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Some “interesting” WWII facts…

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.

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.

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 Swa stika, and Hitler’s private train was named ‘Amerika.’ Al l three were soon changed for PR purposes.!

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%.

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.

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.

When allied armies reached the Rhine, the first thing men did was urinate 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).

German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City, but they decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet. Correction thanks to PE- Sunk by a toilet?
In many sources it is stated the U-120 was “sunk by a toilet” (probably a very bad way to go! :). However this story should be attributed, with changes, to the U-1206 which was one of the late war boats fitted with the new deep water high-pressure toilets (enabling the boat to use its toilet at greater depth than before).

On 14 April 1945, only 8-10 miles off the British coast line, the boat was safely cruising at 200 feet when the commander, Schlitt, decided to use the toilet without the help of a trained specialist (the system was complicated). Something went wrong and when the specialist arrived he misunderstood something and opened the wrong valve with the end results that large amount of seawater got into the boat. The seawater reached the batteries directly under the toilet causing chlorine gas to form and the boat had to be surfaced immediately right under the enemy. When the boat reached the surface they managed to blow clean air into the boat but at the same time an aircraft bombed the boat causing extensive damages leaving the boat unable to dive. Seeing the hopeless situation Schlitt had no choice but to destroy his secret material and abandon ship to safe his crew. (Brennecke, J. (2001). Jager and Gejagte)

Thanks PE!

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.

After the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, a lone Japanese pilot crashed his plane on Niihau and took the entire village of Puuwai hostage. Two men, Hawila Kaleohano and Beni Kanahele, were able to disarm and kill the intruer. Kanahele, who was shot three times in the incident, later received a Purple Heart for his heroics. This was probably one of the few times civilians took matters into their own hands. Even today, Niihau is a restricted area, it is privately owned and the Robinson family does not allow tourists and visitors…

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…


Say what??? — 20 Comments

  1. WOW!!!!!!!!! This is so informative and so amazing. great read!!!!! I never knew about the rogue pilot on the Hawaiian Island……….. Amazing he even survived the crash….. Loved the fact that a U boat was sunk by a toilet, and the Japanese Ace pilot died as a passenger on cargo flight, talk about KARMA!!!!

    Don’t fly too much. Get some sleep!

  2. I’ll bet those Koreans were disappointed that we didn’t let/make them fight…

  3. Thanks for the fascinating facts! I love these tidbits of history. More fodder for my vast storehouse of useless knowledge.

    Now… if I can only find my key….

  4. The Army still uses tracers for every fifth round, and you’re right that the tracer bullet is a little lighter and flies a little higher. It’s something experienced machine-gunners know and use.

  5. We solved the “tracer” problem to a point.
    Our gunners just fired ALL tracer.
    If you think about it….the guys getting shot at know only every fifth is a tracer….and a bunch of those are decending on his sorry behind. They tended to duck.


  6. Don’t know if I should curse or thank you for new, to me, information. Used up an hour Goggling one subject after another.

    An uncle was at Kiska. He didn’t have fond memories of the operation. Even for a cowboy, his language used to express his feelings was intemperate!

  7. Good bits- especially the last! And give me AP, with some incindiary thrown in, with a historical gunsight.

  8. That rings a bell. When the first Puffs were deployed, the Tracer/standard round ratio was reversed because it scared Charlie more so I was told. Charlie called the gunships, “Dragons.” The tracer streams were the dragon’s breath.

    Heh. I don’t know if that is true or not, but it makes a good story.

  9. Diane- an old USMC Colonel with LOTS of time on his hands…

    CPD- Yep, plenty of Karma! I’ll sleep when I’m dead…

    Rick- I wonder!

    Fuzzy/Mongo/Julie/KLR- You’re welcome!

    PE- Thanks!

    Paw- Yep, they do.

    Skul- That HAD to have somebody wondering about the rate of fire!!!

    CS/WSF/ADM/JR- Y’all are welcome!

    Crucis- it’s not true. Had a relative that flew them, at 6000 RPM it just “looked” that way!

    Sig- it is…

    Top- Or the first round fired, or the first bomb dropped…sigh…

  10. but I need books and titles! so i can do further reading 😛 WW2 history is a favorite of mine to read/study about (much to the chagrin of my husband, with all my books). Or just authors 😛