#3. A Sudden Wind Saves Orleans
Joan of Arc is a bit of an oddity in human history. We know enough about her life -- hell, we even know whether she was hot or not -- but even scholars scratch their heads over how the hell a 17-year-old farm girl was able to be taken seriously by any male-dominated medieval military, never mind a French one.
It was kind of a boys club.
Jean de Dunois, better known as the Bastard of Orleans -- seriously -- was one of Joan's earliest critics at this crucial juncture in her career. Not only did she have boobs, but Joan had no military experience whatsoever, she sincerely believed her orders came from the archangel Michael, and frankly, her full-time job as "peasant" was not all that impressive, even in 1429. As a result, the Bastard would have been more than happy keeping Joan out of battle and, for the most part, ignoring her, which was exactly what he did.
The bastard himself.
The Divine Intervention:
The Siege of Orleans started off pretty shitty for Joan once she found out that Dunois left her out of his war counsels simply because she lacked the testicular girth. When Joan complained about this to the Bastard in person, he blew her off by saying he was more concerned about the strong wind preventing his army from receiving supplies from the Loire than her griping. This was Dunois' way of saying he had more important things on his mind than this teenager bullshit and that losing wars was something better left to the men of the French military.
Photo c/o deputy Van Halen of the San Dimas police.
Well, according to the Bastard himself: "All of a sudden, and as though at that very moment, the wind -- which had been contrary and which had absolutely prevented the ships in which were the food supplies for the city of Orleans from coming upriver -- changed and became favorable. From that moment I had good hope in her, more than ever before." Forced to believe that Joan had stopped the wind with her mind or something, Jean de Dunois used his military and political clout as the Bastard to become one of her greatest supporters in the male-dominated French military.
The Siege of Orleans ended up becoming Joan of Arc's greatest victory, the turning point of the Hundred Years' War and one of the most decisive battle in history, ever, thanks to a gentle breeze and a sexist bastard's sudden change of heart about a schizophrenic teenager.
Sounds a lot like a Disney Channel Original Movie.
#2. The Second Battle of Britain is Turned on a Dream
When we mention the "war against the machines," the time frame that pops into your mind isn't usually the 1940s. For that reason, this is one of those rare occasions when real history is actually more awesome than what you learned in school.
During the period of World War II known as the Second Battle of Britain, Allied troops were pitted against something called the V-1 buzz bomb, a flying murderbot designed by the Nazis.
Terminator: Episode I
Without a pilot, a complex engine or really any weak points at all, the V-1 was as hard to kill as the T-1000, and on top of that, it was faster than anything the Allies had in the air. So, as if being a Londoner during the 1940s wasn't bad enough already, the public had to deal with newsreels like these about the old-timey robot uprising they were fighting.
The Divine Intervention:
Fortunately for the Allies, they had a 29-year-old techie on their side named David B. Parkinson, who apparently graduated from the same Jedi academy as Luke Skywalker. Shortly after the Dunkirk evacuation of 1940, the secret to defeating these marauding sky horrors came to him in a dream.
The dream started off as typical war-geek fantasy -- Parkinson dreamed he was on a Dutch anti-aircraft gun crew alongside "a marvelous automatic robot gun."
After successfully downing just about every airplane in the sky, "one of the men in the crew smiled at me and beckoned me to come closer to the gun," at which point Parkinson discovered it was driven by the same recording equipment he had recently developed for Bell.
The next morning, Parkinson forced his equally-nerdy friends at Bell Labs to hear all about his dream from the night before, presumably prompting reasonable objections like, "we don't invent weapons, we invent recording devices." But he wore them down, and working together they used his dream-schematics as a starting point to invent the M-9 electrical anti-aircraft gun complete with robot detector, even though "neither of them knew anything about guns, ballistics or fire control." That's pretty awesome, considering that we at Cracked have about the same level of qualification, but all of our anti-aircraft guns have so far been miserable failures.
The M-9 entered military service in 1943, and in one month, "90 percent of German V-1 buzz bombs destined for London were shot down over the cliffs of Dover." In a single week, 89 of 91 V-1 bombs launched from Antwerp were shot down using "radar-guided 90-millimeter guns controlled by M-9s," a victory that may not have occurred had Parkinson only dreamed about showing up to the war in his underwear.
Fret not, Free World. The Force will be with you.
#1. The Battle of the Bulge
The single bloodiest battle in American history was a desperate surprise attack launched by Germany in December 1944. The most serious shit during the Battle of the Bulge went down in the Belgian town of Bastogne, where 12,000 men from Private Ryan's old outfit were encircled and under siege. The U.S. Third Army's Gen. George S. "Old Blood and Guts" Patton hoped to break the siege using tanks greased with the "goddamned guts" of dead Germans.
Actual grease would probably have worked better, but whatever. Some people have a flair for drama.
But Patton had a more pressing problem on his hands at the moment: The weather had been relentlessly shitty all month. All he needed was 24 hours of good weather so that he could send in his Third Army, rescue the 12,000, kill the blitzkrieg and strut out with enough gut-grease to last him all the way to Moscow.
Dude had his driving gloves and everything.
But since no weapons of mere mortals could crack a dent in the atmosphere, Patton had no choice but to resort to more unconventional means to improve the five-day forecast.
"Old Blood and Guts" on a good day.
The Divine Intervention:
After screaming at the clouds for days on end and insisting that they were all "goddamned cocksuckers," Patton took matters into his own hands and decided to appeal to the only entity capable of actually changing the situation. He summoned Third Army chaplain Col. James O'Neill to draft up a prayer for him that could double as a weather machine.
O'Neill was a bit weirded out by this request, never mind the fact that Patton was "dead earnest" about it, and the general staff of the Allied nations condemned the move as an insult. Nevertheless, the chaplain formulated an awesome rain-destroying prayer that Patton distributed to his men on 250,000 wallet-sized cards, then chilled out the next few days to let God sort out the enemy's growing bulge.
Now, we're not claiming that God literally reached down with his fists and punched a hole through the clouds directly because of Patton's prayer, but the weather did suddenly clear up, just long enough for the Third Army to break the German encirclement and reinforce Bastogne. Decide for yourself. We're just a comedy site.
Anyway, the heroic feat went down in history as Patton's finest hour, and the general celebrated by immediately awarding chaplain O'Neill the Bronze Star "for writing a prayer." According to O'Neill himself, Patton then "cracked me on the side of my steel helmet with his riding crop. That was his way of saying, 'Well done.' "
Well done, indeed.
And stop by Linkstorm to see how God wouldn't touch the Internet with a 10-foot poll.
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