large breed of cattle, standing up to 1.8m in height, and was ancestor to modern domestic breeds. In the 1930s, Nazi second in command Hermann Goering asked geneticists Heinz and Lutz Heck to re-create the extinct species.
Britain's Luftwoofe: The Heroic Paradogs of World War II
Brian was a tough paratrooper. He trained hard for his deployment with the British Army during . During his training, he learned how to identify minefields. Then, on the battlefield, he protected his comrades-in-arms. On D-Day, he parachuted under heavy anti-aircraft fire onto the Continent. He was there when the Allies liberated Normandy. A few months before the war's end, he parachuted into western Germany, from where he marched to the Baltic Sea. After the war, Brian was given an award to recognize his "conspicuous gallantry." But the bronze medal was not the only thing that distinguished this special soldier from the majority of his comrades: Brian, the tough paratrooper, was a dog, a young Alsatian-Collie mix.
Wojtek: The Bear Who was Officially a Member of the Polish Army During WWII
After being invaded by Nazi Germany in the west and later by Soviet Russia in the east, the Polish government fled Warsaw but continued to fight from abroad. After Germany attacked Russia, the Russians released their Polish POWs, who then began re-forming into an army. In April 1942, these Polish units landed in Persia and began a trek toward Egypt to re-group under the direction of the British Army. The soldiers did acquire a bear cub during their journey. They named him Wojtek, meaning 'he who enjoys war' or 'smiling warrior.' The bear became something of a mascot for the soldiers, and then much more. As the author of Voytek the Soldier Bear, Garry Paulin, stated: "The Polish soldiers had come from nothing, had lost everything during the war. The bear became so much more than just a mascot to them. He was a real boost to their moral."
A national monument commemorating war gods will be dedicated in California in the New Year
A new monument commemorating the sacrifices of some very special warriors will be dedicated in California in the New Year. The memorial won't honour soldiers, sailors, fliers or even the Coast Guard however. Instead it will pay tribute to the tens of thousands of dogs that have served the US military since World War II. This isn't the first memorial commemorating America's "dogs of war". Already markers to patriotic pooches adorn such places as March Air Force Base in Los Angeles; Bristol, Pennsylvania, the U.S. naval base on Guam and Fort Benning Georgia. The difference is that this latest tribute will be the first-ever national monument devoted to dogs.
Skeleton of WWII carrier pigeon found in chimney with a secret message still attached to its leg
He had survived the perilous flight back from Nazi-occupied territory hundreds of miles away. Exhausted, the British 'spy' pigeon swooped down on a chimney in Surrey for a rest. And there, sadly, he fell off his perch. Perhaps overcome by fumes from the fire below, he died – with a coded message in a tiny capsule still strapped to his leg. The hand-written message inside on a 'cigarette paper thin' piece of paper has been sent to code breakers at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the intelligence centre where work to crack the Nazi Enigma code shortened the war by years, and to their modern-day counterparts at GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Winkie: The pigeon that saved a World War II bomber crew winning the Dickin Medal
On 23 February 1942, a badly damaged RAF bomber ditched into the North Sea. Struggling in freezing waters the crew faced a cold and lonely death. Fortunately they had managed to salvage their secret weapon: a carrier pigeon. During WWII, carrier pigeons were carried by RAF bombers, though in an era before GPS and satellite locator beacons, rescue was far from certain. But the pigeon - called Winkie - did make it home, after flying 120 miles, and was discovered exhausted and covered in oil. The RAF were able to calculate the position of the downed aircraft using the time difference between the plane's ditching and the arrival of the bird.
WWII veteran Marshall Ussery trained killer dogs for Canine Corps
Marshall Ussery was working at Steeles Mill when the call for men with only one child came through. He volunteered and was sent to Ft. Bragg. "I got in the Coast Guard. They sent me to Manhattan Island for basic training. They'd run a survey to see what you best qualified for. They asked me if I liked dogs. I said yes. They asked me had I ever trained dogs, and I said yes." They sent me to dog school in Ft. Royal, Virginia. The dogs were training to find snipers in trees or under bushes, alert their soldiers to intruders or enemies, to crawl, to attack and even to kill.
