Wojtek, FWD HAR-1 Truck

During World War II, many soldiers, sailors and pilots of all nations had pets and mascots in the combat zone.    Probably the most unique was a Syrian brown bear which belonged to the Polish 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps who became a war hero and a legend.

 

 
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During the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland during 1939–40, large numbers of Poles were deported and sent to prison or exiled to gulags (labor camps) in Siberia.    On 22 June 1941, the Germans launched Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the USSR which in turn cancelled the German-Soviet pact of August 1939.    On 14 August 1941, the Polish-Russian Military Agreement was signed allowing the creation of a  new Polish Army made up of thousands of Poles (including Ukrainians and Belorussians) that were released from Soviet Gulags.    Groups of freed Poles made the long trek to the middle east to join the western Allies.

 

 

In April 1942, a Polish truck convoy carrying a contingent of men, women and children passed the city of Hamadan in Persia (today Iran) heading towards Palestine, the mustering point for the Polish II Corps.    The convoy had stopped at the roadside to allow the fatigued occupants to eat some food, to brew-up and allow them to stretch their legs.    From out of nowhere, a barefoot starving young boy carrying a hessian sack approached a group of Polish soldiers.   It turned out that the sack contained a scrawny newborn orphaned male bear cub.    Through sign language, the soldiers questioned and haggled with the boy.    They offered the boy some local currency and a few other items including a bar of chocolate and a Swiss army knife but the boy did not want to take the deal.   The boy finally agreed when they threw in the deal clincher, a large tin of “bully beef” (corned beef).    The boy quickly gathered up his  booty filling his sack and vanished mysteriously as he had arrived.    If the boy did not sell the bear cub to the soldiers, the cub probably would not had survived or would had a life of torture and abuse as a dancing bear.

 

 

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After a long discussion, they named their newly acquired pet “Wojtek” (pronounced “voy-check”).    It is a diminutive nickname for Wojciech which translates to “happy soldier” or “happy warrior” which means “he who enjoys war” or is a “joyous warrior”.

 

 
The young soldiers bought the bear cub completely on impulse without realizing the consequences.    The first problem they encountered was that the cub didn’t eat meat yet.    After trail and error, they finally were able to feed him diluted condensed milk from an old vodka bottle with a soaked piece of rag in the neck which acted as a teat.
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Piotr (Peter) Prendys was appointed Wojtek’s principal guardian a job which he accepted without hesitation.    At 46, Peter was much older than his comrades whom were in their late teens or early twenties.    Also, Peter was able to read and write while most of the men although intelligent were semi-literate or had no formal education.    Being the most knowledgeable, mature and responsible of the group, he was the only logical choice.

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The soldiers were assigned to the 22nd Company of the Polish Army Service Corps (Artillery).    Both the company sergeant and the commanding officer, Major Chelminski, instantly fell under the spell of the little bear.    For several weeks, Wojtek slept in the commander’s tent in a portable wash basin until a small tent was made available for Peter and his new friends, and their new charge.    Chelminski realized that Wojtek was an important asset.    Besides being the company mascot,  when around Wojtek the men’s moral was sky high.    He probably thought that a company of men could handle one little bear cub.

 

 

Peter fed and cared for little Wojtek who scampered behind him like a young child. Although Wojtek had his own bed, in the middle of the night he would crawl into Peter’s bed seeking warmth and comfort.    The men used to tease Peter and called him “Mother Bear”.    Whenever frightened or tired or just need a cuddle, Wojtek would run to Peter who lift him onto his knee.   There Wojtek would sit contentedly sucking on one of Peter’s fingers.    On chilly evenings around the camp fire, Peter pulled Wojtek into his army greatcoat and fasten it up so that both of them were protected from the cold.    Wojtek would then quickly fall asleep while Peter sat talking with his comrades late into the night.

