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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged World War II:

Hiroo Onoda
Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese WWII soldier who continued fighting until 1974 because he did not realise his country had surrendered. After joining the Japanese army Onoda was taught methods of gathering intelligence and conduct[ing] guerrilla warfare, then, in 1944, he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. His orders were simple:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you …  Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

Onoda’s fellow soldiers outranked him and prevented him from carrying out his assignment, which made it easier for the allied forces to take the island when they landed in 1945. All but Onoda and three others died or surrendered so the survivors retreated into the jungle. Living in the mountains they carried out guerrilla activities, killing Filipino islanders, and engaging in shootouts with the police.
The first time they saw a leaflet which claimed that the war was over was in October 1945, which read: “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!” However, they concluded that it must be Allied propaganda. Later leaflets were dropped by air with a Japanese surrender order printed on them, and in 1952 letters and family pictures were dropped from aircraft urging them to surrender, but the group again determined that these were not genuine.
Eventually his companions surrendered or were killed, leaving Onoda alone. In 1974, he met Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world looking for “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order”. Onoda and Suzuki became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer.
Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang where he finally met with Onoda and fulfilled the promise made in 1944, “Whatever happens, we’ll come back for you.” Onoda was thus properly relieved from duty, and did not surrender.

Hiroo Onoda

Hiroo Onoda was a Japanese WWII soldier who continued fighting until 1974 because he did not realise his country had surrendered. After joining the Japanese army Onoda was taught methods of gathering intelligence and conduct[ing] guerrilla warfare, then, in 1944, he was sent to Lubang Island in the Philippines. His orders were simple:

You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you …  Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.

Onoda’s fellow soldiers outranked him and prevented him from carrying out his assignment, which made it easier for the allied forces to take the island when they landed in 1945. All but Onoda and three others died or surrendered so the survivors retreated into the jungle. Living in the mountains they carried out guerrilla activities, killing Filipino islanders, and engaging in shootouts with the police.

The first time they saw a leaflet which claimed that the war was over was in October 1945, which read: “The war ended on August 15. Come down from the mountains!” However, they concluded that it must be Allied propaganda. Later leaflets were dropped by air with a Japanese surrender order printed on them, and in 1952 letters and family pictures were dropped from aircraft urging them to surrender, but the group again determined that these were not genuine.

Eventually his companions surrendered or were killed, leaving Onoda alone. In 1974, he met Norio Suzuki, who was traveling the world looking for “Lieutenant Onoda, a panda, and the Abominable Snowman, in that order”. Onoda and Suzuki became friends, but Onoda still refused to surrender, saying that he was waiting for orders from a superior officer.

Suzuki returned to Japan with photographs of himself and Onoda as proof of their encounter, and the Japanese government located Onoda’s commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, who had since become a bookseller. He flew to Lubang where he finally met with Onoda and fulfilled the promise made in 1944, “Whatever happens, we’ll come back for you.” Onoda was thus properly relieved from duty, and did not surrender.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Spitfire is a much loved plane, even today. Built in the late 1930s, it has the look of a classic airplane, with an oblong, slightly rounded body, wings that look like a huge oval strapped to the plane, and a ‘blister’ of glass over the cockpit. World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink.
The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for. 
One of the troubles with the Spitfire was the fact that the pilot felt garish and exposed. Having to keep an eye on the sky above to check for enemy aircraft, fly with cloud cover, and frequently fly at dawn or at sunset, these Spitfires were real challenges to their pilots. However, as early spy planes they allowed the Allies to collect much-needed data, while flying close to the ground. And of course, in the evenings, when the sky was pink with the sunset, they were far more invisible than a white plane shining against a pastel cloud.

The Spitfire is a much loved plane, even today. Built in the late 1930s, it has the look of a classic airplane, with an oblong, slightly rounded body, wings that look like a huge oval strapped to the plane, and a ‘blister’ of glass over the cockpit. World War II marked a time of great innovation, which was sometimes practical and sometimes loony. Those two kinds of innovation came together when great military minds decided that to keep an airplane from being spotted, they needed to paint it pink.

The pink, slightly too washed-out to be an actual baby pink, still seems bright enough to signal every enemy within five miles. This is certainly true when the Spitfires were seen from above. They stand out brightly against the ground. To make sure they were rarely seen from above, these planes were painted to fly just under cloud cover. Although the planes were ideally meant to fly at sunset and sunrise, when the clouds took on a pinkish hue and made the plane completely invisible against them, they were also useful during the day. Clouds are pinker than we give them credit for. 

One of the troubles with the Spitfire was the fact that the pilot felt garish and exposed. Having to keep an eye on the sky above to check for enemy aircraft, fly with cloud cover, and frequently fly at dawn or at sunset, these Spitfires were real challenges to their pilots. However, as early spy planes they allowed the Allies to collect much-needed data, while flying close to the ground. And of course, in the evenings, when the sky was pink with the sunset, they were far more invisible than a white plane shining against a pastel cloud.

Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill (16 September 1906 – 8 March 1996), nicknamed “Fighting Jack Churchill” and “Mad Jack”, was a British soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbow, arrows and a Scottish broadsword. He is known for the quote “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly armed.”
In May 1940, Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a German patrol near L’Epinette, France. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down the enemy Feldwebel (sergeant) with his barbed arrows, becoming the only known British soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow in the course of the war.
He is seen on the far right in the image above, sword in hand, leading a training expedition. 

Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming “Jack” Churchill (16 September 1906 – 8 March 1996), nicknamed “Fighting Jack Churchill” and “Mad Jack”, was a British soldier who fought throughout World War II armed with a longbowarrows and a Scottish broadsword. He is known for the quote “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly armed.”

In May 1940, Churchill and his unit, the Manchester Regiment, ambushed a German patrol near L’EpinetteFrance. Churchill gave the signal to attack by cutting down the enemy Feldwebel (sergeant) with his barbed arrows, becoming the only known British soldier to have felled an enemy with a longbow in the course of the war.

He is seen on the far right in the image above, sword in hand, leading a training expedition. 

Operation Mincemeat was a successful British deception plan during World War II. As part of the widespread deception plan Operation Barclay to cover the intended invasion of Italy from North Africa, Mincemeat helped to convince the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943 instead of Sicily, the actual objective. This was accomplished by persuading the Germans that they had, by accident, intercepted "top secret" documents giving details of Allied war plans. The documents were attached to a corpse deliberately left to wash up on a beach in Punta Umbría in Spain.
I think this is one of my favourite things ever. Take a moment and read more.

Operation Mincemeat was a successful British deception plan during World War II. As part of the widespread deception plan Operation Barclay to cover the intended invasion of Italy from North AfricaMincemeat helped to convince the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943 instead of Sicily, the actual objective. This was accomplished by persuading the Germans that they had, by accident, intercepted "top secret" documents giving details of Allied war plans. The documents were attached to a corpse deliberately left to wash up on a beach in Punta Umbría in Spain.

I think this is one of my favourite things ever. Take a moment and read more.