The Lexington before the Battle of Coral Sea
The Lexington after the Battle of Coral Sea.
|Stalin's original name was Josif Djugashvili. In 1913 he began
using the pseudonym Stalin meaning "Man of Steel".
Benito Mussolini, during the First World War, was an editor for an Italian
newspaper partly financed by the British and French. At that time he was
an opponent of the Germanic Central Powers (he also served in the Italian
army until wounded).
Heinrich Himmler, the evil head of the Nazi SS, was once a
You've heard of suicide or kamikaze bombers - but how about
suicide battleships!? On 7th April 1945 off the island of Okinawa the Japanese battleship Yamato, which had not been
given fuel for its return journey home, arrived with several other ships to attack the American fleet. The Yamato, which was one
of the two largest battleships ever built, and her accompanying ships, were sunk by American aircraft before they reached their
Adolf Hitler was a teetotaler, vegetarian and non-smoker.
Although many people refer to the Allied D-Day landings in
Normandy as "Operation Overlord", the operation was actually called "Operation Neptune". The landings were originally
known as Overlord, but in September 1943 the codename was changed to Neptune, and Overlord from then on was used to
refer to the general Allied strategy in northwestern Europe.
Despite what you might see in the movies, the regular German
Army (Wehrmacht) did not usually use the Nazi salute. Only after the July 1944 attempt on Hitler's life were they forced to
use the Nazi salute as standard.
Virtually everybody knows the name of the B-29 bomber that
dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima - the Enola Gay - but how about the one that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki
3 days later? This B-29 was known as "Bock's Car", and Nagasaki was not its original target - the intended target city
was Kokura, which escaped as the bomber was under orders to attack only a clear target and the city was shrouded in smog
at the time. Nagasaki was the first alternative target city.
After suffering heavy losses during the airborne assault and
capture of Crete, Hitler never again committed his airborne troops to large-scale operations and they were instead used
as ground infantry.
On January 17th 1942 Churchill was nearly shot down by the
enemy and then his own air force. During a return trip from the United States, his flying boat veered off course and came close
to German anti-aircraft guns in France, after this error was noticed and corrected, his aircraft then appeared to British
radar operators to be an enemy bomber. Six RAF fighters were scrambled to shoot him down, but fortunately for Churchill they
failed to find him.
One of the American light cruisers anchored at Pearl
Harbor during the Japanese attack of December 1941 was the Phoenix. The Phoenix survived the attack virtually unscathed,
however, more than 40 years later she was torpedoed and sunk by the British submarine Conqueror in the South Atlantic.
The Phoenix, at the time of her demise, was of course known then as the General Belgrano.
Amongst the methods of transport used by the 2nd Polish Corps fighting the battle of Monte Cassino was a brown bear
called Wojtek who helped to move boxes of ammunition.
The Soviet Red Army once trained dogs to destroy enemy tanks. The dogs were trained to associate the underside of
tanks with food and were fitted with a 26lb explosive device strapped to their backs. Once the dogs crawled under the
tanks, the device was triggered and exploded destroying the tank (and of course the dog). Unfortunately this didn't always
work as planned as the dogs were trained using Soviet tanks so were more likely to run under these than the German tanks.
As many as 25 German tanks were put out of action this way during the battles for Stalingrad and Kursk.