Military Stories and Photos of the 20th Century

Exploits of my dad (2nd Infantry (Indian Head) Division) at Normandy  from a 82nd Airborne Division veteran.

This is a true story of George W.Tompkins Sr. by his son George W.Tompkins Jr.(82nd Airborne Division) and a personal note of interest by George Jr. about the British 6th Airborne Division.

When my dad  was still alive he described to me his first 5 or 6 hours on Omaha. They were pinned down by heavy German fire coming from the pillboxes. My dad said most of the guys arriving in the second and third waves were sitting ducks as soon as the gates dropped on the landing craft they were just cut down. He described the water at high tide as being a shade of crimson stained by the blood of fallen Americans. It took a few hours of heavy Naval gunfire to level some of the pillboxes before his unit could advance to the first series of hedgerows. He landed on the beach on June 6th a buck Sergeant.
On the second day he was promoted to 1st Sergeant H Company 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry (Indian Head) Division when his 1st Sergeant was killed in action. He was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart with 5 oak leaf clusters for his actions and a battle field commission to 2nd Lieutenant during the "Battle of the Bulge".

One story he did tell me was after his unit liberated the village of St.Lo. They captured almost a complete infantry regiment. The Nazi CO was a full Colonel. He kept insisting that he ride in a vehicle instead of having to march along with his men because he was a German officer and demanded to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. My father told him twice that only wounded men get to ride, Americans first Germans second. The Colonel insisted one more time so my father shot him in the leg and said OK now you can ride in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Another interesting story is regarding the British 6th Airborne Division.  It was not until I got to the 82nd that I encountered a very small handful of legit WW2 veterans still on active duty amongst whom was my battalion Sergeant Major Harry S. Tompkins (no relation) but in the Army we used to call the First Sergeant or the Battalion Sergeant Major TOP, an affectionate name for TOP KICK or senior most enlisted man.   I used to call the Sergeant Major POP. He never corrected me and would just smile at me. It was on Harry Tompkins that I saw for the first time a pair of Master Jump wings with 4 stars. The 4 stars were for his 4 combat jumps in WW2, that included Sicily, Salerno, Normandy (St. Mere Eglise), and Nijmegan (Holland.)  I engaged him in a conversation about WW2 and in particular I asked about the British 6th Airborne Division. In the US Army our maximum height for jumping was 20,000 feet and the only way you could go above 20,000 feet was to balloon jump. Of course the US Army does not permit balloon jumping however every year that I was in the 82nd two men from every unit were allowed to go to England to get their British Paratrooper Wings and to balloon jump with the British 6th Airborne perhaps the most notorious allied unit to ever hit France. According to POP you could always tell a British 6th trooper because he usually had no front teeth or was missing an ear. Amazed I inquired to find out that while US troops would exit C-47 aircraft via the two rear doors the British 6th would exit via an escape hatch in the floor near the tail of the aircraft. Most of whom would either knock out their front teeth or catch their ear on the hatch on the way out. POP said they were the craziest bastards he ever fought along side of.

How the British Navy and Air Force Saved Malta

Saving the island of Malta from Axis occupation and its’  importance to the defeat of the German/Italian forces in North Africa it is important to know how this was done by getting just enough supplies to keep the civilians and military alive and able to fight.
Malta contained a considerable civilian population, a large garrison drawn from all three Services and served as a very active operational base throughout the siege, it may be assumed that only the use of a considerable number of large merchant ships could support the demands for food, fuel and other supplies. Indeed, the great maritime/air battles that ensued around the convoys from east and west are usually seen as the means of supply. It is true that the failure of anyone of these operations would have made inevitable the surrender of the island, there was always a predicted but always changing date by which the island must capitulate due to starvation. However, lack of ammunition for the defenses, fuel for them and the population, and loss of aircraft could also have forced such an act prior to starvation itself. The support of Malta therefore took a number of forms. Firstly the passage of heavily escorted convoys conveying bulk supplies of food, fuel and ammunition. Secondly, the provision of very scarce ("high value") items such as vital spares, ammunition, medical stores and concentrated food by fast warships. Thirdly, the delivery of similar items by submarines, either as part of an operational patrol or a dedicated supply trip by a partly converted vessel. Fourthly, the provision of fighter aircraft by using Fleet carriers to take them within flying range of the Island and, finally, by clandestine voyages by independent merchant ships. The failure of anyone of these would have proved fatal to Malta.

Malta could be supplied either from the east or the west so far as convoys were concerned, the decision was based on tactical considerations. From Gibraltar, the passage only became subject to air attack in the second half of the voyage where enemy forces were in strength. From the east, unless the North African desert was temporarily in British hands, air attack became probable very shortly after sailing and surface attack easier due to shorter distance. The eastern route, after the complete failure of one attempt, could only really be attempted when the enemy had been driven west of Benghazi. Both routes required very heavy escort, another factor that inhibited the eastern series due to the steady attrition of the Mediterranean Fleet. The Germans operated a logical series of attacks that was directed at the main component of the escorts for if they were to be eliminated first the destruction of the escorted ships became easier, the heaviest attacks after the departure from Malta was directed first at the main Fleet and then at a detached cruiser force. Unlike the earlier attacks which were conducted by the Italian Navy and Air Force, these later, and most destructive efforts, were mounted principally by German aircraft. Most of these attacks were against convoys from Alexandria to the East of Malta that were under attack by Axis forces almost immediately. As an example were the results of the last Eastern convoy.

The Admiral in charge of the escorts  then received firm information that the Italian fleet was retiring and accordingly ordered the convoy to turn once again for Malta. Unfortunately, the order was received at the peak of a heavy air attacks and it was nearly 1900 before the situation could be assessed and fuel and ammunition reserves discovered. It became clear that, with NESTOR damaged in the latest raid, fuel in the destroyers low and under 30% ammunition remaining, to press on to Malta was impossible. The C-in-C concurred and the whole convoy headed back for Alexandria. During that night the cruiser HERMIONE was hit by U 205 and sank, the damaged NESTOR had also to be sunk and the bedraggled convoy and escort returned to Alexandria and Port Said on the evening of 17.6. AJAX and BULKOIL were escorted to Port Said by FORTUNE, GRIFFIN, INCONSTANT and PAKENHAM, the remaining merchant ships entering Alexandria. CENTURION, damaged and with a deep draft had to anchor outside the Great Pass. This concluded attempts to supply Malta by convoy from the east, until the Army succeeded in clearing North Africa thus giving the RAF the ability to provide air cover during the voyage.

This was the situation in Malta at this time. The arrival of two supply ships from HARPOON convoy from the the west extended the supplies available in Malta by eight weeks. This seemingly reasonable statement must be read in the context that the entire population was already on starvation rations, serious illness were already afflicting rising numbers including even aircrew, that water and fuel for cooking could only be obtained with great exertion from specified distribution points, and that the reserves of essential supplies for defense, principally aviation fuel and ammunition, were extremely low. It was therefore essential to repeat the HARPOON operation on a larger scale and with arrival before the end of 8.42. It is of interest to quote comment by the then commander of 10th Submarine Flotilla in the island on a conversation with the people who were responsible for food distribution in Malta: "They said that the present island-wide soup kitchen arrangements are fully organized and working well. The tinned and dehydrated ingredients are issued daily to the organizers, prepared on field kitchens and distributed from fixed points. These ingredients are the ideal for control and orderly administration but the last issue - the absolute last issue from island reserves - occurs in five days, on 15 August. After that we are down to the slaughter of horses and goats, once considered adequate for six months......The present census of animals in the island is estimated to last from five to ten days. If in fact I chop and change between tinned supplies and slaughter WITHOUT CAUSING PANIC we might last until 25 August." That was the measure of desperation on the island.

Then finally there was one last attempt to get the most needed supplies in to Malta with Operation Pedestal; a relief convoy from the west. This, the last heavily opposed supply convoy to Malta, was born of sheer necessity immediately following the arrival of HARPOON. The decision was hardly in doubt, any other would have been a total abandonment of the island, and very little time was wasted in commencing preparations. The chosen commander, Vice Admiral Syfret, was at sea on his way back to the UK from the invasion of Madagascar, he was ordered to land at Takoradi and was flown to London to commence planning on 13.7 together with Rear Admirals Burroughs and Lyster who were to be his deputies.

Basically, PEDESTAL was HARPOON without the eastern cooperation, and with greater resources, the Home Fleet being stripped for the operation. The plan followed the now familiar pattern the main force, Force Z, proceeding as far as the Narrows, Force X going through to the Malta approaches, a substantial mine sweeping force to sweep the ships in, a carrier operation to supply additional Spitfires to Malta (Operation BELLOWS), a refueling at sea force (Force R) and an adequate supply of spare destroyers to cover losses and any unexpected eventuality. The withdrawal of the two HARPOON merchant ships was also provided for, finally the Mediterranean Fleet was to carry out a dummy convoy deception in the eastern basin to divert attention and divide enemy resources. On 10.8 all ships having sailed and passed the Strait, the composition of the forces was as follows:

Force X cruisers CAIRO, KENYA, MANCHESTER and NIGERIA, destroyers ASHANTI, BICESTER, BRAMHAM, DERWENT, FORESIGHT, FURY, ICARUS, INTREPID, LEDBURY, PATHFINDER, PENN and WILTON and the tug JAUNTY. Force R oilers BROWN RANGER, DINGLEDALE and corvettes COLTSFOOT, GERANIUM, JONQUIL and SPIRAEA. Operation BELLOWS, referred to in the "Fighters to Malta" section, comprised the carrier FURIOUS and, when separated from the main body, destroyers from the "additional" force.
Additional destroyer force AMAZON, KEPPEL, MALCOLM, VENOMOUS, VIDETTE, WESTCOTT, WRESTLER and WOLVERINE.  The mines weeping force which was to meet the convoy and sweep it into Malta would consist of four ships HEBE, HYTHE, RYE and SPEEDY and MLs 121, 126, 134, 135, 168, 459 and 462. Finally, Force Y, the merchant ships ORARI and TROILUS from Malta would be escorted by the destroyers BADSWORTH and MATCHLESS, all ships which had been detained at Malta after HARPOON. Three cruisers and 26 destroyers fueled from the oilers throughout 11.8 despite constant shadowing by enemy aircraft. FURIOUS left the main body at noon to commence Operation BELLOWS, half way through which EAGLE was torpedoed and sunk by U 73, 927 were rescued by LAFOREY and LOOKOUT and the tug JAUNTY. In the failing light a combined dive bombing and torpedo attack developed, but with no loss to the escort nor the convoy, which closed the events of 11.8. It was anticipated that 12.8 would be "busy" as from dawn onwards all forces would be well within range of enemy air bases from which it was estimated that some 600 operational aircraft could be launched, post war (conservative) figures indicate 334 bombers (90 of them torpedo bombers) and 273 fighters. Maximum operational strength at Malta was 36 Beaufighters (long range) and 100 Spitfires. The air defense of the convoy after the loss of EAGLE, comprised 34 Hurricane, 10 Martlet and 16 Fulmar fighters.
Air defense consisted of a constant air patrol of 12 fighters reinforced as needed, which commenced at 0600, the first air attack started shortly after 0900 and continued throughout the day finally scoring their first success after four hours when the freighter DEUCALION was hit and damaged. She was detached from the convoy escorted by BRAMHAM and routed towards Malta close to the Tunisian coast. Both ships were bombed during the afternoon without success but a torpedo attack shortly before dusk set DEUCALION on fire and she eventually blew up. During the afternoon the convoy was also subjected to submarine alarms and at 1600 a combined attack by PATHFINDER and ZETLAND resulted in ITHURIEL finally bring the Italian COBALTO to the surface and sinking her by ramming. A mass air attack, carefully co-ordinated, commenced at 1830 when almost 100 aircraft plus fighters approached from a number of directions. In the resultant desperate fighting the destroyer FORESIGHT was hit and disabled, later to sink, while INDOMITABLE was hit and her flight deck put out of action leaving VICTORIOUS as the only operational deck. When the attack ceased, the time had come for the main force to detach and Vice Admiral Syfret turned Force W westward at 1900 leaving Force X to continue to Malta.

Barely an hour later the first serious damage was inflicted on the convoy when the Italian submarine AXUM fired four torpedoes damaging the cruisers CAIRO and NIGERIA and the tanker OHIO. NIGERIA had to withdraw to Gibraltar and CAIRO had to be sunk thus depriving the escort of the only ships fitted for fighter direction. In consequence, with the convoy thrown into some disarray by the sinkings, when an air attack commenced about 30 minutes later the six Beaufighters overhead were powerless to intervene in the dusk. During this attack EMPIRE HOPE was bombed and abandoned, her survivors being picked up by PENN, CLAN FERGUSON was torpedoed and blew up, she was loaded with 2000 tons of aviation petrol and 1500 tons of explosives amongst other items, however 96 survivors reached the Tunisian coast to be interned by the French. The BRISBANE STAR was torpedoed and fell out from the convoy, she will be referred to later. Finally, to complete the evening's chaos the Italian submarine ALAGI fired four torpedoes at KENYA just after 2100, the cruiser almost avoided all of them, only one striking her on the forefoot so that she was able to remain with the convoy capable of 25 knots. Hearing of the loss of two thirds of the cruiser force, Vice Admiral Syfret ordered CHARYBDIS, ESKIMO and SOMALI to rejoin the convoy but they were unable to do so until 0330 the following day.
At midnight, MTBs lying in wait off Cape Bon commenced their attacks and just after 0100 on 13.8 two Italian boats torpedoed the cruiser MANCHESTER. Stopped, it was subsequently decided that she should be scuttled which was done at 0500, most of her survivors reaching the Tunisian coast and internment. Within an hour, the scattered merchant ships of the convoy, a number of which were straggling and trying to rejoin, were picked off by the small, fast MTBs ALMERIA LYKES, GLENORCHY, SANTA ELISA and WAIRANGI being sunk. Only ROCHESTER CASTLE, hit right forward, survived rejoining the convoy making 13 knots. The situation at dawn on 13.8 was therefore that the convoy had as an escort the cruisers CHARYBDIS and KENYA, destroyers ASHANTI, ESKIMO, FURY, ICARUS, INTREPID, PATHFINDER and SOMALI with MELBOURNE STAR, ROCHESTER CASTLE and WAIMARAMA in company. The tanker OHIO escorted by LEDBURY could be seen astern overtaking the convoy, DORSET was afloat but unescorted somewhere astern, PORT CHALMERS with BRAMHAM and PENN was some ten miles off and BRISBANE STAR was hugging the Tunisian coast.
Meanwhile the surface threat from Italian cruisers had greatly diminished; lack of fighter cover (precedence being given to the bomber force) resulted in its withdrawal eastward and being harassed by reconnaissance aircraft from Malta. The final blow for the cruisers came when submarine UNBROKEN (Lieutenant Alastair Mars) damaged the heavy cruiser BOLZANO and blew the bows of the light cruiser MUZIO ATTENDOLO. No further threat was posed by Italian surface warships.
 Events on 13.8 for the convoy commenced with air attacks just after 0800 when a bomb hit WAIMARAMA causing such an explosion that it destroyed not only the ship but the bomber responsible, LEDBURY rescued no fewer than 45 men from her. This was followed ninety minutes later by a most determined dive bombing attack by Stukas directed principally at the tanker OHIO now back with the convoy. She was near missed several times and actually struck by a Ju 87 which she shot down, her steering gear being disabled, an hour later more attacks further damaged and stopped her. At the same time DORSET was hit and stopped and PORT CHALMERS set on fire though she continued with the convoy. The final air attack came at 1130, with no further effect on the convoy; at 1230 the convoy came under short range air protection and proceeded without further problems. BRAMHAM and PENN remained with the two crippled ships, LEDBURY was sent to search for MANCHESTER which was thought still to be afloat, while Force X went on toward Malta meeting the Malta minesweepers who had swept their way out and met the rump of the convoy at 1430 and took over MELBOURNE STAR, PORT CHALMERS and ROCHESTER CASTLE to bring them in to Grand Harbour at about 1800 on 13.8. Meantime, RYE and two MLs went out to search for OHIO while BRAMHAM, LEDBURY and PENN were ordered to join Force X at a rendezvous at 2030 while the force turned westward and commenced the passage back to Gibraltar.
One further air attack was carried out before dark in which DORSET was sunk and OHIO hit yet again. BRAMHAM, PENN and RYE, ordered back to the convoy, spent the rest of the night in futile efforts to tow the OHIO and were joined by LEDBURY at dawn. Efforts to tow were resumed on the hulk of the slowly sinking tanker with slightly more success, and the cortege (for one can call it little less considering its slow speed and the state of OHIO) was joined later in the forenoon by SPEEDY and two MLs. After a traumatic twenty four hours under the direction of Commander M/S Malta, OHIO was berthed in shallow water inside the Malta breakwater, and settled on the bottom with the majority of her fuel cargo intact and available. BRISBANE STAR meanwhile had also arrived at Malta, hugging the Tunisian coast during 13.8 the Master intended to make a night dash for Malta. During the day, while not attacked he had to cope with intervention by French shore signal stations, a boarding by French officers who tried to persuade him to go into port and surrender, and a good deal of pressure on board from survivors and his Medical Officer who also wished to enter port due to the condition of the wounded. Nevertheless the Master stuck firmly to his intentions, and brought his ship into Malta during the afternoon of 14.8. The ships which arrived in Malta landed 32,000 tons of cargo and 15,000 tons of fuel, sufficient to supply Malta until 12.42 other than for aviation fuel. Force X meanwhile continued its journey back to Gibraltar, suffering submarine attack in the early morning of 14.8 and two air attacks during the day. No damage was caused and the Force met Force Z at 1800 and arrived at Gibraltar at 1800 on 15.8. The damaged ships of Force Z, sent home earlier in the operation, also all reached Gibraltar safely except the destroyer FORESIGHT which had to be sunk by TARTAR who had tried to tow her in. Force R also returned safely to Gibraltar on 16.8, final arrivals were the three Hunts BRAMHAM, LEDBURY and PENN who had stopped briefly at Malta after their triumphal entry towing the OHIO. And the main reason for this success on the ground in North Africa was through the efforts of the RAF attacks from Malta on the German re-supply efforts to their forces in North Africa. Helped in large part by the Ultra secret readings of the German codes the British knew where and when to look for German ship and/or air supply efforts.
No further operations from the west were attempted in 1942, the sudden clearance of Egypt and Cyrenaica of the enemy by the Army rendered the eastern passage much the safest option after the end of October, and the siege of Malta was effectively over.

British Naval History archives.

Propaganda War Movies: For Freedom or Fear
by Irving Silverman

In WWII both Germany and the Allies used propaganda/war movies to help their war effort, but there were major differences in their respective approaches and uses.

While both sides believed they had a just cause for their fight in this war, when it came to trying to prove it with documentary films, the course of the war itself made it harder for Germany and easier for the Allies. The Germans used propaganda documentaries to show not only why they were fighting, but also why they expected to win the war. Their master race theory and the need to expand the nation controlled every event and every use of propaganda, especially in films.

The Allies, at first Britain, and then America, showed why they had to win the war. It was not good enough to show just the fighting. The important message was what would happen if the Allies did not win the war.

In Britain and America there was no one person in complete control of this industry. It was done through military/government agencies with individual directors who were given a certain amount of freedom to choose their topics. In America, the famous director Frank Capra was chosen to direct the most important series, "Why We Fight", to explain the war. In Germany, the Ministry of People's Enlightment and Propaganda chief, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, was in complete control; from assignments to editing and distribution. And when Goebbels wanted something done he usually got his way. There were very few people who could or would defy his orders.

In 1934, about one year after Adolf Hitler came to power, there was the first serious attempt to document Germany's renewal as an important nation in Europe and the world. "Triumph Of the Will" (1934) was directed by Leni Rienfenstahl and it showed how Hitler was preparing Germany for war. While it did not show the strength of the newly forming military, it did show how the people were enthralled by Hitler. But this movie was not under Goebbels' control. Riefenstahl, by 1934, had already become very famous in Germany and she was able to avoid Goebbels only because she had an even more important fan, Hitler. After some initial work for the Nazi Party, with Goebbels interfering in the operations, Riefenstahl "told Hitler of the obstacles she had encountered ... (and) he was angry over Goebbels' interferences and ordered her to make the film of the 1934 rally ..." and guaranteed her the independence that she wanted. This movie ended up being a classic in the field of propaganda. But Goebbels was determined never to let anyone else ever get the credit again.

Goebbels now made sure that everyone working in the media followed the Party's line, and that also included the film makers. Of whom many would end up using their talents to document the war with the help of Germany's technological advances in cameras, Leica; lenses, Carl Zeiss; and film, AGFA. With these improvements they would be able to film real scenes under harsh conditions and fluctuating lighting sources due to battle effects like smoke and fire. 'During the war the Propaganda Ministry employed over four hundred cameramen to maintain the image of a great and victorious German nation.' by making newsreels of what was happening. The ministry formed them into an organization; 'the Propaganda Companies to serve ... from the battlefronts. Film cameramen, reporters and commentators were mobilized into a general pool under military discipline ...' And according to Goebbels, they were both soldiers and cameramen, doing one job for the nation. 'Propaganda-Kompanien (PK for short). Teams of cameramen and journalists seconded to the armed forces. The PK's, armed ... were supposed to represent a "new kind of reporter" who, in Goebbels' words "Besides a pistol and a hand grenade ... carries other weapons: the film camera ..." ' And they suffered just like the rest of the military.

On the land, in the air, and on and under the seas these German cameramen followed the war. As Goebbels recorded in his diaries: 'In the evening I receive six cameramen from the Propaganda Companies, who have just returned from active service on all fronts. They have seen and done a lot, and are able to tell the most interesting stories." But while doing their double duty for their Fatherland they also had to endure double the risks. It was one thing to expose yourself for a brief moment in battle to try and kill your enemy; but to leave yourself vulnerable throughout most of a battle in order to get the best shot might get yourself shot instead. These cameramen had to be either very brave or very foolhardy, or very obeying of commands, but in any case they got the job done. They were totally involved in the fighting and there was 'no segregation for the war reporters ... and their casualties were heavy.' And some of them were rewarded for their actions. On October 23, 1939, after the invasion of Poland, Goebbels met ' with eight holders of the Iron Cross from the Propaganda Companies.' But even after all their efforts what they documented was not propaganda. The stock footage had to be selectively edited to make sure that only the proper images would be seen.

While Goebbels appreciated the propaganda capabilities of the various media; newspapers and radio, especially before the war, ' it was upon the film that Goebbels relied for his most effective propaganda. ... He realized how important it was to develop a strong newsreel, documentary and instructional film service ... .' Goebbels really enjoyed this part of his propaganda work. This was seen in his diaries in which hardly a day went by without a preview of the latest newsreel or film production. ' Goebbels previewed every issue of the newsreels that he could, and every major production of the feature studios. In addition ... , he viewed foreign films, particularly those which he had forbidden release in Germany. He saw every anti-Nazi film of which he could obtain a print. ... He looked at these films ... as good or bad examples of propaganda.' But it was with the newsreels that Goebbels saw real potential for propaganda. In fact, he ordered ' a few cameramen from the Propaganda Companies to be placed at my disposal. I shall use them for special tasks.' The special tasks were the continuation of thought control amongst the German people, especially the youth, and the people in occupied and soon to be occupied nations.

