Part of the allure of war is that it can make heroes out of people who otherwise would have nothing useful to offer society. This should take nothing away from the truly heroic and courageous -- we're just saying that the battlefield also offers work to, say, the guy who really likes to set things on fire.
Likewise, warfare creates many openings for bullshit artists. Time and time again, small, ridiculously outnumbered forces have gleefully bluffed their way to victory in situations that should have left them as stains on the battlefield -- then tipped their hat to the bewildered enemy as they realized how badly they'd been played. Read these stories and tell us there shouldn't be a specific medal for doing this kind of thing.
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A Nonexistent Pilot Shoots Down Two German Fighter Planes
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Malta, 1942. The German Luftwaffe* was pounding the island, because it was World War II and that was the sort of thing that was happening. The British and Canadian defenders there were badly understaffed, lacking in supplies, and generally incapable of maintaining a strong defense. German bombing raids had reached a frequency of three per day, and the only thing the British defenders had was a small fleet of Spitfire fighters. A ragtag group of pilots had managed to keep the fight on by sending up a couple of planes at a time to try to scare away the enemy, a stratagem that had worked surprisingly well, because Spitfires were badass and feared by the Luftwaffe.
Still, the Brits were eventually ground down to a handful of planes that could barely dust a goddamn crop, let alone armed-to-the-teeth opponents. And one day, they were all down for maintenance right when a particularly dangerous German fleet turned up.
*English translation: "Air Waffles"
PaulMichaelHughes/iStock/Getty Images, RAF
Captain A.B. Woodhall watched the dots on the radar in growing desperation, knowing full well that he and his friends would soon be scattered in pieces around several large craters. But then he had an idea. It was a stupid one -- little more than a prank. But it was all they had, and it just ... might ... work.
Woodhall knew the Germans were listening in on their radio, so he grabbed a nearby Canadian pilot whose voice he was sure they'd recognize, threw a microphone in his hand, and started issuing orders as if the pilot was flying his plane. Apparently the Canadian Air Force spend a considerable amount of time in improv training, because the pilot rolled with it and the two struck up a two-way exchange of orders and execution, going through their lines in a wacky bit called "Fully functional Spitfire about to roast some German bomber ass."
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The secret is really selling the "Pew! Pew!"s.