War? War never changes! This might be wrong or even right but fact is that war is more than just people killing people. History has shown us that war has different facets and even some interesting sides. But we are especially interested in all the unbelievable fun facts about war which you have never heard about. We were therefore looking for the most amazing, the most incredible and the most astonishing facts you can think of. What we have found is so unique you won’t believe it. But see for yourself and enjoy our 68 war facts.
1. The average age of soldiers fighting in Vietnam was 19. During World War II it was 26.
2. Whenever the American President is outside the White House, a member of his security team carries a suitcase containing all the information and communications technology needed to authorize a nuclear attack. This is to enable the president to give orders for a military strike regardless of his location. The suitcase is therefore nicknamed the “Nuclear Football”.
3. Since the end of the Second World War, Japan has apologized in official statements more than 50 times for its acts during the war.
4. During the Second World War, the US Army maintained a tactical deception unit. It consisted of numerous artists, film set designers and actors. Their task was to create vehicle dummies and to simulate operations. Soldiers called their friends in this unit the “Ghost Army”. Are you interested to learn more about that amazing War Fact? We wrote an detailed article about that story which you can find here.
5. Since 1944, Iceland does not have its own army, and have not been attacked by other countries since. Read the full story here in our article.
6. During World War II, Adolf Hitler gave the order to spare the British city of Blackpool from bomb attacks, as he intended to go on holiday there after Germany had won the war.
7. During World War II, the U.S. Army collaborated with Walt Disney to develop a gas mask that looked like Mickey Mouse, in order to make children less afraid of a poison gas attack.
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8. In a guidebook for spies, the US intelligence agency CIA explained how during the Cold War spies could exchange information using their shoelaces. The message communicated differed depending on how the shoelaces were tied.
9. The farthest distance a sniper met his target is 3,540 meters and was set up by a Canadian elite soldier. The projectile flew about ten seconds through the air.
10. Onoda Hirō was a Japanese intelligence officer who believed that the proclamation of the end of World War II was only a ruse by the Allies and therefore continued to hold his position 29 years after the end of the war. Only when his former superior, who was now a bookseller, visited him in 1974 could Onoda be convinced that the war was over.
11. Andorra does not have an army of its own. Instead, the law stipulates that at least every male head of household must possess a weapon for defense purposes. The law even obliges the police to make a weapon available to every male citizen who does not have one.
12. The largest hydrogen bomb that has been detonated caused such a big shock wave that it could still be measured after the third circumnavigation of the globe.
13. The “Sacred Band of Thebes” was a special unit of the Theban army consisting exclusively of homosexual male couples. It was hoped that the soldiers would prove to be more cohesive, as they would try anything to save their partners.
14. The development of chemical drugs can be traced back to the Nazis. For example, scientists in the Third Reich discovered an active substance that helped soldiers to march 55 miles without stopping. If you want to learn more about this fact make sure to check out this article we wrote about that topic.
15. During World War II, the Syrian brown bear “Wojtek” repeatedly supported Polish soldiers by bringing important military transports to them on the battlefield. In return, he was awarded the rank of non-commissioned officer.
16. With 2.3 million soldiers, China has the largest army in the world. The USA follows in second place with 1.4 million.
17. The largest bomb ever detonated was tested by the United States in 1954 and had an explosive power equivalent to a thousand times that of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. After the test, the scientists found that the bomb had almost twice the explosive force they had previously calculated. The flash was seen 250 miles away, and radiation injuries occurred within a radius of more than 87 miles.
18. Lake Karachay in Russia has been overrun with so much nuclear waste after World War II, that one hour of exposure is a lethal dose of radiation.
19. The “Gombe Chimpanzee War” describes a four-year war between two hostile chimpanzee groups in Tanzania. During this time, there were mutual killings, violence and kidnappings. The war is considered the first known situation in which chimpanzees deliberately killed another chimpanzee. If you want to learn more about that War Fact we highly recommend you our dedicated article about the Gombe Chimpanzee War.
20. In 1967 a solar storm almost caused a nuclear war. The charged solar particles caused the US early rocket warning system to fail, so that the Americans first assumed that the Soviet Union had launched a targeted interference attack in order to be able to carry out a nuclear strike on the USA.
21. To date, there have been a total of 2,055 atomic bomb tests worldwide. 1,039 were carried out by the USA alone, 718 by the Soviet Union and 198 by France.
22. The U.S. Navy now uses Xbox 360 controllers to control its periscopes. The soldiers find the controller much easier to use, while at the same time the costs of the control units have declined drastically.
