11. A stoker’s brush with death
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Royal Navy submarine HMS Perseus departed for Alexandria from Malta on 26 October 1941. In the night of 6 December, Perseus hit an Italian mine near Kefalonia, Greece. Most passengers almost died instantly. But luckily for 31-year old John Capes, who was drinking in a converted torpedo rack, the part of the submarine didn’t start flooding until the submarine hit the ocean floor. He started looking for survivors, found three other seriously injured stokers like him, opened the eviction hatch, and escaped into the sea. When he surfaced, Capes found the other escapees didn’t make it. Out of breath and his lungs paining, Capes swam to Cephalonia. He was dragged unconscious from the sea by two fishermen and was sheltered by locals for the next 18 months from occupying Axis forces. He was later smuggled out on a dingy to Turkey and finally Alexandria; Cape’s entire journey was one of the most incredible World War 2 stories.
12. Artificial moonlight
Image Credit: The Atlantic
While World War 2 stories are replete with incidents of valor, courage, and supreme sacrifice, there were some impromptu technical marvels as well. Among the most interesting World War 2 facts is the British creating artificial moonlight for nightlong battles. They would first air-burst artillery shells and turn on the searchlights that could forge dense clouds over their target. They would then fire tracer ammunition mainly from the 40mm Bofors guns of different colors. It created brightly colored light spots on the ground that helped troops in their direction. The variety in colors (yellow, blue and red) indicated where the armory and the infantry needed to attack.
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13. Henry Ford, the Nazi patron
Image Credit: biography
Considered as the most startling of all World War 2 facts, until 1940, there was a fully functioning Nazi Party office in the US. What’s more unbelievable is that Henry Ford, American industrialist and the founder of the global brand Ford Motors, was one of its key supporters. He backed Hitler and the Nazi Party financially with millions of dollars. But that of course stopped as the US became more involved in the war, particularly after the Pearl Harbor bombing.