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Something From History You Probably Never Knew...


How's about we all post one interesting but little known fact to do with military history? Well, I'd find it interesting and, besides, I can't get to the pub just yet... :)

Starter for ten: During the period of the Napoleonic Wars, French propaganda compared the struggle between Britain and France to the Punic Wars, casting France in the role of Rome (a new, revolutionary kind of empire on a mission to teach civilisation and citizenship to the world) and painting Britain as the heir of Carthage (a greedy and rapacious trading empire concerned only with profit margins). It's quite an interesting perspective, really, and stands up to more than a cursory glance once you strip away the over-positive view of Rome/France and some of the negative barbs directed at Britain/Carthage. The major difference, of course, is that Hannibal lost while Wellington won (and he didn't even need any elephants).

Over to you!


War Hero
The British Army's first Casualty in WW2 was a member of the British union of facists
During the Napoleonic Wars a British PoW enlsited with the Frog Army to fight in Russia.He escaped the debacle and when Nappy turned his attentions to Britain again the PoW went back into the slammer again as he refused to fight with the Frogs.

He was Court Martialled when freed and found Not Guilty as he had not betrayed his country.

He left the Army when the Napoleonic Wars ended at Waterloo and he became a rozzer in Falkirk.

It was him who arrested Burke and Hare in Edinburgh!

Unfortunately the book is in the UK and I am here so I can't remember his name :?
One of the soldiers that Patton slapped for cowardice in Italy was the paratrooper who got snarled up on the church tower in St Mere Eglise and was forever immortalised in The Longest Day.....


Rorkes Drift

Colour Sgt Bourne (played by Nigel Green in the film Zulu)
died on VE Day 1945 aged 91 - the last survivor from the battle

As a side note - Nigel Green - despite a memorable performance, was about 40 years old at the time of the movie.
Although at the actual battle in 1879 the real Colour Sergeant Bourne was only 24
(wiki knowledge!!)


Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott kept watch in Boston for the approach of British troops the day before the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the outset of the American Revolution.

However the much quoted statement of "The British are coming" has been proven to be inacurate, as at the time, America was not a Nation of Americans, mainly because the Nation had not yet been born.

The continental army was made up of several "nations" including British colonialists.

Therefor it is generally agreed that what in fact was said, is, "The soldiers are coming"


Book Reviewer
1967 - Vietnam War. Gen. William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, welcomes 1,200 Thai troops as they arrive in Saigon. By 1969, Thai forces in Vietnam would number more than 12,000.


Book Reviewer
loaded_not_ready said:
One of the soldiers that Patton slapped for cowardice in Italy was the paratrooper who got snarled up on the church tower in St Mere Eglise and was forever immortalised in The Longest Day.....

Urban myth I think mate
According to witnesses, General Patton was visiting patients at a military hospital in Sicily, and came upon a 24-year old soldier named Charles H. Kuhl who was weeping. Patton asked "What's the matter with you?" and the soldier replied, "It's my nerves, I guess. I can't stand shelling." Patton "thereupon burst into a rage" and "employing much profanity, he called the soldier a 'coward'" and ordered him back to the front. As a crowd gathered, including the hospital's commanding officer, the doctor who had admitted the soldier, and a nurse, Patton then "struck the youth in the rear of the head with the back of his hand". Reportedly, the nurse "made a dive toward Patton, but was pulled back by a doctor" and the commander intervened. Patton went to other patients, then returned and berated the soldier again

Private John M. Steele was the American paratrooper made famous in the movie, The Longest Day who landed in Sainte-Mère-Église, the first village in Normandy liberated by the Americans on D-Day, June 6, 1944.



The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin during World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.
During the Normandy landings several asians in the service of the Wehrmacht were captured, three of whom were Korean. It seems that the Koreans had been conscripted into the Japanese Army but after being captured by the Russians at the Battle of Nomonhan in the Russo-Japanese War (part II, the 1940’s one, not the 1904-05 one). They were pressed into service in the Russian Army. Captured by the Germans in the Ukraine, the Koreans were then pressed into service in the Wehrmacht. They were then captured by the Americans whilst they were engaged working on the Atlantic Wall. The Americans (mercifully) did not press them into service but rather held them as prisoners of war.

It seems that these poor souls never made it back home to Korea as apparently the Koreans were exchanged with the Soviets for American POWs liberated by the Red Army. "
The first shot of World War II in Europe was fired 20 years, 9 months, 19 days and 18 hours after the last shot of World War 1 was fired. It was fired from the 13,000 ton German gunnery training battleship Schleswig Holstein (Captain Gustav Kleikamp) which was on a visit to Poland to honour the sailors lost on the German cruiser Magdeburg sunk in 1914, some of whom were buried in Danzig.


War Hero
The last man to die on the battlefield of Agincourt in 1415 was killed by a firearm rather than the longbow you might expect, the last man killed by a longbow in war (or at least recorded as so) was a German soldier during the second world war by Capt. John Churchill during the Dunkirk retreat of May of 1940.
7 out of 10 statistics about World War II were made up on the spot.


During the second world approx 27 allied soldiers volenteered to serve in the werhmact under the designation the british free corps,one of these men was wounded in action and awarded a medal, the only briton ever awarded a german army decoration in WW2.

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