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Thread: Things You probably didn't know about WW2.

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    Default Things You probably didn't know about WW2.

    From August 29 to October 8, 1942, the German 250th Infantry Division
    (the volunteer Spanish "Blue Division") marched (literally)
    from Suvalki in Poland to Vitebsk in the Soviet Union, a distance of
    some 1,000 kilometers, for an average daily rate of advance of about
    25 kilometers, probably the greatest sustained marching effort in the
    Second World War. The division had a number of other distinctions to
    its credit. Continuously in action from its first entry into combat at
    Borisov on October 18, 1941, to the time it was withdrawn from the
    Leningrad front on January 15, 1943, to return to Spain, the division
    was involved in twenty-one major battles and hundreds of smaller
    ones, yet never lost an inch of ground.
    On one occasion, resentful of German efforts to interfere in its
    pursuit of the local womenfolk, when the division was ordered to
    march in review for some German brass, the troops decorated their
    bayonets with inflated ******s.
    The Blue Division was an interesting trick on the part of Spanish
    dictator Francisco Franco. The Spanish Civil War had only ended in
    Eastern Front, and although Franco was considered a Fascist, he was much
    more of a Spanish nationalist and was more concerned with maintaining
    peace and quiet in Spain than getting involved in another
    war. The Blue Division was a way of getting the more determined
    prowar Spanish Fascists and anti-Communists out of the country, and
    out of Franco's hair. At the same time, the Blue Division was Francisco
    Franco's way of acceding to German pressures for him to enter
    the war. In what has been termed a "dazzling virtuoso performance,"
    Franco repeatedly expressed his desire to join Germany,
    "with proper support," meaning guaranteed deliveries of arms, petroleum
    products, and other resources. These were, of course, precisely
    what Hitler was unable to supply, Franco apparently having
    been apprised of what to ask for by anti-Nazi Germans, among
    whom appears to have been Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the chief of
    German military intelligence, whose acquaintance Franco (or one of
    his close advisers) had made during World War I, when Canaris was
    a German intelligence operative in Spain. Meanwhile Franco kept his
    options open with the West, turning a blind eye to Allied "escape
    lines" that helped fugitive prisoners of war to travel across Spain
    and issued passports to Sephardic Jews in some areas of Eastern Europe,
    enabling them to escape the Holocaust.
    So tenacious was Franco in negotiation that after their one and
    only meeting together (Franco crossed the Spanish border to Hendaye
    in France, while Hitler traveled all the way from Paris) Hitler
    is supposed to have remarked that he would rather spend time with
    his dentist.
    In early 1943 Ruth Baldwin Gowan, an ace reporter for the Associated
    Press, arrived in North Africa. There were a number of people who
    objected to her presence, holding that women could not make good war
    correspondents. Such doubts were dispelled at the highest levels.
    It seems that shortly after Ms. Gowan arrived in North Africa she
    chanced to run into George S. Patton, the ultimate no-nonsense soldier.
    After being introduced, Patton gave her the once-over. Then he asked,
    "What is the first law of war?"
    Ms. Gowan replied quickly, "You kill him before he kills you."
    "She stays," said a smiling Patton, much to the disappointment of
    those who expected him to send her packing with an earful of soldierly
    profanity.
    Ms. Gowan was one of about 800 correspondents from all nations
    who covered the operations of the Western allies during the war, some
    of them spending literally years on the fighting fronts. Operation Overl
    ord, which involved nearly 3 million military personnel, including
    naval, air, and ground forces, was covered by about 300 Allied reporters
    (180 U.S. and 120 Allied), or about 1 reporter for every 10,000
    troops. Fewer than 50 reporters (including Ernest Hemingway) landed
    on D-Day, about 1 for every 3,100 men. In contrast, the 1991 Gulf War
    was covered by about 1,300 journalists on the Allied side, although
    only about 700,000 troops were involved, including those all over the
    theater of operations, about 1 reporter to every 540 troops.
    When the Allied armies finally reached the Rhine in the spring of 1945,many of the troops performed a little male ritual to express their contemptfor all things German. It is not known how many men piddled in
    the Rhine. Among the many thousands who so indulged were the entire
    British Imperial General Staff, led by Winston Churchill himself (who
    reportedly did so with great relish, to the cheers of onlooking American
    troops, who had themselves just performed the little ceremony), and
    George S. Patton, who was photographed in the act.
    During Rommel's pursuit following the defeat of the British Eighth
    Army in the Battle of Gazala, the 33rd Reconnaissance Battalion of his
    Panzerarmee Afrika advanced 158.7 kilometers (about 100 miles) in
    twenty-four hours on June 26-27, 1942. This is apparently a world's
    record for a single day's advance against resistance. There have been
