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Bizarre facts

Bizarre facts

Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 U.S. and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. Twenty-one troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.

The youngest U.S. serviceman was 12-year-old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a dishonorable discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits later were restored by an act of Congress.)

At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top U.S. Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry Division was the swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika." All three were changed for PR purposes.

More U.S. servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions the chance of being killed was 71 percent.

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 more than 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every fifth round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if tracers were hitting the target, 80 percent of the rounds were missing.

     Worse yet, tracers instantly told the 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 were out of ammunition. This was definitely not something to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

German Me264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City.

The German submarine U120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.

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 Germany Army until they were captured by the U.S. Army.

The first German serviceman killed in WWII was killed by the Japanese (in China, 1937). The first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland, 1940). The highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the U.S. Army Air Corps. So much for allies.

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).