World War II was a grim affair filled with stories of sacrifice, heroism, and misanthropy. But a few WWII stories are just plain weird. Here are five of the weirdest.

1) Going Into Battle? Wear Your Necktie

General George Patton was known as a stickler for small details. He believed that if a soldier paid attention to the small stuff he would also do a good job on the big stuff. One of the things General Patton was very strict on was the proper wearing of uniforms. When he arrived in North Africa to take over command of the II Corps from Gen. Lloyd Fredenhall after the latter’s troops were badly mauled at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Patton found II Corps in a state of utter decay. He wrote in his diary that he saw, “No salutes. Any sort of clothes and general hell.”

Patton issued orders immediately to turn things around beginning with the uniforms, writing “How can we trust soldiers to fight when we can’t trust them to wear their uniforms properly?”

All soldiers would be ordered on the threat of a $25 fine (half a month’s pay for a private) to wear their leggings, unrolled sleeves, have all buttons buttoned and their steel helmets strapped, even when using the latrines. Officers were ordered to wear their neckties, even in combat.

The result of these orders was predictable, the troops were mad as hell at Patton. This did not bother Patton in the least.  After the crushing U.S. defeat at Kasserine, the British had a very low opinion of the fighting ability of U.S. troops, which Patton took very personally. It may have been well-meaning but it was deeply insulting that the British had set up battle schools for U.S. troops, assigned British officers to U.S. units, and sent tediously detailed operational orders to American units.

But Patton turned the II Corps around and in his first battle as the commander mauled the German Afrika Korps. This wiped away not only the notion that American troops were of poor quality, but that the Nazis were 10 feet tall supermen.  The Afrika Korps had been bloodied badly by guys wearing neckties into battle.

Brigadier-General Albin Irzyk in his combat kit, 3rd Army style, necktie and buckled helmet.

While General Patton had pretty strict rules about how their uniforms should be worn, they really didn’t apply to him. At the time, as one of the privileges of rank, U.S. general officers enjoyed pretty wide latitude in terms of how they wore their own uniforms. Patton himself favored a non-regulation “Eisenhower” waist cut jacket, riding jodhpurs, a polished helmet, Cavalry boots, and an ivory-handled Colt six-shooter on his belt. But of course, he still wore a necktie.

2) The Korean Who Fought for the Japanese, Soviets, and Nazis

Drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army in 1938 at the age of 18, Korean Yang Kyoungjong found himself fighting against the Red Army in Mongolia. There he was captured by the Soviets. Yang survived being a POW for almost three years, which is a feat in itself.