    swifter performances,`,but all were against an opponent who was offering
    no opposition.
    Nearly 80 percent of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 did not
    survive Wold War II. The war was also hard on the females born in
    that year, as many were unable to find husbands. In recognition of this
    situation, after the war the Soviet government urged men (married or
    not) to help these "war widows" to get pregnant so they could at least
    have children, even if their potential husbands had been killed during
    the war. Many of the elderly and impoverished Russian women seen in
    the wake of the Cold War are these same women born in the early
    1920s, only to see their hopes for a family killed during Wold War II
    battles.
    Although the Iron Cross has not been awarded since the end of the
    Second World War, a supply of them was struck in West Germany
    some years ago, so that recipients could trade in their swastikabedecked
    Nazi-era decorations for a more traditional one.
    Shortly before the United States was dragged into Wold War II someone
    in the war department noted that the 45th Infantry Division, a
    National Guard outfit from New Mexico, had a rather unfortunate
    shoulder patch, considering current political trends. The "shoulder
    sleeve insignia" in question combined a certain ancient Native-
    American symbol with the traditional Spanish colors. This symbol was
    unfortunately identical to that used by a certain political movement just
    then immensely successful in Europe. As a result, the 45th Division's
    gold swastika on a red lozenge became a thunderbird on a red lozenge.
    Meanwhile, Native-American artists and artisans lined up to sign
    pledges that they would eschew the use of their ancient symbol, besmirched as it was by its modern associations. It might be noted that
    authentic copies of the original insignia are the most valuable of U.S.
    military patches.
    During the Second World War over nine million free theater tickets
    were distributed to U.S. military personnel, nearly two thirds of whom
    had never before seen a live performance. Free theater tickets were
    only one way in which American society spontaneously responded to
    the need to help the boys in uniform. Communities ran volunteer
    programs for military personnel. For example, about 120 small towns
    in the sparsely populated region around North Platte, Nebraska, provided
    free refreshments for the literally hundreds of thousands of military
    personnel who passed through the town by rail, never once
    running out. Taking a lonely soldier home for Sunday dinner was
    common, as were USO clubs, picnics, pen pals, and much more. And
    then there were the "V-Girls" or "Victory Girls," who might be
    termed "war groupies," numerous young women willing to give their
    all for the boys in uniform.
    In 1943 all 4.4 million parts of scissors produced in occupied Europewere requisitioned for the use of the German armed forces. The Germans also requisitioned some 6.2 million stamp pads to help them keep all their paperwork in proper order. It's worth noting that the strength of the German armed forces at the time was only about 7 million.
    Great Britain's most famous warship, the old wooden hundred-gun
    ship of the line H.M.S. Victory, launched in 1765, played a role, albeit
    a minor one, in the Second World War. On the night of March 10-11,
    1 941, during a German air attack on the Portsmouth naval base, a five
    hundred-pound bomb fell between the ship's hull and the drydock in
    which she rests on a permanent cradle. Although the bomb caused
    some damage to about 120 square feet of the hull, the ship proved
    surprisingly resilient. Presumably the incident was a mistake. Or perhaps
    the Germans had learned that from time to time senior British
    naval officers were wont to hold conferences aboard the old battleship,
    perhaps seeking inspiration from Nelson's ghost.
    The Victory came out of her encounter with the Luftwaffe a
    lot better than did another old liner, the seventy-four gun H.M.S.
    Wellesley, launched in 1815, which was more or less demolished at
    dockside by a German bomb in 1941, thus gaining the distinction of
    being the last wooden ship of the line to be sunk by enemy action.
    The venerable Piper Cub (single-engine, two-seat civilian aircraft)
    went to war as an artillery spotter. While the pilot dodged enemy
    ground fire, the second man spotted targets for the artillery and radioed
    back the information. In April 1945, one such aircraft, called Miss Me
    spotted one of their German opposite numbers (a Fieseler Storch) and
    the Americans drew their .45-caliber pistols and dove on the Storch
    with guns blazing. Amazingly, they damaged the German aircraft,
    forcing it to land. The Piper Cub then landed and the Americans
    jumped out and took captive the startled Germans. Four more and the
    Miss Me pilot would have been an ace.
    Off Okinawa, one hard-pressed destroyer, deployed on "picket duty"
    to try to keep Japanese suicide aircraft from the carriers and transports,
    grew frustrated at Japanese pilots diving on them instead of continuing
    on (if they survived the fire of the picket line destroyers) to the larger
    warships and transports. Knowing that the Japanese were mainly looking to sink carriers, the destroyer erected a large sign proclaiming
    CARRIERS THIS WAY. It's doubtful that many of the Japanese saw the
    sign, could even read it, much less paid it much heed. The incident did
