Historical Badass Archive – Part 2: 39 More Iconic Badasses You Haven’t Heard Of




Natwarlal was a noted Indian conman who is known for having repeatedly “sold” the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort, the President’s residence and also the Parliament House of India along with its 545 sitting members including the then Indian Prime Minister. He used more than 50 aliases, was a master of disguise, used novel ideas to cheat and was master in forging signatures of famous personalities. He was arrested several times, but in 1996, the wheelchair-bound octogenarian vanished while being transported from prison to a hospital for treatment.

27. Actor James Doohan, who played Scotty in Star Trek served in the Canadian Army during World War 2. He first saw combat at Juno Beach. He shot two snipers, led his men through a minefield, but was later wounded by friendly fire (six rounds from a machine gun). One bullet to the chest was stopped by his cigarette case; another severed his right middle finger and four hit his leg. After recovering, he served as an air observation pilot and once slalomed a light observation aircraft between mountainside telegraph poles just to prove that it could be done.

28. Mikhail Panikakha was a Russian Marine who volunteered during the Battle of Stalingrad. When the Soviets were reduced to mere hundreds, Germans drove tanks over Soviet trenches to collapse them and bury their occupants. Out of antitank grenades, Panikakha lit a Molotov cocktail, when a bullet struck the bottle and engulfed him in flames. Despite being on fire, he picked up another Molotov, climbed on top of the tank and smashed the bottle on the engine compartment. The tank, along with Panikakha exploded almost immediately. Seeing this, the Germans retreated.

29. During the 1947 India-Pakistan war, India's Major Piru Singh was tasked to lead his men through a narrow mountain ridge to recapture an Indian post. Singh picked up his submachine gun and charged up the ridge, bellowing loudly. They came under fire from machine guns and grenades. On reaching the top, he was out of ammo, all his men were dead and blasts tore off most of his clothes. In a rage, he hurled grenades at a trench and bayoneted the occupants, when an enemy grenade tore off half his face. Bleeding and blind in one eye, he threw another grenade at the second enemy trench when a bullet to the head took him out, but his grenade wiped out the last enemy position, accomplishing his mission.

30. In 2013, a Bosnian shepherd named Blazo Grkovic was attacked by a bear when he was tending to a baby goat. Unable to draw the small hand ax he kept on his person, he defended himself by grabbing the bear's throat and strangling it to death. He then traveled more than a mile over rough, mountainous terrain before he was able to contact an ambulance and be treated for a number of bruises and lacerations.

31Tsutomu Yamaguchi

Tsutomu Yamaguchi

In 1945, a man named Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived the atomic blast at Hiroshima. He dragged himself to an air-raid shelter, spent the night. Next morning he caught a train so that he could arrive at his job on time in Nagasaki, where he survived another atomic blast. He went on to have two daughters and lived to be 93 years old.

32. During the 2011 Japanese earthquake, 50 workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant did not leave even though 750 others had been evacuated. For four days they kept the reactor from melting down until backup arrived, saving countless lives.

33. In 2012, a 56-year-old Russian grandmother named Aishat Maksudova fought off a wolf with her bare hands and killed it with an ax. She said, “So the wolf was just clawing into my left hand, pulling on it, pulling away like this and then I took the ax and hit him on his head.”

34. During the 1912 Thule Expedition, Arctic explorer Peter Freuchen got buried deep under snow after a snowstorm. Lacking any spears or daggers, he used his own feces to fashion a dagger with which he freed himself. During another expedition in 1926, gangrene got his toes because of frostbite and before it got worse, he amputated his own toes with a hammer without anesthesia and replaced his leg with a peg.

35. In 2002, when Keith Lovegrove saw his car being stolen, he jumped a fence and sprinted after it. He leapt through the air and clung to his vehicle's bumper, where he was dragged for over 20 meters. He opened the trunk and as the car went over a speed bump, he used its momentum to summersault into the trunk. He burst through the back seat and proceeded to grab the thief in a headlock, dragging him out of the car. Unfortunately, the thief then punched him in the face and escaped. Keith was a 54-year-old ex-soldier at that time and officially registered as disabled.

36Dominic McCarthy

Dominic McCarthy

During World War 1, Dominic “Fats” McCarthy was awarded the Victoria Cross after he; virtually unaided, killed 22 Germans; captured 5 machine-guns, 50 prisoners; and half a kilometer of the German front. When it was over, even the prisoners he had captured patted him on the back for what he had done.

37. Erich Hartmann was a German fighter pilot during World War 2. From 1940 to 1945, he engaged in 824 air fights and he shot down 352 Allied aircraft without being shot down even once. The Soviet pilots nicknamed him Cherniy Chort (Black Devil) because of the black tulip design on his aircraft. Late during the war, Soviet pilots tended to retreat if they saw his aircraft, resulting in his aircraft being given to novice pilots. The reluctance of the Soviet airmen to fight caused Hartmann's kill rate to drop.

38. In 2003, female A-10 Thunderbolt pilot Kim Campbell was heavily lit by anti-aircraft munitions while flying over Baghdad. The plane lost all hydraulics, rolled left and pointed towards the ground, but after reverting to manual mode, she regained control, flew for an hour and landed without brakes.

39. During the Korean War in 1951 the American F Company came under attack from a vast Korean force, so everyone retreated leaving behind just a machine gunner named Jack G. Hanson to cover their retreat. Hours later when Americans retook the position, they found Hanson’s body in front of his machine gun nest with all his ammo expended. In his right hand was an empty pistol and in his left was a machete covered in blood. In front of him lay approximately 22 dead enemy soldiers, riddled with bullets and stab holes.