9They Stayed in Formation, Right Until They Crashed
As much as that looks like the aftermath of the most cartoonish disaster in military history, it is actually just the product of space-saving efficiency and horrific waste.
Back in the days when countries would actually disarm once the war was over, fighter planes (which were basically useless in peacetime and couldn't be resold for civilian purposes) would just be scrapped. So these Curtiss P-40 Warhawks ($44,892 each to build in 1944 -- that's $590,000 in today's dollars) were scrapped and melted down. To save space as they awaited their fate, the planes were arranged like they'd taken a mass nosedive in perfect formation and somehow stuck neatly in the mud instead of exploding.
Plane yoga never took off.
This is just a single site: Walnut Ridge airfield in Arkansas. All over the world, there were thousands of planes lined up like this, just begging for some smartass to happen by and play him some warplane dominoes.
HBO's Boardwalk Empire features a character named Richard Harrow, a former World War I sniper whose face was horribly disfigured when he got face-sniped by an enemy marksman. In what seems like a purely Hollywood touch to make him look more terrifying, Harrow covers his brutalized face with a lifelike mask that attaches to his head via eyeglasses:
"Things I dislike: The Kaiser, feds, soup ..."
But it turns out that Harrow's plight is based on similarly wounded vets of the early 20th century. Decades before things like facial surgery and skin grafts were commonplace, disfigured vets covered their horrible wounds with facial plates just like the one featured on the show. There are more examples out there, but we wouldn't recommend looking at them if you happen to be reading this article while eating or before bed.
And don't worry, it wasn't just faces that got state-of-the-art protection from concerned scientists of the day. Wartime inventiveness also gave us ...