MoSho’s Badass of the Week- Brutal Brunette Beauty Nancy Wake
Known for her beauty but better known as deadly fighter meet the wonderful "White Mouse" Nancy Wake.
We're taking a look at Ben Thompson's book "Badass" and finding some of our favorite badasses in history. A few months ago, we discovered an amazing website Badass of the Week. The creator, Ben Thompson, founded the site so others could learn about various badass men and women in history. The site has been around since 2004 and Thompson has written several books on the subject of Badasses through history, as well as the Guts and Glory series of books. Both series look at various types of heroes and villains throughout history. While reading these books, we've found interesting facts, stories and people that we believe should be highlighted so you know more about them.
Today our BADASS is a brunette bombshell, a prominent figure in the French Resistance during the Second World War and don’t you dare mistake her for a damsel in distress. While training with the Secret Operations Executive (SOE) Nancy Wake learned hand-to-hand combat and how to kill a man with her bare hands. She was also skilled in espionage, sabotage and could drink all the dudes she served with under the table according to fellow soldiers.
She moved from her Native Australia to France where she married and began working for the Hearst newspapers. That’s when her stories began focusing on the rise of German Fascism and her desire to help the opposition began. Nancy Wake and her husband Henri Fiocca began assisting the French Resistance as couriers as well as helping Allied servicemen and Jewish refugees escape. For two years they worked against the Gestapo until it was too dangerous for her to work inside France and attempted to escape to Britain. After she left Paris, her husband was captured and tortured to give up her whereabouts. Henri didn’t give up his wife, which eventually led to his death. While making her way to Britain, SS guards and Gestapo soldiers tried in vain to capture her, which earned Wake the nickname of White Mouse. By this point, Nancy Wake was the Gestapo’s Most Wanted person in the area with a 5 million franc pricetag on her head.
When discussing how she was able to elude capture for so long, Wake said she would flirt and talk her way out of multiple close encounters. She finally made her way into Britain on her 7th attempt and joined the French Section of Special Operations Executive and her higher ups said she was a fast shot and excellent in the field. Although known as beautiful and deadly, her fellow soldiers say she also had a bright, cheerful spirit throughout her years of service.
She returned to France in 1944 to assist the Resistance before D-Day and organized parachute drops of arms and equipment. She also was instrumental in the recruitment and participated in attacks on bridges, railways lines, and German convoys. A raid Wake was a part of destroyed the Gestapo’s headquarters in Montlucon that killed 38 Germans. At one point her soldiers had a female German spy that they didn’t have the heart to kill and she told them if they didn’t execute her, she would. One of her most shocking and notable moments was when she was conducting a raid on a German gun factory and a Secret State police sentry saw her and her crew and was attempting to raise the alarm. Before he could, Wake killed the man with her bare hands by judo-chopping his neck. Wake said she was surprised that the move killed the man.
Another time, Wake rode a bike 380 miles to get a message to another Resistance group in less than 3 days. During the war she was able to thousands of her comrades lives and was vital in the success of the French Resistance. She was awarded medals from various countries, including the American Medal of Freedom, the Medaille de la Resistance and the Croix de Guerre from France and others. Her fellow soldier once noted that Nancy Wake was “the most feminine woman (he knew) until the fighting starts, then she is like five men.”