7 amazing badass war prisoners who defied their captors

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Imagine being a prisoner of war (POW) at the hight of a major conflict. You’re hundreds of miles away from the closest allied territory and thousands of miles from home. Are you prepared for months or years of hardship and torture? Will you give into being a propaganda prop in exchange for food and better treatment? Will you plan an escape?

In this episode of the WATM podcast, the boys of the editorial team discuss how a handful of badass war prisoners handled their captors and made the best out of their terrible predicaments.

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Selected links and show notes from the episode


• Referring WATM articles:

• [00:42] Horace Greasley, the ballsy POW who broke out of prison to visit his girlfriend overnight and then sneak back into his own camp. Editor’s Note: The original wording of our first post on Greasley incorrectly stated that he was Czech and our discussion in the podcast reflects this. In actuality, Greasley was a draftee in the British Army.

• [02:00] Horace Greasley: 6 unbelievable military love stories

• [05:50] Nazi POWs in Arizona: Papago Park housed captured Nazi Kriegsmarine U-boat commanders and their crews. It was the POWs from #84’s compound 1A who would trigger the biggest manhunt in Arizona history.

• [08:40] The only prisoners who can be forced to work are junior enlisted under the Geneva Conventions.

• [12:25] The Nazi POWs made a boat in a U.S. prison camp.

• [16:05] Tibor Ruben: Holocaust survivor escaped his Korean War prison camp every night to forage for food for fellow prisoners.

• [19:20] George H.W. Bush escapes prison camp and avoids being eaten by Japanese soldiers: That time Japanese soldiers cannibalized US pilots in World War II

• [21:40] The WATM boys discuss the work detail they would choose if they were captured.

• [25:15] Douglas Bader: Double amputee begins his escape attempts while his second prosthetic leg was still damaged.

• [28:30] French general escapes an inescapable prison to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

• [29:47] The British soldier who escaped The Gestapo’s “unescapable” castle.

• [33:15] Special Forces officer beats up his executioners and escapes with the help of his beard

• [35:25] Hippies identify 1st Lt. James N. Rowe to Vietnamese captors

• [35:30] Jane Fonda: The real story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam vets who hate her

• [40:20] A senior officer in “Hanoi Hilton” beats himself with a stool and cuts his scalp and wrists to resist North Vietnamese propaganda attempts.

Music license by Jingle Punks


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