H/T ListVerse.

Thee are some incredible stories of survival.

When fighter planes and ships were downed by their enemies in World War II, it didn’t always mean the death of every person aboard. Sometimes, a few people survived but found themselves stranded behind enemy lines. With no one searching for them, they were forced to find their way back home on their own.

Some of the people who made these journeys went through unbelievable experiences—and they made it back alive.

10 Five Americans On A Lifeboat Sailed Through A Typhoon


Photo credit: Imperial War Museums

Calvin Graef, a prisoner of war aboard a Japanese vessel, was cooking rice when he heard his captors in a panic. US ships had found them, but this wasn’t the rescue he’d dreamed of. The US ships had fired torpedoes and destroyed the Japanese ship with Graef and other prisoners of war still trapped on board.

Graef survived by clinging to pieces of the wreckage. Soon, four American POWs who’d escaped picked him up on a lifeboat and helped him aboard. The men made a rudder for their boat by breaking up parts inside. Then they sailed west toward China.

Their trip took them through a typhoon and over 480 kilometers (300 mi) of ocean. In the end, Chinese fishing boats took them to shore, fed them, clothed them, and sent them home.


9 Japanese Soldiers Walked Through 16 Kilometers (10 Mi) Of Crocodile-Infested Waters

Photo credit: Mysterious Universe

Photo credit: Mysterious Universe


In January 1945, Japanese soldiers were forced off Ramree Island by a troop of invading British soldiers. One thousand of the men escaped, fleeing through a swamp. They thought they were going to make their way to safety.

Instead, the men began a 16-kilometer (10 mi) trek through a swamp infested with crocodiles, some weighing as much as 900 kilograms (2,000 lb). The blood of the injured soldiers lured the crocodiles in. Meanwhile, the men struggled through as crocodiles emerged out of nowhere, grabbed the men, and dragged them under, never to be seen again.

The soldiers fired their guns wildly every time one emerged, but it didn’t stop the crocodiles. One by one, the men were dragged into the water by the hungry animals. By the end, only 400 of the 1,000 men who’d entered the swamp made it out alive.

8 A Soviet Pilot Stole A Nazi Fighter Plane And Flew Home

Photo credit: mig3.sovietwarplanes.com

Photo credit: mig3.sovietwarplanes.com

When Soviet Lieutenant Kuznetsov was shot down by a German pilot, he crash-landed in an open field and ran for cover as his plane exploded behind him.

But the German pilot who’d shot him down made a mistake that saved Kuznetsov’s life. The German flew down to the wreckage, eager to take a souvenir of his kill home. He climbed out of his plane and went through the wreckage, unaware that Kuznetsov was still alive.

Kuznetsov sneaked out of his hiding spot, climbed into the German’s plane, and took off, leaving the man who’d shot him stranded on the ground.

Then Kuznetsov had to fly home, entering Soviet airspace in a German plane and having to dodge fire from his own men. Fortunately, he made it through alive and returned to the safety of home.