With Memorial Day and the 65th anniversary of Normandy coming up, it's time for a World War II history review. The Chicago Tribune has dug up ten strange facts:
- Elsie Mitchell and five children died in Gearhart Mountain, Ore., in May 1945, by touching a Japanese "balloon bomb" that had drifted into America. They are the only US mainland war deaths on record.
- Before fighting in Sicily, Gen. George Patton told his men to kill enemies who kept fighting within 200 yards, even if they surrendered—regardless of international law.
- The French held fashion queen Coco Chanel over her affair with a young Nazi official. "Really, sir, a woman of my age cannot be expected to look at his passport if she has a chance of a lover," said Chanel, in her 60s. They let her go.
- Starving outside of Stalingrad, the German army received airlifted supplies including right shoes, 4 tons of spices, and millions of condoms.
- Shot down in January 1943, American turret gunner Alan Magee ejected without a parachute and plunged 20,000 feet through a train station skylight. He lived and enjoyed backpacking until he died at age 84.
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