23. Nutella was invented during World War II, when an Italian soldier mixed chocolate with hazelnut to stretch his food ration.
24. The shortest war in the world took place in 1896 between Zanzibar and the British. Zanzibar capitulated after only 38 minutes.
25. To protect the German soldiers from the British night vision technology, they spread the lie that eating lots of carrots helped British soldiers to increase their eyesight during night. A myth was born.
26. The soldier Jack Churchill went into every battle of the Second World War carrying a sword, bagpipes and a longbow. During a mission in France, he even achieved the only confirmed kill by longbow during the Second World War. His comrades therefore nicknamed him “Mad Jack”.
27. During World War II, a Canadian soldier smuggled his bear “Winnipeg” to Britain, and it later became an attraction at the London Zoo. Young Christopher Robin Milne loved this bear so much that he gave his teddy bear the same name. This in turn inspired his father to write the stories about the bear Winnie the Pooh.
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28. Born in 1930, Irene Triplett is the last living descendant of a civil war veteran. Although the US civil war ended in 1865, she continues to receive her late father’s veteran’s pension of $73.13 every month. Her father Mose Triplett was only 18 years old when he went to war and 83 when Irene was born.
29. Besides humans, ants and bees are the only animals to wage war against members of the same species. If you want to learn more about that war fact you should read the article we wrote about that topic.
30. In war times significantly more boys than girls are born. This is called the “Returning Soldier Syndrome”.
31. When her husband died in the war in 1941, Ukrainian Marina Oktyabrskaya sold all her belongings and donated the money to the military to buy a tank. She was able to convince the military command to drive the tank herself and turned out to be an excellent tank driver. After she died in battle in 1944, she was posthumously awarded the title “Hero of the Soviet Union”.
32. During the Second World War, British soldier Digby Tatham-Warter was known among his comrades for always taking an umbrella along into battle so that his own comrades could identify him better and would not accidentally shoot him. He even managed to capture a German car after stabbing the driver in the eye with his umbrella.
33. With more than 500 kills, the Finnish soldier Simo Häyhä is the sniper with the highest number of confirmed kills in a war. He fought during the Second World War and killed mainly Soviet soldiers. The Red Army called him “The White Death”.
34. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was working in Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb hit the city. As he was driving home to Nagasaki the second bomb hit. He is currently 90 years old and still alive.
35. During World War II, the French weightlifter Charles Rigoulet was sent to a Nazi prison. He broke out by bending the metal rods of his prison cell and was even able to free several other fellow prisoners.
36. During World War II, women in France who had relations with German soldiers were shaved bald so that everyone could see that they had betrayed their country.
37. Of the 195 countries in the world, there are only 22 countries that have never been attacked or occupied by Britain.
38. The US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln is operated by nuclear power and therefore only needs to be “refueled” every 25 years.
39. The German term “Bombenwetter” (literally: “bomb weather”) can be traced back to the fact that this weather offers ideal conditions to make out targets when bombing a city. The word originated during the Second World War.
40. During World War I the Emperor of Germany, the King of Great Britain and the Emperor of Russia were all first cousins. The German Emperor Wilhelm II therefore commented sarcastically on the First World War: “If our grandmother (Queen Victoria) were still alive, she would never have allowed it.”
41. At the US Arlington National Cemetery, there is a group of women who call themselves the “Arlington Ladies”. Since their inception in 1948, they have voluntarily committed themselves to attend every funeral ceremony in Arlington so that no soldier needs to be buried alone. On average, the women attend 30 funerals a week.
42. Liechtenstein completed what was possibly the most successful military intervention in history. During World War I, the country sent a total of 80 soldiers to the Italian border. During their entire deployment, they hardly ever had to engage in military operations. After the end of the war, while marching back to their homeland, the soldiers made friends with an Austrian who came along back to Liechtenstein with them. So of the 80 soldiers deployed, 81 returned.
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43. In 1916, a law was submitted to the US Congress to stipulate that any declaration of war by the USA first had to be confirmed by a referendum and that anyone who voted “yes” would have to go to war themselves. However, the law was never passed.
44. During the Second World War, the city of Constance was largely spared from Allied bombing raids. Unlike other German cities, Constance did not cut off electricity at night. Allied pilots could therefore hardly distinguish the city from neighboring Switzerland, where the lights also remained on at night. In order to avoid mistakes, no bombs were dropped in the region.
