World War II/Awesome

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World War II contained the most concentrated real life Badassery, not only demonstrated by the soldiers who fought the war, the commanders who led the soldiers and the politicians who inspired the resistance against fascism, but also from ordinary people caught in an extraordinary situation. It is the real reason why nobody is allowed to assassinate Hitler. The following list is a tribute to those who fought and died to ensure the liberty of generations to come. It was truly their finest hour.

Lest we forget.

And we never shall.

For some countries, World War II was not an event. It was a way of life for an entire generation. We might never see their like again. (And hopefully won't.)

The Allies - United We Stand

Some moments are so awesome that it's not just about one nation. It's about many countries coming together to achieve one noble goal. To quote a historian writing about "Why the Allies Won?": The embattled democracies of 1939 would lead a world crusade just six years later.

  • D-Day. General Eisenhower, on the 20th Anniversary of D-day, explained it best when he visited one of the many cemeteries in Normandy: "When I look at all of these graves, I think of the folks back in the States whose only son is buried here. Because of their sacrifice, they don't have the pleasure of grandchildren. Because of their sacrifice, my grandchildren are living in freedom."
  • A British Coastguardman, after seeing the largest invasion fleet in history, went home to his wife and could only say: "A lot of men are going to die tonight. We must pray for them."
  • For the British, D-Day was often seen as the culmination of their crowning national epic. After five years of "blood, sweat, and tears", the British were coming back to the continent to avenge the defeats of 1940. Even more fitting, Admiral Ramsey - who organized the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 - would be the one who would lead the entire naval invasion task force.
  • The Pointe du Hoc assault involved a bunch of Rangers climbing up a cliff, capturing a well defended (but empty) gun battery, blocking enemy reinforcements and finding and destroying the relocated guns. On the first day. They then held the gun emplacement for another day, preventing Omaha Beach from failing. The site still has bomb craters visible. A lot of them.
  • Sailors manning the landing craft were supposedly told: "Fight to get your men ashore. Fight to save your ships. And if you have any strength left, fight to save yourselves!"
    • It was also a moment of pride for Canada, as the only units to take all of their objectives for D-Day were Canadian (the 6th Canadian Armoured Regiment and the Queens Own Rifles of Canada). This despite 50% casualties for the first wave and a seawall twice as high as the one at Omaha Beach.
  • There's also the sergeant on Omaha Beach that got the GIs moving after they'd hunkered down behind any bit of cover they could and wouldn't move forward. He ran up and down the beach in plain view of the enemy screaming at them, a line quoted in Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
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"Two kinds of people are staying on this beach! The dead, and those who are going to die! NOW GET MOVING!"

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  • Operations Fortitude, Ironside, and Vendetta: the Allied misinformation campaign that tried to convince the Germans that the Allies were going to attack Calais, Norway, Aquitaine, or southern France instead of Normandy. It worked brilliantly. The Allies even convinced the Germans that the massive army in Normandy was merely a diversion, and that the real attack was about to hit Calais. Consequently, the Germans didn't even reinforce Normandy, giving the Allies time to consolidate their beachhead. It was the largest hoax in human history.
    • Mainly the OKW (German High Command) waited 6 weeks before releasing the Panzers from the Pas de Calais. The reason? British Intelligence had convinced them that the FUSAG (First US Army Group) were waiting in Kent to cross the narrowest point of the Channel, to the land in part of France closest to Germany. They succeeded this with inflatable tanks, radio operators broadcasting messages from fake units, and the fact it's headed by a real General - George Patton. The Germans reasonsed that if the allies were keeping their most aggressive general in England, they must be planning something big (Patton nagged Eisenhower repeatedly to be allowed to go). If such a huge, never to be repeated deception doesn't seem enough of a CMoG then consider the part played by...
      • 'Garbo', who is a German spy and regularly broadcasts the information to the Germans. Even tells them about "Overlord" before they knew. The catch - he was a double agent (The invasion warning was timed to be too late to be of any use, but enough to make him appear very credible). So good and awesome that after the war Garbo bumped into one of his old Nazi "handlers" who handed him an Iron Cross for his services.
  • Operation Pedestal, the resupplying of Malta in August 1942, is one of the Royal Navy's Crowning Moments of Awesome in the war, but also that of the merchant marines. Continually attacked by the Italian and German airforces and navies, the convoy had to get through an order to prevent Malta from being starved into capitulation. After suffering immense losses, especially an aircraft carrier and two cruisers, the convoy somehow made it. Most vital of all the ships was the SS Ohio, a fast tanker, who story is outlined in The Other Wiki.
  • Defeating the Axis in WW2.
  • Jose M. Lopez. It's commonly accepted wisdom that the "M" stands for "Motherfucking". Ask the Nazis. The scene was during the Battle of the Bulge, 1944, and during World War II. Lopez's sstory is similar to that of Alvin York, except Lopez suffering a few scratches. Only a few. Oh, and Lopez, also took on a Tank which was firing shells directly at him (Many striking close enough to bowl him over repeatedly...That's where his many scratches came from). Also, the endless Nazi soldier waves. Oh, and his final kill count that's estimated to be over a hundred men that he singlehandedly mowed down, and saving his entire company from being overun. He even did all this running back and forth to different sides of the battlefield with his 30+ pound machine gun every time they were going to be outflanked, then singlehandedly push the Nazi tide back. Jose Lopez never had any cover protecting him above the waist. Now you see why the "M" stands for "Motherfucking"?
  • Don't forget Pavlov's House. A tiny group of Russians, were sent to capture a small, rundown house. Only 4 which survived the battle. They fortified the position with barbed wire, mines, mounted machine guns, and a trench to the back lines, and patiently wait for the German counterattack. Russia had poor supplies, tactics, and communications; their whole battle plan was to rush the enemy and hope they won't loose too many men. They repeatedly lost to smaller countries and considered incompetent and backwards. Russia was the country that lost to Finland in World War I, never mind the fact that it was literally 1,000 times as large. Germany was a country which captured entire countries in mere weeks. Obviously, Germany would've capture this tiny rundown house easily. Enter Sargent Pavlov. Though the house never had more than twelve men defending it, it's the ONE place that Germany could never capture. The German soldiers were dying so often, that in-between battles Russian soldiers had to run out and knock over the dead bodies, otherwise the foe would use the many walls of corpses for cover. Pavlov found that enemy tanks can't aim very high, so he puts the anti-tank rifle on the roof, and personally took down 12 tanks himself. After two months of fighting, with German forces regularly attacking the house day and night, major reinforcements came and Pavlov's house was secured by the Russian army. Some reports that Germany lost more men attempting to take over this one dinky little house in their entire campaign in France. The German army had marked it as a fortress on all of the maps. And Pavlov? He received every medal imaginable.

United Kingdom - "Their Finest Hour"

Britain's moment would come standing alone against Nazi Germany in 1940, even as her cities were being devastated by aerial bombing.

  • The British Empire holding out for as long as it did. Had the mainland fallen, the Second World War would have been over before the Soviet Union or the United States became involved. After that, Germany would have hit the USSR with everything it had and most likely would have won. It would be highly unlikely that the USA would ever declare war on Germany. As such, without Britain and their Dominions standing strong, Europe would have been dominated by a Nazi empire.
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The Doctor: Amazing.
Nancy: What is?
The Doctor: 1941. Right now, not very far from here, the German war machine is rolling up the map of Europe. Country after country, falling like dominoes. Nothing can stop it, nothing. Until one tiny, damp little island says "No. No, not here." A mouse in front of a lion. You're amazing, the lot of you. I don't know what you do to Hitler, but you frighten the hell out of me.

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  • Honorable mention should be given to all the foreign pilots who fought alongside the RAF, though the Commonwealth Countries obviously had a heavy involvement, but there's Polish, French, Belgian, Dutch, Czech Republic, Irishmen, and even some American volunteers (Although the "Eagle Squadrons," whom you see in the movies occasionally did not really show up until a huge chunk of the campaign was over).
  • John O'Farrel on the Blitz and the Battle of Britain said it best:
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"The Second World War has acquired a unique and hallowed place in British history, not purely because the war itself turned out to be so just, but also because of the extraordinary heroism of the servicemen and civilians caught up in it. It is not possible to record all the acts of courage and self-sacrifice that the ordinary people made for the common good: women fire-fighters who stood their ground while buildings were crumbling all around them; pensioners ready to die firing a shotgun at the enemy 'as long as I take one with me.' The ordinary British people showed themselves to be resourceful, unselfish and modest, yet incredibly heroic in a way that is hard to imagine looking at that snarling driver who made obscene gestures to you as he cut you up at the traffic lights. Never again would there be such a sense of unity and purpose in Great Britain. Back in 1940 Winston Churchill had said that future generations would look back and say 'This was their finest hour.' And he was quite right."

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    • That passage never, ever fails to make me cry. Rule, Britannia.
  • Speaking of Churchill: "We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; We shall never surrender."
  • Operation Dynamo, also known as the "Miracle at Dunkirk." Three hundred thousand soldiers were successfully evacuated to Britain from France, not just in Royal Navy ships. But with lifeboats, private pleasure boats and fishing ships, which were often piloted by their owners instead of military personnel. There's a reason we call it "the Dunkirk spirit."
  • Operation Chariot. The Royal Commandos rammed a dock gate with a destroyer, whilst under heavy German fire. They succeeded, rendering the docks useless, until five years later after the raid.
    • Not to mention carrying a massive force of commandos to wreak havoc against German-held targets. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded for actions taken part in this operation. No wonder Winston Churchill called it, "The greatest raid of all!"
    • One of them has the distinct honor of being the only VC awarded on recommendation of the foe! This also caused Hitler to give out infamous commands to execute any commandos captured on sight, since they cause that much damage.
      • That would be Thomas Durrant. Not only was the VC awarded by recommendation of the enemy. Commander Gerard Roope was also awarded the VC, , because of his actions of destroyer HMS Glowworm against the German battlecruiser Admiral Hipper during 1940. Seriously, Glowworm's final action is a CMOA on its own.
    • There was only one VC awarded solely on the enemy's recommendation (Both Durrant and Roope were supported by their own men's testimonies). This was Lloyd Trigg, a New Zealander of the RNZAF, who attacked a U-Boat in his Liberator patrol aircraft. His plane was hit, because of the U-Boat's intense anti-aircraft fire. Since the tail was on fire, he could've break off his attack, ditch, and hope for a rescue. Or did was he actually did: turn into the murderously accurate AA fire and bomb the sub. Trigg sank the submarine while his plane was shot under him, crashing into the sea, and killing everyone aboard. The seven survivors of the submarine were eventually rescued by a Royal Navy vessel, and the sub's captain recommended the VC gallantry award for Flying Officer Trigg. The lesson is this: any VC award is usually the result of an outstandingly Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • The Glowworm's final action IS recorded as a CMOA (Entry below).
  • The Battle Of The River Plate. The Germans were fooled by the British into thinking that they have a massive fleet waiting for the Admiral Graf Spee, a pocket battleship, which was trapped in a neutral port, actually the AGS had were three cruisers. The German Captain scuttled his ship instead.
  • The biplanes attack that was launched from a carrier that badly damaged the Italian Naval fleet in Taranto Harbor (This cause them half their battleship strength). Later, the Japanese used the same tactics to attack the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.
  • The same planes, the outdated Fairey Swordfish, which later crippled the Bismarck's steering, preventing it from escaping the pursuing British battleship.
  • HMS Jervis Bay, was a merchant cruiser that was armed, it was escorting a convoy in the North Atlantic. Suddenly, being attacked by the Admiral Scheer, a German pocket battleship. The Jervis Bay steamed right at the enemy, pitting her six-inch guns against the Scheer's 11 inch guns, while the convoy escaped. The Jervis Bay was sunk, but she saved all of the merchant ships (except five).
  • Operation "Double Cross" - The act of using triple agents to send false information back to the Nazis, which also included getting them, by stating they'd landed in London north-west when they hit the city center, to alter the V-2's settings so they'd fall short.
    • The fact that Operation Double Cross was so successful, it can be said without exaggeration that the British basically ran Germany's Secret Service in the UK.
  • The glider attack just after midnight on D-Day at Bénouville drawbridge, by the men of the 2nd Battalion, Oxfordshire, and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, led by Major John Howard. The gliders pinpointed a landing forty yards from the objective and the bridge was taken, with only a loss of two men. The bridge is now called "Pegasus Bridge," a reference to the Pegasus emblem of the shoulder patches British Airborne soldiers.
  • Operation Mincemeat. Planting false information in a very convincing way.
  • The Volunteer Defence Corps, later the Home Guard (Immortalized by Dads Army): Men who were too young, had jobs too important to the war effort, or were too old to serve in the army for reals, taking up arms, uniforms, and planning to act as a backup line of defense in case of an invasion. Considering that in the early names, they have barely any ammunition, even uniforms, and would have been massacred if the Nazi had invaded.
  • Alan Turing and the Bletchley Park crew, cracking German codes and ciphers (Helped immensely by Polish expats). How crucial were they? They broke the German Enigma code, every single one. Allowing the Naval convoys to be aware of every German naval attack it was going to run into and scattered accordingly.
    • Not only was Churchill reading Hitler's mail before Hitler does, the code-breakers found ways to get the German's to tell them that day's "key" - Enigma works by having a to start with a three letter combo, which sets the initial positions. Bletchley Park would get the RAF to drop a mine in part of France's Coastal waters. It would relayed dutifully by the Germans' chain of command for distribution to warn the ships. Since these warnings are always similarly formatted, with the same wards, Station X knew what it said, to what letter, before they decoded it. All that Bletchley Park then had to do was reverse engineer the code to get that day's setting, and German traffic from the rest of the day would be an open book.
    • Another Crowning Moment would be the "Battle of the Beams," with Air Ministry's "scientific intelligence" comping up with ingenious ways to block Luftwaffe's radio navigation. They managed to defeat three German radio systems.
  • Brigadier Charrington and the 1st Armored Brigade were the last at the Grecian evacuation and not all of them can be evacuated. When the beachmaster informed Charrington quietly that they could be put on the first boat, Charrington responded "Who do you take me for?" and stated he'd will be going last.
  • HMS Ledbury, under Roger Hill, at Malta: when Hill saw the doomed ship's crew being surrounded by burning petrol, he ordered the Ledbury in. Its sailors pulled the injured to safety, personally by climbing down the ropes and scramble nets, risking their own fiery deaths if this goes wrong.
  • The Royal Family staying in London "for the duration," putting themselves at the risk of being blown to smithereens every night which almost happened when Buckingham Palace was bombed, as a gesture of defiance and winning the loyalty of the British people in the process. (Princess Elizabeth would serve in the Women's Auxiliaries in the last months of World War II as an auto mechanic. In late 1944, she turned eighteen). When asked way Elizabeth and Margaret were not evacuated to the safety of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) answered:
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Queen Elizabeth: The children will not go without me. I will not go without the King. And the King will never leave his country.

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Queen Elizabeth: Finally. Now I can look the East End in the face.

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    • It's her grace and determination which caused Adolf Hitler to call her "The most dangerous woman in Europe."
    • The Royal Family even followed rationing. Even Eleanor Roosevelt complained of being subject to rationing and no hot water when she visited London during that time.
    • Even Princess Elizabeth had to collect rationing coupons for her wedding dress for her marriage to Philip Mountbatten (the present-day Duke of Edinburgh) in 1947.
  • The Battle of Normandy's key part was the British and Canadian forces drawing the foe against them in the east, that way the US forces in the West could build up for the breakout. This meant engaging the Germans in the close-in forests, hedgerows, and bocage country, when the Nazi had made sure to leave a lot of traps, guns, and tanks ready. It's two months of this!
  • Operation Compass. Richard O'Connor, a British commander, found out that Italy's positioning in North Africa is a grievous flaw. He launched an attack on them with 36,000 men and 275 tanks against 150,000 Italians with 600 tanks. The British took under 2,000 casualties, and yet captured/killed 115,000 Italians and 400 tanks. Anthony Eden remarked, "Never has so much been surrendered by so many to so few."
  • The Hurricat and Camships - Hurricane planes which are launched by catapulting from ships, just to compensate for lack of aircraft carriers. One plane, hurled into the air by itself, with no way of landing, over the North Atlantic which is freezing, against the much larger German forces. Out of the 175 sorties, only one pilot died because of parachute failure. The Hurricane appearing seemingly out of nowhere would scare the Luftwaffe off sometimes. Garth Ennis, a war comic writer, said that when he first head of this, he could not believe they were real.
  • Admiral Cunningham's comment on the Royal Navy's role in the evacuation of Create. When the British Army was forced to retreat, the Army expressed concerns that he would loose too many ships. Nevertheless, the Admiral was determined that 'the Navy should not let the Army down.' "It takes three years to build a ship," he said, "but it takes three centuries to build a tradition."
  • The air defence of Malta by the Royal Air Force. Historians are arguing over whether the whole business was down to three Gloster Gladiator biplanes, named "Faith," "Hope," and "Charity." Whatever the case, those three fighters made a name for themselves that today the three-aircraft unit which defends the Falkland Islands was given those names (The fourth, reserve aircraft is ominously named "Desperation").
    • The reinforcements themselves were CMoA - The Spitfire and Hurricane land-based fighters were fitted with oversized drop tanks and were flown half the length of the Mediterranean, flown off aircraft carriers, since the Med was too perilous to get a cargo ship through.
  • At the D-Day (June 6, 1944) landings, Bill Millin played his bagpipes. He landed on Sword Beach, wearing a ceremonial dagger and carrying his pipes, he had no other weapons on him. While his brigade stormed the beach, he played, as they crossed the bridges encountering sniper fire; the German snipers thought that Bill was a madman and they later said so, and they held their fire. This is why you don't fuck with the Scottish. Bill passed away in 2011. Here's his obituary at The Economist, which further details why this man deserves to be on this list.
  • Everything about Jack Churchill: Jack Churchill.
  • Though Bernard Montogmery was not Britain's greatest WWII general. The accolade goes to William Slim, a tough fighter who rose to the rank of Field-Marshal and ultimately commanding the whole Allied armies in India and Burma. Slim's achievement is eclipsed by the fact that Montgomery was a better self-publicist and politician, and the war was fought nearest Home. However Slim's three achievements as a General are the long retreat out of Burma and into India - which is over-a-thousand-miles-long fighting retreat. This was a difficult move for any General, but they carried out through jungles and monsoon. Then Slim forms the Army's nucleus, that they were not just beat, but to utterly destroy, the Japanese: Not with British soldiers, but also with large Indian, African components, and the small yet potent American force that was under his command. William Slim retains and rebuild the British Empire forces, gave them fighting spirits, and belief in themselves. This was needed at the Imphal/Kohima during 1944, where his army faced, fought, and defeated the Japanese invasion of India. He follows this up with blitzkrieg reconquest of Burma, that destroyed the last of the two Japanese Army corps. All of this was done on the "forgotten front," Britain's war effort against the Japan, this starve them of resources and manpower. Since everything was needed for the German war. An example, knowing that D-Day was imminent in June 1944, William had to defeat the Japanese Army, whose army outnumbered his, and defend India. Plus, he's aware that he can't expect much reinforcements and replenishment from Home. And he still won. Slim was preparing for the reconquest of Malaya, Singapore, and French Indochina when the war ended. The Veterans of the 14th Army remembers him to this day with love and affection.
    • This can't be overstated. William Slim was the one who termed them "The Forgotten Army," and he was one of the few Generals in the British Army's long history, who not only believes in The Men First, but DEMANDS it from his officers, as seen by the page quote.
  • In one of Hitler's speeches, he said that German soldiers would be there to defeat any British forces, who lands in mainland Europe. After when the British manage to do so without being defeated, one British soldier sends Hitler a telegram asking where those soldiers who were supposed to defeat them were.

United States - "The Greatest Generation"

The US military started the war with green, untested troops, and in just 4 years, it was the most powerful nation on Earth.

  • The US War Production's jaw-dropping enormous capacity and efficiency and its' extent can be summed up in one line: The Ford Motor Company alone would produce more military equipment than Italy.
    • One of the reasons why Japan struck first was that they believe that Americans could not sustain a prolonged wartime efforts. How does one say Nice Job Breaking It, Hero in Japanese?
    • ニースの仕事はそれを壊す, 主人公!
    • On the contrary, they, the Japanese, knew that they could not stand up to the United States in a prolonged conflict very well. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (one of the masterminds behind the Pearl Harbor attack) was in the US and studied several years there, and knew full well that Japan could not match America's production capacity. The attack on Pearl Harbor came since there was a US and UK blockade against Japan that was creating a critical oil shortage (which was the intended effect) and Japan had to break the blockade somehow. So the design behind the Pearl Harbor attack was to cripple the US naval forces in the Pacific in a swift strike and then push onwards into the mainland US, without any resistance, the United States would be forced to retreat from the Pacific theater entirely. This almost succeeded: the US carriers were forced out into sea and weren't at anchor in Pearl Harbor as the Japanese assumed; that left the United States with a means of fighting back. The Japanese also failed to destroy the American submarine base at Pearl Harbor (it was completely undamaged), which allowed the US forces to successfully commence a raiding campaign similar to Germany's wolf packs in the Atlantic theater against Japan, which hampered Japan's production capacity.
    • Yamamoto, a Japanese commander, was the only one who thought that their asses got served. However, the Japanese High Command, were so high on themselves that they thought that the US would cave under the might of Imperial Japan eventually. Yamamoto uttered his famous quote about Pearl Harbor that the poor guy was demoted from his High Admiral of the Navy and stuck as only a subordinate to an incompetent fool, who contributed heavily to the numerous Allied victories in the Pacifice following Wake Island and Midway. Eventually, Yamaoto got his position back, but that's long after the Japanese Navy had been reduced to a mere third of its original strength, thanks to the Allies.
    • Henry Ford had one last great project, aka "Willow Run." After pioneering the automobiles' mass-production, he offered to the US government that he would build a factory that could produce one four-engined heavy bomber every hour. Most people thought that this was impossible and they were correct. "Willow Run" didn't average a bomber every hour; it actually averaged one bomber every SIXTY-THREE minutes.
    • "The United States built more merchant shipping in the first four and a half months of 1943 than Japan put in the water in seven years."
      • This partially due to the U.S.'s deploying the "Liberty Ships." Though most vessels are built to last the decade or more, the Liberty Ships were build to last approximately six months. So, no reason to build a ship that gonna last long if a single torpedo would sink it anyway. This allows these ships to be cheaply massed produced and in greater quantity.
  • The Battle of Wake Island gets an extra special mention, this is America's first victory of the entire war. Their story goes like this: During three straight days of Japanese bombing, both the Marines and civilian contractors on the island somehow managed to trick the bombers into bombing fake positions. The Japanese believed that they completely knocked out all of the defenses on Wake Island, so the over confident fleet, the same one which took out Guam the day before, went to Wake Island with no air support whatsoever. The Marine commander orders his men to hold until the Japanese ships were within 4,800 yards, which is 5" artillery range, since those are the biggest guns that the Marines had. Once the orders came, the Marines let loose with all the artillery on the Japanese ships, even sinking one less than 15 seconds. The fleet then retreated out of range, just to be attacked by the remaining four American airplanes. These planes were armed with 100 lbs bombs, which one of the pilots were told that its impossible to sink a ship with, his response was along the lines of "then they just aren't trying hard enough," next proceeding to sink a Japanese destroyer with one after receiving a direct hit on its supply of depth charges, causing the ship to explode and forcing the Japanese to retreat more further.
    • The Japanese eventually captured Wake Island upon their return with a huge fleet and air support, after their first troop wave were they completely decimated by the already stationed Marines. The Marine commander, through a mixture of down communication lines and a confirmation that Pearl Harbor won't be coming to aid them, decided to surrender to the Japanese forces. The latter intended to kill off every single American on the island, but orders from their own commanded them not to do so, because the Wake Island battle was already being fixated on by the international world media's attention, and it would be considered as an undeniable war atrocity if a few hundred American Marines and civilians were to disappear.
  • The Chinese Air Volunteer Group, aka the Flying Tigers. In every engagement, they were outnumbered, flying from bomb cratered dirt runways and living under the most intolerable and harshest conditions, even using the obsolescent Curtiss P-408 against a much more technologically advance Japanese aircraft, flying against skillful and experienced Japanese pilots, the AVG won victories and inflicted losses out of all proportion to their numbers on the Japanese. Most of the credit must go to its innovative commander, Claire Chennault, who developed the "boom and zoom" tactics of high-speed slashing attacks which allows the pilots to take advantage of the P-40B's strengths, its acceleration, and top speeds against Japanese fighter aircraft that are far better but can't accelerate or climb as well.
    • Kinda true. Though outnumbered, the AVG mostly fought against obsolete Japanese aircraft. Their success was mostly to Chennault's brilliantly conceived network of warning stations that gave them the time to achieve the altitude and position required to implement their boom and zoom tactics.
  • The Hawaiian US Pacific Fleet Radio Intelligence guys deserved the CMOA when they discovered plans for the Japanese invasion of Midway, allowing Admiral Nimitz to plan a devastating ambush. Nimitz remarked that the radio intelligence officer's prediction of the Japanese Fleet's location was "Only 5 minutes, 5 degrees, and 5 miles off," which is a bullseye given the circumstances.
    • During the battle, the USS Yorktown entered with a repair crew from the docks at Pearl Harbor still on board and making repairs from the Battle of the Coral Sea. After received several bombs from the Japanese airstrike, the damage control parties did a very good job, next a second wave arrived with torpedoes, they thought they were attacking a whole new carrier. The ship survived after taking a pair of torpedoes as well. Yorktown eventually went down after a submarine attacke while limping home with battle damage from less than 3 Japanese airstrikes, all of which failed to sink her.
    • Another great trivia piece. After the Battle of the Coral Sea, Yorktown was taken for repairs to Hawaii, before we knew about Midway. Everyone estimated that it would take months before the Yorktown was battle worthy again. How long it took? 72 HOURS!!!
  • The war's entire course during the Pacific turned on the attack of the Torpedo Squadron Eight at the Battle of Midway. Flying obsolete and slow torpedo planes, the squadron pressed their attack through the mighty teeth of the entire Japanese fighter screen from all four carriers, and they were wiped out except for the last man. Pressing their suicidal attack drew the fighters down to a low altitude, thus allowing the dive bombers from two carriers an attack that leaves them unopposed completely on the Japanese carriers for a moment that they were rearming their planes. Three out of the four carriers were sunk in the ensuining attack (the fourth was sunk later on that day), and the Japanese Navy never recovered.
    • However, Torpedo Squadron 8 was not alone with their sacrifice. Both of their ships, the Enterprise and the Yorktown, were virtually annihilated while attacking the Japanese carriers, thus giving the dive-bombers to win the day. Many bomber units from Midway were wiped out as well to keep the Japanese off-balance earlier. Their bravery was such that one of the Japanese carrier commanders paid them the ultimate compliment that a member of the IJN could ever bestow upon a foe: "These men are samurai."
    • A troper's grandfather was one of the crewmen aboard the Enterprise, one of her men refueled the bombers when they returned to the ship. Her grandfather usually described the battle from the crew's POV: "Everyone aboard saw how many planes took off, and how few came back. Everyone aboard wished they could have flown with them. We weren't sure what the Grim Reaper used anymore a battery of 40mm cannons, or a Devastator [torpedo bomber]." (To clarify, her grandfather was referring to the fact that almost every man who went into a Devastator died).
  • In October 25, 1944, the US Navy's own Crowner of bravery was the Battle of Samar. A badly outnumbered, small group of light American warships found themselves facing one of the main Japanese fleet, which included the world's largest battleship the Yamato. Despite the insane odds, the Americans fought so fiercely that the Japanese retrieved so much damage that the Japanese had to retreat. In fact, the official history of the United States Navy would describe the engagement with the following words:
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In no engagement of its entire history has the United States Navy shown more gallantry, guts, and gumnption than in those two morning hours between 0730 and 0930 off Samar.

