#2. The Filthy Thirteen
The Half Assed Hollywood Effort:
The Dirty Dozen, a film that would probably not have been possible had the Filthy Thirteen not come out first.
The Badass True Story:
The Filthy Thirteen were a sub-unit within the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, better known as the "Screaming Eagles" who descended on Hitler's Fortress Europe with the 82nd Airborne during the wee-hours of D-Day for some early-morning foreplay. The Filthies were among the hardest-hitting, harder-drinking roughnecks in the U.S. Army, and got their name for their tendency to bathe and shave only once a week during training and rarely washing their uniforms, if ever. Hello, scabies!
Real heroes are disgusting and riddled with easily preventable diseases.
Their specialty was blowing the shit out of bridges and whatever else they figured could go "boom" if they strapped it to enough TNT, which caused a nightmare for the Germans as they tried in vain to fend off the Allied invasion. The jobs were as risky as a shore leave prostitute in Thailand, but the Filthy Thirteen were able to blow the shit out of Nazi-occupied France all the way from Normandy to the Battle of the Bulge, all while smelling worse than, well, a goddamn shore leave prostitute in Thailand.
Their fearless leader, Jake McNiece was part Native-American, and his fellow Filthies chose to honor this by going into battle sporting mohawks like Travis Bickle, and freaking war-paint.
But before he even made it that far, McNiece had to enlist and, at the age of 23, was delivered this nugget of advice from the enlisting officer:
"You may just be 23. I don't know, but your face and your head looks like it's been used as practice for hand grenade tossing and wore out three bodies already."
If that's not some movie shit, we don't know what is. Wait, yes we do, this quote from fellow Filthy Thirteener Robert Cone regarding the D-Day mission:
"We landed near a hedgerow, from which the Germans were firing at us, and the guy I was with was killed. I got hit in the right shoulder, which broke my arm all the way down into the forearm. The bullet was lodged in there for a year. I was able to get away, though, but could not hold my rifle."
Unless crapping your pants and falling to the ground in a heap of blubbering womanliness somehow managed to become an escape tactic, there probably isn't a person reading this who would escape some something like that one-armed and unarmed.
And if none of that piques your interest, check this quote from Filthy Thirteen member Jack Womer regarding the time he met Winston Churchill, which we proudly present to you with absolutely no additional information to help you ascertain exactly how this came to pass:
"I thought to myself, 'Should I shoot this son of a gun? I don't care if he is Prime Minister, I don't want him urinating on me!'"
With someone who drank like Churchill, the possibilities are endless.
#1. The 22nd Artillery Supply Company and Private Wojtek
The Half-Assed Hollywood Effort:
The Inglourious Basterds, and only because they spent half the damn movie trying to convince us that Eli Roth was a "bear" without so much as a bear-suit, never mind one day of acting lessons.
The Badass True Story:
If you ever thought the Inglourious Basterds were hardcore because they had Sergeant Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in their ranks, well... hold on to your ass and prepare to enter a whole new world of awesome. The real world.
Within the blitzkrieg-hardened ranks of the Polish Armed Forces in the West, was the 22nd Artillery Supply Company. The 22nd's most famous regular, one Private Wojtek, was universally known throughout the Polish Underground as "He Who Enjoys War," "Smiling Warrior" or simply "the Bear." During the epic Battle of Monte Cassino, Private Wojtek and the 22nd ran ammo for their Polish brothers-in-arms to help tip the scales in their favor. Once the bloody battle was over a Polish flag was raised high atop the bombed-out Monte Cassino, thanks in large part to the presence of the single most beloved soldier in the entire Polish Army on the battlefield:
That's right... the 22nd Artillery Supply Company didn't bullshit around like Tarantino. During WWII, these bastards had a real bear in their unit (not a Jewish one, though). Wojtek was a Syrian Brown Bear adopted by the 22nd while they were stationed in Persia. Wojtek proved to be the ultimate office pet for these war-weathered Poles, eating with them, drinking booze with them, sleeping in their barracks and trekking with them all the way from Persia to Palestine. Once the 22nd was ready to ship for Italy, Wojtek had two options: go home, or get a job. Sure enough, young Wojtek answered his call of duty, and officially enlisted in the Polish Army as a Private.
Incredibly, this is not his last living photo.
Wojtek worked hard for his pay (yes, pay) by helping transport heavy munitions to the front lines, which was made a bit easier for the 22nd on account of Wojtek being a freaking bear. Wojtek was a hard drinker, a diligent marcher (as demonstrated in this adorable war-footage), a charmer with the ladies and... well, did we mention that he weighed several hundred kilos, ran faster than a horse, smelled blood from a horizon away and could scalp a Nazi with one swipe on his bear-mitts on account of him being a goddamned bear?
Just look at their freaking emblem:
How the 22nd Artillery Supply Company wasn't immediately transferred to combat duty once Wojtek enlisted is beyond us. You don't need to be freaking Eisenhower to figure that if Wojtek was given some extra stripes, he could have trained an entire corps of Nazi-eating soldier-bears using bear-speak to plow a road from Italy to Berlin that would have ended WWII in the form of Wojtek personally eating Hitler.
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For more kick-ass soldiers, check out 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy. Or check out some other animals that could've won wars on their own, in The 6 Most Adorable Animals (To Ever Go On a Bloody Rampage).
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 06.02.10) to see David Wong's epic battle against the people of Estonia.