At one point in the Italian Campaign, the U.S. Army Air Force built a dummy airfield to confuse the Germans and get them to attack it instead of the nearby real airfield. The Germans saw it and dropped dummy bombs on the dummy airfield.
Two British columns were passing by each. Field Marshall Montgomery being in the lead of one of them. As they passed each other, Montgomery saw a British soldier come to attention wearing nothing but a top hat. The soldier formally bowed and doffed his hat to his Commander. Montgomery was incensed and immediately issued a stern warning.
“Members of this Command are forbidden to wear top hats.”
“When a silver airplane flies over, it’s American. When there’s a green airplane, it’s British. When there are no aircraft, that’s the Luftwaffe.”
– German Soldier
“Hitler and Goring are standing atop the Berlin radio tower. Hitler says he wants to do something to put a smile on Berliners’ faces. So Goring says: ‘Why don’t you jump?'”
Don’t laugh too hard though – a German factory worker was reportedly executed for telling this one.
One of my Dad’s friends was a radar operator and he, with his unit, were sworn to secrecy. They even had to use an anonymous unit name. When the secrecy was lifted they were permitted to use their real unit identity. In need of new equipment, he identified himself as belonging to the First Sydney Radars. The term was unknown and the QM said, “Why don’t you blokes call yourselves commandos like everybody else.”
General MacArthur was talking to a private:
“Have you come here to die?”
“No sir, I came here yester-die!”
After the Germans defeated the Americans in their first meeting at the Kasserine Pass, Axis Sally started playing a familiar song from World War One on the radio. Familiar but with different lyrics.
Well the Yanks are running
The Yanks are running
The Yanks are running over there.
Singer, Actor, Comedian Mickey Rooney was trained as a sniper in the U.S. Army. During the Battle of the Bulge, Rooney did “Jeep Tours” at the front lines. Joking with fellow G.I.’s and raising spirits. However in an interview, years later Rooney admitted, “Sometimes I’d sneak off and ply the trade the Army taught me.”
American Runners would carry messages from one command to another. A common practice was to hide coded messages in empty bullets with the slug jammed in backwards. With millions of bullets in use the secret bullets were needles in a hay stack. If captured, the runner could easily ditch the message. Recently, one of those bullets was found in Italy. WW2 enthusiasts decoded the message. It read:
THEY – THROW – GRENADES – WE – PULL – PINS – AND – THROW – BACK