Once geese saved Rome from falling during the invasion of the Huns. Our feathered hero did no less. This article focuses on the dove Sher Ami, who saved the United States troops in World War I.
These events took place in September 1918 in the north of France. The offensive from Mass Argon, one of the largest battles of the First World War, lasted 47 days before the armistice was concluded. A million Allied soldiers were deployed, more than 25, 000 Americans were killed.
A group of 500 American soldiers, led by Major Charles White Whitlessey, were surrounded by the Germans at the foot of the hill. After one day of confrontation, 200 servicemen remained alive. The situation became even more critical after their own troops, not knowing the exact location of their unit, began firing in their direction.
Major Whittlesey sent two messages via a postman pigeon asking for help, but both birds were killed by German soldiers. Meanwhile, the Allied artillery fire on the Americans continued. The last to be released was a dove named Sher Ami, along with a desperate message: “We are located along the road, parallel to 276.4. Our own troops are firing directly at our position. For God's sake, stop! "
As soon as the pigeon took off, enemy soldiers opened fire on it. It took 25 minutes for the bird to fly through a barrage of enemy bullets at a distance of 40 kilometers to reach the Allied headquarters.
She still flew. The bird was all wounded: a wound in the chest and one eye was missing. One leg was so injured that it simply hung on a tendon. And the request for help, closed in a metal box, was attached to this very, almost broken leg ...
The allies immediately stopped artillery fire and eventually managed to break through the enemy lines.
Cher Ami became a World War I hero who saved 197 American soldiers from certain death and was awarded the French Army's Croix de Guerre medal.
The hero pigeon died a year later due to complications of wounds, and his effigy is now in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.