Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Nazi medical science

This post contains some slightly disturbing holocaust related facts.

Most people think of the holocaust as Jews being either systematically eliminated is gas chambers or worked to death. Although this DID happen, far worse things went on, and happened to non-Jews too.

Nazi scientists submerge a test subject in freezing water
In Auschwitz and Dacau, the Nazis executed horrible torture in the name of science. The Nazis speculated that the Russians were genetically different to other people, in the sense that they had a naturally higher cold threshold. To find out is this was true, the Nazis took Russian P.O.W.S, non-Russian inmates then swapped over their muscles as best they could. Neither patient was given an anisthetic.

After the muscle was transplanted, both patients were put into freezing water. It was then timed to see how long it took them to freeze to death, to see if the people with the Russian muscles died slower.

Also, to see if sea water could be survived on, some inmates were only given salt water to drink. They became so desperately dehydrated that many of them drank their own urine or licked freshly mopped floors just to get something to drink.

I apologize if today's post was a little upsetting, but the holocaust is not something to be forgotten.

Technically the holocaust was concurrent with WW2 as opposed to actually part of it, but the two are often associated, so i felt it was okay to post.

Monday, 24 January 2011


Once WW2 was drawing to a close, with Germany defeated and Japan not far behind, tensions between the leaders of the Allies were heating up. One 'buzz point' was Poland. The USSR had a very different idea of what should happen to it than the western allies, so much so that Winston Churchill actually drew up plans to attack Russia in order to enforce the West's will; this plan was called Operation Unthinkable.

It was well named, as it would have prolonged the war by years, caused many, many more deaths and likely would have included more atomic bombs. In the end, it was scrapped for being 'too hazardous'.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

When Did WW2 Really Begin?

Most people believe that WW2 started on September 1st 1939 when Germany and the USSR invaded Poland, but conflict in Asia and the Pacific had been at war for a while.

On the 7th of July, 1937, Japan attacked China. The two countries had been engaged in minor skirmishes since 1931 but it wasn't full out war until The Marco Polo Bridge Incident. The Japanese conducted a military drill which scared the Chinese, who fired shots. The fire was returned and things soon heated up. It wasn't for over 4 and a half hours that things got serious when the Japanese brought in some heavy artillery pieces and a crack squad of machine gunners. In the end, the battle was fairly indecisive, but it opened the door for a major conflict in China, a conflict that until the entrance of the British Commonwealth and America, was very much going in Japan's favour.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Smokey Smith

Today, i want to talk about the greatest solider of the entire war: Smokey Smith. Well, his real name was Earnest, but he was nicknamed Smokey because when he ran track he kicked up smoke. 

Smokey was from Vancouver, and at the outbreak of world war two, joined up with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, a regiment based there. His regiment was deployed as part of Operation Torch (The allied invasion of occupied North Africa) and carried on right up through Italy. Smokey and the Highlanders fought in the famous Battle Of Ortona where the Germans literally launched buildings at the Canadians, who despite being outnumbered more then 2-to-1, still managed to beat the odds and take the village by storm. Smokey claimed that during this battle he took out seven Germans with six bullets after they pinned him down in a room of an abandoned building.

Once Ortona was safely in Canadian hands, they headed North to the Moro river. It was pouring down with rain and the river was incredibly strong so the Germans relaxed their defenses, thinking that the Canadians would never attempt a crossing in this weather. However, the Seaforth Highlanders had other ideas and swimming across the river, they took the German position.

Smokey's real claim to fame came when him and his friend were wounded after crossing the river. Smokey had two bullets in him, but was still on his feet. His friend on the other hand had been taken down. The pair were alone and pinned down by a German tank, which Smokey quickly dispatched. However, the Germans called in reinforcements, 2 more tanks and 10 soldiers... which Smokey also promptly took out. His actions at the Moro river earned him the Victoria Cross, but his fun wasn't over. He remained with his regiment for the rest of the war, they went on to take the rest of Italy with time left over to free The Netherlands.

Smokey returned to active service during the Korean War however was kept from the front lines due to his iconic status, however, he snuck into combat, only to be discovered and returned to base after only a few hours.

His latter days were spent back in and around Vancouver until his death in August 2005. He was the last surviving Canadian recipient of the victoria cross.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

WW2 Italian Government Jargon

Little factoid: in Rome, the Germany/Italy/Japan alliance was called 'Roberto', after the starts of the names of the various capital cities; ROme BERlin TOkyo.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Vatican Bombing

Vatican City: a small country surrounded completely by Italy and run solely by and for the Catholic church, however, not even they could escape the cauldron of WWII.

In 1943, the Italians ordered a single bomber to attack the Vatican. They believed that the Vatican radio was broadcasting coded messages to the allies. They were mistaken, however, it was a moot point as all the dropped bombs missed their mark, causing minor damage and no casualties.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Irish Air Force

Ireland was well known as a neutrality in WWII however there were plans for invading Ireland in the minds of both Churchill and Hitler, so naturally, the Irish were on their guards.

The lesser known fact regarding the Irish military at the time was how they went about equipping their air force. As you know; there was a lot of dogfighting on/around the British isles, and although Ireland was not part of any of it, some planes; British, American and German crashed on the Emerald Isle. Unlike other countries who would dispose of the wrecks, maybe selling their parts as scrap or recycling the metal to make into munitions and whatnot, the Irish restored EVERY SINGLE plane that crashed into their territory. The result; an air force that would give any invading force a bloody nose without a single penny spent. Clever Irish.

Friday, 14 January 2011


Okay, just letting everyone know what this blog is about.

Basically, World War Two was a HUGE event (duh!). It would be impossible to know everything about it, but i plan to blog some of the lesser known facts. I'm not going to be posting to any particular timeframe, just whatever i feel like.

Anyway, enjoy your read :)