A private in the Regiment de la Chaudiere, Leo Major got his first taste of combat during the Normandy landings, where he single-handedly captured a German half-track and had his left eye burned out with white phosphorus. After successfully arguing that he shouldn’t be sent back to Canada, since he only needed his right eye to look down the sights of his rifle (an argument as logically sound as it was existentially terrifying), he kept fighting across France, Belgium and Holland.
In 1945, a Canadian army company was captured while patrolling near the German-held Dutch town of Zwolle. The Canadians decided to bring up the heavy guns and level the whole damn town, but first, they needed to know where the Germans were, and perhaps also to contact the Dutch resistance to see if they would terribly mind being exploded today. Major and a friend, Willie Arsenault, volunteered for the exceptionally dangerous scouting mission inside the town about to be blown to hell. And then they thought: Fuck that. Why waste a perfectly good town? Wouldn’t it be better if they just captured the damn thing themselves while they were down there?
The 94 Most Badass Soldiers Who Ever Lived