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Oddball facts from WWII

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  • Oddball facts from WWII

    This is for the history buffs.

    You'll love this from Col. D.G. Swinford, USMC, Ret. and history buff. You would really have to dig to get this kind of ringside seat to history:

    1. The first German serviceman killed in WW2 was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940), the 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. While completing the required 30 missions your 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.


    7. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was p-e 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). found the photo (hand tinted black and white)

    8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it wasn't worth the effort.

    9. German submarine U-120 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 US 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.
    Chuck D

    When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.
    Jean De La Bruyere...

    Hegner 18, Delta p-20, Griz 14 inch Band saw

  • #2
    Thanks Chuck for the interesting read, I love this kind of stuff, and it just goes to show fact IS stranger then fiction.

    DeWalt 788

    aut viam inveniam aut faciam

    God gives us only what we can handle.. Apparently God thinks I am one tough cookie.....


    • #3
      What an interesting read, but could you explain this please?
      Originally posted by ChuckD
      The first German serviceman killed in WW2 was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937)
      I've always been told (and it seems to be universally accepted) that WWII broke out on 3 September 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany. How could the first casualty have arisen two years earlier?

      There is no opinion, however absurd, which men will not readily embrace as soon as they can be brought to the conviction that it is readily adopted.
      (Schopenhauer, Die Kunst Recht zu Behalten)


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gill
        What an interesting read, but could you explain this please?I've always been told (and it seems to be universally accepted) that WWII broke out on 3 September 1939 when Britain and France declared war on Germany. How could the first casualty have arisen two years earlier?

        It depends on which historians you talk to. Some use the date of 7 July 1937 (when the Japanese invaded China), others use 1 September 1939 (when Germany invaded Poland) and some use 3 September 1939 as you indicated above. I've talked to several who believe it started with Germany's annexation of Austria.

        There's a lot of interesting little tidbits about WWII, some quite scary. The Japanese had stockpiled biological weapons (plague?) but the Japanese General in charge refused to use them. They had developed a long range bomber capable of reaching the US (I don't believe it was ever built though). The first pilot to fly a jet aircraft was a German woman in 1938 (I may have the wrong year, I'm speaking from memory here). It can be argued that the US's newest bomber, the B2 is based on the WWII German HU-229. Kinda scary how advanced some of Germany's weaponry was and we're all fortunate that they never had the opportunity to fully develop it.
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