10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Second World War

Most individuals will be able to give you the key dates and historical details of the Second World War. But did you know that throughout Europe, Britain really practised the least amount of rationing? Or that Germany treated their flying “aces” in a special way? James Holland, a historian, discloses some little-known facts regarding the battle in this article.

In 1940, France possessed more soldiers, artillery, and tanks than Germany.

It is widely believed that the Germans won the Second World War by stomping their way to victory with an army and air force that were more advanced and mechanised than anything the Allies could muster in May 1940. World War II was completely different in actuality.

Only 16 of the 135 German divisions were mechanised, or outfitted with motorised transportation, on May 10, 1940, when the Germans launched their offensive. The remainder required a horse-drawn cart or human power. There were 117 divisions in France alone.

Germany only possessed 7,378 artillery pieces, whereas France had 10,700. The disparity didn’t end there; the French possessed 3,254 tanks to the Germans’ 2,439, the majority of which were larger, better equipped, and more heavily armoured than the German panzers.

It surprises me how high the UK prioritises manpower.

Before the war started, Britain made the decision to concentrate its combat capacity on air and naval power; it wasn’t until France fell that British powers realised  the Army would also need to expand significantly.The Ministry of Aircraft Production, rather than the navy, RAF, army, or even the merchant fleet, received first priority for personnel in the UK up until the spring of 1944. A remarkable feat, especially in light of the fact that Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain never had more than 750 fighters, is the fact that Britain alone produced 132,500 aircraft during the war.

Only 1% of Allied commercial ships were lost.

In the North Atlantic, Arctic, and Home Waters, Allied shipping losses during the Second World War were only 1.48 percent. There were 323,090 distinct sailings in all, of which 4,786 were sunk. 2,562 of them were British, although on any one day, there were often 2,000 British ships cruising somewhere in the world.

Convoys were generally rather safe, despite the fact that some suffered greatly. The worst-affected vehicles were independent sailings and stragglers from convoys, although speedier independent sailings were required to reduce the convoy system’s disadvantages of long unloading times and traffic jams.

Japan possessed Kamikaze rockets.

In the Second World War, rocket-powered aircraft were used by all sides, not only the Germans. 
The Japanese struggled to keep up with US and British technology after their early wins, but they did create the Ohka, or “Cherry Blossom,” rocket-powered human-guided anti-shipping missile that was employed as kamikaze weapon toward the war’s end.
To come within range, it had to be carried by “mother” plane. Once released, it would glide toward the target, generally ship, until the pilot fired the rockets and slammed in at up to 600 mph. 
Although they were referred to be “thunder gods,” or Jinrai Butai, Ohka pilots only succeeded in sinking three Allied ships. 
It required lot of sacrifice and work for not very much

In all of Europe, Britain had the fewest rations.

Rationing was not implemented in France or Britain at the start of the war, and even when it was mildly implemented in Britain in January 1940, France was still resisting until they were conquered in June 1940. 
Germany, on the other hand, started rationing before the war and struggled throughout the whole conflict to feed its military and the general populace.
Many people, notably the urban French, experienced severe hunger as result of the nation’s desire for food from the conquered regions. 
British citizens seldom experienced hunger, and even though certain items were rationed, many others were not. 
By 1945, Britain undoubtedly had it extremely easy in comparison to the rest of Europe.

The war’s most seasoned field commander was Field Marshal Alexander.

By the end of the war, Field Marshal Alexander was well-known to every Briton in the nation, but his popularity has since declined. He had a remarkable career and was the only officer in the conflict to command front-line soldiers at every level.He commanded the Nowshera Brigade in the Northwest Frontier in the 1930s, the First Division in France in 1940, and British forces in Burma in 1942 after rising to the rank of acting Brigadier during World War One. Before assuming the position of Supreme Allied Commander in the Mediterranean, he oversaw the Middle East Forces and two army units.In the British Army, he was especially exceptional because, during the war with Russia in 1919–1920, he oversaw German forces in Latvia.

There was distinction between German and Allied fighter aces.

When it came to its “aces,” the Luftwaffe took completely different strategy. 
In addition to being expected to fly nonstop for extended periods of time, pilots were actively expected to assist their leading shooters in racking up large scores by keeping them safe while the ‘experten’ completed the shooting.They encountered poorly equipped and trained Soviet aircraft in the Eastern Front, and soon the top pilots started racking up enormous victories. 
With 352 “kills,” Bibi Hartmann held the record for most aces in history. 
James “Johnnie” Johnson of the RAF was the most successful Allied ace throughout the whole conflict, with 38 victories.

The lost fighter aircraft of the Luftwaffe

new all-metal monoplane fighter called the He112 was being developed at the same time as the Bf109 by rival company Heinkel. 
The Me109E, which later became Messerschmitt’s fighter, and the He112E both had top speeds of more than 350 mph in their early prototypes, which were quite equally matched in terms of speed and rate of climb.
The latter could ascend in 10 minutes to 20,000 feet. 
More crucially, it possessed an incredible range of around 715 miles, which was better than than the twin-engine Messerschmitt 110, and an extremely durable inwardly retractable undercarriage that made it simple for inexperienced pilots to land.
The He112 would have been the perfect ally for the Me109, and the Battle of Britain benefited from its range.