What makes history interesting is that it can sometimes be downright odd. As one of the most dramatic and shattering events in human history, WWII is ripe with oddities. Following are a handful you may find interesting, and if you have others to share please do so.
It is a largely unknown fact that, just prior to WWII, the US Army’s 45th Infantry Division wore a swastika for a shoulder patch. Well, sort of. The symbol was identical to the Nazi swastika, except the colors were yellow on a red background. For the 45th Infantry Division the “swastika” was a Native American symbol honoring the states of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona where most of the division’s soldiers came from. The shoulder patch was officially changed to a thunderbird symbol in 1939.
Until the United States entered the war against Germany on December 11, 1941, Hitler's personal train was called "Amerika." That changed in a hurry.
One of the first things Allied troops did when they finally reached Germany’s Rhine River in 1945 was to urinate in it. This act of defiance was led by the famous American general, George Patton. There are pictures showing Patton on the American-built pontoon bridge, known by soldiers as “Jackpot Bridge,” urinating into the Rhine.
When the United States Navy was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 it was under Commander In Chief, United States Fleet. The acronym for that command was CINCUS. CINCUS is pronounced, “sink us.”
3,800 Japanese Kamikaze pilots were infamous in the Pacific Theatre for steering their bomb-laden planes directly into American warships, and committing suicide in the process. Less well known are the Russian pilots that effectively did the same thing to German aircraft on the Eastern Front. There are at least 270 documented cases of Russian pilots purposefully ramming into German planes in the air, seven on the very first day of the Nazi invasion. One such ram was carried out by a woman pilot in September 1941, Ekaterina Zelenko in an SU-2 bomber. She first destroyed one German fighter in aerial combat, then rammed into the second, destroying both planes.