I am reading "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett and came upon this paragraph:

“Right!” He pointed a vibrating finger toward the stage and lowered his voice and, at that moment, a dramatic inspiration dived through the atmosphere and slammed into his creative node, causing him to say, “Now I want you to get out there and give ’em hell. Not for me. Not for the goddam captain.” He shifted the butt of an imaginary cigar from one side of his mouth to the other, and pushed back a nonexistent tin helmet, and rasped, “But for Corporal Walkowski and his little dawg.”

Obviously this is a reference to something, but I can't figure out what. I tried googling for it but found nothing.


2 Answers 2


This is clearly a reference to American war movies, probably WWII era, but I think it's an homage, not a reference to a specific movie. The dialog is surely not a direct quote, otherwise it would be found on Google.

Walkowski is undoubtedly an echo of Kowalski, a common Polish surname. Having a soldier called Kowalski is kind of a trope. A WWII era war movie would have at least a token non-Anglo-Saxon-European name, preferably Polish as Poland was an ally.

The character with the cigar and the helmet giving the pep talk is surely “cigar chomping” Patton, who was the subject of a famous movie after the war. What he's saying is not a quote from the movie. I don't know if it's paraphrasing a specific scene; the dialog is plausible but I can't find anything like it by skimming the script.


I don't think it's a reference to anything in particular, just a parody of American war movies in general.

Note that the Annotated Pratchett File entry for Wyrd Sisters doesn't have anything for this passage specifically.

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