A Pair of Dentists Go AWOL to Attack the Germans
What these next two guys did in no way turned the tide of the war, and as far as we know it didn't even result in any German casualties. Still, it has to go down as one of the most balls-out crazy things ever attempted in modern warfare. This is the story of the two guys who decided to single-handedly invade Nazi-occupied France.
Wikimedia Commons, Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-L05487 / CC-BY-SA
First, we want you to imagine the most unintentionally hilarious job anyone could have, for any nation, in any war. Got it? Well, Sgt. Peter King and Pvt. Leslie Cuthbertson have you beat: They spent World War II in the British Army Dental Corps.
After trying several times to transfer to fighting units, they decided to take matters into their own hands. So, in April of 1942, King and Cuthbertson went AWOL. In an effort to prevent accusations of desertion, they wrote letters to Prime Minister Winston Churchill explaining the purpose behind their actions. Then these two dentists, who had no particular espionage or other special training to speak of, stole weapons and grenades from their camp, deciding they'd get proactive on that shit. They stole a motorboat and set out across the English Channel to France in what was to be the very first invasion of occupied territory of the war, unauthorized though it was.
Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The lengths some people will go to just to avoid latrine duty.
Once there, King and Cuthbertson, who were inspired by stories of raids conducted by the English Special Services, sought out something to raid. It came in the form of a German troop train. Armed with all their considerable dentist training, they waited for any German onlookers to go past them, then placed a grenade under one of the tracks and pulled the pin. The train successfully disrupted, the two men made the tactically sound decision to get the hell out of the area before they were cut down by enemy soldiers.
King and Cuthbertson stayed in Nazi-occupied France for a total of three days before deciding to return to England, somehow not getting killed in the process. They stole another motorboat and made their way across the English Channel. They miscalculated the amount of fuel the boat would need, though, and it wasn't long before they were stranded on the water, where they stayed for more than two weeks before being rescued by the Royal Navy.
"Captain, I've spotted the HMS Dumbass off the bow!"
They were immediately court-martialed, because it turns out most armies frown on this kind of thing. An intervention by Churchill prevented them from being tried for desertion, but they did end up losing rank. They were, however, allowed to leave the dental corps and transfer to the light infantry ... and over the years, King wound up winning two medals for valor. So, yeah, we're thinking the guy was kind of wasted as dentist.
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Related Reading: Ready for some one-man rampages? We've got those too. Fats McCarthy stormed half a kilometer of German trench on his own. If you're more interested in two men fighting each other, we've got these tales of duels. Still reading? We've got more one man rampages right here. You can read about the man who screamed an entire army into submission.