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"Operation Cowboy How American GIs & German Soldiers" Topic

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World War Two on the Land

651 hits since 26 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0126 Dec 2018 3:41 p.m. PST

…. Joined Forces to Save the Legendary Lipizzaner Horses in the Final Hours of WW2.

"IT WAS APRIL 28, 1945. The war in Europe was just days away from ending when one of the strangest episodes of the entire conflict played out along the German-Czechoslovakian border. More than 350 American GIs had just fought their way through enemy lines to reach the town of Hostau. The settlement, which was still in the hands of a detachment of Wehrmacht soldiers, was home to some remarkably valuable treasure: several hundred prized Lipizzaner horses. The famous and extremely rare animals, which had been seized by the Third Reich as part of a bizarre wartime livestock breeding program, were now in the path of the advancing Red Army where they faced almost certain destruction. Fearing for the horses' lives, the German officer in charge of the stud farm sent word to the Americans that he and his men would surrender en masse if the U.S. Army promised to get the beasts out of harm's way. A cavalry unit in Patton's Third Army leapt at the chance to save the legendary Lipizzaners. The mission, which was dubbed Operation Cowboy, would see U.S. troops, along with a motley collection of liberated Allied POWs, a bona fide Cossack aristocrat and a platoon of turn-coat German soldiers race the clock to drive a herd of priceless horses to safety, all the while fighting off attacks by a legion of crack troops from the Waffen-SS bent on their destruction. This unbelievable true-story was the inspiration for Ghost Riders, a new non-fiction book by author and historian Mark Felton. Here, Felton himself takes us through the story….."
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Apache 626 Dec 2018 5:28 p.m. PST

Thank you for sharing that.

Striker26 Dec 2018 7:32 p.m. PST

History of WWII podcast had an episode on it.

Lion in the Stars26 Dec 2018 9:27 p.m. PST

That would be one heck of a fun game to run!

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2018 3:15 a.m. PST

"… a legion of crack Waffen-SS…"


Blutarski27 Dec 2018 6:05 a.m. PST

Patton was a Kentucky equestrian of considerable repute, so his commitment of a force to save these irreplaceable Lipizzaner horses should come as no surprise (these horses and the equestrian school they represent survived the war and continue to perform in Vienna as a major tourist attraction; they are an awesome sight to see).

A little known factoid (or so I have read): it is claimed that, after the war's end, Patton organized the seizure of about 3,000 of the finest thoroughbred horses and breeding stock in Germany and had them shipped back to the USA as war booty.


Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2018 7:13 a.m. PST

One of your very best finds, Tango.

Thanks heaps.


Legion 427 Dec 2018 9:11 a.m. PST

Pretty interesting little remembered incident. IIRC, when I was very young a very long time ago. There was a movie about this ?

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Dec 2018 9:16 a.m. PST

"The Miracle of the White Stallions", a Disney (!) film which I never saw, but which was filmed on location and, as I seem to recall, had a good deal of authentic Wehrmacht equipment (anti-tank guns, etc).

Probably worth looking up on YouTube (though I'd think Disney would keep a tight watch on that sort of thing), or perhaps it's available on DVD, etc.


Legion 427 Dec 2018 9:41 a.m. PST

Yes ! Now I remember it, yes I thought it was Disney ! Thanks ! thumbs up

Patrick Sexton Supporting Member of TMP27 Dec 2018 10:10 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link.

Tango0127 Dec 2018 11:07 a.m. PST

Happy you like it boys!. (smile)


Choctaw28 Dec 2018 1:08 p.m. PST

I have the Kindle book. It's a good read.

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