These newsreel clips were quite often compiled into documentary propaganda movies. One such film was "Baptism Of Fire"(1940). Here the film makers ' used the method of building up shots of conquest and destruction to paeans  of Wagnerian music and sardonic commentary ... (that) mocks at Chamberlain for the futility of his decision to support the Poles ... .' To help make sure that Germany's message got through to foreign audiences, Goebbels arranged for these films to have ' prestige screenings at the German embassies in those countries which Germany hoped to bring under her power ... . The aim of these films was to impress rather than to inform, in fact to blackmail the audience into a bloodless surrender.' And they also went beyond future European victims. ' German agents, where ever they could, pressed them into distribution in the neutral countries (and) to Latin America for immediate release to neutral cinemas.' While in Germany this movie ' was shown simultaneously in 55 movie houses in Berlin and throughout the Reich. Mobile film vans took it to remote villages which lacked movie theaters.' The effort that Goebbels went through on the production and distribution of these movies was an indication of their importance.

But while the German authorities believed in the movies' importance, it was not always easy to get the message across to an audience. To get the impression across that these movies were important, Germany passed a law ' forbidding anyone from leaving or entering a theater during the showing of a war documentary.' This law was originally for German audiences, but it later was also applied to the audiences in occupied Europe. In these nations the Germans also had to deal with people who tried to interrupt  the showings. ' These demonstrations ... grew to such proportions that the authorities ... were quick to insist that while newsreels were being projected some ... lights should remain ... on so that the agitators could be more easily identified.' The Germans had a good reason to try and show these movies. They were trying to prevent any hostile actions by the occupied peoples from occurring.

But it was not in occupied Europe where Germany focused the brunt of her propaganda. It was in Germany, for the ' mobilization and maintenance of fighting morale among both troops and civilian population.' But the Germans were not alone in the need to build up morale, the Allies needed to follow a similar idea also. ' Though of course the maintenance of wartime morale was an aim common to both systems, the task of the British propaganda apparatus was (built) upon the general acceptance of a just and necessary war in defense of existing values.' These values were a firm belief in democracy and religion. And these beliefs definitely applied to the Americans when they were forced to enter the war.

The Americans firmly believed that God was on the side of democracy. That even though Germany still had people who had a faith in God; God could not possibly condone their barbaric acts of war. But because of some strong disagreements over the war, the American government had to form a symbol, a rallying cause for the public. The need to fight to save democracy and show the enemy as the worst form of evil became that symbol. So when America went to war in WWII they fought because ' Americans adhere to honorable rules of conduct based in morality.' And their documentary propaganda/war films were made exactly for that reason. But here the Americans came across a similar problem that Germany had. How to make sure that the public was getting the message. In a democracy the government can not put a gun to a person's head and force them to watch and listen. Nor could they bribe the audience because there would still be no guarantee that the people would understand what they are supposed to be watching. So it became ' reasonable to suppose that unless that ... influence is repeated time and again it will have little if any permanent effect on the audience.' To assure this, a continuous series of movies would have to be made to make sure that the public would be exposed to the same message throughout the course of the war.

These types of movies were made to boost morale. The army had always worried about this problem and WWII was no exception. They tried various ways to instill the need to fight, but none seemed to work very well. After some American officials had seen "Triumph Of the Will", the idea that movies might do the trick became the next approach. Capra was given the job of answering the threats to freedom that the German movie showed. He knew that he needed one simple idea that every American could understand and he found it in the Bible. Just one sentence that could change the war. ' Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' But Capra still wondered if it would and could work. He then realized that the actions of the enemy could prove he was right. ' Let the enemy prove to our soldiers the enormity of his cause - and the justness of ours.' These actions were recorded for posterity by the German newsreel makers and found in their propaganda movies. All Capra had to do was view thousands of feet of film and choose the best of the beastly scenes.

While at first these movies were made only for viewing by the military, the first movie in the "Why We Fight" series, "Prelude To War"(1942) was viewed by President Roosevelt who then stated that: ' Every man, woman, and child must see this film (and) that army chief of staff General George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson were as eager ... for the general distribution of "Prelude To War".' There was a very wide scope to this film which covered much history. And this was purposely done to allow for scenes that were put in to reinforce the Christian moralities that America was fighting for. This was shown when the average American citizen, John Q., was shown to have the right to go to any church he wanted to. While this was a very patriotic movie it also summed up the answer to the series title. Anyone who had seen this movie had to now know "Why We Fight".

The answer was shown through the we and them; white and black; good and evil process. The good guys wore the white hat; loved and respected freedom while the enemy, the bad guys, wore the black hat and enslaved people. Capra even went so far as to dramatically illustrate this point at both the start and the end of the film. He used two animated globes revolving in space, one white, the other black. With both representing our world and what could happen to it. Which way would the world turn? To a black, evil life of repression or to the white, good life of Christianity. The answer would depend on the course of the war. This movie series emphasized America's historical attitude towards morality.

During WWII both Germany and America depended, to a certain degree, on documentary propaganda/war movies. While they both tried to maintain the morale of their nation, the German use of fear tactics to try and enforce their ideas just could not work forever. Once Germany began to lose the war it eventually became clear to most Germans that they were lied to by their government. By 1944 only the most die-hard Nazi could still believe Goebbels' propaganda. On the other hand, in America, it became easier because they were winning and the government did not have to cover up any big lie. So the major difference ended up being that truth wins out over lies when justice prevails.

Richard Meran Barsam, "Triumph Of the Will" (1975)
BBC TV: Art In the Third Reich - The Propaganda Machine (1989)
Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, "Doctor Goebbels"(1960)
Fred Taylor, "The Goebbels Diaries 1939-1941"(1982)
Anthony Rhodes, "Propaganda"(1976)
David Welch, "Nazi Propaganda"(1983)
Kathryn Kane, "Visions Of War"(1982)
Douglas Waples, "Print, Radio And Film In A Democracy"(1942)
Frank Capra,"Frank Capra: The Name Above the Title"(1971)
Bernard F. Dick, "The Star-Spangled Screen"(1985)

Military History Of the 20th


World War I Should Have Only Been the 3rd Balkan War by Irving Silverman (my opinion only).

I have been asked by some people from the Balkan’s to write about a war that that is not only important in their history but ultimately also in the history of the world.  In reality World War I did not start by itself,  it was in actuality the start of what would have been the 3rd Balkan War. Here is my brief summation of what happened.

The First Balkan War was started when Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro decided to form an alliance, The Balkan League,  to counter the growing threat of the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). This was an amazing feat of diplomacy considering how much hatred had existed between some of these Balkan nations.  An example would be the constant border disputes between Bulgaria and Serbia over control or division of Macedonia.  The partition agreement was finally brokered by Russian diplomats who convinced these two opponents that Turkey was a bigger threat and they should unite against that empire.   There was a determination that they had to have a determined response to the Turks and The Balkan League agreed to take the offensive to their enemies.
On March 13, 1912, Serbia and Bulgaria signed a treaty where they agreed to give northern Macedonia to Serbia, and southern Macedonia to Bulgaria. The two also discussed a  war against Austria as well as Turkey if Austria tried to intervene.  In May 1912, Greece and Bulgaria signed a similar treaty threatening use of military actions against Turkey. Montenegro was then added to the league through an informal arrangement with Bulgaria and Greece, and a treaty with Serbia concluded in September 1912.
On October 8, 1912, Montenegro declared war against the Turks, and 10 days later the rest of the Balkan League joined the war.  After just under a month of heavy fighting Turkey had been pushed back so far that all they could do was try and defend Constantinople.  Albania, Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace were now controlled by  the Balkan States. Serbia had also reached the Adriatic Sea  at Durazzo, which gave them an important sea port.  Before this Serbia was a land locked nation that needed a place where they could get supplies that did not have to come through central Europe.  Both Austria and Italy were opposed to this acquisition because they feared that a Serbian port on the Adriatic would ultimately become a Russian port for the Czarist Empire.   Also, Austria and Italy could not allow this because it might threaten the Hapsburg Monarchy(the Austrian /Hungarian Empire) of which they were a key part.
While there were still battles going on  at Adrianople, Scutari, and Janina  they agreed to an  armistice during a peace conference at London in December, 1912.  But these negotiations were quickly brought to a close when a coup d’état occurred at Constantinople by some Turkish military officers who were determined to continue the war.  While the war was resumed in the spring of 1913 it did not last very long;  The Treaty of London ended the First Balkan War on May 30, 1913. The Turks were forced to give over to the Balkan League all possessions in Europe from Enos on the Aegean Sea to Midia on the Black Sea, with the exception of Albania. The major nations of Europe friendly to the Balkan League began to draw the new border of the  Albanian State and  Turkish sovereignty over Crete was withdrawn and it was united with Greece.
The Treaty followed with a dispute over the spoils of war and caused the Second Balkan War.  Greece and Serbia began to conspire an agreement that would split Macedonia leaving Bulgaria out of the picture.  Because Bulgaria had suffered the most from the 1st war they felt that they should not be left out.  Bulgaria attacked Greece and Serbia. But when the Turks and the Romanians attacked Bulgaria that nation quickly agreed to the  Treaty of Bucharest and the biggest victory was by Greece which acquired the important ocean port of Salonica.  This left a major resentment through Serbia that they were not treated right had still held a hatred towards the Austrian-Hungarian Empire so they made a treaty with Russia to give Serbia some feeling of strength. This also gave many Serbians the idea that they should become independent from that empire.
On the morning of June 28, 1914, while traveling in a motorcade through Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Archduke Francis Ferdinand and members of his family were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist. The Archduke had ignored warnings of a possible assassination plot and decided to tour the capital on the anniversary of the 1389 battle of Kosovo. This battle was a humiliating collective memory for all Serbs, in which Serbia was defeated by the Turks, ending Serbia's independence as a nation.  This tour was ill advised but he insisted on going to stand up to the rising tide of Serbian nationalism.  
The Archduke was chiefly chosen as a  prime target because of Serbian fears that after he would acquire  the throne, he would continue the persecution of Serbs living within the Austro-Hungarian empire. Serbia had gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878 and no longer wanted to belong to another nation.   At that time, Serbia laid claim to several regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina which were inhabited primarily by Serbs. However, the Congress of Berlin granted permission to Austria-Hungary to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the disputed Serbian areas. In 1908  the Austrian-Hungarian Empire officially annexed all of occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina, adding additional fuel to the fires of Serbian nationalism which put a scare to Imperial Russia that they might get dragged into the next war.
This assassination  of course made Austria declare war against Serbia in 1914 which forced Russia to prepare to come to Serbia’s defense which then caused Germany to declare war to help Austria which then brought France and Britain into the war against Germany and that 3rd Balkan War was now the start of World War I. There was no turning back now and this was now more than just a border dispute between some rival growing nations with a desire for independence.


Airman jumped about 18,000 feet with no parachute and survived.

This is an incredible but true WWII story of survival.  It is one thing to have to face a choice of  life or death but to be forced to choose how you will die in a combat situation is completely beyond the norm.

This is the story of Warrant Officer Nicholas Stephen Alkemade, RAF.  As recorded in the archives of the RAF.

He was a rear turret gunner on a Lancaster bomber 18,000 feet over the Ruhr valley in Germany on the night of March 24-25, 1944 when his plane was attacked by a German night fighter that hit and exploded one of the fuel tanks on the Lancaster.  When the pilot ordered every one to bale out the rear gunner in a Lancaster had to crawl back into the plane to get his parachute because there was no room in the turret.  But when he did this he saw to his horror that  his chute had started to burn. At this point he had a choice of staying with the plane that was going to blow up any moment or when it hit the ground or to jump with no chute!

He chose to jump backwards from the turret of his flaming bomber knowing he will die a quick death on impact. During his drop he passed out and to his great surprise he woke up under a bunch of fir trees and lying on top of some snow covered bushes.  Part of his uniform was gone and he had 3rd degree burns on the upper parts of his body and arms.  Needing help to stay alive rather than worrying about being captured he used his distress whistle (issued for water bale outs for the crew to find each other) until he heard some people shouting as they looked for him.

After his capture he was taken to a hospital where he was treated for all his wounds and burns before he was questioned by the Germans as to where his chute was because only spies usually buried their chutes.  All he could tell them was that he did not use a chute.  Of course he was not believed but since he was captured in what remained of his uniform he was sent to a POW camp near Frankfurt.  Here the Germans started to question him again and again about his missing chute.  All he could do was tell the Germans to find the wreckage of his plane and look for the harness for his chute that would still be there.

The Germans did find the remains of his chute and now believed his story and announced it to the rest of the prisoners who now thought of him as some sort of hero  for his survival and the German account of this story and his own were witnessed by Flight Lt. H.J. Moore the senior British officer and two others and has been recorded in the official records of the RAF.


Heroes of the Vietnam Generation by former Secretary of the Navy-Senator James Webb

This is a terrific article which should be of special interest to all who served in Viet Nam . Former Secretary of the Navy, James Webb writes an outstanding article about the facts surrounding the Vietnam war. He articulates how the media elite have chosen to ignore (and slight) the role of real American patriots during the Vietnam years.

Heroes of the Vietnam Generation
By James Webb

The rapidly disappearing cohort of Americans that endured the Great Depression and then fought World War II is receiving quite a send-off from the leading lights of the so-called 60's generation. Tom Brokaw has published two oral histories of "The Greatest Generation" that feature ordinary people doing their duty and suggest that such conduct was historically unique.

          Chris Matthews of "Hardball" is fond of writing columns praising the Navy service of his father while castigating his own baby boomer generation for its alleged softness and lack of struggle. William Bennett gave a startling condescending speech at the Naval Academy a few years ago comparing the heroism of the "D-Day Generation" to the drugs-and-sex nihilism of the "Woodstock Generation." And Steven Spielberg, in promoting his film "Saving Private Ryan," was careful to justify his portrayals of soldiers in action based on the supposedly unique nature of World War II.

          An irony is at work here. Lest we forget, the World War II generation now being lionized also brought us the Vietnam War, a conflict which today's most conspicuous voices by and large opposed, and in which few of them served. The "best and brightest" of the Vietnam age group once made headlines by castigating their parents for bringing about the war in which they would not fight, which has become the war they refuse to remember.

          Pundits back then invented a term for this animus: the "generation gap." Long, plaintive articles and even books were written examining its manifestations. Campus leaders, who claimed precocious wisdom through the magical process of reading a few controversial books, urged fellow baby boomers not to trust anyone over 30. Their elders who had survived the Depression and fought the largest war in history were looked down upon as shallow, materialistic, and out of touch.

          Those of us who grew up, on the other side of the picket line from that era's counter-culture can't help but feel a little leery of this sudden gush of appreciation for our elders from the leading lights of the old counter-culture. Then and now, the national conversation has proceeded from the dubious assumption that those who came of age during Vietnam are a unified generation in the same sense as their parents were, and thus are capable of being spoken for through these fickle elites.

          In truth, the " Vietnam generation" is a misnomer. Those who came of age during that war are permanently divided by different reactions to a whole range of counter-cultural agendas, and nothing divides them more deeply than the personal ramifications of the war itself. The sizable portion of the Vietnam age group who declined to support the counter-cultural agenda, and especially the men and women who opted to serve in the military during the Vietnam War, are quite different from their peers who for decades have claimed to speak for them. In fact, they are much like the World War II generation itself. For them, Woodstock was a side show, college protestors were spoiled brats who would have benefited from having to work a few jobs in order to pay their tuition, and Vietnam represented not an intellectual exercise in draft avoidance, or protest marches but a battlefield that was just as brutal as those their fathers faced in World War II and Korea.

          Few who served during Vietnam ever complained of a generation gap. The men who fought World War II were their heroes and role models. They honored their father's service by emulating it, and largely agreed with their father's wisdom in attempting to stop Communism's reach in Southeast Asia .

          The most accurate poll of their attitudes (Harris, 1980) showed that 91 percent were glad they'd served their country, 74 percent enjoyed their time in the service, and 89 percent agreed with the statement that "our troops were asked to fight in a war which our political leaders in Washington would not let them win." And most importantly, the castigation they received upon returning home was not from the World War II generation, but from the very elites in their age group who supposedly spoke for them.

          Nine million men served in the military during Vietnam War, three million of whom went to the Vietnam Theater. Contrary to popular mythology, two-thirds of these were volunteers, and 73 percent of those who died were volunteers. While some attention has been paid recently to the plight of our prisoners of war, most of whom were pilots; there has been little recognition of how brutal the war was for those who fought it on the ground.

          Dropped onto the enemy's terrain 12,000 miles away from home, America 's citizen-soldiers performed with a tenacity and quality that may never be truly understood. Those who believe the war was fought incompletely on a tactical level should consider Hanoi's recent admission that 1.4 million of its soldiers died on the battlefield, compared to 58,000 total U.S. dead.

         *** Those who believe that it was a "dirty little war" where the bombs did all the work might contemplate that is was the most costly war the U.S. Marine Corps has ever fought - five times as many dead as World War I, three times as many dead as in Korea, and more total killed and wounded than in all of World War II. ***

          Significantly, these sacrifices were being made at a time the United States was deeply divided over our effort in Vietnam . The baby-boom generation had cracked apart along class lines as America 's young men were making difficult, life-or-death choices about serving. The better academic institutions became focal points for vitriolic protest against the war, with few of their graduates going into the military. Harvard College , which had lost 691 alumni in World War II, lost a total of 12 men in Vietnam from the classes of 1962 through 1972 combined. Those classes at Princeton lost six, at MIT two. The media turned ever more hostile. And frequently the reward for a young man's having gone through the trauma of combat was to be greeted by his peers with studied indifference of outright hostility.

          What is a hero? My heroes are the young men who faced the issues of war and possible death, and then weighed those concerns against obligations to their country. Citizen-soldiers who interrupted their personal and professional lives at their most formative stage, in the timeless phrase of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery , "not for fame of reward, not for place or for rank, but in simple obedience to duty, as they understood it." Who suffered loneliness, disease, and wounds with an often-contagious elan. And who deserve a far better place in history than that now offered them by the so-called spokesman of our so-called generation.
          Mr. Brokaw, Mr. Matthews, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Spielberg, meet my Marines. 1969 was an odd year to be in Vietnam . Second only to 1968 in terms of American casualties, it was the year made famous by Hamburger Hill, as well as the gut-wrenching Life cover story showing pictures of 242 Americans who had been killed in one average week of fighting. Back home, it was the year of Woodstock , and of numerous anti-war rallies that culminated in the Moratorium March on Washington . The My Lai massacre hit the papers and was seized upon by the anti-war movement as the emblematic moment of the war. Lyndon Johnson left Washington in utter humiliation.

          Richard Nixon entered the scene, destined for an even worse fate. In the An Hoa Basin southwest of Danang, the Fifth Marine Regiment was in its third year of continuous combat operations. Combat is an unpredictable and inexact environment, but we were well led. As a rifle platoon and company commander, I served under a succession of three regimental commanders who had cut their teeth in World War II, and four different battalion commanders, three of whom had seen combat in Korea. The company commanders were typically captains on their second combat tour in Vietnam , or young first lieutenants like myself who were given companies after many months of "bush time" as platoon commanders in the Basin's tough and unforgiving environs.

          The Basin was one of the most heavily contested areas in Vietnam , its torn, cratered earth offering every sort of wartime possibility. In the mountains just to the west, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the North Vietnamese Army operated an infantry division from an area called Base Area 112. In the valleys of the Basin, main-force Viet Cong battalions whose ranks were 80 percent North Vietnamese Army regulars moved against the Americans every day. Local Viet Cong units sniped and harassed. Ridgelines and paddy dikes were laced with sophisticated booby traps of every size, from a hand grenade to a 250-pound bomb. The villages sat in the rice paddies and tree lines like individual fortresses, crisscrossed with the trenches and spider holes, their homes sporting bunkers capable of surviving direct hits from large-caliber artillery shells. The Viet Cong infrastructure was intricate and permeating. Except for the old and the very young, villagers who did not side with the Communists had either been killed or driven out to the government controlled enclaves near Danang.

          In the rifle companies, we spent the endless months patrolling ridgelines and villages and mountains, far away from any notion of tents, barbed wire, hot food, or electricity. Luxuries were limited to what would fit inside one's pack, which after a few "humps" usually boiled down to letter -writing material, towel, soap, toothbrush, poncho liner, and a small transistor radio.

          We moved through the boiling heat with 60 pounds of weapons and gear, causing a typical Marine to drop 20 percent of his body weight while in the bush. When we stopped we dug chest-deep fighting holes and slit trenches for toilets. We slept on the ground under makeshift poncho hootches, and when it rained we usually took our hootches down because wet ponchos shined under illumination flares, making great targets. Sleep itself was fitful, never more than an hour or two at a stretch for months at a time as we mixed daytime patrolling with night-time ambushes, listening posts, foxhole duty, and radio watches. Ringworm, hookworm, malaria, and dysentery were common, as was trench foot when the monsoons came. Respite was rotating back to the mud-filled regimental combat base at An Hoa for four or five days, where rocket and mortar attacks were frequent and our troops manned defensive bunkers at night. Which makes it kind of hard to get excited about tales of Woodstock , or camping at the Vineyard during summer break.

          We had been told while training that Marine officers in the rifle companies had an 85 percent probability of being killed or wounded, and the experience of "Dying Delta," as our company was known, bore that out. Of the officers in the bush when I arrived, our company commander was wounded, the weapons platoon commander wounded, the first platoon commander was killed, the second platoon commander was wounded twice, and I, commanding the third platoons fared no better. Two of my original three-squad leaders were killed, and the third shot in the stomach. My platoon sergeant was severely wounded, as was my right guide. By the time I left, my platoon I had gone through six radio operators, five of them casualties.

          These figures were hardly unique; in fact, they were typical. Many other units; for instance, those who fought the hill battles around Khe Sanh, or were with the famed Walking Dead of the Ninth Marine Regiment, or were in the battle of Hue City or at Dai Do, had it far worse.

          When I remember those days and the very young men who spent them with me, I am continually amazed, for these were mostly recent civilians barely out of high school, called up from the cities and the farms to do their year in hell and then return. Visions haunt me every day, not of the nightmares of war but of the steady consistency with which my Marines faced their responsibilities, and of how uncomplaining most of them were in the face of constant danger. The salty, battle-hardened 20-year-olds teaching green 19-year-olds the intricate lessons of the hostile battlefield. The unerring skill of the young squad leaders as we moved through unfamiliar villages and weed-choked trails in the black of night. The quick certainty when a fellow Marine was wounded and needed help. Their willingness to risk their lives to save other Marines in peril. To this day it stuns me that their own countrymen have so completely missed the story of their service, lost in the bitter confusion of the war itself.

          Like every military unit throughout history we had occasional laggards, cowards, and complainers. But in the aggregate, these Marines were the finest people I have ever been around. It has been my privilege to keep up with many of them over the years since we all came home. One finds in them very little bitterness about the war in which they fought. The most common regret, almost to a man, is that they were not able to do more for each other and for the people they came to help.

          It would be redundant to say that I would trust my life to these men. Because I already have, in more ways than I can ever recount. I am alive today because of their quiet, unaffected heroism. Such valor epitomizes the conduct of Americans at war from the first days of our existence. That the boomer elites can canonize this sort of conduct in our fathers' generation while ignoring it in our own is more than simple oversight. It is a conscious, continuing travesty.

