Ultimate poker face.
Napoleon once took a heavily fortified city by having his men casually walk across the bridge as if peace was just declared and Napoleons troops were just trying to pass through.
Gotta feed the ducks.
During the 1916 Easter Rising (a battle to end British rule over Ireland), there was a ceasefire each day to allow the park-keeper of St. Stephen's Green to feed the ducks in the park.
A nice wholesome fact :)
During World War II, the Japanese outfitted special planes (some were designed to be launched from submarines) with enough range to reach the west coast of the United States. The goal was to use incendiary bombs to start wildfires in the forests of the pacific northwest. One pilot, Nobuo Fujita, successfully dropped his bombs over the forest near Brookings, Oregon. Fortunately, a storm the night before had dampened the forest, and the fire started by Fujita's bomb was quickly controlled by the Forest Service.
Eighteen years later, in 1962, Fujita returned to Brookings. He brought with him his family's heirloom, a katana that was over 400 years old. Fujita apologized to the townspeople for his actions during the war, and revealed that if the townspeople demanded it, he would ceremoniously commit seppuku with the sword to make reparations for his actions.
The townspeople would have none of it. Fujita was made an honorary citizen of the town and returned to visit it several times during his life, including one trip to plant trees in the forest he had bombed decades before. After his death in 1997, his daughter returned to Brookings and scattered some of his ashes there. The Fujita family katana is on display in Brookings, after being given to the town by Fujita as a token of friendship.
You and me both.
Albert Einstein was offered the role of Israel's second President in 1952, but declined stating that he had "neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings."
Scratch their back, they'll scratch yours.
Before he was president, Andrew Jackson rose to national fame for his victory in the Battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812. His "decisive victory against the British" occurred after the war was over, though the combatants didn't know that yet, and the victory would have been impossible had it not been for the support of a French pirate named Jean Lafitte, who was only siding with the Americans in exchange for a pardon from a number of war crimes he was accused of.
This is fascinating.
Adolph Hitler's remaining relatives made a pact to never have children, so that the family dies out forever.
Smallest of worlds.
The man who was to protect Abraham Lincoln on that fateful night shirked his duties to go drink at a nearby saloon. Ironically, the man who would shoot the president was drinking at that saloon probably getting up the courage.
Two very different meanings.
The word 'Kamikaze' means 'divine wind' in Japanese. The original Kamikaze was when the Mongols sent a huge invasion force to Japan. The Japanese would have been thoroughly defeated, but both times the Mongols tried to invade, a hurricane swept down and destroyed the Mongol fleet. The Japanese named this wind, 'Kamikaze'.
Thank you, JFK.
A plan to attack American cities to justify war with Cuba was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962. Rejected by President Kennedy, Operation Northwoods remained classified for 35 years.
Late bloomers indeed.
John Tyler's (the 10th president of the USA) grandson is still alive.
John Tyler was born in 1790 and had a son when he was 63. That son had his son when he was 75. Meaning John Tyler's grandson was born in 1928.
That sounds dangerous.
Julius Wagner-Jauregg won the Nobel Prize for curing syphilis by giving people malaria.
Joke gone horribly wrong.
Benjamin Franklin once played a practical joke that put England and France on the verge of war.
He was stuck in England as ambassador for some time and was bored. He wrote a letter to the biggest newspaper under a fictitious name, complaining that France needs to stop sending over all their prisoners, and England needs to stop accepting them. The British were outraged to learn this was happening, but of course it wasn't. At some point the French caught wind of the rumor, and took on the attitude that they could do that if they wanted to. "You think your country is too good for our prisoners?" It escalated through both governments and the military until leaders on both sides had to unilaterally convince the populations that none of this is true.
The only person who enjoyed the whole thing from beginning to end was Ben Franklin.
A silver lining amongst the fire!
Despite the terrible nature of and damage caused by the 1666 Great Fire of London, only six people were killed. This is despite the fire destroying at least 13,500 houses.
Sleeping costs you the war.
When the Allies stormed the beach in Normandy, Hitler was asleep. No general would make a move without him, and no one dared to wake him up.
Not much is worse than a horrible house guest.
Martha Washington rated Thomas Jefferson's visit to Mount Vernon as the second worst day of her life, being surpassed only by the death of George Washington. Now, bear in mind that George was Martha's second husband, so her list of painful occurrences went: 1. Second husband dying 2. Having Thomas Jefferson in her house 3. First husband dying.