 

 
The middle east heat was unbearable for little Wojtek.    The men would dig a pit for him and filled it with water.    He would lie in it for hours, past the time it has been absorbed by the sandy earth.    On extremely hot days, he would wallow in the cool mud for hours rather than face the rays of the hot sun or hunt around for shade.    On those hot days, his mud pit was filled with water twice a day.
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A soldier giving Wojtek some food.WOJTEK-6

Source:    IWM MH 1246

 

 

As a cub, one of Wojtek’s favorite pals was a large Dalmatian dog which belonged tothe camp’s British liaison officer.    Since their first meeting, they became best friends.    The two would tear through the camp with Wojtek in hot pursuit of the Dalmatian.    The dog would suddenly skid to a stop and Wojtek unable to stop in time went tumbling head over heels.    The two never tired of their boisterous games.

 

 

A German Shepherd meets Wojtek for the first time.

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Source:    IWM HU 16545

 

 

Quickly, Wojtek adapted to the company’s routine.    Soon he was playing tag with the men and women.    When he got a little bigger, he enjoyed the rough and tumble of mock wrestling matches with the men.    Standing upright on his hind legs, Wojtek would let his opponent place his hands against his front paws and try to push him backwards.    That would go on until Wojtek fell back and landed on rear end.
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There were some embarrassing moments.    In a large Allied force military camp in Iraq which the company was delivering supplies to, Wojtek went on the prowl exploring his new surroundings.    His curiosity was aroused when he came upon a washing line of Polish women soldiers’ under garments wafting in the breeze.    He investigated the strange items and decided to take all the garments from the line.    The half dressed women, who never encountered a bear in their camp, hid behind a tent too scared to intervene.    They watched helplessly as Wojtek walked casually away with their garments wrapped around his head and body.    The women, part of a Polish signals unit, were furious because they had only recently went on a rare trip to Tel Aviv to purchase the much cherished feminine garments.    Peter and his companions recovered the garments before Wojtek got the chance to shred them with his sharp claws.    They had some difficulty keeping a straight face when they returned the stolen items to the upset women.    Later they took Wojtek around to apologize.    Wojtek hid his snout behind his large paws and whimpered piteously. Then he peeked out from behind his paws showing his adorable button eyes.    From that point on, a couple of the soldiers were always assigned as Wojtek’s  chaperones.

 

 

The women were charmed and Wojtek was forgiven.
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On Christmas Eve 1942, Wojtek participated in the Poles’ traditional feast where he opened his numerous presents and drank probably more wine that was good for him. In the early morning hours, Wojtek had his own private party.    While his companions were sleeping, he slipped away and made his way to the camp’s food stores.    Wojtek explored the contents of everything that he could open and gorged himself on jams, fruits and whatever else he found.    He ruined large amounts of flour, grains and other foodstuffs, trampling on them everywhere.    He completely trashed the place, spilling cooking oil and tore down all the storage shelves.    On Christmas morning, the men were not pleased because they had spend many hours cleaning up the mess that tornado Wojtek made.

 

 
In June 1943, Wojtek redeemed himself by capturing an Arab spy.     As an adult bear, Wojtek took a communal shower with the men every day.     It was a strange sight, a large bear surrounded by naked men lathering themselves with soap while Wojtek jostled with them trying to hog the shower heads.    He quickly learned that  pulling the string allowed the water to cascade over him which he would do repeatedly until the water stopped.     In Allied forces’ camps in the arid middle east, water was a precious commodity where every drop was bought in by truck.     Wojtek’s water usage became so excessive that eventually the showers became off limits to him  and the door was locked.    Wojtek hung around the outside of the showers hoping that someone using the shower would forget to lock the door or take pity on him and allow him to get a quick wet down.

