March 15, 1939 the Axis powers marched into Czechoslovakia several members of the Czechoslovakian military fled to Allied nations – primarily France in the beginning. Vaclav Bozděchem’s bomber was shot down in “no man’s land” where he found the puppy in an abandoned farmhouse (other versions say he was given the puppy from a French farmer – but the first version was later confirmed by Vaclav). After France became occupied by the Nazis, Vaclav and Antis fled to the UK where they continued the fight on behalf of their homeland as part of the 311 Czechoslovak squadron. Tired of being separated from his master, Antis stowed away on a bombing run. As the crossed the Dutch border he felt something on his elbow, thinking it was his navigator he looked over to see his puppy looking up at him. The plane was at 12,000 feet and not pressurized – the puppy was struggling to breathe so Vaclav shared his oxygen mask. The flight was extremely difficult with higher than expected resistance, thunderstorms, and several electrical failures – the crew said that the puppy must have brought them good luck and quickly made Antis part of their flight team. Antis took part in over 30 missions over Germany – twice being wounded by flak (first time scratches on his head and ear, the second was more serious with wounds to his chest). Even though wounded the dog did not lose any spirit and remained faithful – it wasn’t until after the mission ended did they realize something was wrong with Antis.
While stationed in Liverpool, England, the base Vaclav and Antis were assigned to got bombed and both switched gears into a search and rescue team pulling several survivors out of the rubble.
After World War II Vaclav and Antis moved back to Czechoslovakia but soon after a new occupying force moved in – the Soviets. Vaclav had many opportunities to escape the CSSR but would not leave his faithful companion behind. Finally, in 1948 Vaclav was able to defect to the American sector in Germany with Antis and defect to England where Antis was awarded the Dickin Medal (the animal equivalent of the Victorian Cross or US Medal of Honor).
Antis died in 1953 after a long sickness. Vaclav died in 1980.
This is the second book in a series. We are currently searching for the first book but it appears it is only available in Czech.
Vlčák Ant – Hrdinný Letec RAF
Wolfdog Antis – Czechoslovakian RAF Wolfdog Hero
We’ve all seen and heard about canine action heroes starring Strongheart, Rin Tin Tin, and Lassie but during World War II a wolfdog named Antis would prove to be a real life canine hero. Born in a French kennel in 1940 Antis was destined to play a big role with the Czechoslovakian RAF as well as a symbol of dedication and freedom to the Czechoslovakian people for decades to come. Continue reading