Published on March 1st, 20130
The Cats that Fought in World War II – The Swasticats
By Tor G. Jakobsen
It is maybe not the most well-known fact among the general public. Even so, truth is that cats are the unsung heroes of the Second World War. We in Popular Social Science are happy to tell the untold stories of the kittens that helped liberate Europe, and the Nazi tabbies who almost took Europe back to the Dark Ages.
In this second and concluding part we will tell the stories of the cats who fought on the other side, namely the swasticats and the commie-cats. Many will argue that the Battle of Kursk or the landing in Normandy were more significant to the outcome of the war than the use of cats. Even so, the loveable felines did an important role in caring for the sick and being company in sniper nests on both the Western and Eastern fronts.
Fritz – The Panzergreniader Katze
Fritz fought on the Eastern Front with his comrades in the Second motorcycle Company of the Infantery division Großdeutschland. His main task was to be a “second” or a “feeder” for the person firing the Machine Gun (MG34). This cat helped the German armies advance into the Voronezh Oblast of southern Russia.
Fritz was one of very few cats that decided to join the Wehrmacht. One reason for this was that the Germans were still struggling with their reputation after the 16th century German artillery officer Christopher of Hapsburg presented his “cat bomb” plan. Drawings were made to equip cats with jars filled with poison, with the intention of driving them into enemy position. This provided the Germans with a very poor reputation amongst the felines, and is one of the explanations for their lack of numbers among the German ranks.
Mourka and the The Stalingrad Battle Cat
The first cat’s name was Mourka, and during the battle of Stalingrad he risked all his nine lives carrying messages about German positions to Soviet scouts. He was well-rewarded for his efforts, as there was a kitchen in his HQ.
His colleague, named The Stalingrad Battle Cat, belonged to the Soviet 124th Rifle Brigade, where he defended the Russian villages of Spartanovka and Rynok to the north of the famous Tractor factory. The cat’s main tasks was carrying propaganda leaflets and bringing them over to the Germans.
To sum up, the cat´s role in the second world war is a forgotten part of history. Most people are also not aware that cats for thousands of years have been used during times of war. Most of the cats today are used as maskots and do not play an important functional role. However, they are still important in maintaining the soldiers’ high morale.