Also: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams vandalised one of William Shakespeare's chairs to take bits of it home as souvenirs, and John Adams had a dog named Satan.
Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr, and Barbara Walters were born the same year: 1929.
Always pee before take-off!
Alan Shepard (the first American man in space), entered the atmosphere with wet pants. Knowing he was about to be a major part of American space history, Shepard drank coffee that morning, to try and keep himself calm. About three cups or so and barely anything else.
When astronauts are launched, often they sit at a 90 degree angle backwards, whilst experiencing intense vibrations. Also important to note, the crew don't just jump into their shuttle and immediately off they go. Often, crew sit and wait for a minimum of two to three hours on the launchpad, as final checks go through.
Back to Shepard, who is sitting on the launchpad, tilted backwards 90 degrees with a stomach filled with coffee. He mentioned his issue with MOCR, (ground control) and they pretty much told him that he can go to the loo and not do the launch, or try to hold it and become a part of history. Shepard chose the latter.
Best draft pick of all time.
In 1972, the Buffalo Sabres drafted Taro Tsujimito as the NHL's first Japenese player. Unfortunately, he didn't make much of a splash because the Japanese style of play didn't translate to the North American style and the fact that Taro Tsujimoto was completely made up. Turns out the team was annoyed with the length and complexity of the draft and this was their protest.
Would you look at that!
The Star that the Three Wise Men followed that lead them to Jesus actually existed, but as a rare moment of aligned planets.
Dang, that's old.
Oxford University predates the Aztec Empire by 250 years.
Pretty great of him.
Alexander the Great literally changed the world. Permanently.
Tyre used to be a city on a island surrounded with giant walls which reached 200m 200 feet high (some of which are still there today). Alexander wanted to go worship at the temple of Ajax there (and for them to swear fealty to him) but they refused and locked the gates. Since he didn't have a navy they thought they were safe.
How wrong they were. He sent one half of his army down the coast all the way into Egypt to capture every port they could find and raise a small fleet, and the other half he had build a causeway a mile out into the Mediterranean to reach the island to assault it, and capture it. And slaughter the inhabitants of course, and sold 20,000 into slavery.
And permanently altered the geography of the region, creating what longshore drift turned into a tombolo which still connects the "island" to the mainland today. In building it, he also altered the flora of the region, deforesting the lowlands of the Lebanon to such an extent that thousands of years later it's still bare (of course their upland areas are still thickly forested in Ceder Trees).
The times, they are a changin'.
The last American Civil War veteran lived until 1956. From muskets and cavalry to jets and tanks.
Unit of heroes.
During World War II, the men of the 442nd unit scaled a 4000 foot cliff at the dead of night in order to launch a ambush on the German emplacement known as the Gothic Line.
Men would fall during this climb but none would let out a scream, they just silently plummeted to their deaths, in order to keep their position safe. After getting into position the group laid in wait for dawn to launch their attack. At dawn the attack began and the 442nd won the day and broke the Gothic Line in 34 minutes.
The United States Air Force accidentally dropped two hydrogen bombs (each with a payload of over four megatons of TNT) over North Carolina in 1961, one of which was armed and battle ready. All trigger mechanisms worked as designed expect one basic low voltage switch which didn't move and prevented a nuclear catastrophe.
Grow up so fast!
The United States of America was founded in 1776. About 150 years later, they were pretty much the number one power in the world. Men who fought in World War II had grandpas who fought in the Civil War. Men who fought in the Civil War had grandpas who fought in the the Revolutionary War.
In such a short time period, a somewhat small group of people grew into the most powerful nation in the world.
It also blows my mind that since North America was pretty much the last frontier that was conquered, it is so untouched by human hands. There are areas of the wild that have barely seen humans.
Whether it's the tactics they employ in war, or the gear that they rock in battle, these soldiers are beyond terrifying, and would make any average person flee with their tail between their legs.
Below are 13 of the most terrifying and fascinating soldiers in human history, as submitted on Quora. Check them out! A source to even more can be found on the last page.
My vote is for the Pict warriors of ancient Scotland. These men fought the Roman Legions stark naked- clothed only in weapons, tattoos, and blue paint. Pict is actually derived from the Latin word for painted. Many of them put mud in their long hair and let it dry before battle in order to keep it out of their faces during the melee. That also served to make them even scarier.
