The Luftwaffe planted buoys in the english channel for downed pilots to survive in, containing food, alcohol, clothing and games.
During World War II, Steinway & Sons airdropped pianos with large parachutes and complete tuning instructions into the battle for the American troops. Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were to provide a bit of relaxation. The pianos came in olive, blue, and gray drab.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr was the oldest man in the D-Day invasion at 56. Initially denied to attend D-Day, Ted petitioned as he personally knew the men of these units and believed his presence would steady them. Despite arthritis and a heart condition, he stormed the beach with a cane and survived.
Nancy Wake was a secret agent during WWII. In 1944, she led 7000 guerrillas to defeat 22000 German soldiers, killing 1400 Germans and only losing 100 men. They accounted for 70% of the Germans killed by the French resistance, yet their fatalities made up only 1% of the French resistance deaths.
During WW2 the Japanese built a deathray inspired by ideas from Nikola Tesla, the problem was that enemies would have to stand perfectly still for 10 minutes before it would work.
“Hemp for Victory” is a short film made by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to promote farmers growing Cannabis Sativa for WWII. It’s existence was denied by the US Govt until VHS copied were eventually sourced.
BMW used prisoners from concentration camps like Dachau to build their cars and plane engines during the second world war. By the end of the war, almost 50% of the 50,000-person workforce at BMW consisted of prisoners from concentration camps.
In 1944 Dutch Resistance members dressed as German SD (intelligence agents) went into Leeuwarden prison, and walked out with 39 prisoners, and all vanished into the city. No shots were fired, and the Germans never caught anyone.
Prisoners in the female-only concentration camp Ravensbruck purposefully sewed socks with thin heels and toes so German soldier’s feet would get sore.
HMS Thetis has the rare and unwanted honor of a submarine to have twice sunk and killed her crew. She sank during trials in 1939, drowning 99 men, before being raised and renamed. Sunk again during battle in 1943, her entire second crew was also lost.