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    • For dramatic effect, what should be noted that this battle occurred on the same day as the famous Charge of the Light Brigade immortalized by Lord Alfred Tennyson. A troper still gets chills when remembering the lines from that most epic of poems and relating it to the vicious yet desperate battle off Samar: "Storm'd at through shot and shell, while horse and hero fell, they that had fought so well..."
    • One ship - USS. Samuel B. Roberts, a destroyer escort - challenged a Japanese cruiser five times its size and won, before being sunk herself. Her gun crews fought so fiercely that one of her guns blew up from overheating literally. The gun's crew chief - Chief Paul Carr - was found mortally wounded by the repair party later. He was torn open from the neck to the crotch with his internal organs exposed. Yet Paul was still begging for someone to load the gun and fire.
      • The Robert's Captain, after his commander ordered to attack, he delivered this line: "We will enter a fight against overwhelming odds from which survival could not be expected. We will do what damage we can."
      • Not only that, Carr and his crew had fired 324 rounds in 35 minutes. Most of the time, they were without power and had to load manually. For example, a full magazine for a 5 inch gun mount is 325 rounds.
      • The Ronbert's smaller size helped the ship to survive longer: she got so close to the Chikuma, a Japanese cruiser, that the foe can't depress their guns low enough to hit her. The Chikuma's shells flew over the small American ship, while the latter mauled the cruiser to bits. The destroyer escort fought like a battleship!
  • Another ship, the USS Johnston, a destroyer, delivered a performance that probably would never be equaled in the annals of naval history. Her skipper, Lt. Commander Ernest E. Evans, received the Medal of Honor posthumously, for the shp's whole performance during the battle that can only be considered as one huge CMOA.
    • During the battle's first few minutes, the Johnston launched a solo torpedo attack against all of the Japanese fleet, this knocked out the Japanese cruiser, Kumano, in the process. Another cruiser withdraw to help the crippled Kumano. This attack galvanized the American Admiral apparently to send the rest of the destroyers into the fray and all of them performed with unmatched dedication.
    • More incredibly, albeit the Johnston was severely damaged during the torpedo attack, Commander Evans kept his ship in the fight. While the other destroyers were charging forward to launch their torpedoes, the Johnston - While battered. - Followed closely to provide fire supports for her healthier sisters.
    • The bridge was supposedly was up in flames, plus, the electrical power was gone. The captain - Who was badly wounded - continues shouting orders down into the engine room.
    • Eventually, Johnson was damaged so badly that it was down to one working engine, a Japanese cruiser began pounding on the hapless American Escort Carriers - Beginning with the Gambier Bay, a carrier. When seeing this, Commander Evans gave the following order: "Commence firing on that cruiser, draw her fire on us and away from the Gambier Bay." This order alone would've been enough for someone to earn the Medal of Honor, but he, Commander Evans, went farther: He not fought off the cruiser, he fought off a whole squadron of foe destroyers!
    • This doesn't detract from the Johnston's crew's bravery and sheer badassery. But it has been speculated that the IJN destroyers retreated since they had finished their torpedo's runs, not because of the Johnston's firing.
    • It's more likely that the destroyer's torpedoes were launched at maximum range due to the Johnston's firing, but therefore missed.
    • The Japanese were awestruck by the Johnston's crew's sheer courage that was displayed, treating their fallen foe with unprecedented gallantry. Instead of machine-gunning the survivors, the Japanese crewmen tossed cans of food to the Americans. Also, according to legend, one Japanese Captain got so moved that he stepped outside of his bridge and saluted while the Johnston went down.
      • The Gambier Bay, sadly, didn't survive, since she was attacked by several other Japanese cruisers. The sinking carrier produced a CMoAs of her own. Rather than surrending to despair, the crew fired back tat the attacking enemy cruisers with the ship's lone 5 inch cannon to the very end. During one point, the enemy closing in, the anti-aircraft gunners were then ordered to man their stations, being told "Don't worry boys! We're sucking the Japanese into 40mm rage!"
      • The escort carriers' fire proved to be more than just for show though. Approximately, one escort carrier was saved when the 5-inch gun destroyed a torpedo that was going to hit their ship. Another escort carrier (most likely the Kalinin Bay) actually scored a direct hit on a Japanese cruiser with her microscophic 5-inch gun. This hit caused a catastrophic explosion in a torpedo mount that left the cruiser lame and helpless, which allowed the torpedo bombers to finish it off. In a nutshell, one of the escort carriers - described by their creews as "Combustible, Vulnerable, and Expendable," faced a fully armed Japanese cruiser, survived, but won.
      • The maniacal courage displayed by the Americans in this battle, can be summed up at best by the words of a young signal officer on the American flagship. Although the Americans had lost four ships, over a thousand sailors, and are barely clinging onto life, after realizing that the Japanese were retreating, the young American officer shoutted: "Goddammit, they're getting away!"
      • Bob Campbell, an American air ace, who fought in that battle (and survived) recorded in his diary: "The CVEs [escort carriers] launched, landed and re-launched all of their planes while under fire. [...] In the heat of the battle TMBs [torpedo bombers] had to make dummy attacks when they expended their torpedoes to hold off the enemy until others came back with a load [of torpedoes]. Fighters did the same thing. It must have taken a lot of guts to make a run on a battleship with no ammo." (Emphasis mine)
    • Additionally, most of the ordnance on the CVEs and their aircraft were high explosive bombs for ground attack, which are largely ineffective against armored ships.
    • In fact, the first American pilot, who spotted the Japanese - who had a hard time convincing the rest of the fleet they were in danger (I'm sure those battleships are Japanese. They have pagoda masts!" - Quickly proceeded to attack on his own using depth charges, which were comply useless against anything, except a submarine.
    • In spite of their armaments, which are lopsided, the American airmen's actions off the Samar thoroughly impressed their Japanese opponents. One Japanese officer, who had survived many other airstrikes (Including ones which consists of over thousands of planes, each equipped with proper torpedoes and armor-piercing bombs) said that he believed Samar was the finest work of the American pilots bar none.
      • A troper's grandfather was onboard the USS Hoel, one of the 3 US destroyers in the battle. That anyone on that ship who managed to survive having his ship shot out from under him from the likes of the Yamato is a CMOA all on its own.
        • Even the Japanese would give the ultimate tribute to the USS Hoel. After when the Hoel was sunk, the Japanese commander was triumphantly told that they had sunk an American cruiser. They can't believe that such a small ship - It's smaller than a destroyer - could have done so much damage.
        • This troper would like to dedicate the above comment to his grandfather, a survivor off the Hoel, who'd died on July 26, 2008. You'll always be a badass to me for making it through that fight, granddad.
        • Manly Tears, dammit! sniff.
        • This other troper, whose home country was liberated partly due to the actions of the American fleet off Samar, expresses the hope that soldiers, sailors, and airmen now in Heaven are still talking about what happened on October 25, 1944. So, that whenever a survivor of this battle finally has to meet St. Peter, they can simply say "I was there."
  • The next best US destroyer action of WW2 was the Battle of Vella Gulf, were 6 US destroyers, which up till then had been resoundingly ineffective in the Naval Battles of Guadalcanal, successfully ambushed 4 Japanese destroyers, hitting all four in what's quote probably a perfectly executed torpedo attack by surface ships in the entire war by using the nearby island to hide themselves from the Japanese radar and its' sight. The latter didn't even know they were under attack, until their ships began to explode and only the Shigure's bizarre luck kept it from being a perfect clean sweep when the torpedo that hit its rudder failed to explode.
  • Very nearly as impressive is the action during the night of November 14, 1942, by the battleship USS Washington off Savo Island. Yes, they had radar and the Japanese did not, but the USS South Dakota was simultaneously surrounded by multiple large Japanese ships with very powerful searchlights and got chewed up rather badly. And the Washington was engaging the Japanese at very close range, even for this time. I've read rather different accounts of this battle in various places, differing significantly on the details, but what does not differ is that they were out of position, unsupported, surrounded, standing alone against a Japanese force that included at least one battleship and possibly others, and they sank one Japanese battleship and multiple smaller vessels in a matter of minutes.
    • The battle was fought principally betwixt two American battleships - South Dakota and Washington, against a lone Japanese battleship, the Kirishima. Mainly, the South Dakota suffered from electrical problems and was not able to fire a shot while the Japanese were pounding her. Meanwhile, the Washington snuck up on the Kirishima and wrecked her with accurate gunfire. It would be the second to the last time battleships would ever face another in a surface fight, and cemented the reputation of Admiral "Ching" Lee (Commander of the Washington) as the greatest battleship commander in the US Navy.
    • What's more dramatic than the fight between the Washington/South Dakota and Kirishima was the battle of Guadalcanal several nights earlier. A scratch American force lead by two cruisers ended up fighting a Japanese task force lead by two battleships. In what's often described as the most chaotic naval battle of the war, both sides only began firing at point-blank range, which cause devastating casualties on both sides. Scott and Callaghan - Two American Admirals - were killed during the fight, while the Japanese commander himself was wounded. While the Americans sustained far more casualties, they stopped the Japanese from bombarding Henderson Airfield, which was providing vital air support for the Marines fighting for their lives on Guadalcanal. The commander of the Marines, who was later asked how victory in Guadalcanal became possible, thanked his soldiers, God, but most of all "The brave sailors such as Admiral Scott and Callaghan, who gave their lives to prevent another bombardment of Henderson Field."
    • The final defense of Henderson Field, on Guadalcanal, during the night of October 26, 1942, also counts. Two under strength battalions of mixed US Marine and US Army National Guard troops held the final defensive lines against Japanese Sendai Division, who are an elite Imperial Marine unit fresh from occupation duty in China. Despite the massive day-long Japanese artillery bombardment, despite the fact that the Japanese made a night attack during a torrential thunderstorm that cut visibility to a few feet in places, despite the defenders being outnumbered by more than ten to one, the line held. Anti-tank guns loaded with anti-personnel canister shot and watercooled heavy machine guns played upon the Japanese advance, like fire hoses, but the Japanese reached the American trenches at multiple points, and men fought in the mist and mud with grenades and trench knives. By dawn the Sendai Division was shattered beyond all hope of repair and reeling back. The Sendai Division was so badly mauled in the space of a few hours that it was withdrawn from the line, its colors cased, and its survivors used as reinforcements for other units. At this point the Japanese lost the initiative and from then on it was the Japanese, who were on the defensive on Guadalcanal.
  • The very last battle between true battleships also deserves mention. This was the Battle of Surigao Strait, where the Japanese battleships Fuso and Yamashiro met their ends at the hands of American battleships. There were not just any U.S. battleships, however. These were battleships that had been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor, getting one final measure of revenge.
    • Also, ironically enough, a CMOA for the battleship, Yamashiro, which somehow managed to survive an avalanche of U.S. shells thick enough to appear on radar after she'd already taken two or three torpedo hits. Only after being struck by two more torpedoes did she finally sink.
  • The liberation of the Cabanatuan Prison Camp in January 1945; a story which is told faithfully in the film, The Great Raid.
  • Almost everything by the 442nd Infantry Regiment's accomplishments, comprised primarily of Japanese-Americans. Beginning with the fact that most of them enlisted in the Army right out of relocation camps. The most decorated unit for its size in US military history. 21 Medal of Honor winners. 9,486 Purple Hearts with about 3,000 personnel.
    • Seconded, because really, that deserves double crowning.
    • For those that have no idea what a Purple Heart is, it's a medal awarded when wounded in battle. Which means, effectively, these guys took three bullets a piece and kept...On...Fighting.
      • The official US Army report says that the unit had 93% casualty rate.
    • The 442nd was ordered to report for a recognition ceremony, showed up vastly understrength, and with one company down to 8 men out of 185. One General was outraged that has so few men were there. Virl R. Miller, the 442nd's commanding officer, replied "General, this is the whole regiment. The rest are dead or in the hospital." Miller later refused to shake hands with a General that had ordered his unit to attack strategically pointless targets.
    • It should be also be noted that the troops of the 442nd left the complaints about being used as cannon fodder to their officers, and never complained - This despite the horrific casualty rate, and the fact most of them had family locked up in internment camps even as they were loyally serving their country.
  • In the vein of the above post, all the African-American soldiers, pilots, and sailors that fought, despite being second-class citizens and facing a shamefully huge amount of racism from their comrades.
    • Of the particular note is Doris Miller, Cook 3rd Class of the US Navy. During the Pearl Harbor attack, he carried wounded sailors off the bridge (Including trying to carry the Captain to safety when he was wounded). Then, when the gunner, who he was supposed to be supplying ammo for, died. He took over and ended up shooting down 10 or 20 Japanese planes. Despite being a mere cook and having no training. He was awarded the Navy Cross for his bravery, becoming the first African-American to receive this honor.
  • How was John F. Kennedy gone unmentioned? Not allowed to join the army because of chronic back problems, he managed to convince his father to pull some strings to get him in the Navy. He threw out his back again whilst serving as the skipper of the torpedo boat, PT-109, when his boat was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and cut in half. He swam for over four hours towing a wounded shipmate to safety with his teeth, despite the pain.
    • JFK is particularly admirable when you think about how, unlike quote a few well-known modern politicians that you can probably name, he used family connections to ENTER, rather than dodge, not only military service but actual combat.
  • Surprisingly, General Douglas Mac Arthur has not been mentioned, if only for two of the best one-liners in history. His words as he evacuated from the Philippines as the Japanese advance? "I shall return." His words as he landed in the Philippines along with the invading US Army? "I have returned."
  • USS Nevada. One of the oldest battleships at Pearl Harbor and generally considered obsolete, was the only large warship to actually get moving during the attack, all while being commanded by a Naval Rserve lieutenant, and was only prevented from actually making it out of the harbor when ordered to stop, just to ensure that the channel was not blocked.
    • The Nevada didn't just move during the attack, she started moving from a cold start, which is damn impressive for a ship that big. She was hit by a torpedo and five bombs, too. Once the damage became critical she wasn't just stopped, she was beached - And before she hit the bottom, the Nevada too down three enemy fighters. She was also the only ship present at Pearl Harbor that fought at Normandy, providing fire support for the landings at Utah Beach. Nevada also fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa (where she was hit by a kamikaze pilot). Now that's a ship.
    • The Nevada's final career was also a sorta CMOA. She was used as a test target for not one, but two atomic bombs. She survived. Perhaps fittingly, the test target beside the Nevada was the battleship Nagato - which was Yamamoto's flagship at Pearl Harbor. The Nagato also survived the two atomic blasts, but sank the night after the second nuclear blast. Nobody - Except for the Nevada's battered hull - Was present to watch the Nagato sink.
    • It must be added, the Navy then decided to use the Nevada for target practice, after having the Iowa and TWO other ships shooting at it, she still did not sink.
  • The Battered Bastards of Bastogne. 'Nuff said.
    • But we'll say more anyway.
    • HELL YEAH. AIRBORNE ALL THE WAY.
    • Made completely of volunteers, who undergone a rigorous training course with a high failure rate.
    • After the battle, the news portrayed the 101st Airborne as being rescured by Patton's tanks. No member of the 101st has ever agreed that they needed rescuing. In fact, they'll get quite annoyed if it's suggested.
  • At the Battle of the Bulge, many other units displayed great courage, but they never received the same recognition as the 101st Airborne. One historian, after conducting an exhaustive search, found this snippet about an American engineer platoon, whose identity would be forever lost to history:
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A platoon of engineers appears in one terse sentence of a German commander's report. They have fought bravely, says the foe, and forced him to waste a couple of hours in deployment and maneuver. In this brief emergence from the fog of war the engineer platoon makes its bid for recognition in history. That is all.

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  • For a non-combat related example; Ralph Lawrence Carr, 29th Governor of Colorado, and the only elected official to publicly apologize for the treatment of Japanese-Americans during the war. Even albeit it cost him his political career.
  • The Trinity test of the first A-Bomb was undoubtedly a Crowning Moment of Awesome - It made the biggest explosion that the world had ever known. Causing many scientists' jaws to drop in the process, launched the Atomic Age, and even produced the Badass quote from Robert Oppenheimer "I am become death, destroyer of worlds." (Ripped from the Bhagavad Gita), which is an awesome way to cap an CMOA. But, given atomic weaponry's nature, it's best ot focuse on the "awe" part.
    • A more pessimistic, yet still a badass quote about the Trinity test from Kenneth Bainbridge:
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"Now we are all sons of bitches."

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    • Unknown if this makes it more of a CMoA or just a truly terrifying, was the fact that the scientists involved didn't actually know what would happen. They were more worried that the explosion's sheer power might cause the atmosphere to spontaneously combust, literally destroying the world...AND THEY DID IT ANYWAY!
  • Anyone that has seen the Dogfights episode "Long Odds" can talk about the scouting mission by Old 666, were a Japanese plane squadrons painfully discovered was heavily customized by their crew into what is probably the most well-armed aircraft of the war.
    • Just to clarify, Old 666 was a B-17E bomber, serial number 12666. It was believed to be a cursed bomber mainly because it comes back from every mission with horrific battle damage. It was left at the end of a runway for spare parts. One crew, which was under Captain Jay Zeamer, needed a bomber, and the Old 666 was the only one available. So, the crew took her, fixed her up, and loaded her with more (and bigger) guns than a normal B-17, replacing her usual loadout of .30 cals with .50 cals, and raising her gun count from 13 to 19. While on mission the Japanese planes attacked what they thought was the defenseless nose, until the custom front station smashed three Zeroes. For an hour, the bomber continued to fight off a swarm of no less than 15 Japanese fighters by itself. The bomber suffered extreme damage again, with most, if not all of the crew, wounded (and one dead), but managed to land mostly intact.
    • Therefore, not even Satan himself can ignore the effects of More Dakka.
    • For more details, that mission was the only bomber mission were two members of the same crew got the Medal of Honor for different actions and every other member won the Distinguished Service Cross. The first MoH went to Jay Zeamer, the pilot, for firstly shooting down an enemy plane with a remote controlled gun, and then, while wounded with a broken leg and multiple fragment wounds brought the plane down to where the crew didn't need the broken oxygen system by watching the increase in manifold pressure in the engines, and refused first aid, lapsing into unconsciousness, until the plane crash landed, at which point he was so badly injured; the rest of the crew removed him last, assuming that Jay was dead. The other went to bombardier, Joseph Sarnoski, for shooting down multiple Japanese planes while wounded, and then after getting hit with a 20mm shell that blew him out of the compartment, sought aid until a second wave of fighters came, and shot down at least one of them. He, unfortunately died at his station from his wounds.
  • Also, from the same episode, the story about the dive bomber pilot pulling substitute CAP duty and taking on three Japanese Zeroes and winning (I think it was three, been a while since I saw the episode).
    • And it took the last one down by accidentally clipping it with a wing while trying to dodge (?) - It turns out that the little American dive bomber was a lot physically tougher than the feared Zeroes. Talk about a Fragile Speedster.
  • Butch O'Hare, a U.S. Navy pilot, had a crowning moment was when his ship, the U.S.S. Lexington, was spotted by a Japanese spy plane. When a wave of Japanese Bettys arrived to try and sink the ship, the Americans sent their fighters to meet them. The fighters successfully defended the Lexington, but during a second wave of Bettys appeared, the only planes close enough to stop them belonged to O'Hare and his wingman, and unfortunately, the wingman's guns jammed, forcing O'Hare to fight them off on his own. Alone, he managed to shoot down five of them and the other four turned away without firing on his ship. Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is named after him for this reason, a fitting tribute to an exceptional pilot from Chicago.
    • The rarely-talked about Navajo Code Talkers deserve credit for helping in the Pacific Theater. Their code was never broken (not even by a captured American soldier that knew Navajo). After the war, they were to remain silent about their accomplishments because nobody wanted the Navajo secret to get out (the reason the Navajo were chosen was because German "tourists"/spies had come to the US after WW1 to study various Native American languages, since Cherokee had been used in the first World War and the Germans wanted to be prepared in case the US used that technique again. They had forgotten the Navajo). Once modern technology made their abilities obsolete, they were allowed to come out and be awesome.
      • Japanese codebreakers were asked if they had made any advances in breaking the code. Their reply? "Break it? We couldn't even transcribe it."
  • The B-24 Liberator 'Sacktime,' of the 467th Bomb Group, was rammed by a German fighter of the Sonderkommando ELBE over Germany, taking out half of the tail assembly. Despite having only half their usual rudder and elevator control, the crew managed to fly to allied Belgium, holding the plane stable by brute force on the controls (the cockpit controls were directly connected to the control surfaces), with the left wing titled thirty degrees down; they then, unable to land the plane, allowed the entire crew to bail out and survive.
  • The 9th Armored Division of the US Army came into the war assigned to a camp on the British coastline opposite of the German defenses in Calais, ostensibly as a part of Gen. George S. Patton's First U.S. Army Group. This was part of Operation Fortitude, tricking the Germans into believing the Allied forces would invade there instead of Normandy. Less than three months after they went into line, with little to no real combat experience, the Division's units saw action scattered along the front at the Battle of the Bulge, fighting at St. Vith, Echternach, and holding off the Germans long enough for the 101st Airborne to dig in a defense for Bastogne. German prisoners spoke of the 9th as "The Phantom Division" because it seemed that wherever combat was, the 9th was. Following this they crossed the Ruhr, and elements of the Division seized the Ludendorff bridge at Remagen, the last intact bridge over the Remagen. Establishing a bridgehead there allowed eight thousand Allied soldiers to cross the Rhine in the first day alone. As if this was not enough, they then went on to make use of that bridgehead to move further into Germany. While there, along with elements of the 1st Infantry Division, they liberated the Zwodau and Falkenau concentration camps. Awesome? I think so.
  • One of the most spectacular battles in the Pacific, is the Battle of the Philippine Sea, aka The Great Marinas Turkey Shoot. There, the Japanese lost 3 of their carriers, and 600 of their planes were brought down. The American casualties were only 123 of their planes, which were either shot down, or just ran out of fuel. Also, 80 of the crew survived.
  • A troper saw Bockscar, the B-29, that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton last year. It serves to mention that Bockscar almost did not return home, because they had to re-reoute from their prime target, then wait for a clear sight due to overcast skies before they could drop the bomb. While the Japanese literally never saw it coming, Bockscar had to re-reoute from their original intended landing point of Iwo Jima, landing instead at Okinawa with nearly empty fuel tanks!
  • General George S. Patton did many of these during the war, but what really seals the deal is that he was the most feared General on ALL fronts of the war by Germany. Supreme Badass who military career was only held back by his hotheadedness.
  • The history of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was full of CMoAs. Here are a few:
    • It was originally intended to fulfill the role of a short-range, heavily armed (and by "heavily armed," I mean a four .50-caliber machine guns and one 20mm cannon) interceptor, to be produced in limited quantity. Lockheed expected a maximum order of fifty aircraft, as that was what was in the original specifications, bu the experimental designs performed so well that the production order was increased at least a hundredfold.
    • The ratio of enemy planes shot down to P-38s lost to all causes - Including mechanical failures of various kinds. - Was two P-38s lost for every three enemy planes shot down. Take the mechanical failures and the like out of the equation, and the ratio just jumps to five enemy planes shot down to every P-38 lost to enemy fire - the highest ratio of any Allied fighter craft in the war.
    • A squadron of P-38s, which gotten separated from the bomber group they were escorting over Nazi-occupied territory. In stead of returning to the base, they decided to go on an all-out attack against whatever targets they could find: rail yards, ammo dumps, airstrips, and what have you. If memory serves, they shot up at least twenty assorted rail cars, five locomotives, two fuel dumps, and three ammo dumps, as well as damaging or destroying around seventy enemy aircraft, both on the grounds and the air. Total cost of materiel destroyed: several hundred million dollars. Total P-38s lost: NONE.
  • Admiral Fletcher has one minor moment of awesomeness at Midway. He was just an average when it comes to skill-at-arms, but he was a man of integrity. When the Carrier Yorktown was out of action, he gave command over to Spruance knowing that Spruance would get the credit. As Fletcher's career pretty much ended by 1943, after he was so often Overshadowed by Awesome, and as he was kinda forgotten by history, this act could count as a Heroic Sacrifice.

