War is full of uncertainty, fear, frustration, and sadness. World War II was no exception. Lasting six years, 1939-1945, it’s not considered a lengthy war in the annals of history, but to the men and women in the thick of it, it seemed to last forever. World War II was full of soldiers, all ordinary people, performing extraordinary feats of bravery, luck, and skill. It is no wonder those who fought in that war are considered our “Greatest Generation.” S
Even when the war was still in its infancy, Hollywood was struggling to depict it accurately on screen. To this day, they rarely get it right. It’s hard for a war film to correctly depict the carnage and courage of the battlefield, without resorting to a bit of cheesy heroism. I mean, have you seen the Rambo films? Could one man, even a special ops commando, really take out a whole platoon of enemy soldiers? Well, actually yes, they could. And they did it without all the big wavy locks of hair and bulging baby oil-massaged muscles of the screen. If you look deeply, you’ll find history is chock full of stories of incredible soldiers who did unbelievable deeds in the face of the enemy. Some involve valor; others are just actions that are too mind-blowing to believe. What follows are fifteen of these true stories of World War II soldiers that you just aren’t going to believe!Science, Indian Hi
MAJOR TOMMY MACPHERSON – “THE KILTED KILLER”
A Scottish commando, Tommy Macpherson joined the army in 1939. He parachuted into Nazi-held France and became known by the enemy as the dreaded “Kilted Killer.” His goal was to stimulate the French resistance into disrupting the Axis response to the 1944 Normandy invasion. He was able to galvanize the small, poorly armed resistance fighters with his cunning and dramatic style. You see, Macpherson always went into battle wearing his full Scottish Highlander’s battledress, including his kilt. His flamboyant, daring, and successful attacks earned him a bounty placed on his head by the Nazis. He would famously rig his machine guns to sound like heavy weaponry, causing the enemy to believe they were up against a superior force. In one exploit, dressed in full Celtic gear, he made his way into a German command post and bluffed General Botho Henning Elster into believing non-existent heavy artillery fire and an air strike were on standby if his forces didn’t surrender immediately. The general surrendered 23,000 men and 1,000 vehicles. Science, Indian History, Indian
JOSEPH BEYRLE – FOUGHT IN BOTH THE U.S. AND SOVIET ARMIES IN WORLD WAR II
Joseph Beyrle was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, serving in the prestigious 506th Para Infantry Regiment, 101st Division. He jumped into France during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day in 1944. Having survived his jump, his unit was scattered. Alone, he still managed to conduct several sabotage operations before being captured by the Germans. After enduring seven months in prison camps, he was able to escape. He made his way east, encountering Captain Alexandra Samusenko, the only female Russian tank commander. Being the same age, he convinced her to allow him to fight by her side on their advance to Berlin. They spent a month fighting side-by-side, until Beyrle was wounded. While in a Soviet hospital, he met Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who furnished him with official documents to allow him to finally get back home to his family in Michigan. In 1994, both the U.S. and Russian presidents honored Beyrle as a symbol of cooperation for both countries. Beyrle died in 2004, Samusenko sadly was killed later in the war.
TOMMY PRINCE – THE MASTER OF STEALTH
Tommy Prince was a First Nations soldier born in Canada in 1915. An accomplished hunter and tracker, he excelled as a paratrooper in the Canadian Army and, during World War II, as a reconnaissance sergeant with the 1st Special Service Force, an elite American-Canadian commando unit. He was known to carry a pair of moccasins in his pack, and during the night would wear them to move about more stealthily. He would quietly creep into a nearby German camp and steal their shoes, or apply shoe polish to their faces while they were asleep. Other times, he would quietly slip into the sleeping barracks and slit the throat of every third German soldier as they slept. These startling but incredible actions would confuse and panic the German command and they dubbed Prince’s unit, “The Devil’s Brigade.” He continued to serve throughout World War II and Korea, finally retiring, due to arthritis, in 1954.