Strange WWII Facts
SOME INTERESTING STUFF HERE (Unverified by me)
You might enjoy this from Col D. G. Swinford, USMC, Ret., and
history buff. You would really have to dig deep to get this kind of
ringside seat to history:
1. The first German serviceman killed in WW II was killed by the
Japanese (China, 1937). The first American serviceman killed was
killed by the Russians (Finland 1940); highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen Lesley McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps. So much for allies.
2. The youngest US 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.
3. 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.
4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps.
[Actually the 8th Air Force alone suffered about 5,000 more KIA than
the entire Marine Corps in WW2. While completing the required 30
missions, an airman's chance of being killed was 71%.
5. Generally speaking, there was no such thing as an average fighter
pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance, Japanese Ace
Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a
passenger on a cargo plane.
6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round
with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had
different ballistics, 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. Here's something related from 5th SF, Detachment B-52's Tips of the Trade item #32; "Tracers work both ways".
7. 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. Patton (who had
himself photographed in the act).
8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but
they decided it wasn't worth the effort.
9. German submarine U-1206 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
10. 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 they were captured by the US Army.
11. Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 United States and
Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands . 21
troops were killed in the assault on the island. It could have been
worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.
12. The last marine killed in WW2 was killed by a can of spam. He was
on the ground as a POW in Japan when rescue flights dropping food and
supplies came over, the package came apart in the air and a stray can
of SPAM hit him and killed him.
"Life is a journey.
Bring an open mind..."
“If not now, when?”
"Give a damn!"
- C.M. Howe, Jr.