The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

An Iranian boy found a Syrian brown bear cub in 1942, and sold it to the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps for canned meat. That's how the story of the most famous military animal started.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

Having lost his mother, the bear was fed with milk from an emptied vodka bottle.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

Wojtek (or Voytek, which means 'he who enjoys war' or 'smiling warrior') was often rewarded with beer, but he liked smoking and eating cigarettes, too.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

He enjoyed wrestling and could salute.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

Wojtek helped during some bloody battles (including the four-month Battle of Monte Cassino) to carry mortar shells.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

He was officially enlisted: he was given a name, a rank, and a number.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

After the end of WWII, the bear and his fellow troops were stationed in Hutton, Scotland, but in November 1947, the bear was moved to the Edinburgh Zoo, where it lived out its days. Wojtek died in December 1963.

The Incredible Story of Wojtek, the Soldier Bear

(via WW2 Airsoft, The Soldier Bear, bigpicture.ru, mikeeliasz, jkorowicz, BBC, Oddity Central, Retronaut)