In movies, plot holes either annoy or confuse the audience. Events conveniently happen in favor of the main character, and help arrives at the very last second when some significant character in the movie is about to die. These things were not realistic… or so we thought.
History and reality, in general, are full of “story” holes that we don’t expect to happen, but they did, and the military world is full of that. Here are some of them.
A Single Russian Tank Holding Off An Entire Troop of Germans
This happened in the Battle of Raseiniai in Lithuania over local river crossings, from June 22 to 27, 1941, which took place in the early parts of the German invasion of the Soviet Union called Operation Barbarossa.
On June 24, German troops spotted a lone Soviet Union tank on their territory that the locals reported they had seen arrive the night prior. The Germans believed this marked the beginning of an attack, but the tank was not moving. It was just sitting silently. The Germans waited anxiously until the Soviet KV tank fired at an approaching German supply convoy.
Meanwhile, from the perspective of the Soviet soldiers inside the seemingly mysterious tank, they were actually in need of supplies and injury treatments. Still, they held on and remained inside, occasionally firing at approaching German troops.
Back to the Germans, they decided to use a howitzer and an anti-aircraft turret against the enemy soldiers to put it down, which should be pretty straightforward, given that it was just a single tank. Unfortunately, that proved untrue as it turned out that the Soviet KV tanks had walls too thick for their bullets to penetrate. They also sneaked in at night and planted bombs, but the Russians thwarted them with machine guns. The tank could resist all sorts of German attacks for a full day until one German soldier had successfully made a hole into it using an anti-aircraft shell, killing the entire crew. Out of respect and admiration, the Nazis buried the Soviets’ bodies.
Mother Earth Intervening in the Invasion… Twice
It’s a man versus nature plot when Kublai, Genghis Khan’s grandson, tried to invade Japan twice while carrying out his grandfather’s legacy. First, Kublai’s troops approached Kyushu in 1274 aboard his boat, but the typhoon made it challenging for them to do so. So they tried again in 1281, and guess who was back there with them, too. Yep, the typhoon who seemed to fancy Kublai’s company.
Fast forward to World War II, Emperor Hirohito retold the story as he sent off his pilots on a suicide mission of crashing their planes into enemy ships and decided to call them kamikaze, which translated to “divine winds” after the two typhoons.
The story of the two storms could be anything but mere folktales since typhoons were not common in the western Japan area, where the story was said to have happened. Although, scientists tested the sediments from coastal lake bottoms. They speculated that the typhoons might have brought them to the area since the carbon dating pointed out that the carbon samples could be traced back to the time of Khan.
A Dutch Fleet was Trapped in Ice and Was Captured by French Cavalry
Could a cavalry regiment win in a naval battle? Once in history, at least.
During the peak of the French Revolution, countries nearby started to join the skirmishes, worried that France could become a republic. In the Netherlands, public opinion was divided, with some wanting to become a republic, too. In 1795, a group of Dutch military sailed out with their 14 boats to support Britain’s monarchs who were exiled. As they traveled, they attempted to avoid a winter storm by anchoring somewhere near the island of Texel. Unbeknownst to them, the ice quickly formed overnight, trapping them in the area.
When the news of the trapped Dutch military group reached the French, they established a cavalry to approach the boats with their horses to demand them surrender. The Dutch fleet had plenty of guns and cannons, but they were trapped in the ice and left with no choice but to surrender to the French cavalry, which was a rare event.