Poland - "For Our Freedom And Yours!"

Not only was Poland the "First to Fight", they technically never surrendered. Exiled Polish forces (which was the fourth largest Army among the Western Powers, outnumbering even the Free French) fought in every major air and land campaign in the Western Allied Campaign with distinction. And all this despite the fact that Poland were essentially given to the Soviets as war booty after the war. The following are just some of the most important contributions of the Poles:

  • Before the war, Polish mathematicians managed to crack the Enigma Code's forerunner. Poland knew the attack was coming. So, they went on to hand over everything to the British GCCS, this contributing to the UK's own codebreaking.
    • During the war, Polish intelligence was not less epic: One agent impersonated a German General and was inspected the French coastal fortifications in France. Another one was Witold Pilecki (described in the Individuals section) and others delivered important data on V-2 rockets to the Brits (and in the form of actual parts).
    • Everyone expected the Third Reich to roll up at Poland in the matter of days. It took them six weeks to finally take Warsaw, and their tank force had been mauled so badly that they needed to take the winter re-arming before they could fight France.
      • And I'd like to point out that it was not just Germany. It was also the Soviet Union. Poland held out alone against the two most powerful armies on Earth for over a month! By comparison, France, considered one of the world's greatest armies at the time, lasted about two weeks from when the Germans started getting serious to the capture of Paris.
      • Incidentally, while the "cavalry charging tanks" thing would have been a CMOA, if it had been true, the truth is in many ways awesome. The Polish Cavalry had been trained as a fast-moving guerrilla-type anti-tank units, who'll gallop into place, set up their light anti-tank gun, fire a couple of shots, pack it up, and gallop off somewhere else. During the early part of the campaign, a troop of them came across a formation of German infantry out in the open, so they charged with sabers drawn, akin to Henry V. Eventually a couple of German armored cars showed up and drove off the Poles, killing some of them. The German commanders then showed the corpses to German and Italian correspondents, telling them that they've been killed whilst charging at tanks with lances, because the Poles are just that stupid. Meanwhile, the Polish cavalry, fighting dismounted with its anti-tank weapons were busy stopping the German blitzkrieg in its tracks at a place called, Mokra...
      • The myth has likely endured to the present day because, whereas the Nazis tried to portray it as an act of extreme stupidity and evidence that the entire Polish country was Too Dumb to Live, the rest of the world saw brave heroes willing to give their lives against hopeless odds in the defense of their homeland.
      • This is partially Truth in Television. The rare examples were the cavalry was needed to break through the means of transport (i.e. horses). However few that was.
    • During the fall of Poland, tens of thousands of Poles managed to escape from Poland, from the USSR, from internment camps in Romania, and make their way to France and Britain at any means necessity and to keep fighting. Go check at a map. See what's right between Poland and France? Germany, as well as its client states of the period and its ally, Italy. Ten of thousands of them, in ones and twos. Makes The Great Escape look kinda small.
  • Once they got to France, the Polish soldiers and airmen were treated as an embarrassment by the French, given them outdated equipment and kept away from the fight. Eventually, they, the Polish, got to fight anyway and preform so well that one French general suggested that if they'd had a couple more Polish divisions they could've beaten the Germans back.
  • Some of the best performing fighter squadrons, during the Battle of Britain were flown by Polish pilots. The top scorer on both sides in the Battle was a Czech, Josef Frantisek, who flew with the Polish 303 squadron.
    • A Troper recently visited an RAF base up in Lincolnshire, and learned a rather interesting fact. During the Battle of Britain most Generals thought that letting Poles fly in fighter squadrons was stupid, due to the need for more soldiers fast they allowed it anyways. The first squadron in the air got a kill each in one battle, better than any fighter squadron before them.
    • Speaking of the RAF and foreign pilots, a Belgian named Jean de Selys was HARDCORE. As members of his family had been murdered by the Gestapo, the war was very personal for him. He was a crazy, fearless, and creative, and now there's a statue of him in Brussels. I think disobeying orders to fly alone into a Nazi-occupied city in 1943, just above treetop level, to strafe the Gestapo building where his father was executed, then drop a funeral wreath and note, was pretty impressive.
    • A member of Squadron 303, Stanislaw Karubin, once he realized that he was out of ammunition during an intense dogfight, being on the tail of a German fighter near the tree-top level. Normal men would started to return to base at this point, but Karubin closed in on the armed German fighter and climbed right about it, then started lowering his craft onto enemy fighter. The German pilot was so shocked to see the underside of the Polish fighter over him, he instinctively reduced the altitude of the flight and crashed into the ground.
  • The strange story of Boleslaw "Mike Killer" Gladych, who was pretty much a living CMoA, as well as a total Badass. Gladych started the war as a Polish Air Force cadet, completing his training too late to see combat. He led a group of students to Romania, where they were interned. Gladych wasn't amused, and escaped to France, where he joined a squadron intended to fight for Finland against the USSR (yes, really.) Then France decided that they needed the pilots more once Germany attacked, so he fought for France. Gladych claimed several kills in the Armee de L'Air, but his records do not survive to confirm this. When France fell, Gladych decided the Germans hadn't heard the last of him yet and escaped to England, where he joined the Polish 303 Squadron, flying Spitfires. Approximately three and possibly five kills ensued in his first two sorties, but the second ended with him crashing, almost fatally, into a telegraph pole. He Got Better and returned to combat with 302 "City of Poznan" Sqdn. After a tour there, Gladych was grounded (supposedly for almost shooting down Winston Churchill's transport accidentally, though this is unconfirmed.) That just would not do, so he wandered off and hooked up, completely and unoffically, with the USAAF 56th Fighter Group to fly P-47s alongside Francis "Gabby" Gabreski, who had previously worked with him in the RAF. While with the 56th, Gladych found three FW190s on his tail. He rid himself of that paricular problem with a vicious strafing run of a Luftwaffe airfield; Gladych had learned that the first aircraft on a strafing run usually came through unscathed, but during the next planes went through all kinds of hell. The FW190s, which were somewhat similar in appearance to the P-47, received the full wrath of the Luftwaffe AAA, and Gladych headed home. Gladych was officially kicked out of the Polish Air Force when they learned of his "arrangement" with the USAAF, is recorded in USAAF records as a member of the RAF, and was never an official member of the American military. He was just too awesome for any one military.
  • Both the Polish Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts had their own Crowning Moment of Awesome during World War II. When they were outlawed by the Nazis as a "Non-Aryan" institution they went underground and carried on their scouting just like before the war. Not only that but they formed the part of La Resistance, using their Scouting skills for such things as acting as couriers for Resistance agents. And during the Warsaw Revolt, Scouts would crawl for what amounts to miles through the sewers of the city to deliver messages in incredibly uncomfortable circumstances, all the while the enemy was trying to block the passages with nets or flood them with water.
    • Robert Baden-Powell would be proud.
    • All Scouts would be proud.
  • The Polish Scouts weren't the only ones. Scouts all over the world had their own Moments of Awesome. It gives the phrase "Scout's Honor" a whole new meaning.
  • After the Battle of Monte Cassino, Polish casualties were so numerous that a cemetery was erected for their dead. The dedication echoed that of the Spartans at Thermopylase: "You, stranger passing by. Tell Poland that here, for our freedom and yours, we still lie."
    • The other thing which makes the Polish awesome? Even their pets fought. In the Battle of Monte Cassino, one of the artillery supply units was aided by a Syrian Brown Bear they're raised from a cub. Wojtek, known as the "Soldier Bear" became so popular and so well liked among the soldiers for his personality and efficiency in moving crates of ammunition that his unit's badge was changed to a bear carrying an artillery shell. Wojtek smoked cigarettes, drank beer from the bottle, wrestled with the men, and retired to Edinburgh Zoo after the war.
    • According to one story, Wojtek (who was fond of steam baths) entered the bathhouse at his unit's base one day and found a spy. Recognizing him as a threat, Wojtek punched out the spy. Can ya imagine what must have gone through the spy's head on being uncovered by a bear?
      • This troper suspects that it was a combination of the words 'Oh,My,' 'fucking,' 'God,I'm,about', 'to', 'be,punched,by,' and 'bear.'
      • Alternatively, "Everything's Worse with Bears!" as he ran like hell.
      • Somehow, I think it may have been "Oh, Crap!"
      • This troper's grandfather was among the Polish troops at Monte Cassino and he's damn proud.
      • Really, all that was needed to be said for this to be a CMoA was "The Polish troops at Monte Cassino had a bear as a pet. This bear punched a spy."
  • In another battle (This time in the Normandy Campaign), the Polish 1st Armored Division proved instrumental in preventing the escape of thousands of German soldiers caught in the "Falaise Pocket." It suffered grievous casualties as it had to fight with little support and ammunition. Canadian troops, who later visited the battle site, erected a simple sign that said: "A Polish Battlefield."
    • When the battle was over, the 1st Polish Armored Division's commander was given the Iron Cross (Germany's highest award for valor) from a captured German prisoner. The German had won the Iron Cross five years earlier in Poland - In the battle that ended with the destruction of the 1st Armored Division's predecessor. In a way, it signified a complete reversal of what had happened in September of 1939.
    • Unidentified Polish soldiers who were buried in Normandy bear a simple, English epitaph to commemorate their sacrifice: "Died for Poland."
  • The defense of the Gdansk post office.
  • The Warsaw Uprising. Despite the fact that they lost, it was still completely awesome. For details, they fought for 63 days straight regardless of initial supplies being enough for just a week, and that the Germans called it the heaviest their city-fight since Stalingrad. There's a museum in Warsaw devoted to it.
  • The Polish Navy had its moments. The destroyer, Piorun (British-built, bu lent to the Free Polish Forces), once faced the German Navy's pride - The Battleship, Bismarck - In a night gun battle. Despite facing a ship twenty times its size, the Piorun survived and gained time for British cruisers to catch up with the Bismarck. What's more remarkable however, was the bold challenge the Piorun's Captain sent to the Germans before attacking: "I am Pole!"
    • The Polish submarine Orzel was ordered to sea mere minutes before the Germans began bombing Gdansk. They slipped past the German destroyers and aircraft patrols to an Estonian (neutral) port to refuel. International law stated they could only stay there one day, but a German merchant ship was also there, and both had to leave at least 6 hours after refueling. They took their time leaving, therefore the Orzel was trapped in port long enough that the Estonians had the authority to disarm the submarine. Partway through the process, the German merchant ship left. The crew of the Orzel sabotaged the unloading of munitions, and quietly slipped their moorings that night. They used charts drawn from memory and a list of lighthouses of the Baltic and North Seas to navigate by, and had to sneak through the narrow channels between Denmark and Sweden under the noses of German ships (once crash-diving to avoid the sudden lighting of a cruiser's searchlights). They made it safely to British coastal waters, where they were added to the Royal Navy's strength for the duration. For their Baltic escape, they were awarded their country's highest honor.
    • Defense of Hel, a Polish peninsula. The plan was to hold defense for two weeks. They lost source of supplies, were under heavy fire from German naval artillery, and they surrendered when there was no point of fighting any longer after 32 days. The most noteworthy moment was when the Polish Army realized that they could not use missiles because of their destroyed equipment, so they buried them. Once the Nazi decided to try to attack not from the sea but from land, Hel became an island.
  • The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade. General Sosabowski went into Operation Market Garden with misgivings, let his support elements be cut from his brigade to see them chewed up in the meat grinder of Arnhem, finally went in with his paras, found his Rhine crossing gone, made the crossing anyhow, and covered the retreat of the British 1st Airborne Division, at a cost of almost a quarter of his brigade in casualties. The survivors are honored every year in Oosterbeek, and not for nothing.
    • In the Polish city, Czestochowa - In its' holiest shrine. - Lies a memorial for all of its great victories won by Polish soldiers. The memorial includes several battles from World War II - Including France 1940, The Battle of Britain, Monte Cassino, The Falaise Gap, the Market-Garden, just to name a few. No one - Including the pro-Soviet Communist Government, who tried for fifty years to erase the the memory of the Free Polish Forces - Ever dared to take down the memorial. Today, the site is now considered the most important place of pilgrimage for Polish people.
  • Not only does Poland never surrender, they had no quislings as well. When one group offered their collaboration to the Germans, they turned it down - It was just so small and insignificant, they didn't bother. Another time, one captured officer was released to deliver an offer of limited collaboration to La Resistance command, and the command told him to "solve the mater honorably." After a few days, he shot himself.
    • Get it? They basically told him to commit Seppuku! This guy, as well as the Wizna commander (below), get bonus Awesome usually reserved for the Samurai, despite never being anywhere in space or time near Feudal Japan.
    • Such was their defiance that they created what amounted to an underground state, complete with functional institutions, that helped sustain the resistance against Nazi occupation. Not to mention how symbolically, as mentioned in the animated film The Unconquered, the war never really ended for Poles in 1945. They continued fighting for their freedom until the end of the Cold War and collapse of Communist rule in 1989.
  • The Battle of Wizna, anyone? The Polish were outnumbered 59 to 1, and they held off the German Army for three days. The Polish managed to take out 10 tanks and a few AFV's, and an untold amount of infantry. They had six 76mm guns, 42 Machine Guns, and only two Anti-Tank Rifles, compared to the Germans 350 Tanks, Air Superiority, and 600+ heavy weapons (mortars, Machine Guns, Rockets, etc.) along with a lot of artillery. Also, the Polish commander swore by his life that he won't let the fort fall into enemy hands. When the situation became hopeless, he agreed to surrender to prevent unnecessary deaths of his soldiers, then blew himself up with a grenade. The Sabaton song 40:1 is named for it.
    • 40:1 Music Video
    • This English Troper is so impressed by the tenacity of these Polish actions that he has gained a whole lot of respect for the Poland. All I can say and do is salute them all and say thank you for fighting so much for our freedom.
    • Seconded by an American troper, who hopes that there's a special place in heaven for the insanely courageous men and women who knocked on Peter's door as a result of never, ever shirking that courage.
  • On the 65th Anniversary of VE Day - Which was described as the last one that'll ever feature actual veterans from the war - For the very first time, the Poles were asked to join the victory parade. Not just that, they are given the honor to lead it. No one objected. Everyone agreed they deserved it.
  • Consider the fact that Poland has a tradition of valor and a military history to booth, which makes any Western European nation seem weak and incompetent. Especially when you consider just how many times they butchered through obstacles, like the Ottoman Armies, to rescue cities, like Vienna.

The Soviet Union - "Heroes of the Great Patriotic War"

  • What can be be considered about CMoA are many historians have estimates which shows that around 70% of the entire German warmachines was arrayed against the Soviet Union since Operation Barbarossa, and remained around that kind of duration of the war. Mind you, there's lower end estimates. The USSR was insanely so big that Germany had little choice but commit most of their armed forces against it.
  • The Road of Life (Дорога Жизни). Where thousands of truckers risked their lives to transport supplies to the besieged city of Leningrad and evacuate the trapped citizens over Lake Ladoga, which is frozen, in the case of constant bombardment. Albeit many trucks were sunk before they made it to their destination, millions were saved thanks to the Road of Life.
  • Stalingrad is mainly considered the "turning point" of the Second World War, which was won thanks to the incredible sacrifices made by the Soviet soldiers. At one point, a little group of Soviet soldiers held out in a grain silo against a huge German assault for many days. When they, the Soviet troops, were about to be destroyed, they were supposedly sent this message by High Command: "The Soviet Union thanks you. Your sacrifice was not in vain."
    • One Unit - The Rodimtsev's Guards - Started the battle with only 10,000 men. It ended the battle with less than 300 survivors. Other Soviet Divisions suffered heavily and at least one general literally broke down and sobbed as he reported that his Division was annihilated. According to The Other Wiki, one soldier was about to die yet he scratched a message on a wall that said "Rodimtsev's Guardsmen fought and died here for their Motherland."
      • A tiny example: Pavlov's House. For two months, one half of a ruined house defended by little more than a dozen soldiers managed to hold against successive German attacks.
        • Tiny? Pavlov's house was made entirely out of CMOA. They were able to take down Panzers, like sitting ducks, by mounting anti-tank rifles so high up the cannons simply could not reach high enough to fight back. The Germans labeled it on their maps as "The Fortress," and assaulted it every day for two months, at which point the unit was relieved of their duty. Sometimes, they would have to send people out inbetween enemy waves just to kick down piles of German corpses because they were piling up too high for them to see. Pavlov's House was anything but small.
    • Speaking of Stalingrad, those who've read the book "Enemy at the Gates" (which is completely different from the movie version) would probably remember Emil Metzger, a German soldier,'s experiences. As a veteran of Stalingrad, Emil spent many years in a prison camp before he was finally sent home to his wife. When they reunited, he was shocked that they remained faithful to on another despite the fact that "in their nine years of marriage, this was just their fifth day together as man and wife." Love endures.
      • While on the subject of Stalingrad, a troper's father has a story, which was passed to him by a former Red Army T-34 Tank Commander. The latter, later in life, immigrated to the US for unknown reasons. The troper's father encounter him during his Law School, where the commander ran a laundromat with his wife, who is also Russian. His father noticed, at one point, a picutre of the man with his crew, on a T-34 tank. His dad talked to the man and found out that the commander had served in the army that relieved Stalingrad and turned the war tide. More importantly, this commander had served with Marshall Georgy Zhukov. When his father asked about Zhukov, the commander said, "Zhukov...Now there, was a man." He remembered the approach to Stalingrad, where he rode on top of his T-34, and distinctly remembered watching Zhukov, standing atop the lead tank, calmly watching, with a sneer on his face, as if "daring the Germans to shoot him." The commander said "Some generals lead from the back. Zhukov, lead from the front." To add to it, Zhukov won the 'Hero of the Soviet Union,' the Soviet's equivalent of the Medal of Honor, four times. Only one other man got that and he didn't deserve them.
    • "For a short time, tanks continued to be produced and then manned by the volunteer crews of factory workers. They were driven directory from the factory floor straight to the front line, often without paint or even gunsights." Build 'em, man 'em, roll them out the front door, and start fighting.
  • Siege of Sevastopol. Period.
  • In terms of sheer losses however, Operation Bagration was the Red Army's greatest victory. A massive offensive launched in 1944, the operation allowed the Russian army to recapture all of their home territories all the while inflicting catastrophic losses on the Germans - More than they had lost at Stalingrad. The only reason it's not well remembered is because it coincided with the C Mo A of the Western Allies: D-Day.
  • The Battle of Kursk also deserves mention - Particular the climax at Prokhorovka. Faced with Germany's superior tanks that are immue to Soviet anti-tank guns, Soviet tankers charged the German positions and literally rammed their vehicles into enemy Panzers. According to legend, some days later, Zhukov - Commander of the Red Army troops - Would visit the battlefield, which was still full of wrecked vehicles and butchered men. Supposedly, he was so moved by the courage of his own men that all he could do was to take off his cap in respect. He was left utterly speechless.
  • According to some Russian sources, the proudest moment in Soviet military history is The Battle for Volokolamsk, even though it's unknown today. It was one of the main highway that leads to the capital of Moscow. When the German Panzers were closing in, a commissar defending the highway the highway was supposed to have remarked, "Russia is big, but we cannot run. Moscow is behind us." Short of rifles, several Divisions of troops literally fought the Germans with nothing more than bare hands. And yet it was there that German advancement was finally halted.
  • The Second World War is Ukraine's Crowning Moment of Awesome as well, with only the Orange Revolution coming anywhere close. After initially welcoming the Nazis, they rapidly realized their errors and fought back with massive tenacity - A quarter of the Soviet deaths in the war were Ukrainian.
    • Also from Ukraine and crossing over with a Crowning Moment in Sports: The Soccer Match of Death. A Ukrainian soccer team was challenged by occupying Germans to play against their teams. Once they started winning they were threatened with death. They kept winning. They were executed. In other words, they turned soccer to martyrdom.
  • Operation August Storm. Which is one of the most brilliant campaigns of the war, it involved moving over a million troops from the Western front in secret and consisted of double pincer movement over an area the size of Western Europe that utterly destroyed the Japanese defenders. The Soviet army took no less than 640,276 prisoners, while suffering only 12,031 losses. And, although it is still a matter under dispute, some historians believe that subsequent Japanese surrender was largely due to this devastating offensive and not the A-bombs.
  • I'll just leave this here...
    • Typical of Soviet World War II aircraft, many II-2s were "gifts" presented to specific pilots and partially paid for by organizations, like hometowns, factories, or comrades of another fallen pilot. The most famous of these was an aircraft purchased with the saving of a seven-year-old daughter of another fallen pilot, who was a commander of the 237th Sh AP. After learning of her father's death, the girl sent 100 rubles directly to Stalin asking him to use the money for an II-2 to avenge her father. Remarkably, Stalin actually received the letter and 237th Sh AP got a new II-2m3 with the inscription "From Lenochka for father" on the side.
    • Remarkable indeed yet not exceptional at all. Maria Oktyabrskaya, a telephonist from the city Simpherople learned that her husband died in action and decided that It's Personal. She raised 50,000 rubles!!!, transferred the amount to the State Bank and then eventually wrote a letter to Stalin requesting a personal tank. They named the tank "Sister in Arms" and she went to the front as its crew member, and spent next four months fighting, like a fury. One time in combat, a shell hit the tank's track, Maria tried to repair it, despite being under enemy fire, but was wounded, and later died. She was awarded with an order of the Hero of the Soviet Union. So impressed were her comrades that when the tank got destroyed they gave their next one the same name...And then the next one...And the next.
  • The "Night Witches" - Female combat pilots, who fly obsolete biplanes with eff-off heavy bombs attached and gliding towards German positions on night-time bombing runs. All while putting up with institutional sexism from their command. Garth Ennis sums them up: "Young women in their teens and early twenties, flying obsolete biplanes at night against the most lethal military machine in the world, facing potentially catastrophic consequences should they be captured alive...That, to me, is heroism, and that deserves to be acknowledged."
    • A wing commander of the 588th "Night Witches" night bomber Regiment by the name of Sr. Lieutenant Irina Sebrova, participated in 1,008 night missions and 92 day missions. This equals to 44 tours of duty for an American.
    • The second time she was shot down behind enemy lines, Irina trekked 10 miles through the snow at night to return to the base without getting killed!
    • To the Germans, the Flying Sewing Machines are infamous for the simple fact that the latter were so quiet, that detecting them was just a matter of luck, as anything.
  • Don't forget the younger participants. The war dislocated so many people, so many families, that many kids ended up unofficially joining the Soviet combat formations. Affectionately called the "Sons of the Regiment," these kids did everything from menial work, to message relaying, and scouting missions. With the units, they also advanced, and many of the SotR were later recognized.
  • Roman Smishyk: an ex-peasant and a very humble private, whose platoon was on pinned by enemy forces comprising of 16 tanks during one occasion. So, Roman grabbed three anti-tank grenades and three cocktail bottles, crawled towards the Germans, who are advancing, and one by one burned three tanks. He returned to the home positions, replenished his ammunition, and repeated this trick. Basically: One guy wacked six tanks single-handedly. Nazis whined that this game had one fucked up balance and logged off.
  • Stalin staying with the Muscovites in the Moscow Subway. One of the awesome examples of Villainous Valour.
  • In November 7th, the Soviet Armies coming from the Red Square Parade to the frontlines, during the Battle of Moscow.
  • The latter Allied successes were not the first time the myth of the invincibility and superiority of Imperial Japan was shattered. Though unknown today mostly, the Battles of Lake Khasan and Khalkin Gol in the closing years of the 1930s saw decisive Soviet victories against attempts by Japn to invade the USSR via Manchuria. While the Battle of Lake Khasan was mostly a Pyrrhic Victory for the Soviets, the Battle of Khalkin Gol decisively routed the Japanese forces that Japan would never make an offensive movement towards the Soviet Union again. In this battle, Georgiy Zhukov would earn his first major victory, as well as his first of four Hero of the Soviet Union medals.

