World War 2 Facts
- The first German serviceman killed in the
war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937)
- The first American serviceman killed was killed by the
Russians (Finland 1940).
- 80% of Soviet males born in 1923 didn't survive World
- The highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley
McNair, killed by the US Army Air Corps.
- Between 1939 and 1945 the Allies dropped 3.4 million
tons of bombs, An average of about 27,700 tons of bombs each month.
- 12,000 heavy bombers were shot down in World War 2
- 2/3 of Allied bomber crews were lost for each plane
- 3 or 4 ground men were wounded for each killed
- 6 bomber crewmen were killed for each one wounded
- Over 100,000 Allied bomber crewmen were killed over Europe
- There were 433 Medals of Honor awarded during World War 2,
219 of them were given after the receipiant's death
- From 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945 in Europe the Allies had
200,000 dead and 550,000 wounded
- The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin
Graham, USN. He was wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for
lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress).
- At the time of Pearl Harbor, the top US Navy command
was called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"), the shoulder patch of the US
Infantry division was the swastika, and Hitler's private train was named
"Amerika". All three were soon changed for PR purposes.
- Germany lost 110 Division Commanders in combat
- 40,000 men served on U-Boats during World War 2; 30,000
- More US servicemen died in the Air Corps that the
Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 missions, your chance of
being killed was 71%. Not that bombers were helpless. A B-17 carried 4 tons
of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo. The US 8th Air Force
shot down 6,098 fighter planes, 1 for every 12,700 shots fired.
- Germany's power grid was much more vulnerable than
realized. One estimate is that if just 1% of the bombs dropped on German
industry had instead been dropped on power plants, German industry would
- 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.
- It was a common practice on fighter planes to load
every 5th found with a tracer round to aid in aiming. That was a
mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your
tracers were hitting the target, 80% of your rounds were missing. Worse yet,
the 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. That 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 go
- 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).
- German Me-264 bombers were capable of bombing New York
City but it wasn't worth the effort.
- A number of air crewmen died of farts. (ascending to
20,000 ft. in an un-pressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand
- Germany lost 40-45% of their aircraft during World War 2 to
- The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by
ramming them in midair (they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching
over them). "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army". -
- The average German officer slot had to be refilled 9.2
- The US Army had more ships that the US Navy.
- The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, 2 armor
divisions, and 11 paratroop divisions. None of them were capable of airborne
operations. The German Army had paratroops who WERE capable of airborne
- When the US Army landed in North Africa, among the
equipment brought ashore were 3 complete Coca Cola bottling plants.
- 84 German Generals were executed by Hitler
- 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 capture by the US Army.
- The Graf Spee never sank, The scuttling attempt failed
and the ship was bought by the British. On board was Germany's newest radar
- One of Japan's methods of destroying tanks was to bury
a very large artillery shell with on ly the nose exposed. When a tank came
near the enough a soldier would whack the shell with a hammer. "Lack of
weapons is no excuse for defeat." - Lt. Gen. Mataguchi
- Following a massive naval bombardment, 35,000 US and
Canadian troops stormed ashore at Kiska. 21 troops were killed in the
fire-fight. It would have been worse if there had been Japanese on the
- The MISS ME was an unarmed Piper Cub. While spotting
for US artillery her pilot saw a similar German plane doing the same thing.
He dove on the German plane and he and his co-pilot fired their pistols
damaging the German plane enough that it had to make a forced landing.
Whereupon they landed and took the Germans prisoner. It is unknown where
they put them since the MISS ME only had two seats.
- Most members of the Waffen SS were not German.
- Air attacks caused 1/3 of German Generals' deaths
- By D-Day, the Germans had 1.5 million railway
workers operating 988,000 freight cars and used 29,000 per day
- The only nation that Germany declared war on was the
- During the Japanese attack on Hong Kong, British
officers objected to Canadian infantrymen taking up positions in the
officer's mess. No enlisted men allowed!
- By D-Day, 35% of all German soldiers had been wounded at
least once, 11% twice, 6% three times, 2% four times and 2% more than 4 times
- Nuclear physicist Niels Bohr was rescued in the nick of
time from German occupied Denmark. While Danish resistance fighters provided
covering fire he ran out the back door of his home stopping momentarily to
grab a beer bottle full of precious "heavy water". He finally reached
England still clutching the bottle, which contained beer. Perhaps some
German drank the heavy water...
- Germany lost 136 Generals, which averages out to be 1 dead
General every 2 weeks