    spotlight the dangerous nature of this picket duty. Most of the ships
    sunk by these Japanese aircraft were destroyers.
    Most of the civilian casualties during the Pearl Harbor attack were the result of civilians being hit by antiaircraft bullets falling back to earth.
    The bullets from .50-caliber (half inch in diameter) machine guns were
    a principal cause, as these falling rounds could injure or kill no matter
    where they hit someone in their path. Considering the amount of antiaircraft fire that was expended during Allied attacks on Axis cities
    and Axis attacks on Allied cities, the casualty rate from "friendly" fire
    must have been enormous.
    The highest-scoring Japanese fighter ace, Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, had an
    attitude toward combat typical of most Japanese soldiers, sailors, and
    airmen. During the summer of 1942, Nishizawa was engaged in an air
    battle over the Solomons. In the course of downing six American
    Wildcats, his aircraft was hit. Thinking he would not be able to make
    it back to base in his smoking aircraft, he decided to get one more
    American aircraft by ramming. But he could find no American aircraft
    nearby, so he limped homeward and barely made it back to a Japanese
    airfield. Many Japanese pilots in damaged aircraft did succeed in "getting
    one more American" by ramming. Nishizawa, with over eighty
    kills, eventually died while a passenger in a Japanese transport aircraft
    shot down by U.S. fighters. This was ironic in that Nishizawa always
    maintained that he would never be bested in combat. He was right.
    Navy slang for ice cream was gedunk (a term that was often used torefer to other tooth-rotting pleasures). Aircraft carriers were large
    enough to provide crew amenities like an ice-cream shop. But to supply
    ice cream to the rest of the fleet, the navy took one of the concrete
    transports built early in the war (when there was a steel shortage) and
    turned it into a floating ice-cream factory. The ship itself was a turkey
    ( most of the concrete ships were fobbed off on the army), but the
    gedunk cruiser could produce up to five thousand gallons of ice cream
    an hour, making her one of the most popular ships in the fleet.
    Three prominent World War II leaders had a common ancestor, Sarah Barney Belcher, of Taunton, Massachusetts. As a result of this common ancestry, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur was an eighth cousin
    of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and a sixth cousin of U.S.
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
    In the early 1950s, Great Britain launched a large, and ultimately
    successful, military operation against Communist guerrillas in Malaya.
    One of the units involved was a Gurkha battalion. The Gurkhas discovered
    another Gurkha, one who had been hiding out since the Japanese
    overran the area in 1941 and killed or captured all the other
    British troops. The poor fellow had gone into hiding and thought that
    the Japanese had won the war. But, ever loyal to his king (now replaced
    by Queen Elizabeth), he fought on.
    One of the most distinguished physicists in the world was Niels Bohr,a Dane. Trapped in Denmark by the German invasion, Bohr lived
    quietly, being permitted to continue nuclear research, which was
    deemed useful to the German war effort. Meanwhile, of course, the
    Allies were pressing ahead with their own nuclear research. In 1943 the
    Allies decided that they might be in need of Bohr's expertise, and with
    his permission arranged to rescue him. Although a supersecret operation,
    at the last minute the German occupation authorities got wind of
    it and came looking for Bohr. As a result, it was a near thing. Reportedly,
    as the Germans were coming in the front door, Bohr headed out the back,
    pausing momentarily to grab a beer bottle full of heavy water from his
    refrigerator. While some members of the Danish resistance provided
    covering fire, Bohr, who at age fifty-eight was rather old for such adventures, was taken aboard a fishing boat and ferried over to Sweden,
    where he was secretly landed and transported to Stockholm. Several
    days later, on October 7, Bohr boarded a modified Mosquito bomber at
    a secret air***** for the final leg of his journey to Great Britain.
    During the flight Bohr's oxygen supply failed, and he became unconscious
    before the pilot realized this. Thinking quickly, the pilot
    brought the plane down to a very low altitude, which failed to revive
    Bohr, but kept him alive. After two hours the Mosquito landed in Scotland,
    where Bohr, still clutching his bottle of heavy water, was taken to
    a hospital. He soon recovered and eventually made his way to the United
    States, where he joined the Manhattan Project. Despite Allied expectations, Bohr's actual contribution to the development of the atomic
    bomb proved marginal, as the American and British scientists already
    working on the project had surpassed Bohr's researches. The bottle of
    heavy water turned out to be the wrong one; it contained beer.
    In her old age Erika Waag Canaris, widow of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, wartime chief of German military intelligence (the Abwehr) and
    a prime mover in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, was
    supported by an American pension apparently arranged by Allen
    Dulles, who was for many years head of the CIA.
    Wanna more?

