During World War II numerous animals were sent to serve in the military, including horses, pigeons, and dogs. While many made important contributions during their service, one of note is Chips. Chips was a family dog who was later sent to fight against the Germans during World War II. During his service he did many remarkable feats causing him to be one of the most decorated dogs of World II.
What Type of Dogs Were Used in World War II?
Many different dog breeds were used in World War II to fight against the Axis powers. Some of the most popular were German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Giant Schnauzers, Collies, Dobermans, and Belgian Sheepdogs.
All of these dog breeds were used thanks to the unique skills they possessed, such as a keen sense of smell, impressive strength and stamina, speed, and the ability to protect important buildings and supplies.
What Did Dogs Do in World War II?
Dogs did many vital things during World War II, many of which helped to save countless lives.
They Guarded Areas
One of the main things dogs did during World War II was guard crucial military areas. If they detected something was amiss, the dogs would alert their handlers who would quickly tell others about a potential problem.
They Searched for Enemies
Thanks to the dogs having a strong sense of smell, they were able to search for enemies hiding nearby, possible tanks rolling through, and explosives. Dogs were especially used on the beaches where landmines were often planted because they could sniff through the thick sand and detect the bombs. Because of this, soldiers were able to quickly prepare and fight against possible attacks.
They Transported Medical Supplies
Dogs were also used to transport medical necessities. Many soldiers were already carrying heavy equipment and didn’t have much space to hold things like medicine and bandages. The dogs would be fitted with special uniforms that had pockets on them which would hold the medical supplies.
They Comforted Soldiers
Soldiers faced horrendous situations during battles. During World War II, many dogs not only helped protect them from the enemy, but comforted them as well. In fact, many soldiers built relationships with their animals during the war and later adopted them when they returned home.
They Helped with Communication
Communication among soldiers and their leaders tended to be very difficult. However, dogs were used as a way to transport secret messages to others. A dog with a message attached to them would be released by one handler and would search for the other handler to give them the message. This allowed the note to be transported faster and inconspicuously.
In addition to this, many canines would pull wires, such as telephone cables, so that soldiers could connect them together. This helped Army generals easily communicate with each other about their plans.
What Kind of Dog Was Chips?
Chips was a mixed dog breed who was part German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, and Collie.
How Did Chips Get Enlisted in World War II?
Many American citizens felt called to contribute to the war effort and while some were unable to fight themselves they offered their pets as a way to help. This is what happened to Chips.
Chips was the dog of Edward Wren, a New Yorker, who gave him to the Army to help with various tasks. While it’s not known why Wren felt that he should give Chips to the Army, rumor has it that he sent Chips to the military after he bit a garbageman.
After Wren donated Chips to the Army he was sent to the War Dog Training Center where he was taught how to be a guard dog. After extensive training he was then shipped to Europe to help the Allies in their fight.
What Did Chips Do in World War II?
Chips did many important tasks during his war service, including guarding the crucial 1943 Roosevelt-Churchill conference and serving during Operation Torch which was when the Allies invaded North Africa.
However, what Chips is best known for is his bravery during a major fight in Sicily. As he was touring the area with Private John Rowell they were caught by Axis soldiers. Rather than staying with his handler, Chips broke free and rushed into the pillbox the soldiers were hiding in and attacked them. He fought against them so viciously that the soldiers inside were forced to leave their hiding spot and surrender to the nearby American troops.
What Was Chips Awarded?
Thanks to his bravery Chips was to be awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, and Distinguished Service Cross during his lifetime. However, these were never given to him due to an old Army policy prohibiting animals from receiving medals.
Despite this, his Army team still wanted to honor Chips for his courage and gave him a ribbon and eight battle stars.
How Did Chips Die?
Chips died in 1946 at the age of six. While he survived the battlefield, he succumbed to the injuries he suffered from, especially major burns and cuts, some of which caused him to develop kidney disease.
Chips Gets Posthumous Medal for His Service
A few decades after his death Chips was finally given the recognition he deserved. In 2018, Chips was awarded the prestigious Dickin Medal. This medal was created by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) as a way to honor the animals who served and gave their lives during combat. The bronze medal features a laurel wreath attached to a green, blue, and brown ribbon.
In addition to this medal, the Smithsonian named Chips one of the most important war animals to have served.
Chips was a brave dog who saved numerous lives during World War II. While he might not have been officially recognized during his lifetime for his life-saving actions, Chips has since become one of the most decorated dogs of World War II and has shown the immense courage that animals can have in times of need.