Owen J. Baggett became legendary as the only person to down a Japanese aircraft with a M1911 pistol hitting the pilot in the head while he was parachuting.
Polish Catholic midwife Stanisława Leszczyńska delivered 3,000 babies at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust in occupied Poland.
Franz Von Werra, a Nazi POW who was transfered to Canada to deter his multiple escapes and recaptures, escaped again in less than a month, traveling through the US, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Italy to become the only Western held POW to return to combat. On 25 October 1941 Von Werra took off in Bf 109F-4 (W.Nr. 7285) on a practice flight. He suffered engine failure and crashed into the sea north of Vlissingen and was killed. His body was never found.
The Jerrycan is named for the ‘Jerries’, which was British slang for ‘Germans’ during WW2. Captured Jerrycans were coveted by British soldiers, as they were superior to the leaky and unreliable British models. Jerrycans were so superior to previous designs that the British North Africa campaign was hindered by their inferior version, known as “flimsies”. The Allied forces reverse engineered the jerrycan to replace their ‘flimsies’.
A Japanese pilot waged a one-man war against the inhabitants of a Hawaiian island he crash landed on during Pearl Harbour. He was assisted by three Japanese locals. This incident ultimately contributed to the decision to intern Japanese-Americans during the war.
During the German Invasion of Poland, 720 Poles defended their position against over 40.000 attacking Germans, stopping their advance for three days.
In World War II, British soldiers got a ration of three sheets of toilet paper a day. Americans got 22.
Until late 1942, it was common for German U-boats to provide torpedoed survivors with food, water, and the direction of the nearest landmass. This ended when a U-boat towing lifeboats and flying the Red Cross flag was attacked by a US bomber.
In 1941, more than three million cars were manufactured in the United States. Only 139 more were made during the entire war. By the end of the war, more than half of all industrial production in the world would take place in the United States.