Former Secretary of the Navy James Webb was awarded the Navy Cross, Silver Star, and Bronze Star medals for heroism as a Marine in Vietnam.


What a War on the Korean Peninsula Would Look Like

[ This item was submitted  to  me for my blog  before the American forces were withdrawn form Iraq and way before the changing of the guard in North Korea]

When I started this blog I thought I could just focus on the 20th Century but there are now some issues in this century that have connections to the past that are just too important to ignore and a possible reawakening of conflict in Korea is one.  We have to remember the Korean War (or UN Police Action) has never officially been ended.  All we have is a very tense cease fire.

A fan of my blog has sent me some very interesting info from Popular Mechanics written by
Sharon Weinberger on this issue. 

Coming up with war scenarios involving North Korea has become something of a cottage industry among journalists, think tankers and politicians. It's even inspired a contest in Seoul. But there's a reason for the enduring popularity of this type of scenario building: with a standing army of over a million people, a conflict with North Korea has the potential to morph into full-scale war the likes of which hasn't been seen for decades.

Today, there's no shortage of sparks that could ignite a war: a naval clash that escalates out of control, or a new provocation, like an invasion aimed at an island close to the site of this week's artillery barrage against a South Korean island, or perhaps even something new, like a massive North Korean cyber attack against the United States.

The North Koreans' willingness to test the boundaries makes the situation tense. "Their general behavior is to test how serious their adversaries are," says Justin Hastings, an international affairs professor and Asia expert at George Tech's Ivan Allen Collage. "I think, given North Korea's leadership transition, it becomes more problematic precisely because there could be a miscalculation."

If a miscalculation happens, and war breaks out, the United States has a series of "OPLANs," or Operational Plans, that determine how it would respond. For example, if North Korea uses its thousands of pieces of artillery against Seoul, the United States would likely use its significant naval and Air Force assets to strike targets across the length of the DMZ.

Any campaign in North Korea would, early on in the conflict, likely include precision strikes on North Korea's nuclear facilities to ensure Kim Jong Il's regime never has the opportunity to use its small, but threatening nuclear arsenal. That would mean dropping precision weapons on facilities like Yongbyon, the recently revealed uranium enrichment facility, and other known and suspected WMD sites inside North Korea.

In that early stage of the conflict, the United States would likely use its arsenal of advanced precision weaponry, including (if it's ready), the new Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound weapon that is designed specifically to penetrate and destroy deeply buried targets.

But after that, don't expect a precision-style shock and awe campaign like was seen in the early days of the Iraq invasion, when U.S. air power was able to drop guided weapons on key Iraqi government and military facilities while sparing much of Baghdad's infrastructure.

Back in 2006, in the midst of a another nuclear crisis on the peninsula, Peter Pace, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that any conflict today with North Korea wouldn't look like what it might have looked had it taken place in the 1990s. It would be "more like a World War II-Korean War campaign," Pace warned.

Why? Because so much of the United States' precision weaponry and platforms are tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pace says, leaving the U.S. military with more blunt options, particularly when facing North Korea's unsophisticated, but large, conventional force.

That's one reason why the United States and South Korea are proceeding with caution, experts say. "It would be a brutal, brutal war," says Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation and former chief of CIA's Korea branch.

"Even though instinctively we may want to punish North Korea with a military attack, both Washington and Seoul are facing the same constraints as in March, when North Korea sank a South Korean naval ship and killed 46 sailors," Klingner says. "Even a tactical level retaliatory attack could escalate into an all out conflict." Klingner argues that if Pyongyang doesn't get what it likely wants out of the current provocation—a return to the negotiating table—then it could try something more aggressive.


This is a story from the Montreal Gazette Sat. Oct.1/2011 by Joseph Graham.
This is a true story of RCAF Flight Lt. Frank Fisher and one of his WWII’s exploits before his death in a mountain crash in the B-24 he was flying.
He was with the RCAF’s North Atlantic Sq. in the autumn of 1943. A usual flight would be a 12 hour recon of a section of the North Atlantic to hunt for German U-boats. On the morning of Sept. 19/1943 they were on duty when 1st Officer Peter Dale spotted a U-boat on the surface.  They were flying at 3,000 feet about 450 miles southwest of Iceland when contact was made.  They dropped down to 500 feet but was still too high to attack but the U-boat was able to get a shot at the plane with it’s deck guns.
The B-24 circled around and attacked from astern at about 50 feet above the sea and some large waves.  But with some bad luck the bomb bay doors would not open automatically so they had to hustle to get them open manually just before they passed over the sub.  The sub dived just as the bomber came around again but this time they were able to drop some depth charges just ahead of the sub.  Circling the attack site about 15 minutes later they saw an oil slick and a huge bubble erupted from the sea as the sub imploded under water. 
One month later on Oct. 19 they were flying from their base at Gander, Newfoundland to Mont Joli in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal, Canada with a larger than usual  crew and passengers, 24 in all, when they were forced to redirect to Montreal because  bad weather had closed the small airfield at Mt. Joli. 
One of these little old mountains named Black Mountain was higher than most of the others and in the bad weather they  flew right into the peak. 
It was only about a year after the war had ended before the wreckage remains were found on June 20/1946 and only three bodies were able to be identified. 
There is now a memorial monument with a small grave site with crosses for all who perished that day near the crash site at St. Donat, Quebec, Canada.

Preparing for the Battle of the Somme -WWI British Tank


Diary of PTE. J.L. Townshend of the Canadian Army and  his Experiences During the 1st Battle of the Somme During WWI in 1916.

Personal info about J.L. Townshend post war.

While recovering in England from his leg wound, John met his wife.  He was assigned to office work in London, mustering out Canadian troops. They returned to Moncton NB in 1921. He ended up getting a job with CN Rail.  When CNR realized the extent of his several years of office experience with the CEF, he was moved to headquarters in Montreal.  He became Supervisor of Perishable Traffic, responsible for all the system’s refrigerator cars.  He made good use of his Legion connections to campaign successfully for Mayor of the south shore community of St. Lambert,  PQ  in the late 1950’s (1957) during the construction of the (St. Lawrence) Seaway.  In 1959, he retired to the vicinity of our family's historic roots in New Brunswick.  He died of stroke complications in 1961.  During the months after the stroke, he was back in the most memorable period of his life, the bloody fields of France.

Some Historical info about the 1st Battle of the Somme before the diary.

Pte. Townshend went to France with a New Brunswick battalion, but went into combat as reinforcement for the 4th Div. 102nd North British Columbia Battalion from Comox.  From their history I quote:

“At Tara Hill we remained until the 18th, which was to mark the first step in the series of operations which culminated in the capture of Regina Trench, the first great achievement of the 102nd Bn., and it was during this period of waiting that the practice of referring to the companies by numerals was abandoned in favor of alphabetical letters, No. 1 Co. becoming "A" Co. and so on. Regina Trench had already been the object of two determined attacks by the Canadian Corps, the first commencing on Oct. 1st, and the second on Oct. 8th. In both attacks the trench had been reached, but violent counterattacks had forced a retirement from the position when won, and it was left for the 4th Canadian Division both to capture and to hold this important position. As the three senior Divisions had been withdrawn from the area immediately after the arrival on the scene of the 4th Division, the latter was attached to the 2nd Corps for all its operations on the Somme." The following narrative of the capture is taken from the official report of the operation forwarded by Colonel Warden to 11th Brigade Headquarters, and only concerns that portion of Regina Trench which was allotted to the 102nd Bn. as its objective.

“On the evening of Oct. 18th the 102nd Bn. took over from the 87th Bn. the front line trenches on the left sector of the Brigade, situated on a line running from R. 18, c. 4, 0. to M. 13, d, 2, 2., this being a front of 500 yards extending from Courcelette Trench on the left flank to Ross Communication Trench on the right. The night, was very dark and it was raining hard, so that the ground was a sea of mud with quagmires on every side, making the trenches almost impassable. As the men were lining up in the Support Trench the enemy delivered a bombing attack on the left flank of the 87th Bn. Word was passed down that the Hun was attacking and that the 102nd was to come up on the double. This was done in absolute silence and as the men passed Headquarters, jumping over trenches and shell-holes, they looked like phantoms in the dark, illumined by the light of German flares and leaping to the crash of bursting shells. Here and there a man was seen to fall, the shelling being very heavy, but the bombers were      driven off and the rest of the night spent in preparation for the morrow's work. Rain continued and throughout the night there was constant shelling."

“Day broke with rain pouring down in torrents, making the ground absolutely impassable and the Higher Command decided to postpone operations until the 21st inst. "B", "C", and "D" Coys. therefore returned to camp at Tara Hill, leaving "A" Co. to hold the line. Never did the men of the 102nd better deserve their reputation for physique and tenacity of purpose than in their fight against the mud after their exhausting night in the trenches. The mud was hip-high between the trenches and the Bapaume Road and the men had to be literally dug out by their comrades as they sank exhausted in the liquid, glue-like substance. The weather cleared, the ground becoming somewhat more dry and on the evening of the 20th the three companies were again brought into the front line, relieving "A" Co. which went into Support. During the night of Oct. 20-21 the three companies worked hard at digging assembly trenches in which to mass and at forming battalion dumps; the men worked magnificently and at dawn all was ready."

“Zero hour was fixed for 12-06 P.m. and at that hour the barrage opened and the men of the 102nd went "over the top"; following the barrage like a wall lying down until it again lifted and advancing as it moved, all in perfect uniformity. The first two waves consisted of "C" Co. under Maj. J. S. Matthews on the left and "B" Co. under Maj. H. E. H. Dixon on the right. The remaining two waves were furnished by "D" Co. under Major G. Rothnie. The moment that the barrage lifted over Regina Trench the men were over the parapet; the assault was carried out with such dash, vigour and impetuosity that the Germans were completely demoralized and immediately threw up their hands in surrender. The first wave passed 150 yards beyond the trench, forming a screen; the second rounded up the prisoners and consolidated the positions secured, in which they were assisted by men of the third wave, whilst the fourth wave was occupied in carrying up supplies from the old dumps to the new. For his magnificent services in this work of consolidation under heavy fire Lieut. R. P. Matheson received the Military Cross. The casualties sustained in the assault itself were very light, amounting to about five killed and ten wounded, as the enemy barrage did not come down until about six minutes after ours had started; the Germans, however, had suffered heavily and their trench was piled with dead and wounded."

“Our casualties were to occur later, when within an hour and a half, three separate counter-attacks were launched; these were all successfully opposed, but during the remainder of the day and the ensuing night and day, when "A" Co. under Capt. J. F. Brandt arrived to; relieve "D" Co., a constant barrage of shell fire was poured into our positions, with the result that the total casualty list showed six officers and 46 Other Ranks killed with eight and seventy wounded.”

“On Oct. 21, 4th Div. launched its first attack when the 87th (Grenadier Guards) and 102nd (North British Columbians) battalions followed a creeping barrage. They gained a 600-metre section of Regina Trench less than 15 minutes after zero hour, largely because artillery fire had finally broken the German wire and killed several of the enemy. This time artillery support also allowed the Canadians to hold out against counterattacks."
“Perhaps misinterpreting the success of the Oct. 21 attack, on Oct. 25 4th Div. attacked with only one battalion, the 44th (Winnipeg). Coupled with inadequate artillery support, not one soldier reached Regina Trench and the assault failed: a tragic lesson for the new division. The division’s third and final attack went in after midnight on Nov. 11, this time with sufficient troops and adequate artillery support before and during the assault. In just over two hours, the remainder of Regina Trench was taken—and held.”

In other words, John Townshend happened to be put into battle on one of the most successful days of trench warfare of the Great War, and played his part in that day.  

PTE. J.L. Townshend's personal diary of his battle experiences.



September 19th, 1916, 7pm

    Evening and I am about to start a Diary which I regret that I did not begin before.  We are at TENTED CAMP near La Clytte, Belgium.  Arrived here last night from Micmac Camp and found the Camp in a very muddy condition, but the sun shone this morning and the mud soon dried up and made one feel good to be alive after the muck of last night.

    Most of the Battalion were for a bath today at the Divisional Baths at La Clytte.  We were also paid 15 Frs. (Francs) each and were issued with the new box respirator for prevention against poison gas.  We start at 6 am tomorrow for parts unknown.  Since tea I was over to La Clytte town and bought this book and some other much needed trinkets.  It is now starting to rain and is very dark.

September 21st, 1916, 5am

    Just got up and as I was too tired to make an entry last evening I am doing so this morning.  We left La Clytte at 8 am and marched to Hazebrouck, (about 25 kilometers) and arrived there at 5:30 pm..  We stopped every hour on the way for 10 minutes rest.  We stopped for dinner at one place on the road.  The Field Kitchens had some canned beans aboard and we had bread in our haversacks, so we were pretty well provided with dinner.  It was very nice country that we marched through all the way.  It was practically all farming country.  It is a great country for raising hops and the peasants were gathering these.  We soon crossed the Belgian Frontier and we are now really in France.

    We slept all night in a school-house.  It seems to be in use but we commandeered it for the night.  We were allowed to up town, so I started out with the intention of getting something to eat, but found it almost impossible in this place.  There are so many soldiers here that every cafe in the town is crowded full.  I got back to the school-house at 9pm and they informed me that I had to go to Temporary Brigade Headquarters for mail, so I went along with another fellow and we got 2 sacks.

    This is a nice town with beautiful churches, public buildings, etc.  We were starting again at 7 am and the roads will be very muddy I expect as it rained considerably during the night.

    It is now 3 am same date and we have not started yet.

September 23rd, 1916, 10pm

    Indeed we did not get started at 8am, but remained at Hazebrouck until 1pm September 22nd.  The Adjutant and B.S.M. ordered Cpl. Howden and myself to stay behind and watch some mail, sick men's kits, etc. and told us that they had ordered a Transport to bring the luggage and ourselves along.
    So we stopped with the luggage, and as there was no rations there we had to buy our meals.  The 10th Brigade came along at night, so we stopped with the 47th Battalion for the night.

    By noon the 22nd September our money was all gone so we had to think about catching up to our Battalion.  We took the mail back to the Army Post Office of which there was branch in Hazebrouck and they promised to forward it to the Battalion for us.  We took the kits, etc. into the school-house, then put our packs on and started in the direction of the Battalion, with the intention of overtaking them that night.

    After we had marched 5 kilometers a motor lorry of the Royal Flying Corps came along and gave us a lift for 5 kilometers.  Then we started on foot again and about 5:30pm as we nearing St. Omer we met a motor lorry of the Divisional Supply Column coming after us.  We gave them our kits and Cpl. Howden went back to Hazebrouck and I went to get some supper.  I spent my last sou (cent), and got a pretty good supper of beef-steak, etc.

    I then put in time around the town until about 9pm when I met the lorry on its return ride from Hazebrouck and it took me to our present location (Tournehen).

    St. Omer is a very fine French town.  It was the location of General Headquarters at the beginning of the war and is where Lord Roberts died.

    We are now billeted in Tournehem about 10 miles from St. Omer and about the same distance from Calais.  We are about 35 miles from Ypres.  We are sort of getting rested and organized again for a few days before proceeding to the Somme.

    The Battalion Orderly Room is situated in a nice little room in a small, old French house and we are right among the people who treat us very good.

September 27th 1916, 3pm

    This is a nice fine afternoon and I am not very busy so I am writing a little to pass the time away.  We have been at Tournehem for 4 days and the Battalion has been on par every day and they are certainly drilling hard.  They fall in at 7am every day and march 3 miles to the Training Area and do not return until about 6pm.

    I have been very busy until today, but have now got the work pretty well caught up again.  I am just thinking of writting a letter or two.  This is a nice little village of about 1000 inhabitants and they are very friendly towards us.

    The Officers of the Battalion gave a dinner last evening to the Officers of the Divisional and Brigade Staffs and they report a great success.

September 28th 1916, 9:40pm

    I am still out of bed although I am pretty tire(d).  It has been a very uneventful day and has been beautiful and fine.  The Battalion paraded at 7am as usual and marched to the Training Area.  I had it pretty easy today as far as work was concerned as we are pretty well caught up.  I have been out watching the searchlights playing around the sky.  There is evidently a Capp making for England.  I am going to bed now 10pm.  My bed consists of a rubber sheet spread on a stone floor and my overcoat spread over me.  Of course I sleep with all my clothes on, except boots.  

October 2nd 1916, 12:30pm

    It is just after noon and I am going to make an entry before starting on the march again.  We have orders to move again at tomorrow noon en route to the Somme.  We have to march about 7 miles to the railway and then several days on the  other end.  It is cold and rainy today and I am very uncomfortable owing to the fact that I took my underwear off yesterday in order to wash it and hung it up on a hedge to dry.  During the night some good Christian friend lifted it.  I am certainly feeling the effects of having no underwear.  I tried to buy some but could not find any in this town large enough.

October 4th 1916, 10am

    We are now at Gazincourt.  We left Tournehem yesterday at 12 noon and marched to Audrioq and entrained there.  We left there at 5:30pm and detrained at Doulens North at 4:30am the next morning.  I had a great trip.  There were 40 of us packed into one of these box cars.  They are not more than 25 feet long.  I managed to get stretched out in the bottom of a car and I had about 4 fellows on top of me.  We marched here after leaving the train, a distance of about 4 miles.

    We are quartered in an old wood-house, or something of that sort.  There is a lot of old hay spread around and it is very comfortable.

October 5th 1916, 6pm

    This finds us under canvas near Beauval.  We marched off at 9am and reached here at 1:30pm.  It has not rained any today and the mud has dried up considerably but it is looking very much like rain tonight.  We have been marching through nice country today - mostly large farms and great fields of sugar beets.  We passed one prisoners cage and saw some prisoners at work mending roads.  Later we met a motor lorry loaded with prisoners coming back from the front.

    We are living on Bully beef and biscuits all the time on this march.  We are actually making a tour of Europe on foot.

October 14th 1916

    Since last entry we have been camped 4 days and nights in Vadencourt Wood and then marched to Albert and spent the night there in very comfortable quarters.  The town is deserted of all civilian population.  I think there is about 1000 people there, living in cellars, etc.

    Since leaving Albert we have been camped on a hillside about a mile beyond Albert.  I have a great view from here and the sights one see is certainly inspiring.  There are certainly plenty of evidence of British power.  As far as the eye can see the whole country is one mass of War material, Regimental Transport, Ammunition Columns, Tents, men, Tanks and all other kinds of material.  It is simply one large camp.

    There are a large number of guns here, in and upwards and a couple of "Tanks".  Divisional and Corps Headquarters are near here in the valley.  I can stand on this hill and see miles of rolling country that has lately been captured from the Germans.  It is all shell torn and blown to pieces.  There are the remains of two mines near here that were blown up at the beginning of the drive.  One of them is 120 feet deep.

    I was out for a walk tonight and went over some of the old German Line.  They were certainly some great earth works.  It is certainly a great sight to stand out here at night and watch a barrage.

    I am sleeping on the ground here under a tarpaulin with both ends open.  It is pretty draughty and I have got a severe cold in my head.

October 16th, 1916

    It is a beautiful fine morning.  We are still on Tara Hill.  We expected to go to the front line last night but the order was cancelled for some reason or other.  I am in the Orderly Room here.  There is not much work to do.  It was very cold yesterday and I went for a walk to keep warm.  I visited a "Tank" and went all through it.  It has a 6lb. Hotchkis gun on each side and there are holes in its hide to fire from Machine Guns.

    There was a terrific bombardment last night which lasted all night.  It was the worst that I have heard.  I was down to Divisional Headquarters the other night.  I was quite shocked to hear that Major Turner was quite seriously wounded, also Col. Inksetter of the 4th Canadian Engineers.  Col. Inksetter has since died.  Major Turner was my boss when I was at Headquarters, Bramshott.  Major Perry of the 11th Brigade is taking his place.

    Lieut. McQuaig, bombing Officer of this Battalion had a thumb and two fingers blown off the other night while instructing his section in bombing.  I suppose he is now in Blighty.

October 24th, 1916

    It is now about 7pm and I am very comfortable in No.3 Canadian General Hospital, Boulogna.  I went to the trenches near Courcellette on the evening of the 18th to Battalion Headquarters.  I got there about 4am on the 19th and they said that they could get along without me and if I wished I could go out.

    So after daylight I started out with some signalers who were also not needed.  We brought a wounded man (Pte. Bent) out, but he died before we got him to the road, so we buried him and stuck up a rifle for a headstone.  I then came back to Albert.  I was in a horrible mess - covered with mud, etc.  I stopped in Albert until the following afternoon until I had got pretty well cleaned up.

    Three Companies of the Battalion came out the night of the 19th and as they were going in the next day I decided to go up to Tara Hill and join them and go back in the ranks.  I joined No.3 Company and went in with them.  They took us up in London Omnibuses as far as Pozieres and then we marched in to the trenches in single file via Courcellette.

    We got to the front line about 11pm.  We had two killed and 7 wounded on the way in by a big shell that bursted in the road as we were passing Courcellette.  After getting in the trenches we worked hard all night digging a line of trenches, just in rear of ours, for No.4 Company to lie in the following morning.  We got done just before daylight and then went back to our trench and endeavoured to keep quiet until noon.  It was very cold and disagreeable.  At about 11am we all made preparations for the attack, got our equipment ready, ate a few biscuits, got bombs, very lights, cleaned rifles, etc.  This was all under a terrific German bombardment, but luckily they did not harm anyone during the forenoon as the trench we were in was a pretty good one.

    At 12:06 pm the 21st our Artillery barrage started and we all immediately went over the top.  We had not gone far when the Germans started a terrific barrage on no-man's-land and as we had to pass through this we had many killed and wounded.  I was wounded when I was about 15 yards from the German line.  I was hit with a piece of a high explosive shell that burst very near me.  The same shell killed Cpl. Dolin who was next to me on my left.  I did not know that I was wounded until I got to the German line.  Their trenches were all battered to pieces and there were dead men everywhere.

    When I found that I was wounded, I started to take some prisoners back to the rear, but they went to fast for me.  It was impossible to go right back in the open through the German Artillery fire, so I had to pick my way back.

    I was about 4 hours getting back to Courcellette Dressing Station.  They dressed my wounds there and then I had to walk to Pozieres.  There were several doctors at the dressing station as it was in an old large French Cellar.  It was made entirely of brick and was entirely bomb and shell proof.  The shells were bursting all around it.

    While I was walking to Poziers the Germans shelled the road the whole way, but they did not get me.  I was picked up by the Field Ambulance Dressing Station.  They dressed my wound there again and gave me some cocoa and a sandwich and inoculated me for prevention against lockjaw.

    Then I was helped into an ambulance again and sent back to No.11 Casualty Clearing Station, about (?) miles in the rear of Albert.  They dressed my wound there again and gave me some more to eat although I was not very hungry.

    I was then put to bed on a stretcher.  I remained at that Clearing Station for two days until 3pm the 23rd, when I was put aboard the Hospital Train and arrived at Boulogne some time during the night.  

    I have just been reading an account of our little expedition in the newspapers and see that we got 1018 prisoners.  I do not care if we got a million for I am on my way to Blighty and I will soon see the green fields of Old England once more.