Private Wojtek, the "soldier bear" which drank, smoked and battled the Nazis, to get Â£200,000 statue in Edinburgh
A bear which fought alongside Polish soldiers is to be honoured with a £200,000 statue in Edinburgh. Private Wojtek was a 6ft-tall 35 stone Syrian brown bear which was adopted by a Polish regiment stationed in the Middle East. When Allied commanders issued an order that troops advancing on Rome were not to be accompanied by animals, the bear was enlisted in the 22nd Transport Division (Artillery Supply) of the Polish 2nd Army Corps. During his most famous escapade, the animal carried shells for Allied guns during the brutal Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944.
Nazis tried to teach dogs to talk and read at Animal Speech School in Leutenberg, claims a new book about Canine Curiosities
"Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet of Canine Curiosities," by Dr Jan Bondeson, reveals one of the strangest experiments carried out by the Nazis in their search for the secret weapon. Educated dogs were collected from across the Third Reich and sent for training to the Animal Speech School (called the Tier-Sprechschule ASRA) in Leutenberg, near Hannover. Rolf, an Airedale terrier, allegedly "spoke" by tapping his paw against a board, speculating about religion, learning foreign languages, writing poetry and asking a visiting noblewoman: "Could you wag your tail?" The patriotic dog even expressed a wish to join the army, because he disliked the French. A Dachshund named Kurwenal was said to speak using a different number of barks for each letter, and told his biographer he would be voting for Hindenburg.
Gyles Mackrell used elephants to transport refugees across the Dapha river in Burma (amateur film footage)
Photos, diaries and 13-minute amateur film detailing the rescue of WWII refugees fleeing the Japanese invasion of Burma have been made available to the public. Tea exporter Gyles Mackrell - called the Elephant Man - organised for hundreds to be taken across the Dapha river on elephants during the British retreat. He orchestrated the effort in response to the hundreds of refugees trapped by rising waters during the monsoon season. Images, on display at Cambridge University's Centre for South Asian Studies, show elephants moving through the rapids with up to 3 people on their backs.
Private Wojtek - Polish bear that fought the Nazis - to be commemorated in Edinburgh
The £200,000 monument is to mark the life of "Private Wojtek", a 6ft tall, 500lb brown bear who fought alongside Polish soldiers - and retired to Edinburgh Zoo after WWII. A model of the work, by sculptor Alan Herriot, shows Wojtek and his keeper Peter Prendys. Wojtek - which means "happy warrior" - was acquired by the Polish Army as a cub, becoming the mascot of the 22nd Company of Polish Army Corps. He provided a distraction from the warfare: wrestling with the troops, getting stuck up a palm tree, cornering an Arab spy, moving boxes of artillery shells under fire during the battle of Monte Cassino.
WWII Photographs: Hero dogs from the Blitz
In pictures: Hero dogs from the Blitz bombings.
Animals of war showcased in the latest exhibit at the National World War II Museum
Smoky the Yorkshire terrier, Lady Astor the pigeon and a legion of horses and mules - 4 animals most often brought into the war - are among war animals featured in the "Loyal Forces: The Animals of WWII" exhibit at the National World War II Museum. In the first balcony, where a Sherman tank and a half-track represent the period's most common cavalry, is a figure of a Coast Guardsman on shore patrol with his horse. The shore patrols were set up after Nazi saboteurs landed on American beaches. The first thing visitors see in the special exhibits gallery is a German reconnaissance horse from Germany's 1st Cavalry Division.