Norway - "With His Army of Heroes"

  • Though being a small nation, chasing after a neutrality policy and having just one tank. Just so "the soldiers could see what one looked like" it's quite impressive for the Norwegian military to have three:
    • First, when Germany invaded, though they could have run their invasion force up the Oslo Fjord and attack Oslo. Too bad their top of the line troop carrier was sunk by Norwegian torpedoes.
      • The "troop carrier" was actually the Blucher, a heavy cruiser, a top of the line warship which was built in the 1930s. The Norwegians in contrast had a virtually unarmed patrol boat, a tiny cannon manned by volunteers in a dilapidated fort, and a bunch of 50 year-old torpedoes mounted on a shore battery. After that ship was sunk, the Blucher continued up the fjord. As they drew nearer to the fort, the torpedoes were fired. They struck true and destroyed the Blucher, allowing the King and the government to escape from Oslo with much of the country's gold reserve, and allowing them to continue the fight in exile.
      • Anecdotes claims that the fort's commander, seeing the Blucher, and not getting word about the Germans at all, said "Either I will be decorated or I will be court-martialed. Fire."
      • Oscarsborg Fortress not only did that damage, not only saved the Norwegian government, not only it stand with barely any casualties...It did so with almost all its soldiers being green, untrained recruits; with one of its main guns unable to be armed, and with most of its weapons being forty years old. (The extra kicker is that Germany sold those weapons to Norway forty years ago).
      • Also worth mentioning is the HMS Glowworm's contribution during the campaign. The Glowworm encountered the Blucher's sister ship, the Admiral Hipper, and was nearly blasted out of the water due to the firepower disparity (The Glowworm was just a destroyer that has less than one-fifth the size and firepower of the Hipper). Courageously, the Glowworm's Captain just rammed his ship into the Hipper, severely damaging the bigger German warship even though he lost his own life doing this. The Glowworm's Captain was eventually awarded the Victoria Cross, thanks to the German sailors, who had survived the battle,'s testimonies. - They were that impressed by the actions of their enemy.
      • When considering this action, and that of the American destroyers of Samar, and the Poles of Piorun, one quickly concludes that among the requirements for command of a destroyer in an Allied navy in WW2 were balls of titanium and an insane amount of courage.
    • Secondly, after when Otto Ruge surrendered the Norwegian Military (The Government did not surrender) he set, as a part of the official declaration, that the Germans think of the Norwegian Army to be of equal quality to them. The Germans accepted.
    • All in all, the German's losses suffered taking Norway made a successful Sealion insanely impossible due to the lack of naval support.
    • Lastly, the Heavy Water Plant Sabotage, which was carried out without a single kill. This played a major part in ceasing the German atomic bomb effort.
  • Don't forget the Norwegian People, who is hated mostly by the Germans so much that the Germans had to make it illegal to stand in buses when there's available, basically since the Norwegians wouldn't sit next to the Germans.
    • I'm not sure if the Shetland Bus story should go here or in the UK section, but this is damned impressive either way.
    • German faced 12,000 teachers refuse publicly to join the Nazi party, something the Germans had to accept because otherwise the Norwegian school system could not work. After victory, in Nazi held territory, the teachers stated:
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"The call of the teacher is, however, not solely to gift their pupils with knowledge. They are also to teach them to believe in and desire that which is true and just. Therefore, they cannot, without breaching with their calling as a teacher, teach anything conflicting with their conscience. Those who do, are sinning against those students given them to teach, and against themselves. This I swear I will not. I will not encourage you to do anything I believe is wrong, nor will I teach you anything which I believe is untrue. I will, as I have heretofore done, let my conscience be my guideline, and then I believe I will be upholding my pact with the great majority of the people who have bestowed upon me that teacher's task."

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  • When the Supreme Court soon after the military's defeat was asked to confirm the legality of certain of the German occupier's actions that contravened Norwegian and international law, the Justices simply responded that their legal arguments would have no effect on an occupier's brutal policies, after which they resigned to a man to avoid staining their honor.
  • The University of Oslo's students were the foundation of the XU intelligence organization, spying on the German occupiers for the Allies. By the war's end they had 1,500 operatives and a courier system to the United Kingdom. One of its leaders was a 21 year old student Anne-Sofie Østvedt, who spent 3 years living undercover while the Gestapo is hunting her down.
  • Nortraship. Around one thousand merchant shipping vessels, working for the Allied side after Norway had fallen. Try running supply convoys without them!
  • Executing Vidkun Quisling for being a traitorous bitch.
    • Quisling was so hated intently hated in Norway that the Norwegian constitution was changed to allow the death penalty, so that it can be applied to him.
  • The Norwegian Commando Teams. During Operation Gunnerside, they were largely responsible for disabling Norwegian facilities used to make heavy water for the German's nuclear program, as well as for the Norwegian caretaker, who was just content to standby and let the saboteurs blow the works. Enhanced that the commandos fully expected to die once the mission was completed (Hitler had recently passed an order that all captured Allied commandos be executed), but ended up evading thousands of soldiers and cross-country skiing to the safety of Sweden.

The Axis

Germany - "Some acts are heroic no matter how terrible your leader was"

  • Germany's use of blitzkrieg tactics at the beginning of the war was rather impressive... but for obvious reasons we won't write about "Hey, remember that cool stuff the Nazis did?"
  • Adolf Hitler, of all people. In 1923, before Beer Hall Putsch, the NSDAP's membership only had 15,000 men. By 1941, Hitler held absolute authority over 90 million people. Could he - or anyone, for that matter - have envisaged this happening to just himself and a few other people twiddling their thumbs in the National Socialist German Workers' Party?
    • Before his rise to power, Hitler was considered to be totally weak. Also, some high ranking government officials just installed him as Chancellor, that way he can ultimately fail and be the fall guy for their own shortcomings. One man even mentions "We've boxed him in, we've hired him as our act." That's a bit premature.
  • Adolf Hitler won Time Magazine's Person of the Year award. Imagine if he wasn't completely insane and a rabid racist: we would've remembered him as the man to bring Germany back from the brink, reinvigorating their cultural identity, and bring them back to the world power again. Even if someone assassinated him in 1938, he would be remembered far more fondly than he is. The man would have been a Crowning Moment of Awesome if only he had gotten murdered.
  • Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox" was able to outwit the Allies for as long as he and his Afrika Korps were able.
  • The Germans get a Crowning Moment of Chutzpah during the fall of Norway - After having their troop carrier torpedoed, they just let a marching band landed simply in Oslo Harbor, which marched through the streets followed by a small troop detachment. Bemused onlookers simply assumed the Germans must have already won and Oslo surrendered without a fight.
  • It's fair to give the Germans their due as having the most proficient military of all human history. Reduced to their essentials (Though this maybe is an exaggeration, but not by that much) both World Wars (Though especially World War II) were Germany (and a few allies) against the rest of the world, and for most of both conflicts the Germans gave much better than they got.
  • Not technically in the War, but also related: The Federal Republic of Germany negotiating with the Russians for the return of the last German POWs in 1955 (later known as the Rückkehr der Zehntausend", or the Return of the Ten Thousand). According to its reports, Adenauer managed to break the stalemate in the negotiations with one question, addressing Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov: "Who made treaties with Hitler, you or me?"
  • There's some moving stories about German officers refusing their orders. In particular, Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris during the war's dying days, ignored Hitler's direct order to burn the city to the ground. (A common account has Hitler phoning him and enrage, screaming, "Brennt Paris? (Is Paris burning?) When he died, several high-ranking French officers attended his funeral.
  • Erich Hartmann, aka "The Black Devil" to his opponents, the highest scoring fighter ace in history. Between the late 1942s and May 1945, he shot down 352 aircraft, mostly Soviet fighters. Although he lost several fighters due to mechanical failures, Erich was never shot down once and never lost a wingman.
    • There's a little story of how he was jumped by eight P-51 Mustangs, and yet despite their advantage they couldn't bring him down, Erich just kept dodging their fire, eventually he had to bail out. Way? Because he ran out of gas.
  • Don't forget Hans Ulrich Rudel, a Stuka pilot who was credited with some 2,000 kills from various ground vehicles up to and including a battleship. What's impressive is that he managed to shoot down nine enemy aircraft. Since for one to become a fighter ace is usually considered to be five victories, this guy managed to become one by flying a slow and obsolete dive bomber.
  • Georg Ferdinand Duckwitz: A German civil servant, when he was inform that the deportation of Jews from Denmark is about to occur. So, he journeys to Sweden on a pretext of serving Germany, arranges for Jewish evacuees to be accepted there, goes back, and then phones up one of the Danish government members of what's gonna happen, and the promise from Sweden. The result? An impromptu telephone network that's set up by the Danes to call up everyone with a Jewish-sounding name and warn them, evacuations are arranged and in a national CMoA, the Danish population manages to make certain that 99% of Denmark's Jews survive the Holocaust - An estimated 93% of that due to Duckwitz's timely warning.
  • While this took place before WW2, but those badass scholars, who did this suffered for his beliefs during the war, so it counts. Armin T. Wegner, a German author, was so appalled and disgusted by Hitler's anti-Semitism and denigration of Jewish contributions to Germany's history. That in 1933 he BS'ed his way into getting Hitler himself to read a five page letter that basically amounted to two things: You Bastard - For treating the Jews like Dirt - And You Suck - As does your political stance and everything you stand for). Sure, Armin was to damned near every death camp and was tortured until the war's end, but since he stolidly refused to quit defending the Jewish peoples' honor, and Israel honored him as Righteous Among The Nations in 1967. That's the best moral stance based on Refuge in Audacity ever!
    • What's makes this even more awesome is that he had these words on his grave: "I loved justice and hated injustice Therefore I die in exile."
  • Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. He was the head of Germany's intelligence service, the Abwehr. Even though he was the highest ranking German with the balls to refuse to join the Nazi party. Secretly, Canaris was one of the leaders of the German Resistance, which plotted to overthrow Hitler from within, and even was in contact with the MI6. Jews and other victimes of persecution were often given a day or two of training, declared Abwhr agents, and rushed out of the country to safety. He was eventually caught and executed for plotting a coup. Badassery in the first degree.
  • The White Rose. They were a resistance group of students and a philosophy professor from the University of Munich. They handed out six anonymous batches of leaflets calling for the opposition against the Nazis. Unfortunately, they were caught and arrested by the Gestapo, given a show trial by the notorious Volksgerichtshof, aka the "People's Court," and executed by the guillotine. However, their sixth and final leaflet was smuggled to the Allies, who then printed millions of copies and dropped them all over Germany. Today the members of the White Rose, especially Sophie Scholl, who displayed amazing courage during her trial and before her execution, are venerated as Germany's national heroes.
    • The entrance of the University of Munich's cobblestones are a beautiful memorial to the students of the White Rose. Stone copies of the leaflets have been inserted amongst the bricks.
  • The port city of Kolberg's final defense in 1945. After being cut off by the onrushing Soviet troops, Hitler had most of his soldiers (40,000+, mainly the regular Army and SS) evacuated from the city, cynically leaving the civilians behind to die. Nonetheless, the remaining 3,300 garrison of men (mostly undertrained militia) and four broken-down tanks resolved to hold their ground, hoping to buy enough time for naval aid to evacuate the civilans. They lasted one week against 28,000 Soviet and Polish troops and hundreds of tanks. They saved 70,000 civilians. In short, even though outnumbered 7:11 and betrayed by their own leaders, each member of the garrison at Kolberg saved over twenty civilians from certain death. That's heroism whatever language you speak.
  • On October 14, 1939, U-47 snuck into the main British naval base at Scapa Flow and fired three torpedoes at Royal Oak. Two misfired and woke the crew up, although they did not realize that they had been attacked. The U-boat sailed for twenty minutes, missed another shot, firing three more torpedoes, sinking the ship, and killing 833 sailors. U-47 then snuck out before the Admiralty figured out what was going on. In the Commons, Winston Churchill called it "A remarkable exploit of professional skill and daring." That's right - The submarine's actions managed to impress Churchill.
    • Daisy 2's role in saving the survivors should be noted as well.
  • Priller and Wodarczyk, taking on the Allies with TWO PLANES on D-Day! Worthy Adversaries indeed!
  • Erwin Rommel. Worthy Opponent doesn't even start to cover it.
    • Was so Badass that he could just ignore Hitler's orders and get away with it.
      • Just to expand, Hitler told Rommel to kill the captured commandos. He never did. Hitler told him to kill captured Jewish soldiers. He never did. Hitler told him to knock off civilians, and Rommel STILL said no. When he was commanding the Afrikakorps, the force was never accused of any war crimes, and the prisoners he captured talk about how humanely he treated them. Later on, the man decided that the Nazis sucked pretty hardcore and joined up with the German resistance movement (Whom you may know for a little thing called "Operation Valkyrie"). Sadly, after the July 20 plot's failure, Rommel was found out by the SS, who offered him the choice between facing trial (certain death for him and his whole family) or committing suicide via cyanide pill, with an official story that he died as a hero, burial with full military honors, and pensions for his family. Thinking of his family, he took the pill, dying in an SS car in modern-day Blaustein. The car driver can't help but cry, and replaced the dead Rommel's fallen hat on his head. Just befoe his death, he stated that he didn't want any of that Nazi/Swastika crap buried with him, a kinda final "forget you guys" to the Nazi party.
    • For the greater part of the war, Rommel's nemesis as an Allied general was British general, then later Field Marshal, Bernard Law Montgomery. Montgomery took over as a British commander in North Africa in a moment of desperation, Rommel just outclassed all four of the previous British commanders effortlessly. (In fact, so completely in once case that he took General O'Connor as a prisoner). Montgomery was the Supreme Commander of all Allied forces in Normandy, betwix the D-Day landings and relinquishing his position to Eisenhower in September 1944. An earlier version of this passage has the American General Patton having more significance as a direct opponent of Rommel than he did. In fact, Patton hardly ever came up against Rommel - Maybe briefly for a week or so in North Africa before Rommel retired, sick, and return to Germany. Patton only reach the Tunisia frontline in March 1943, eight weeks before the Axis surrender and with Rommel on the point of retiring home. Similarly, Montgomery commanded the Allied forces in Normandy: during this time Patton was actually still in England and didn't arrive in France until Rommel's fatal wounding in August.
    • A troper's grandmother was a friend of Montgomery's mother. Once at Montgomery's mother's house, the troper's grandmother noticed a framed picture of the famous general on the piano. "That's my son," said his mother. "He's the man who made Rommel run."
  • Don't forget about his counterpart, Guderian. Like Rommel, a definite Worthy Opponent, though equal to Rommel in terms of Badassery. A few stories come to mind...
    • The projected invasion of France would've taken six months if things had gone according to plan. Instead, both Guderian's and Rommel's leadership. The Wehrmacht's vaunted Panzerkorps consisted mainly of outdated Panzer I's and II's against the French tanks, some of which were the best of their day, i.e. Somua S35s. Against impossible odds, the two generals proceed to charge to the sea in six weeks; near the end they disobeyed direct orders from HQ to stop, because A) they knew that if they obey the French would regroup and B) they were moving so quickly that HQ had no idea what was going on. By the time Hitler forced them to stop their advancing and let Goering take over - Well, see the Dunkirk section. Suffice it to say that the British heroism at Dunkirk might never had a chance to take place if Hitler hadn't interfered with his two best generals. Nice Job Break it, Hitler and Goering, indeed.
    • What's insanely more impressive about all things Rommel's 7th Panzer did during the Battle of France is what you start with Refuge in Audacity and amp it to Beyond the Impossible, and then use it as your military strategy for the whole campaign. Star with disobeying orders - IN Nazi Germany! - Going miles and miles beyond your stop lines and front while outrunning your supplies - Which normally gets you cut off, surrounded, and destroyed, while outnumbered, and having the foe surrender to you simply because you simply because they're thinking "Holy shit, they're Germans here, our lines must have collapsed!" To such an extent that you're massively outnumbered by not only the enemy in front of you, but by the POW train of surrendered soldiers you're carrying along.
  • German's thwarting of Operation Market Garden. The Allies put all their eggs in one basket by doing shoddy recon, relying on unreliable Dutch spies more eager to flee their nation and Bernard Montgoermery's overambitious and arrogance that all they had to do was mop up the last "Boys and men" and push on into Germany in weeks. Problem was, they did not jump in and attack old and young boys. Landing right on top of two SS Panzer Divisions. Both of them Comprising of Veterans from the Eastern front Boy's who weren't fucking around when they faced an enemy. While the failure of the mission is continued to be described as an Allied Operational Failure"; Had the Germans done this and lost it would be called a loss. I guess victors do write the history books.
  • Michael Wittmann, highest-scoring Tiger Ace of the War. Credited with knocking out 138 tanks and 132 AT guns. Single-handly stopping the British advancement into Villers-Bocage, wiping out 13-15 tanks and an equal number of transports before his tank was crippled by an AT gun, whereupon he escape on foot back to German lines. Wittman for Worthy Opponent.
  • John Rabe. A German businessman, who was in Nanking when the Japanese invaded, he used his Nazi credentials to aid about 200,000 Chinese civilians escape being slaughtered by the Japanese.
  • Kormoran, the merchant raider. A merchant raider is mainly a civilian ship that has guns trapped to it and sent out to sink enemy freighters. Normally when they encounter warships, the raider ends up usually sunk with little to no damage to the warship. However, the Kormoran encounters the HMAS Sydney, a Australian cruiser, and sinks her! This is a CMoA 'cause it never happens, plus, the Sydney was known to be a major thorn in the Axis navies' side before then without a single dead sailor.
  • Oskar. Fucking. Schindler.
  • The captain of the U-Boat that sank the Laconia - Why? The guy was so terrified of the thought of abandoning survivors that he had his U-boat surface, rescued ALL the survivors from the water, had the remaining life boats tie to it, and notified his commanders that the British and Americans to say he has survivors. Unfortunately, the two Allies thought it was a trap and bomb it by the American bombers, who hadn't gotten the memo. The Germans had to sent French ships to pick up the remaining survivors, since the U-boat wouldn't leave otherwise.

