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Twenty-One Gun Refute
"Urban legends have infiltrated every area of modern life, and the military realm is no exception. How much do you know about these ten military myths that have been making the rounds? Incredibly, some of these stories are actually true!"
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
A popular urban legend provides the supposed rationale for the number of shots fired in the weaponry salute traditionally reserved for honoring heads of state. According to this story, what is the significance of the number "21" in a 21-gun salute?
It is the weight of the human soul, in grams.
It is the legal drinking age in most countries.
It is the sum of the first six natural numbers.
It is the sum of the digits in the year 1776.
Another popular tale claims that the U.S. Army adds potassium nitrate, or saltpeter, to the food or drink served to recruits undergoing basic training, in order to bring about a certain desirable outcome. What is ingesting saltpeter supposed to accomplish, exactly?
It promotes obedience and loyalty.
It improves night vision.
It reduces sexual drive.
It imparts superhuman abilities.
One of the lesser-known anecdotes about General Patton concerns the time he was stationed in a commune in the north-eastern part of France. Due to a mix-up on the part of the village's inhabitants, they erroneously believed that one of Patton's men had recently perished. What had the locals apparently mistaken for a fresh grave?
a badly dug trench
a compost heap
a pile of rocks
a newly-filled latrine pit
The ubiquitous M16 rifle became the standard issue service rifle for the United States military during the Vietnam War. However, early adopters reportedly took some time to get used to the new rifle, which was smaller and lighter than its predecessors. This, coupled with concerns about its reliability, gave rise to stories being circulated that the rifle was rolling off the production line of a well-known toy company. Which company was said to have manufactured the M16?
Stories abound about a secret cache of items hidden somewhere on U.S. military bases that are intended for use in the event that the base is about to be overrun or captured. Depending on the version of the tale, these items vary but usually involve a combination of the following: a razor blade, a match, a penny, a bullet, or a pistol. Where are these items apparently hidden?
in the armory
in the soldiers' barracks
in or around the base's flag pole
in the Officers' Mess
Another story circulating the Internet claimed that an elderly man was once stopped and subjected to rigorous searches by airport security for having on his person a suspicious metal object in the shape of a star. It is possible that the security personnel believed the item to be a weapon of some sort, like a five-pointed shuriken, but they were sadly mistaken. Why?
It was a Medal of Honor.
It was chocolate wrapped in foil.
It was a cheap plastic replica.
It was part of the man's pacemaker.
During WWII, the British Secret Service employed the services of Waddingtons, the licensee for "Monopoly" in the United Kingdom, to produce special sets of the game for use in the war. How did these special "Monopoly" sets help in the war effort?
as shrapnel for bombs and grenades
to aid the escape of imprisoned POWs
to plan attack strategies for the war
as capitalist / military propaganda
Stop me if you've heard this one already. A leaked transcript of a radio conversation revealed that a battleship or an aircraft carrier (accounts vary) was once embroiled in an argument over who had the right of way with a particularly ill-advised opponent. As the conversation unfolded, it became clear that the military vessel was completely outmatched. Who was the other party to this radio conversation?
The Seal of the President of the United States features an eagle clutching in its left and right talons different objects that symbolize the powers of war and peace. An urban legend surrounding this specifies that when the country is at war, the Seal is modified so that the eagle's head is turned to face the symbol of war. What does the eagle carry in its talons?
a white poppy and a flamethrower
an olive branch and a bunch of arrows
a broken rifle and a bullet
an uzi and a dove
A few days before Christmas in 1943, American Air Force pilot Charlie Brown was flying his badly damaged B17 bomber over Germany when he encountered a German Messerschmitt Bf 109 piloted by Franz Stigler. Instead of shooting down the plane, Stigler accompanied the bomber in the direction of England until as far as the North Sea, before saluting the plane and flying off. Years later, the two pilots met up and became good friends. Is there any truth to this extraordinary story?
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Compiled May 23 13