Behind these photos are forgotten stories of soldiers and events that most would not know about. The fact is every campaign had its success and life span that took its toll on the soldier/airmen. For the survivors, it is the nightmare that most see in the dark and have provided freedom for the next following generation.
1. The Soviets were the only ones that realize just how skilled Finnish snipers were during the war, they were able to kill 40 Soviet troops for every Finnish soldier killed, that is unheard of today.
2. This photo shows the massive Japanese submarine I-401. This sub was the size of an aircraft carrier and even had three folded up bombers secured inside the sub. The mission of the submarine was to bomb the Panama Canal but instead the behemoth of a sub ended up at the bottom of the ocean.
3. Bomber crews were signed on to do 25 mission tours but what most didn’t know was that from 1942-1943 air losses were so common that it became statistically impossible for a bomber to complete a full tour.
4. German U-Boats were a terror in the seas and 795 of them were sunk during the course of the war. Records shows 40,000 men manned those subs and 75% of them lost their lives at sea.
5. For those that think being in the Air Force was better than being a grunt, listen this fact. During World War 2 you were more likely to die as a member of the U.S. Air Force than as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Pilots were required to complete 30 missions but the odds of dying before completing those 30 missions was 71%.
6. Tracers were used to help pilots aim their shots, every fifth round was loaded with a glowing tracer. This tracer was meant to help the pilot see if they were hitting their targets. Unfortunately tracers behaved differently from the bullets, so if the tracers were on target 80% of the time, the bullets would be missing it.
7. Another sad fact about tracers was that pilots would end their rounds with several tracers as a signal to let them know they were out of ammo. Unfortunately, the enemy figured out that they were out of ammo. The pilots who stopped using tracers improved their aim and suffered fewer casualties.
8. While Japanese Kamikaze pilots flying into ships was well known, the Russians also had Kamikaze pilots who would ram themselves into German planes in midair. Some Russian pilots were quick enough to eject and survive, but the strategy wasn’t entirely effective even though able to bring down hundreds of German planes, but at the cost of a Russian pilot. Near the end of the war, Germany would adopt this strategy as well.
9. Believe it or not, Koreans were among the first German soldiers captured at Normandy. They were first forced to fight for the Japanese and then the Soviets and finally by the Germans.
10. Stanislawa Leszczyńska was a Polish midwife who managed to deliver 3,000 babies at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
11. Another horrific face when the Russians moved through open fields they would force convicts to walk ahead of the troops and tanks. This often cost the convicts their lives but it would spare the Russian army and allow them to continue to advance.
12. James Hill managed a feat that few thought imagine possible when he captured two tanks with nothing but a revolver. He attempted to capture a third tank with his trusty revolver but was wounded.
13. La femme, Roza Shanina was a Russian sniper who achieved 54 confirmed hits. She became known as “the unseen terror of East Prussia.”