Shoichi Yokoi was a sergeant in the Japanese Army during WW2. He went into hiding after the Battle of Guam, living in the jungle with several others for 28 years, though he was alone for the remaining 8 years. He survived by hunting, primarily at night. He also used native plants to make clothes, bedding, and storage implements, which he carefully hid in his cave. After his capture he returned to Japan, married and became a popular TV personality. “It is with much embarrassment that I return,” he said upon his return to Japan. The remark quickly became a popular saying in Japan.
The US Army made a tactical deception unit known as the “Ghost Army” during World War II. This 1,100-man unit created a “traveling road show,” utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions & scripts. It was kept secret for more than 40 years until declassified in 1996.
During the battle of Fort Washington, when her husband fell in action, Margaret Corbin took control of the cannon and fired well aimed shots at the enemy before being seriously wounded. She later became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service.
The Chinese Army has been training 10,000 pigeons to provide support to the military’s communications in the event that war renders its modern technology unusable. The pigeons, flying at speeds of up to 75 miles (120 km) per hour, are being trained to carry loads of up to 3.5 oz (100 g).
In 2011 the US Department of Defense published a Counter-Zombie Dominance report as a legitimate document. The document plans for worst case scenarios and foster out-of-box-thinking.
Argentina invaded the British island of Southern Thule in 1976.
The island was uninhabited and is so remote that the British weren’t aware of the invasion for over a month. When it was discovered that the Argentinians had set up a permanent military base and weather station there it was decided that diplomacy (secretly) was the smartest choice. It leaked to the press about a year later and Operation Journeyman was started to force a peaceful (albeit with the military) resolution.
It wasn’t until after the Falklands War ended that the British forced Argentina to leave (with shells fired at the island to force a surrender). But 6 months later an Argentine flag appeared on the island again.
How the British flag was replaced with the Argentinian one is unclear, although they did leave the British one neatly folded under a rock nearby. The British decided not to play the ‘replace the flag’ game and instead destroyed all the buildings (bar one small hut for emergencies) and left the British flag on the pole as they left.
Sidney Lewis joined the British Army at age 12, fought in the Battle of the Somme at age 13 but was sent home when his mother complained. He reenlisted without her knowledge, fought in Austria in 1918, and went on to fight in WWII, too, before retiring to run a pub.
In the mid-1990s, a man in Montana was able to build fully armed Cobra attack helicopters out of supposedly demilitarized military surplus parts. He then used them to hunt coyotes.
In 1886, the Germans sent a mission to Chile to help train and modernise the Chilean army. As a result of the Germans overhaul of their army, the ceremonial uniforms, weapons and marching songs are all German or German based, and military parades look like a step into Germany 150 years ago.
Five Lithuanian soldiers serving in a reconnaissance unit were declared missing during a military exercise. They thought the drill was ongoing and successfully evaded all forces sent to find them, including trained dogs and a helicopter.