Grabbed this after being reminded of the Black pudding one in the postcard thread
Some good uns in the list
53 WEIRD MILITARY FACTS
(Various Resources, presumably somewhat reliable)
1. 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 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. While completing the required 30 missions your 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 fifth 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.
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 it wasn't worth the effort.
9. German submarine U-120 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 US and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the island.
12. While the Hiroshima atomic bomb was being built in New Mexico all applicants for menial jobs at the plant did not get a job if they could read. This was because the US authorities didn't want staff reading secret papers.
13. When the battleship USS Arizona was destroyed by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor 23 sets of brothers were killed.
14. Mohamed Ali, who once ruled Egypt, had two infantry regiments in his army that consisted solely of one eyed soldiers.
15. To conserve metal during World War II the movie Oscars were made out of wood.
16. When World War II began the neutral Republic of Ireland banned all war footage from their newsreels.
17. During World War II the Germans considered the classic film "Casablanca" starring Humphrey Bogart, to be a propaganda film and refused it's showing in German cinemas. Even after the war the film was censored in Germany in which all references to Nazis had been removed.
18. During the American Civil War all officers of the Confederate army were given copies of Victor Hugo's book "Les Miserables" to be carried at all times.
19. During World War II the very first bomb dropped on Berlin, Germany, killed the only elephant in Berlin Zoo.
20. When the Persians invaded Egypt and were besieging a fort they threw dozens of cats over the walls because the Egyptians would rather surrender than risk injury to a cat.
21. During World War I parrots were kept in the Eiffel Tower to warn of approaching aircraft. They could detect planes long before they came into the range of human lookouts.
22. During the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 beef became so scarce that the people in Paris turned to eating horsemeat instead. They still do to this day.
23. During the English Civil War 300 tons of Cheshire Cheese was sent to the Royalist troops in Scotland.
24. During World War II coconut milk was used as blood plasma.
25. During the 19th century soldiers who had died in battle had their teeth pulled out to be used as dentures by other people.
26. Just before the start of World War II most condoms worn were made in Germany. When war broke out most soldiers making love before leaving for the front were wearing German condoms.
27. During World War II Marmite was prescribed as a cure for tropical diseases like burning feet and Beriberi.
28. After the First World War ended it was found that the Armistice was typed back to front. The French clerk who was taking the dictation accidentally put the carbon papers in the wrong way round.
29. During the 19th century the Royal Navy estimated that insanity in its service was seven times the normal. This was thought to be because sailors and marines who had got drunk were constantly banging their heads in the confined spaces between decks.
30. During World War II a German U-boat was actually sunk by a truck. After the U-boat had torpedoed a convoy of cargo ships in the Atlantic ocean, it rose to the surface to see the results when one of the ships suddenly exploded sending it's cargo of trucks flying into the air, one of which landed on the submarine breaking it's back and sinking it.
31. During World War II the military production of the Ford Motor Company exceeded that of the whole of Italy.
32. By the end of the American Civil War between a third and a half of all money in circulation in the US was counterfeit.
33. When Lawrence of Arabia led the British in battle with the Turks in Syria during World War I, he used a fleet of Rolls Royces to transport his men.
34. The US Interstate Highway System requires that one mile motorway in every five has to be straight so that these sections can be used as airstrips in times of war.
35. In France, in 1914, during World War I, French General Gallieni used a fleet of taxis, the drivers still wearing their caps, to transport his troops from Paris to the Battle of the Marne.
36. During the first World War it took about 1 tonne of poison gas to kill a single infantryman.
37. During the first Gulf war in the 1990's the allied forces lost just 4 tanks out of the 3,360 that were deployed.
The Iraqi's however lost 4,000 tanks out of 4,230 they used.
38. In England, during World War II, Lord Woolton, the Minister Of Food, actually considered a plan by Government scientists to feed the population with black pudding made from surplus human blood bank donations.
This idea was rejected.
39. In 1940, during the German invasion of Russia, for every 100 Russian males aged 18, 99 would have been killed over the next five years.
40. Of the 2,332 allied pilots that flew for their country during the Battle of Britain, only 17 of them accounted for ten percent of all German losses!
41. During the English Civil War, Sir Arthur Aston, a Royalist commander, was beaten death with his own wooden leg by Oliver Cromwell's soldiers!
42. During the 19th century Turkey suffered 13 military defeats and only won one campaign.
43. During the second world war over 56,000 carrier pigeons were sent into action with some of them actually receiving medals of bravery.
44. Kleenex tissues were actually developed for use as gasmask filters during the first world war.
45. US General George Custer always slept with his dog on his bed.
46. Since Bolivia became an independent country in 1825 there have been more than 180 revolutions.
47. The very last sea battle using oar powered ships was at Lepanto in 1571.
48. The military tank got it's name when they were first shipped to France during World War I.
For security reasons they were packed into huge wooden crates which were supposed to contain water tanks and the name stuck.
49. The very last Roman soldier left Great Britain in 407 AD.
50. In France during World War II a French Resistance fighter shot and killed two German Nazi officers.
When the war was over he was reunited with his family and it was then that he found out that one of the officers had been his mother's lover and was in fact his father.
Also both officers were brothers which made the second officer his uncle!
51. During the Vietnam War more than 58,000 American soldiers were killed in action.
It has been estimated that nearly twice that many have committed suicide since their return.
52. A British soldier once walked non-stop for 6 days, 10 hours and 22 minutes without a break.
53. During the First World War ordinary yeast was used in the manufacture of high explosives.