50 Rare & Weird Facts About WW2 That’ll Leave You Sleepless

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26Ernst Jünger

Ernst Jünger

German writer Ernst Jünger ran away at the age of 18, served both WW1 and WW2, earned the iron cross, hung out with Picasso and Cocteau, hated the nazis and did lots of drugs until he died 102 years old.

27. Simeon II, Tsar of Bulgaria during WW2, went on to be elected republican Prime Minister from 2001-2005. He is the only living person to be called Tsar.

28. During WW2, a single American P-51 fighter plane held off 30 German fighters from attacking a squadron of B-17 bombers for over half an hour.

29. A bear fought in the Polish Army in WW2. He carried shells to the frontline and was taught to salute.

30. During WW2, Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler refused to destroy a damaged B-17.The German pilot escorted the B-17 to the English Channel and then saluted the American pilot and returned home. About 40 years later, they were reunited and developed a deep friendship that lasted until their deaths.

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31400-year-old sword

400-year-old sword

The Japanese pilot who attacked a town in Oregon during WW2 returned years later to present his family's 400-year-old sword in apology

32. The V-2 rocket in WW2 killed more people during production than as a weapon. 12,000 forced workers died making them while 9,000 died from the attacks.

33. Tommy Prince a Native American who served in WW2 was so quiet because of his pair of moccasins that sometimes instead of killing Germans, he would steal something from them. Other times, he would slit their throats and not make a sound.

34. In 1932 Oskar Speck was an unemployed contractor in Germany who left via kayak to seek work, but en route changed his plan & decided to see the world. By 1939 he kayaked all the way to Australia. Unbeknown to him, WW2 started & upon arrival, he was detained as an enemy foreigner until WW2 ended.

35. Eugene Bullard was the first African-American fighter pilot in history. He flew in WWI and was an integral part of the French Underground in WW2 and was a national hero in France. He spent his later years as an unknown elevator operator in America.

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36Operation Cornflakes

Operation Cornflakes

During WW2, the allies tricked the German postal service into inadvertently delivering anti-Nazi propaganda by airdropping bags of mail near bombed mail trains.

37. Some homosexual concentration camp prisoners were forced to serve out the remainder of their sentences after the liberation and end of WW2.

38. Judy, a purebred English pointer who would often jump in to protect prisoners from beatings in a POW camp during WW2. A British Naval pilot bargained to have her officially considered a POW so the guards could not kill her.

39. Lewis Lee Millett deserted the US Army when he thought they would not enter WW2 and joined the Canadian Army to fight. After the US Army joined WW2 he transferred back. During the Korean War, he would be awarded the Medal of Honor for leading the last major bayonet charge in American history.

40. Christopher Lee, the actor who played Saruman in LOTR and Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels, was related to Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was the step-cousin of James Bond writer Ian Fleming, was a Flight Lieutenant in the British Royal Air Force during WW2 and killed multiple Nazis, climbed Mt. Vesuvius three days before it erupted, tripped over a live bomb and survived, and released a symphonic death metal album at the age of 88.

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41Gustav pigeon

Gustav pigeon

A pigeon called Gustav carried the first word of the Normandy invasion back to the British mainland during WW2, due to the fleet undergoing radio silence at that time. He flew 150 miles in 5 hours and 16 minutes. He was awarded the Dickin Medal for bravery. He died after the war by being accidentally stepped on.

42. The Philippines has banana ketchup. During WW2 there was a shortage of tomatoes and they had to use bananas as a replacement to replicate ketchup. It’s made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices.

43. In WW2 Russians changed their R2 rocket fuel from ethyl to methyl alcohol to prevent the problem of the launch troops drinking up the rocket fuel.

44. During WWII the fuel used for torpedos by the American navy was 180-proof grain alcohol. Sailors mixed it with pineapple juice and called the drink torpedo juice. Various poisonous additives were mixed into the fuel alcohol by Navy authorities to render the alcohol undrinkable, and various methods were employed by the U.S. sailors to separate the alcohol from the poison.

45. In WW2, the Allies estimated German average monthly tank production using statistical analysis of their serial numbers. They were off by one.

46Tizard Mission

Tizard Mission

In 1940, while fighting the Battle of Britain and desperate to gain American support to win WW2, Great Britain handed over technologies to the USA that included radar, sonar, plastic explosives, the jet engine and the first practical calculations for the atomic bomb.

47. Otōemon Hiroeda, a Japanese Officer killed himself during WW2 rather than order his 2000 subordinates to conduct a kamikaze attack.

48. The US government during WW2 asked the press to avoid discussing “polonium, uranium, ytterbium, hafnium, protactinium, radium, rhenium, thorium, deuterium”. Only uranium was secret, for the Manhattan Project, but was listed with the other elements to hide its importance.

49. Without the atomic bomb, the invasion plan of Japan in WW2 would have been the largest in all of history, including 42 carriers, 24 battleships, 400 destroyers and 6 million soldiers.

50. Star Trek's Scotty, James Doohan, was a CDN soldier during WW2, who landed on Juno Beach, killed two snipers and cleared a minefield before even getting off the beachhead.

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