A Letter From a Marine in Afghanistan

I received this letter a while back but can't  find out if it is a true story.  But it is interesting and controversal so I will publish it and let you the reader decide.
Scorpions, Chiggers & Sand Fleas
Makes u proud to be an AMERICAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan
From the Sand Pit it's freezing here.
I'm sitting on hard, cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at
the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains , along the Dar 'yoi
Pomir River , watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that
leads to a cave. Stake out, my friend, and no pizza
delivery for thousands of miles.
I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to
fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've
actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but
the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a
bastard.. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but
God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my
The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it
or not, they are human beings, which means they have to
eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that's
where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy. I
track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage
facilities, type the info into the hand held, shoot the
coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air
commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some
heads for a while, then I track and record the new
It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the
snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what
they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off
supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin. I dream
of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with
my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my
nickel-plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe. But you
know me, I'm a romantic.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows,
man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's
no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an
inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century
warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.
Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his
family: join the opium trade or join the army. That's it.
Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a
refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle
paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if
that's your Idea of a party. But the smell alone of those
'tent cities of the walking dead is enough to hurl you into
the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs or eighteen
hours a day.
I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and
Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a
month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure:
These guys, all of 'em, are Huns... Actual, living Huns..
They LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do.
They have no respect for anything, not for their families,
nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one
another as a way of life. They play polo with dead calves
and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to
defend the family honor.
Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who
feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-
47's. Then again, maybe I'm just cranky.
[fits Alexader's experience to a "T" -ecs]
I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap
warmer is running out of juice, and I can't recharge it until
the sun comes up in a few hours. Oh yeah! You like to
write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter
to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful,
sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the
Taliban 'smart.' They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest
in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is
'cunning' The Taliban are cunning, like jackals and hyenas
and wolverines. They are sneaky and ruthless, and when
confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent
parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else.
Smart. Pfft.
Yeah, they're real smart. [Alex. again!]
They've spent their entire lives reading only one book (and
not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene
and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They're
still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a
Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like
trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he
just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.
OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back
to my hole., covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of
practice, but I'm good at it.
Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the
TV sets and move on with your lives. The story line you
are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter
bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep
you glued to the screen through the commercials.
We've got this one under control The worst thing you guys
can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing
over here, because you have no idea what we're doing,
and really, you don't want to know.
We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us
here to do.
Saucy Jack
Recon Marine in Afghanistan
Semper Fi
"Freedom is not free...but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay
most of your share".
This was written so that people here in America  will
really know what is going on over there.
A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote
a blank check made payable to 'The United States of
America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this
country who no longer understand it 'From a Recon
Marine in Afghanistan


Captured & Converted French Vehicles in German Service in WWII

The German army made extensive use of French captured vehicles and converted ex-French vehicles, though many had been retired by 1944, or had gone to axis allies such as Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Italy or Rumania.
UE 630(f) Schlepper (about 3000 Renault UE have been used)
• Infanterie UE-Schlepper (f)
• Mannschaftstransportwagen Renault UE(f) (2 different versions)
• Kleiner Funk- und Beobachtungspanzer auf Infanterie-Schlepper UE (f) (40 produced)
• Fernmeldekabel Kraftwagen Renault UE(f)
• Selbstfahrlafette für 3.7cm Pak36 auf Renault UE(f) (700 pieces)
• Selbstfahrlafette für 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf Infanterie-Schlepper UE (f) (2 versions, 40 produced)
• Gepanzerte-MG-Träger Renault UE(f)
• Munitionsschlepper Renault UE(f)
• Sicherungsfahrzeug UE(f) – Luftwaffe security vehicles armed with 7.92mm and/or 13mm MGs
• Panzerkampfwagen Attrape auf UE(f) (dummy tank for training)
• Schneeschleuder auf Renault UE(f) (50 converted in snow ploughs in 1942)
• Schneefräser auf Renault UE(f) (snow milling)
Lorraine 37L(f) Schlepper
• Gefechtsfeld-Versorgungsfahrzeug Lorraine 37L (f)
• Großer Funk- & Beobachtungspanzer Lorraine (f) (30 produced)
• 4.7cm Pak181(f) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (this is a French production in fact, not a German conversion)
• Munitionstransportkraftwagen auf Lorraine Schlepper
• 7.5cm Pak40/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 10.5cm leFH18 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (24 produced), Wespe-equivalent based on Lorraine 37L
• 12.2cm Kanone (r) auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (f) (1 produced)
• 15cm sFH13/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine (102 produced), Hummel-equivalent based on Lorraine 37L
Lorraine 38L(f) (SPW)
Somua MCL S303 (f)
• Zugkraftwagen Somua MCL S303 (f)
• In 1943, Somua MCL S303 (f) were converted to personnel carriers mSPW S303(f), equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/1
• 8cm Reihenwerfer auf SPW Somua S303 (f), 20x 81mm Brandt mortars on a single mount (16 produced)
• 8cm Vielfachwerfer auf SPW Somua S303 (f), mounting 2 racks of 80mm rockets (6 produced)
• mSPW S303(f) (Pionier), equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/7
Somua MCG S307 (f)
• Zugkraftwagen Somua MCG S307 (f)
• Munitions-Zugkraftwagen Somua MCG S307 (f) (48 produced)
• In 1943, Somua MCG S307 (f) were converted to mSPW S307(f), equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/1
• In 1943, Somua MCG S307 (f) were converted to pioneer Panzerwagen mSPW S307(f), equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/7
• In 1943, 72 Somua MCG S307 (f) were converted to 7,5cm Pak40 (Sf) auf mSPW S307(f), equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/22
• 8cm Reihenwerfer auf SPW Somua S307 (f), 16x 81mm Brandt mortars on a single mount (36 produced)
• 8cm Vielfachwerfer auf SPW Somua S307 (f), mounting 2 racks of 80mm rockets
• 15cm Panzerwerfer 42 (Sf) auf mSPW Somua S307(f)
Zugkraftwagen P302 U302(f)
Zugkraftwagen Unic TU1 U305(f)
• Leichter Artillerieschlepper
• Bergefahrzeug (towing/reparation car)
• Fahrschulfahrzeug (driving school car), used by the 4. PzD in the Panzer Regiment 35.
Zugkraftwagen P107 U304(f) (Unic-Kégresse P107)
• Leichter Zugkraftwagen P107 U304(f) (to tow 3.7cm Pak36, 7.5cm Pak97/38, 7.5cm PaK40, 10.5cm leFH18)
• Mittlerer Munitionskraftwagen (munition transporter)
• Leichter Mannschaftstransportwagen (with a wooden open-top compartment to transport troops)
• Bergefahrzeug (towing/reparation car)
• Leichter Schützenpanerwagen : in 1943/44, P107s were converted to personnel carriers leSPW U304(f). They were stripped of their superstructures and fitted with armored hulls that were almost like the SdKfz 251 series (20cm higher). Issued to armored units in France.
• leSPW U304(f) (Funk) - Equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/3 radio/command vehicles
• Selbstfahrlafette U304(f) with FlaK 38 – Unic P107 partially armored mounting the 20mm Flak 38
• Selbstfahrlafette leSPW U304(f) with FlaK 38 –armored P107 mounting the 20mm Flak 38 (72 produced for the Schnelle Brigade West)
• Zugführerwagen leSPW U304(f) (PaK 36) - Equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/10, mounting the 37mm PaK 36
• Granatwerfer leSPW U304(f) (8cm GrW) - Equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/2, mounting the 8cm mortar
• Sanität leSPW U304(f) (8cm GrW) - Equivalent of the Sdkfz 251/8
• Nachrichtenkraftwagen
Zugkraftwagen Ci/380(f) (Citroën-Kégresse P19)
Gepanzerter Transportkraftwagen P380(f) (Panhard-Kégresse)
Panzerspähwagen VM 701(f) (AMR-33)
Panzerspähwagen ZT 702(f) (AMR-35)
• PSW ZT 702(f)
• some were rearmed with 2cm KwK 30 or KwK 38 L/55 guns
• 8cm Granatwerfer auf PSW AMR35(f)
Panzerspähwagen Wh 201(f) (AMD Laffly 50AM)
Panzerspähwagen Laf 202(f) (AMD Laffly 80AM)
Panzerspähwagen 203(f) (AMD Panhard 165/175)
Panzerspähwagen 204(f) (AMD Panhard 178)
• PSW 204(f)
• some were rearmed with 2cm KwK 30 or KwK 38 L/55 guns
• some were modified and rearmed with 5cm KwK L/42 guns
• some were converted to railway protection armored cars
• some were converted to command vehicles without turret
Panzerkampfwagen AMC 738(f) (AMC-35)
Panzerkampfwagen 17R/18R 730(f) (Renault FT 17/18)
Panzerkampfwagen 730c (f) is the cannon version and 730m (f) is the MG version. Many were used in armored trains or were given to the Luftwaffe as snow ploughs for airfields
Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f) (Renault R35)
• Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f)
• Befehlspanzer 35R (f) with a MG34 (26 produced)
• Munitionspanzer 35R 731(f)
• Bergeschlepper 35R 731(f) (towing of vehicles)
• Zugkraftwagen 35R 731(f)
• 4.7cm Pak(t) auf PzKpfw 35R (f) (200 produced)
• 5.0cm Pak38 auf PzKpfw 35R (f) (prototype)
• Flammenwerferpanzer 35R (f)
• Mörserzugmittel 35R (f) (Artillerie-Schlepper)
• some were used in armored trains
Panzerkampfwagen 40 R 736(f) (Renault R40)
Panzerkampfwagen D1 732(f) (Renault D1)
Panzerkampfwagen D2 733(f) (Renault D2)
• Panzerkampfwagen D2 733(f)
• number of turrets was sent to Croatia and mounted on armored trains
Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f) (Hotchkiss H35)
• Panzerkampfwagen 35H 734(f)
• Munitionsschlepper 35H 734(f)
• 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 35H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• Slf. für 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf PzKpfw 35H(f)
• some were used in armored trains
• Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 35H 734(f)
Panzerkampfwagen 38H 735(f) (Hotchkiss H39)
• Panzerkampfwagen 38H 735(f)
• 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 38H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• Munitionsschlepper 38H 735(f)
• Großer Funk- & Befehlspanzer 38H 735(f) (24 produced)
• Artillerie Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 38H 735(f)
• 10.5cm leFH18/4 auf Geschützwagen 38H (f) , Wespe-equivalent based on Hotchkiss H39 tank
• Slf. für 28/32cm Wurfrahmen auf PzKpfw 38H(f)
• Mörserzugmittel 38H (f) (Artillerie-Schlepper)
• some were used in armored trains
Panzerkampfwagen FCM 737(f) (FCM 36)
• Panzerkampfwagen FCM 737(f)
• 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw FCM (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 10.5cm leFH16 auf Geschützwagen FCM (f) (48 produced)
Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f) (Somua S35)
• Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f)
• Fahrschulpanzer 35S (f)
• Mörserzugmittel 35S (f) (Artillerie-Schlepper)
• Befehlspanzer 35S (f)
• Munitions-Schlepper 35S (f)
• Pak40 auf Somua 35S (f)
• some were used in armored trains
Germans used about 300 Somua S-35s under the name Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f). It was mainly used in anti-partisans warfare but was also issued for example to Panzer Abteilung 211 in Finland in 1941.They could also by find as Fahrschulpanzer Somua 35S(f), as artillery towing vehicle and as protection in armored trains. Some 35S were modified with a German tank commander's copula.
Panzerkampfwagen B2 740(f) (Renault B1bis)
160 B2(f) tanks were used by the German army :
• Panzerkampfwagen B2 740(f)
• 10.5cm leFH18/3 auf Geschützwagen B2(f) (18 converted in 1942)
• Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2 (f), retaining the turret-mounted 47mm, but with the hull-mounted 75mm replaced by a flamethrower (60 converted)
• Fahrschulpanzer B1 (f) (turretless) (regular B2(f) + Fahrschulpanzers = 82 tanks)
19.4cm Kanone 485 (f) auf Selbstfahrlafette
Panzerkampfwagen 3C 741(f) (FM2C)
Panzerkampfwagen 770(f) (Renault YS)

