Wisdom From a Old Pilot
some curious, some droll and, no doubt, some true:
1. The first German serviceman killed in WW2 was killed by the Japanese (China,
1937), the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland
1940), the highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by
the US Army Air Corps. . . . So much for allies and enemies.
2. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded
and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were
later restored by act of Congress).
3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top US Navy command was Called CINCUS
(pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US Army's 45th Infantry
division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika." All
three were soon changed for PR purposes.
4. More US servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While
completing the required 30 missions (I believe in Europe the original mission
total was 25, later raised to 35) your chance of being killed was 71%.
5. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You
were either an ace or a target. For instance Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa
shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.
6. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every 5th round with a
tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. Tracers had different
ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80%
of your rounds were missing. Worse yet tracers instantly told your enemy he was
under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a
string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo.
This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that
stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate
7. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was pee in it.
This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made
a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).
8. German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York City but it
wasn't worth the effort. (?)
9. German submarine U-120 was sunk by a malfunctioning toilet.
10. Among the first "Germans" captured at Normandy were several Koreans. They
had been forced to fight for the Japanese Army until they were captured by the
Russians and forced to fight for the Russian Army until they were captured by
the Germans and forced to fight for the German Army until they were captured by
the US Army.
AND I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST...
11. Following a massive naval bombardment 35,000 US and Canadian troops stormed
ashore at Kiska, in the Aleutian Islands. 21 troops were killed in the
firefight. It would have been worse if there had been any Japanese on the
Addenda: A few for fliers