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Sunday, 15 June 2014

The 5 Most Badass Soldiers During WWII

Ruins of WWII
World War II was a crucial time in human history. Death and tragedy were found almost everywhere. Millions lost their life and the lifes of ten times more were scarred forever. But those times of misery and pain where a really good incubator for some of the most badass soldier legends to be born. Now, I'm not talking about high-ranked generals and commanders who won battles and decided the fates of hundreds with their brilliant tactic and command, I'm listing five regular G.I. Joes that arose from the common folk and really, really kicked some enemy's ass … hard. And we start with:

Desmond Doss – The Pacifist

War is perfect for young, angry men who would gladly die for their homeland (and score a few headshots in the meantime). And while to take a life in times of peace is to be judged as one of the most awful crimes a person can do, during war it's not only justified, but rather glorified. Well, not if you're a follower of the Seventh-day Adventist. You see, Desmond Doss was born and raised in a super-religious family for which all killings, no matter how necessary, where a big no-no.

Preaching with a guitaar
Except killing beats that is.
But being the proud and patriotic American he was, he felt obligated to serve his country when it needed him most. As you can imagine, not wanting to kill anybody didn`t give him much of an option in the army, so he enlisted as a medic. He absolutely refused to carry any sort of a weapon, even a pocket knife, which led to him being the favourite victim of mocking by his fellow comrades. Or at least in the beginning. But when the bullets started to rain, and bodies began to fall, he showed them the dough he was made of. He would regularly sprint in the line of fire, just meters away from the enemy guns, to grab his wounded fellows and drag them to safety.

What really got Desmond Doss the status of an ultimate badass (and a Medal of Honour by the way, only the highest medal a US soldier can receive) happened near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa on April 29, 1945. His 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 120m high, while advancing to the city of Okinawa, when his unit got under a heavy machinegun, mortar and artillery fire. This resulted in the immediate death of at least 75, and heavy-wounding at least three times more American units. Something like this, but without the joy and not dying:

While most of the unfallen soldiers tried to seek cover, or just got into fetal position crying about their mommies, Desmond Doss was the only one standing in the middle of it, trying to save the most men he could. During the next 20 days of constant fights, he rescued more than 100 soldiers.

During one of his acts, he got injured by an enemy grenade, but instead of seeking aid to himself, being the man he is, he first aided a more severely-injured comrade and just after he saw him 'fixed', he touched a rifle for the first time. Just to use it as a crutch and walk himself and his fellow-man to safety.

For his outstanding bravery and exclusive determination on the battlefield, Desmond Doss received the highest honour a soldier could get, a Medal of Honour, without even shooting a weapon once. After the war he returned to his home town of Lynchburg, Virginia, where he frequently shoved how good of a Christian he was in the face of his father who once caught him looking at the post-office lady's cleavage as a kid and convinced him he was gonna go to Hell.

Jacklyn H. Lucas – Mr Immortal

When you come into this world with a winky and the name of Jacklyn, you're bond to have a hard childhood. So Jack Lucas really tried hard history to remember him with the short version of his name. When Pearl Harbour was attacked on December 7, 1941 and the USA joined the conflict, he was only a 13-years old boy. Most boys at that age fill their minds with plans of how to trick their teacher or make their first steps in girl-chasing. But Jack Lucas was not most boys. He got so angry he wanted to enlist in the army. Right away.
kid with a gun
*PEW PEW PEW* `Murica
He was very tall and muscular for his age so he had little trouble convincing the recruiters he was of legal age to join the marines (even with the power of internet these days, some African athletes successfully do this, so who are we to judge the folks back then). But was Jack frustrated when he was sent on an on-shore duty in Pearl Harbour and was kept far away from combat. While most men would rebel, he took it with dignity and went for a walk around the base to cool his nerves.

angry kid

The following day, when he failed to show on duty they figured maybe he didn`t have such a mild temper. 30 days later, they found him on board of USS Deuel, who was docking on the shores of Iwo Jima. On the very second day of landing, Jacklyn Lucas and three of his fellow-soldiers found themselves in a trench, when a Japaneese patrol opened fire on them. Subsequently two hand grenades were thrown in the trench. Private Lucas heard the evolutionary call of self-preservence screaming in his ears and gave it a good laugh while doing the exact opposite – he jumped over the grenades in an attempt to save his mates. 

two extra large ladies
In comparison, it's like dating those two ladies in black, so your friend can go to second base with the cute one.
You see, what makes a grenade so deadly in close range is not the explosion it makes, but the shrapnel it shoots that pierce and maim every body-part they get a reach of. So having two explode under you means you'll get a lot of metal pieces inside you. By an act of God, Jacklyn Lucas survived having his right arm and wrist, right leg and thigh, and chest severely damaged.

metal balls
But not his balls, they were made of hardest steel
After 21 surgeries and 200 pieces of metal removed from his body, he was sent home where he received a Medal of Honour and an even greater prize of never being called Jacklyn again in his life.

Jack Churchill – Mad Jack

When you prepare for war, you make sure you're fully equipped with the latest armour, latest weapon and latest technology your country can provide you. You know, so you can be fully prepared to meet the most advance war technology the other side has to offer. Well, that idea didn`t go well with the likes of Jack Churchill. Having served in Burma for Her Majesty's Armed Forces, he had a “finally, let's do this” attitude when it came to wars. And he was damned sure prepared for it. His outfit consisted of a long Scottish sword (a claymore), a longbow and his beloved bagpipes. His motto - "any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed".

