Historical Badass Archive – Part 4: 42 Famous Badasses You Should Know About

11Albert Battel

Albert Battel

Albert Battel, a German officer serving in the Wehrmacht during WWII, commanded his whole unit to protect Jews and threatened the SS to kill them if they crossed a bridge into a Jewish ghetto to round them up.

12Dave Hartsock

Dave Hartsock

In 2009, a skydiving instructor named Dave Hartsock took a 54-old-woman on a tandem skydive. After the main chute failed and the second got tangled he told the woman to lift her feet. He then saved her life, by rotating their position, placing his body under hers to act as a cushion on impact. Both survived the accident, however, Hartsock is now paralysed from the neck down.

13Tyler Doohan

Tyler Doohan

In 2014, an 8-year-old boy named Tyler Doohan saved 6 members of his family from his burning house before finally succumbing to the fire himself while trying to save the last victim, his disabled grandfather.

14Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe

Maximilian Kolbe, a priest in Auschwitz volunteered to die in the place of a stranger who cried out “My wife! My children!” In the underground bunker, he kept all the others calm who were sentenced to be starved to death. He was the last one to die when he was executed by carbolic acid injection.

15Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was once involved in a plane crash in the desert in Syria. With two broken ribs, he repeatedly went back into the burning plane to evacuate passengers. He then organized search teams to look for civilization.

16John L. Sullivan

John L. Sullivan

John L. Sullivan a.k.a. ‘Overly manly man’ was a champion bare-knuckle boxer and known for his trademark phrase upon entering a saloon, “I can lick (beat) any son-of-a-bitch in the house.” He always did – and he brought the house a round. He won the world Bareknuckle Championship title in 1889 despite arriving at the fight after a long night of drinking, partying and scoring with the chicks. Sullivan showed up looking like he’d gone 36 hours without sleep (which he might have), drank whiskey and tea in the corner between the rounds. He barfed over the side of the ring in the middle of the 44th round, but kept in there, pushed it to the limit and won the fight in the 75th round when his opponent was too exhausted and pummeled to continue fighting.

17James Ward

James Ward

New Zealand Victoria Cross recipient James Ward won it for actions during a raid over Germany in July 1941. When his aircraft caught on fire, his copilot told him to try to put out the fire. Ward crawled out onto the wing, several thousand feet in the air, tore holes in the aircraft’s fabric with a fire ax to give himself hand and foot-holes, and smothered the flames out with a canvas cover. The bomber made it back to the United Kingdom.

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18Franz Von Werra

Franz Von Werra

Franz Von Werra was a Nazi POW who was transferred to Canada to deter his multiple escapes and recaptures. He escaped again in less than a month from Canada, traveled through the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Spain, and Italy to become the only Western held POW to return to combat.

19Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson

During World War 1 Henry Johnson saved his friend from over 20 German soldiers all by himself using his rifle as a club until its butt splintered and then proceeded to charge at them with his only remaining weapon a bolo knife. He was still fighting when more French and American troops arrived on the scene, causing the retreat.

20Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili Arkhipov

Russian navy officer, Vasili Arkhipov, opposed his commanding officer’s decision to launch a nuclear torpedo in response to US practice depth charges during the Cuban Missile Crisis, thus averting a nuclear war and saving the world.

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