250,000 birds were used by the army, RAF and the Civil Defence Services like Home Guard
At the start of World War II 7,000 of Britain's pigeon hobbyists gave their birds to the war effort to act as message carriers. The National Pigeon Service was set up, and 250,000 birds were used by the army, RAF and the Civil Defence Services like Home Guard. In WWII, every military aircraft leaving Britain was recommended to carry pigeons. The Royal Racing Pigeon Association says that aircraft had pigeons in special watertight baskets so if the aircraft had to ditch, the pigeon could take a message back to land. Now an exhibit - The Pigeon Archive - explores the topic at The Shakespeare Barn at Lynn Arts Centre galleries.
Dogs of War: Unheard tales of gallantry in the Eastern Front
Dogs that served on the front delivered messages, laid wires, detected mines, dug out the injured in bombings and acted as guards or patrol dogs. "Sledge dogs were used for both carrying away wounded soldiers and bringing ammunition. During the war, animals hauled 6,000 tons of ammunition and 3,500 tons of other loads," said Yekaterina Vasilyeva, of the Military History Museum of the Artillery, Engineering and Signal Corps. "Dogs carried more than 200,000 reports and laid about 12,000km of cable," adds Sergei Paskhin. A special medal for dogs was created - the equivalent of the Order of Courage issued to soldiers.
Bereiterinnen: Third Reich female Horse-breakers (forum thread with photographs)
While the German cavalry maintained integral remount units, the training task for riders and horses in the mounted elements of infantry and artillery units, and for draught animals, fell to a rather strange group. Due to a lack of qualified officers and NCO's in these units, German girls who were experienced in riding and breaking horses were used for these tasks. The horsewomen wore the standard uniform tunic of the staff auxiliaries riding breeches and boots. "Together with about 20 other girls and young women I became a female horse-breaker. We had the rank of Unteroffizier," recalls Margot von Schade.
10 amazing warfare use of animals, including WWII-era cat bombs, bat bombs and anti-tank dogs
(1) Anti-tank dogs were dogs taught to carry explosives to tanks and armored vehicles. They were trained by the Soviet Red Army in 1930–1996 and used in 1941–1942 against Nazi tanks. The U.S. military trained anti-tank dogs in 1943, but never deployed them. (2) American Bat bombs were casings containing a bat with an incendiary bomb. Dropped from a bomber the casings would deploy a parachute and open to release the bats which would fly to attics where the incendiaries would start fires. (3) Cat bombs: The American OSS needed a way to guide bombs to sink German ships...
War Dogs of the Pacific - documentary film
After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. military began a campaign against Japan on islands spread across the Pacific. The type of jungle warfare necessary to succeed was foreign to American forces. The Marine Corps decided on a new approach for the problems the jungle terrain presented. The documentary film "War Dogs of the Pacific" tells the story of the war dogs program. World War II dog handlers recall how they were recruited: One man was a horse trainer, so because he had at one point in his life worked with animals it was assumed he would be a natural dog handler - another one just happened to have a cocker spaniel back home, so he became a Marine dog handler.
The only Nazi Memorial in London: Giro the Nazi Dog
Giro the Nazi Dog is the only Nazi memorial in London. Giro was owned by Dr Leopold von Hoesch - the German Ambassador in London 1932-1936. Giro died in 1934 from accidental eletrocution and was given a full Nazi burial. There was a Nazi Embassy in London 1936-1939 at 9 Carlton House Terrace - now used by the Royal Society - and Nazi architect Albert Speer was involved in the building's renovation. The Nazis had to leave when the second world war started and the Foreign Office removed most of the swastikas - but there is a border design of swastikas on the floor of one public room.
Plaque for the Dickin medal winning pigeon which carried d-day message in record time
War hero Paddy the pigeon was the first bird to fly back with news of the D-Day landings in Normandy in the Second World War. Now, a plaque is being placed at Carnlough harbour in honour of the only Irish pigeon to win a Dickin medal - the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross medal. Two days after D-Day, 30 pigeons were shipped to France by a unit of the 1st US Army. Paddy's task - a secret mission codenamed "U2" - began in Normandy at 0815 BST on 12 June, when he was released with coded information on the Allied advance. He flew back in just 4 hours and 50 minutes, the fastest time recorded by a message-carrying pigeon during the Normandy landings.
