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article is provided courtesy of DefenseWatch,
the official magazine for Soldiers For The
Truth (SFTT), a grass-roots educational organization
started by a small group of concerned veterans
and citizens to inform the public, the Congress,
and the media on the decline in readiness
of our armed forces. Inspired by the outspoken
idealism of retired Colonel
David Hackworth, SFTT aims to give our
service people, veterans, and retirees a clear
voice with the media, Congress, the public
and their services.
1. The first German serviceman killed in World
War II 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 U.S. Army
Air Corps - so much for allies. If you include Pearl Harbor, Rear
Admiral Isaac C. Kidd was the highest ranking American killed. He
was killed on board the U.S.S. Arizona when the Japanese launched
their surprise attack on December 7, 1941.
2. 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 were later restored by act of Congress).
3. 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 names were soon changed for PR purposes.
4. More U.S. servicemen died in the U.S. Army Air Corps than in the
Marine Corps. While completing the required 25 missions your chance
of being killed was 71 percent.
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 5th 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 percent 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
7. When the allied armies reached the Rhine River in Germany, 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. George 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. The 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 then forced to fight for the Russian
Army until they were captured by the Germans and further forced to
fight for the German Army until they were captured by the U.S. Army.
11. Following a massive naval bombardment,
35,000 U.S. and Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian
Islands. Twenty-one troops were killed in the firefight. It would
have been worse if there had been any Japanese soldiers on the island.