In August 1940, Hitler already decided that in further enlargement of the Army, the possibility of a campaign against Soviet Russia had to be considered. By the time this campaign began in June 1941, 84 more divisions were created. Just before Barbarossa, 88 infantry divisions, 3 motorized infantry divisions and 1 Panzerdivision were largely equipped with French vehicles. Without the extensive booty from the western campaign of 1940, these units would have remained without weapons and vehicles. Motor vehicles in particular played an important role in the motorization the divisions. The 18.PzD was equipped with strictly stock French motor vehicles until the end of May 1941. Among the trucks, the 4.5-ton Citroën Type 45 attained a certain significance. The 1-ton Peugeot was also seen often. The same was true for the French halftrack (Somua MCL and MCG, Unic P107 etc.) towing vehicles, which were used as tractors in the Panzerjäger units, infantry gun companies and motorized artillery units.
Most of the motor vehicles (German, French or other booty trucks) massively used for various transports were not to have long lives under the rough conditions of the Eastern theatre of war. The progressive deterioration of the German army's motor vehicle situation already in the autumn of 1941 led to numerous use and new production of French trucks and also to the transformation of about 200 French tanks into towing vehicles/tractors (Renault and Hotchkiss Mörserzugmittel / Artillerie-Schlepper).
Captured French aircraft and on-board weapons were put to use within certain limits. The Luftwaffe made more frequent use of airdropped ammunition. Among others, the French 50kg splinter bombs in packages of four with the Ab 500 3 A airdrop container were used, and the small 1kg splinter bombs were also kept in production.
About 5148 Renault UE (model 1931) and UE2 (model 1937) has been built for the French army (according to François Vauvillier's "L'automobile sous l'uniforme"). The German army captured some 3000 UE tractors (of those many were damaged and were only used to provide spare parts I guess) and had them overhauled in an assembly plant at Paris (Issy-les-Moulineaux) under the direction of the M.A.N. company.
These tractors were used in different tasks :
• towing light infantry guns (leIG18) and 3.7cm Paks
• towing 5.0cm, 7.5cm and 7.62cm Paks as well as heavy infantry guns (sIG33)
• transporting position material and seated wounded
• self-propelled mount for installed 3.7cm Pak36 and 2.5cm Pak112/113(f)
• scout car with installed machine gun
• armored car for the protection of airfields
• ammunition carrier +/- trailer to arm gun positions
• 28/32cm rocket launcher
• for training, simulating dummy tanks
• artillery observation
A significant rebuilding was the Renault UE reconnaissance tank. By the Becker building staff, 24 tractors were equipped with an armored rear body in which radio equipment and observation personnel were housed. Several of these vehicles were used by the 21. PzD.
The Luftwaffe rebuilt UE tractors into genuine small tanks used for securing its airfields and bases. By installing machine guns behind shields and in armored balconies, small series of securing vehicles were created.
The French UE tractor is also used by the Luftwaffe for towing aircraft bombs. Large bombs were simply attached to chains and dragged over the ground. Sometimes transport sleds made of wood were also used to move the bombs.
After the battle of France, the German troops recovered/repaired many French tanks, about :
• 500 FT-17
• 800 R-35/40
• 600 H-35/39
• 50 FCM-36
• 160 B1bis (18 B2(f) with 10.5 cm howitzers, 60 B2 flammpanzer and 82 B2(f) tanks + turretless B2(f) Fahrschulpanzer)
• 297 Somua S-35 tanks
Beginning 1942 the Waffen-SS security forces received 250 FT-17, 30 R-35 and 60 Hotchkiss tanks. Several tanks were given to Germany allies like for example 40 Renault R35 to Bulgaria and other R35 tanks to Croatia. The Luftwaffe used 100 FT-17 (25 for the Luftgaukommando Holland, 30 for the Luftgaukommando Belgien und Nordfrankreich and 45 for the Luftgaukommando Westfrankreich). For example, on December 31, 1944, 350 Hotchkiss based tanks were still used by the German army, although mostly in police and school units.
Concerning the Somua S35, though blaming its small turret, the High Command recognizes it as one of the best contemporary tanks. Its main assets are speed, armor and excellent 47mm SA35 L/34 gun (better penetration than the 3.7cm KwK36 L/46.5 of the Panzer III). So the modifications made are minimal to suit it to German use : copula cropped down and equipped with a 2 lid hatch, and the frequent addition of a FuG 5 10 watts radio set. The
command version gets a frame antenna over the rear and the gun is now a wooden dummy. The only other known German variant is the driver training "Fahrschule" tank, with the front hull component and turret removed.
One can try a not exhaustive distribution of the Somua S35 tanks. In many units the tank troops were made up of a Somua S35 leading 4 Hotchkiss H39 (38H in the German designation).
At the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941, Pz.Rgt.201 and 202 were created in France (each with 2 Abteilungen of 3 light companies), as well as the Pz.Abt.301. This one will soon be renamed in March 1941 to become the second Abteilung of Pz.Rgt.202, as the first units of this name went to battle in Finland. The second phase of units' creation was in June 1941, in the wake of the 3rd wave of rising new Panzerdivisionen, and corresponding regiments were equipped with French AFVs. But the units were often reequipped with German or Czech tanks before going to the Russian front. To be more precise, the units are Pz.Rgt.201 (which went to 23.PzD in December 1941), Pz.Rgt.202 (The I.Abteilung was sent to Yugoslavia in September 1941, the II.Abteilung and III.Abteilung were issued to the 26.PzD), Pz.Rgt.203 (it fought as an independent unit as part of Army Group North from December 1941) and Pz.Rgt.204 (to 22.PzD). This wave included the independent zbv 12 (mainly an administrative unit), company Paris (it says it all) and Pz.Abt.212 (going to Crete, also with some German tanks), Pz.Abt.214 (to Norway) ; the Pz.Abt.217 was sent to Jersey and Guernesey but used only B2(f) (Renault B1bis). So, at the end of 1941 and beginning of 1942, French tanks (often Somua S35 as part of the inventory) were seen only in I.Abt./201 in Yugoslavia, II.Abt./202 in Finland and Abteilungen 212, 214, 217. That is if you do not take into account the independent companies and such smaller units scattered in the West. But the material of the units reequipped left out in France was not lost.
The 3rd phase happened during the 1942 spring when the Panzerdivisionen fighting in Russia were sent to France for refit (before the summer offensive in South Russia) and so were given French tanks (Hotchkiss and Somua) : they were in Pz.Rgt.1, 2, 7, 11, 25 and 36. But these tanks were not involved in fighting when the divisions returned to Russia as they had received new German tanks before the long journey. Some units were created in France at the same time and went to the fight, as was Pz.Kie.223 which later merged in 22.PzD in Crimea, where it found use for its Somua S35s around Sevastopol in the spring of 1942.
The last phase was the creation of a unit destined to regroup the groups that housed French tanks in OB West in October 1942, Panzer Brigade 100 (which will quickly become Pz.Rgt.100). The Abteilungen going to this regiment were naturally the ones using French tanks in France, grossly Pz.Kie.81, 100 and 223. This regiment will eventually be involved in the rebuilding of the 21.PzD in July 1943 in France and will eventually be renamed Pz.Rgt.22 on 20th May 1944.
A major evolution occurred in October 1943 when the material captured in September from the former Italian ally begin to reequip the units fighting the partisan in the Balkans : Z.b.V 12, Pz.Abt.202 (lost near Beograd in 1944, it had initially 2 Somua S35 in HQ and 3 in 1st company) and SS Pz.Abt.7 'Prinz Eugen'. The last units with French tanks were created in November 1943. Pz.Abt.205 was deployed in the North of France and became anti-tank Abteilung in December 1944 (it had before that 10 Somua S35s : 2 in HQ and 4 in the 1st and 2nd companies). Pz.Abt.206 fought against the US forces in June 1944 in the Cotentin Peninsula (it had 10 Somua S35s : 2 in HQ and 4 in the 1st and 2nd companies) and was lost in Cherbourg. Pz.Ersatz Abt.100, created in April 1941 to train the crews on French tanks, went through all the reorganizations but met its fate in Normandy fighting along the 91.ID (it still had one Somua S35 on 19th May 1944).
Photos exist of Somua S35s in use in the following units : SS Gebirgsdivision 'Nord' in Norway 1943 and SS Division Totenkopf (France 1940). Among the units appearing in reports, there is Panzer-Jäger Abt.657 created in 1943 in the Netherlands, equipped with at least 2 Somua S35s.
The Somua went to 21.PzD which was rebuilt in France in July 1943 after its destruction in Tunisia. On 1st June 1944 the division had still 40 Somua S35s mainly in Pz.Rgt.22, 3 of them in Panzer Nachrichten Kompanie 200 (signal company). No more Somua S35s were recorded in the 1st September reports of this division, but it does not mean they were all destroyed in Normandy, as they were probably given to other units as they were considered as unfit for combat at the time.
As an anti-partisan weapon, the Somua S35 also went naturally to armoured trains. It was transported on railways cars with movable ramps to disembark rapidly and fight the 'saboteurs', or on 'Om' or 'SSk' Köln cars (with no possibility to leave them quickly). Two of these tanks were found on each train on the E. Panzer Züge 25 (replaced in 1943 by Pz38(t) tanks), 29, 30 and 31. The Panzer Züge 26, 27 and 28 got 3 Somua S35s each.
About 72 Somua S35s were released to German allies. Hungary got 2, Bulgaria 6 and Italy 32. The Royal Italian Army requested 50 to equip an experimental mixed company scheduled for Africa. It would have had an armoured car platoon, one equipped with Renault R35s and an other with Somua S35s, but not enough deliveries were made and only the armoured cars went to the front. The Somuas, sent without any spare parts, found their way to Sardinia where the battalion was disbanded without seeing any fight.
About 124 Renault R35 and 32 Somua S35 and maybe a couple of turretless Renault B2(f) tanks were given to Italy by Germany since February 1941 (a few Renault FT-17 tanks captured after the occupation of France in November 1942 were also used as targets in the Ciriè proving ground).
Only 3 tanks battalions were equipped with them :
• CI/131° and CII/131° (3 companies each) using Renault R35; they were in Sicily since December 1941 and took part to the defense of the island in July 1943 being completely destroyed.
• CC (two companies) using Somua S35 tanks was in Sardinia since December 1941; its tanks were used again by French troops after the Italian armistice of 8 September 1943.
A most interesting re-use of the Somua. The Toto's partisans captured a running S35 an rearmed it with a British 6-Pdr gun. The long recoil course obliged them to make up a prominent shield, giving the tank a unique profile.
Concerning the Renault B1bis, the first units equipped with B2 flame tanks were the 7th companies of Pz.Rgt.201 and 202, which were regrouped in 1941 in Pz.Abt.102 and engaged on the eastern front. Char B2(f) and B2(f) flame tanks were used during Barbarossa to reduce and destroy Russian fortifications in the summer of 1941. Pz.Abt.213 was later equipped with B2 tanks and stationed in French islands in the Channel.
Pz.Abt.206 was formed in November 1941 at Satory (near Paris), this battalion was used as a reserve unit for the 7.Armee. Wedged in Cherbourg, this unit was destroyed there. Its composition in beginning 1944 included 2 companies of 10 Hotchkiss H39 and 4 Somua S35s (in each company) and one "Stab Kompanie" of 3 Renault B2, 3 Renault B2 flamethrower, 2 Somua S35 and 2 Renault R35. Many such small units were formed with French booty/converted tanks like the Pz.Abt.100 committed to 91.ID in Normandy in 1944 (1 Somua S35, 8 Hotchkiss H39, 14 Renault R35, 1 Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2, 1 PzIII and 5 FT17c) and the 21. Pz.D. included many French tanks.
Pz.Abt.223 was formed (attached to 22.PzD) with Char B2 flame tanks and was engaged in battles near Sevastopol in 1942. This unit was then expanded to include 2 panzer companies and command elements with a second company composed of 5 B2 and 12 B2 (Fl = flamethrower).
Different other units were also equipped with B2(f) tanks : Pz.Abt.224 in the Netherlands (engaged in Arnhem and Oosterbeek in 1944), two companies of the Pz.Rgt.100 in France and one company of 17 B2 from SS Pz.Abt.7 (SS 'Prinz Eugen' division) in the Balkans. In February 1945, 40 B2(f) tanks were still in service in the German army. Late war B2(f) had sometimes a kind of Zimmerit/concrete on their armor, at least on the turret. The B2(f) Flammpanzer could fire about 200x 2-3 seconds "napalm" shots.
Yugoslavia had been overrun in 11 days in April 1941. The 6 Panzerdivisionen that took part were redirected to the eastern front and the invasion of Russia. The remaining occupation forces in Yugoslavia had not many tanks. Despite the very mountainous area, tanks could be useful to escort convoys, provide fire support to garrisons as well as fight against partisans in search and destroy operations. In 1941, the Italian occupation troops had about 250 AFVs but these were very vulnerable and poorly armed CV33/L3 tankettes. On their side the German troops had only a few Renault FT17 tanks from former Yugoslavian army.
During summer 1941 the situation changed and the Germans sent the I.Abteilung of the Pz.Rgt.202 with about 60 French tanks to take up the role of armored support for anti-partisan forces in the Balkans. There were 3 combat companies (51 tanks), each with with one company HQ (2 Somua S35s) and 3 platoons (1 Somua S35 (platoon commander) and 4 Hotchkiss H39). On 18th September 1941, it was deployed to Serbia with 342.ID. These operations lasted until the middle of December 1941 and I.Abt./ Pz.Rgt.202 provided armored support to both 342.ID and 113.ID as well as to 704.ID, 714.ID, 717.ID and 718.ID when required. The unit served in the Balkans from January to March 1943 and was also with 22nd Mountain Corps. It is deployed in Hungary in March 1944 and transferred back to the Balkans by May 1944. At one point served under 12th Army (Wehrmacht Command South-East) Armeeoberkommando 12, Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm List.
Panzer-Kompanie Z.b.V 12 was also created to be administratively in charge of 5 independent platoons with 5 Renault R35s each in Yugoslavia.
On the Italian side very few L6/40 tanks and AB-41 armored cars were sent to Yugoslavia but also mainly AFVs from the 1920's and 1930's, including Lancia 1ZM armoured cars and L5 tanks (Italian copies of the French Renault FT17). The main Italian AFVs remained the L3 tankettes. Around 1943 several Autoprotetto 37 and Fiat 665NM Scudato armoured trucks were also sent as well as two SMV da75/18 and a few M13/40 in Slovenia.
During 1941-1943 the Germans deployed also other tank units :
• SS Pz.Abt.7 with the SS division 'Prinz Eugen' : 17 Renault B2 and B2(Fl) with also several Hotchkiss H39 tanks. The Renault B1bis is then the most powerful tank in Yugoslavia.
• Polizei-Gebirgsjäger-Regiment 18 including 20 Renault R35 tanks and 12 Steyr ADGZ armored cars (moves to Finland in December 1942)
• 6. Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie with 6 Steyr ADGZ armored cars and 5 Hotchkiss tanks
• 11. Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie with 6 Panhard 178 armored cars and 5 Hotchkiss tanks
• 13. Verstärkte Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie with 6 Steyr ADGZ armored cars, 6 Panzer II Ausf.J (VK1601, front armor of 50-80mm, only 22 produced but initially rejected by the army), 4 Panzer IV Ausf.F1 and 2 Sd.Kfz.251/16 (flamethrower).
After the Italian armistice the Germans seized many Italian equipments. During 1944, the 14., 15. and 16.Polizei-Panzer-Kompanie are equipped with Italian vehicles. The 373.(kroat.)ID eceived also 10 L6/40 tanks and 2 Autoprotetto in its Panzerjäger Abteilung. During 1944, the Pz.Abt.202 replaces its last French tanks by new Italian ones : 67 M15-42 (improved M13-40) but 70% of them are quickly not operational due to the cold weather.
The divisions SS 'Prinz Eugen', SS 'Handschar' and SS 'Skanderbeg' had one or two Hotchkiss H35/39 and Renault R35 companies, mostly in their Aufklärung Abteilung beside motorcycle and horse mounted men. The SS Kama division was later issued with the French tanks of the SS Handschar divisions in fall 1944. There were also Hotchkiss H39s in the Pz.Abt.200 during the Belgrad battle in October 1944.
According to Otto Kumm ("Vorwärts Prinz Eugen !") and completed by German and Yugoslavian archives, the 105. SS-StuG Abt from captain Paletta attacked on 11th October 1944 a T34 battalion progressing with the 36th Tito's partisans division, in front of Obrenovac (south-west of Belgrad). The dozen StuGs from SS Prinz Eugen are supported by French H-39 and R-35 tanks from Pz.Abt.200 and SS Aufklärung Abt. 21 from Kampfgruppe Skanderbeg. They destroyed 13 T34/85 and about 100 other miscellaneous vehicles. This counter-attack was launched to cover the retreat of elements from Armee-Gruppen E and F across the Save. Then the Renault and Hotchkiss tanks protected the retreat of the StuGs. By the end of the day the H39s and R35s are hardly attacked by IL-2 Sturmoviks.
The Hotchkiss, Somua and Renault French tanks were really liked in the Balkans because of their small size which allowed them to operate in the mountain areas, on the small trails and "roads" there and to provide close fire support to the engaged infantry units. There was also a huge stockpile of spare parts in the Renault and Hotchkiss factories in France.
To these tanks you have to add all the other vehicles : motorcycles, sidecars, cars, trucks, armored cars and the numerous conversions based on French chassis and realized by the Germans. French captured tanks and armored cars were first use on the Eastern front. Several new units were first trained on French tanks like 24.PzD and 25.PzD formed respectively in France (November 1941) and Norway (February 1942) with French tanks before being converted to German ones when sent to the front. These tanks were nevertheless not only used for training or anti-partisans warfare, for example the Pz.Abt.211 in Finland destroyed 24 Russian tanks and 5 AT guns between 4-8th July 1941 in Salla, North Finland. This unit was equipped with H39 and S35 tanks (Source : Kari Kuusela – "Wehrmachtin Panssarit Suomessa/Panzers In Finland").
The Germans were not long to realize the usefulness in combat of the Panhard P178. Seen as technically rated over the average armored cars, notably over the SdKfz 222 series, they were immediately put back to service during the campaign of France with German crosses.
About 190 P178 armored cars were used unmodified in 1941 with 107 lost in action on the Eastern front during following years. At the beginning of Barbarossa, beside Waffen-SS units such as "Totenkopf" or "Das Reich" and police units, the PSW-204(f) was mainly found in the 37th (7.PzD) and 92nd (20.PzD) armored reconnaissance battalions. 64 vehicles in the 37th (10 more than in theory) and 54 vehicles in the 92th with generally 18 radio variants. The Panhard 178 was the vehicle that went the closer to Moscow, they reached the terminal bus station.
In the secondary security tasks several exemplars were put on railway cars in armored trains (such as Panzerzug 25) to protect the lines. Later 43 were transformed in true "draisine", mostly to operate on rail-roads against partisans in the Balkans. After the invasion of the "Free Zone" in November 1942 more Panhard P178s had been captured, most of these were twin-MG variants. There were also an undetermined number of P178s fitted with the CDM turret (version with the 47mm SA35 gun) found in hidden depots. At least 2 were used in the Sicherung Aufklärungsabteilung 1000 (affiliated to 89.ID). They fought against partisans in Auvergne. The 1st Army for example still had 10 Panhard P178 on 30th December 1944 on the Western front.
Command Panhard P178s with a casemate instead of a turret and two radios were also captured in France, some kept their former role but most were given to PK (Propaganda Kompanie) units, often issued to war correspondents of the Waffen-SS ("Das Reich" and "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler"). Armed with a MG34 and equipped with a German radio set, these vehicles were also equipped with cameras and sound recordings equipments.
During Summer 1943, several Panhard P178s were rearmed with a 5.0cm KwK L/42 gun installed in a superstructure unarmored to the rear. A few Panhard P178s were rearmed with a 5.0cm KwK L/60 gun but fitted with the muzzle brake from a Pak38.
Such a Panhard 178 with a 5.0cm KwK L/60 gun was captured and used in 1944-1945 by the 1st GMR (Groupement Mobile de Reconnaissance) of the FFI (French Forces of the Interior). This unit later called 'escadron autonome de chars Besnier' (Besnier independent tank squadron) is equipped in December 1944 with :
• 1x Panhard 178 with a standard 25mm gun
• 1x Panhard 178 with a 5.0cm L/60 gun
• 2x French Unic trucks fitted with a 81mm mortar
• 2x StuG III
• 1x Tiger I
• 1x Tiger II
• 1x Panther
• 11x Panzer IV
• 1x Jagdpanzer on French Lorraine chassis
• 1x Panzerwerfer 42
• 1x SdKfz-7 with a 20mm Flak
• 2x towing halftracks
• 1x workshop truck
• 4x lights trucks
• 4x heavy trucks
There was also a certain number of turretless command cars (maybe former French armored cars sent to the front in June 1940 without turret and only armed with a FM 24/29 or a MG behind a makeshift shield). There is a model with an aircraft modified turret armed with a MG81 which served for the protection of the Luftwaffe column 143. The Italians used also 2 Panhard P178s captured in November 1942 when the Germans seized Southern France, they could be found in the 224th coastal division.
In June 1943 the situation is grossly the following : • Eastern Front Heeresgruppe A : 6 Renault B2 Heeresgruppe Süd : 12 Panhard P178 Heeresgruppe Mitte : 15 Hotchkiss H39, 2 Somua S35, 18 Panhard P178 Südosten (Balkans) : 96 Hotchkiss H39, 43 Somua S35, 17 Renault B2 • Western Front 149 Hotchkiss H39 67 Somua S35 81 Renault B2 58 Renault R35 12 Renault FT17/18 33 Panhard P178 • Norway 68 Hotchkiss H39 17 Somua S35 • Finland (Panzer-Abteilung 211 + Panzerkampfwagen-Zug 217, 218 and 219) 33 Hotchkiss H39 16 Somua S35
Germans had still about 700 French tanks in mid-1943 and still at the end of the war there were about 425 such tanks in the inventory. There were numerous Renault UE(f) (initially 3000 used), Lorraine tractors, Marder based on French chassis, softskins and halftracks etc.
The main conversions are :
• 200x 4.7cm Pak(t) auf PzKpfw R35 (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 26x Befehlspanzer auf PzKpfw R35 (f)
• 170x Lorraine 37L converted to 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 37L (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 24x 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 38H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 10x 7.5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw FCM (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
• 72x 7.5cm Pak40 auf Somua halftrack chassis
• 107x converted Lorraine tractors with 15cm (102), 10.5cm (24) or 12.2cm (r) (1 vehicle on an armored train) howitzers and used as SP artillery in the PzDs before the arrival of the Wespe and Hummel SP howitzers.
• 48x FCM-36 converted with 10.5cm howitzers.
• beside the Lorraine and FCM conversions, there were also numerous Hotchkiss conversions and for example the 200. StuG Abt / 21. PzD in Normandy was equipped with 16x 7.5cm Pak40 auf Hotchkiss and 24x 10.5cm leFH18 auf Hotchkiss
• 18x B2 chassis with 10.5 cm howitzers
• 60x B2 tanks with flamethrower
+ other halftracks/tanks converted to SP AT gun, SP mortar(s), SP flamethrower, SP Flak or SP rocket-launchers
+ halftracks converted to APCs like the leSPW U304(f)
The 21.PzD in 1944 had over 50 different softskin types (mainly French) including Citroën, Laffly and Renault trucks. Unic P107 and Somua MCL and MCG halftracks as well as Somua SPWs were very common. In emergency situation the Germans always used their booty vehicles and proved to be skilled to convert and re-use
all what they captured ... Even old 120mm Mle1878 De Bange French guns (!) were still used in some fortifications and by Rumanian troops in 1944. If they didn't used themselves some of these booty equipments they provided their allies (mainly Rumania, Bulgaria and Italy) with captured vehicles, guns, small arms or planes. All these captured equipments were necessary to the motorization of the German army of 1941.
About 100 7.5cm Pak40 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz.135)" were still in service in 1943 : • Units in the West using the Marder I during 1943 were : LVXXXIII. Korps Pz.Rgt. 100
1. PzD : 9 (already gone by 10.5.43, probably handed over to 26. Pz.Div., which kept them only for about 1 month) 44. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III) 65. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III) 76. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III) 94. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III) 113. ID : 9 (during summer 1943 exchanged for Marder III) 158. Reserve Division = 9 305. ID 343. ID 346. ID 348. ID 353. ID 384. ID 708. ID 709. ID 711. ID 712. ID 716. ID 719. ID • Units in the East using the Marder I during 1943 were : 31. ID : 8 (4 on 31st December 1943) 35. ID : 8 (2 on 31st December 1943) 36. ID : 1 72. ID : 8 (4 on 31st December 1943) 206. ID : 8 (7 on 31st December 1943) 256. ID : 9 (7 on 31st December 1943)
384. ID : 14 (20th December 1943)
The French industries had also been mobilized by the German occupant :
• Berliet :
Various Berliet trucks were used by the German army (DGRA, GDC, GDM, VDCA etc.) and about 30 Berliet tank carriers were used by the Wehrmacht.
During 1943-1944 for example, 1262 trucks (5t) were produced for the German army.
• Bernard :
A few Bernard trucks (fuel tank trucks etc.) were used by the German army.
• Citroën :
Many booty cars, trucks and halftracks (Citroën Kégresse P14, P17, P19) were captured and used by the Germans. The Citroën-Kégresse P19 = Ci380(f) can for example be found in the Schnelle Brigade West. Many other vehicles were produced for the Germans between 1941 and 1944 like for example :
- 3700 type 23 trucks
- 6000 type 32U trucks
- 15300 type 45 trucks (the majority of the trucks of Schnelle Brigade West)
• Delahaye :
About 1000 SdKfz-11 were produced for the Germans (ordered in 1942).
The Delahaye factory also produced spare parts for the Büssing-NAG 4500.
• ELMAG (in Mulhouse, Alsace) :
Production of 1143 SdKfz-8 halftracks and spare parts for German halftracks between 1942 and 1944.
• Ford :
At the beginning of WW2, the French Ford factories located at Poissy and Asnières were controlled by the Laffly company. They transformed 1000 Ford trucks in half-tracked trucks (Maultier) and produced spare parts for the Ford trucks captured in Europe.
• Gnôme-Rhône :
Gnôme-Rhône in Gennevilliers (nowadays SNECMA) produced German engines for planes like the Henschel 129.
Gnôme-Rhône motorcycles and side-cars were also used by the Germans.
• Hotchkiss :
During the occupation, Hotchkiss produced spare parts, engines and several chassis for the Germans from 1940 to 1944 . Some Laffly vehicles (R15R, S20TL, W15T etc.) and several Hotchkiss personal cars (PKW Typ680, 686 and 686 PNA) were also produced for the Germans.
• Isobloc :
Numerous buses had been produced for the French army. Several W843M medical buses were used by the Germans. They could carry 30 lying wounded soldiers or a whole mobile chirurgical antenna.
• Laffly :
Many Laffly V15R, S15R, S20TL, W15T etc. were captured and used by the Germans.
A small number of armored SPW based on the W15T were produced for the Schnelle Brigade West.
In 1942, 60 Renault R-40 tanks were transformed for snow milling. 119 Renault R-40 were modified for the Luftwaffe (towing vehicles ?) and 200 various German tracked vehicles were also modified for the Luftwaffe by the Laffly factory. Laffly transformed also 22 wheeled and 33 tracked vehicles in snow ploughs.
• Latil :
Many Latil trucks and utility vehicles had been captured by the Wehrmacht. Some of the heavier trucks (Latil TAR H2) were again produced for the German forces.
• Lorraine :
Many Lorraine 37L and 38L were captured and used or modified by the Germans. The Lorraine factory also produced 500 SdKfz-9 in 1942.
• Matford (in Strasbourg, Alsace) :
Matford was born from the fusion between Ford and the French Mathis company. A few trucks were produced but mainly spare parts for the French booty Matford trucks like the Matford F917.
• Panhard & Levassor :
About 2000 Panhard trucks were delivered to the Germans army and about 1000 couples of tracks for the SdKfz-7 have been produced.
• Peugeot :
The factory is controlled by KDFWagen (future Volkswagen).
Many cars (Peugeot 202 and 402) and light trucks (Peugeot DMA, DK etc.) were captured and used but also produced. Between 1941 and 1944 Peugeot delivered to the Germans :
- 12500 Peugeot DK5
- 15300 Peugeot DMA
- about 15000 Peugeot 202 and 402
That make about 28000 trucks delivered to the Germans.
The factory produced also spare parts for the Kübelwagen and a few Volkswagen type 82 and 166 were completed. 150 SdKfz-10 per month were also planned to be produced in 1942 but the delivered number is unknown.
• Renault :
For Renault, most of the archives have disappeared during the allied bombings of 1944 but in François Vauvillier's book "l'automobile sous l'uniforme" it is indicated that about 28000 Renault trucks had been produced for the Germans during the occupation (AHS, AHN, AHR, AGC, ADK, ADH etc.). The Renault factories were administrated by Prinz Von Urach (who will later be the press attaché of Daimler-Benz after WW2). About 23000 Renault AHS trucks were used by the Germans (booty and new produced ones).
For example, from 1941 to 1944, 4000 Renault AHN and 2000 Renault AHR had been produced for the German army. In 1943, 704 AGC3 were deliverd.
Renault produced also spare parts for the SdKfz-7 and SdKfz-11.
• Saurer :
Several trucks were still produced for the Germans, especially the Saurer type 3CT which was liked. For example between 1943 and 1944 some 1800 3CT trucks were delivered to the Germans.
• Simca :
Simca produced personal cars for the German/Italian Army
1941/1942: 5983 Simca 5 (aka Fiat 500 Topolino) and 3960 Simca 8 (aka Fiat 1100)
1943: 122 Simca 8 and 19 Simca 5
1944: 180 Simca 8 and 23 Simca 5
Simca was intended to produce 2500 SdKfz-2 Kettenkraftrad but there seem not to have been produced. Tracks for the SdKfz-7, SdKfz-10 and SdKfz-11 were also produced.
• Somua :
Beside the Somua S-35 tanks, many MCL named S303(f) and MCG named S307(f) halftracks were captured. Many of these halfracks have been armored.
• Talbot :
From 1941 to 1944, Talbot produced tracks for the SdKfz-7, SdKfz-10 and SdKfz-11, braces for the Büssing-NAG S4500 and complete steering for the Panzer 38(t).
• Trippel :
The factory was located at Molsheim (Alsace) in the former Bugatti factory. They produced the Trippel SG6 amphibious car.
• Unic :
About 200 Unic TU1 U305(f) and 3000 Unic P107 U304(f) were used by the German army.
• Willeme :
A few Willeme type DU10 (10t) heavy trucks were used by the German army.
Beside the booty vehicles, the main companies (Renault, Peugeot, Citroën, Panhard, Berliet and Saurer ...) produced about 90,000 new trucks for the German army between 1941 and 1944. Especially for the Eastern front 200 French tanks were also converted to Mörserzugmittel / Artillerie-Schlepper / Bergeschlepper (tractors).
• 100. Panzer Abteilung (committed to 91. ID) Panzerkampfwagen 35R 731(f) Panzerkampfwagen 39H 735(f) Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f) Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B2 (f) Panzerkampfwagen 17R 730c(f) • 21. Panzer Division Panzerkampfwagen 35S 739(f) Panzerkampfwagen 39H 735(f)
Flammenwerferpanzer Renault B1/B2 (f)
Panzerbeobachtungswagen auf 35/38/39H(f)
Großer Funk- & Beobachtungspanzer Lorraine-S (f) 10,5cm leFH18/40 auf Geschützwagen 38H (f)
10,5cm leFH18 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine
15cm sFH13/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine
8cm Reihenwerfer auf SPW Somua S303/307 (f) 8cm Vielfachwerfer auf SPW Somua S303/307 (f)
7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 38H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
7,5cm Pak40 auf PzKpfw 39H (f) "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
7,5cm Pak40/1 auf Geschützwagen Lorraine "Marder I (SdKfz 135)"
7,5cm Pak40 (Sf) auf mSPW S307(f)
4,7cm Pak(t) auf PzKpfw 35R (f)
Zugkraftwagen P107 U304(f)
Zugkraftwagen Somua MCL S303 (f)
Zugkraftwagen Somua MCG S307(f)
leSPW U304(f)
leSPW U304(f) (Fkl)
leSPW U304(f) (FlaK 38)
leSPW U304(f) (PaK 36)
leSPW U304(f) (8cm GrW)
mSPW S303(f)
mSPW S303(f) (Pionier)
mSPW S307(f)
Softskins : over 50 different softskin types (mainly French, but also some Italian ones) including Citroën, Laffly and Renault trucks. Unic-Kégresse P107 and Somua MCL and MCG halftracks as well as Somua SPWs were very common.
• Artillerie Regiment of the 716. ID was equipped with : 8cm Reihenwerfer auf SPW Somua S303 (f) 8cm Vielfachwerfer auf SPW Somua S307 (f) • Panzerjäger Abteilung of the 709. ID had nine 7,5cm Pak40 (Sf) auf mSPW S307(f)

Sources :

"The Panzers and the Battle of Normandy" (Georges Bernage)
"Normandy 1944 : German Military Organisation, Combat Power & Organizational Effectiveness" (Niklas Zetterling)
"L'automobile sous l'uniforme" (François Vauvillier)
"Captured French Tanks under the German Flag" by Werner Regenberg and Horst Scheibert (Schiffer)
"Captured Armored Cars and Vehicles in Wehrmacht Service in World War II" by Werner Regenberg (Schiffer)
"Captured Weapons and Equipment of the German Wehrmacht 1938-1945" by Wolfgang Fleischer (Schiffer)
" Beute-Kraftfahrzeuge und -Panzer der deutschen Wehrmacht" by Walter J. Spielberger (Motorbuch Verlag)
"Trackstory n°1 : Somua S35"
"Trackstory n°2 : Panhard 178"
"Batailles & Blindés" magazine

Delay of Operation Barbarossa by Irving Silverman/

The role of Ultra in delaying the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Hitler had plans to either force the Balkan countries to join with Germany or be attacked as he wanted the Balkans to gain control of the north side of the Mediterranean Sea for extra pressure on the British forces in North Africa.
Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary joined forces with Germany and allowed the German military to move in to be in position to attack Yugoslavia and then Greece.

