A Hard Mutt’s Life: “Military Dogs” in World War II

WWII

A Hard Mutt’s Life: “Military Dogs” in World War II

The April 2015 edition of WWII History magazine

Below, the fox terrier 'Salvo' prepares for a drop over England. Military dogs played a key role in morale and companionship throughout the war.

by Kevin Hymel

The fox terrier 'Salvo' prepares for a drop over England. Military dogs played a key role in morale and companionship throughout the war.

The bond between military dogs and soldiers was as strong as that between combat soldiers, and it lasted throughout the war. While soldiers, sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen adopted many animals as mascots while away from home, it was the dog, the mutt, the pup, they considered their best friend.

This story was first published in the
April 2015 edition of WWII History.
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In the South Pacific, many sailors brought dogs with them, particularly ships’ captains who could keep a pet in their personal cabin. But in the Mediterranean and Europe, servicemen picked up dogs as they went. The dog of choice? Mutts. Americans identified with their mixed breed pedigree—something the Nazis would never understand.

Below, First Sergeant “Curly” is about to lose his 2nd Infantry Division patch, as he was transferred to the 75th Infantry Division at Camp Atlanta, near Chalons, France. Dangling from his neck are his dog tags—or as he called them, “me tags.”

Below, First Sergeant "Curly" is about to lose his 2nd Infantry Division patch, as he was transferred to the 75th Infantry Division at Camp Atlanta, near Chalons, France. Dangling from his neck are his dog tags—or as he called them, "me tags."

Here, an infantryman leans out his pup tent to shake hands with a dog in Luxembourg’s frozen landscape during the Battle of the Bulge. The weather was certainly cold enough to make a wet nose dry.

Here, an infantryman leans out his pup tent to shake hands with a dog in Luxembourg's frozen landscape during the Battle of the Bulge. The weather was certainly cold enough to make a wet nose dry.

At a local British pub, “Sergeant Joe Kodachrome” enjoys his nightly ration of milk and bitters with his comrades, who have to make do with beer.

At a local British pub, "Sergeant Joe Kodachrome" enjoys his nightly ration of milk and bitters with his comrades, who have to make do with beer.

Did you like these photos? Be sure to check out our more extensive collection in our companion article, “Pictures of Pets in Action.”

To take a look at pictures from the experimental U.S. Army “Parachute Animals” program, click here.

Add Your Comments

3 Comments

  1. Peter Panozzo
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Great tribute to man’s best friend! I would like to have met First Sergeant “Curly” with his “me tags”!

  2. Frederick Ludwikowsk
    Posted April 5, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    In your magazine, you have a picture of a dog named ‘Flappy” in an airplane with a name of CAPT Michael J. Stro…. The rest of the name is cropped. Do you have the rest of the name that was on the plane?

  3. Perry Schmehl
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Any way I can buy a picture of the German shepherd on the jeep on page 55? Being a lover of German shepherds, that is a classic pic!

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