Japan - "A Thousand praises to The Emperor"

  • Let's remember Raizo Tanaka, since we're talking about balance. He commanded the "Tokyo Express", which carried supplies to the surrounding Japanese garrisons and evacuating them when the time comes, in the teeth of the American surface, sub, and air power. All the while winning or tying several sharp actions. He's a very Worthy Opponent.
    • The entire Imperial Japanese Navy deserves congratulations for its awesomeness. They're beset by obstructive bureaucrats, treated their sailors with cruelly, and were accused of a ton of war crimes. Bt they were also as fanatically brave as the Japanese army and just as tactically sophisticated. They managed to stand toe-to-toe with the two greatest naval powers in the world and survive more than three years.
    • The most dramatic moment for the Japanese Navy was when they were defeated and finally stared them in the face. Once realizing that the war would be lost once the Philippines was liberated, the Japanese Admiralty - with tears in their eyes - Begged the rest of the War Cabinet to be given a "One last chance to blossom like the flowers of death." They were given their chance, which resulted with the greatest naval battle of all time: Leyte Gulf.
      • What made Leyte Gulf so dramatic for the Japanese? Knowing that they have no chance of winning against the American Navy's full might, they sent decoys, using several major battlegroups. - Just to lure the main American fleet away from the defenseless transports. One decoy group (and two battlesships) were utterly annihilated with barely no survivors. Another decoy group (including four carries) was also all but wiped out. The strategy succeeded - And the main Japanese force found itself fighting over a few destroyers and escort carrier before even reaching Leyte Gulf. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the force they faced was the battle group off Samar, whose mind-bogglingly brave exploits are mentioned above. There's no shortage of bravery and self-sacrifice on both sides.
  • Another Japanese CMoA is in the form of the IJS Shigure, a destroyer and one of history's "Lucky" ships. Shigure was involved in no less than 9 major fleet actions betwixt the Battle of Coral Sea and Leyte Gulf, and came out of them practically unscratch! Her luck ran out in January, 1945 when the USS Tang sunk her.
  • The Japanese invasion of Malaya, which culminating in capturing Singapore, also counts. Prior to the war, Singapore was considered as the "Gibraltar of the East", nearly impossible to capture. Instead, the Japanese struck with such surprise and force, moved with such speed, that in two months the city fell.
    • Mostly because the Singaporean defenses are set up to defend against southern seaborne invasions, while the Japanese went and rode bicycles through Malaya and into Singapore from the north. Which is a CMOA in itself.
    • The defenses, including the big guns could turn around and hit the Japanese troops on Malaya, the shells used were not effective against the infantry. Even the British review stated that even if they were anti-troop shells fired Singapore would STILL fall, though with heavier Japanese casualties.
    • There's a story that claims they were charging so fast through Malaya that they overtook the British, who were retreating.
      • There's another story where a Japanese tank commander (probably Shimada), who led his unit to sneak and roll over the British lines during midnight. This operation was so successful that the unit penetrated six defense lines without being reported back. When the sun rise, the unit get in just in time that the British division command can see Japanese tanks rolling outside their footstep!
    • In a Your Mileage May Vary way; it's CMOA for Japan, DMoS for anyone else involved...
  • They built a submarine aircraft carrier. 'Nough said.
  • When it comes the whole defense of Iwo Jima is one of the huge CMOA for the Japanese army. Ordered to defend a miniscule strip of land against an American invasion force that had both numerical and technological superiority (the Japanese had 22,000 troops, the U.S. had 110,000), for over a month, they managed to hold out before being soundly defeated.
  • General William Rupertus predicted that Peleliu would be taken in 4 days. The Japanese held on to it for 74.
  • From the POV of the IJN, the REAL CMoA was sinking the British capital ships, Repulse and Prince of Wales. This proved that the Japanese Navy had "grown up" seeing the British Royal Navy as its mentor, supplier, and superior, to the point that one of the IJN's most cherished keepsakes was a lock of Nelson's hair. Sinking two of the Royal Navy warships finally proved that once and for all that the IJN was, man for man, an equal to ever other international navy. More remarkably, the normally ruthless Japanese Navy made a rare display of gallantry after this victory. The next day after the sinkings (after allowing the survivors to escape), a squadron of Japanese planes flew to the wreckage of the two ships and dropped wreaths of flowers to honor the British dead.
    • Realizing that both the Repulse and Prince of Wales were all but helpless against the Japanese airpower, all the planes during the first attack wave initially refused to bomb and torpedo on the British ships. When the ground command demanded their reasons, one pilot responded "I can't. That ships looks just like our Kongo [A Japanese Battlecruiser]."
    • Is it a pure coincidence that IJN Kongo was designed and built by Vickers.
  • Some of the CMoA also counts as some of the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming are the Japanese Holdouts such as Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda. Albeit it may be easily to ridicule them for not believing that the war was over, they showcase such devotion and bravery of the Japanese Army to their homeland. The fact that a few, like Onoda managed to survive into the 1970s and mostly by themselves, just using their wits and knowledge to live on and in good condition is a testament to the country they served.
  • A humanitarian Japanese CMoA, just look no further than Chiune Sugihara. As a Vice Consul to Lithuania, he issued thousands of travel visas to Jews escaping from the Nazis. He's basically the Japanese Oskar Schindler, with the added bonus awesomeness that he had very little official power. Israel recognizes him as Righteous Among the Nations for his heroics.
    • Badass
    • Just when Japan eventually found out what he was doing - It took them a very long time, because no one believed that Chiune would commit career suicide like that. - They ordered him back to Tokyo. On the train taking him out of Lithuania, Sugihara just kept writing visas and tossing 'em out the window.
  • After getting hit with an atomic bomb, most people will take some days off from work, but not Tsutomu Yamaguchi. Mr. Y was in Hiroshima on business when the Little Boy decimated the city. Despite suffering sever burns to his face and back, he walked twenty-two miles just to the nearest train station and back to his home. - To Nagasaki, after spending the night at a hospital he reported back to work the very next day. He was in a midst of an argument with his boss (who insisted that Yamaguchi was lying about the atomic bomb and its' capabilities), just when Fat Man was dropped. Depending on how you look at it, he's either one of the luckiest or unluckiest people on Earth. Yamaguchi shares a title with 125 other people, it's nijuuhibaku.
  • Why you not mentioned General Kurubayashi of the Battle of Iwo Jima fame yet? This guy was basically sent to Iwo Jima to DIE, because he was suspected of having American sympathies. He was working with the Air Force - Which was decimated. Barely enough soldiers, and the officers don't trust him and were plotting a coup against him, because his ideas for defense were completely different from the usual island warfare that they were used to. Yet Kuribayashi rallied his soldiers, inspiring them, and managed to hold out on Iwo Jima for an entire month. He killed so many American soldiers that General Howling Smith calls him a "a most redoubtable foe." So badass that Clint Eastwood made a movie about him and even getting Ken Watanabe to portray him.
  • The Rape of Nanking was one of greatest atrocities that the Japanese perpetrated during WW2. Approximately 260,000 Chinese civilians and POWs were brutally murdered during the capture of the Chinese capital and its ensuing chaos. John Rabe, a businessman and Nazi official, continuously appealed to the Japanese commanders to cease the senseless violence to no avail. In response, Rabe opened up a German embassy in Nanking to all of the refugees, taking in anyone that can make it to the embassy's steps. Afterwards, he was instrumental in making the Nanjing Safety Zone, a small camp about the size of Central Park, around the U.S. embassy to take in more people escaping the carnage. Overall, Rabe saved some 250,000 innocents from the Nanking Massacre.

Italy - "Chi ha cara la gloria, il corpo ha vile."

  • After the Battle of El Alamein, a British victory which turned the tables in North Africa, the elite Folgore Division, who were stranded in the desert with no reinforcements, no supplies and no way out. Made a last stand until they ran out of anything they could shoot or throw. Historian Renzo de Felice reports that 300 survivors out of 5,000 men. In Nov, 21, 1942, Winston Churchill himself praised their courage in a speech to the Chamber.
  • The war in north-eastern Africa is at least considered, if not a Crowning Moment of Awesome, at least one of the Badass, as Italian infantry, and especially armored units, that are woefully under-equipped, fought stubbornly against the allied tanks, that are vastly superior. Reportedly, most Italian tank hulls could be piecred by British machinegun fire.
  • In December 19, 1941, a team of six frogmen single-handedly knocked out a good part of the British Mediterranean fleet, just by piloting manned torpedoes into the British harbor of Alexandria and mining the battleships, Valiant and Queen Elizabeth, the destroyer Jervis, and the Norwegian tanker, Sagona.
  • Kefalonia, a Greek island, was garrisoned by the Acqui division when the Armistice bewtween Italy and the Allies were made public on Stepember 8, 1943. There was no warning of this, and the message itself left the whole Italian military without orders. The Germans had a plan ready in case such a thing happened and most Italian forces, surprised and confused by the sudden chances in alliances orchestrated by the royal family (who had meanwhile fled to allied-occupied Italy), were quickly disarmed by the German troops. On Kefalonia, though the Acqui had some more time to organize itself. General Antonia Gandin, who was in charge of the Acqui, and the local German commander, Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Barge, even had a friendly chat together, just hoping to straighten out the situation somehow and avoiding the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, it went differently: On September 11, when it had already became clear that the Germans were quickly disarming and capturing any Italian soldiers they can find, Barge sent him an ultimatum: the Acqui divsion was to disobey orders and continue the war alongside the Germans, be disarmed and treated as POW, or fight. He kept negotiating and the situation kept escalating with minor skirmishes between German and Italian forces, until Gandin decided to literally have all of the 12,500 plus soldiers that are under his command choose to answer to ultimatum via with a popular vote. A large majority chose to stand and fight, despite Gandin's best wishes and knowing that they don't have a chance. The Acqui, stranded on an island and completely surrounded, went down quickly and brutally, as the Whrmacht orders were to take no prisoners. The number of survivors is unknown, but believed by most historians to be in low hundreds.
  • Pope Pius XII hiding thousands of Jews in the Vatican. Mussolini may have respected the Holy Father, but if Hitler had known, he would've invaded Rome in a second.
    • Basically the whole Italian reaction to the Holocaust in the first place. Primary why fascism miserably failed in Italy, because Mussolini said "Round up your Jews" and the whole country said "Fuck you, ya bald prick!"
  • Giorgio Perlasca, one of the Righteous Among the Nations: in the winter 1944, he saved 5,200 Jews posing as Spanish consul-general to Hungary.

Others

  • The French Resistance. Particularly their actions on D-Day, where after given a coded message through the BBC, they launched massive sabotage attacks.
  • De Gaulle's reaction (he was the chief of the FFF) when the German radio stated that "Free French soldiers will be shot and not taken prisoner for felony." Although officially the French had surrendered, De Gaulle's reaction was the same, in that German prisoners would be shot too.
  • Bir Hakeim is a CMoA in its own right. The Free French held on a piece of rock in the middle of the desert, all of Rommel's Afrikakorps and the Italians surrounded them, but the Italians retreated after ten days, possibly saving the VIIIth British army from Ritchie's incompetence.
  • The whole island of Malta. By surviving a siege by the Germans and Italians for three years. For this, the entire population was awarded the George Cross collectively, which was the highest civilian award for gallantry in Britain. Malta's now an independent state, the medal is on its flag.
    • To elaborate, the island was the most heavily bombed allied country during WWII, since Malta is on their way to becoming an important Mediterranean trade route. Even though they were bombed like crazy, many of its ancient buildings survived thanks to its Islanders' bravery.
  • During the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, elements of the Royal Hungarian Army were dispatched to quell the Polish resistance. Despite Nazi Germany more directly occupying their homeland by that point in the war, the Hungarian forces not only refused to shoot any Pole as ordered. But they went so far as to provide aid and allow Polish reinforcements to come into the city before the Germans finally had them pulled out. Indeed, as if to further drive home the centuries-long brotherhood, some Hungarians even deserted in order to fight alongside the Poles.
  • Nancy Wake, aka "The White Mouse."
    • A young Australian journalist, who married a French businessman. She joined the resistance movement as a courier, smuggling messages, supplies, and such to underground groups. Even helping spiriting away many Allied POWs.
    • In 1942, the Gestapo named her "the White Mouse" and she's wanted #1, going up to five million francs.
    • She escaped to England, where she got training as a spy and in 1944, PARACHUTED back to France to assist with the D-Day preparations.
    • She even commanded 7,000 French troops that engaged in guerrilla warfare to sabotage the Nazi.
    • Once, the supply drops were threatened by the destruction of radio codes. Nancy embarked on a marathon bike ride, cycling about 500 km in 72 hours and bypassing several German checkpoints, just to find an operator to radio Britain and requesting new codes.
      • She once strangled a German soldier, who is about to sound the alarm, WITH HER BARE HANDS. Clearly, her whole life is entirely CMoA.
    • Don't forget her husband, who was tortured and executed by the Gestapo, just for refusing to give up on her. Also counts as a Heartwarming Moment.
  • De Gaulle, a chief of the FFF,'s reaction when the German radio stated that "Free French Soldier will be shot and not taken prisoner for felony," as officially France had surrendered: De Gaulle stated that, from this moment onward, German prisoners will also be shoot, too.
  • It was just after Bir Hakeim, which is a Crowning Moment of Awesome, by itself. The Free French held on to a piece of rock that's in the middle of the desert, being surrounded by all of Rommel's Afrikakorps and their Italian allies, and retreated only after ten days, maybe saving the VIII British army from Ritchie's incompetence.
  • Two years later, this famous French Army, along with its Senegalese and Arabian units, just in a few days, broke through the German lines in Italy that had resisted for months against the Allied assaults.
  • It's stated that before the war officially started, it's just the Chinese versus the Japanese, so this also counts as WW2 related. Another impressive feat during 1937 of arms was accomplished by the Chinese 1st Armored Battlion in the defense of Nanking, but at a great cost. This was perhaps the ONLY unit worth a damn in the Chinese army during that time, having been armed with brand new German light tanks and armored cars, and trained very well by German advisers. (Yep, Hitler wanted Chiang Kai-Shek as an ally and proxy against the USSR in the Far East nor would he never forgave the Japanese for invading China, but that's a topic for another day). They fought with their vehicles until the last of their ammunition for the heavy weapons was used, then dismounted and fought on foot with only pistols against the advancing Japanese. The Chinese fought to the last man and bullet holding the bridges over the Yangtze, allowing the refugees to escape.
    • In October 1937, the Chinese ordered a full evacuation of Shanghai, leaving the Chinese 88th Infantry Division to defend against the huge Japanese invasion force plowing their way through Shanghai. Holding out in a six-story warehouse with the Suzhou River and the British-controlled Neutral Zone behind them, the division, with only 414 men and without any type of heavy, anti-armor, or anti-air weapons, held out against an entire Japanese division armed with explosives, heavy weapons, and tanks for four days straight before the Chinese HQ convinced them to retreat (Xie Jinyuan, the commanding officer, had wanted to defend to the last man after the evacuations were finished).
    • The Chinese Resistance. Holy FUCK the Chinese Resistance. There's apparently millions of case of people from all parts of society (children, old fogeys, physically disabled, and etc.) doing 100% Pure Distilled Badassery acts including but not limited to:
        • Holding bomb charges up against the bottom of a bridge to blow up said bridge just to prevent the Japanese advance. This is just one guy. Holding bomb charges. WITH HIS HANDS.
        • Hiding in an oven with a grenade, the pulling the pin of said grenade when the Japanese mooks walked in to pillage.
        • During the Chinese Moon Festival, where the entire village sham-welcomed the Japanese before enclosing messages to slaughter the Japanese in the traditionally eaten cakes during said festival. At midnight, the whole Japanese garrison was stabbed in their sleep before being displayed as an example.
  • Ioannes Metaxas, the Greek dictator from 1936-1941, was faced with a very blunt request by the Italians to allow them to occupy certain "strategic positions." His blunt response was either: "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Well, then it's war") or "Okhi."("No."). When the Greeks heard of this, they took to the streets en masse in order to enlist, chanting "No" as their answer towards Mussolini. The Greeks proceeded to beat their Italian invaders back until the Germans intervene. Even to this day, Okhi Day is celebrated by the Greeks internationally.
    • It's worth noting that the need to bail out the Italians forced Hitler to divert much needed resources from the Eastern Front, arguably making it impossible for him for to conduct his Russian invasion plans before winter sets in. Many historians believe that the Greeks' defiance changed the whole course of the war in Europe to favor the Allies.
      • Other historians disagree that it even affected the Russian push. Though noting that it's still hardcore.
    • Speaking of the Greeks and hardcore, when Crete was invaded, there's civilian men, youths, women, and even priests all taking to the streets and fields to pulverize the German paratroops to pieces. Once Crete fell, almost the whole island assisted the stranded Allied soldiers and the resistance - Dozens of local girls took up jobs as secretaries for the occupation so they can channel info to the Cretan resistance.
      • A troper's father has talked about how when the Greman motorcycle-paratroopers landed they were immediately beaten to death by very angry Cretan villagers. A friend of the troper even talked about how his father and uncle had yelling matches of who will go back to Greece to fight and which one will stay back. Both wanna go and they only had enough money for one flight from America to Greece.
      • The battle for Crete birthed some massive CMOA from Creforce, the Allied presence there. The British, Canadian, Australian, Kiwi, and Greek soldiers, beset by poor infrastructure, bad communication, and whole divisions being kept in reserve for a sea invasion (which didn't happen), because of a misinterpretation of intelligence reports. And they still nearly won, aboslutely devastating the German invaders, several divsions holding or retaking areas. Special notice was made at the time of the bravery and might of New Zealand's 28th Battalion (Maori), and the determination of the under-armed Greek soldiers and civilians.
      • To be fair, it's also the Germans' CMOA. They were outnumbered, mounted an invasion of an island while in the face of the Royal Navy's superiority, and most importantly, launched the first large-scale use of airborne troops in history, and was successful. While Operation Varsity at the end of the war involved even more paratroopers, this, along with Market Garden, stand as rare examples where paratroopers would be the main assault force of a military operation. And this one was successful (although very pryhiccy so. Fortunately, Hitler dispear by these losses that his Fallschirmjäger sustained that he would never launch another paratroop operation on this scale ever again).
    • During the Fall of Greece, hundreds of British, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers too to the hills and countryside just to avoid captivity. The memorials and documents, like (ADD LINK OF THE STORY) : tells of the help by the Greeks to Australian and NZ escapers; there was the vital help food, clothing, and shelter given to the escapers by the stricken by famine Greek people, who when they did this were risking and losing their lives. On May 24, 1935, the Australian Ambassador to Greece unveiled a memorial recognizing the gratitude of the Commonwealth soldiers in southern Crete towards the local people.
        • To the Greeks, hospitality is always been sacred.
  • The whole island of Malta had its CMOA by surviving a three year siege by the Germans and Italians. For it, the entire population was awarded the George Cross, which is the highest civilian award for gallantry in Britain. Which is now an independent state, the medal is now on its flag.
    • To elaborate further, Malta was one the most heavily bombed allied country during World War II, since they were an important trade route in the Mediterranean. Even though the country was bombed like crazy, many of the ancient buildings survived due to the bravery of the people.
  • Australia's the Kokoda Trail. Let just say that it's been called "Australia's Thermopylae," which is totally justified. Though not at the same magnitude, then again the Persians didn't have assault rifles.
    • This is twice as awesome considering the fact it was a first time for a purely militia force and after the first battle the Japanese believed that they had defeated a huge force of more than 1,200 strong when actually they were facing 77 Australian troops.
      • This somewhat reads as an "Australians are tough" joke.
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"How many were we fighting?"

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"77 mate."

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    • Made thrice as awesome, when the Kokoda trail itself is still killing people, who attempts to walk it.
    • Don't forget that had the Australians lost at the Kokoda and the mainland was invaded, the whole Pacific war would have played out differently with the American resources diverted to help. Americas might still have a victory, but Australia falling would have been even more difficult and at the lost of many more Australians and Japanese.
      • It woulda been more difficult, though as it turned out, Australia just wasn't that important tactically, except to Australians, island hopping and all.
      • Australia was strategically important. The Island Hopping tactic would've been nigh-on impossible with the Japanese using the Australian shipyards, factories, and natural resources instead of the Allied natives. Also, the American submarine ranges and endurance would have been severely limited without their bases in Darwin, Brisbane, and Fremantle.
      • But then again, who wanna invade Australia?
  • Australia again. Rats of Tobruk. I need say no more. Look here (ADD Link EXAMPLE).
  • Before American lend a hand to help in the Pacific front, Australian pilots fought off the Japanese fighters with unarmed training aircraft.
  • The Yogoslav partisans particularly kicked out the Germans by themselves.
  • The Brazilian Expeditionary Force, specially the fighter group that boarded with them. Fighting in the Italian campaign, to quote the other wiki:
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The 1oGAVCA flew a total of 445 missions, 2,550 individual sorties, and 5,465 combat flight hours, from 11 November 1944 to 6 May 1945. The XXII Tactical Air Command acknowledged the effciency of the Group by noting that although it flew only 5% of the total missions carried out by all squadrons under its control, it accomplished a much higher percentage of the total destruction wreaked:
85% of the ammunition depots
36% of the fuel depots
28% of the bridges (19% damaged)
15% of motor vehicles (13% damaged)
10% of horse-drawn vehicles (10% damaged)"

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  • Finland's Crowning Moment of Awesome was during the Winter War. One of the greatest superpowers of the world against a tiny nation still recovering from a civil war. Finland won.
    • For specific deets, the Battle of Suomussalmi. Finland lost 900 men, whereas the Soviet Union lost 27,500 men and 43 tanks and millions worth of equipment.
      • They did not actually win. Finland ended up ceding more land to Russia then they had originally asked for. But, it also wasn't a victory for the Soviet Union either. Yeah they 'won', but look what it took to do so, and they didn't get all of Finland, which allowed the latter to invade Russian later with the Axis nations.
      • The only reason why Russia won anything is they had reserves. Finland had barely any tank force against those thousands of Soviet tanks and yet held out for 4-5 months.
    • Of course, the Finns had to make peace with the Soviets eventually, the two main conditions of which being that they massively demilitarized and got rid of the Germans from Finnish grounds. They did both, and, in what is known as the Lapland War, driving the Germans out of Finland and into still-occupied Norway. When the last Germans fled over to the Norwegian border, only 600 Finnish soldiers, many of them new recruits, pursued them. As such, Finland is the only WW2 country which can make claims to beaten both the Soviet Union and the Third Reich.
    • And, surrounded by despots and tyrants on all sides, Finland spent the whole war a democracy, led by its parliament and President. A CMOA in and of itself.
  • John Rabe. He was a German businessman and a minor Nazi party functionary in Nanking in 1937. He was justly horrified by the atrocities committed by the Japanese. With his Party card and his swastika armband he was able, temporary, to bluff the Japanese into thinking he was some kind of Party bigwig, whom they dared not defy openly. He managed to helped hundreds of Chinese refugees escape. When he went back to Germany and sought an audience with Hitler himself, hoping that the latter could apply some pressure on the Japanese. But Hitler didn't consider this as important; unfortunately, the Gestapo had also noticed that he spoken against one of Germany's ally and they considered this as mega important. John's life was spared since he had friends in high places in the Siemens G Mb H, who were persuasive that he was just a harmless eccentric, but died in poverty a few years after the war.
    • He was surviving just on care packages mailed all the way from China by Chaing Kai Shek's wife during the end.
  • Another Troper's neighbor remembers an unexploded bomb in his village. Though when a bomb disposal team opened the casing, they trace it to a Czech factory, and that's the fuse system which was replaced with cement. Think about it briefly. Czech workers, whose country had been conquered by the Nazis just before the war began, were risking their lives in order to save people that they never know.
    • A different troper read in an interview once about a guy who worked in a Nazi engine factory during the war. Reportedly, they were constructing a deliberately flawed engines, that were to break down not immediately (since doing this can raise suspicions), however, after some time of frontline usage.
    • From a passage of Stephen Ambrose's books regarding this phenomenon. Consider that the Germans reportedly never encountered a single Allied shell that's a dud, while there's many reports of dud German shells. The Allied weapons and equipment were done using slave labor, those people would've found ways to contribute to the war effort and they did that by finding ways to make weapons that passed inspection somehow, but had been tampered with enough so they wouldn't go off.
    • The people, who had to dispose these unexploded bombs were also the unsung heroes of the Second World War. During 1940 and at the Blitz's height, a British Police officer found a "live" unexploded bomb, meaning that it can explode at any time. Grimly, he cordoned off the area and stood alone next to it to warn people to stay away (The street was also busy). He was last seen by a journalist before the bomb went off. No one else was hurt, but the police officer's body was never found.
  • This is not a great military feat of bravery, but this is one of a troper's favorite historical stories.

From Wikipedia

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When Germany invaded Denmark in World War II, the Hungarian chemist George de Hevesy dissolved the gold Nobel Prizes of Max von Laue and James Franck into aqua regia to prevent the Nazis from stealing them. He placed the resulting solution on a shelf in his laboratory at the Niels Bohr Institute. It was subsequently ignored by the Nazis who thought the jar, one of perhaps hundreds on the shelves, contained common chemicals. After the war, de Hevesy returned to find the solution undisturbed and precipitated the gold out of the acid. The gold was returned to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Foundation who recast and presented the medals to Laue and Franck.

