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.
During WW2 German prisoners were so well treated in Canada that they didn’t want to leave the country when released. Thousands of them eventually stayed or came back to Canada with one saying that the time in Canadian prison was “the best thing that happened to me.”
During the siege of Leningrad, a Russian girl named Tanya Savicheva cronicled in her diary the deaths of all her family members during the siege of Leningrad, ending with “Everyone is dead. Only Tanya is left”.
During WW2, Ernest Hemingway led a small Militia in a village outside Paris, and this caused him to be brought up on formal charges for violating the Geneva Convention “because a correspondent is not supposed to lead troops, even if he does it well.”
During WWII, Russian soldiers took “heat pills” that kept them warm in the winter; however, they would also lose weight despite eating well. 2,4-dinitrophenol spikes metabolic rate as potential energy is lost as heat—it is banned as a weight loss aid (U.S.) as overdose can cook people to death.
During WWII US Navy seamen would drain the fuel from torpedos (180-proof grain alcohol) then filter it though bread to make a cocktail called torpedo juice.
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 WWII, an entire Italian island surrendered to a British RAF pilot named Sydney Cohen who emergency landed his plane there. There were 4,200 Italian troops, but only 1 pilot and 2 other officers on the plane. He became known as the King of Lampedusa.