 

 

 

At that time the company was camped near the town of Kirkuk in northern Iraq.    The area was strategically important due to the huge oil fields which the Kurds, Turks and the Iraqi Arabs all claimed as theirs.    The Allied forces were not welcomed in that volatile area which was already full of ethnic tensions.    During one of his early morning strolls around the camp, Wojtek noticed that someone has left the shower door unlocked so he quickly went inside.    Soon afterwards a terrifying shriek came from the showers which alerted the whole camp.    The  camp guards came a running and found Wojtek had cornered a weeping Arab man in the showers.    The man pleaded with the guards to save him.    During interrogation, he admitted that he was spying.    After breaching the perimeter, he picked the shower door lock and planned to hide in the showers until the coast was clear and then locate the camp’s weapons arsenal.    His mission was to conduct reconnaissance for a raiding party from a nearby village.    Under threats of meeting Wojtek again, he willingly divulged the names of his co-conspirators and they were quickly rounded up in a series of local raids.    Wojtek was treated like a lord and was given plenty of treats and beer.    He was also allowed to take extra long showers that consumed so much water that afterwards a special delivery had to be organized to replenish the camp’s water supply.

 

 
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POMOCNICZA SLUZBA KOBIET (PWSK) translates to “Auxiliary Services of Women”. Wojtek greeting PWSK Canteen women in back of a lorry in Palestine, 1943.
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Wojtek was not the only bear mascot with a Polish army unit.    The 16th Lwów Rifles Battalion (Infantry) received a bear from the Shah of Persia when they were stationed in Iran.    They named their bear “Michael” who was several years older than Wojtek. In September 1943 when Wojtek’s company was stationed in Iraq, Michael meet Wojtek for the first time.    The encounter erupted into a ferocious fight where the two were locked in mortal combat.    It took some time for all of the men to separate and get the two under control again.     Michael’s temperament was the opposite  from that of Wojtek where he had a treacherous nature and could become vicious at any time.    There was no chance that the two could be come friends and eventually Michael was given to the Tel Aviv Zoo.     As thanks, the zoo director sent the company a small female monkey as a gift.    The men named her “Kaska” which is a Greek girls’ name that means “pure”.

 

For poor Wojtek, a delinquent bear was swapped for a delinquent monkey whose delight in life was to torment Wojtek.     At every opportunity, kaska would tweak Wojtek’s nose or nip at his ears, jump on his head while he was asleep and climbed up trees to throw stones and dates at him while chattering at him all the time.    Whenever possible Wojtek avoided Kaska and it became a common site of Kaska chasing Wojtek through the camp.    It got to the point that if anyone just shouted Kaska’s name, Wojtek would run off and hide.    Kaska also targeted the men where she played nasty tricks on them such as ripping up their cigarettes and stealing other items.

 

 

Kaska was Wojtek’s worst nightmare.
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In December 1943, Wojtek and the 22nd company moved to Egypt, where the Polish II Corps and other British forces were assembling, preparing to sail from Alexandria and Port Said to Italy.    The big question was whether the top brass would allow Wojtek to accompany Peter and the men of the company.     At the last minute, a special travel warrant was approved for Wojtek.

 

 

 
The M.S. Batory was an ocean liner of the Polish merchant fleet named after Stefan Batory, the sixteenth-century king of Poland.    On 13 February 1944, Wojtek boarded the M.S. Botory in Alexandria, Egypt which sailed with a protective convoy to the Italian port of Taranto.
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Wojtek’s Combat Debut

 

 
During Operation Diadem in May 1944 which was the fourth and final assault on Monte Cassino, the Polish II Corps spearheaded the attack on the Germans’ impregnable positions of the Benedictine abbey.    Months prior to the final battle, the 22nd Company and a number of other artillery supply companies had the hazardous job of bringing ammunition to the forward medium and heavy artillery gun positions which were shelling the front lines.     They had to drive their trucks with no lights along narrow mountain roads with numerous hair pen turns.    Total blackout was required to prevent alerting the enemy and receiving a deadly counter artillery fire.    A number of trucks were lost crashing down into deep steep gorges.    The trucks would pull into an artillery position and the men manually unloaded the heavy shells and fuses.     After a short rest, they would turned around and got out of there as fast as possible to move to the next position.    All this was done while the artillery crews were firing their guns.

