The bazooka anti-tank weapon is named after a its resemblance to a novelty musical instrument created by a radio comedian of the 1930s called Bob Burns. After firing the weapon during testing a General commented: “It sure looks like Bob Burns’ bazooka”, and the weapon gained its WWII nickname.
In Feb 1945, Mikhail Devyataev, a Soviet fighter pilot escaped a Nazi concentration camp near Peenemünde with nine other POWs by taking over the commandant’s He 111 bomber. The NKVD didn’t believe his story and classified him as a criminal, but in 1957 he became a Hero of the Soviet Union.
The first Soviet citizen to visit the White House was a female WWII sniper with 309 confirmed kills, one of which was a sniper she dueled for 3 days.
But as the tour progressed, Pavlichenko began to bristle at the questions, and her clear, dark eyes found focus. One reporter seemed to criticize the long length of her uniform skirt, implying that it made her look fat. In Boston, another reporter observed that Pavlichenko “attacked her five-course New England breakfast yesterday. American food, she thinks, is O.K.”
Soon, the Soviet sniper had had enough of the press’s sniping. “I wear my uniform with honor,” she told Time magazine. “It has the Order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms. What the uniform stands for, they have yet to learn.”
The long-standing notion of late WWII ‘Kamikaze’ pilots as hyper-nationalist zealots was largely fiction. Many pilots were reluctantly drawn from the educated and liberal in Japan, and many expressed frustration at the futility of their nation’s cause and the sanctity of the Emperor.
The iconic photo of the sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J day was actually a non-consensual kiss by a drunk sailor. The “nurse” was a dental assistant named Greta Friedman who later said “it wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed.”
Over 8,000 pieces of music were secretly created in Nazi concentration camps; including symphonies, operas, and songs scribbled on everything from food wrappings to potato sacks. One prisoner composed an entire symphony on toilet paper using the charcoal given to him as dysentery medicine.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, only 5 American pilots managed to get into the air against 353 Japanese planes, the first two were George Welch and Kenneth Taylor. They shot down 6 enemies. They were DENIED the Medal of Honor because … they didn’t have permission to take off from their CO.
Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated combat soldiers of WW2, earned every combat award available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgian awards for heroism, went on to have an acting career after the war and ended up starring as himself in a movie about his own wartime heroics.
WW2 US Army Captain Moffatt Burriss, along with two other me in a Jeep, accidentally stumbled upon a 15,000 strong German Panzer Corps outside of Berlin toward the end of the war. He approached the enemy commander alone and tricked him into surrendering his army and being taken captive.