American troops ordered mortar rounds during a battle in the Korean War. They got Tootsie Rolls instead! Why?
The chocolate candy Tootsie Roll has been around since 1896. It was invented by an Austrian immigrant to the United States named Leo Hirshfield, and was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped. Hirshfield named the candy after the nickname of his daughter.
During WWII, Tootsie Rolls became a standard part of American soldiers' field rations due to the hardiness of the candy under a variety of environmental conditions. This wasn't the only time when Tootsie Rolls met war, however.
During the Korean War's Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950, "Tootsie Rolls" was a term used to refer to mortar rounds. At one point during the battle, US troops were pinned down and running low on ammunition, including mortar rounds. They called for more but the area was too dangerous to get any to them.
After a few days, the troops were completely out or rounds so the risk was taken. When the soldiers went to get their supplies from the airdropped crates, however, what they found was candy. Tootsie Rolls to be exact. Evidently a supply specialist overheard them asking for more tootsie rolls and didn't know it was a code name.
"So when they did the parachute drop, we were like, 'What the hell is this?'" Said Stanley Knot, a veteran who was there that day. "But I survived for two weeks on Tootsie Rolls."