 

 

During Wojtek’s first days of action, he was not accustomed to the flashes of light, the thunder of the guns firing and the smell of cordite.    At first, he climbed up an exposed tree near the encampment and calmly observed the surreal scene.    After a few days of watching his comrades frantically unloading boxes of artillery shells for the guns during the heat of battle, Wojtek decided to take action.    Although he was never trained to handle the unloading of 100 pound boxes of 25-pounder howitzer shells, shell fuses and other supplies.    He simply watched what the men were doing and then joined in.     With his front paws outstretched, he indicated that he wanted to help.    Standing upright on his hind legs, he held out his front paws into which the men loaded heavy boxes of shells.    Effortlessly, he carriedthe munitions from the lorry to the storage areas beside the artillery position and returned to the lorry to get more. The company boasted that he never dropped a shell.    However, Wojtek helped on his own terms choosing when an how long he would work.     A titbit of food at either end of his supply run did helped reinvigorate his efforts.    One had to wonder what Wojtek would have done if an enemy infantry patrol had overrun an artillery position when he was around.

 

 

This is an artist’s dramatic depiction of Wojtek carrying a box in action.
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Soldiers from other regiments did witnessed Wojtek in action.     In April 1944 during the build up for the final battle of Monte Cassino, two troopers of Black Watch (6th Battalion, Royal Highland Regiment) John Clarke and Vincent Franchetti were foraging for food near the village of Acquafondata about 6 miles (9.6 km) from Monte Cassino.     Their unit was just taken off the front line and they were walking through the surrounding fields looking for stray chickens and eggs when nearby an artillery unit opened fire.    The gun battery was located in a clearing within the nearby woods.    They went to look and found a battery of Polish gunners manning their howitzers.    As they stood watching the gunners, suddenly a large bear came out of the woods walking on its hind legs appearing to be carrying something.    They shouted to the artillery men warning them that a bear was approaching towards them but they did not react.    The bear walked up to the trail legs of a howitzer and placed a shell on the ground.    Then the bear went back into the woods and came back again carrying another shell.    Then they realized the bear was tamed and most likely was a circus bear.     They just went on their way to continue their search for food.

 

 

 

On many supply trips. Wojtek preferred sit alone in the cab alone waiting for the men to return from whatever task they had to do.    Due to supply shortages, pity theft was common in most areas and Wojtek was the perfect guard.     Nothing was ever stolen from the truck in which he was riding in.    There was also a rumor that they tried to teach Wojtek to drive but he had difficulty with the clutch and the gear shifting.

 

 

 
Wojtek sitting in a FWD HAR-1 truck at a munitions supply dump sometime prior to the final assault on Ancona (17-18 July 1944).
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These are the official markings for the trucks of the Polish 22nd Transport Company (Artillery Supply Company).    On the right is the official Arm of Service (AOS) number. The white bar above AOS number indicated that the company was attached to the Corps HQ.    On the left is the Warsaw Mermaid formation sign of the Polish II Corps.
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The 22nd Artillery Supply Company consisted of:

  • 61st Artillery Supply Platoon
  • 62nd Artillery Supply Platoon
  • 63rd Artillery Supply Platoon
  • 64th Artillery Supply Platoon
  • 65th Artillery Supply Platoon

 

 

 
Wojtek’s actions during battle resulted in the creation of a special unit badge.   Based on a drawing by one of the soldiers, it depicts an image of a bear carrying an artillery shell and also featured a truck steering wheel which indicate that he was part of a transport company.     The men wore the badge either as a cap badge or on the sleeve or lapel of their uniform.

 

 

 
This bear logo became the 22nd Company’s trademark and was painted on all the trucks in the company.
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A FWD HAR-1 with a German Jerry can on the running board.
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A FWD HAR-1 at a supply depot.
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A FWD HAR-1 part of a supply convoy.    Note the convoy sign on the front bumper.
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Line up of FWD HAR-1 trucks.
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These are FWD HAR-1s from the 21st Transport Company.   Note the marking positions and the segmented circle star on the hood (bonnet).
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Many times the men noticed that around horses especially donkeys, Wojtek’s demeanor changed completely.     If he spotted them grazing in a field he would drop onto all fours and would stalk them.    Usually a shout from Peter or one of the men who knew him was able to detract him attacking his prey.    On one occasion, he stalked a tendered donkey with the intention to kill.    The terrified donkey broke free and tried to escape.    When Wojtek pounced on the donkey, Peter jumped onto his back and covered his eyes with his hands which usually works when Wojtek becomes overly excited.     But this time the tactic did not work.    Wojtek reared up on his hind legs which forced Peter to dismount.    Peter then ran around to stand in front of Wojtek and ordered him to stop.    Wojtek reared to his full height and bared his fangs at Peter but then realized who he was and then became submissive.

 

 

This was Wojtek’s stalking stance.
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On another occasion when the company was quartered near Loreto, Wojtek stalked and cornered a pack horse in a field.    But that time Wojtek had meet his match and learnt an important lesson.    Crazed with fear, the horse bucked with its hooves and gave Wojtek a heavy blow to his head.    Dazed and disconcerted, Wojtek ran off and his stalking days apparently ended.

 

 

 
Wojtek loved to climb trees but due to his weight and sharp claws he usually destroyed the tree.
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On one occasion, the 22nd company was in transit and had stopped in a field to take a break.    Wojtek managed to slip away from the convoy and went exploring along the road.    He came to a crossroads where a mobile crane was parked on the side of the road.    The crane had its boom fully erected and Wojtek probably thinking it was a tree climbed up to the top of the boom where he performed some impromptu aerobatics.    Traffic from all directions around the crossroads came to a standstill and was backed up for miles while all watched a bear performing aerial tricks high above the ground.    He refused to come down until someone finally produced a bottle of beer and persuaded him to come back down to earth.

 

 

 

There was an incident where Wojtek almost got himself shot.     In camp at night when Peter was not around, Wojtek often would stroll into his mates’ tents and bed down beside them which he had been doing since he was a small cub and the men were accustomed to it.    He liked the warmth of body contact and the companionship.    On this occasion, the unit happened to be sharing a camp with numerous other Allied troops who were unaware of Wojtek and his sleeping habits.    Wojtek had strayed off into another unit’s area and entered a tent occupied by a group of Indian soldiers who were greatly unsettled when a large bear suddenly appeared out of nowhere and wanted to cuddle up with them.    While still in their night garments, the panic stricken men grabbed their rifles and aimed them directly at Wojtek ready to shoot if he made any sudden movement.    The commotion alerted the camp guards who happened to be Polish and knew about Wojtek.    The guards were able to defuse situation without a tragic ending but it was a very close call.

 

 
On St. Valentine’s day 1945, Wojtek’s registration as a private in the Polish army finally was cleared which meant he was formally on the books.   The company could then requisition provisions for him which was a challenge since he required an intake of around 20,000 calories a day.    That is equivalent to around 300 apples or about 60 hamburgers.    Wojtek was not fussy about what he ate as long as there was plenty of it.    He ate almost any type of food including carrion, fish, birds, meat, grasses, fruit, root vegetables, fibrous roots, wild berries, broad-leaved plants and shrubs, tree leaves and when he could get them, grubs, ants and honey.     About 80 percent of his diet was vegetarian, the rest came from the camp cookhouse and many food gifts from visitors. With Wojtek’s powerful sense of smell, the soldiers had to be careful with discarded tins especially those with jagged edges which could injured Wojtek.    Tins were flattened and bottles were emptied of their contents before they were thrown into the trash or were buried.

