Saturday, November 20, 2010

There was a bear enlisted in the Polish Army.

Wojtek or Voytek, was a European brown bear that was enlisted to fight for the Polish army in the Battle of Monte Cassino in World War II. However, rather than making use of the bear's superior fighting abilities, Voytek's duties consisted of transporting ammunition. Thanks to his size, he could carry mortar rounds much more easily than a human soldier. A quarter of a million soldiers died in that battle, but Voytek survived to eventually die of old age in 1963.

According to Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski, "he was like a big dog; no-one was scared of him. He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man." There are statues erected in his honor in London and in Ottowa, Canada, and there has been a book written about him as well. You can learn more about this remarkable story in this news article.

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