"Yugoslavia and Greece now lay under the threat of German attack, but suddenly, Prince Paul of Yugoslavia agreed to become Hitler's ally and the pact was signed on March24, 1941.  Churchill's reaction was vehement and immediate.  On Menzie's orders, British agents at Belgrade, who had provided support for General Bora Mirkovic, the commander of the Yugoslav air force, detonated a rebellion.  At dawn on March 27 , pro-British revolutionaries seized all key points in Belgrade, including the palace.  The King, Peter II, was placed in the care of resolute officers, and General Dulsan Simovic, whose office at the Air Ministry was the center of opposition to German penetration of the Balkans, took over the government in his name.  Prince Paul, who as Regent had negotiated the pact with Hitler, was arrested along with the two other Regents and sent into exile in Greece.  By nightfall, without bloodshed, the coup had been accomplished, and there were scenes of great rejoicing.  English and French flags appeared everywhere, and the German minister was publicly insulted by Serbian mobs who spat on his car.

Hitler was infuriated. He summoned OKW and gave orders to 'destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as national unit ...'  He directed that the Luftwaffe bomb Belgrade with "unmerciful harshness" in continuous day and night air attacks.  In movements that Ultra revealed, Hitler upset all the carefully laid timetables for the preparatory moves of his invasion of Russia;  and on the morning of April 6, 1941, in an operation codenamed "Punishment," the Luftwaffe struck Belgrade. "

Which opened the invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece at a time when those German forces were needed for Barbarossa.

Source:  Bodyguard of Lies,  pub.Harper and row, 1975 by Anthony Cave Brown,  Vol. 1  pg.239


Ship's Stoker Helps Win WWII

    Seasickness can be devastating to some and hardly a bother to others.  Some people get their sea legs very quickly while others never can. This is a story of how one sailor, a stoker named Mahoney on the RCN Corvette, the Matapedia helped change the outcome of  The Battle of the Atlantic and of course it's direct effect on the outcome of the European theater of WWII.
He joined the ship's crew in December 1941 which was assigned to convoy escort duty between St. John's, Newfoundland and Iceland in the North Atlantic.
Because the Corvettes were so small and light they were totally at the mercy of the seas. Any bad weather would have these ships bouncing and twisting in every direction making all on board always feeling the effects from sea sickness; most got over it very quickly while some never could recover and would be unfit for combat for the entire trip. And unfortunately for Mahoney he was one of those rare sailors who could never find his sea legs.
In the little more than two weeks that this trip took he was never able to leave his hammock.  At port in Iceland the captain of the Matapedia sent Mahoney to be checked out by some doctors who returned him to the ship declaring that he was fit for sea duty and that he will overcome his seasickness soon enough.
But of course during the return trip Mahoney suffered from this acute form of seasickness. When the ship arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia he was sent to the base hospital but with the same results; it is just seasickness and he has to get over it. The ship's captain  could not believe that the doctors in the Medical Branch could not see the seriousness of  Mahoney's situation.
The only option left was to go over the heads of the doctors and make an appeal directly to Rear  Admiral George Jones, the Commanding Officer, Atlantic Coast. It was this admiral who realized that while there were plenty of navy doctors in Halifax most of them have never served aboard a ship and had no experience with this issue so he ordered them to get some sea experience by going on a short trip on a mine sweeper. A ship even smaller than a corvette and more likely to cause seasickness which it very well did.  The doctors were so sick they had to take turns heaving from the rails. After the ship returned the doctors all had a new feeling towards seasickness and the following day Mahoney was sent to the hospital to be the first in line for any treatments and this time he was not sent back to the corvette.
Now chronic seasickness  was accepted as a real medical problem and doctors and researchers began to study this problem.  Finally in 1943 from the laboratories of  Drs. Charles Best and Wilder Penfield, both very well known Canadian doctors they created Pill 2-183 made from a mixture of several different acids that effectively blocked the sensation of  Chronic Seasickness  which helped thousands of sailors get their jobs done in helping the escort of all those convoys heading to Britain to build up the invasion forces that would help end the war in Europe.
So thanks to Stoker Mahoney's condition the Normandy invasion of German occupied France was able to be planned and won by the soldiers who were shipped to England in safely guarded convoys  by the many brave sailors manning those little escorts.
While seasickness could never be eliminated there was now a cure that would allow the sailors to get the job done.

An extract from John Rhodes Study for the Reader's Digest:  Secrets and Stories of the War, 1963.


Incredible Story of Survival in a B-17 That Should Not Have Been Able to Fly

A mid-air collision on February 1, 1943, between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area, became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of World War II. An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named All American, piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg, of the 414th Bomb Squadron. When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17. The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away. The two right engines were out and one on the left had a serious oil pump leak. The vertical fin and the rudder had been damaged, the fuselage had been cut almost completely through connected only at two small parts of the frame and the radios, electrical and oxygen systems were damaged. There was also a hole in the top that was over 16 feet long and 4 feet wide at its widest and the split in the fuselage
went all the way to the top gunners turret.

Although the tail actually bounced and swayed in the wind and twisted when the plane turned and all the control cables were severed, except one single elevator cable still worked, and the aircraft still flew - miraculously! The tail gunner was trapped because there was no floor connecting the tail to the rest of the plane. The waist and tail gunners used parts of the German fighter and their own parachute harnesses in an attempt to keep the tail from ripping off and the two sides of the fuselage from splitting apart. While the crew was trying to keep the bomber from coming apart, the pilot continued on his bomb run and released his bombs over the target.

When the bomb bay doors were opened, the wind turbulence was so great that it blew one of the waist gunners into the broken tail section. It took several minutes and four crew members to pass him ropes from parachutes and haul him back into the forward part of the plane. When they tried to do the same for the tail gunner, the tail began flapping so hard that it began to break off. The weight of the gunner was adding some stability to the tail section, so he went back to his position.

The turn back toward England had to be very slow to keep the tail from twisting off. They actually covered almost 70 miles to make the turn home. The bomber was so badly damaged that it was losing altitude and speed and was soon alone in the sky. For a brief time, two more Me-109 German fighters attacked the All American. Despite the extensive damage, all of the machine gunners were able to respond to these attacks and soon drove off the fighters. The two waist gunners stood up with their heads sticking out through the hole in the top of the fuselage to aim and fire their machine guns. The tail gunner had to shoot in short bursts because the recoil was actually causing the plane to turn.

Allied P-51 fighters intercepted the All American as it crossed over the Channel and took one of the pictures shown. They also radioed to the base describing that the empennage was waving like a fish tail and that the plane would not make it and to send out boats to rescue the crew when they bailed out. The fighters stayed with the Fortress taking hand signals from Lt. Bragg and relaying them to the base. Lt. Bragg signaled that 5 parachutes and the spare had been "used" so five of the crew could not bail out. He made the decision that if they could not bail out safely, then he would stay with the plane and land it.

Two and a half hours after being hit, the aircraft made its final turn to line up with the runway while it was still over 40 miles away. It descended into an emergency landing and a normal roll-out on its landing gear.

When the ambulance pulled alongside, it was waved off because not a single member of the crew had been injured. No one could believe that the aircraft could still fly in such a condition. The Fortress sat placidly until the crew all exited through the door in the fuselage and the tail gunner had climbed down a ladder, at which time the entire rear section of the aircraft collapsed onto the ground. The rugged old bird had done its job.

The reason that the plane broke in two after the tail gunner got out was that the last thing holding the tail to fuselage was a cheap sliding bolt that kept the tail gunner's emergancy belly hatch closed.  The tail section actually fell off when some one opened that bolted hatch to see inside tail area.

This was the ultimate proof of what damage a B-17 could take as long as the gas tanks in the wings did not explode.
The other two main reasons for B-17s being shot down was a direct hit into fuselage by an AA burst or both pilots being killed.

Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg's Address to the Reichstag on the German Policy of Unrestricted U-boat Warfare, 31 January 1917

On December 12th last year I explained before the Reichstag the reasons which led to our peace offer.  The reply of our opponents clearly and precisely said that they decline peace negotiations with us, and that they want to hear only of a peace which they dictate.  By this the whole question of the guilt for the continuation of the war is decided.  The guilt falls alone on our opponents.

Just as definite stands our task.

The enemy's conditions we cannot discuss.  They could only be accepted by a totally defeated people.  It therefore means fight.

President Wilson's message to Congress shows his sincere wish to restore peace to the world.  Many of his maxims agree with our aims, namely, the freedom of the seas, the abolition of the system of balance of power, which is always bound to lead to new difficulties, equal rights for all nations, and the open door to trade.

But what are the peace conditions of the Entente?  Germany's defensive force is to be destroyed, we are to lose Alsace-Lorraine and the eastern provinces of the Ostmarken, the Danube monarchy is to be dissolved, Bulgaria is again to be cheated of her national unity, and Turkey is to be pushed out of Europe and smashed in Asia.

The destructive designs of our opponents cannot be expressed more strongly.  We have been challenged to fight to the end.  We accept the challenge.  We stake everything, and we shall be victorious.

By this development of the situation the decision concerning submarine warfare has been forced into its last acute stage.  The question of the U-boat war, as the gentlemen of the Reichstag will remember, has occupied us three times in this committee, namely, in March, May and September last year.

On each occasion, in an exhaustive statement, I expounded points for and against in this question.  I emphasized on each occasion that I was speaking pro tempore, and not as a supporter in principle or an opponent in principle of the unrestricted employment of the U-boats, but in consideration of the military, political and economic situation as a whole.

I always proceeded from the standpoint as to whether an unrestricted U-boat war would bring us nearer to a victorious peace or not.  Every means, I said in March, that is calculated to shorten the war is the humanest policy to follow.  When the most ruthless methods are considered as the best calculated to lead us to a victory and to a swift victory, I said at that time, then they must be employed.

This moment has now arrived.  Last autumn the time was not yet ripe, but today the moment has come when, with the greatest prospect of success, we can undertake this enterprise.  We must, therefore, not wait any longer.  Where has there been a change?

In the first place, the most important fact of all is that the number of our submarines has very considerably increased as compared with last spring, and thereby a firm basis has been created for success.

The second co-decisive reason is the bad wheat harvest of the world.  This fact now already confronts England, France and Italy with serious difficulties.  We firmly hope to bring these difficulties by means of an unrestricted U-boat war to the point of unbearableness.

The coal question, too, is a vital question in war.  Already it is critical, as you know, in Italy and France.  Our submarines will render it still more critical.  To this must be added, especially as regards England, the supply of ore for the production of munitions in the widest sense, and of timber for coal mines.

Our enemy's difficulties are rendered still further acute by the increased lack of enemy cargo space.  In this respect time and the U-boat and cruiser warfare have prepared the ground for a decisive blow.

The Entente suffers in all its members owing to lack of cargo space.  It makes itself felt in Italy and France not less than in England.  If we may now venture to estimate the positive advantages of an unrestricted U-boat war at a very much higher value than last spring, the dangers which arise for us from the U-boat war have correspondingly decreased since that time.

A few days ago Marshal von Hindenburg described to me the situation as follows: "Our front stands firm on all sides.  We have everywhere the requisite reserves.  The spirit of the troops is good and confident.  The military situation, as a whole, permits us to accept all consequences which an unrestricted U-boat war may bring about, and as this U-boat war in all circumstances is the means to injure our enemies most grievously, it must be begun."

The Admiralty Staff and the High Seas Fleet entertain the firm conviction - a conviction which has its practical support in the experience gained in the U-boat cruiser warfare - that Great Britain will be brought to peace by arms.

Our allies agree with our views.  Austria-Hungary adheres to our procedure also in practice.  Just as we lay a blockaded area around Great Britain and the west coast of France, within which we will try to prevent all shipping traffic to enemy countries, Austria-Hungary declares a blockaded area around Italy.

To all neutral countries a free path for mutual intercourse is left outside the blockaded area.  To America we offer, as we did in 1915, safe passenger traffic under definite conditions, even with Great Britain.

No one among us will close his eyes to the seriousness of the step which we are taking.  That our existence is at stake every one has known since August 1914, and this has been brutally emphasized by the rejection of our peace offer.

When in 1914 we had to seize and have recourse to the sword against the Russian general mobilization, we did so with the deepest sense of responsibility toward our people, and conscious of the resolute strength which says, "We must, and, therefore, we can."

Endless streams of blood have since been shed, but they have not washed away the "must" and the "can."

In now deciding to employ the best and sharpest weapon, we are guided solely by a sober consideration of all the circumstances that come into question, and by a firm determination to help our people out of the distress and disgrace which our enemies contemplate for them.

Success lies in a higher Hand, but, as regards all that human strength can do to enforce success for the Fatherland, you may be assured, gentlemen, that nothing has been neglected.  Everything in this respect will be done.

Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. V, ed. Charles F. Horne,

History of German U-boats in WWI by Clemens Brechtelsbauer

At the beginning of the war in August 1914, Germany had about 20 operational U-boats in its High Seas Fleet, commanded by Korvettenkapitän Hermann Bauer as Commander of U-boats (Führer der Unterseeboote, FdU). Their forward base was the fortified island of Heligoland, and as soon as hostilities with Russia started, they were deployed in a defensive screen in the North Sea on 1st August.

On the bridge of SM U-9, lying in wait on the surface on this first sunset of the war, Kptlt. Otto Weddigen remarked to his First Watch Officer, Johannes Spieß:

"Spieß, look how red the sky is. The whole world seems to be bathed in blood. Mark my words - England will declare war on us."

These were Prophetic words which came true three days later, when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland declared war on the German Empire on 4th August.

Two days later the energetic FdU sent SM U-5, U-7 to U-9, U 13 to U 18 in a bold move to attack the British Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. The campaign started rather unpromising: SM U-5 and SM U-9 had to turn back because of engine troubles, SM U 13 was lost without a trace and SM U 15 was sunk by the light cruiser HMS Birmingham, when trying to move in for an attack. The rest of the boats as well as SM U 19, U 21, U 22 and U 24, which had left port for the North Sea later in August achieved nothing. On top of that, on 23rd November 1914 SM U 18 (Kptlt. Hans von Hennig) was able to penetrate Scapa Flow but was sighted and sunk.

The German U-boat flotilla had lost one fifth of its total strength without managing to sink a single ship. All in all the war had started very disappointingly for Germany's submariners and an unnamed U-boat officer remarked:

"Our submarine fleet performed about as well as any other nation's, however, not very well."

Soon that would change.

On 5th September 1914, the underestimated U-boat was finally able to show its deadly potential and draw first blood. With the first life torpedo fired by a submarine in wartime, Kptlt. Otto Hersing from SM U 21 hit the British light cruiser HMS Pathfinder (3,000 tons) off the Firth of Forth on a calm, sunlit day. The cruiser sank within minutes with heavy loss of life. Hersing, who was to become one of Germany's leading U-boat aces, remained in command of SM U 21 for 3 years and conducted 21 war patrols, during which he sank 36 ships, including two battleships and two cruisers. Considering the continuing strain and stress connected with the unique position of a U-boat commander, this achievement must be regarded as outstandingly remarkable.

This striking first appearance of the submarine in war time history was even surpassed on 22nd September 1914, when SM U-9 (Kptlt. Otto Weddigen) sank the three cruisers HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy (12,000 tons each) off the Hook of Holland in 75 mins.
1,460 British sailors died in this world shattering demonstration of the U-boat's terrible capabilities.

Oberleutnant z.S. Johannes Spieß, Weddigen's First Watch Officer, later wrote:

"In the periscope, a horrifying scene unfolded... We present in the conning tower, tried to suppress the terrible impression of drowning men, fighting for their lives in the wreckage, clinging on to capsized lifeboats..."

In Germany, SM U-9's success was regarded as an outstanding heroic deed. The German Emperor awarded the whole crew the Iron Cross, and SM U-9 was permitted to carry this medal as the boat's crest on its conning tower: A tradition which still is in effect with all German submarines ever named U-9. October 1914 proved to be another fairly unhappy month for the Entente Cordiále, when on 11th October 1914 SM U 26 sank the Russian cruiser Pallada (7,900 tons) in the Gulf of Finland and again SM U-9 under Weddigen managed to sink the light cruiser HMS Hawke (7,000 tons) off Aberdeen. For his continued excellent performance, Otto Weddigen was awarded the Pour le mérite (or "Blue Max" as the British called it), the highest German decoration for valour at that time.

A very important but also a very unspectacular event took place on 20th October 1914 just off southern Norway, when SM U 17 (Kptlt. Feldkirchner) sank the British steamer SS Glitra (866 tons) according to prize rules after investigating the cargo of the vessel and letting the crew leave the ship and board the lifeboats. This was the first time a submarine sank a merchant vessel and for the future, merchantmen should become the prime targets of the submarine.

Another precedence case happened six days later when SM U 24 (Kptlt. Rudolf Schneider) torpedoed the unarmed SS Admiral Ganteaume (which was towed to port) in the Dover Strait without warning, the first time a merchant was attacked in such a way.

In November 1914 it became clear that this war would be one of commerce with the opponents trying to strangle each others economies to force a surrender. The British had already installed from the first day of the war a distant blockade of Germany, a method which had already proven its worth in the Napoleonic wars and should finally win the war for the Allies. Realizing the economic dimension of the war, Admiral Hugo von Pohl, the German High Seas Fleet Chief of Staff, submitted a memorandum to Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the German Chancellor, advocating a counter-blockade of Britain by U-boat in response to the British blockade: A very wise advice. Put into effect consistently, this U-boat blockade could have won the war for Germany.

When the year 1914 came to an end, U-boats had sunk eight secondary warships and ten merchants (20,000 tons) at the loss of 5 U-boats.

New Year's Day 1915 was welcomed by SM U 24 (Kptlt. Schneider) with a very special kind of fireworks, when it sank the old battleship HMS Formidable (15,000 tons) in the Western Channel.

In February 1915 then, Admiral von Pohl's plans were realized: The seas around the British isles were declared a war zone by the German government and any ship found there on or after 18th February faced sinking without warning: unrestricted U-boat warfare began for the first time in history. A neutral flag was considered to be no guarantee for safety, it was regarded as a common war deception: The British Cunard liner RMS Lusitania e.g. flew the Stars and Stripes in the Irish Sea on 31st January because U-boats (SM U 21) were reported to be in the vicinity. U-boat skippers were ordered to be absolutely sure a ship was neutral before sparing it.

The famous first "all-big-gun" battleship HMS Dreadnought, which never fired a shot in anger, was able to deliver a deadly and devastating blow to Germany's submarines on 18th March 1915, when it rammed and sank the newly commissioned SM U 29, which was commanded by the famous ace Kptlt. Otto Weddigen. Before sinking, the U-boat showed its sharp bow with the number "29" clearly visible for a last farewell. The death of Germany's most famous submariner and his crew was a boost of morale for the British and the cause of great sorrow on the German side.

The war against the merchants was thriving and by the end of April the U-boats had been able to sink 39 vessels at an own loss of three U-boats.

Probably the most spectacular incident of the First World War happened on 7th May 1915, when SM U 20 (Kptlt. Walther Schwieger) fired one torpedo aimed at RMS Lusitania (30,000 tons) south of Ireland. After the explosion of the torpedo, the proud liner was shattered by a devastating second explosion (which was caused by coal dust) and sank within 18 mins with the loss of nearly 1,200 lives, among them 128 Americans.

15 mins after he had fired his torpedo, Kptlt. Schwieger, baffled by the terrible effect of his attack, noted in his war diary:

"It looks as if the ship will stay afloat only for a very short time. [I gave order to] dive to 25 metres and leave the area seawards. I couldn't have fired another torpedo into this mass of humans desperately trying to save themselves".

Although the German U-boat had every right to torpedo the ship - she was registered as a vessel of the British Fleet Reserve, she travelled in a declared war zone and in her cargo holds she was carrying rifles and explosives and thus was a rightful target - the sinking caused sharp American protest, resulting in a German order to leave passenger liners unharmed.

Despite of that U-boat activity increased and in August 1915 the sinkings by German U-boats (185,800 tons) bypassed the monthly building rates in British shipyards. On 19th August 1915, the debate about the U-boats heated up again, when SM U 24 (Kptlt. Rudolf Schneider) sank RMS Arabic (15,800 tons) with one torpedo, mistaking it for a troop transport. The liner sank in 10 mins with 44 casualties, among them 3 Americans. Again sharp American protests followed.

The German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg feared the intervention of the Americans, if unrestricted U-boat warfare continued. Although the Chief of the German Naval Staff, Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff, promised the collapse of the British within six months, if he had free hand at sea, before US intervention would take effect - a fairly accurate assessment of the situation - Bethmann-Hollweg achieved a prohibition of attacking passenger ships except under prize rules by the end of August. But U-boat warfare according to prize rules was too risky in British waters. This and the possibility of confusing passenger ships with other ships led to the refraining of U-boat skippers from attacks. On 20th September 1915, the U-boats were withdrawn from British waters, the focus of the U-boat campaign shifted to the Mediterranean with plenty of targets and virtually no Americans present.

At the end of 1915, about 855,000 tons of shipping had been lost, with 20 U-boats sunk. 94 ships were lost to mines laid by German mine laying "UC"-class U-boats operating under the command of the Flandern Flotilla (Commodore Andreas Michelsen) from the Belgian ports Brügge and Zeebrügge. Also stationed there were the "UB"-class coastal submarines. One of them, SM UB 13 under the command of Oblt.z.S. Metz, sank on 15th March 1916 the Dutch steamer SS Tubantia which was supposed to have had German gold treasures on board. This affair was accompanied by fairly mysterious involvements of intelligence agencies and until today the mystery of the Tubantia, her cargo and the reason of her sinking, has not been properly solved. On 24th March 1916, another of Michelsen's boats, SM UB 29 (Oblt.z.S. Pustkuchen) inflicted another unwelcome diplomatic melée, when it torpedoed the French cross-Channel ferry Sussex (1,350 tons), mistaking it for a minelayer, with eighty casualties, among them 25 Americans. The damaged ferry was then towed to Boulogne. Following were sharp American protests, resulting in a total cancellation of the U-boat campaign around the British isles on 24th April 1916.

In 1915, Britain was in desperate need for a countermeasure against the U-boat. Sound detection gear and depth charges were still in their infants, and the only means to sink a submarine was either by gunfire or by ramming. The problem was to lure the U-boat to stay on the surface rather than seeking safety in the deep of the sea. The solution to this problem was the creation of one of the closest guarded secrets of the war: the Q-Ship. This "U-Boot-Falle" (U-boat trap) was an old looking tramp steamer with hidden guns and torpedoes. Because of its load of wooden caskets, wood or cork, it very nearly was unsinkable. The idea was to lure the U-boat to attack the Q-Ship with its deck gun at close range as torpedoes would not sink the vessel. In a split of a second then the masquerade would be put to an end, the White Ensign would be hoisted and the U-boat would be in a deadly cross fire.

The new weapon proved to be successful for the first time on 24th July 1915, when SM U 36 became the first U-boat to be sunk by a Q-Ship (HMS Prince Charles commanded by Lieutenant Mark Wardlaw RN). A particularly nasty incident took place on 19th August 1915: SM U 27 (Kptlt. Wegener) was sunk by the Q-Ship HMS Baralong (Lieutenant Godfrey Herbert RN). Herbert, enraged about Germans in general and U-boat warfare in particular, ordered that all German survivors, among them the commander of SM U 27, should be executed on the spot. Although the British Admiralty tried to keep this event as a secret, news spread out to Germany and the infamous "Baralong" incident - a war crime which was never prosecuted - had its share in promoting cruelty at sea. Once the Germans learned about the Q-Ships, U-boat skippers tended to be more careful and quite frequently the U-boat escaped or even sank its attacker.

