We have learned a lot of facts about WWII, about the major battles and turning points, the cruelty and the brutality of yet. But there are still a lot of lesser-known and unusual events that happened during WWII. Here are ten strange events that took place during one of the cruelest war of history.
1. The Pearl Harbor Ghost Plane:
When it comes to stories of ghost planes and strange sightings surrounding WWII, the Pearl Harbor Ghost Plane incident was among the strangest ones. On December 8, 1942, the radar picked up an unidentified plane heading towards Pearl Harbor from the direction of Japan. While investigating, the U.S. planes saw that the mysterious plane was a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk riddled with bullet holes and the pilot could be seen inside, bloody and fell over in the cockpit. He has said to have waved shortly at the other planes just before the P-40 crash-landed. These planes had been used by American forces in the defense of Pearl Harbor and not used since.
2. The Nazi Gold Train:
When it became pretty clear to the Nazi forces that the war was almost over, and they were losing, in April of 1945, they loaded a train with Nazi treasure such as gold and other valuables looted from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. They sent the train on a trip within the Owl Mountains, but the train somehow disappeared. A lot of people believe that the train disappeared into tunnels created in the mountains by a secret facility built by the Nazis during the war, Der Riese. Numerous attempts have been made to find the Ghost Train, but nothing has never been found.
3. Foo Fighters:
During the war, the United States Air Force pilots were spotting strange things in the sky and they named them “foo fighters”. Later the 415th Night Fighter Squadron and named by their radar operator Donald J. Meiers reported that these objects were generally thought to be secret weapons employed by the Axis forces. But later the Robertson Panel determined that they were likely natural phenomena such as St. Elmo’s Fire.
4. Free Love:
Hitler knew that in order to populate the newly invaded lands with loyal Aryan citizens, his country’s birthrate needed to increase. So, to encourage German women to become mothers he ordered propaganda and programs, irrespective of those women’s marital status. Before Hitler’s rise to power, unwed mothers were socially stigmatized. Women and girls, as young as fifteen and sixteen, were told it was their duty to give birth to as many children as possible, even if the man doesn’t marry them under the Third Reich. There were laws to put penalties on childless couples. Eventually, the plan backfired. Infant and mother mortality started to increase and Hitler’s plan crashed German families.
5. Radio Traitor:
At that time Radio played the major part in obtaining news and entertainment but it also became a new tool used by the Allied and Axis powers to frighten citizens and soldiers. Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, used the airwaves and specially selected group of broadcasters to plant doubt and difficulty among allied forces and in enemy countries. Journalist Robert Henry Best’s Broadcasts sent Nazi socialist propaganda from Berlin to the United State. Attempting to incite class hatred, Best’s broadcasts were so abusive and vitriolic that even his Nazi supervisors couldn’t tolerate him, and took him off the air. Best was convicted of treason in absentia and in 1948, he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
6. The Toilet Malfunction:
In April 1945 the crew of the German submarine U-1206 set out on their first patrol. Though the war was nearly lost by Germany, they still owned the most technologically advanced fleet of submarines in the world with their sophisticated toilet facilities. It was provided with hi-tech toilets that used compressed air to explode waste into the sea even when deep underwater.
But on April 14, 1945, it malfunctioned and caused seawater and sewage to flood into the submarine. The situation quickly went from disgusting to deadly as the mixture leaked onto the submarine’s batteries, causing them to release chlorine gas. Karl-Adolf Schlitt ordered to surface just off the coast of Scotland. The British Royal Air Force instantly spotted and attacked the U-boat destroying the submarine.
7. The Death Match:
In 1942, the deadliest football match was played in occupied Ukraine. An untrained team containing several formerly professional players was put together by the manager of a bread factory in Kyev. The newly formed team attracted the attention of the German authorities after comfortably defeating opponents made up of Romanians, a team raised from a German artillery unit.
The Germans put together the strongest team they could with their Aryan master race and arranged a match. The Ukrainian team that hadn’t got the notice, crushed the German team by 5-1. The Germans arranged a second match and despite being warned, Ukraine defeated the Germans again by 5-3. While three of the German team’s goals was scored with the opposing goalkeeper having been knocked unconscious. Many of the Ukrainian players were murdered by the Nazis, and the game became known as the Death Match.
8. Rudolf Hess:
Image source: Getty Images
Rudolf Hess was one of the most powerful men in Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler’s chosen successor. But on May 10, 1941, Hess shocked everyone when he was found lurking around a field in Scotland. When he was escorted to a local police station Hess told he had flown in to personally negotiate peace between Britain and Germany. Hitler had not given him any such permission and that seems not to have prevented him in the slightest. Hess took a solo-flight from Germany to Scotland in the hope of enlisting the help of Duke Hamilton the 14th, but instead, he was arrested and charged with crimes against peace. He died in 1987 while imprisoned.
9. The Reindeer On The British Submarine:
During the war, in order to keep the Soviets in the fight, Britain and the USA sent weapons, equipment, and supplies and almost all of it had to be delivered by the U-boat-infested waters of the Arctic Circle. HMS Trident was just one of the vessels keeping these vital supply routes open. The Soviets were so thankful that they offered the captain of the British submarine a reindeer as a gift. They accepted the adult reindeer named her Pollyanna and got her onto the submarine through a torpedo tube. Pollyanna was on the submarine for six weeks and later she was donated to Regents Park Zoo.
10. Jack Churchill:
Also known as Mad Jack and Fighting Jack, Lieutenant-Colonel Jack Churchill was a British officer who preferred to go into battle armed with bagpipes, a medieval broadsword, and a longbow. He Said, any British officer going into battle without a sword was inappropriately dressed. He was a deadly archer who represented Great Britain in the World Archery Championships. He was the last man to kill an enemy using a longbow in combat. While taking part in a raid on occupied Norway and the invasion of Sicily, he played his bagpipes before drawing his sword and charging into hand-to-hand combat.