The boar and the Sheridan Tank
I was in a meeting at work. I turned to a fellow employee who I thought to be a hunter in his spare time. “Have you ever hunted for wild boar?” I asked him.
He smiled at me and I could read his mind. He had already sized me up for someone that was not into that kind of thing, but was amused or flattered that I wanted to know his opinion of such an odd topic. What’s more he figured a geeky guy originally from Chicago wouldn’t be into boar hunts or duck hunting, or anything along those lines involving firearms.
At the time, I was thinking of the ancient boar hunt. My mind works that way, even in staff meetings.
“No, but I have seen them in the wild,” he said. “You don’t want to mess with them. I know guys that had their leg broken by the boar’s charge.”
“The heavy skull and tusks can slam up against a man’s leg and do quite a bit of damage.”
I was thinking of the engravings and ancient roman paintings of men on horseback with spears hunting a boar through the brush. The hunters are always accompanied by dogs.
“In fact, my dad was in Patton’s Army in Germany during World War II, and they came across a boar that decided to take on a tank.”
“It came rushing out of the brush, and slammed up against the treads.”
I must have made a face. He looked at me and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. It just I don’t know whether to think, ‘what a stupid beast’ or admire the creature for its ferociousness.”
This tale was the first time I think I really understood why so many legions used the boar as their symbol – a ferocious animal filled with bluster that charges in a straight line at its enemy relying on the impact of its shields (bulk) and the point of its swords (tusk) to overcome.