War hero stray dog's medal is auctioned fetching 24,250 pounds
A medal awarded to a stray dog which find trapped survivors in London during the Blitz has been auctioned off for £24,250. Rip the mongrel was granted the Dickin Medal (animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross medal) after helping to find over 100 victims of Luftwaffe air raids. Found homeless and starving in 1940, Rip was adopted by an air raid warden based at Southill Street Air Raid Patrol in Poplar, east London. The founder of veterinary charity PDSA, Maria Dickin, began awarding the medals in 1943 to recognise animals which showed "conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty". So far 62 medals have been awarded to dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat.
How a Nazi genetic engineering brought extinct aurochs to Devon
Through the misty sunlight a vision from the primeval past lumbers into view in a Devon field. The beast with its shaggy, russet-tinged coat, powerful shoulders and lyre-shaped horns could have stepped straight from a prehistoric cave painting. The vision is a creature of which even Julius Caesar was in awe: Bos primigenius, the aurochs, fearsome wild ancestor of all domestic cattle. But this herd of 13 bulls, cows and calves known as Heck cattle is the product of Nazi genetic engineering, an attempt to reintroduce the extinct aurochs, the last of which perished in a Polish forest 4 centuries ago. The herd has Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering to thank for its existence.
Dog brings home World War II hand grenade holding it by the pin
Most dog owners have discovered that their dogs have brought home things they'd rather they didn't - like dirty bones. But a family in Inverness-shire found that their dog, described as "non-stop digger of holes," brought home something a little more unwanted. The collie puppy brought a Second World War hand grenade home, and dangled it from her mouth, holding it by the pin. Dog's owner Mylene MacDonald said: "Only rust and mud were keeping the pin in place. Had it worked loose hanging from Rox's mouth, she and my two wee boys could have been blown to bits." The area was previously used a training site for commandos.
World War II hero stray dog to have medal auctioned
A stray dog who saved more than 100 lives in world war 2 is to have his medal auctioned. The stray dog, called Rip, was rescued by an Air Raid Precaution warden in 1940 when the Luftwaffe was bombing the Poplar area of London. After being saved, Rip paid his rescuer back by sniffing out victims of the Nazi air raids, saving over 100 people in London. As a result of his heroism, Rip was granted the Dickin Medal, which was the animal version of the Victoria Cross medal.
Zoo seeking homeowner who kept Baby elephant as pet to save her from WWII blitz
A kindhearted homeowner kept a baby elephant in her back yard for months during World War II because zookeepers feared the animal would be killed in a Nazi bombing raid. Many animals were killed because of public safety fears of an escape during the bombing. But baby elephant Sheila was walked down the road by keepers to a red-brick house on the Whitewell Road where a woman gave her refuge in her back yard for several months until the so-called Belfast Blitz was over. Now, as part of the Belfast zoo's 75th anniversary, managers are trying to id the woman - known only as "the elephant angel."
World War II pigeon trainer Richard Topus passes away at the age 84
In Jan 1942 Uncle Sam sounded a call to enlist. It wasn't men they wanted, but pigeons. 50,000 pigeons served the U.S. in the war: Many were shot down or caught by falcons released by the Nazis. Richard Topus had no birds to give, but his experience with pigeons qualified him to train American spies. WWII saw the last massive use of pigeons, and Topus was among the last of the several thousand pigeoneers (military pigeon handlers), who served the U.S. in the war. Technological advances seemed to end use of pigeons as wartime messengers, but WWII revealed defects of technology: Radio transmissions can be intercepted and triangulated.
