50 Rare & Weird Facts About WW2 That’ll Leave You Sleepless


1Cargo cults

Cargo cults

Several indigenous islanders of the Melanesia (islands in Pacific) believed that the cargo dropped for the American soldiers during World War 2 were gifts from the gods. After the American soldiers left at the end of World War 2, these islanders built ceremonial airstrips and ports for God to send them cargo, and practiced military marches in religious ceremonies. They are known as cargo cults.

2. In World War 2, Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä, (nicknamed “White Death”) killed over 542 Soviet Soldiers in 100 days, all the while using only his rifle's iron sights and no scope. When asked what he felt when killing an enemy soldier, he responded, “The recoil.”

3. After the fall of Berlin in World War 2, millions of German women were raped by Soviet soldiers. Over 100,000 births in the city were believed to be the result of rape.

4. A German soldier during WW2 called Werner Goldberg became the German poster boy for recruitment, being branded “The Ideal German Soldier” because of his physical appearance. Ironically, he was half Jewish.

5. During World War 2, US Army designated 603rd unit as Camouflage Engineers. Most of them were artists, architects, actors, set designers, and engineers. Their objective was not only to teach camouflage but to deceive the enemy. They became known as the Ghost Army.

6British PoW

British PoW

British prisoners of war during World War 2 were a huge source of morale drain on the German people. Often they would get their captors arrested by filing fallacious complaints about their treatment in the camps.

7. After the end of World War 2, Allies sold captured Enigma machines, still widely considered secure, to developing countries. These countries did not know that the Enigma code had been broken. Their supposedly secure communications were then being read regularly by the major Western intelligence agencies.

8. Joseph Medicine Crow became the last Plains Indian war chief ever after completing all four required tasks while fighting in Europe during World War II. These included touching an enemy soldier, stealing his weapon, leading a successful war party, and stealing an enemy’s horse.

9. During the outbreak of World War 2, London Zoo killed all their venomous animals in case the zoo was bombed and the animals escaped.

10. During World War 2, American soldier John R. Fox died when he deliberately called an artillery strike on himself. Realizing that German troops were overrunning his party’s position, the strike delayed the enemy long enough for other American units to organize a counter attack.

11World War 2

World War 2

During World War 2, American factory workers produced more than twice their German counterparts and had four times the output of Japanese workers prompting industrialist Donald Douglas to observe, “Here's proof that free men can out-produce slaves.”

12. During World War 2, British soldiers got a ration of three sheets of toilet paper a day. Americans got 22.

13. Berlin still hasn't recovered its pre-WW2 population

14. In World War II, German soldiers in American POW camps were sometimes allowed to leave without guards on the honor system, visiting nearby towns. Black American guards noted that German prisoners could visit segregated restaurants that even they could not.

15. The United States air-dropped thousands of leaflets over 35 Japanese cities, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which warned citizens that “some or all of the cities ... will be destroyed by American bombs” and to “evacuate the cities named and save your lives.”

16Sergeant Leonard A. Funk

Sergeant Leonard A. Funk

During WWII, when Sergeant Leonard A. Funk was confronted by 90 German soldiers that had captured his squad, he began to laugh hysterically at the situation. Many of the enemy soldiers began to laugh along with him, until Funk wiped out his machine gun, gunning down 21 and capturing the rest.

17. Havildar Lachhiman Gurung, a Gurkha soldier during WW2 lost his right hand while throwing back a grenade from his trench (after two successful attempts at hurling back the grenades), which exploded in his hand. He then "single-handedly" defended his post for over 4 hours against 200 enemy soldiers killing 31 Japanese using only his left hand.

18. Leo Major, a French Canadian soldier during WWII single-handedly captured 93 German soldiers and he declined the invitation to be decorated because according to him General Montgomery (who was giving the award) was "incompetent" and in no position to be giving out medals.

19. During WW2, a German soldier named Fritz Christen stood his ground for 3 straight days and knocked out 13 Soviet tanks and killed nearly 100 enemy soldiers single-handedly.

20. The most successful female sniper in history, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, couldn't pull the trigger on her first kill until she saw a German shoot a young Russian soldier. "He was such a nice, happy boy..." "After that, nothing could stop me." She went on to record 309 confirmed kills in WWII.

21Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy, the highest decorated soldier of WW2, stood alone on a burning tank destroyer firing a machine gun at attacking German soldiers and tanks. Wounded and out of ammunition, Murphy climbed off the tank, refused medical attention, and led his men on a successful counterattack

22. The Japanese invaded most of Malaysia while riding their bicycles during WW2

23. Brazil participated in WW2, the only independent South American country to do so. The 25,000-troop Brazilian Expeditionary Force worked alongside the Allies and managed to take 20,573 Axis prisoners, consisting of two generals, 892 officers, and 19,679 other ranks.

24. There was a German spy sent into Canada during WW2, but he decided to use his funds to move to Ottawa and then surrendered to Canadian authorities. They let him go because he didn't do any damage or even spying

25. Chardakhlu, a small Armenian village sent 1250 able-bodied men to fight in WW2. 853 of them received orders and medals, 2 became Grand Marshals of the Soviet Union, 12 became generals and 7 became Heroes of the Soviet Union.