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    • Kinda similar to "screwing the Nazis out of treasure" sense: Herman Mark, a German chemist, who was the unfortunately unwise in his choice of ancestors (His dad, even though he had converted to Lutheran, was born Jewish), saw the early signs and managed to escape from Germany with his family via bribing some of the officials. However, knowing that he can't take any valuables out of the country, converted most of his remaining wealth into platinum, which were formed into wire and bent into coat hangers in order to carry it out under the guards' noses.
  • Don't forget the brave Dutch, who had several of these in 5 days before the government surrendered to the terror bombing. Among these are: A single company holding off a full German Division at Kornwerderzand. While defeating the Fallschimjäger, using just nothing but an untrained infantry, engineers, and a few Armored cars in the initial stage (Several Guard regiments arrived later on to punish these allegedly the elite para's), 300 Transport aircraft were destroyed and over a 1,000 German para's were shipped to Britain before the rest were set free by the capitulation. A huge loss from which the Germans were never to recover from.
    • There's no sign that the Dutch armies were failing to German attacks. A ton of soldiers still feel that it amounted to betrayal from the Dutch government to give in to Germany. Haed they stood their ground (as you're always meant to do in terrorism's face, no matter how gruesome), the war may have gotten a much quicker and less massively damaging end.
    • Actually, that's the entire attack. The Germans used 22 divisions, 800 tanks, and 1,1550 planes to take on the Netherlands, which is only 200km (125 miles) wide. Their opponents were the Dutch army, with a grand total of 1 tank and 145 planes. The troops consists mainly of volunteers and green recruits, armed with outdated weaponry (Mostly from before 1900) and whatever they could get together in the last years before the war. The only competent and armed forces, where the navy, who where kind of useless in land-based assault. This should've been a field trip for the powerful Germany army. But, after five days and almost 9,000 casualties, they still hadn't won, and had to resort to a terror bombing campaign - Which was ordered by Hitler himself, since any delay will held up the rest of the campaign. Just to finally get that little flyspeck of a land. If they had not, it is estimated that the Dutch would've stay up for another five to six days, until they ran out of supplies. While both scenarios' where rather inconsequential for the war, it's still an honor for such a small and pacifistic country to pissed off the greatest military power in the world.
    • The Dutch Resistance. Basically, Germany, who considers the Netherlands a part of Aryan promised land, treated the Netherlands decently, so any resistance was slow. However, by the war's end, the Dutch resistance parties were essential for intel on the coastlines and defenses of Germany.
  • Turkey's awesome Crowner of Chessmastery when it was able to stay neutral mainly by convincing everyone that they're "really" on their side.
    • The Emniyet, Turkey's security, has a CMoA by "refereeing" though the war when Istanbul served as a City of Spies.
    • A good example of a CMOS for Turkey was when they attempted to assassinate von Papen, the German Ambassador by the Soviets, mainly hoping that the Germans would blame Turkey. Despite the Russian harassment and indeed from all the Allies, Turkey just mobilized it's troops and dared the Soviets to prevent investigating the incident.
  • The Belfast Blitz's aftermath, 71 firemen from the Republic of Ireland - A very neutral country - Crossed the border to assist. All were volunteers. To top that, Irish President Éamon de Valera formally complained to Berlin about another attack, following this up with the "They are our people" speech. - Remember, this is him as a leader of a neutral country telling off a military might for attacking its main enemy. (The May 31, 1941 bombing of Dublin may be a deliberate act by Germany to discourage this sort of thing of the Republic).
    • Hundreds of Irishmen just went to the UK to enlist, with entire battalions of the IRISH army resigning and enlisting in the BRITISH army (apocraphally). The Irish government turned a blind eye, though a few years before they were two insults away from open war.
    • This is as close as a neutral country, like Ireland, can go to supposed to imprison shot-down airmen from both sides as POWS. They did that, but "unfortunately" Allied soldiers had a habit of managing to escaping back to Northern Ireland. Axis soldiers are stuck.
    • "Imprisoned" ain't the right word, those were fairly flexible arrangements...
  • Although the Philippines gets overlooked a lot, they got their moments. One example was when the Filipino guerrillas were led by Captain Jaun Pajota in WW2, who were instrumental in the Raid at Cabanatuan that rescued hundreds of American POWs. While the American Rangers they were helping take the Japanese POW camps, Pajota and his men bore the full brunt of the Japanese counterattack and despite being outnumbered heavily in the use of a bazooka was even able to take out four Japanese tanks while in battle. The Japanese sustained 523 casualties total while the total casualties, including those injured and killed, of the Filipino guerrillas and the American Rangers numbered under 30. As Captain Robert Prince of the 6th Ranger Battalion, US Army explains:
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"The Guerrillas were our flanking protection at the Cabu River, which was no more than a mile from the camp...There was a sizable force of Japanese, but Pajota and his men just killed everything in sight that came up that river and across the bridge. They were the ones that kept this thing from being a tough deal for us."

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  • The [1] is basically a CMOA since it's the ONLY time Mexico fought on foreign shores. The Mexican Expeditionary Air Force is currently the only branch of the Mexican Armed Forces to ever fight on another country.
  • Even though Taiwan was technically just a POW holding site, it deserves an honorable mention. During 1944, the American navy, the largest and strongest navy in the whole world at the time, didn't take it over. Why? Because the navy leader said: "We're not taking Taiwan; it's the unsinkable battleship." They skirted it and took Okinawa and the Philippines instead.
  • After the defeat at Dieppe and the unsuccessful attempt to defend Hong Kong against Japan, the Canadians weren't ready to surrender. On D-Day, Canadian forces stormed Juno Beach with an opposition second to that of Omaha Beach where the Americans had landed. At the end, they progressed further into France than any of the Allies and they would proceed to librerate Belgium and Netherlands from Germany.
  • Basically it's been established that in WW2, Denmark OWNED. Denmark knew they were too small to hold out against the Germans long. So, to save as many Danes as possible, the government capitulated. But not before they BURNED the entirety of the Danish Navy in Copenhagen's Harbor. This small Nordic nation, knowing it couldn't resist the might of the Third Reich BURNED THEIR OWN NAVY just so that it would not end up being used by the Nazi.
  • The Most Serene Republic of San Marino, a delightful small republic of 24 square miles surrounded by Italy on all sides, populated at that time by approximately 10,000 people, provided safe haven against the Nazi prosecution for over 100,000 Italians and Jewish people. And the managed to remain neutral while doing so, no they weren't invaded. Turns out, when they said "Most Serene" means "Most Sovereign," they WEREN'T FRIGGIN' KIDDING!

The Holocaust - Not One More

The Holocaust was one of the worst atrocities ever committed by humankind. Eleven million people lost their lives because of ideology gone mad. These are the people who saw what was happening and said "Not one more."

  • In Denmark, the rescue of the Jews, basically ranks as one of the most courageous and inspired actions in World War II. The whole country effectively refused to allow the Jews to be taken away to the death camps, most were able to escape to Sweden, who is neutral. No other occupied nation in Europe took such extensive steps to protect its Jewish population - Although many others (i.e. Oskar Schindler and thousands of Poles) also risked their lives to save people from the Holocaust.
  • Albania, both the nations, the people, and as individuals, simply refused to permit the Nazis to carry out the genocide in their nation. ONE JEWISH FAMILY in the whole country were killed, other thousands were pouring in as refugees. The Albanians actually competed with each other for the privilege of saving Jews from the Nazis.
  • The twelfth Sonderkommando's uprising (They're units of concentration camp inmates, mostly Jewish, who were forced to assist the SS in killing by disposing bodies from the gas chambers) in October 1944. They destroyed almost half of the crematoria of the Auschwitz extermination camp, seriously undermining the number of people the Nazis could still kill during the last months of the war, as they were never rebuilt. 200, who didn't die in the uprising itself were forced to strip, lie face down, and were shot in the back of the head in quick succession. A total of 451 members died that day.
  • Raoul Wallenberg. Who is a Swedish diplomat that was posted in Budapest, Hungary. He kept 100,000 Hungarian Jews from being deported to the death camps using naught but a printing press, typewriter ribbon, Xanatos level of cunnings, sheer audacity, and sometimes, intimidation. While deep behind Axis lines, representing a government, who has very few cards to play, and was able to scare Nazis. A Real Life Ambadassador.
    • Another mention goes to an incident where a train was about to leave Budapest to a death camp. Wallenberg climbed to the top of the train, and all the while being shot at, started throwing passes inside so that the Jews can use them to escape death (These passes weren't legal, but they look legit enough to fool the authorities.) After when he was certain that everyone on board has a pass, he got off, walked towards the shocked authorities, and calmly ordered everythone with a pass to step out of the train. And he got away with it, simply because Refuge in Audacity in the most insane and boldest way possible.
  • Chiune Sugihara. A Japanese Vice Consul in Lithuania during 1939-1940, who directly disobeyed orders in issuing thousands of exit visas for botht eh Lithuanian and Polish Jews to escape to Japan (Most of them ended up escaping to Shanghai, and Shanghai had a tiny yet decidedly incongruous Jewish population for years after the war). According to his family, Chiune spent 18-20 hours a day filling out these visas by hand. When he was finally forced to leave just before the consulate was closed, witnesses reports that even on his way from his hotel to the train station and just was when the train was just leaving, he was still filling those things out and throwing them into the crowd. Double amazingly, when one considers that the culture of the Japanese Foreign Service during this time and for him to openly defy his superiors to that huge extent was basically unprecedented for anyone working there. This also explains why he was able to get away with it: The Japanese government was so flabbergasted that one of their own (who, by all accounts, had been a very effective administrator for his whole career) had gone beyond their orders they can't rationalize it besides pretending that it didn't happen.
    • This makes it more awesome was the fact that Sugihara never boasted about his accomplishments once. When an Israeli delegation came to his house to honor him for his actions (Many of them carrying visas Suihara has issued decades ago), all of his neighbors were stunned since they all thought he was just another typical Japanese salaryman.
  • Rabbi Daniel Mowshowitz, who was the Rabbi of Kelm. The Nazis took all of the Jews of Kelm out into the forest, lined them up in front of a pit, and were about to shoot them when Rabbi Mowshowitz asked the Nazi commander if he can say a few words to his flock. The commander gave permission, but to make it quick. The rabbi turned to the assembled Jews and calmly delivered a lecture about Sanctifying God's Name, all the while the Nazis were getting impatient and yelling at him to get on with it. Finally he would up, "Here we are now in the situation that I spoke about a moment ago, meaning, kiddush Hashem [sanctification of God's Name]. Therefore, don't panic; we must accept the decree calmly." And Rabbi Mowshowitz turned to the Nazi commander and said, "I have finished. You can begin."
  • Albert Göring Does the name sound familiar? It does. He's Hermann Göring's brother. One time, he was reported to have joined a group of Jewish women that were forced to scrub the street; when the SS officer, who was in charge, discovered Göring's name after inspecting his identification, was unwilling to see Hermann Göring's brother getting publicly humiliated and ordered them to cease scrubbing. Albert then uses his influence to get his Jewish former boss, Oskar Pilzer, freed after the Nazis arrested the latter. Then helped Pilzer and his family escape from Germany. Albert is reported to have done the same for other dissidents. He then intensified his anti-Nazi activity when he became export director at the Škoda Works in Czechoslovakia. Here, he encouraged minor acts of sabotage and had contact with the Czech resistance. Many occasions, Göring then forges his brother's signature on transit documents to enable dissidents to escape. When he was caught, he used his brother's influence again to get himself released. Göring also sent trucks to Nazi concentration camps with requests for labor. These trucks then stop in an isolated area and their secret passengers would be allowed to escape.
  • Irena Sendler was basically the unsung hero of the Holocaust, before a group of students from Kansas brought her story to light after learning about her from a magazine clipping. A member of the Polish Underground and resistance movement called Zegota, she rescued and found shelter for 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto. Eventually, she was found out, arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death. Fortunately, Żegota members manages to bribe German guards into letting her go on the way to her execution, and lives to fight another day. In 2007, Sendler was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize but lost to Al Gore.
  • The Righteous Among the Nations list: 22,211 men and women from over 45 countries have been recognized as the RAtN, the term is used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews, who risked their very lives during the Holocaust in order to save the Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Risking death for themselves, their families, and to help people that they were told time and time again were subhuman.
    • Basically, it's 22,210 men, women, and one organization. The latter was the Danish Underground, who led the effort to save the Danish Jews (recounted above). Instead of listing them individually, the Underground requested that they be listed as one single group. Given the fact that every Dane was either part of the resistance or knew someone in it, this was very tantamount to saying that the whole country was deserving of the title. The Israeli government, who never forgot the Danes' lone stand against Hitler's policies, were granted the request.
  • Witnesses remember that during the summer of 1944, the German guards at the Warsaw ghetto gates saw what appears to be two drunk and obnoxious Ukrainians, hauling a foul, rotting horse carcass on a horse-drawn wagon. The drunks demand that they enter the ghetto, telling the guards that they wished to sell "this fine meat" to the Jews inside. The German guards were amused by this and allowed them entry. So, the Ukrainians pulled their wagon into the city, and for some hours shouted at the passers-by in an attempt to sell their smelly wares, then left it in the middle of the street, and departed. When people came out during nightfall to remove the carcass, they found it contained half a ton of dynamite, straight out of the black market, without which the Resistance would not have been able to construct nearly so many booby-traps or mines for the August uprising. No one will ever know the names of those two men, who risked their lives in this fashion, but they're remembered as part of the Righteous Among the Nations.
  • Let's say every single person that survived the Holocaust. Another Troper's grandfather needed a second set of papers for his wife, what does he do? He goes to the back door way right as a guy, who was almost an SS-rank, was about to close it. But he put his foot in the way and says "I forgot my papers," this took GUTS. Not to mention that when he got into the hospital he finds that the doctors made the hospital a hospice and essentially weren't giving care to their patients, since they believed they're gonna die anyway. So, he takes it upon himself to nurse his wife back to health. In 2005, he died of heart failure, but the Troper's grandma is still alive 'cause of him.
  • Shesh, nobody has mentioned Elie Wiesel? He wrote Night after all...
    • And Oskar Schindler, 'Course.
  • What about Giorgio Perlasca? He was an Italian businessman who just saved thousands of Jews by posing as an Spanish consul-general to Hungary during the winter of 1944: he was in Hungary just as Italy surrended, so he request political asylum at the Spandish Embassy due to his verteran of the Spanish war status. He started working with Chargé d'Affaires, Ángel Sanz Briz, and other diplomats of neutral states in smuggling Jews out of the country. When the Spanish embassy was moved to Switzerland, he chose to stay and gave the false announcement that Sanz Briz was due to return from a short leave and he just was appointed as substitute. Giorgio protected thousands of people from the S.S. with just lies for three months approximately, knowing that if found out, he would be killed on the spot. When the war ended, he didn't reveal his actions to anyone, until a group of Hungarian Jews, which he saved earlier, found him again. He was asked why did he do it, and his answer? What would you have done in my place? A troper from The Other Tropes Wiki thinks everyone who helped Jews during WWII was a damn hero, but he was really badass.
  • Jose Castellanos Contreras, an Salvadoran army colonel who served as a Consul General in El Salvador during the war. Jose helped rescued close to 40,000 Central European Jews with the help of his friend, Gyorgy Mandl, by issuing them fake papers of Salvadoran nationality. This allowed them to receive aid from the International Red Cross, and as The Other Wiki says, "saved thousands of 'Salvadorans' of Bulgarian, Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian extraction from Nazi depredations." As this says, "Gave meaning to the name El Salvador, which means 'The Savior.'"
  • The Bielski partisans.
  • There's a story, which follows: A group of German volunteers were searching for Jews in a Polish city. The Nazi came to a seemingly abandoned house. Sensing that something was afoot, they kept looking in the house until they found the attic. The trapdoor was closed, but since there's a ladder underneath it. The Germans assumed that there's some Jews hiding up there. Once they get the attic open and one guy clambers up to take a look. There's at least twenty people up there, all of them Jewish. What did the volunteer do? Climbs down and says that there's no one. If anyone else had looked, he would've been in deep shit, but as it happened, everyone in the attic survived to tell the tale.
  • Every single guy that helped hide the Jews during the Holocaust, regardless the great danger that puts him in.
  • Sobibor. Which is the most successful revolt in the Nazi scheme of extermination camps, carried out on October 14, 1943, 600 inmates led by Polish-Jewish prisoner, Leon Feldhendler, and Soviet-Jewish POW, Alexander Pechersky, killed 11 SS officers, cut off the camp's electrical power, fought back, and ran for their lives under fire and getting past a field of landmines. Of those 600, half made it out alive, and only 50 to 70 lived to see the war's end.
  • To basically some the above deeds and those which are not mentioned here, the Wikipedia article for the Righteous among the Nations is linked in the Saints Portal, which places these ordinary men, women, and kids in the same category as those that are canonized by the Catholic Church and the original followers of Jesus Christ.

Individual Heroes

Superheroes and fictional badasses bow to no one... except to these guys.

  • Two words: Léo. Major. Quoting from Cracked: A private in the Regiment de la Chaudiere, Leo Major got his first taste of combat during the Normandy landings, where he single-handedly captured a German half-track and had his left eye burned out with phosphorus. After successfully arguing that he shouldn't be sent back to Canada, since he only needed his right eye to look down the sights of his rife (an argument as logically sound as it was existentially terrifying), he kept fighting across France, Belgium, and Holland. In 1945, a Canadian army company was captured while patrolling near the German-held Dutch town of Zwolle. The Canadians decided to bring up the heavy guns and level the whole damn town, but first, they needed to know where the Germans were, and perhaps also to contact the Dutch resistance to see if they would terribly mind being exploded today. Major and a friend, Willie Arsenault, volunteered for the exceptionally dangerous scouting mission inside the town about to be blown to hell. And then they thought: Fuck that. Why waste a perfectly good town? Wouldn't it be better if they just captured the damn thing themselves while they were down there? Seeing no problem with that plan, they each took a machine gun and waited until nightfall. Under the cover of darkness, the two men crept toward the first outpost covering the approach to the town. Unfortunately (for the Germans), the sentry heard them coming and fired at the noise, killing Arsenault. Major took the gun out of his dead friend's hands and charged down the whole damn town. He shot the sentry and the guy next to him (and probably the horse they rode in on). The rest of the Germans in the bunker fled, leaving behind a small ammunition dump. Major strapped a captured German machine gun, Arsenault's leftover weapon, and his own rifle to his back, then filled a sack with grenades and made his way toward the town center. He spent the rest of the night ambushing patrols in the town, most of which fled (understandably) from the guy swinging a grenade sack dressed in a jacket made out of machine guns. He found the local SS Headquarters, kicked down the front door and killed most of the death squad inside, then set fire to the Gestapo HQ and continued to hurl grenades at isolated groups of German soldiers until the entire force fled the town.
    • They gave him the Distinguished Conduct Medal for liberating Zwolle single-handedly. Major was awarded a second DCM during the Korean War - he's one of only three people to be awarded the medal twice in different wars.
  • Baker, Thomas A. Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 105th Infantry, 27th Infantry Division. Place and date: Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. Here's his Medal of Honor Citation.
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"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.) Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company to assault the ridge. Some days later while his company advanced across the open field flanked with obstructions and places of concealment for the enemy, Sgt. Baker again voluntarily took up a position in the rear to protect the company against surprise attack and came upon 2 heavily fortified enemy pockets manned by 2 officers and 10 enlisted men which had been bypassed. Without regard for such superior numbers, he unhesitatingly attacked and killed all of them. Five hundred yards farther, he discovered 6 men of the enemy who had concealed themselves behind our lines and destroyed all of them. On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded. At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting position against a small tree. Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance. Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier's pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker's body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him. His deeds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army."

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    • That's right folks, this man was too weak to sit up on his own after being wounded, was left with a pistol with eight rounds and propped up against a tree. When they retook the area, he had eight dead Japanese around him. All this after breaking his rifle in hand-to-hand combat after running out of ammo.
  • Joseph T. O'Callahan. From his Medal of Honor citation:
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"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets, and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever-increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led firefighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts, despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude, and deep spiritual strength, Lt. Comdr. O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port."