MI5's secret D-Day pigeon plot to spread false rumours revealed
British spy chiefs planned to use pigeons to spread false rumours in Nazi-occupied France about the imminent D-Day landings, declassified MI5 files show. Nazi Germany had been intercepting pigeons with Allied notes, so MI5 considered to put extra pigeons over the west coast of France to give the impression the invasion would be there. The official historian of MI5, professor Christopher Andrew, commented: "Because pigeons are used to pass on messages, it's understandable someone thought of this." The intelligence use of pigeons started during WWI when the British dropped pigeons inside baskets attached to parachutes and balloons to gather information.
World War II hero dog's tale put in print - Norwegian sea dog Bamse
It is said that sea dog Bamse, a 14 stone St Bernard, saved the lives of two sailors during World War 2. He also did many other good deeds while the mascot on the Norwegian Navy minesweeper the Thorrod. A book has now been written to separate the fact from the fiction surrounding the canine hero. His exploits included knocking over a knifeman who was attacking a lieutenant. Angus Whitson, co-author of Sea Dog Bamse, said: "My favourite story is him taking the sailors out of the pub and making sure they got back to their ship on time. From what I have read he physically pushed the sailors out of the pubs."
Bear, trained to carry heavy mortar rounds, saw action at Monte Cassino
A campaign has been launched to construct a memorial to a bear which fought in World War II. The bear, called Voytek and known as the Soldier Bear, was adopted by Polish troops in 1943, and trained to carry heavy mortar rounds. When Polish forces were deployed the only way to take the bear with them was to "enlist" him. So he was given a name, rank and number and participated in the Italian campaign, seeing action at Monte Cassino. "He was just like a dog, nobody was scared of him," said Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski.
Portraits of the World War II's feathered heroes for sale
They were the elite: trained at a secret location and dropped behind enemy lines. Some of them had to pose as German operatives. Now these heroes will have a moment in the sun when they feature in a sale. The heroes are pigeons, and the auction lots are oil paintings by Jack Lovell - approached by MI5 in 1939 to give his best birds for active duty. Some were used by the French Resistance and would fly to Bletchley Park, while others were fitted with leg tags copied from Nazi birds in the hope of penetrating German lofts. The pigeons faced the threat of being shot, or caught by the German falcons. Among the information brought back was film of the V1 rockets being built.
9 insane weapons of war, many developed during World War II
Bat bombs were tiny incendiary bombs bound to bats, developed by the U.S. with the hope of attacking Japan. The bats would disperse, then at dawn they would hide in buildings and timers would ignite the bombs. The bat bomb idea, by Lytle S. Adams, was approved by Roosevelt. --- "Who Me?" was a top secret sulfurous stench weapon by the American OSS to be used by the French Resistance. It was meant to be sprayed on a German officer, humiliating him. --- Soviet Anti-tank dogs were hungry dogs with explosives tied to their backs and trained to seek food under battle tanks. By doing so, a detonator would go off, triggering the explosives and damaging the military vehicle.
Pigeon received a medal for his war-time bravery
Paddy the pigeon was decorated for being the first bird to fly back with news of the D-Day landings in Normandy in World War II. Paddy is one of 62 animals who got the PSDA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross, for bravery in the war. Like many homing pigeons, he was "volunteered" by his owners to support the war effort. As radio signals could compromise operations, carrier pigeons were used to transport messages back to UK. The pigeons formed the National Pigeon Service. The Germans acknowledge the importance of the winged courier service and posted a flight of hawks at Calais to stop the Allied pigeons.
Dogs of War
Dogs have been used in warfare for a very long time. Ancient civilisations like the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans used war dogs. In the Middle Ages Atilla the Hun used giant Molossian dogs in his military campaigns, and Napoleon also used dogs during his campaigns. Anti-tank dogs were used by the Russians in World War II. These unfortunate creatures were taught to seek food under battle tanks. They were starved until a battle occurred. The dogs wore an overcoat in which high explosives were placed. However, use of anti-tank dogs was discontinued as they had difficulty to distinguish between enemy and own tanks.