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    When the Allied armies finally reached the Rhine in the spring of 1945,many of the troops performed a little male ritual to express their contemptfor all things German. It is not known how many men piddled in
    the Rhine. Among the many thousands who so indulged were the entire
    British Imperial General Staff, led by Winston Churchill himself (who
    reportedly did so with great relish, to the cheers of onlooking American
    troops, who had themselves just performed the little ceremony), and
    George S. Patton, who was photographed in the act.
    Outstanding!

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    fap, fap, fap, mousegiggle, fap, fap, fap toki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fdt
    i live at the rhine. I peed in the river on many occasions. Normally when you have parties there. Didn't know it's a political Statement.

  5. #5
    The two are dichotomous. PeterRJG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toki
    i live at the rhine. I peed in the river on many occasions. Normally when you have parties there. Didn't know it's a political Statement.
    *Was* a political statement.

  6. #6
    Diapering BTDT foxtrot023's Avatar
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    Default Re: Things You probably didn't know about WW2.

    Quote Originally Posted by fdt
    From August 29 to October 8, 1942, the German 250th Infantry Division
    (the volunteer Spanish "Blue Division") marched (literally)
    from Suvalki in Poland to Vitebsk in the Soviet Union, a distance of
    some 1,000 kilometers, for an average daily rate of advance of about
    25 kilometers, probably the greatest sustained marching effort in the
    Second World War. The division had a number of other distinctions to
    its credit. Continuously in action from its first entry into combat at
    Borisov on October 18, 1941, to the time it was withdrawn from the
    Leningrad front on January 15, 1943, to return to Spain, the division
    was involved in twenty-one major battles and hundreds of smaller
    ones, yet never lost an inch of ground.
    On one occasion, resentful of German efforts to interfere in its
    pursuit of the local womenfolk
    , when the division was ordered to
    march in review for some German brass, the troops decorated their
    bayonets with inflated ******s.
    Wanna more?
    Thatīs right. While the german soldiers had to fraternize with their hands, spanish soldiers got some loving

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