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The 7 Greatest Pieces of Trash Talk in the History of War

#3. Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya, the Eastern Front of WWII

The Situation:

1941 was an unusually rough year for the Soviet Union, what with that whole German/Romanian/Italian/Hungarian/Finnish/Slovakian invasion going on. This didn't stop 18-year-old Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya from signing up for the Partisan-Reconnaissance Unit No. 9903, where she was tasked with burning down the houses in a Nazi-occupied village (preferably while they were being occupied).

Zoya managed to set fire to a few buildings before she was caught, tortured and paraded around town with a sign that said "Houseburner."

War Album
Her guard detail here are easily the most half-assed Nazis we've ever seen.

But before Zoya was publicly executed on November 29, 1941, she had a few words of hard-assed strategy to share with her captors and the audience, pointing out that "There are two hundred million of us, you can't hang us all!"

This was actually part of a larger speech where she kindly instructed her compatriots to "Kill the Germans, burn them, hunt them down like rats!" while the Germans were standing right there, preparing to hang her and feeling super awkward.

Getty
"It was the rudest thing I'd seen since we, y'know, killed all those people."

The Aftermath:

Once Stalin heard about Zoya, he immediately named her a Hero of the Soviet Union, the first female ghost to be bestowed with that title. Before the war was even over, she was honored with poems, paintings, statues and even a freaking movie. Just to give you an idea of how big of a deal Zoya became, there is a currently an asteroid named after her.

NASA
Everyone will feel just awful if it lands on Germany.

Also, her whole prediction about there being too many Russians for the Germans to hang turned out to be completely accurate -- by the end of it, the Germans were "hanging" themselves (or shooting themselves, you get the idea). We'll bet someone in the Third Reich got fired over that little miscalculation.

FEMEN Women's Movement
And now attractive young women wash and dress her statues yearly, so it's not a complete loss.

#2. Anne Bonny, Pirate

The Situation:

Anne Bonny was an Irish pirate who enjoyed a successful career during the golden age of piracy in the 18th century. She did her piracy thing alongside her partner Mary Read and her on-again, off-again husband Calico Jack. It was like a sitcom, only with more rape and plunder.


She's a hot-headed swashbuckler, and she's an axe-wielding anarchist, this week on That's My Bonny!

In 1720, their ship was ambushed by a sloop sent by the Governor of Jamaica. Only Anne, Mary and one other pirate fought back, since the rest of the crew were either sleeping or too drunk to fight. After they were captured, Anne and Mary were able to avoid the gallows on account of their respective pregnancies. Jack, lacking a uterus, was not so lucky.

Getty
"I tried arguing that my chlamydia was alive, just like a baby, but they wouldn't listen."

As he was on his way to be executed, Anne Bonny comforted her pirate lover by politely pointing out that if he'd fought like a man, he wouldn't have been hanged like a dog. To which he probably didn't reply, "Yeah, good point. Love you!"


And this is the man who practically invented the Jolly Roger flag.

The Aftermath:

Calico Jack was hanged on November 18, 1720, not unlike a dog. Anne Bonny, meanwhile, moved to South Carolina, had 10 children and died "a respectable woman, at the age of 80."

#1. Brig. Gen. Anthony Clement McAuliffe, the Siege of Bastogne

The Situation:

The Battle of the Bulge was the costliest battle in American history. Nearly 90,000 Americans were killed, captured or wounded just in time for Christmas. Smack-dab in the meat grinder were 12,000 U.S. soldiers holed up in a new circle of hell known as Bastogne.


Bastogne: Come for the unimaginable slaughter, stay because you're a corpse.

For eight days, the Germans laid siege to the city, and on December 22, 1944 a German truce party offered Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe a chance to surrender. Upon hearing the terms and carefully considering the situation, McAuliffe offered the above invitation, which we take to mean that they were free to shit themselves so hard that they would be propelled into the air, though historians are split on this interpretation.


His soldiers knew the "C" stood for "Come here so I can punch you in the dick."

Actually, that specific message never reached the Germans. But a version of it did. It went through a couple of revisions.

When McAuliffe first read the ultimatum, his initial reaction was to say, "Aw, nuts!" His aide, Lt. Col. Harry O. W. Kinnard, suggested turning that into the formal reply:

Patton's Vanguard
P.S. Balls.

Col. Joseph Harper delivered the general's reply to their understandably flummoxed German adversaries. The Germans still didn't understand what the note was about (being unfamiliar with the concept of humor), so Harper instructed his interpreter, Army medic Ernie Premetz, "You can tell them to take a flying shit." He apparently thought that would be clearer.

But Premetz, trying to phrase it in a way that would not get lost in translation, told the officers "Du kannst zum Teufel gehen" (which translates to "You can go to hell").

St. Petersburg Times
"And if that fails, just gesture toward your crotch until they get the idea."

The Aftermath:

McAuliffe's men outlasted their German adversaries, earning the nickname the "Battered Bastards of Bastogne," and were eventually relieved by a tag team of Gen. George S. Patton and God. McAuliffe's ballsy response might very well have saved his life: According to the film Patton, the moment "Old Blood and Guts" heard the anecdote, he smiled and said, "A man that eloquent has to be saved." Patton then personally presented McAuliffe with the Distinguished Service Cross.

Frum Forum
Not pictured: A magnificent exchange of curse words.

Jacopo has a new book coming out called The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy and he is on Twitter.

For more wartime humor from Cracked, check out The 5 Most Retarded Wars Ever Fought and Underdogs of War: 6 Tiny Nations That Kicked Ass.

And stop by LinkSTORM to see who wins the duel between David Wong and John Cheese.

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