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  • Nancy Wake, "The White Mouse", was a young Australian journalist who had married a French businessman. She joined the resistance movement as a courier, smuggling messages and supplies to underground groups and helped spirit away many Allied prisoners of war. In 1942, the Gestapo named her "the White Mouse". She was #1 on their wanted list, going for five million francs.
    • She escaped to England where she trained as a spy and in 1944, PARACHUTED back to France to help with the D-day preparations.
    • She commanded 7,000 French troops that engaged in guerrilla warfare to sabotage the Nazis.
    • Once, the supply drops were threatened by the destruction of radio codes. She embarked on a marathon bike ride, cycling about 500 km in 72 hours and crossing several German checkpoints, in order to find an operator to radio Britain and request new codes.
      • She once strangled a German soldier who was about to give the alert, WITH HER BARE HANDS.
    • Let's not forget her husband who was tortured and executed by the Gestapo for refusing to give her up.
  • Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, the 101st Airborne Division's acting commander in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, performed one of the greatest CMoA during the war. The American defenders were surrounded and encircled by an overwhelming attack by the Germans. Also, the German commander sent a communication asking that they, the Americans, surrender honorably to avoid defeat, which is inevitable. McAuliffe response? "Nuts!" One of his aides commented that the Germans might want something more official, so he even grabbed the nearest piece of paper and wrote it down for them. The Americans continue to repeal the attack and break through. The fun part is that neither side, Axis and the other Allies, understood what that meant, so another message was also sent to get the gist of it: "Go to Hell!"
    • An editor has heard it was suggested that "Nuts" was the bowdlerized version of the real deal message.
      • Not according to the then-Lt.Colonel Harry Kinnard, at the time McAuliffe's G-3 (Or Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations). His words on the topic can be found here.
    • Saluted in the Patton movie by George Patton with the effect of "A guy this eloquent deserves for us to rescue him." Unknown if the actual Patton ever said that, but you know how awesome when movie! Patton bows to you.
  • Princess Alice of Battenberg. This CMoA has a Disney feel to it: She's a Greek princess, who hid Jews from the Nazis, worked for the Red Cross, smuggled in the medical supplies, organized two shelters for orphaned children, and even set up nursing centers. When the war was over, she was distributing food even as fighting raged throughout Greece.
    • Since she has German relatives, the Nazis thought she was sympathetic to their cause. One general came to her and asked: "Is there anything I can do for you?" She answered, "You can take your troops out of my country."
    • Also, she did all of this while the completely deaf and having recovered from paranoid schizophrenia recently.
    • After she was told that she was shot by a stray bullet, Princess Alice replies, "They tell me that you don't hear the shot that kills you and in any case I am deaf. So, why worry about that?"
  • Major James H. Howard., a Major in the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF), was escourting a force of B-17 bombers on a Berlin raid when he and his flight of P-51 Mustangs were ambushed by German Luftwaffe planes. While this was happening, he was separated from the rest of the flight because of the confusion and clouds, Howard was left to take on less than thirty German fighters alone! During a period of an half-hour or more, he made furious climbing and diving attacks. Even though his three of his Mustang's machine guns jammed, Howard continued blasting away with the last remaining machine gun, until fuel ran low. Thanks in part to his and his group's efforts, not a single Allied bomber was shot. After Howard landed, found out that there's one bullet hole in his plane; he was credited with approximately three (and maybe up to six) kills, and would earn the Medal of Honor.
  • Audie Murphy. Her Crowning Moment of Awesome came when he and his unit were attacked by the Germans during January 1945. Murphy climbed on a tank destroyer, which was burning, manned its .50-caliber machine gun, and began firing for all it's worth. Occasionally, the Germans got so close that Murphy called down artillery fire right onto his own position! After the smoke cleared, over 50 Germans lay dead or injured. Murphy earned the Medal of Honor for this action, among other awards for other actions, including the Croix de Guerre, France's highest military award. Audie Murphy ended WW2 as the single most decorated soldier in history.
    • Audie wasn't the only hero among the American Tank Destroyer crew however. While the Battle of the Bulge was happening, a tank destroyer crew performed so awesomely of destroying seven German Panzers with seven consecutive shots. The German force commander, who's also an SS officer, was literally crying and considered this as the worst day of his life. Although the names of his crewmen were lost to history, a troper's friend paid a wonderful tribute after he heard the story: "Those guys must have a special place in Heaven for making the SS cry."
    • Also, a U.S. armored unit was reating from a savage advance from the Germans in Ardennes when a sergeant saw a lone PFC looking for a spot to park their rig. When he said yes, the PFC told him to pull it in behind him. Why? "I'm the 82nd Airborne, and this is as far as the bastards are going!"
    • According to the Cracked article (which also includes snipers, Simo Häyhä and "Mad Jack" Churchill), Murphy's actions were so badass that in his morale-boosting biopic (Where he played as himself) "He actually had them take parts out for fear that they wouldn't be believable to a Hollywood audience." The biopic was Universal's highest-grossing movie, only supplanted when Jaws opened.
      • They even pointed out that "Mad Jack" had malaria for the most of his service.
    • It's fitting, all things considered, especially since the first Medal of Honor's God Mode cheat was named after Murphy.
    • After the war, Murphy suffered from very severe PTSD. Instead of brushing it off as "weakness" or "fatigue" like his colleagues have done, he spoke out about it and this changed the mental health treatment of troops forever.
  • Jack Churchill. Some of his more notable exploits includes capturing a whole village by ambushing the sentries with his claymore, escaping execution after being captured by claiming to be a relative of Winston's and escaping from Sachsenhausen concentration camp with one of the men, who inspired The Great Escape.
    • Figures that any 20th century soldier that carries a broadsword into combat. And then justifies it by saying, "Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed." Is going to have a career filled with Crowning Moments of Awesome.
    • He's also the only soldier in World War II to have killed someone with a longbow successfully.
      • Not the only one, Danish nobleman, English Commando and first-class Bad Ass, Anders Lassen was (in)famous for his skill of using the hunting bow and knife to kill both the Germans and Italians silently. He's either the highest decorated or amongst the highest decorated or amongst the highest decorated foreigner EVER in the English service, definitely in WW2. - And also the only SBS member to get the Victoria Cross. Just in contrast of both the Danes and other heroes in WWII, Andres Lassen apparently enjoys the war and killing, he's very much like his Viking forefathers in a Blood Knight and Proud Warrior Race Guy way. To top it all off, Anders never seems to have settle down for the quiet life, since he was killed in action on April 9, 1945; taking on three German machine gun nests while doing this and winning the VC posthumously (Ironically, the day was the fifth anniversary of the Nazi occupation in Denmark). If one reads the Danish The Other Wiki, which has an article on him here: The English one is just tiny.
  • This Tv Trope Troper vividly remembers of his grandfather telling him a tale of how one of his friends during the war - now sadly died of old age and who had formerly been an inoffensive butcher - The ship which he was on had completely ran out of ammunition for the soldiers on board. Also they were held up at gunpoint by the U-boat Nazis. Here's the awesome bit - The troper's grandfather's friend leaped down onto the U-boat and killed six armed Nazi soldiers with just a freakin' cutlass. The U-boat was captured, the ship saved, and his grandfather showed this troper a newspaper clipping that detailed this happening.
    • There's a similar story with the Canadian navy. A U-boat surfaced right next to one of their destroyers in the Tropics. It's too close to hit with the destroyer's main guns, so the crew took to throwing Coke bottles at the U-boat crew. Two Canadians jumped onto the deck of the U-boat, armed ownly with pistols, and one of them was completely naked. Two Germans jumped off the U-boat in fear and the rest were captured.
  • In WWII, to some soldiers being vivisected couldn't stop them. There's a story about a soldier whose stomach was cut open thanks to an explosion! Did he give up? No, he tied himself to a tree, just to keep himself upright, kept on firing until he ran of ammo, and before he died of his injuries.
  • Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in the Pacific. Just because of his role, he gets an aircraft carrier class named after him. Though this isn't the only thing named after him.
    • Adm. Nimitz displayed two bits of magnanimity awesomeness. Upon landing in Japan during the war's conclusion, one of the first things that he did was visit the Japanese military hospital. In 1961, he helped sponsor the Japanese museum ship, Mikasa,'s restoration. Which had been the flagship in the Russo-Japanese war.
    • When he was an Ensign, Nimitz was court-martialed and convicted of hazarding a Navy ship, something which usually is a career killer. - Yet he went on to become a 5-star admiral. Now that's Bad Ass.
    • Most of Nimitz's CMOA involved him putting his trust in his Radio Intelligence unit and his own instincts, against the advice of his senior officers - And being right every time.
    • Merely the simple fact that Nimitz somehow managed to get his senior officers, not just a few which hated each other, to work together, and with an army of officers even he despised, virtually seamlessly through the whole war is an accomplish CMOA itself, especially with the personalities involved. Also, a few victories that became a reality just 'cause Nimitz was just *that* much of a people person. His basic strategy was to "do as little as possible," by finding competent people for every task that he can think of, to the point that he could theoretically just go on a vacation for weeks and yet left the war effort going on without a hiccup. Nice guy that he was, even managed to find creative ways of shuffling people to were he felt incompetent into jobs were their were useful, just to the point that he almost never had to demote or fire anyone. Is there a trope for Badass Manager?
  • Brigadier Gen. Theodore Roosevelt (Son of President Teddy Roosevelt, who had numerous CMoA himself) requested several times to lead the assault on Utah Beach on D-Day personally. He was suppose to land with the first wave and since he's the oldest man on the beaches at age 57. The landings at Utah beach had drifted a mile off course. Roosevelt, armed with a pistol and using a because of his arthritis and wounds that he had suffered during World War I, led the reconnaissance of that area, returned to the landing, and declared, "We'll start the war from right here!" and effortlessly averted a huge military disaster by directing each landing to its changed objectives personally, securing the westernmost flank of the Normandy Landings. He later earn the Medal of Honor for these actions.
  • Edward "Teddy" Sheean, who was just a seaman on board the HMAS Armadale, when the Japanese attacked the ship, critically damaging it, and began to strafe the men in the water. Teddy strapped himself into one of the AA guns of the ship and covered the men overboard. Even when the ship sank, rounds were still coming out of the water. Today there's a Australian naval submarine named after him, the HMAS Sheean.
    • Fittingly, the HMAS Sheean's motto would be two simple words: "Fight on."
  • Charles Hazlitt Upham. A New Zealander and one of the three men in history to get two Victoria Crosses (The highest Commonwealth award for Valor) for his combatant bravery (A feat which is also unmatched for the American Congressional Medal of Honor).
    • Why? Because he received his first Victoria Cross due to NUMEROUS acts of gallantry during the defense of Crete (Though it was hopeless), including single handedly taking out enemy positions on several locations, leading his platoon through enemy fire, saving other soldiers from enemy fire, and finally killing 22 Germans in a single engagement. He, Charles Upham, did all of that while suffering from a very severe dysentery, which gave him a "skeletal appearance," and badly wounded in the foot and shoulder which came from being blown up by mortar fire, twice.
    • Upham's second VC was equally deserved. He received it in the July 1942 attack on Ruweisat Ridge, Egypt. This time it's hand grenades. He did all of this, with one elbow shattered thanks to machine gun fire. (Hence the "single-handed" part). After this action, he was captured, made a PoW wherein he made so many escape attempts he was labeled as dangerous, and sent to the infamous Colditz castle. When he finally was able to escape, Charles Upham re-armed himself and went to the small local town to hunt more Germans.
      • See this page for more of Charles Upham.
  • Maynard H. Smith, a ball-turret gunner on board a B-17, took on extreme odds when his plane caught on fire after being hit by anti-aircraft fire. Smith got the ball turret out in case he would need to bail, and saw that the fire surrounded him on either sides, and closing in on him. Deciding to stay and help, he tended to two wounded crewmembers (a very difficult task due to the fire, freezing cold winds, and the heavy clothes that B-17 crews need to wear to protect them from the cold), then grabbed a fire extinguisher. While fighting the fire, a couple of German FW-190 fighters attack, so he manned a .50-caliber defensive gun and fired away until the enemy planes fell back. A .30-caliber bullet hit him in the back and would've killed him had not it been for his parachute pack. Smith threw the burning 100-pound ammunition boxes out of the plane (he weighed around 130 pounds), then when he used up the last fire extinguisher, he urinated on the fire, and used his hands and feet to attempt to extinguish it. The pilot of a nearby B-17 said, "That he did not lose his life by these actions is a matter entirely with his Creator." Needless to say, Maynard Smith won the Medal of Honor.
  • The Battle of Kiev. Which is the biggest encirclement in history, the Soviet forces ultimately lost, but they held up the Germans for four weeks, which is enough to swing both the campaign and the whole war.
  • You're missing George Patton, who took on Palermo in the Italian Campaign. When the high command brought him an order telling him to not attack Palermo, he told the messenger to ask high command, "Do they want me to give it back?"
  • In April 1945, a German fighter rammed a bomber, the US bomber crew kept their aircraft airborne for approximately 45 minutes. Until they managed to reach an Allied airbase in Belgium.
  • One name. Jasper Maskelyne. His whole military career basically was a long Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • One example, since Maskelyne was magician, he applied his talents to the war effort. Useless or trivial, right? Wrong. Alexandria was suffering constant nighttime raids by German bombers? Jasper's idea? Concealed Alexandria - One of Egypt's largest cities. - By building a mockup of the night-lights of Alexandria in a bay three miles away, complete with fake buildings, lighthouses, and anti-aircraft batteries. He even masked the Suez Canal, by building a revolving cone of mirrors that created a wheel of spinning light nine miles wide, this is to dazzle and disorient enemy pilots, so that their bombs would fall off-target. Lastly, Maskelyne planted fake bomb damage in the real Alexandria so the German reconnaissance flights would be fooled into thinking that they hit the target. It worked, the Germans were fooled.
  • William Patrick Hitler deserves a mention for being a Magnificent Bastard. He was Adolf's least favorite Nephew, living in England with his mother. In 1933, William moved to Berlin just when the Nazis began coming to power, thus he began to take advantage of his last name. His uncle gave him jobs, but eventually blackmailing him about a dark patch in the Hitler family tree (either it was someone being Jewish or being a polygamist), which would have ruined Hitler's reputation for a spotless family record. It worked and Willy lived off of his uncle until 1938, when Adolf tried to get him to renounce his English citizenship. The nephew fled the country, winding up in America, using the Hitler name to his advantage, where he became a minor celebrity as a foe of the Nazis. After a lecture tour of how his uncle was an asshole, during the outbreak of WWII, he got stranded in the US. William fought for the American Navy. After the war, he lived anonymously in the USA with his wife.
    • Allegedly, an American soldier was named Adolf Hitler. When asked about changing his name, he answered "Let the other guy change his."
  • Admiral Cunningham, who is also of the British Royal Navy, uttered the most memorable and courageous line, during the evacuation of Crete. The British fleet was under immense air attack from German bombers, but there were thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers, who still needed to be saved. When one of Cunningham's ships was blown up by the bombers, one of Cunningham's officers advised that he withdraw. The Admiral stoically replied: "It takes three years to build a ship. It takes three hundred to build a reputation. The evacuation will continue!"
    • It was General Wavell, who was the C-in-C of all the British forces in the Mediterranean area during that time. A meeting in Alexandria over whether the Mediterranean Fleet could sustain. Cunningham (Still misquoted to this day) summed up the situation "It takes three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition. The evacuation will continue." - Later, in his autobiography that "There is rightly little credit or glory to be expected in these operations of retreat." To quote Alexander Fullerton's novel, Last Lift From Crete:
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The tradition held up. And bringing sixteen and a half thousand soldiers out of the island cost not only ships but the lives of two thousand men of the Royal Navy. With the greatest respect for the memory of A.B.C., I'd say there was glory.

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  • For individual CMoAs, there's the official listing of the Medal of Honor recipients. There's one particular story: during a small-scale retreat in the Pacific Theater, a soldier was woulded. Another tried to carry him out, but the injured man refused and instead ask for a gun. He was given a eight rounds Colt and propped against a tree facing the foe. US forces returned a bit later to find him dead, with eight Japanese soldiers killed with a single bullet. Plus, the allied guy wasn't killed: He succumbed to his wounds. Bad. Ass.
    • Another recipient for the Medal of Honor: Was a medic, who continually ran out, under fire, and according to the official report, was responsible for saving the lives of a dozen of soldiers on the battlefield. Takes guts to run out under fire. He did it all unarmed. He was a conscientious objector and refused to carry a weapon.
    • One of the recipients, Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams, was a flamethrower specialist (a weapon which takes some serious balls to carry into battle, because it's carrying two full tanks of highly flammable napalm on their backs) in the Pacific Theater. While the Iwo Jima invasion was going on, the Marine cleared out seven Japanese strongpoints and halted a banzai charge during the course of a single day, while all the bullets were ricocheting off of this fuel tanks. He only retreated once, since he ran out of fuel.
    • Pvt. Harold H. Moon, age 23, participated in the Battle of Leyte. Now Moon had a reputation as a troublemaker. Also, he was released from the stockade so he can participate in battle. During a Japanese counterattack against the U.S. beachhead, his position was the target of both enemy gunfire and mortars after his comrades were killed. Moon man a machine gun in his foxhole, gunning down any advancing troops, and repeatedly exposed himself to kill the attackers. His surrounded position was the focal point of the attack for more than four hours. Frustrated, the Japanese sent a whole platoon to overwhelm the American Private; he emptied his entire magazine into the advancing line, killing eighteen and sending the others retreat. Eventually, he was finally shot and killed after attempting to lob a grenade at a foe machine gun. When men that were sent to recover Moon's body, they discovered corpses approximately 200 dead Japanese soldiers about 100 yards of his position.
    • Douglas Munro, 22. He was the ONLY Coast Guardsman to win the Medal of Honor. Which he got during Guadalcanal, by drawing enemy fire to himself while juggling the evacuation of 500 Marines.
  • Werner Göring, the nephew of Luftwaffe chief, Hermann Göring. Werner was borned in the United States, joined the USAAF, and flew B-17s...with Jack Rencher, who was considered as "uniquely qualified" and was ordered to shoot him if the latter ever attempted to land in Germany. However, Rencher related that Göring was a first rate pilot, and that was the only time he was less eager to rain destruction on Germany was when Cologne was their target, since his grandmother lived there. Nevertheless, Göring who stated that Rencher could have been easily excused from the mission, pressed on and carried it out.
  • ULTRA - The German and Japanese codes being decrypted, as well as the huge deception effort to make sure the Germans did not find out. It's Generally believed to have shortened WW2 by two years.
    • Resulting in the creation of the world's first electronic computer.
  • USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the first ship that gain the Presidential Unit Citation (Which is the highest honor for a US unit) and participated in tons of major actions than any other US ship (20 battle stars). During one point, it was the only battle-ready carrier in the Pacific. Plus, it was the only foreign vessel to receive the Royal Navy's British Admiralty Pennant during it's 400 year history awards.
    • The name was also re-used for the world's first nuclear carrier and a certain Star Trek vessel.
    • That time, the Enterprise was also the sole Allied Carrier in the Pacific, her captain hoisted a sign containing three words that sums up his crew's determination: "Enterprise vs. Japan.
    • During the later part of the war, the Japanese became so obsessed with destroying the Enterprise that any time they spotted an American carrier, it was almost inevitably reported as an "Enterprise-class" carrier. Regardless, by this point, the Enterprise was the sole surviving ship of her class (which was actually the Yorktown-class), and the majority of American fleet carriers are now the Essex-class, which are larger and more power.
  • The Doolittle Raid.
    • In honor of the Doolittle Raid, the Air and Space Operations Center in Tucson, Arizona, was named the Doolittle Center.
  • The 332nd Fighter Group, aka the Tuskegee Airmen, which are America's first Black pilots and legends of World War II. Synonymous with CMOA. Up to this day, they're still considered some of the greatest fighter pilots in aerial combat history. Considering that they were able to defeat German jet fighters with propeller planes, they can hardly be described as anything else.
    • Also their commander, Lt. Col. Benjamin Davis, became the first Black general in the US Air Force.
  • Simo Häyhä, who made 542 confirmed kills with a bolt action rifle against Soviet soldiers and during the 100 days of the the Winter War. Which is more than any sniper in history. He also killed approximately 200 more with a submachine gun. Over 700 confirmed kills, way more than anyone before or after. The Soviets wanted to kill him so badly that they used counter snipers and called in artillery strikes, just to kill one man. Nicknamed "White Death" by the same people who taught both Napoleon and Hilter to fear winter. Badass.
    • He did this all using naught but iron sights.
    • One lucky Russian somehow manage to shoot Häyhä in the jaw. He survived the head wound, but woke up from his coma a week later just to find that the war ended, and finally died in 2002.
      • Simo got a bullet, possibly explosive, to his jaw, but it didn't take him out. He FIRST recovered his rifle and shot the guy, who done it. Then passed out - That's badass for you. The fact that he was just an extraordinary ordinary man makes it more so; Badass Normal? He was just a simple Finnish farmer and hunter defending his country, for one thing he didn't enjoy killings, though didn't feel bad either. The Commies had invaded his country and Simo hadn't invited them.
    • Another AFAICR Finn from the Winter War was also the second-highest scoring sniper of all time. Just with 20 or so kills shy than Simo.
    • Of course, the nicknames, "The White Death" sounds slightly less badass when Russians call sugar that as well.
      • The Russians were probably more terrified of Simo hiding in their sugar, waiting.
  • Both the Finns and the Western allies that had made deals with their respective Devils. But the Finns just had to be closer to their unpleasant co-belligerents that the Western Allies. Some of the Finish soldiers were Jews, leading to some odd results.
    • Finnish battalion Solomon Klass, a commander, rescued a German unit that was surrounded and was offered an Iron Cross. Klass refused promptly.
    • Some Finnish Jewish soldiers set up a field Synagogue, which is a few feet from the German camp and made sure the Germans can hear them.
    • The Finnish prime minister, when Himmler asked how Germany might help Finland's "Jewish Problem," is reputed to replied "Finland has no Jewish problem."
  • Alexander Matrosov, the Hero of the Soviet Union, got that distinction posthumously after using his own body to block a German machine gun during an offensive.
  • Hideki Tojo, combined a Crowning Moment of Awesome, Go Out with a Smile, The Atoner, and Redemption Equals Death with his final words from the gallows. He accepted responsibility for his crimes fully, apologized for everything, begged the Americans to be merciful to the Japanese people, and then, according to some witnesses (Though accounts vary), he threw himself from the gallows to get it over with.
  • In the Battle of Britain has a particular CMOA - Flight Lieutenant John Nicolson was flying a Hawker Hurricane when he was shot by German fighters, that set his aircraft on fire and cause Lt. Nicolson to get bad burns. When he was climbing out, he saw a BF 110 in front and return back in, shot the German plane down, then bailed out, sustaining further injuries when Local Defense Volunteers mistakenly assume he was German. The Flight Lieutenant survived and recovered, just to win two Victoria Crosses, being one of the Commonwealth fighter pilots to win it.
  • As was detailed in the Band of Brothers book, the Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Regiment was Made of Win. During D-Day, (then) First Lt. Richard Winters and twelve Easy Company men capture an artillery battery, despite only having command of the company for less than a day (The Company CO's plane went down before they can jump). They killed 15 Germans, wounded approximately a dozen, and defeated fifty soldiers at least. The Easy Company only had two casualties. When asked to describe the mission to a military historian, Winters just said, "Well, Sir, we set up a base of fire, moved under it, and took the first gun, then repeated that plan for the second, third, and fourth gun."
    • In the Brécourt Manor Assult, Winters got hold of a map which tells all of the enemy positions and guns in Normandy. Nearly everyone who participated was awarded. Winters, for leading the assault, was given the Distinguished Service Cross award (2nd only to the Medal of Honor). He was even nominated for the MoH, but there's a only one person per division would be awarded with it. Instead, the Medal of Honor was given to Lt. Col. Cole who died while leading the bayonet charge.
    • Actually, Lt. Col. Cole survived the charge. So many men were being killed by Germans in the roadway, hitting them on the side that he ordered the men to fix bayonets and leapt over first with a pistol in hand. Badass. Sadly, in Operation Market Garden, Cole was killed by a sniper.
    • Charging Carentan, when the Easy Company was up front with Winters commanding and the Battalion Officers watching behind them. The 1st Platoon charged up the road into town, but they were immediately fired upon by enemy gunners. Some of the men got through, kept on charging, but most dived into the ditches and eventually got cut down by the guns, Winters ran straight to the midst of the road, in plain sight and completely without cover from enemy fire, screamed at the men to get moving and ran back and forth as he kicked the men into motion - Literally. The men were surprised by Winters, whom they never heard raised his voice before, that snapped them out of their fright and shocked, that they finally moved. In addition, the enemy were so confused by Winters' assumed lunacy that they just focused on him completely and allowed the rest of the 1st platoon to get into town. For his part, Winters was completely unconcerned that the enemy fire was focused on him and that bullets from quite a number of guns were whizzing by his head and body. Somehow not a single one managed to hit him.
    • Then-Captain Winters also led an assault against the German forces that were on the crossroads during Market Garden.
    • During the Battle of the Bulge, Easy Company, despite being understrength, lack of proper weather gear, and without sufficient ammo (at one point, an artillery cannon had three rounds, and most of the soldiers had two clips for their M1, a total of sixteen rounds), Easy not just held off the German advance, since they're surrounded, but when one of the soldiers was taken off the front line for injuries, asked why the wounded were not evacuated,
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Medic: "They've got us surrounded. Poor bastards."

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      • In one episode of the HBO series, when Easy Company's first and second platoons got separated from the India Company by German soldiers, Ronald Spiers ran through the Germans just to get the word to the Item Company.
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Narrator: "At first, the Germans didn't shoot at him. I think they couldn't quite believe what they were seeing, but that wasn't the really astounding thing. The astounding thing was that after he hooked up with I company, he came back."

