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Animals have always played a massive role in warfare, whether they’ve been used as tools or simply to boost the morale of soldiers, it can be easy to forget their massive contributions during our darkest hours.

Judy, World War II’s only animal prisoner of war, receives the animal version of the Victoria Cross in London. [May, 1946]

Source: Reddit

Judy spent three and a half years in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, and narrowly escaped death many times. After the ship she served on sank, Judy found a water source for the survivors before they were all captured.

Source: Wikipedia

A fox mascot of No.32 Squadron keeps an airman company. [c. 1916-18]

Source: The Chive

A carrier pigeon is pushed out of a hole in a British tank to carry a message. [1918]

Source: Reddit

One pigeon used by the American army in World War I, Cher Ami, managed to alert commanders to the plight of 194 stranded men – who were later saved – despite being shot out of the sky en route.

Source: Wikipedia

An elephant loads supplies onto American planes in India. [c. 1940s]

Source: Reddit

Elephants were often used by the army in the place of machinery in rural India. During World War I, Lizzie the elephant was bought to Manchester, England, to replace the horses in a munitions factory. She even learned to play soccer.

Sgt. Stubby, a highly decorated war dog who fought with the US Army during World War I. [c. 1919]

Source: Reddit

After this stray dog stumbled into Yale, he was adopted by one of the soldiers, who then snuck him into France. He alerted troops to air attacks, located wounded soldiers, and even uncovered a German spy. By the war’s end, Stubby outranked his owner, who only made it to corporal.

Source: Wikipedia

Sergeant Reckless, the war horse of the Korean War. [c. 1950-53]

Source: Wikimedia

Lieutenant Eric Pederson bought Reckless as a mascot at the Seoul Race Track. She was eventually trained to deliver ammunition to troops and during the Battle of Panmunjom-Vegas, she made 51 solo trips under enemy fire, bringing ammunition to the front line and wounded soldiers back. She received two Purple Hearts.

Source: Buzzfeed

Able seaman Simon, a stray who served on the HMS Amethyst during a 101-day siege. [1949]

Source: Yahoo

After the HMS Amethyst was caught up in the middle of China’s civil war, Simon fought off disease on board the boat during a 101-day siege by continuing to catch ration-stealing rats despite being wounded by a shell.

Source: Yahoo

A soldier gives his mule some food. [1916]

Source: Reddit

Jimmy ‘The Sergeant’, a donkey born during the Battle of the Somme, was taught to raise his hoof in salute by the soldiers who cared for him.

Source: Daily Mail

Rip, a search and rescue dog, stands on the ruins of a bombed building in London. [c. 1940-41]

Source: Reddit

Rip rescued 100 victims of air raids between 1940 and 1941. He received the Dickin Medal for bravery in 1945.

Source: Wikipedia

A German dispatch dog, in mid-leap, carries messages to the front line during a German offensive. [January, 1918]

Source: Reddit

Convoy, the ship’s cat of the HMS Hermione, in his own special hammock. [1941]

Source: Reddit

Convoy was duly listed in the ship’s book and provided with a full kit, including a tiny hammock where he would sleep. His name came from the ship’s role as a merchant convoy escort.

Source: Wikipedia

Camels carry injured men on the Northwest Frontier of India. [c. 1914-18]

Source: The Chive

The smell of camels also spooked the enemies’ horses.

Source: The Guardian

Pigeons with cameras strapped to their chests were used for reconnaissance by the Germans in the first World War. [c. 1914-18]

Source: Reddit

Pigeons were used for reconnaissance when planes were a lot slower and easier to shoot down. They were an early form of drones.

 

 

Togo, the mascot of the battleship HMS Dreadnought, has a nap in one of it’s cannons. [c. 1914-18]

Source: The Chive

Mules are brought in to Salonika, a mountain-filled Greek town, after horses were unable to deal with the terrain. [c. 1914-18]

Source: The Chive

South Vietnamese soldiers use elephants to cross a river during a patrol. [c. 1964]

Source: Reedit
The thick jungle made it almost impossible for conventional vehicles to be used.

A cavalryman fits his horses with gas masks during an attack. [1918]

Source: Reddit

A Russian messenger cat is sent to deliver a note. [c. 1940s]

Source: Reddit

Presumably, these soldiers had run out of dogs.

 

 

Olga, Upstart and Regal, the only three horses who received the Dickin Medal during World War II. [1939-1940]

Source: The Chive

These three stallions were all members of the Metropolitan Police. Olga, Upstart and Regal were all used by the officers to help civilians during The Blitz. They were the only horses that wouldn’t jolt at the sound of explosions.

Source: PDSA

Dogs wearing the equipment they used to transport carrier pigeons. [c. 1916-18]

Source: Reddit

A Japanese soldier gives his water canteen to his injured horse. [1942]

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