 

 
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Wojtek did had a couple of vices.    He had a huge liking for alcohol and obviously enjoyed its affects.    He was rationed two bottles of beer a day when it was available. But on holidays, he was usually able to obtain a bottle of wine and occasionally got tipsy.    Most of the men smoked cigarettes and so often Wojtek would hold out his huge paw asking for a cigarette and he usually was given one.    He did not smoke the cigarettes but instead he ate them.    But strange enough, the cigarette had to be lit.    If it was not lit, he would throw it away.

 

 

 
The Polish soldiers quickly realized that Wojtek was a “babe magnet” and took him everywhere they could.    Within minutes of his arrival, a crowd of young women would surround Wojtek trying to gather up the courage to stroke the soft fur of the big teddy bear.    The men would bring pretty women forward to meet Wojtek up close and some would show their “bravery” by going up to him and give him a kiss.

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Ever since Wojtek was a cub, he loved to wrestle with the men.    When he was full grown, the wrestling matches become team events.    Groups of soldiers would rush Wojtek and try to knock him over.    Roaring with delight, Wojtek took on all-comers batting them around like bowling pins (skittles in Britian).    To ensure a steady stream of sparring partners, occasionally he would let the men win.

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The Allies Spring Offensive in 1945 was the last battle for the Polish II Corps which concluded with the Poles beating the Americans and captured the city of Bologna on 21 April 1945.    The 22nd company and Wojtek did not get the chance to see the city of Bologna.     On April 22, the Polish II Corps was pulled off the front lines and the next day they stood down and for them the war was over.    The Allies continued to push the Germans further back towards the lakes and mountains with strong resistance near the Brenner Pass.    Surrender was agreed on April 29 but it was not until 2 May 1945 that all hostilities ceased.

 

 
During the summer of 1945, Wojtek and his companions enjoyed many happy days swimming in the temperate waters along the Adriatic coast of Italy.    The beaches where Wojtek and the men bathed were shared with local civilians.    Wojtek had a passion for water sports and he loved to swim underwater undetected towards a group of unsuspecting women swimmers.    There were squeals of alarm from the women when a huge bear suddenly surfaces among their midst like a shark.    The Polish soldiers also found it an excellent way to meet young women.    When it was time to leave, Wojtek ignored the soldier’s shouts for him to come back ashore preferring to romp around in the water so the soldiers had to swim out to retrieve him.    Wojtek was often reluctant to leave his newly founded female friends.     When he refused to leave the water, the men had one unfailing method of getting him back ashore.    One of the men would come ashore and get into their truck and started it up. Once Wojtek heard the sound of the truck engine, he immediately stopped what he was doing, came out of the water and rushed back to the truck because he had an extreme fear of being left behind.

 

 
In the autumn of 1946, Wojtek was transported to Berwickshire, Scotland, with the rest of the 22nd Company.    They were stationed at Winfield Airfield on Sunwick Farm, near the village of Hutton, Scottish Borders.    Wojtek became popular among local civilians and in the press.

 

 

Wojtek was never officially promoted to the rank of Corporal but the men claimed that he was recorded as a Corporal in the NAAFI (Navy, Army, and Air Force institutes) records to ensure he received official rations.    Once as part of a hoax, he was referred to as being a Corporal.    The job of the Polish resettlement training program was to determine what skills, linguistic or otherwise the Poles had and to establish training sessions for them.    An army assessment team (a lieutenant and a sergeant) interviewed one by one all the Polish soldiers in the camp to establish how well they spoke English and quizzed them about their family circumstances and any skills they had which would aid them in applying for civilian jobs.    As the last soldier departed, the Poles informed the panel there was one serviceman left for them to seeto see and if they waited a minute or two, they will bring him in – a Corporal Wojtek.    When Wojtek entered the room, the lieutenant’s jaw just dropped and beside him the sergeant’s face turned white.    The shaken men were reassured by the laughing Poles that Wojtek  was harmless and was a seasoned army campaigner in his own right.

