The Heroic Paradogs of World War II

First, he learnt how to find and identify minefields, he protected his fellow soldiers on battlefields, he parachuted under a storm of German anti-aircraft on D-Day, he was in Normandy when the Allies arrived for the liberation and only a few months before the end of the war, he parachuted into western Germany and marched to the Baltic Sea.

Two years after the war he was awarded the bronze medal and he was just a dog.

During the Second World War, the 13th (Lancashire) Parachute Battalion enlisted dogs into their ranks as part of an experiment to train pets to watch and warn about the enemy.

In 1941, radio announcements were being made for dog-owners to lend their dogs to the war. Brian, an Alsatian-Collie cross, who was also among them, was only 2 years old. His previous owner used to call him Bing. Shortly, another two were integrated in the team, Monty and Ranee, both Alsatians, with Ranee being the only female parachuting dog in the war.

At the beginning, the dogs were taken on board of aircraft where they would spend hours just sitting and getting used to loud noises. Then they were taught how to smell explosives and were taken to battlefields, where they would learn what to do in case their handler was captured. They had to know when to react and how to attack the enemy soldiers, the ABC News reports.

After two months of training on the ground, they moved to the next level: parachuting. When the day came, on April 2, 1944, it was going to be Ranee’s first ever jump. She didn’t eat or drink anything before the jump. He handler had a 2-pound piece of meat with him. The Alsatian was sat at his heels, watching the men at the front line as they jumped out of the plane.

It was soon her’s and Lance Cpl. Ken Bailey’s turn to slice the air. After Bailey’s parachute developed, he looked up at the dog who was 30 yards away and showed ‘no sign of fear’. When he called her name, she instantly turned in his direction and ‘wagged her tail vigorously.’ She touched the ground 80 feet before Bailey and showed no resistance to the landing; only rolled once, then jumped on her feet and stood there waiting for her 2-pound piece.

The planes that were heading for Normandy on June 6, 1944, each had 20 men and a dog on board. This time, Bailey and Bing were on the same plane, however, the good training times were forgotten when the chaos began. Bing was so scared, he jumped out of his place and hid at the back of the aircraft. The jump master on board had to unplug his equipment, catch Bing and throw him out of the plane.

The paradog landed in a tree and stayed there for two hours until his comrades found him.

While Monty was injured on D-Day, Ranee was lost shortly after they landed in Normandy and she was never seen again. However, they were replaced by 2 German shepherds who also became friends with Bing.

After the war, Bing was awarded the Dicken Medal – UK’s highest honor for animals. He died in 1955.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE