Funny side stories of WWII thread


  • During operation HUSKY, German officers made vast attempts to mislead Italian soldiers about the treatment of POW’s in US camps.  Efforts in this area were increased as the operaton went on in order to convince the Italians that fighting to the death would be a better road to take then surrendering after hoards of Italian units began surrendering en masse.  During one interrogation of an Italian officer, the captive inquired, " So when are you gunna start?"  The quizical interrogators replied, “Start with what?”  The captured officer then returned to say, “Cutting off our balls.”    After a brief moment of laughter the US interrogators assured him that they were not here to castrate him but only question him.  With tears in his eyes he graciously thanked them for their clemency.  To most US camp interrogators they felt more like saviors then their captors. (Atkinson “Day of Battle”)

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    Also on the subject of Italian POWs: some Italians captured by the British in North Africa ended up being interned in the Orkney Islands, where they were put to work constructing concrete barriers to seal off the eastern entry route into Scapa Flow (the route taken by U47 when it torpedoed the battleship Royal Oak in October 1939).  Sometimes, arguments would break out between the Italians and the British personnel supervising the work, and an Army interpreter would be called in to sort out the dispute.  After one such altercation, a Navy officer took the interpreter aside and asked him why he had been translating for the Italian man who’d been complaining, saying that, “This fellow can speak English!”  The interpreter retorted that the man couldn’t “even speak Italian!” – an answer which no doubt baffled the Navy officer until the prisoner later confided that he’d been speaking in dialect.  (“Churchill’s Prisoners: The Italians In Orkney, 1942-1944.” St Margaret’s Hope : Orkney Wireless Museum, 1992.)

    CWO Marc

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