WWII Animals (1941-1945)


Animals have been used to aid military efforts for thousands of years. The U.S. military in WWII enlisted animals to carry supplies, transmit messages, track enemies, protect troops, and more.

An estimated 20,000 dogs served in various U.S. Military branches during WWII. Dogs were used as guards, to carry supplies and messages, to scout out enemy territory, and on search and rescue missions. Sometimes dogs merely provided comfort during battle. 

refer to caption

Pfc. Rez P. Hester of the Marine Corps Seventh War Dog Platoon, napping while Butch stands guard (Iwo Jima, February, 1945).

Horses carried soldiers in Europe on patrol missions and in the Pacific Theater were even used in battles.

refer to caption

An Army remount squad of horses being corralled by Cpl. Harley Peterson  (New Caledonia, October 20, 1943). 

Thousands of mules and donkeys were trained in the U.S. and shipped to war zones worldwide to transport weapons, food, other supplies, and sometimes even infantry. 

refer to caption

Army Sgt. Richard Wallen with donkey Edda (named after Benito Mussolini's daughter) (Italy, April, 1944).  

During WWII, U.S. military units worldwide adopted animal mascots. These animals, adopted by the squad, company, or ship, were sometimes orphaned by war, and other times were an individual soldier's pet. 

refer to caption

Cpl. William Wende brushing his Army unit's mascot, GI Jenny while Pito the terrier watches (North Africa, Ca. 1943). 

refer to caption

Marine Cpl. Edward Burckhardt found this kitten on Iwo Jima (February, 1945).

refer to caption

Army Pfc. Raymond Gasiorowski walking his company's pet dog named Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany, April 19, 1945). 


Leave a comment


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published