One particularly dramatic engagement happened on 8th August 1917 120 miles west of Ouessant. SM UC 71 (Oblt.z.S. Reinhold Saltzwedel) was enclenched in a fight with the Q-Ship HMS Dunraven (Captain Gordon Campbell RN VC *). After an eight hour relentless fight with the repeated mutual exchange of gunfire and torpedoes, the unharmed SM UC 71 left the Q-Ship ablaze and in a sinking condition. This duel can be considered as a remarkable example of bravery on the British side (two members of the crew were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest British decoration for valour) and coolness and skill of the German commander. Captain Campbell later wrote:

"It had been a fair and honest fight, and I lost it. Referring to my crew, words cannot express what I am feeling. No one let me down. No one could have done better."

But despite of these spectacular actions and romanization, Q-Ships did not prove to be that successful: In 150 engagements they were able to kill 14 U-boats (about 10% of all U-boats lost) and damaged 60 at an own loss of 27 out of 200. The only truly working counter measure against merchant raiders and U-boats - the convoy system - was well known to the Royal Navy since the times of the Spanish Armada, but they were reluctant to introduce it again - which should demand a terrible toll.

      (*  Captain Campbell was awarded the Victoria Cross in February 1917 for the sinking of SM U-83.)

At the beginning of 1915, the already famous SM U 21 (Kptlt. Otto Hersing) after refuelling at the Adriatic Austrian port of Pola was sent to the Dardanelles to assist in Turkey's defence. Hersing, who had shown so dramatically the U-boats worth as a weapon with the sinking of HMS Pathfinder, again proved to be an extremely skilled commander with spectacular success: On 25th May 1915 SM U 21 sank the battleship HMS Triumph and two days later, the unfortunate British lost another battleship to Hersing, when he sank HMS Majestic. On 5th June 1915, the triumphant SM U 21 reached Constantinople harbour showing the false number U-51 to confuse the spies ashore. For his achievements, Hersing was awarded the Pour le mérite. Following this spectacular start of the campaign was an increased German U-boat presence in the Mediterranean, with flotillas being built up at Constantinople, Pola and Cattaro.

They were assisted by the small but exquisite Austrian submarine force operating from Pola *.

      (*  Roughly half of all Austrian U-boats were of German construction or built after German plans.)

The Austrians had already demonstrated their combat readiness, when on 27th April 1915, SM U-V (Kptlt. Georg Ritter von Trapp) hit the French armoured cruiser Léon Gambetta (12,500 tons) at the mouth of the Adriatic in a submerged night attack with two torpedoes - the first time a submarine attacked submerged at night. The cruiser sank within 20 minutes, taking 648 men of its crew of 821 to the bottom of the Otranto Strait. On 5th August 1915, SM U-V very narrowly escaped destruction in a torpedo duel with the Italian submarine Nereide off the Adriatic island of Pelagosa. The Italians fired first but missed, and then one more carefully aimed Austrian torpedo hit its mark, sinking the Italian submarine with all of its crew. Ritter von Trapp, who was to become Austria's leading ace, was then promoted to Korvettenkapitän and in October 1915 took over the captured and converted French submarine Curie ** as SM U-XIV which was very successful in the tonnage war under his command. The small Austrian submarine force proved to be a true elite with an outstanding record: They conducted 79 torpedo attacks with a hit rate of above 90%. At the end of the war though, SM U-XIV along with the rest of Austria-Hungary's Navy had to be handed over to the Yugoslavs and the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy ceased to exist.

      (** "Curie" was caught in anti submarine nets after a bold but fruitless attempt to attack the main Austrian fleet base at Pola.)

In June 1916 the world saw another baffling debut in this war, which was so rich in "first time" episodes anyway: the debut of the first submarine for civilian use.

The unarmed submarine freighter Deutschland, skippered by Merchant Navy Captain Paul König, left Bremen and safely reached America (Baltimore, Maryland) in July with precious cargo. In August the freighter returned to Germany unharmed with a cargo ten times worth her building cost. In Autumn 1916 this stunning success was repeated with a return voyage from Bremen to New London, Connecticut.

After the declaration of unrestricted U-boat warfare in 1917, merchant submarines were no longer needed and so the Deutschland was commissioned as SM U 155 into the Imperial Navy.

The next boat to cross the Atlantic, however, was not involved in such a peaceful mission. SM U-53 (Kptlt. Hans Rose) sank coolly just outside the three-mile-zone and in sight of American destroyers five ships - to demonstrate German naval power over the entire Atlantic. SM U-53's skilled commanding officer, Hans Rose, was considered to be one of the most humane U-boat skippers and there exist many reports of him caring for survivors even when putting his own boat at risk. For his achievements in the tonnage war he was awarded the Pour le mérite in 1917.

In October 1916 the U-boats returned to British waters with the obligation of applying prize rules. Despite this restrain, they sank 337,000 tons during this month, followed by 961,000 tons of shipping sunk between November 1916 and January 1917.

In February 1917, the German Admiral Staff was finally able to convince the Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg to declare unrestricted U-boat warfare. Immediately the sinkings went up to 520,000 tons.

The harshness of this campaign was unnecessarily further driven home by two unhappy incidents, where two U-boats - SM U-55 (Kptlt. Wilhelm Werner) and SM U-44 (Kptlt. Paul Wagenführ) - were allegedly involved in the killing of survivors of ships - SS Torrington and SS Belgian Prince - they had sunk in April and July 1917. The worst case of these kinds of atrocities was supposed to have happened on 27 June, 1918, when SM U-86 (Oblt.z.S. Helmut Patzig), against international law and standing orders of the Imperial German Navy, sank the hospital ship LLandovery Castle. On top of that, he ordered his U-boat to ram the life boats and shot at the survivors. Of a crew of 258 of the LLandovery Castle only 24 survived. For this war crime, Patzig and his watch officers were tried after the war before a German court at Leipzig and were condemned to four years imprisonment.

The U-boat successes increased steadily in March (560,000 tons) and in April 1917, when the USA finally declared war on Germany, reached its peak with 860,000 tons. In May, however, the numbers of the sunk tonnage dropped to 616,000 tons, because the British Admiralty was finally able to convince itself to introduce the only really working counter measure against the U-boat threat: the convoy system. Of the 16,693 merchant vessels being escorted from May 1917 to November 1918 in one of the 1,134 convoys, 99% safely reached their destination. Although sinkings in June increased again to 696,000 tons, the drooping numbers of July (555,000 tons) were already foreshadowing the final outcome. It was the convoy system, which finally rendered the unrestricted campaign as unsuccessful and led to the defeat of Germany.

In June 1917, there was also a change in the German U-boat command structure: Commodore Andreas Michelsen, until then Commanding Officer of the Flandern Flotilla, was appointed "Befehlshaber der Unterseeboote" and Hermann Bauer was promoted to flag rank but retained his title as "Führer der Unterseeboote" in the High Seas Fleet. The two energetic officers soon drew up plans to carry the war across the Atlantic on America's very doorstep with a newly invented weapon: the undersea cruiser. These types of U-boats were capable of very long war patrols of several months and beside torpedoes equipped with heavy artillery - 15 cm and 8.8 cm guns. At first they used the converted merchant submarines of the Deutschland class (SM U 151 to 157) but later three large purpose built boats - SM U 139, U 140 and U 141 - joined the service, all commanded by very experienced officers, SM U 139 e.g. by the famous Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere.

In the last nine months of the war, the cruisers roamed the entire Atlantic, laying mines off the North American Coast and sinking ships sailing alone. In May 1917, SM U 155, the former Deutschland, left port for the first patrol of a submarine cruiser. In 105 days it travelled over 9,000 miles, sank 19 ships and shelled targets ashore on the Azores. Further patrols followed at no enemy counter action, until in May 1918, SM U154 returning from patrol off Western Africa, was sunk by the British submarine HMS E35 off Cape Sao Vicente. SM U 151 (Korv.Kpt. Heinrich von Nostitz und Jänckendorff) performed a particularly remarkable 13 week patrol from May 1918, travelling over 9,700 miles. At the still peaceful coast of the USA, SM U 151 laid mines near important American ports and sank 23 ships (61,000 tons), strictly observing prize rules. The boat's First Watch Officer Kptlt. Friedrich Körner remembered:

"Far away from the battlefields, [at night] they sailed merrily with gleaming position lights, just like in peacetime."

The six operational cruisers which saw active service sank all in all 174 ships for a total of 361,000 tons.

But the year 1917 - especially the winter of 1917/1918 - saw unhappy events for the German U-boat service as well, when a new mine barrier in the Channel closed this route effectively for U-boats and inflicted heavy losses on the German Flandern Flotilla.

The war did not go well for Germany in 1918: The British hunger blockade was strangling the country and in the field, the American troops were fresh supplements to their Allied colleagues. Against them, Germany had their experienced but battle weary Eastern front veterans, already infected with the virus of communism. Despite some stunning successes in the Spring Offensive in France in 1918, the German Army was not able to decide the war in Germany's favour. And after the German General Staff had decided to recommend negotiations about an armistice, soon the whole German Empire was going down in mutiny, turmoil and chaos.

The German retreat in 1918 had also effect on the trusted U-boats: In October they had to abandon their bases in Belgium and the Adriatic. Despite the enforcement of a massive U-boat building programme, the odds could not be turned in Germany's favour: On 21st October 1918, when Germany had already asked for an armistice, Admiral Reinhard Scheer, the victor of the Battle of Jutland and now Commanding Admiral of the High Seas Fleet, called off the unrestricted campaign:

"To all U-boats: Commence return from patrol at once. Because of ongoing negotiations any hostile actions against merchant vessels prohibited. Returning U-boats are allowed to attack warships only in daylight. End of message. Admiral"

The U-boat war ended as it had begun in 1914 - with a bold but futile move. SM UB 116 (Oblt.z.S. Emsmann) with a volunteer crew of 34 officers penetrated Hoxa Sound at Scapa Flow on the 28th to attack the Grand Fleet. But the boat was detected by hydrophones and sunk by mines with the loss of all hands. The two brave but fruitless attacks on the main British fleet base (SM U 18 and SM UB 116) were not forgotten in Germany and in the next war in 1939, Kptlt. Günther Prien was finally able to pull a raid on Scapa Flow through. On 14th October 1939, U-47 sank the battleship HMS Royal Oak and escaped unscathed - until now the most daring deed of a submarine skipper ever.

In one of the last U-boat actions in the Mediterranean one man was involved who should become most important for the future of the U-boat: Karl Dönitz. After a successful night surface attack on a convoy in the night of 4th to 5th October 1918 with his boat SM UB 68, in the morning hours of 5th October he tried a second submerged attack. Due to malfunction, his boat got out of control and he was forced to surface blowing his boat's emergency tanks and scuttle his command to rescue his crew. Being picked up by a British destroyer he later spent a long time in British prison camps. After his release he only stayed in the Navy because of his hope that Germany would at some point in the near future have U-boats again. In the Second World War, an elder and more seasoned Dönitz was to lead the U-boat to its highest successes - but also to its ultimate defeat.

Before the last curtain fell over the battlefields in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean , the U-boats left the scene with a bang. On its return from the Med, SM UB 52 (Kptlt. Kukat) spotted a British battle group just outside the Strait of Gibraltar. After penetrating the destroyer screen, Kptlt. Kukat fired the final torpedo salvo of the war on the battleship HMS Britannia. Deadly wounded, the proud ship of the line sank off Cape Trafalgar the place of the Royal navy's greatest victory: a bad omen for the future of british naval power.

In November 1918, SM U 135 (Kptlt. Johannes Spieß) was given what can only be called the most peculiar U-boat mission of all times: actions against ships of its own navy. Together with the 4th Torpedo boat Half-Flotilla, SM U 135 ended a mutiny aboard two German battleships (SMS Thüringen and SMS Helgoland) with the threat of torpedoing the ships. But mutiny was still spreading amongst German ships and even the ace of aces, Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere, returning from his first and last patrol with the new U-cruiser SM U 139, where he was very nearly killed by his last victim *, was forced to hand over his command to the mutineers.

      (* In a unique event the torpedoed ship - an old Portuguese gunboat - just sank over his head and very nearly managed to draw SM U139 with it to the bottom of the sea.)

The strange mission of SM U 135, however, was the last U-boat action of the war. From late November 1918 until April 1919, according to armistice conditions, the 176 operational U-boats ** were handed over to Britain and interned in Harwich, partly under abasing conditions for the Germans: The White Ensign had to be hoisted on top of the Kaiser's Ensign as if the boats were taken as prizes by the Royal Navy and the British sailors looted the boats, stealing all loose equipment they could lay hands on.

      (** 8 U-cruisers, 62 ocean going U-boats, 64 UB class coastal vessels, 42 UC class minelayers.)

The U-boats, all in all representing a value of about 207 million Gold Mark, rusted in port until they were dispersed among the allies ***, used for tests and later scrapped. Many nations, among them the USA and Japan, took advantage of the high technological standard of the German boats and built new classes of submarines after their German models - although the copies were never as good and as successful as the originals. In the Treaty of Versailles, which by the whole of Germany was regarded as extremely unjust, the defeated, diminished and humiliated German Empire was prohibited to build or possess U-boats in its minute fleet, which was reduced to a shadow of its former self.

      (*** 10 boats were taken over by the French Navy for permanent service.)

The report of the end of the first U-boat war in history leaves us with the need of a resumée.

The Imperial German Navy started the war with 28 U-boats with an additional 344 commissioned. In November 1918 no less than 226 boats were under construction.

The ease and skill with which the German engineers developed and built the most sophisticated warship of that time can only be admired. Without any computer assistance, about 25 different types of U-boats for several different purposes - e.g. merchant submarines, long range cruisers, coastal and mine warfare vessels - had been designed.

Their technological standard was so advanced that in 1939, when the U-boats went again to war, the boats of the "Kriegsmarine" were not very different from their Imperial German ancestors. 178 U-boats were lost, with nearly 5,000 men killed, which equals a casualty rate of above one third - a heavy blood toll for some striking successes.

More than 12,000,000 tons of shipping (5,000 ships) had been sunk by U-boats, with the loss of 15,000 lives. 60% of that tonnage was sunk by 22 commanders, the most successful ones were:

      Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere     454,000 tons
      Walther Forstmann                            380,000 tons
      Max Valentiner                                   300,000 tons
      Otto Steinbrinck                                 290,000 tons
      Hans Rose                                         214,000 tons
      Reinhold Saltzwedel                         170,000 tons
      Waldemar Kophamel                       149,000 tons

These men were followed by 40 others with sinkings over 100,000 tons.

The U-boat had successfully demonstrated its deadly potential and had proven to be a decisive weapon of war. As the unrestricted U-boat campaign was considered a political issue and as the reluctant politicians did not comprehend the military necessities, this powerful military instrument was used to late and thus the U-boats were not able to turn the tide for Germany. However, they cannot be blamed for the lost war. Faithful until the end, Germany's submariners very nearly brought their country victory in a war, where it was vastly outnumbered and out gunned right from the start of it. Why was the war lost then? Großadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz, creator of the German High Seas Fleet knew the answer:

"The German people have not understood the sea."

These were wise words, although they had very little effect: From 1939 to 1945, the naval dimension of warfare still eluded the German leaders, resulting in another lost war for the country.

The last thought in this essay should be spent on the men having served on their submersible torpedo boats roaming the seas under extreme conditions. These men were - despite some glorious as well as tragic events, despite the Allied and German propaganda - neither heroes nor pirates. They were just young sailors - nearly all of them were under thirty - performing their difficult duty on and beneath the waves in the true Nelsonian sense as the British sailors did theirs: the latter "For King and Country", the former "Für Kaiser und Reich".

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Heyne, München 1977

FTU e.V., Das Archiv, Mitteilung März 1996
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Ullstein, Berlin 1916

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SOS-Heftreihe Nr.131, Pabel, Rastatt

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Musterschmidt, Göttingen 1976

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Heyne, München 1980

Rössler, Eberhard; Geschichte des deutschen U-Bootbaus, Band 1
Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 1996

Rössler, Eberhard; Die Unterseeboote der Kaiserlichen Marine
Bernard & Graefe, Bonn 1997

Ruge, Friedrich; Scapa Flow 1919 - Das Ende der deutschen Flotte
Buch & Welt, Klagenfurt

Tarrant, V. E.; Kurs West
Motorbuch Verlag Stuttgart 1996 (2)

Vat, Dan van der; Stealth at Sea
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Two German officers about to execute two Russian civilians, possibly partisans.

German Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau (1884-1942) of the German Sixth Army instructions for combat in Russia
This document is in both English and the original German version.

A German Field Marshal Instructs the Wehrmacht on Its Role in the Soviet Union
The document below is, with minor alterations for clarity's sake, the official English-language translation of the original German document as presented in evidence at the Nuremberg military tribunals assembled in order to try suspected war criminals. The original German document is also available. (source: John Mendelsohn, ed., The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. Vol. 10: The Einsatzgruppen or Murder Commandos [New York: Garland, 1982], pp. 11-12])

In this document, Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau (1884-1942) of the German Sixth Army, in the southern sector of the German assault on the Soviet Union, reacts to reports of the softness of his troops by instilling them with particularly strong statements about their role in suppressing communism and Soviet Jewry. Reichenau was known as one of the most strongly Nazi of the leading German Wehrmacht (army) commanders. He died of a stroke only a few months after he issued this document to his troops. Other German commanders in the Soviet Union also used this document to instruct their troops. For further information, see Omer Bartov, Hitler's Army: Soldiers, Nazis, and War in the Third Reich (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 129-30.

Translation of Document No. NOKW-309 Continued Copy AOK 6

Sect. Ia-File No. 7

 Army H.Qu., 10 October 1941

 Subject: Conduct of Troops in Eastern Territories.

 Regarding the conduct of troops towards the bolshevistic system, vague ideas are still prevalent in many cases. The most essential aim of war against the Jewish-bolshevistic system is a complete destruction of their means of power and the elimination of Asiatic influence from the European culture. In this connection the troops are facing tasks which exceed the one-sided routine of soldiering. The soldier in the Eastern territories is not merely a fighter according to the rules of the art of war but also a bearer of ruthless national ideology and the avenger of bestialities which have been inflicted upon German and racially related nations.

 Therefore the soldier must have full understanding for the necessity of a severe but just revenge on subhuman Jewry. The Army has to aim at another purpose, i.e. the annihilation of revolts in hinterland, which, as experience proves, have always been caused by Jews.

 The combating of the enemy behind the front line is still not being taken seriously enough. Treacherous, cruel partisans and degenerate women are still being made prisoners-of-war and guerilla fighters dressed partly in uniform or plain clothes and vagabonds are still being treated as proper soldiers, and sent to prisoner-of-war camps. In fact, captured Russian officers talk even mockingly about Soviet agents moving openly about the roads and very often eating at German field kitchens. Such an attitude of the troops can only be explained by complete thoughtlessness, so it is now high time for the commanders to clarify the meaning of the pressing struggle.

 The feeding of the natives and of prisoners-of-war who are not working for the Armed forces from Army kitchens is an equally misunderstood humanitarian act as is the giving of cigarettes and bread. Things which the people at home can spare under great sacrifices and things which are being bought by the command to the front under great difficulties, should not be given to the enemy by the soldier even if they originate from booty. It is an important part of our supply.

 When retreating the Soviets have often set buildings on fire. The troops should be interested in extinguishing of fires only as far as it is necessary to secure sufficient numbers of billets. Otherwise the disappearance of symbols of the former bolshevistic rule even in the form of buildings is part of the struggle of destruction. Neither historic nor artistic considerations are of any importance in the Eastern territories. The command issues the necessary directives for the securing of raw material and plants, essential for war economy. The complete disarming of the civilian population in the rear of the fighting troops is imperative considering the long vulnerable lines of communications. Where possible, captured weapons and ammunition should be stored and guarded. Should this be impossible because of the situation of the battle, the weapons and ammunition will be rendered useless. If isolated partisans are found using firearms in the rear of the army drastic measures are to be taken. These measures will

 be extended to that part of the male population who were in a position to hinder or report the attacks. The indifference of numerous apparently anti-Soviet elements which originates from a "wait and see" attitude, must give way to a clear decision for active collaboration. If not, no one can complain about being judged and treated a member of the Soviet system.

 The fear of German counter-measures must be stronger than threats of the wandering bolshevistic remnants. Regardless of all future political considerations the soldier has to fulfill two tasks:

 1.) Complete annihilation of the false Bolshevist doctrine of the Soviet State and its armed forces.

 2.) The pitiless extermination of foreign treachery and cruelty and thus the protection of the lives of military personnel in Russia.

 This is the only way to fulfill our historic task to liberate the German people once and for all from the Asiatic-Jewish danger.


 (signed) von Reichenau
 Field Marshal

The Original German Document

Armee-Oberkommando 6
A.H.Qu., 10. Oktober 1941
Abt. Ia - Az. 17

Betr.: Verhalten der Truppe im Ostraum.

Hinsichtlich des Verhaltens der Truppe gegenüber dem bolschewistischen System bestehen vielfach noch unklare Vorstellungen.

Das wesentlichste Ziel des Feldzuges gegen das jüdisch-bolschewistische System is die völlige Zerschlagung der Machtmittel und die Ausrottung des asiatischen Einflusses im europäischen Kulturkreis.

Hierdurch enstehen auch für die Truppe Aufgaben, die über das hergebrachte einseitige Soldatentum hinausgehen. Der Soldat ist im Ostraum nicht nur ein Kämpfer nach den Regeln der Kriegskunst, sondern auch Träger einer unerbittlichen völkischen Idee und der Rächer für Bestialitäten, die deutschem und artverwandtem Volkstum zugefügt wurden.

Deshalb muß der Soldat für die Notwendigkeit der harten, aber gerechten Sühne am jüdischen Untermenschentum volles Verständnis haben. Sie hat den weiteren Zweck, Erhebungen im Rücken der Wehrmacht, die erfahrungsgemäß stets von Juden angezettelt wurden, im Keime zu ersticken.

Der Kampf gegen den Feind hinter der Front wird noch nicht ernst genug genommen. Immer noch werden heimtückische, grausame Partisanen und entartete Weiber zu Kriegsgefangenen gemacht, immer noch werden halb uniformierte oder in Zivil gekleidete Heckenschützen und Herumtreiber wie anständige Soldaten behandelt und in die Gefangenenlager abgeführt. Ja, die gefangenen russischen Offiziere erzählen hohnlächelnd, daß die Agenten der Sowjets sich unbehelligt auf den Straßen bewegen und häufig an den deutschen Feldküchen mitessen. Ein solches Verhalten der Truppe ist nur noch durch völlige Gedankenlosigkeit zu erklären. Dann ist es aber für die Vorgesetzten Zeit, den Sinn für den gegenwärtigen Kampf wachzurufen.

Das Verpflegen von Landeseinwohnern und Kriegsgefangenen, die nicht im Dienste der Wehrmacht stehen, an Truppenküchen ist eine ebenso mißverstandene Menschlichkeit wie das Verschenken von Zigaretten und Brot. Was die Heimat unter großer Entsagung entbehrt, was die Führung unter größten Schwierigkeiten nach vorne bringt, hat nicht der Soldat an den Feind zu verschenken, auch nicht, wenn es aus der Beute stammt. Sie ist ein notwendiger Teil unserer Versorgung.

