How a World War II German sub captain used the toilet wrong and sunk his vessel

On April 14, 1945, German captain Karl-Adolf Schlitt took a fancy U-1206 submarine into combat patrol for the first time. The sub had a new high-tech toilet that, according to the War Is Boring blog, "directed human waste through a series of chambers to a pressurized airlock" and "then blasted it into the sea with compressed air, sort of like a poop torpedo." After using the new-fangled crapper Schlitt apparently turned the wrong valve, allowing a backflow of waste and seawater into the sub, and it only got worse from there:

The unpleasant liquid filled the toilet compartment and began to stream down onto the submarine’s giant internal batteries — located directly beneath the bathroom — which reacted chemically and began producing chlorine gas.

As the poisonous gas filled the submarine, Schlitt frantically ordered the boat to the surface. The crew blew the ballast tanks and fired their torpedoes in an effort to improve the flooded vessel’s buoyancy.

Somehow, it got worse when the submarine reached the surface. “At this point in time British planes and patrols discovered us,” Schlitt wrote in his official account.

After taking damage from an air attack, the only option was to scuttle the sub and order the sailors overboard.

"The High-Tech Toilet That Sank a Submarine" Read the rest

America's broken promise to veterans who survived race-based chemical weapons testing in WWII

Three test subjects enter a gas chamber, which will fill with mustard gas, as part of the military's secret chemical warfare testing in March 1945.
Courtesy of Edgewood Arsenal
"It took all the skin off your hands," says former Army soldier Rollins Edwards. "Your hands just rotted."

Hitler's bookbinder

Michael Shaughnessy reports the untold story of Frieda Thiersch—and the mysteries of her life, her motives and her books

Normandy photos: World War II and now

Accidental Mysteries posted an excellent collection of "then and now" photos of Normandy in 1944 and 2009. (Color image by Patrick Elie). "World War II: Then and Now" Read the rest

He's Watching You: WWII poster meets Darth Vader in Star Wars mash-up

Boing Boing reader Brock Davis (FB, Twitter, Tumblr) shares this wonderful illustration in the Boing Boing Flickr Pool: "He's Watching You," a mash-up of Star Wars and World War II propaganda art.

"I've been wanting to draw this for a while," says Brock. "I love Glen Grothe's original 'He's Watching You' poster from 1942. The helmet of the soldier in that design is so visually prominent, it always made me think of Vader." Read the rest