The World War 2 Obscure Trivia Thread


Prototype Bf-109 with a 690hp Rolls Royce Kestrel engine.

Bf-109’s (OK, really Ha-1112 Buchons) with a Merlin Engine.

These particular ones were used as stand ins for Bf-109s in the Battle of Britain movie the type was also used in the film Memphis Belle. The makers of Battle of Britain managed to assemble a fleet of over 100 WW2 vintage airplanes including Hurricanes, Spitfires and Spanish CASA 2.111 bombers to play the part of He-111s. According to the Wikipedia page for the film, this was equivalent to the 35th largest airforce in the world at that time.


Here’s a cryptic one.

What’s the link between a tiger and a sleeping beauty?


Both the Tiger tank and the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty are from Germany?


Wrong theater of war.


I feel a bit dumb now.

The answer is the American Volunteer Group. Also known as “the Flying Tigers” they flew P-40 Hawks in China against the Japanese. Their insignia, a cartoon tiger with wings was drawn by a Disney artist (whose name escapes me).


Pretty close to the right part of the world now, but still not the right answer.

What’s the link to a sleeping beauty?


“I fear we have awoken a sleeping giant…” A quote attributed to Admiral Yamamoto after the successful bombing of Pearl Harbor, which was confirmed by the radio code “Tora” - Tiger.

(I feel really dumb now. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: This is a fun game!)


The Tiger was Malaysian not Japanese.


Time for another clue.

The chap in the middle at the back has a tattoo on his chest. It’s not entirely clear from the photo but the tattoo is a picture of a tiger.


That boat… is that the MV Krait?


Aha. Sleeping Beauties were a neutral buoyancy vessel (developed by SOE?), and Operation Rimau was the ‘tiger’. Not the best time for Z Force.


Which Allied secret weapon’s development process required the purchasing of a town’s entire supply of a particular variety of confectionery AND most of its condoms?


That’s right. The vessel is indeed the MV Krait and those are the men of Operation Jaywick. The man with the tattoo is Major, later Colonel Ivan Lyon, the commander of the raid.

The Sleeping Beauty, or more properly the motorised submersible canoe, was taken along on the next raid on Singapore, operation Rimau which is Malay for tiger. The raid went horribly wrong and Lyon and all his men were killed.

The inspiration for this post actually came from seeing this plaque walking along the waterfront in Cairns in tropical North Queensland, where I am currently enjoying a rather nice holiday.

I’ve had a bit of an interest in both raids for a while actually ever since seeing the excellent movie The Heroes years ago.

The Krait is now in the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney and I got to have a nose around her a while ago. Apparently she’s been the site of many memorable pissups over the years. I also got to visit the graves of Ivan Lyon and some of his men at the Kranji war cemetery in SIngapore when we went there.


Sounds like a bit of a sticky problem :slight_smile:


Nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a dip in the ocean…


Which of these was not a real, ocean going warship in the Royal Navy?

HMS Spanker
HMS Pansy
HMS Robin
HMS Convolvulus
HMS Candytuft


I think you win this one… Are you going to tell us?


The answer is great, but let’s not spoil yet…


I think to really appreciate some of those names, you have to imagine them being shouted as a rallying cry during some kind of C.S. Forrest style desperate battle. “Candytufts! To me!”


The limpet mine. The time delay fuse required a material which would dissolve in water at an even rate. The aniseed balls were protected by the condoms, which contained the entire fuse assembly.

(For more amazing trivia regarding daring eccentric British inventors, I can but only recommend reading “Churchill’s Ministry Ungentlemanly Warfare”, which contains tales of piracy on the high seas, the afore alluded to “sticky bomb”, and the origin of the character Miss Moneypenny of James Bond fame.)