WWII cavalry man one of last Buffalo Soldiers (Article no longer available from the original source)
They were an anachronism: soldiers on horseback in a war fought with battle tanks and B-17s. Nevertheless, here they were during World War Two, patrolling the hills and canyons along the border between California and Mexico. "They were about 4-hour shifts. We would ride back and forth looking for men. We never found any," says Andrew Whitaker, a member of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, all-black units formed by Congress after the Civil War. In 1944, the 10th Cavalry Regiment was inactivated and its men transferred to other units. With the cavalry's horses turned over to caretakers, the era of the horse soldier in the U.S. Army had ended.
Nazi raccoon predators conquered all Europe except UK
In 1934, top Nazi party official Hermann Goering received a request from the Reich Forestry Service. A fur farm was seeking permission to release a batch of critters into the wild to "enrich the local fauna" and give hunters something new to shoot at. Goering approved the request and uncorked a disaster that is still spreading. The imported North American raccoon quickly took a liking to the forests of Germany. Encountering no natural predators the creatures multiplied and have stymied all attempts to prevent them from overtaking the Continent. British tabloids have warned that it's only a matter of time until the "Nazi raccoons" cross the English Channel.
Wild horses, linked to Nazi experiments, munch marshland back to life
Close to Canterbury, wild horses linked to Nazi experiments are helping to bring wildlife back to marshlands by munching the marshes back to life. The hardy Koniks, bred in Poland from the now extinct European Tarpan, are adapted to living on wetlands. The history of the Tarpan, featured in the folklore of Teutonic crusader knights, does have a dark side. After the Nazi invasion of Poland, whole herds were taken to nazi Germany where geneticists sought to recreate the pure Aryan wild horse. "Having a Teutonic horse was something to parade at Nazi rallies." When the Russians invaded Germany, the horses were eaten by the starving people of Munich and Berlin.
How Nazi spycatchers tried to subvert Britain’s bravest flying aces
The shadowy British organisation known as Source Columba operated from behind enemy lines from the earliest days of the 1939-1945 War bringing intelligence of German plans at top speed. The Confidential Pigeon Service was one of the most closely-guarded secrets of wartime espionage because of the value of the information it provided. Hundreds of trained birds were flown from Britain in bombers, the birds contained in small cases attached to parachutes, then dropped behind enemy lines at night. Each pigeon came with a miniature spying kit. However, as D-Day neared, the Germans became "pigeon-conscious" and came up with a fiendish plan to counter the winged spies.
Teams of sled dogs exposed as hidden contributors to war effort (Article no longer available from the original source)
Drifts of snow more than waist high lay along the side of Rimini Road as Dave Armstrong's "Cream Team" sled dogs raced along during one of their World War II training runs at Camp Rimini. The rare film footage was part of his presentation at the Montana Historical Society, about historic Camp Rimini. But his stories and his sled dogs also grabbed the interest of the crowd. Armstrong, who's been called the "guru of sledding," is a wiry 86yo. He landed in Camp Rimini in 1943. It was there that the military trained 850 sled dogs and 150 pack dogs 1942-1944. The military planned to use them as part of an invasion into Norway.
WW2 Vet and Horrifying Top Secret Mission Beating Dogs
This is a disturbing look at the mentality of the American government half a century ago- and a moving tribute to the hearts of the brave men of the 100th Batallion. When the Japanese-American soldier Ray Nosaka learned he'd be working with dogs, he was excited at first. Until his commander told him he and 19 other Japanese-American soldiers would be dog bait. "I was supposed to smell like a Japanese enemy so they want us to train the dogs." For 5 months, he beat dogs. "I had to hit him hard till he bleeds." He taught them to attack him. The idea was to train them to kill Japanese.
