The 6 Most Epic One Man Armies in the History of War
We've already told you about five guys who single-handedly brought the asskick reactor to critical mass after being tossed into desperate situations. Here's another handful of men who absolutely refused to go gently, instead opting to erupt violence like a hate volcano onto everything around them.
James H. Howard
In January 1944, James H. Howard and his squadron of P-51 Mustangs were escorting a formation of American bombers back from a mission to wipe out some aircraft factories near Berlin. While still over Germany, Nazi fighter planes attacked the American formation, and Howard, along with the other escorts, swooped in to defend the bombers. After a short battle, all of the German fighters were either driven off or shot down, but Howard found himself alone, separated from the rest of his squadron.
"Finally, some me time."
He returned to the bomber formation by himself, only to find the sky swarming with between 30 and 40 German fighters.
Rather than wait for the rest of his squadron, or even hesitate for a moment, Howard blazed directly into the heart of the German fighter formation. For the next 30 minutes, Howard viciously attacked the German planes with the astonished bomber crews looking on in awe. He shot down or damaged at least six enemy aircraft and received in return only a single bullet through the wing.
The plane was only weighing him down.
Running dangerously low on fuel (remember this was all happening over Germany) and with half of his guns jammed, Howard continued to swoop in on the enemy planes and force them away from the bombers before the German aircraft eventually gave up the chase.
"See this? This is you guys. You'll notice it's a perfect fit for my penis."
When Howard returned to his base in the U.K., he didn't tell anyone what had happened. Only after an inquiry by the bomber crews was Howard's identity as the legendary Mustang pilot revealed.
In a press conference a few weeks later, a reporter asked Howard why he didn't wait for the rest of his squadron, and his response was -- write this down, because you're going to want to use it any time anyone asks you why you did anything -- "He who rides a tiger cannot dismount."
"Hmm. But what about he who rides a shark?"
Jack G. Hanson
In 1951, after a year of fighting in Korea, the United Nations forces were at a stalemate with the North Korean Army and the People's Liberation Army, led by Kim Il Sung and Mao Zedong, respectively (aka the Korean Jesus and the world's most deadly sex maniac).
We think they got their roles mixed up when it came to portrait time: Kim looks up for anything.
In the middle of all this was Jack G. Hanson, a machine gunner in the 31st Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army. Hanson and the rest of the men of F Company were dug into a hill which, on the night of June 7, 1951, came under attack from a vast force of North Korean infantry. Knowing that there was no way they could stand and fight, the Americans withdrew, leaving Hanson and four other men as a rear guard to cover the retreat.
"Don't worry, we'll totally come back for you guys."
The aforementioned four other men with Hanson all got wounded in the attack and were forced to crawl to safety, leaving just Hanson and his machine gun standing in the face of an unstoppable human wave, spitting hot lead death.
"Outnumbered? More like outfunbered.
Nobody really knows for sure what happened next, since all the Americans had withdrawn and the North Koreans were either dead or otherwise unavailable for comment. What we do know is that two hours later the Americans counterattacked and retook the position, where they found Hanson's body in front of his machine gun nest with all his ammo expended. In his right hand was an empty pistol and in his left was a machete covered in blood.
In front of him lay approximately 22 dead enemy soldiers, riddled with bullets and stab holes.
So, yeah. You can fill in your own story there. Just know that it won't be as badass as what actually happened.
"Is that a tank? Bring it."
Dominic "Fats" McCarthy
Dominic "Fats" (seriously) McCarthy was an Australian soldier who fought in Gallipoli and France from the beginning of World War I. In August 1918, McCarthy was commanding a company in Northern France when the battalion on his left flank was held up by a heavily fortified German trench full of machine guns. Irritated that something was standing in the way of his storm of assbeat, McCarthy took three other men with him to deal with this German trench that was causing so many problems.
We're sure the rules of war say that this guy has the right of way.
For a guy named Fats, McCarthy could really fucking move. He outpaced the guys who came with him and managed to avoid the torrents of hot lead being spat at him from the German guns. He arrived at the first machine gun nest, blasted it into oblivion before the other guys could catch up and, without pausing for breath, launched a one-man blitzkrieg on the entire German trench system, armed only with a standard rifle and a shitload of grenades.
"Oh, have you three just arrived? There's no more war left."
