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Monday, July 16, 2012

Running Bear

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. ~ Exodus 15

Knowing very little about how to handle a bear, the soldiers simply treated their new comrade as if he were one of them. "He was just like a dog," the Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski told the BBC News in 2008, adding that he "drank a beer like any man" and liked cigarettes, too, which he would simply gulp down. The veteran Narebski also recounted how the bear would regularly hit him up for cigarettes and could handle his beer. For the massive bear, Narebski told the BBC News in 2011, "one bottle was nothing. … He didn't get drunk."

 Indeed, in an interview for the documentary on Wojtek, a British veteran recounted how he was taken aback when he suddenly saw a full-grown bear calmly schlepping mortar shells past him during the bloody Battle of Monte Cassino, in the spring of 1944. Whether it is true or not, the story of his support in this decisive battle gave the bear legendary status among the soldiers. With the approval of the Polish high command, the company's emblem was changed to one showing a bear carrying a massive artillery shell.

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