The only PoW dog's WWII medal goes on display
A medal awarded to the only dog to be officially registered as a PoW in World War II went on public display for the first time. Judy, a mascot on board a torpedoed Royal Navy vessel in South-East Asia, helped dozens of men survive a Japanese PoW camp after she was captured alongside marooned members of the ship's crew in 1942. Frank Williams, a British airman at the camp, befriended the pedigree pointer - and later persuaded Japanese officers to register her as a PoW. In 1946, Judy was presented with the Dickin Medal.
WW2 sea dog awarded posthumous George Cross
A sea dog which saved the lives of two sailors in the Second World War was today posthumously awarded the equivalent of the George Cross for animals. Bamse the St Bernard became a national hero in Norway for his efforts on board the minesweeper Thorodd. The 14-stone dog saved a young lieutenant who was being set upon by a knifeman by knocking the attacker into the water. He also rescued a sailor who fell overboard, going in after him and dragging him to the shore. All the schools in the town were closed as a mark of respect when he died on July 22 1944.
SAS dog with 20 parachute jumps may be a hoax
He is one of the most famous canine heroes of war, with 20 parachute jumps to his name and a citation for gallantry behind enemy lines. But the story of Rob the SAS dog — now in Imperial War Museum exhibition — has been exposed as a hoax. Rob, a collie known as war dog No 471/322, was said to have saved the lives of commandos. But his legendary reputation has been debunked by an officer who observed the dog’s war service first hand at the SAS base, claiming Rob never left the ground. "Quentin said that nobody survived 20 parachute drops, let alone a dog. You were lucky to survive three."
Dog who parachuted with the 13 Bn, Parachute Regt, on D-Day
The first thing people see when they go in is a dog hanging from a parachute. The Animals' War exhibition at the Imperial War Museum tells the story of the million and more horses of the First World War and the flocks of carrier pigeons in the Second. Among those featured will be Brian, the alsatian, who jumped with the 13 Bn, Parachute Regt, on D-Day and helped them through to the crossing of the Rhine.
Ethiopia demand Italy's compensation for 500,000 lives lost (Article no longer available from the original source)
Italy paid Ethiopia $5 million after a 1947 peace treaty, although the Emperor Haile Selassie had demanded $600 million. 70 years on, memories are still fresh in Ethiopia of the 1935 invasion ordered by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, whose forces used mustard gas and other chemical weapons in the country then known as Abyssinia. When Addis Ababa fell, Ethiopia formed part of Italian East Africa with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland until its liberation by WW2 allies in 1941. Mussolini's troops torched 2,000 churches and killed 5 million cattle, 70 million sheep and goats, 1 million mules and horses, and 700,000 camels during the campaign.
World War II ace Fred J. Christensen flew with black cat, downed 6 planes in 2 minutes
To make a point to fellow fighter pilots in WWII, Col. Fred J. Christensen always flew with Sinbad, a stray black cat he had found. Seeing him return safe from combat missions — black cat and all — helped motivate the other pilots. And counter to traditional superstitions, Sinbad was very good luck for her father, who shot down 22 Nazi planes during the war, including 6 in a 2-minute span of one air battle. Though he flew 107 combat missions against the German Luftwaffe, he was a very humble man, who didn't want to be known as a war hero.
A secret Stalinist plan to create a master race of super apemen (Article no longer available from the original source)
According to declassified documents, the late dictator Josef Stalin in the mid-1920s ordered Russia’s top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, to invent a mutant simian warrior. Stalin told the scientist: “I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.“ Ivanov was sent in 1926 to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his experiments in impregnating chimpanzees. The effort, unsurprisingly, was a total failure.
Kind and paternal man who passionately loved his dog
Adolf Hitler, one of the greatest mass murderers in history, is remembered by his secretary Traudl Junge as a kind and paternal man who ate little aside from mashed potato and passionately loved his dog. Hitler's greatest pleasure was when his sheepdog Blondie would jump a few centimetres higher than the last time, and he would say that going out with his dog was the most relaxing thing he could do.