10 Things You Never Knew About WWII


5. Kamikaze rockets were in the hands of the Japanese


Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka. Jarek Tuszyński

The Germans weren’t the only ones with rocket power at the ready. The Japanese were hanging on to their own version of anti-shipping, human-guided missiles that they named the Ohka, which translates to “Cherry Blossom.” Japanese armed forces had less advanced technology than the US or British, so they had these kamikaze weapons as a backup force. Though these rockets managed to take out a few Allied ships, these were small victories.

6. One British Marshal reigned supreme on the battlefield

Alexander in command.

Field Marshal Alexander was a major figure in the War, leading troops on the frontlines from a variety of ranks he held over time. Not only was he an acting Brigadier in WWI, but he also commanded the Nowshera Brigade in the 1930s, the first division into France in 1940, and even forces in Burma by 1942. After taking control of the Middle East forces as well, he landed himself in the role of Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean.

This man’s career may be lesser known in history circles today, but his lifelong service will never be forgotten.

 7. Allied and German fighter ‘aces’ were not equal in terms of kills

The German Luftwaffe demanded far more for their fighter aces. Pilots were expected to fly long operations without hope of a break.

In this regard, German forces had much more of a chance of achieving hits than their counterparts. While the Luftwaffe’s leading ace had killed over 350 targets, the best of the allied forces fighting aces had only amassed 38 kills.

8. The Luftwaffe had stronger planes at their disposal that largely went unused

He 112 in flight
He 112 in flight.

The leading aircraft production firm Messerschmidt had created their stellar Bf109 while rival company Heinkel had their own version of an all-metal monoplane fighter known as the He112. Both were fast, traveling at speeds of more than 350 mph, and their rate of climb was superb. However, the He112 could climb to 20,000 feet in 10 minutes and had an unparalleled range of up to 715 miles.

None of this mattered, however, because Heinkel was purported to have Jewish ties. And with that, the Heinkel fighter was disregarded, despite its better features.

9.  The famed Parsons Jacket was all about comfort

The most widely known US army field tunic was the Parsons Jacket, which became standard wear for the American forces. It gained its popularity due to its overall comfort and durability as opposed to the other clothes on offer.

The simple and refined short jacket was well-equipped to handle all seasons and ended up being favored for its comfort and style.

Jacket, Field, OD worn by soldiers shipping out, World War II.
Jacket, Field, OD worn by soldiers shipping out, World War II.

10. Germany held the least amount of mechanized support

Wartime propaganda from the German side would constantly boast about its modern technology, but they were, in fact, one of the least automotive societies in the War. Germany only had one vehicle for every 47 people at the beginning of the war. This didn’t compare to Britain’s 14:1 for every motor vehicle, and definitely not to France and the US, whose ratios were  8:1 and 4:1, respectively.

With these WWII fun facts under your belt, you can now rightfully say you’re more educated than the average Joe with only their high school textbook knowledge to rely upon.