LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT WWII
I ran an article similar to this two or three years ago… which goes to show that “old” things keep surfacing on the Internet that are “new” to those who haven’t seen them:
- The first German serviceman killed in WW2 was by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was by the Russians (Finland, 1940), the highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies!
- The youngest U.S. serviceman was 12-year-old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress.)
- At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was Called CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”), the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named “Amerika.” All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
- More U.S. servicemen died in the Air Corps than in the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, one's chance of being killed was 71%.
- Generally speaking,there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You either were an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down more than 80 planes. He died while a passenger in a cargo aircraft.
- It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a tracer to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracer ballistics were different, so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down considerably.
- When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was urinate in it. This seemed a universal ritual , from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).
- German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but it wasn't deemed worth the effort.
- Its malfunctioning toilet sank German submarine U-120.
- Among the first “Germans” captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until the U.S. Army captured them.
- Following massive naval bombardment, 35,000 U.S. and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island. Bad intelligence, what?