The Most Brutal Warfare Tactic: Tootsie Rolls


via Flickr

Bag of tootsie rolls

With Halloween recently coming and going, kids will have a LOT of candy from trick-or-treating, and even when people don’t celebrate, they definitely enjoy a nice snack once in a while. However, many people find that one candy, in particular, should be strayed clear from, and that candy is the Tootsie Roll. The chewy chocolate flavor is a turn-off for some people. And while it may not be delicious, for some, it literally saved their lives. This is the story of the most brutal warfare tactic: The Tootsie Roll.

Now, the idea of chocolate candy (agreed to be fairly bad tasting at that) being used during actual wars sounds preposterous, but it is indeed real. Meet the 1st Marine Division of the United States, who were fighting in the Korean War. They ended up posting out at the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea, which was brutal to live inside. The main problem was the temperature. Fluctuating anywhere from -20 to -40℉, one of the survivors stated that many people “…got frostbite in their feet from having to walk so long on ice….” Jeeps would freeze over and stop working, guns would become brittle and crack, and the weather was unbearable and prevented food shipments.


Things just became worse and worse for the Marines after a while.  Starving, losing men, and low on ammo, it’s an understatement to say that morale was not high in the troops. Running out of options, a new, smaller division was made. One of the surviving men stated that they “…cried every night over the horrendous situation…” And even when rock bottom was hit, there was more conflict. They were detected by the Koreans and outnumbered 10-1; the fight was no match. It seemed like there would be no way to get out alive, so in a desperate attempt to save themselves, the Marines called in an air dropbox full of mortar rounds, which would help them out greatly, as all their other weapons had started to break. And the codename for these mortar rounds? “Tootsie Rolls”! When the crate finally dropped, the Marines didn’t find ammunition but instead a face full of chocolate.


At first, the Marines were shocked. How could such a mixup ever have occurred? How had such an easy request been messed up? Things seemed hopeless, as they were unable to fight back against the Koreans now until they realized that Tootsie Rolls were a form of food, which they were very low on at the time. Plus, supply crates were fairly big, and Tootsie Rolls were pretty small, meaning there were thousands of them inside of that box, supplying much-needed nourishment to the troops. However, a much more amazing discovery was found shortly afterward. The Tootsie Rolls were frozen due to the cold temperatures! And when put in the troops’ mouths, they would heat up, and could be molded like putty before freezing again. The soldiers froze the candy onto jackets that had bullet holes, guns that had cracked, tank wheels and pipes, etc. And surprisingly, the Tootsie Rolls held up very well! 


With everything fixed, the soldiers were finally able to escape to safety within an inch of their lives, although some 5000 had unfortunately lost theirs on the way. The soldiers stated that Tootsie Rolls played a great deal in their survival. So even when you are fighting in brutal warfare, it’s always nice to sit down and eat a Tootsie Roll… or maybe just a Snickers instead.