According to some historians, Romans soldiers were absolutely terrified of these naked blue madmen who went into battle screaming at the top of their lungs, heedless of Roman weapons, armor, and tactics. On a few occasions the seemingly invincible Roman soldiers would break ranks and even flee in terror. They were such a problem that instead of conquering Northern Scotland, the Romans constructed Hadrians Wall across Britain ostensibly to separate Romans from Barbarians. After all, Rome would never have admitted to having doubts that they could consistently defeat the Picts on the battlefield.
Okay that last one is a little extreme but I suppose you get my point. These were heavily armored, Christian zealots with the backing of the most powerful organization in the world whose sole purpose was to serve as its strongmen. They are known popularly as the Teutonic Knights.
Now, not only do they look scary, but they were virtually invincible in the eyes of many of their opponents. Pagan and Muslim peasants at the time who posed a threat to Christian migrants to the newly conquered lands to the east, really stood no chance against one of these elite fighting machines. If you want to see what European warfare at the time might have actually looked like (to some extent), you can even find videos of live-action full-contact medieval fighting tournaments and understand just how hard and how brutal eliminating a fully armored soldier from this bygone era would have been like. Repeated blows to the head with a sword, ax or even a heavy mace really did little to terminate your opponent with a helmet of that thickness and make. So even other military orders of comparable skill and equipment would have had a very difficult time taking someone like this out, let alone a farmer armed with a pickaxe or falchion.
The Immortals of Persia.
Ok, so the version of these guys that appear in 300 is clearly exaggerated, but the Immortals were a real elite fighting force in ancient Persia. Made up of the most skilled fighters of the Persian army, these masked warriors served as both royal bodyguards and an elite strike force for key missions.
They were known as Immortals because their number was always kept at exactly 10,000. Whenever one was killed, a replacement was immediately drafted and became an Immortal.
Imagine fighting these guys. After a full day of battle with 10,000 of the most brutally efficient warriors you have ever faced, your surviving men are demoralised but at least you have thinned their numbers a little. Then the Immortals march back onto the battlefield with a full 10,000 identical soldiers, appearing for all the world like the dead have risen during the night and rejoined their comrades.
The year is 1915, and the War to End All Wars has ground into a stalemate on the Western front. Each side sought to break the brutal and bloody impasse, with new tactics and terrifying weapons.
And one of first new weapons Germany started to use was the flammenwerfer, or flamethrower, as its called in English.
It proved to be quite the efficient weapon, clearing out trenches like no ones business, given the opportunity. The main reason for this was the terror it created, causing intense panic in enemy lines. This weapon made professional and trained soldiers flee in terror, soldiers who had already been witness to over a years fighting in one of the most horrendous conflicts in human history, where more soldiers died in a day than the US lost in the last 16 years in Afghanistan.
On July 30th, 1915, the Germans used the flamethrower for the first time in a coordinated attack against the British. The Germans succeeded in pushing the British from their trenches and slaughtered nearly 800 soldiers with horrifying ease, with most being gunned down by German gunfire as they abandoned their trenches to avoid the hungry flames.
More people died exposing themselves when they fled from the flamestrowers, than they did by being actually burned alive by the flamethrowers. Just think on that for a moment.
Imagine meeting a flamethrower for the first time, without knowing what it is, torching everyone in the trench with you.
Not because they were so well-armed, heavily armored or technologically superior. These guys must have been the scariest ever to face, precisely because they were the exact opposite.
Imagine youre a Persian soldier, standing in the first row, facing Leonidas and his men. Behind you is an army ten times the size of your opponent. But youre anonymous. A meaningless face behind a mask in a sea of metal.
Standing across the horizon you see 300 faces. Actual, real faces, sitting on actual, real bodies. You can see the muscles, the scars a lifetime of training for battle has given them.
And they stare at you. They cant see your face, but somehow, they seem to look you dead in the eye. You can see their resolve. Their unwavering faith.
Every one of these faces tells you these men will stop at nothing. Until every inch of their body is sacrificed. Until every drop of blood is shed. Theyre not fighting a human enemy. Only death can bring their downfall.
"The man whos not afraid of dying has nothing left to lose. He can only gain."
There is nothing scarier to look at than that. The Spartans had already won the battle before it began. Not the battle of bodies, but the battle of the minds.
Once youve lost that, the outcome of the fight only matters in history books.
I believe the scariest people are the Russian Spetsnaz. They have a lot of unusual training exercises, such as throwing hatchets while back flipping.
They also have a training regime where they pull their fresh recruits out in the middle of the night and force them into a room that is chest deep in blood and guts (from a local livestock slaughter house) to get them used to extreme situation happening any time. Then like a scene from Game of Thrones, they let attack dogs into the room.