McCarthy captured five machine guns, killed 22 Germans and captured 50 more. He secured half a kilometer of German trench by himself. The Germans were so impressed with his fighting that when they surrendered they patted him on the back and told him what a good job he'd done beating the everloving Jesus out of them across 500 meters of heavily fortified trenches.
"Learn from his example, men! Private, stop crying, it's embarrassing."
He was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions, now largely considered to be the finest piece of individual fighting in the entire war.
In June 1944, Private Herbert F. Christian was on a patrol in Central Italy with 12 other men when they were ambushed by a force of about 60 enemy soldiers rolling deep with three tanks at a range of only 30 yards. Understandably, Christian gave the signal to his patrol that they should probably get the hell out of there.
It was at this point that a tank sheared off his right leg above the knee.
That would make anyone feel a little unbalanced. (Sorry.)
Driven into a legless fury, Christian propped himself up on what must have been little more than his right thighbone, slotted a fresh magazine into his submachine gun and immediately killed three enemy soldiers. Not satisfied with that, he started shuffling toward the enemy while the rest of his patrol used the distraction he provided to cover their retreat.
"Run! Let the crippled guy handle it!"
Christian made it to within 10 yards of the nearest enemy position, firing as he went and leaving a river of blood in his wake, and killed yet another enemy soldier. The Germans, enraged by his plucky leglessness, poured all their fire (including some from a 20mm anti-aircraft gun) into him until he finally died, which we're going to go ahead and assume was a whole lot of bullets later.
We think it was when he grafted his gun to his leg that made them really worried.
Fazal Din was a Punjabi Muslim fighting for the British in Burma during World War II. In March 1945, Din was commanding a section of about a dozen men in an attack on some Japanese machine gun bunkers when he and his men were held up by enemy fire. Din, not one to stand for any such bullshit, took out the bunkers personally with some expertly lobbed grenades.
His aim was only as sharp as his personal grooming.
Without pausing, Din and one of his men continued the attack against six Japanese soldiers led by two sword-wielding officers. Din's man was struck down, and when Din came to his aid, one of the Japanese officers stabbed him through the chest, the tip of the blade poking all the way out through Din's back. The officer withdrew the sword, assuming his work was done.
"Yep, that'll probably do ya."
Din had other ideas. He wrestled the sword away from the officer and killed him with it, then turned on the other soldiers, killing two more and routing the rest. The rest of Din's platoon caught up with him and, waving the sword over his head, Din led them into a final attack that wiped out the remainder of the enemy's positions.
The moral of the story? Don't wave around a sword if you don't want to get stabbed.
Still carrying the sword, Din walked to the nearest British command post and gave his account of the battle. Only then did he allow his gaping chest wound to get the better of him, and he fell down dead.
In World War II, the Battle of Stalingrad looked very much like it was a battle the Germans couldn't possibly lose. The Russians were pushed back to the banks of the Volga, and divisions that were supposed to be 12,000 men strong were down to mere hundreds or even dozens. In the middle of all this was Mikhail Panikakha, a Pacific Fleet Marine who had volunteered to fight in Stalingrad, where the life expectancy of a Soviet fighter was measured in hours.
And badassery was measured in -- holy shit that's a big gun.
The situation was desperate, not just for Panikakha but for the whole Red Army. A strong German attack was threatening to split the Soviet defense in two and push them out of the city. On October 1, the Germans assaulted Panikakha's position, but despite being armed with little more than the physical manifestation of consummate hatred, the Soviets managed to defeat the first wave. The second wave soon followed, with Germans driving their tanks over the Soviet trenches to collapse the sides and bury their occupants, one of which was Panikakha.
Bad idea, tank.
Out of antitank grenades and about to be buried alive under a piece of German armor, Panikakha grabbed a pair of Molotov cocktails and leaped out of the trench. As he went to light the first Molotov a bullet struck the bottle, causing the flaming liquid to burst all over him. Despite being engulfed in a column of fire, Panikakha picked up the other Molotov and climbed on top of the tank, smashing the bottle on the engine compartment. The tank, along with Panikakha, exploded almost immediately. The Germans, realizing that Russians soaked in alcohol are both incredibly common and incredibly combustible, retreated.
The original draft of this statue involved a lot more fire and exploding Nazis.
Read more from Tony Pilgram at Bad Metaphors.com.
For more badass loners, check out 6 Soldiers Who Survived Shit That Would Kill a Terminator and 5 Spies with Bigger Balls Than James Bond.
And stop by LinkSTORM to see what happens when David Wong puts on his red headband.
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