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Strange WW2 facts

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
Thanks: 33
Fixes: 1
Registered: 08-10-2010

Strange WW2 facts

Article pasted from another site.  I cannot prove the veracity of the facts, but I am going to research a few random ones. Amusing at least. Smiley
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.
4 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,990
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Registered: 11-12-2013

Re: Strange WW2 facts

ww2 always interests me more than any modern war.
WTF
Grafter
Posts: 673
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Registered: 14-09-2012

Re: Strange WW2 facts

Great stories - and a quick spot check would appear to confirm there's some truth to the stories:
1. 1st German - a commonly quoted story though nothing definitive
   1st US Serviceman - close but no cigar: Capt. Robert M Losey died in Norway on 21/04/1940 and was killed by a German Luftwaffe bomb
   Highest Ranked US casualty - indeed killed by friendly fire, though by the Eighth Air Force not the Army Air Corps
2. Apparently true
3. CINCUS (pronounced "Sink Us") was the acronym for the Naval command from 1922 until after WWII
4. The Air Force indeed lost 88,119 versus the Marines' 24,511
5. Have to take his word for it: the #1 German Ace, Erich Hartmann claimed 352 kills so it's believeable.
6. Appears to be true .. at longer ranges.  And I've definitely heard the "works both ways" line before.
7. Apparenlty true - there's even video of Patton
8. Not quite true.  The ME264 was a reconnaissance aircraft not a bomber.  Messershmitt did build 3 prototype bombers based on the ME264 design however they never flew any bombing missions.
9. Apparently true, though the story is often incorrectly attributed to U120
10. Again, seems true
11. True - total allied casualties were 313 as a result of friendly fire, booby traps, disease or frostbite
12. Can't find anything on this, but it makes sense that the last casualty would be in that theatre and - depending on where you put the end of the war - that it wouldn't necessarily come from action
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
Thanks: 33
Fixes: 1
Registered: 08-10-2010

Re: Strange WW2 facts

Thanks WTF.. I'm at work today, so saves me the task tonight. I suppose the last casualty was also a first..
1st victim of spam mail.  Smiley
nadger
Rising Star
Posts: 4,498
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Registered: 13-04-2007

Re: Strange WW2 facts

To me the most interesting fact about WW2 was that I lived through it and none of the German bombs dropped on West London hit me  Smiley