Monopoly games manufactured in England were really escape kits for POWs.
35,000 POWs escaped from Germany and Italy. About one third of these
credited the contraband games for their escape.
Hitler and Eva Braun are buried under a garbage dump in
what was East Germany.
Hitler and Eva Braun at Home
Hitler's personal phone number to his Berlin bunker was 12-00-5-0
Hitler signed his last order with a blue crayon.
The first German serviceman killed in the war 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 LtGen.
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 in combat 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 Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika".
All 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%.
Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons of bombs and 1.5 tons
of machine gun ammo. The US 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1
for every 12,700 shots fired.
. 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
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. The tracers had different
ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80% of
your rounds were missing. Worse yet the 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.
The term "The whole 9 yards" came from WWII fighter pilots in the
Pacific.When arming their airplanes on the ground, the .50 caliber machine
gun ammo belts measured exactly 27 feet, before being loaded into the
fuselage. If the pilots fired all their ammo at a target, it got "the whole
Balls to the Wall
Meaning - To move real fast. Origin: World War Two fighter pilot slang.
The engine throttles were topped by little balls. The throttle was advanced
by being pushed forward. If the throttles were at maximum power, the balls
were to the wall (the instrument panel).
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
General Patton on the Rhein River
German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but the Germans
thought it wasn't worth the effort.
The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by ramming them in mid-air
(they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching over them). "It takes a
brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army" - Joseph Stalin
The US Army had more ships than the US Navy.
The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, 2 armor divisions, and 11
paratroop divisions. None of them were capable of airborne operations. The
German Army had paratroops who WERE capable of airborne operations. Go
When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the equipment brought
ashore was 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants.
Coca-Cola CEO Robert Woodruff made a point of supporting US troops so
metal cans were introduced to meet their needs. In 1941, when the United
States entered the war, Woodruff decided that Coca Cola's place was near the
He sent an order to:
"See that ever man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca Cola for 5 cents
wherever he is and whatever the cost to the company".
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 then forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were
captured by the Germans then forced to fight for the German Army until they
were captured by the US Army.
German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
The only nation that Germany declared war on was the USA.
During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong British officers objected to
Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the officers' mess. No enlisted
men allowed you know.
Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of time from German
occupied Denmark. While Danish resistance fighters provided covering fire he
ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to grab a beer bottle
full of precious "Heavy Water". He finally reached England still clutching
the bottle. It contained beer. I suppose some German drank the Heavy
The Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia, has twice as many bathrooms as is
necessary. When it was built in the 1940s, the state of Virginia still had
segregation laws requiring separate toilet facilities for blacks and whites.
Famous Veterans of World War Two
Audie Murphy, little 5'5" tall 110 pound guy from Texas who played
cowboy parts in movies? He is the most Decorated serviceman of WWII and
The Medal of Honor
The Distinguished Service Cross
2 Silver Star Medals
Legion of Merit
2 Bronze Star Medals with "V"
2 Purple Hearts
The U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal
The Good Conduct Medal
2 Distinguished Unit Emblems
The American Campaign Medal
The European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with One Silver Star
Four Bronze Service Stars (representing nine campaigns) and one Bronze
Arrowhead (representing assault landing at Sicily and Southern France)
The World War II Victory Medal
The Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp
The Armed Forces Reserve Medal
The Combat Infantry Badge
The Marksman Badge with Rifle Bar
The Expert Badge with Bayonet Bar
The French Fourragere in Colors of the Croix de Guerre
The French Legion of Honor,Grade of Chevalier
The French Croix de Guerre With Silver Star
The French Croix de Guerre with Palm
The Medal of Liberated France
The Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 Palm
Murphy earned a battlefield commission to the rank of 2LT. He was
appointed to West Point when the wounds he suffered disqualified him from
military service. Upon medical discharge he found work in Hollywood.
James Doohan (of Star Trek fame) was a true war hero. An enlisted man
who rose to captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery, he was with the Royal
Canadian Artillery on Juno Beach on D-Day. He was shot seven times, with an
eighth bullet lodging in his metal cigarette case. Three bullets shredded
the middle finger of his right hand. Eventually, the finger was amputated,
which is occasionally noticeable in Star Trek episodes and movies.
Charles Durning was a 21-year-old Army Ranger on Omaha Beach, June
6th, 1944. Wounded, he was the only soldier in his outfit to survive the
initial assault. He was wounded in Belgium, stabbed by a German teenager
wielding a bayonet. He was taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge in
December of 1944, and survived the infamous machine-gun massacre of over 100
US POWs at Malmady. He returned to the site of the crime to help identify
Finally, as the war wound down and he helped to liberate the Nazi death
camps, Charles Durning took a bullet to the chest, effectively ending his
tour of duty.
He was awarded three Purple Hearts and the Silver Star. And he spent the
ensuing four years in and out of hospitals.
Alec Guinness served in the Royal Navy throughout World War II,
serving first as a seaman in 1941 and being commissioned the following year.
