(WWII) WEB GEMS

Here are some items that have floated around the web until the original source is unknown. I was unable to verify the authenticity, but they make interesting reading, if true.

LITTLE KNOWN HISTORY OF WWII
Forwarded by Airburd.

The first German military casualty of WWII died in China, 1937, at the hands of the Japanese. The first American military casualty of WWII died in Finland, 1940, at the hands of the Russians. LtGen. Lesley McNair was the highest ranking American killed in WWII, at the hands of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

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. Congress later restored his benefits.

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top U.S. Navy command was CINCUS (pronounced “sink us”). The shoulder patch of the U.S. 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 the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions their chance of being killed was 71%.

Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. He was either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down more than 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

A common practice on fighter planes was loading every 5th round with a tracer bullet to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics, so (at long range) if one's tracers were hitting the target 80% of the rounds were missing it. Worse yet, tracers instantly told the 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 alert the pilot he is out of ammo. This was definitely not something one wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw the success rate nearly double and the loss rate go down appreciably.

When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was pee in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. George S. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).

German ME-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but the military strategists didn't think it was worth the effort.

Its own malfunctioning toilet caused the sinking of 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 captured by the U.S. Army.

Following a 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.