World War Two was full of strange events that its almost surreal. Soldiers with literal skulls on their shoulders, weather balloons bearing bombs, and stranger happened. But here are four caught on camera. From Scotsman to alcohol, these are the weirdest photos in World War II.
5. Beers Away!
Designated “Mod.XXX” the Spitfire auxillary fuel tank photographed here is being filled with Pale Ale from Henty & Constable Brewery. “XXX Joy Juice” was racked into jettionsalbe “slippers” of up to 90 gallons for transport under the center of the fighter.
The modification was used by British RAF pilots to circumvent thin supply lines to the front line in France after the D-Day invasion. 18 gallon casks could also be fitted under modified pylons on each wing in a “beer bomb” configuration.
Westerham Brewery attached Bitter on one wing, Mild on the other. Flying at fifteen thousand feet ensured the beer was chilled when it arrived.
4. Happy Gas
Made by Sun Ruber and Disney-approved, this Mickey Mouse gas mask was created fro U.S. children following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Having witnessed the Japanese Army’s use of mustard gas against Chinese soldiers, the Army Chemical Corps feared attacks on America.
In preparation for a hypothetical attack, gas masks and warnings were distributed to civilians in cities on the U.S. west coast. The Mickey Mouse masks were sized for children up to four years-old and were intended to turn chemical attack drills into a fun “game”.
It turned out that U.S. chemical weapon concerns were well justified. Post-war investigations into Japan’s infamous Unit 731 uncovered plans to deliver chemical and biological agents by balloon and kamikaze.
3. Ghost Army
Pictured here carrying an inflatable tank are four members of the one thousand and one hundred strong 23rd Headquarters Special Troops “Ghost Army.” From 1944 until the end of the war, the Ghost Army was tasked with faking the existence of two thirty thousand man U.S. Army units across Europe.
Engineers and artists rom the 603rd Camouflage provided visual deception while the 3132nd Signal Service provided fake audio and dummy radio traffic. The Ghost Army participated in over twenty classified battlefield deceptions, even faking whole airfields complete with hanging laundry.
For Operation Fortitude, the unit tricked German coastal defenses into believing D-Day would be arriving across the Strait of Dover, weakening German lines an perhaps saving the battle.
2. Mad Jack
Seen in this 1939 photo, Lieutenant Colonel Jack Churchill was a British solider known or leading commando charges with a Scottish broadsword. The esteemed “Mad Jack” was quote as saying “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.”
In addition to the broadsword, Churchill would go into battle with a longbow and arrow and rouse his men to battle with a set of bagpipes. He is credited with the last longbow kill in action, felling a German sergeant with a barbed arrow to signal the start of an attack.
Mad Jack later fought the Japanese in Burma and was disappointed in the U.S.’s use of atomic weapons, reportedly saying “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we culd have kept the war going another 10 years…”
1. Battle Of LA
Officially a weather balloon, or secretly a UFO? This photo shows a mysterious object hovering over the “Battle of Los Angeles.” Tensions in the City of Angels were high following the February 23rd, 1942 bombardment of the Elwood oil field by a Japanese submarine.
The next night the city succumbed to “war nerves” when a lost U.S. weather balloon triggered artillery fire from the 37th Coast Brigade. When the photo of the battle was published in the LA Times, UFOologists believed it was evidence of an extraterrestrial craft.
The Navy and Air Force “insisted there were no signs of enemy planes in the area” while Army reports suggested the presence of one to five unidentified craft. The discrepancy hasn’t been resolved.