Gilbert Seltzer, a WW2 veteran, lead a secret platoon of men within a unit dubbed the ‘Ghost Army’. Made up of artists, creatives & engineers, their job was creating deception about the enemy. From inflatable tanks to scripted bar conversations, this unit’s work led to big US wins.
The US military was already using UAV drone technology in WWII. The primary manufacturer at that time, Radioplane Company, had a drone assembler named Norma Jeane Dougherty, who eventually changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
When France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, Citroen was forced to produce vehicles for the Nazis. They chose to move the fill line on their oil dipsticks lower, causing the trucks to seize under stress from low oil.
Adolf Hitler’s personal chauffeur and close confidant, Emil Maurice, was Jewish. He was also one of the founding members of the SS. After uncovering of his Jewish heritage, Hitler declared that he was an ‘honorary Aryan’ and prevented him from being expelled from the SS by Himmler.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government was worried Japan would invade Hawaii and seize all the U.S. currency there. As a precaution, the U.S. burned $200 million in cash circulating on the islands, and replaced them with freshly printed bills with “Hawaii” stamped on them.
During WWII, the British launched nearly 100,000 weather balloons trailing long metal wires toward occupied Europe, causing power outages when they shorted out power lines and causing at least one German power station to burn down. The US military “rediscovered” this during training operations in the San Diego area a few decades ago when metallic radar cloaking chaff accidentally drifted into a substation causing a widespread power outage. This led to development of ordnance that released carbon fibers for the same effect. It was used during the Iraq war.
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.