The World War 2 Obscure Trivia Thread


Who fought on three sides of WWII?
(Just an individual , not a military formation or nation)


That would be Yang Kyoungjong. He was a Korean citizen who was conscripted into service with the Japanese Imperial Army. He was captured by the Red Army on the Chinese-Mongolian border in 1939. In 1942 he was pressed into service with the Red Army to fight on the Eastern Front. He was captured for the second time in Ukrane by the German army in 1943. This time he volunteered to serve in a German Ostbataillone because who wants to be a German POW when you could be in France instead. Ultimately, he was captured on D-Day by none other than E Co., 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and was eventually sent to the US as a German POW. He was released at the end of the war and chose to stay in the US afterwards.


Yup, Yang Kyoungjong. Started out with the Kwantang Army, got captured by the Soviets, and then captured by the Germans. During the course of WWII, he went from Manchuria, to Normandy, where he was part of an Osttruppen detachment. Apparently he caused the US Army translators no end of trouble. IIRC it took them a while to twig to which language group he spoke. Not that I have any idea as to how many Americans spoke Korean at that time.


It wasn’t many. We wouldn’t be fighting there for another six years so it is highly unlikely that even a sizable minority of Americans could point out the country on a map, let alone speak the language.


How did a part of the USS Arizona get payback on the Japanese for Pearl Harbor?


Her guns were salvaged and used on other battleships. If I remember correctly Nevada’s rear turret had Arizona’s guns, and I believe South Dakota sported a few of her sister’s rifles when she traded shots with the Yamato and Musashi in the Philippines. SD was the last battleship to sink another battleship in battle.


Pretty much although South Dakota never took on Yamato or Musashi in a gun duel. In any case, she had 16" rifles not 14" like Nevada or Arizona.

5 of the 6 battleships that took on Fuso and Yamashiro at the battle of Surigao Straight were Pearl Harbour survivors although Nevada wasn’t present at that battle.

Nevada used the barrels from Arizona in bombardment missions in the Pacific and in support of the D Day landings.


There was some mention of USS Robin further up the page. I just read this article about her and thought I’d share.

Also, how did two paddle wheel steam ships help the US Navy win the war in the Pacific?


USS Wolverine was a Great Lakes paddle wheel ship converted into a training aircraft carrier. She had a deck, and wires, but no hangar. Nuggets (“noob pilots”) bound to fly from the Essex carriers in the Pacific would practice deck ops on her. A second steamer was converted too, but her name escapes me.

On a slight tangent: an F4F that was ditched in the lakes was raised and restored to flight had flown from one of this unlikely pair.


That would be the USS Sable.


…and after.



Must say, these posts/conundrums take us down some unexpected rabbit holes. Ta muchly, all.

More please :yum:


I have my own question for you people to solve

In 1931 a member of Hitler’s inner circle went on a date with his girlfriend (soon-to-be wife) at a fancy restaurant. The woman ordered a lobster, but the man ordered a wiener schnitzel because he didn’t know how to eat lobster, and he wanted to be on the safe side.

Who of the inner circle was this?


Joseph Goebbels.

(I don’t actually know. But since he was their “head spin doctor” I like thinking of him as uncouth, standoffish, and awkward socially.)



Though he was far from socially awkward. He was a huge womaniser. Hitler was more socially awkward than Goebbels was in fact!

Didn’t think it’d be so easy :grin:


Which Japanese fighter had its recognition nickname changed so as not to use the nickname of a general?


That would be the “Hap”, an upgraded version of the Zeke, more commonly known as the Zero. General “Hap” Arnold was unhappy at the code name and it was changed to “Hamp”.


How did the US plan to use pigeons and bats to sink enemy shipping?


I do know the BAT was an anti-shipping weapon, one of the early guided missiles. It was quite chunky, needing a bigger plane (like a B-24) to tote it.

I know there were attempts to use animals like pigeons to guide weapons, though I’ve no idea how far plan got. I think the BAT at least was fired in anger a few times.


I know that pigeons were used (? by the UK ?) for search and rescue. They’re better at spotting a floating liferaft than a slightly more advanced hominid. So, I presume the birds were part of some form of terminal guidance system.

I have a vague memory of some nutty zoologist that had a proposal involving actual bats. I could Google it, but that would be cheating :wink:


The BAT was indeed an early attempt at a guided anti ship weapon.

The final version used radar guidance and was quite effective but an early attempt was made to fit it with a pigeon based guidance system instead.

Once source I read, although sadly I can’t find it now, said that scientists experimented with feeding the pigeons marijuana seeds to help keep them calm.

As the article above points out, abortive attempts were also made to firebomb the Japanese home islands with bats with small incendiary devices attached to them.

While this is technically outside the scope of this forum, this is too good of an opportunity to not mention Blue Peacock. Basically, the British Army thought it would be a good idea to bury some 10kt nuclear mines under the North German plain to be detonated if the Soviet hordes should ever pass that way. Concern was expressed that the bombs’ trigger mechanisms might not work in cold conditions, so it was suggested that the bomb be converted to house a number of chickens and that their body heat would help keep the bomb warm.