While in the military Guinness for awhile planned on becoming an Anglican
priest. He commanded a landing craft taking part in the invasion of Sicily
and Elba and later ferried supplies to the Yugoslav partisans.
Bob Keeshan, also known as "Captain Kangaroo" was a Marine Sergeant
in World War Two. He never saw combat.
[ed. note:Bob Keeshan died on January 22, 2004, age 76. Thanks for the
Lee Marvin,a private first class in the Marines received a Purple
Heart for wounds received during the battle for Saipan in June 1944? He was
wounded in his buttocks by fire which severed his sciatic nerve. His real
name was Marvin Lee. When asked about the change he said that the Marine
Corps did that and he got so used to answering to it, he kept it that way in
civilian life. Marvin is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Ed McMahon was commissioned in the Marine Corps and was trained as a
fighter pilot in the F4U Corsair. He served as an instructor pilot, never
seeing combat. His assignment to the Marine Carrier Group was canceled when
the atomic bomb was dropped. Reactivated for the Korean War. Ed flew the
O-1E completing 85 missions and was awarded six Air Medals.
Donald Pleasance who played "The Forger" in "The Great Escape" was
really a RAF pilot who was shot down and held as a pow by the Germans in
World War II.
Eddie Albert was awarded the Bronze Star as a Naval Landing Officer.
He heroically evacuated wounded Marines during the invasion of Tarawa, NOV
George C. Scott won an Oscar for his portrayal of General Patton. He
really served as a Marine Sergeant in the European Theater.
Charles Bronson was a tail gunner. He completed 25 missions and was
awarded the Purple Heart.
Ernest Borgnine who played the skipper in "Mc Cales Navy" was a Navy
Gunner's Mate 1935-1945 serving in the South Pacific.
James Arness (Gunsmoke) As a private in the famed Third Infantry
Division he earned a Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Because of his
stature, he was chosen to be first off the landing craft (to test the depth
of the water) when his division landed at Anzio, Italy. He was subsequently
wounded by enemy machine gun fire and spent eighteen months recovering in
overseas and stateside hospitals.
Chuck Conners (The Rifleman) left college after two years, and in
1942 enlisted in the Army at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He spent most of the war
as a tank-warfare instructor, stationed at Camp Campbell, Kentucky, and
later at West Point.
Art Carney (The Honeymooners) A World War II veteran, served in
France as an infantryman. Wounded in leg by shrapnel and was hospitalized
for nine months. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life.
Loyal Reader, Tom Vallejos gave us the scoop on the next two.
James Stewart was a B-24 pilot ( not a B-17) and rose to the
rank of Colonel and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, the
Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Croix de Guerre. In 1959 in
was promoted to Brigadier General.
Clark Gable was a B-17 gunner in Europe. He attended the Officers'
Candidate School at Miami Beach, Fla. and graduated as a second lieutenant
on Oct. 28, 1942. He then attended aerial gunnery school and in Feb. 1943,
on personal orders from Gen. Arnold, went to England to make a motion
picture of aerial gunners in action.
Gene Roddenberry joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941,and flew many
combat B-17 Flying Fortress missions in the Pacific Theater with the 394th
Bomb Squadron, the "Bomber Barons." He was awarded the Distinguished Flying
Cross and the Air Medal. On 2 August 1943, Roddenberry was the pilot of
B-17E Flying Fortress, 41-2463, "Yankee Doodle", of the 394th BS, 5th BG,
when it crashed on takeoff due to mechanical failure at Espiritu Santo, New
Hebrides, killing 2 crew.
Mickey Rooney served in the U.S. Army in Europe. Rooney was trained
as a sniper but was assigned to do morale boosting "Jeep Shows" along the
front lines. While at the front, he was known to sneak away and as he put
it, "Practice the craft that the Army had trained him to do." Rooney was
awarded the Bronze Star with clusters.
Henry Fonda, who played the second Commander in Chief-Pacific
(CINCPAC II) in In Harm's Way (1965), was actually a naval veteran of World
War II who served in the Pacific Theater. After making The Ox-Bow Incident
(1943), Fonda enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II, saying, "I
don't want to be in a fake war in a studio." He served in the Navy for three
years, initially as a Quartermaster 3rd Class on the destroyer USS Satterlee;
later, Fonda was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2) in Air
Combat Intelligence. For his service in the Central Pacific, he won the
Bronze Star, the fourth highest award for bravery or meritorious service in
conflict with the enemy. After the War, Fonda starred in "Mister Roberts" on
stage and later in the movie. The cap he wore as Cmdr Roberts was his
uniform cap which he wore in the Navy.
Rod Steiger joined the Navy at age 16 to get away from home and
served as a Torpedoman aboard a destroyer escorting the U.S.S. Hornet as
part of Task Force 18 on the Doolittle Raid. Surprise was crucial and it was
feared that the Task Force had been spotted by a Japanese fishing boats.
Steiger was credited in sinking one of these vessels with machine gun fire.