#2. Admiral John Benbow Leads a Battle From His Hospital Bed
During the War of the Spanish Succession back in 1701, the navies of Britain and France were in the Caribbean duking it out with cannons and broadsides. If you're curious what Britain and France were doing in a war for SPANISH succession, feel free to read up on it. It's complicated. We only bring it up so we can talk about Admiral John Benbow, who was there fighting for the British.
Specifically, the fact that he kept fighting after being hit by a freaking shot from a cannon.
"Never mind that. Let me sing you the song of my people."
It started when Benbow's fleet found four French warships with several supporting vessels. He ordered his ships to attack, and the two sides exchanged fire until nightfall. The next day, the French took to the seas and Benbow gave chase. Although the four French ships were more powerful, he was confident that his seven ships were up to the challenge. They probably were, too -- but we'll never know, seeing as the other captains were cowards. Benbow took potshots at the enemy several times, egging his cohorts along, but the other ships' captains refused to get near the French ships.
So Benbow decided to lead by example and engaged all four ships by himself.
The "let's sail between them really fast so they crash into each other" plan.
Five days of constant battle followed, with only one of the other English ships chipping in. Benbow took heavy damage, but managed to score some hits and even capture one of the French support vessels. The other British ships remained safely out of range, occasionally firing their guns in the general direction of the French for show and generally pussyfooting about.
Meanwhile, Benbow got hit with a blast of cannon chain shot, which shattered his leg. The painful injury meant he was confined to bed. So it's up to the next guy in line to take over, right?
Oh, hell no. Benbow just had his bed brought up on deck so he could remain in direct charge of the battle.
Hang on, his whole leg's missing here. Typical media overdramatization.
When it finally dawned on him that his support ships weren't just incompetent but were flat out refusing to obey his attack orders, he called off the attack and returned to port for a veritable orgy of cowardice-related court martial sessions, leaving the four vastly superior French ships to scrub the terror-pee off their decks.
#1. Benjamin F. Wilson Takes on the Chinese With His Shovel
When the Korean War began, WWII veteran Lieutenant Benjamin F. Wilson ran down to the enlistment office to volunteer his services. However, the Army in the 1950s was a mere shadow of its World War II size and thus had no room for an extra officer. Wilson, however, was more interested in action than in rank, so this veteran shrugged and enlisted again, as a private. He was sent to Korea, rose quickly through the ranks and made first sergeant by the summer of 1951. So already you know this guy doesn't take no for an answer.
He was put in charge of men tasked with protecting a little place that would within days be known with the loving nickname of "Hell Hill."
Here is Limbo Dam, or Hell's Waiting Room.
As the first sergeant of his company, Wilson was both aware that a powerful Chinese attack was imminent and in position to remain in the background when shit would hit the fan. Instead, he wanted to be with his men. For his troubles, he received a nasty bullet wound in his leg when Hell Hill started earning its nickname. This, of course, did nothing to prevent him from launching into a determined lone-man charge where he single-handedly killed seven and wounded two enemy soldiers, sending the rest into panicked disarray.
"Maybe we've had enough war for a while."
At this point, most men opined that Wilson had done enough, what with the life-threatening wound in his leg and everything, and tried to get him to a nice, comfy M.A.S.H. station. They actually managed to place him down on the stretcher, but when stretcher bearers set him down to rest he immediately escaped and limped right back up the hill to defend the peak. The only problem: At this point everyone else was retreating, so he was now pretty much the only U.S. soldier on the offense.
He didn't actually realize this because his helmet kept falling over his eyes.
As everyone knows, a real-life situation where a lone wounded soldier stands against overwhelming odds never ends well for the soldier.
Unless, of course, said soldier features in a Cracked article, in which case he promptly charges the enemy ranks with his rifle, kills three enemy soldiers and scares the shit out of the others. When the enemy physically wrestled the rifle from his hands, he took his goddamn entrenching shovel and annihilated four more enemies.
At this point, the Chinese soldiers decided that Wilson could just keep the damn hill and retreated.
Wilson, in turn, finally allowed the medics to patch him up. Although he did rip his wounds open again the very next day, when he killed 33 enemy soldiers in another one-man assault. At that point, the Army actually had to remind Wilson's wildly medal-recommending superiors that no one is awarded more than one Medal of Honor.
For more insane actions during battle, check out 5 Soldiers Whose Horrific Injuries Only Made Them Angry and 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator.