12 Crazy Soldiers from World War Two Who Could Have Put Rambo to Shame
12 Crazy Soldiers from World War Two Who Could Have Put Rambo to Shame

12 Crazy Soldiers from World War Two Who Could Have Put Rambo to Shame

Mike Wood - December 1, 2017

12 Crazy Soldiers from World War Two Who Could Have Put Rambo to Shame
Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik. The Daily Mirror.

11 – Jan Kubis & Jozef Gabcik

Some of the craziest soldiers, as we have seen, are those who are most willing to put themselves in the path of danger without any regard for their own safety. In that regard, the names of Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik will go down as some of the most lunatic around. Their bravery and dedication to the cause of Czech liberation will go down through the ages and, since we’re discussing lunatic behavior, perhaps so will the actions of their victim, Reinhard Heydrich, also known as the Butcher of Prague.

Jan Kubis & Jozef Gabcik were picked from a whole range of Czech and Slovak officers by the British intelligence services to carry out the attack, which was designed to destabilize the Nazi regime in Czechoslovakia and inspire the locals there to form a resistance movement similar to that was active in Poland, France and Holland. The pair had shown their fighting chops previously: Kubis had served with distinction against the Nazis as part of the French Foreign Legion and had found himself in Britain after the capitulation of France, while Gabcik had trained as a paratrooper in the UK and beat out 20 competitors to be picked for the task.

Their target was Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi leader in Prague. Heydrich was up there with the very worst of the Nazis: he had founded the SD, the Nazi intelligence agency, had chaired the Wannsee Conference in which the Holocaust was decided upon and had to led the forces which had summarily executed those who showed resistance to the Nazi war machine in Czechoslovakia. It was not for no reason that he was known as “The Butcher of Prague”.

Kubis and Gabcik were parachuted into Prague in December 1941 and spent months researching how best to attack Heydrich. They ascertained that – despite being the most hated man in Czechoslovakia – he drove to work every day in an open-topped car with just one driver. They picked a suitable curve in the road, where he would be forced to slow down, and, when he came past, sprang out. Gabcik attempted to open fire but his gun stalled and ruined the element of surprise, but Kubis was more successful: as Heydrich attempted to return fire at Gabcik, Kubis launched a briefcase stuffed with grenades at the car and it exploded. Neither of the Czechs knew that their attack had worked and fled – both were also injured by the blast – and only discovered the next day that Heydrich had been hit heavily. The Butcher of Prague eventually died, although historians attribute it as much to poor medical care after the attack as to anything caused by the attack itself.

Nevertheless, their attack had had its intended effect and now the retribution began. Hitler was dissuaded from killing 10,000 Czechs as a punishment and instead thousands were sent to the concentration camps, including those from the ancestral homes of the perpetrators. Kubis and Gabcik, however, had one last stand left in them. They holed themselves up in an Orthodox Church in the center of Prague and, along with two other Czech resistance members, took on 750 SS soldiers. They held out for six hours, withstanding tear gas and machine guns, only for their refuge in the crypt of the church to be flooded with water. They took down an estimated 14 SS men and injured 22 more before Gabcik killed himself and Kubis was mortally wounded. The pair would go on to be feted by both Czechs and Slovaks, and their bravery was never forgotten in their native lands.

12 Crazy Soldiers from World War Two Who Could Have Put Rambo to Shame
Bhanbhagta Gurung. Wikipedia.

12 – Bhanbhagta Gurung

Our final military madman is one that few will have heard of, but whose bravery to the point of insanity is nye on unbelievable. Bhanbhagta Gurung was a Gurkha, a Nepalese soldier contracted to the British Army and – in a very competitive field – perhaps the greatest Gurkha of them all. He was a Victoria Cross recipient, the highest honor that a member of the British Army can receive, as well as being awarded the Star of Nepal, the equivalent honor in his native land.

Gurung won his award in 1945, at the tail end of the war, when fighting against the Japanese in Burma, while pinned down with sniper fire. His citation for the Victoria Cross tells the story: In Burma, on 5th March, 1945, a Company of the 2nd Gurkha Rifles attacked an enemy position known as Snowden East. On approaching the objective one of the, sections was forced to ground by very heavy Light Machine Gun, grenade and mortar fire, and owing to the severity of this fire was unable to move in any direction.

While thus pinned, the section came under accurate fire from a tree sniper some 75 yards to the South. As this sniper was inflicting casualties on the section, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung, being unable to fire from the lying position, stood up fully exposed to the heavy fire and calmly killed the enemy sniper with his rifle, thus saving his section from suffering further casualties. The section then advanced again, but when within 20 yards of the objective was again attacked by very heavy fire.

Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung, without waiting for any orders, dashed forward alone and attacked the first enemy fox-hole. Throwing two grenades, he killed the two occupants and without any hesitation rushed .on to the next enemy fox-hole and killed the Japanese in it with his bayonet. Two further enemy fox-holes were still bringing fire to bear on the section and again Rifleman Bhahbhagta Gurung dashed forward alone and cleared these with bayonet and grenade.

During his single-handed attacks on these four enemy fox-holes, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung was subjected to almost continuous and point-blank Light Machine Gunfire from a bunker on the North tip of the objective. Realizing that this Light Machine Gun would hold up not only his own platoon which was now behind him, but also another platoon which was advancing from the West, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung for the fifth time went forward alone in the face of heavy enemy fire to knock out this position.

He doubled forward and leaped on to the roof of the bunker from where, his hand grenades being finished,’ he flung two No. 77 smoke grenades into the bunker slit. Two Japanese rushed out of the bunker partially blinded by the smoke. Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung promptly killed them both with his Khukri (the traditional Gurkha sword). A remaining Japanese inside the bunker was still firing the Light Machine Gun and holding up the advance of No. 4 Platoon, so Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung crawled inside the bunker, killed this Japanese gunner and captured the Light Machine Gun.”

The citation later went on to describe Gurung’s “complete disregard for his own safety” – bravery that only a madman would show.


Sources For Further Reading:

History Collection – Mud, Blood, and Death: Photos That Show the Realities of Trench Warfare

National Public Radio – Meet the Man Who Sneaked into Auschwitz

History Extra – The World’s Deadliest Sniper: Simo Häyhä

Owlcation – World War 2 History: Leo Major, the One-Eyed One-Man Army

Outonu – Pilecki: The Man Who Unveiled the Holocaust and Ended Up Executed by The Communists

All That’s Interesting – How Charles Coward Rescued Jewish Prisoners from The Nazis and Became Known As ‘The Count of Auschwitz’

War History Online – Maj. Tommy Macpherson, the “Kilted Killer” Who Tackled a Panzer Division on His Own!

History UK – Douglas Bader, The Double-Amputee Flying Ace of The Battle of Britain

Kafkadesk – On This Day, in 1942: Operation Anthropoid Was Carried Out By Jozef Gabčík And Jan Kubiš

The Independent – Bhanbhagta Gurung VC: Soldier Who Saved Fellow Gurkhas

The Himalayan Times – Gurkha Officer Reminisces About Heroics of His Grandfather