In addition to that, Spetsnaz soldiers learn to enjoy pain. Part of their training regime is getting beaten up by mobs to teach concentration. Bones are broken until pain becomes a normal thing that they can fight through.
Ive seen some rough training before, but never another one where you are purposefully are broken until it feels normal.
Id vote for the Akinji class of Ottoman cavalry.
Akinji literally means raider and constituted a certain class which was organized in a unique way. There were prominent Akinji families who served as the core officers of the divisions, and ranks were mostly filled by ethnic Turks who were already accustomed to horseback lifestyle.
Akinji cavalry were equipped by the fast Turcoman horses, light lances, maces, sabres and composite bows&arrows.; Already a deadly unit, most of the Akinjis utilized means of psychological warfare: They wore animal pelts -bear, montain lion etc-, shaved their heads, attached eagle wings to their horses (which inspired Polish hussars) and some sources even claim they placed skulls over their heads and shoulders to intimidate the enemy.
Their primary duty was to employ chevauche tactics on enemy soil, reconnaissance, harassing the enemys rear and supply caravans, pursuing the routers and luring the enemy into traps. Nicknames of certain Akinji units give a clue how what it was like to be an Akinji: The madmen, Those who forsook their heads. They usually were not paid, their income was almost exclusively out of plunder and ransom. Some sources claim they went as far as Denmark in pursuit of loot and ransom.
The soldiers of the(Hitlers Youth). 17 to 20 year old kids, highly indoctrinated, with no intention to ever step back, supplied by the best and most modern arms.
In the battles against the Allied invasion fronts in France,
There is only one answer to this. Sure, there were some warriors who went to battle half-naked. Some other answers mention cavalrymen with fancy decorations on their helmet or the heavily armored teutonic knights.
Tell me, would any of those warriors cut open their own belly if their lord merely asked?
Did any of them live by the code of bushido, not just a code of honor but one that gives the highest glory to dying on the battlefield and perfecting your life?
Did any of them wear demon masks? Did any of them fight with two swords instead of hiding behind a shield? Could any of them kill you as effectively up close as from a distance with a bow?
I would gladly face a Teutonic Knight, Polish Hussar or Berserker over a Japanese samurai any day of the week. Samurai were scary.
A few centuries ago, there were literally multiple versions of Darth Vader walking around on this Earth. Warriors who could cut down anyone who was below their social status (in other words: anyone who was not a samurai) without needing a reason.
The Winged Hussars were absolutely horrifying.
Imagine being a poor Russian pikeman during one of the wars between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia. Id be terrified to see one of these guys charging towards me.
Fun fact: The lances the Winged Hussars used were actually longer than those of the Russian pikemen during the wars between the two powers. So not only could the lance of your foe kill you easier, your own weapon was shorter.
Plus, do you not see the wings and helmets?
The Mongols were the scariest and dangerous warriors in the battlefield and would even destroy whole cities to dust when they had won.
They didnt fight by the rules.
Living without food for days:
Giovanni Da Pian Del Carpini, the Franciscan friar who was sent to the Mongol Empire on a diplomatic mission by Pope Innocent IV, cited that the Mongols also engaged (very rarely) in cannibalism with one notable incident of a siege in which they had to kill one out every ten soldiers for food. Marco Polo additionally claimed that the Mongols could also subsist on the blood of their horses, which was derived by puncturing a vein in the animals neck and letting the blood spurt directly into their mouths.
Two Types of Arrows:
Carpini had claimed that the Mongols carried two types of arrows with the lighter ones used for long range firing and the broader, heavier ones used for close quarter missile attacks. To that end, the arrow heads were manufactured and treated with a special technique in which they were heated till red-hot conditions and then immediately plunged into salted water. This infused them with greater armor piercing quality that was instrumental in dealing with heavily armored foes like the Khwarazmians and the Russians.
They were no doubt the deadliest warriors.
Danish Frogmen are by far the scariest.
Imagine its nighttime and suddenly these soldiers slowly rise out of some river. That would be nightmare fuel for me.
The Frogman Corps(Denmark) was founded in 1957. Their job is mainly reconnaissance, assaulting ships and maritime anti-terrorism.
The Imperial Knights.
These were nobles of the Holy Roman Empire who served under the Kaiser directly. To me their helmets (with the visor down) with their armor makes them look less then human as if you are fighting some metal creature.
Overall these men distinguished themselves many times and were widely respected throughout the Holy Roman Empire.