 

 
Following demobilization on 15 November 1947, Wojtek was given to the Edinburgh Zoo, where he spent the rest of his life.    He was often visited by journalists and Polish veterans, some of whom tossed to him lit cigarettes to eat.    Media attention contributed to Wojtek’s popularity where he was a frequent guest on BBC television’s Blue Peter programme for children.    Sadly in December 1963, Wojtek passed away at the age of 21.    At the time of his death he weighed nearly 35 stone (490 lb; 220 kg), and was over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall.

 

 
Unveiled in 2015, this monument in West Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh is dedicated to Wojtek.

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Film:    Wojtek der Soldatenbär !

 

 

Film:    Wojtek the Soldier Bear – WWII

 

 

 


FWD HAR-1 truck Information

 

 

 

G531, FWD HAR-1, 4 Ton, Truck, 4×4, Cargo, 1943-1944
Powered by a Waukesha GB2 6-cylinder engine.

 

It was designed and produced by the Four Wheel Drive (FWD) company of Clintonville, Wisconsin, USA.    FWD pioneered all wheel drive and built military vehicles for the Allies during WWI and WWII.    In 1943, a FWD Canadian Subsidiary plant in Kitchener, Ontario (founded in 1919) began producing HAR-1 trucks with a 6.8-ton winch and HAR-3 without a winch.    Not able to find any information on the production numbers.

 

Technical Manual:    TM 9-815

(Click on the pages to view the complete manual.)

 

 

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The 4-ton cargo FWD HAR series saw extensive service with US, British, Canadian and Polish forces.    Many of the trucks hauled supplies along the Allied supply line from Persia to the USSR.    In British service, the FWD HAR series was used to tow mobile smoke generators.

 

 

 

 

In 1944, Port Hueneme on the Southern California coast was an Advance Base Depot for the US Navy which supplied the Construction Battalions (CB’s or “SeaBees”).    FWD HAR-1s being transported on rail cars.
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The FWD HAR-1 in the foreground has both US and USN registration numbers – USA 4402157 and USN 147000
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The US built the 1600 mile (2575 km) Alaskan-Canadian Highway, known as the Alcan Highway, which allowed easier and quicker transportation of military equipment and personnel.    FWD HAR-1 trucks transported supplies on the highway.
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This frame from clip was filmed during the Canadian advance across the Dutch/German border.    The text translates to “Due to the floods, amphibious vehicles are essential.”
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A Canadian FWD HAR-1 at the brick factory in Erlecom during the winter of 1944-45.    In the foreground is the inside of the rear ramp of a LVT-4 Water Buffalo Amtrack.
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In 1945, FWD HAR-1 trucks loaded with repatriated French F.F.I. POWs from the Heidelberg area of Germany being transported back to France.   Note the “US” painted on the windshield of the center truck.
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The RAF used the FWD HAR-1 as mobile power supply vehicles and as snow ploughs.   This is a post war RAF FWD HAR equipped with a snow plough.    The rear body was replaced by a large Climax petrol engine unit.    Note the RAF roundel on the front right fender.
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FWD HAR-1 TRUCKS USED IN MOVIES

 

 

  • The Password Is Courage, 1962
  • The Americanization of Emily, 1964
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 1964
  • Mosquito Squadron, 1969
  • The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission, 1985 (US TV Movie)

 

 
Film Clip:     Dr Strangelove Combat scenes

(The trucks in the convoy and in the background were FWD HAR-1s.)

 

 

 

 


FINAL NOTES

 

 
– Most of the photos are from the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum of London.

 

– Wojtek’s dexterity puzzled many animal behaviourists.    Wojtek was able to pick up  a matchstick from the palms of the men’s hands as swiftly as any human being.    The
average bear was not physically equipped to be that agile.

 

– Currently there are no model kits in any scale of the FWD HAR-1 truck available.

 

 

 

 

Thats_all_Folks

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