#5. Pigeon Photographers
OK, now that's just ridiculous. Look at them! Carrying cameras around like little feathered tourists.
But those are in fact military surveillance pigeons, and yes, they really existed. It was kind of a good idea, if you think about it -- aerial photos of enemy trench lines were highly sought after, but newfangled surveillance planes were just starting to be introduced (prior to World War I, if you wanted aerial surveillance, you did it using vulnerable hot air balloons and kites). Then along came Dr. Julius Neubronner with his patented miniature pigeon camera.
Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R01996/CC-BY-SA via Wiki
The word "miniature" had a loose definition in the early 1900s.
Neubronner's specially trained pigeons could be carried into battle in a customized mobile dovecote and then strapped into camera vests like the one seen above. When released, they were able to take a series of highly detailed photographs of the layout of enemy lines before returning to their roost and dropping off their film to be developed for HQ.
"Sir, is there a reason half our missions are near that all-girls college?"
"Never question my orders."
These avian reconnoiterers saw some decent action alongside German forces during the war, judging by all the cartoonishly exploded pigeons found behind Allied lines. Sadly, though, when he inquired about further developing the technology after the war, the War Ministry told Neubronner to "fuck off with that pigeon bullshit" (loosely translated from the original German).
And just as depressing as that sentence ...
#4. Doggy Gas Masks
Throughout the history of warfare, opposing forces have sprayed some particularly nasty shit all over each other. So gas masks have long been a universal piece of equipment for our human soldiers, but what about their best friends? Don't worry, Fido, because we thought of you, too! Pre-Geneva Protocol pooches had nothing to fear once their human companions forced them to strap one of these babies onto their little doggie craniums. Except for, you know, all the bullets and explosions and stuff.
Just when you thought German shepherds couldn't look any more badass.
#3. Special Forces Mini-Bikes
Ha! Look at that guy riding his tiny little clown bike back there! How could you even bring yourself to shoot that guy?
During World War II, the British Special Operations Executive was always looking for ways to pull a James Bond on their SS rivals. One thing that added difficulty to their espionaging was providing their soldiers with mobility once they dropped them behind enemy lines to get their spy on -- the logistics of dropping everything out of airplanes meant that there were severe size and weight restraints. So engineers worked hand-in-hand with Barnum & Bailey to develop these adorable wittle motorcycles.
The Welbike featured a single-cylinder engine and a collapsible design that allowed it to be packed into an airdrop container and chucked out over enemy territory for retrieval by special forces operatives, with just enough space left over to cram the size 28 shoes and giant red Afro wig in there.
#2. Wind Tunnels
Note the tiny little engineers at the bottom. That's not a model airplane up there.
Before computers, the only way to make sure that a new fighter plane didn't fall apart right as you were dogfighting over a cactus patch was to hang it up and expose it to the wind. Sure, you could build a model and put it in a tiny wind tunnel, but damn it, nothing beats going full scale.
That's a German facility above, but the Americans were also in the big wind game with this facility at Langley Field near Hampton, Virginia, that tested everything from World War II fighters to space capsules:
Are you picturing them reversing the fan and sucking that guy into it?
#1. Nazis Just Wanna Have Fun
The Nazis made for such perfect villains that we tend to forget that their military was largely made up of kids who were conscripted to serve their country, just like the armies that were fighting them. And like all soldiers, they liked to occasionally take time out and make a big sign with their butts.
Unfortunately, the context of many of the photos we're about to show you has been lost to time, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, then these photos are a veritable word goldmine. Because they paint a picture of Nazi soldiers as a bunch of tiny horse ridin' ...
... alcohol swillin' ...
... uh, crossdressers?
It seems that, no matter the surrounding circumstances, when you stir together a group of fraternity-age males, stick them in a confined space, and let them simmer for a while, you've just concocted the recipe for an instant kegger. Maybe you'll end up with a fake-mustache party ...
... or even a "totally not gay even though we're all in our underwear and some of us are totally kissing" party ...
This squad was already on double secret probation.
... but you'll always end up with a party. Seeing these photos almost makes us think that Nazi military life was equal parts fun, beer, and homoeroticism -- but then again, if you look just a little closer, this party bus does a power slide onto Disturbing Avenue:
Yeah, OK, never mind. Turns out that, even at a drunken Nazi frat party, Evil's still right there, lurking in the background and hogging up all the good booze.
For more old photos that are clearly fake (but totally aren't), check out 18 Old-Timey Photos You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped and 16 Real Old-Timey Photographs That Will Give you Nightmares.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Terrible Stadiums You Won't Believe Were Actually Built.
And stop by LinkSTORM where you can continue to practice screaming FAKE.
Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up RIGHT NOW and pitch your first article today! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!