45. Kenneth Bainbridge, scientific director of the Manhattan Project, commented on the first test of a nuclear bomb with “Now we are all sons of bitches”.
46. The fuel of a Nazi V2 rocket was produced from 33 tons of potatoes – so-called potato schnapps.
47. In 2007, Navy SEAL Mike Day was shot 27 times by four al-Qaeda leaders. He managed to kill the four leaders and get himself to safety. Today, he is in good health again and lives happily with his wife and daughter.
48. During World War II, the Allies estimated the production rate of German tanks by comparing the serial numbers on captured tanks. The production rate of tanks was estimated at 256 units per month. After the end of the war, the actual production rate was discovered: 255 tanks per month.
49. In the last 3,000 years, there were only 268 years in which no wars occurred.
50. During the Second World War a special event was held in a news magazine. Two soldiers were betting who would be the first to kill 100 enemy soldiers with a sword. Both died before they could win the competition.
51. Adolf Hitler’s nephew William Patrick Hitler emigrated to the USA in 1939 and even fought alongside the Americans against Nazi Germany during the Second World War. He was even awarded the Purple Heart for his accomplishments during the war. After the war, however, he changed his name to William Patrick Stuart-Houston.
52. On 24 January 1961 a US Air Force B-52 bomber crashed during a military exercise and had to initiate the emergency jettison of two hydrogen bombs over the Goldsboro region (North Carolina, USA). On one of the bombs, only one of four safety devices remained intact after the crash, while the second bomb landed in a swamp area where remains of the bomb are still found to this day. If you are interested in the story behind this unbelievable War Fact we can recommend you our detailed article about this topic. You can find it here.
53. The real Top Gun School imposes a five dollar fine to anyone in the staff that quotes the movie.
54. During World War II, Queen Elizabeth worked as a mechanic for the British troops.
55. The explosion of a modern nuclear atomic bomb in London would produce such a large pressure wave that glass panes in Berlin would also shatter.
56. Since 1964, in memory of the victims of the atomic bomb, the “flame of peace” is burning in Hiroshima, which will only be extinguished once all nuclear weapons on the earth have been eliminated.
57. In 1958 an atomic bomb disappeared from the arsenal of the U.S. Army in Georgia. To this day it has not been found.
58. The Jewish boxer Salamo Arouch was imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II and was forced to fight against other inmates. The loser was shot or gassed.
59. In 1938, Adolf Hitler was Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year”.
60. Adrian Carton de Wiart fought in both World Wars and he was shot in his head, his leg, his hips and his ear. He also survived a plane crash and when the doctors were unwilling to amputate two of his fingers, he bit them off. When he was later asked about his time during the war he replied “I had enjoyed the war”.
61. In September 1944, nine US pilots set off to fly a maneuver against the Japanese. However, all nine planes were shot down by Japanese troops, and eight of the pilots were captured, beaten, tortured and beheaded and had parts of their bodies eaten by the Japanese soldiers. The ninth pilot who escaped was George H. W. Bush who would later go on to become the President of the United States.
62. Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.
63. When the head of the Auschwitz concentration camp – Rudolf Höß – was accused in court of killing 3.5 million people, he replied “No, only two and a half million. The rest died of disease and hunger.”
64. US soldier John J. Kelly is the last person to receive the Medal of Honor twice. During World War I, he ran to the front line, destroyed a machine gun base, killed the artillerist with a grenade, shot a man with his pistol and rescued eight prisoners. He was only 19 years old at the time.
65. The former U.S. Marine soldier Guy Gabaldon was able to catch about 800 Japanese soldiers during World War Two. The Japanese soldiers were hiding in a cave and Guy Gabaldon sneaked in. He convinced them that their cave was surrounded. After everyone was handcuffed he called for support.
66. Costa Rica does not have its own military anymore. Instead, the money is now spent on education and culture. Looking for more facts about Costa Rica? Just click that link.
67. During World War II, the Nazis attempted to cover the river Alster as part of their “Operation Cloak of Invisibility”. They covered parts of the river with wood and wire, built dummy houses and planted trees on the frozen river, as they suspected that the Allies were using the Alster for orientation. The objective was to save Hamburg’s city center from more severe bomb damage. However, this hope was not fulfilled.
68. During the Cold War in the 1960s Dutch ambassador Henry Helb was noticing that his two Siamese cats were arching their backs and clawing at one of the walls. It came out that both cats had heard quiet scratches behind the wall leading to 30 tiny microphones hidden behind the boards.
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