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        • According to most eyewitness accounts, Spiers was credited also with taking the fourth gun emplacement all by himself on D-Day.
  • The Civil Air Patrol was created just as an organization to preserved aviation history for civilians instead of letting them become the sole domain of government, like what Nazi Germany, right after Pearl Harbor. During World War II, people within the military doubted whether or not civilian volunteers are effective. Several days into their probationary period, they spot a sinking merchant ship and saving the lives of the surviving crew. Events like these are eventually leading to the CAP's CMoA, where they sunk a U-boat, taking time to loose another depth charge on the sub, despite the fact they're running low of fuel. After that, CAP pilots proceeded to sink another one, damage 10 others, track a good number of others for the Army Air Corps to take on, and would often times fake dive bombing runs as though they aren't armed, driving the subs underwater and wasting their time. A German submariner remarked that they had to stop their coastal operations "because of those damn yellow red planes." That's correct, a bunch of civilians doing this part time were considered a threat to Nazi Germany's navy. Now they're the U.S. Air Force's civilian auxiliary.
  • Col. Joseph A. Gregory, who is a sniper and WW 1 veteran from Canada had a CMOA at Dieppe. After when he and his squadmates clear a few bunkers, he went to the beach to catch the last ships to England. A boat that was stuck in the sand and while helping to push it out, a bullet ircocheting of the water whizzed past his forehead, blinding him on one eye, and knocking him into the water. He got up and proceeded to board another boat, which was then sunk from under him. He made for another motorboat, and was pulled into it by Sgt. Major McEvoy, who nursed his head and carried him over to a destroyer and into sickbay, where he said, "You'll be alright now, Joe." Just when the Sargent spoke, a dive bomb hit sickbay, killing McEvoy, knocking Colonel Gregory out, and washed him into the sea. Another boat fished him out of the water and was put beside an Oerlikon gun, which made enough noise to knock him out again. Later he came to one of the gunners and asked, "Holy Jesus, we're pretty near home?" The receiving answer "Home be b-we're still at Dieppe." The colonel survived the rest of the war and the Canadian Army employed him for recruitment advertising.
    • Another Canadian from Dieppe was captured. First, he escaped from the CATTLE TRAIN that was carrying Canadian prisoners by jumping out after ALMOST BEING SPOTTED several times, trekked all the way down to Vichy France, got on a British ship to Gibraltar, and from there a long hike back to Britain. That's right, this guy traversed in just a few days across France. Also, he went to help form the Brittany Escape Line, a very ballsy operation which smuggled downed airmen, escaped POW's, and espionage/spy agents, who managed to get out of France before the Gestapo caught them.
    • Found it, the founder of the Brittany Escape Line (aka Shelburne Escape Line)'s name is Guy Hamilton.
      • It's one of the few Underground escape lines that evaded infiltration by the Gestapo.
  • King Christian X of Denmark has several candidates. Unlike the other monarchs of his time and went into exile, he remained in Copenhagen, and officially voiced support of the government's position of cooperation, this served as a symbolic form of resistance to Nazi Germany. Several examples:
    • During his daily horseback rides in the city, he would respond to greetings from his people - But made a point to ignore the German salutes that come his way. King Christian wasn't accompanized by a guard, and, according to legend, when asked about this by a Nazi officer, a little boy replied "All of Denmark is his bodyguard."
    • Hitler sent him a birthday greeting, replying nothing more than "My best thanks, King Chr." It's like if Hitler had sent him a birthday phone call, and the king responded, "Yeah, thanks," and abruptly hang up. Christian's message outraged The Führer that he recalled the German ambassador and expelled the Danish ambassador from Germany.
      • The King also responded to Hitler's order of having Danish Jews wear a yellow star...by wearing one himself. All of Denmark promptly followed suit, and this made Hitler cancel his plan.
  • Dutch Major Landzaat, who co-ordinated the HQ's defense from behind a machine gun and ordered the remaining troops to get to safety, after the fighting, his men recovered his remains from the burnt out remnants of the HQ.
  • A troper's friend relate this story (Note: some cool details were left out, in case they're incorrect): The friend's great uncle was a Catholic priest that lived in northern Germany during the war. The town was small, "Where everybody knows your name," etc. and the church, was well-nigh ancient. The priest was decidedly anti-Nazi. He would gather up everyone who needed to disappear before they "disappeared" by force by the Nazis: Jews, Gypsies, etc. They would all attend the Sunday Mass at church, scattered across his congregation. At Communion, everyone lines up to receive Communion. The priest gives Communion to each person, but when he got to someone that needed his disappearing services, he'll claim to run out of the Communion wafers. The priest, alter boys, and assistants would go around behind the altar, where he would pretend to get more wafers. There was a door leading down to hidden catacombs underneath the church. Now this town is very close to the Belgian border and the catacombs lead far enough to the outskirts of town to get people almost to Belgium. It wasn't exactly safe there, either, but it's certainly safer than Germany itself. So the priest would send the person through the catacombs to relative safety then come back with more Communion wafers. Until, of course, another person needing assistance got to the front of the line, at which he ran out of Communion wafers again. The Nazis eventually found out and very impolitely instructed him to cease, and plus, they'll be watching. To enforce this injunction, the Nazi sent "observers" to his church to make sure he enforces the party line. At the first Mass were the priest sees the observers, he decides to do his "Hitler is actually the Anti-Christ" sermon. Needless to say, it didn't go over well. One of the observers was so incensed that he stood up mid-serman and shot the priest squarely in the chest. Hold on...Wait for the happy ending. Back in the day (and sometimes today, the troper relating the tale presumes [Being not Catholic), Catholic priests wore large crosses on their chests, usually made of gold. The bullet hit the priest square on the cross right below his heart, warping the cross, and almost folding it upon itself. The blow knocked the priest backwards over the altar, and right to the entrance to the catacombs. Seizing the opportunity, he escaped through those same tunnels that he helped others leave through and eventually made it to relative safety. Incidentally, the damaged cross is now a family heirloom. The "relative", his cousin was also a priest and was selected as the successor to the first priest. This priest was a non-fan of the Nazis, continued his cousin's practice of aiding innocent people escaping horrible deaths. Once more the Nazis figured it out. This time, they didn't bother with "observers." They sent goons to just shoot him in the head. The goons arrived, grabbed the priest, threw him down on the altar, and in a moment of Moral Event Horizon/"Holy Blasphemy, Batman! They decided to kill him on the altar. At that moment, the Allies decided to drop a few bombs on that dinky town, including the ancient church. One of the bombs crashed through the roof without detonating, but it collapse the roof in the process, and provided enough distraction for the priest. Following the footsteps of his cousin, he dove behind the altar, entered the catacombs, and found relative safety. The rest is history.
    • Another brave clergyman was Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a prominent official at the Vatican. During the Nazi occupation of Rome, O'Flaherty was one of the heads of a huge underground movement dedicated to helping Allied POWs, Jewish refugees, and so forth evade capture by the Gestapo, usually hiding them in convents, seminaries, their own houses, and in some cases, the Vatican itself. Everything that O'Flaherty did had a sort of daredevil flare to it. - For example, when one man was hiding developed appendictis, the Monsignor smuggled him into a hospital, and with some help of the nuns tricked a German military surgeon into operating. The man recovered on a ward full of German officers before O'Flaherty smuggled him out quietly again. Eventually, Colonel Herbert Kappler, the leader of the Gestapo in Rome, discovered O'Flaherty's role in the organization and became obsessed with trying to stop him. Unfortunately for him, he can't arrest O'Flaherty, since the Monsignor was inside the Vatican which gave him diplomatically immunity, and when he was out of the Vatican, he was always able to outwit his pursuers. After the war, O'Flaherty visited Kappler in prison every month (By some accounts, he's his only visitor), and eventually converted his former nemesis to Catholicism. It's impossible to do a full story any justice here, but it's not an exaggeration to say that Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty's life was just a one long, Crowning Moment of Awesome from start to finish.
    • While we're talking about the Catholic Clergy, what about the biggest one of the lot: Pope Pius XII? He hid hundreds of Jews (Including Rome's chief Rabbi) in the Vatican and Castle Gandolfo, as well as ordering the Convents and Monasteries throughout Europe to open their doors to refugees, and even distributing thousands of fake visas to help the Jews to escape (Some of the stunts include dressing Jews up as priests and teaching them Latin chants). Under his watch the Church helped save more Jews and other refugees than all of the other relief organizations combined. He has a history of refusing to play ball with the Naizs: When he was first elected, the Nazis sent an ambassador to try and get him on their side. The Pope let him ramble on about the inevitability of the triumph of the Third Reich, opened a ledger, calmly listed the known Nazi atrocities to date, and terminated the audience. The Nazis hated him so much that he had a standing order for the Cardinals to assume him dead and elect a new Pope, just in case he ever got arrested (Which Hitler talked about doing several times).
      • Bonus points for outfitting the Swiss Guards with machine guns just in case. That's right; he was willing to pit the Swiss Guards against the Nazi war machine if Hitler tried to stop him. The Pope's not playing around.
  • Tomoyuki Yamashita - One of the Japanese Honor embodiments during World War II. His actions when he was involved in the Alexandra Hospital on February 15, when Yamashita heard of the massacre in the Hospital, he went round the beds of the surviving patients, and saluted them; he apologized profusely for the shocking conduct of his soldiers. Even buying some crates of canned fruits, opened them, with his bayonet, and served the fruit to the patients. Once he learned that some of the Japanese soldiers were looting the Hospital he ordered them to be executed...Even before his own execution after the War Trials, he proclaimed that he had no disrespect for America.
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"As I said in the Manila Supreme Court that I have done with all capacity, so I don't ashame in front of the gods for what I have done when I have died. But if you say to me 'You do not have any ability to command the Japanese Army' I should say nothing for it, because it is my own nature. Now, our war criminal trial going on in Manila Supreme Court, so I wish to be justify under your kindness and right. I know that all your American and American military affairs always has tolerant and rightful judgment. When I have been investigated in Manila court I have had a good treatment, kindful attitude from your good natured officers who all the time protect me. I never forget for what they have done for me even if I had died. I don't blame my executioner. I'll pray the gods bless them. Please send my thankful word to Col. Clarke and Lt. Col. Feldhaus, Lt. Col. Hendrix, Maj. Guy, Capt. Sandburg, Capt. Reel, at Manila court, and Col. Arnard. I thank you."

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  • Jimmy Launder's sub that was under his command took out the last German U-Boats during the war. What's impressive was that both his sub and the German sub both submerged during that time. This was before homing torpedoes came and to this day remains the only person to command a submerged sub to take out another successfully (Think of a fighter taking out angother using unguided rockets, but only this time having to only rely completely on their radar and not visuals).
  • Field Marshall Bernard Law Montgomery. Turned the situation in Africa around after his first battle in command then proceed to spend the next year outfoxing the Desert Fox. Shame that he and Rommel never met.
    • They did: Rommel was part of the El Alamein. He couldn't have won any way, since Monty had managed to make sure the deck was stacked ever so completely in his favor that no one on Earth could have beaten him. A lot of that was due to the supply advantage, so in a sense the Royal Navy that won El Alamein.
  • Since the Soviets are approaching rapidly, Werner von Braun, the German rocket physicist invented the V-2, gathered his staff together and asked them how they wished to surrender. They all agree that their best bet was to attempt to defect to the Americans. Not only did they evade the Soviets, but they also escape the SS guards who had orders to execute them in case they fall into enemy hands. However, von Braun convinced the SS Major to disperse the team into nearby villages, supposedly to avoid the American bombs. Once the Americans arrived, von Braun was able to surrender willing his whole team of rocket engineers and all the technology they had invented for the Nazis. Promptly the scientists were whisked away to the States, where they helped create a rocketship that could send men to the moon.
  • Edward Charlton VC - A tank driver with the Irish Guards as they advanced into Germany. A troop of Shermans and a platoon of infantry soldiers were sent to take a village, which was soon counter-attacked by Panzer Grenadiers, a full battalion of them, and some self-propelled guns. The three tanks were knocked out quietly, and the infantry were in danger of being overrun. The Guardsman Charlton climbed up onto his tank, which was burning, dismounted the heavy machine gun and started advancing on the enemy, firing from the hip. He managed to stopped the entire German counter-attack in its tracks. After being hit the first time, he used a nearby fence to support the gun and continued firing for nearly half an hour, only stopping when he was hit for the third time, and after firing one-handed for ten minutes. He was captured by the Germans and died in one of their hospitals, but he would never have got his Victoria Cross without the German soldiers recalling how they were held by one man firing a machine gun in front of three burning tanks. Really a CMoA!
  • Some of the Canadian VC winners:
    • Aubrey Cosens. He took control of the remnants of his shattered unit, positions them in a certain way to cover him, jumps onto a tank (thus exposing himself to enemy fire), directs the tank's fire, and then has it ram several farmhouses. He then runs into the farmhouses ON HIS OWN, and with the exception of one sniper, kills, or captures all of them, amounting to over 20 enemies. He just missed one and got his head shot off.
    • Padre John Foote. It certainly takes serious balls to jump OFF an ESCAPING boat at Dippe and being WILLINGLY captured.
    • Charles Hoey. He charges up a hill which is occupied by Japanese soldiers, through machine-gun, and sniper fire, receiving multiple wounds, including one to the head, shooting his Thompson from the hip, and manages to capture it. Had he not died immediately after, he would been a One Man Army.
    • Charles Meritt. During Dieppe, the Canadians had attempted multiple times to cross a bridge (and failed). What did Meritt do? TAKE HIS HELMET OFF AND RUN ACROSS THE BRIDGE, WAVING HIS HELMET AND YELLING, "Come on over. There's nothing to it!" Somehow, in THAT INSTANT, the Germans (who had superior supplies and weapons, like machine-guns, mortars, etc.) went Star Wars Stromtroopers and can't hit him. When his advance was blocked by pillboxes, he led the attacks on each of the turns, destroying one by himself with a grenade. When the retreat order came, he told everyone else to get out while he held off the Germans. Collecting weapons (and taking out a sniper with a BREN LMG), he held off the German's as long as he can for most of his surviving men to escape, quite likely going Guns Akimbo at this points. He was captured, remained a Prisoner of War, until the end, and expressed regret that he hadn't stayed in the fight.
  • This Troper doesn't know this war hero by name, but his actions are: While in Northern Africa, the German panzers advanced on his position. After ordering the retreat of his whole defending forces, he remained with a single artillery gunner and ten artillery cannons. Two of which fired volley after volley, one gun at a time, destroying a tank with nearly every shot, until his position was overrun by the German tanks and two men were killed.
  • Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, the Commanding General of the XIV Panzer Corps in Italy, led the Defence of the Gothic Line, and the Defence of Monte Cassino. Two of the most successful German Delays in the Southern Frnt. When reports of an Allied Bombers massing to blow up the Monastery, he saw to it that the Clergy were quickly evacuated as well as the treasures were shipped back to the Vatican rather than fall into the Allied and his own men's hands. Plus, von Senger und Etterlin was also an Anti-Nazi, which got him in trouble quite often, though never implicated in the conspiracies against Hitler.
  • At the risk of turning this simply into a list of every action and operation of WW2, the Dambusters' raid of May 16/May 17 of 1943 has to be mention here. The pilots had to fly very low - In darkness - To reach their target, that they were in constant danger of hitting trees, chimneys, and power lines. A few of them even flew under power lines. Once they reached the dams, they had to fly straight and level at the target with every gun in a mile radius firing at them, lit up with spotlights to help the German gunners. Those attacking the Eder dam had to hop over to a tiny peninsula before dropping back down, hitting precisely the correct altitude in time to drop the bombs before pulling away again. Did I mention that they're doing this in huge 4-engined Lancasters, so overloaded with bombs that they've had to take out one of the gun turrets, so they can actually take off?
  • Witold Pilecki, a Polish hero, snuck into Auschwitz just to document the whole Holocaust and bring proof to the Allied high command, since those guys were skeptical about it. "Snuck in" isn't the right way to put it. - He volunteered to be sent to Auschwitz by the Germans as part of his mission. He managed to escape with proof of what's going on, and later, commanded a partisan unit during the Warsaw Uprising. Unfortunately, he was quietly shot by the Soviets shortly after the war.
  • The Germans have managed to have a small number of heroes who are famous for resisting Hitler and his regime:
    • In 1938, Georg Elser decided that Hitler was a threat to the world. He decided to assassinate him by planting a bomb near where Elser worked and where Hitler was scheduled to give a speech. Hitler survived, because he finished his speech early and catch the train back to Berlin. The bomb killed a number of prominent Nazis and Georg Elser died in a concentration camp.
    • The students of the White Rose Society, who organized one of the few public protests against the Nazi regime. The Nazis rounded them up and executed them.
    • Claus von Stauffenberg's attempted to assassinate Hitler later in the later part of the war.
      • Do note that some think this was a plan by several German high commanders to obtained a separate peace with US and UK (After taking over), so they can concentrate their army on Russia. It still takes some serious guts to kill Hitler in his own headquarters. Plus, it almost worked - The bomb, which was hidden in a suitcase, was moved behind a table leg before it exploded.
  • Douglas Bader. He lost both legs before the war, while showing off with low-level acrobatics (According in his diary - "Crashed slow-rolling near the ground. Bad show."). Most assumed he'll never walk again. He did -Without a stick. Returned to flying and got 22 kills in a Spitfire.
    • Basically having no legs helped in high-G moves. - It's harder for the blood to pool into his legs and for him to G-lock.
    • At France, he was shot down, his right leg was stuck in his aircraft. The Germans allowed the British to drop him a new one, which he promptly used to leave the hospital and run off.
    • While being held as a prisoner at Stalag Luft III (The facility were The Great Escape events occurred), Bader's legs were confiscated from him to prevent him from making more attempts to escape from the camp. Seems the officer in charge of the facility doesn't want to explain to his superiors that he could not keep a legged man and was shamed into returning the legs shortly thereafter. In 1942, Bader escaped from the Stalag Luft III with four other prisoners.
    • He ended up in the Colditz (Oflag IV C), where he managed to convince the commandant that he can't properly execrise in the castle grounds and so had little space to walk around the countryside on parole. During these walks, he filled his legs with chocolate, tobacco, and other goods from the red cross parcels, and used them to carry on a propaganda campaign against the Nazis amongst the surrounding farms.
  • James MacLachlan. After becoming an ace, he was shot down over Malta, and lost an arm. James got an artificial arm, returned to combat, and did it again.
  • Flt. Lt. Colin Walker, who piloted the Short Sunderland, on June 2, 1943. - A single slow, heavy, flying boat designed for anti-submarine warfare was jumped by EIGHT German heavy fighters out over the Bay of Biscay, it not only managed to escape, but was able to shoot down six of the attackers while taking in-survivable amounts of punishment. Eventually limping back to Britain , the crew topped off the CMOA by wading out of the sea, all with several degrees of injury, and carrying their one dead comrade in their arms.
  • The "Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angels," a Papua New Guinean group which aided the Australian troops during the Battle of Kokoda. The Kokoda Trail is one of the most brutal treks imaginable, reaching up to 7,000 feet, and surrounded by incredibly thick jungles. The Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angels saved countless Australian lives by carrying injured soldiers down the trail via stretcher, even under fire. The FWA didn't abandoned not one wounded Australian soldier. This testimony best says it:
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"They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable. The care they give to the patient is magnificent. If night finds the stretcher still on the track, they will find a level spot and build a shelter over the patient. They will make him as comfortable as possible fetch him water and feed him if food is available, regardless of their own needs. They sleep four each side of the stretcher and if the patient moves or requires any attention during the night, this is given instantly. These were the deeds of the 'Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels' for us!"

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  • Singapore's 1st Malay Brigade stood up bravely to the Japanese invasion. Their commander was a great man who at the end never surrendered. When they ran out of ammunition, they used the bayonets to continue fighting, and even at the end. Until, the unit was annihilated.
  • General George S. Patton - Remember that scene in Tim Burton's Batman, which has The Joker staring down the Bat-Plane, daring him to shoot? Patton really did that in North Africa, standing in the middle of an airstrip, and staring down a German fighter plane ivory-handled revolvers akimbo. Even saying the same thing:
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"C'mon you gruesome son-of-a-bitch!"

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    • And yet, trumped by either a British or Australian soldier (The troper forgotten) fighting in Africa, who kept a pile of rocks that he would throw at the German dive bomber planes whenever they came low enough.
  • Juan Pujol Garcia, aka GARBO, just for his chutzpah and Refuge in Audacity that saved countless numbers of lives. Juan is a Spanish citizen, who fears a Nazi victory, he offered his services to be a spy for the British, but they turned him down. Undaunted, he turned to the Germans and pretended to be a well placed British agent and gave them information on troops, shipping movements, and the like. In fact, he was living in Lisbon and based his info on news clips and railway timetables. When he tried to offer his services to the British again, they accpeted him, realizing that's how much the German's trusted him. By the time of the D-Day Normandy landings, he was so trusted, that he's able to convince the Germans that the Normandy landings are just a feint; stopping them from committing troops to combating the invasion.
    • Jaun Garcia was given the Iron Cross, one of the highest military decoartions of the German Army at the moment, just for his spying and giving the details of the Normandy landings. The funniest thing was that he was also given the Victoria Cross for deceiving the Germans without getting caught.
    • Crowning Moment of Funny: He's just one guy, but somehow managed to make the Germans think (with the help of the Double Cross System). Also, he had a network of 27 agents in all of Britain. The kicker was that the Nazi paid all of these 27 agents, which means the Germans were paying The Exchequer.
    • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: After the war, Juan faked his death and leaving for Venezuela. His commanding officer thought that he was literally dead and Jaun also thought that this officer died. In 1982, they were both reunited.
  • September 1, 1942: Luftwaffe pilot Hans Joachim Marseille, who shoots down 17 Desert Air Force fighters over the course of three sorties. June 17, 1942: Marseille destroys 6 aircrafts within seven minutes. September 15, 1942: Marseille destroys 7 Australian fighter crafters within eleven minutes.
  • Daniel Inouye, who was the son of Japanese immigrants, joined the US army and fought in Europe. On April 21, 1945, he was throwing grenades at a German bunker when he was shot at the stomach. He refuses medical aid and continues throwing, but just as he was about to let his last grenade fly, one of the Germans shot their own grenade and nearly blew his right arm off! Inouye's fingers remained clenched around the grenade, preventing it from going off, so he pried it out of his cold, dead hand, and threw it. Successfully destroying the bunker. Daniel was hit in the leg, before passing out from blood loss, and even after getting his arm amputated without any anesthetic, all he had to say was how much he wanted to return to the battlefield.-
    • But he can't. He MANAGED to get promoted to Officer (discharged as a Captain), then he entered a different field full of ambushes, backstabs, intrigue, arrogant bastards, and outright lunatics - Politics. He was a Hawaiian state representative - first Territorial Legislator, then State Representative, then Senator - Since...Get this...1954. He's been in the political game longer than Hawaii has been a state, and he's still there at eighty-six years old. Mr. Inouye doesn't belong in CMoA, he squarely belongs in Bad Ass.
  • Koichi Tohei, who later develops the Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido sytle of aikido, was a captain in the Japanese army in China. Since he treated the Chinese POWs well, the Chinese army had a tendency to avoid his company. Also, he said to have not lost a signle man in the whole campaign, and even returned to Japan with more soldiers than he started with.
  • German Commander Nikolaus von Falkenhorst, a German commander, was given literally just a few hours to plan Operation Weserübung, which is the German invading both Denmark and Norway, by Adolf Hitler. He proceeds to write the plan using a tour guide of Norway he found in his hotel. The operation was successful.
  • Sergeant John Basilone is legendary among the United States marines for his absolute badassery. His many exploits are seen in The Pacific, but they're actually only brush the surface. During the Battle of Bloody Ridge, Basilone holds the line almost singlehandedly against the whole regiment of 3,000 Japanese soldiers for three days. His Medal of Honor citation mentions that he virtually annihilated the whole regiment. Plus, there's his Dying Moment of Awesome on Iwo Jima were leading his squad, cleared a bunker of a Japanese garrison, and runs back to the beachhead to lead the tanks through a minefield. He was killed by an artiller shell (or a bullet wound as there's some differing accounts).
  • Roman Smishuk, who's an ex-peasant and a humble private, whose platoon was on one occasion pinned by the enemy force of 16 tanks. So, he grabbed three anti-tank grenades and three cocktail bottles, crawled towards the advancing Germans, one by one burned three tanks. Then Smishuk returned to the home positions, replenished his ammunition, and repeated the trick. Just to sum up: One infantry guy who has no heavy weaponry killed six tanks single-handedly. Namis whined that the game had one fucked up balance and logged off.
  • Why hasn't anyone Chesty Puller?
    • No need to be mentioned. His reputation is so badass and well-known that everyone knows who he is.
  • A non-combat example: David B. Parkinson, who is credited with the invention of the M-9 electrical anti-aircraft gun, which almost curbed the threat of the German's V1 buzz bombs singlehandedly, which help their the tide of the Battle of Britain. On its own, pretty cool, but really awesome. Though one has to consider that Parkinson and his team had never worked with firearms, being recording technicians for Bell Labs, and the whole idea for the M-9 was conceived when it came to him in a goddamn dream.
  • Father Maximilian Maria Kolbe. Kolbe, who is a Franciscan friar, was already a candidate for CMOA way before World War II - starting out from an impoverished but devout Polish family, Kolbe joined the Conventual Franciscans by risking death to cross from the Russian Orthodox-occupied East Poland to Austria-occupied West Poland. When he was ordained a priest, even though everyone believed that since he tuberculosis, suffered from it, and should have been killed by the disease! He helped found the largest monastery of its' day in Europe, where the largest daily newspaper in Poland would be published. Then, he did the same in Japan. Once the war came, Kolbe opened up his monastery to all who wanted refuge, including approximately 2,000 Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. He openly denounced the Nazis in his paper. Both of these contributed to Kolbe being arrested and sent to Auschwitz. There, as a priest (This is not well known, but Catholic priests were only marginally treated better than the Jews), he was forced to carry impossible loads of lumber and bricks by hand to build the crematoria. One day, after falling due to a collapsed lung, the Nazis beat him so savagely, and left him for dead. A sympathetic guard managed to smuggled him to the infirmary, where while he was recovering, he ministered to the patients there. There's numerous instances of him stepping out of the ration lines when it seems there's not enough to go around. Finally, after an escape, ten men were roun are rounded up at random and sentenced to die by starvation. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of them. He would survive three weeks in a dank cell, with no food, and buoying the spirits of his fellow condemned with songs and prayers. He was the last one left alive and the Nazis had to poison him to get him to die, so they can make room for the next condemned group. The man he saved survived four more years of Auschwitz, was liberated by the Soviets, and lived to see Kolbe canonized as a saint in 1982. He, Fr. Kolbe is now a saint of political prisoners.
    • And the Japanese monastery? It's built in a city called Nagasaki. Plus, it's still standing - When Kolbe built the monastery, the locals were trying to persuade him to build it on the side of the mountain facing the city, which is a more auspicious orientation. Kolbe preferred the other side of the mountain, and in August 9, 1945, that saved the building when the atomic bomb hit.
  • Captain Clarence E. Coggins, 45th Division, US Army serving in the 179th Infantry. After arriving in Germany shortly, he was captured. A general tried to interrogate him and learn of the location of his fellow American troops. He eventually convinced the general that the German camp was surrounded by allied soldiers and surrendering would be the best option. Clarence even drove back to his division in the GENERAL'S OWN CAR, with 946 German soldiers, all their arms, equipment, and vehicles in tow.

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