Swordsman on a plane

It's no wonder he had the only confirmed arrow kill in the WWII, when his Regiment ambushed a German patrol near L'Epinette, France. But if you think his eccentricity ends here, you're in for a treat. After the British command saw his potential, he was made second in charge of No. 3 Commando Battle Unit. On 27 December 1941, his unit was sent to a special mission called Operation Archery. It's goal - to assault a German garrison at Vågsøy, Norway. Some might approach this task with stealth and secrecy. Mad Jack approached it while playing "March of the Cameron Men" on his bagpipes, while throwing grenades and probably making it into the nightmares for German children for the next 50 years.

In July 1943, already as a commanding officer, his men were given the task to take out a German observation post outside of the town of Molina, Italy. On that day he managed to capture 42 German prisoners using only the help of his beloved claymore.

Later, his force was moved to Yugoslavia, to support Josip Broz Tito's Partisans against the Germans positioned on the isle of Vis. It was on one of his assaults, where all his comrades were killed, while and overwhelming attack by the Germans was taking place. Left alone, he did what a skilled veteran was trained to do – he started playing his bagpipes again.

scotsman with a bagpipe
Come here you basket-face slipper-wielding bloody nazi barmpots
This time the Germans caught him and imprisoned him in a war camp in Sachsenhausen. They quickly found out Mad Jack was not much of a prison-camp material, when he and a fellow officer crawled under a barbed wire and tried to escape by foot to the Baltic shore. They where captured and redirected to a camp near Tyrol, guarded by the troops of SS themselves. Needless to say, he managed to escape from there too, and headed himself south to Italy, where he came across American soldiers. Luckily for many, but sadly for Jack Churchill, it happened in the Fall of 1945, when the war in Europe was over, to which he unhappily muttered his famous words “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going for another 10 years!”

Michael Wittmann – The Black Baron


Michael Wittmann, also known as the Black Baron, was the son of a farmer and a stay-at-home mom. When he grew old enough he found salvation from the grey, depressing rural life in the thrilling, always sunshine and rainbows joy of being a German Soldier in the pre-WWII times. He quickly grew in rank to become a commissioned officer and was sent to the peaceful fields of the Eastern Front where he was trained to be a peace-resolving operator of a German Panzer.
ice cream truck
The WWII equivalent of an ice-cream truck
For the few years he served there (from the Winter of 1942 to April 1944) he managed to convince the crews of little below 100 Russian tanks, that their short mortal lifes weren`t worth it and they should join their ancestors in the realms of Heaven. Then, the German Commanding saw how convincing in his words of peace he can be, so they moved him to Normandy, where he could have a little discussion with the invading Allied Forces.
Can I have a word with you about our Lord and saviour the God of Death?
What really got the Black Baron in the annals of WWII Badassery happened near the area of Villers-Bocage. His unit was retreating south, due to the proceeds of the forces who landed on D-Day on the Normandy's beaches. And they where damaged bad. Like, 50% dead bad. So when the British 7th Armoured Division surprised Whittmann's comrades in the early morning of 13th June, 1945, he wasn`t left much to improvise with. His words regarding the situation he found himself in were:
I had no time to assemble my company; instead I had to act quickly, as I had to assume that the enemy had already spotted me and would destroy me where I stood. I set off with one tank and passed the order to the others not to retreat a single step but to hold their ground.
And quickly is how he acted. He was able to manoeuvre behind the enemy and in a traditional Blitzkreig-style of fighting he managed to destroy 13–14 tanks, two anti-tank guns and 13–15 transport vehicles, of which was constructed the whole 7th Armoured British Division. Single-handedly. With only his tank. By himself. By the time the rest of the German soldiers got to understand what was happening, it was all over. So they just continued eating their würst-breakfests.

soldiers at breakfast
It's OK Mike, we'll have a cold one while you retake Paris by yourself.
Sadly, Wittmann's days of badassery didn`t continue long after. On 8 August 1944, Michael Wittmann's tank was destroyed by an enemy turret near the town of Saint-Aignan-de-Cramesnil, thus putting an end to his peaceful ways.

Simo Häyhä – The White Death

It's one thing to invade foreign lands, fight to conquer and rule, and completely different to defend your motherland, the place where you grow up, from opposing forces. And somehow, when Russia tried to bring communism to Finland, spawning 2 million russian soldiers on it's land, Simo Häyhä took it personally. He took it so personally, that he got out his old Russian-made Mosin-Nagant rifle from the shelf and started banging everything with a red star on it's head and a vodka scent in it's breath. By the end of the Winter War (as it was later named), he had 505 confirmed kills, the highest number to date in any major war that was fought. Compared to him, the famous Vasiliy Zaitsev would look like a 3rd grader who was killing ants with a magnifying glass.

owning noobs

His tactic was plain in structure. He would go to the woods he grew in, knowing the place of every inch of snow, and would stay hidden in -30 degrees temperature all day, waiting for some Russian soldiers to walk by his sight. He did it hardcore-style. No telescopic sight to reveal his position, covered in snow and not moving to scratch his butt all day if necessary. Some modern young users of X-Box might even call him a 'camping fag'. In his 'bad days' he would go home with only 5 kills confirmed. In his best, he did 25. That's two football teams plus the referees if it's easier for you to comprehend. The Russians where so afraid of him, they would regularly call air strikes on places they thought he might eventually be. They would sent snipers on their own to hunt him, just so those sniper could be included in Häyhä's killcount.
shooting guys in the head
He was doing this all over the map.
Finally, a lucky Russian soldier managed to shoot Simo through the cheek, damaging his jaw and leaving him into a comma (using an aim-hack surely). But he survived it and woke up on the very day the Russians where signing white-peace with the Finns, just to live his 96 years-old life communism-free.