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.
During the Nazi occupation of France, Hitler did not destroy the Canadian Vimy Memorial and told the Allies that it remained intact, as he admired the peaceful nature of the sculpture.
While fleeing the Japanese in WWII Burma, a group of refugees spent two days carving a 270-foot staircase into a mountain so that they and 52 elephants could escape.
During WW2 the Allies discovered that the Germans were using the Leaning Tower of Pisa as an observation post. A U.S Army Sergeant that was sent to the tower to confirm the presence of German troops was impressed by its beauty and decided to not order an artillery strike on it.
70 years ago today, the Polish attacked the Nazis to liberate their capital. During the 9 week rebellion that followed, more than 200,000 died, mostly civilians. Now, every August first, the entire city of Warsaw stands still for a full minute to commemorate their fallen.
America designed a grenade the weight and size of a baseball because they believed young American troops should be able to throw them.
During the outbreak of World War II, London Zoo killed all their venomous animals in case the zoo was bombed and the animals escaped.
Japanese war criminal, Tojo Hideki, attempted suicide after the surrender. He was saved and resuscitated by Allied forces, who then hanged him.
Poet Stanislaw Jerzy Lec survived a German concentration camp by killing his guard with a shovel that was given to him to dig his own grave – and then escaping in the guards uniform.
Hitler planned to rebuild Berlin after the war into a neo-roman cosmopolitan city. One state building, the Volkeshalle was to be so massive, that it could rain inside during events due to 150K peoples’ perspiration and breath.