Die Sowjets haben bei ihrem Rückzug häufig Gebäude in Brand gesteckt. Die Truppe hat nur soweit ein Interesse an Löscharbeiten, als notwendige Truppenunterkünfte erhalten werden müssen. Im übrigen liegt das Verschwinden der Symbole einstiger Bolschewistenherrschaft, auch in Gestalt von Gebäuden, im Rahmen des Vernichtungskampfes. Weder geschichtliche, noch künstlerische Rücksichten spielen hierbei im Ostraum eine Rolle. Für die Erhaltung der wehrwirtschaftlichen wichtigen Rohstoffe und Produktionsstätten gibt die Führung die notwendigen Weisungen.

Die restlose Entwaffnung der Bevölkerung im Rücken der fechtenden Truppe ist mit Rücksicht auf die langen, empfindlichen Nachschubwege vordringlich. Wo möglich, sind Beutewaffen und Munition zu bergen und zu bewachen. Erlaubt dies die Kampflage nicht, so sind Waffen und Munition unbrauchbar zu machen. Wird im Rücken der Armee Waffengebrauch einzelner Partisanen festgestellt, so ist mit drakonischen Maßnahmen durchzugreifen. Diese sind auch auf die männliche Bevölkerung auszudehnen, die in der Lage gewesen wäre, Anschläge zu verhindern oder zu melden. Die Teilnahmslosigkeit zahlreicher angeblich sowjetfeindlicher Elemente, die einer abwartenden Haltung entspringt, muß einer klaren Entscheidung zur aktiven Mitarbeit gegen dem Bolschewismus weichen. Wenn nicht, kann sich niemand beklagen, als Angehöriger des Sowjetsystems gewertet und behandelt zu werden. Der Schrecken vor den deutschen Gegenmaßnahmen muß stärker sein als die Drohung der umherirrenden bolschewistischen Restteile.

Fern von allen politischen Erwägungen der Zukunft hat der Soldat zweierlei zu erfüllen:

1. die völlige Vernichtung der bolschewistischen Irrlehre, des Sowjetstaates und seiner Wehrmacht.

2. Die erbarmungslose Ausrottung artfremder Heimtücke und Grausamkeit und damit die Sicherung des Lebens der deutschen Wehrmacht in Rußland.

Nur so werden wir unserer geschichtlichen Aufgabe gerecht, das deutsche Volk von der asiatisch-jüdischen Gefahr ein für allemal zu befreien.

Der Oberbefehlshaber:

gez. v. Reichenau



Manchukuo Prime Minister Zheng Xiaoxu and Japanese Ambassador Nobuyoshi Muto signing the Japan-Manchukuo Protocol, Xinjing, Manchukuo Sept. 15, 1932

Japan-Manchukuo Protocol
15 Sep 1932

Japan recognizes the establishment of a free and independent Manchoukuo in accordance with the free will of its inhabitants. Manchukuo has declared its intention of abiding by all international agreements pledged by the Republic of China. The government of Japan and the government of Manchukuo have established a perpetual friendly and neighborly relationship, mutually guaranteeing each other's sovereignty. For the peace of East Asia:

1. Manchukuo, insofar as no future Japan-Manchukuo treaties to the contrary, respects the rights of Japanese government, government officials, and private citizens within the borders of Manchukuo.

2. Japan and Manchukuo pledge to cooperate in the maintenance of mutual peaceful existence by banding against common outside threats. The Japanese military forces are to be stationed in Manchukuo to this end.

This protocol is to be effective immediately upon signing.

This protocol is written in Japanese and Chinese; should there be any differences between the two documents due to translation issues, the document written in the Japanese language shall be considered the original.

Evidenced by fully authorized representatives of each government with signature and seal.

Signed on 15 September of the 7th Year of Showa, also 15 September of the 1st Year of Datong, at Xinjing.

[Signed with seal] Zheng Xiaoxu
Prime Minister of Manchoukuo

[Signed with seal] Nobuyoshi Muto
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan

Message from Hull to Nomura-26 Nov 1941

Strictly confidential
November 26, 1941

The representatives of the Government of the United States and of the Government of Japan have been carrying on during the past several months informal and exploratory conversations for the purpose of arriving at a settlement if possible of questions relating to the entire Pacific area based upon the principles of peace, law and order and fair dealing among nations. These principles include the principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations; the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; the principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment; and the principle of reliance upon international cooperation and conciliation for the prevention and pacific settlement of controversies and for improvement of international conditions by peaceful methods and processes.

It is believed that in our discussions some progress has been made in reference to the general principles which constitute the basis of a peaceful settlement covering the entire Pacific area. Recently the Japanese Ambassador has stated that the Japanese Government is desirous of continuing the conversations directed toward a comprehensive and peaceful settlement of the Pacific area; that it would be helpful toward creating an atmosphere favorable to the successful outcome of the conversations if a temporary modus vivendi could be agreed upon to be in effect while the conversations looking to peaceful settlement in the Pacific were continuing. On November 20 the Japanese Ambassador communicated to the Secretary of State proposals in regard to temporary measure to be taken respectively by the Government of Japan and by the Government of the United States, which measures are understood to have been designed to accomplish the purposes above indicated.

The Government of the United States most earnestly desires to contribute to the promotion and maintenance of peace and stability in the Pacific area, and to afford every opportunity for the continuance of discussion with the Japanese Government directed toward working out a broad-gauge program of peace throughout the Pacific area. The proposals which were presented by the Japanese Ambassador on November 20 contain some features which, in the opinion of this Government, conflict with the fundamental principles which form a part of the general settlement under consideration and to which each Government has declared that it is committed. The Government of the United States believes that the adoption of such proposals would not be likely to contribute to the ultimate objectives of ensuring peace under law, order and justice in the Pacific area, and it suggests that further effort be made to resolve our divergences of view in regard to the practical application of the fundamental principles already mentioned.

With this object in view the Government of the United States offers for the consideration of the Japanese Government a plan of a broad but simple settlement covering the entire Pacific area as one practical exemplification of a program which this Government envisages as something to be worked out during our further conversations.

The plan therein suggested represents an effort to bridge the gap between our draft of June 21, 1941 and the Japanese draft of September 25 by making a new approach to the essential problems underlying a comprehensive Pacific settlement. This plan contains provisions dealing with the practical application of the fundamental principles which we have agreed in our conversations constitute the only sound basis for worthwhile international relations. We hope that in this way progress toward reaching a meeting of minds between our two Governments may be expedited.

Strictly confidential, tentative and without commitment
November 26, 1941.

Outline of Proposed Basis for Agreement Between the United States and Japan

Section I
Draft Mutual Declaration of Policy

The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan both being solicitous for the peace of the Pacific affirm that their national policies are directed toward lasting and extensive peace throughout the Pacific area, that they have no territorial designs in that area, that they have no intention of threatening other countries or of using military force aggressively against any neighboring nation, and that, accordingly, in their national policies they will actively support and give practical application to the following fundamental principles upon which their relations with each other and with all other governments are based:

    The principle of inviolability of territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and all nations.
    The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
    The principle of equality, including equality of commercial opportunity and treatment.
    The principle of reliance upon international cooperation and conciliation for the prevention and pacific settlement of controversies and for improvement of international conditions by peaceful methods and processes.

The Government of Japan and the Government of the United States have agreed that toward eliminating chronic political instability, preventing recurrent economic collapse, and providing a basis for peace, they will actively support and practically apply the following principles in their economic relations with each other and with other nations and peoples:

    The principle of non-discrimination in international commercial relations.
    The principle of international economic cooperation and abolition of extreme nationalism as expressed in excessive trade restrictions.
    The principle of non-discriminatory access by all nations to raw material supplies.
    The principle of full protection of the interests of consuming countries and populations as regards the operation of international commodity agreements.
    The principle of establishment of such institutions and arrangements of international finance as may lend aid to the essential enterprises and the continuous development of all countries and may permit payments through processes of trade consonant with the welfare of all countries.

Section II
Steps To Be Taken by the Government of the United States and by the Government of Japan

The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan propose to take steps as follows:

    The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will endeavor to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact among the British Empire, China, Japan, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, Thailand and the United States.
    Both Governments will endeavor to conclude among the American, British, Chinese, Japanese, the Netherland and Thai Governments would pledge itself to respect the territorial integrity of French Indochina and, in the event that there should develop a threat to the territorial integrity of Indochina, to enter into immediate consultation with a view to taking such measures as may be deemed necessary and advisable to meet the threat in question. Such agreement would provide also that each of the Governments party to the agreement would not seek or accept preferential treatment in its trade or economic relations with Indochina and would use its influence to obtain for each of the signatories equality of treatment in trade and commerce with French Indochina.
    The Government of Japan will withdraw all military, naval, air and police forces from China and from Indochina.
    The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will not support - militarily, politically, economically - any government or regime in China other than the National Government of the Republic of China with capital temporarily at Chungking.
    Both Governments will endeavor to obtain the agreement of the British and other governments to give up extraterritorial rights in China, including right in international settlements and in concessions and under the Boxer Protocol of 1901.
    The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will enter into negotiations for the conclusion between the United States and Japan of a trade agreement, based upon reciprocal most favored-nation treatment and reduction of trade barriers by both countries, including an undertaking by the United States to bind raw silk on the free list.
    The Government of the United States and the Government of Japan will, respectively, remove the freezing restrictions on Japanese funds in the United States and on American funds in Japan.
    Both Governments will agree upon a plan for the stabilization of the dollar-yen rate, with the allocation of funds adequate for this purpose, half to be supplied by Japan and half by the United States.
    Both Governments will agree that no agreement which either has concluded with any third power or powers shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area.
    Both Governments will use their influence to cause other governments to adhere to and to give practical application to the basic political and economic principles set forth in this agreement.

Source: United States Department of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941


Message From President Roosvelt to Japanese Emperor Showa on Dec 6,1941

Almost a century ago the President of the United States addressed to the Emperor of Japan a message extending an offer of friendship of the people of the United States to the people of Japan. That offer was accepted, and in the long period of unbroken peace and friendship which has followed, our respective nations, through the virtues of their peoples and the wisdom of their rulers have prospered and have substantially helped humanity.

Only in situations of extraordinary importance to our two countries need I address to Your Majesty messages on matters of state. I feel I should now so address you because of the deep and far-reaching emergency which appears to be in formation.

Developments are occurring in the Pacific area which threaten to deprive each of our nations and all humanity of the beneficial influence of the long peace between our two countries. Those developments contain tragic possibilities.

The people of the United States, believing in peace and in the right of nations to live and let live, have eagerly watched the conversations between our two Governments during these past months. We have hoped for a termination of the present conflict between Japan and China. We have hoped that a peace of the Pacific could be consummated in such a way that nationalities of many diverse peoples could exist side by side without fear of invasion; that unbearable burdens of armaments could be lifted for them all; and that all peoples would resume commerce without discrimination against or in favor of any nation.

I am certain that it will be clear to Your Majesty, as it is to me, that in seeking these great objectives both Japan and the United States should agree to eliminate any form of military threat. This seemed essential to the attainment of the high objectives.

More than a year ago Your Majesty's Government concluded an agreement with the Vichy Government by which five or six thousand Japanese troops were permitted to enter into Northern French Indo-China for the protection of Japanese troops which were operating against China further north. And this Spring and Summer the Vichy Government permitted further Japanese military forces to enter into Southern French Indo-China for the common defense of French Indo-China. I think I am correct in saying that no attack has been made upon Indo-China, nor that any has been contemplated.

During the past few weeks it has become clear to the world that Japanese military, naval and air forces have been sent to Southern Indo-China in such large numbers as to create a reasonable doubt on the part of other nations that this continuing concentration in Indo-China is not defensive in its character.

Because these continuing concentrations in Indo-China have reached such large proportions and because they extend now to the southeast and the southwest corners of that Peninsula, it is only reasonable that the people of the Philippines, of the hundreds of Islands of the East Indies, of Malaya and of Thailand itself are asking themselves whether these forces of Japan are preparing or intending to make attack in one or more of these many directions.

I am sure that Your Majesty will understand that the fear of all these peoples is a legitimate fear inasmuch as it involves their peace and their national existence. I am sure that Your Majesty will understand why the people of the United States in such large numbers look askance at the establishment of military, naval and air bases manned and equipped so greatly as to constitute armed forces capable of measures of offense.

It is clear that a continuance of such a situation is unthinkable.

None of the peoples whom I have spoken of above can sit either indefinitely or permanently on a keg of dynamite.

There is absolutely no thought on the part of the United States of invading Indo-China if every Japanese soldier or sailor were to be withdrawn therefrom.

I think that we can obtain the same assurance from the Governments of the East Indies, the Governments of Malaya and the Government of Thailand. I would even undertake to ask for the same assurance on the part of the Government of China. Thus a withdrawal of the Japanese forces from Indo-China would result in the assurance of peace throughout the whole of the South Pacific area.

I address myself to Your Majesty at this moment in the fervent hope that Your Majesty may, as I am doing, give thought in this definite emergency to way of dispelling the dark clouds. I am confident that both of us, for the sake of the peoples not only of our own great countries but for the sake of humanity in neighboring territories, have a sacred duty to restore traditional amity and prevent further death and destruction in the world.

Source: United States Department of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941.


Fourteen Part Message from Japan to the United States and Hull's Response
7 Dec 1941

Message delivered by Ambassador Nomura to Secretary of State Hull
1420, 7 Dec 1941


    The government of Japan, prompted by a genuine desire to come to an amicable understanding with the Government of the United States in order that the two countries by their joint efforts may secure the peace of the Pacific Area and thereby contribute toward the realization of world peace, has continued negotiations with the utmost sincerity since April last with the Government of the United States regarding the adjustment and advancement of Japanese-American relations and the stabilization of the Pacific Area.

    The Japanese Government has the honor to state frankly its views concerning the claims the American Government has persistently maintained as well as the measure the United States and Great Britain have taken toward Japan during these eight months.
    It is the immutable policy of the Japanese Government to insure the stability of East Asia and to promote world peace and thereby to enable all nations to find each its proper place in the world.

    Ever since China Affair broke out owing to the failure on the part of China to comprehend Japan's true intentions, the Japanese Government has striven for the restoration of peace and it has consistently exerted its best efforts to prevent the extension of war-like disturbances. It was also to that end that in September last year Japan concluded the Tripartite Pace with Germany and Italy.

    However, both the United States and Great Britain have resorted to every possible measure to assist the Chungking regime so as to obstruct the establishment of a general peace between Japan and China, interfering with Japan's constructive endeavours toward the stabilization of East Asia. Exerting pressure on the Netherlands East Indies, or menacing French Indo-China, they have attempted to frustrate Japan's aspiration to the ideal of common prosperity in cooperation with these regimes. Furthermore, when Japan in accordance with its protocol with France took measures of joint defense of French Indo-China, both American and British Governments, willfully misinterpreting it as a threat to their own possessions, and inducing the Netherlands Government to follow suit, they enforced the assets freezing order, thus severing economic relations with Japan. While manifesting thus an obviously hostile attitude, these countries have strengthened their military preparations perfecting an encirclement of Japan, and have brought about a situation which endangers the very existence of the Empire.

    Nevertheless, to facilitate a speedy settlement, the Premier of Japan proposed, in August last, to meet the President of the United States for a discussion of important problems between the two countries covering the entire Pacific area. However, the American Government, while accepting in principle the Japanese proposal, insisted that the meeting should take place after an agreement of view had been reached on fundamental and essential questions.
    Subsequently, on September 25th the Japanese Government submitted a proposal based on the formula proposed by the American Government, taking fully into consideration past American claims and also incorporating Japanese views. Repeated discussions proved of no avail in producing readily an agreement of view. The present cabinet, therefore, submitted a revised proposal, moderating still further the Japanese claims regarding the principal points of difficulty in the negotiation and endeavoured strenuously to reach a settlement. But the American Government, adhering steadfastly to its original assertions, failed to display in the slightest degree a spirit of conciliation. The negotiation made no progress.

    Therefore, the Japanese Government, with a view to doing its utmost for averting a crisis in Japanese-American relations, submitted on November 20th still another proposal in order to arrive at an equitable solution of the more essential and urgent questions which, simplifying its previous proposal, stipulated the following points:

        The Government of Japan and the United States undertake not to dispatch armed forces into any of the regions, excepting French Indo-China, in the Southeastern Asia and the Southern Pacific area.
        Both Governments shall cooperate with the view to securing the acquisition in the Netherlands East Indies of those goods and commodities of which the two countries are in need.
        Both Governments mutually undertake to restore commercial relations to those prevailing prior to the freezing of assets.

        The Government of the United States shall supply Japan the required quantity of oil.
        The Government of the United States undertakes not to resort to measures and actions prejudicial to the endeavours for the restoration of general peace between Japan and China.
        The Japanese Government undertakes to withdraw troops now stationed in French Indo-China upon either the restoration of peace between Japan and China or establishment of an equitable peace in the Pacific Area; and it is prepared to remove the Japanese troops in the southern part of French Indo-China to the northern part upon the conclusion of the present agreement.

    As regards China, the Japanese Government, while expressing its readiness to accept the offer of the President of the United States to act as 'introducer' of peace between Japan and China as was previously suggested, asked for an undertaking on the part of the United States to do nothing prejudicial to the restoration of Sino-Japanese peace when the two parties have commenced direct negotiations.

    The American Government not only rejected the above-mentioned new proposal, but made known its intention to continue its aid to Chiang Kai-shek; and in spite of its suggestion mentioned above, withdrew the offer of the President to act as so-called 'introducer' of peace between Japan and China, pleading that time was not yet ripe for it. Finally on November 26th, in an attitude to impose upon the Japanese Government those principles it has persistently maintained, the American Government made a proposal totally ignoring Japanese claims, which is a source of profound regret to the Japanese Government.
    From the beginning of the present negotiation the Japanese Government has always maintained an attitude of fairness and moderation, and did its best to reach a settlement, for which it made all possible concessions often in spite of great difficulties. As for the China question which constitutes an important subject of the negotiation, the Japanese Government showed a most conciliatory attitude. As for the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce, advocated by the American Government, the Japanese Government expressed its desire to see the said principle applied throughout the world, and declared that along with the actual practice of this principle in the world, the Japanese Government would endeavour to apply the same in the Pacific area including China, and made it clear that Japan had no intention of excluding from China economic activities of third powers pursued on an equitable basis. Furthermore, as regards the question of withdrawing troops from French Indo-China, the Japanese Government even volunteered, as mentioned above, to carry out an immediate evacuation of troops from Southern French Indo-China as a measure of easing the situation.

    It is presumed that the spirit of conciliation exhibited to the utmost degree by the Japanese Government in all these matters is fully appreciated by the American Government.

    On the other hand, the American Government, always holding fast to theories in disregard of realities, and refusing to yield an inch on its impractical principles, cause undue delay in the negotiation. It is difficult to understand this attitude of the American Government and the Japanese Government desires to call the attention of the American Government especially to the following points:

        The American Government advocates in the name of world peace those principles favorable to it and urges upon the Japanese Government the acceptance thereof. The peace of the world may be brought about only by discovering a mutually acceptable formula through recognition of the reality of the situation and mutual appreciation of one another's position. An attitude such as ignores realities and impose (sic) one's selfish views upon others will scarcely serve the purpose of facilitating the consummation of negotiations.

        Of the various principles put forward by the American Government as a basis of the Japanese-American Agreement, there are some which the Japanese Government is ready to accept in principle, but in view of the world's actual condition it seems only a utopian ideal on the part of the American Government to attempt to force their immediate adoption.

        Again, the proposal to conclude a multilateral non-aggression pact between Japan, United States, Great Britain, China, the Soviet Union, the Netherlands and Thailand, which is patterned after the old concept of collective security, is far removed from the realities of East Asia.
        The American proposal contained a stipulation which states - 'Both Governments will agree that no agreement, which either has concluded with any third power or powers, shall be interpreted by it in such a way as to conflict with the fundamental purpose of this agreement, the establishment and preservation of peace throughout the Pacific area.' It is presumed that the above provision has been proposed with a view to restrain Japan from fulfilling its obligations under the Tripartite Pact when the United States participates in the war in Europe, and, as such, it cannot be accepted by the Japanese Government.

        The American Government, obsessed with its own views and opinions, may be said to be scheming for the extension of the war. While it seeks, on the one hand, to secure its rear by stabilizing the Pacific Area, it is engaged, on the other hand, in aiding Great Britain and preparing to attack, in the name of self-defense, Germany and Italy, two Powers that are striving to establish a new order in Europe. Such a policy is totally at variance with the many principles upon which the American Government proposes to found the stability of the Pacific Area through peaceful means.
        Whereas the American Government, under the principles it rigidly upholds, objects to settle international issues through military pressure, it is exercising in conjunction with Great Britain and other nations pressure by economic power. Recourse to such pressure as a means of dealing with international relations should be condemned as it is at times more inhumane that military pressure.
        It is impossible not to reach the conclusion that the American Government desires to maintain and strengthen, in coalition with Great Britain and other Powers, its dominant position in has hitherto occupied not only in China but in other areas of East Asia. It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia have for the past two hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under the Anglo- American policy of imperialistic exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation since it directly runs counter to Japan's fundamental policy to enable all nations to enjoy each its proper place in the world.

        The stipulation proposed by the American Government relative to French Indo-China is a good exemplification of the above- mentioned American policy. Thus the six countries, - Japan, the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, China,, and Thailand, - excepting France, should undertake among themselves to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of French Indo-China and equality of treatment in trade and commerce would be tantamount to placing that territory under the joint guarantee of the Governments of those six countries. Apart from the fact that such a proposal totally ignores the position of France, it is unacceptable to the Japanese Government in that such an arrangement cannot but be considered as an extension to French Indo-China of a system similar to the Nine Power Treaty structure which is the chief factor responsible for the present predicament of East Asia.
        All the items demanded of Japan by the American Government regarding China such as wholesale evacuation of troops or unconditional application of the principle of non-discrimination in international commerce ignored the actual conditions of China, and are calculated to destroy Japan's position as the stabilizing factor of East Asia. The attitude of the American Government in demanding Japan not to support militarily, politically or economically any regime other than the regime at Chungking, disregarding thereby the existence of the Nanking Government, shatters the very basis of the present negotiations. This demand of the American Government falling, as it does, in line with its above-mentioned refusal to cease from aiding the Chungking regime, demonstrates clearly the intention of the American Government to obstruct the restoration of normal relations between Japan and China and the return of peace to East Asia.

        *(sic) In brief, the American proposal contains certain acceptable items such as those concerning commerce, including the conclusion of a trade agreement, mutual removal of the freezing restrictions, and stabilization of yen and dollar exchange, or the abolition of extra-territorial rights in China. On the other hand, however, the proposal in question ignores Japan's sacrifices in the four years of the China Affair, menaces the Empire's existence itself and disparages its honour and prestige. Therefore, viewed in its entirety, the Japanese Government regrets it cannot accept the proposal as a basis of negotiation.
        The Japanese Government, in its desire for an early conclusion of the negotiation, proposed simultaneous ly with the conclusion of the Japanese-American negotiation, agreements to be signed with Great Britain and other interested countries. The proposal was accepted by the American Government. However, since the American Government has made the proposal of November 26th as a result of frequent consultation with Great Britain, Australia, the Netherlands and Chungking, and presumably by catering to the wishes of the Chungking regime in the questions of China, it must be concluded that all these countries are at one with the United States in ignoring Japan's position.
        Obviously it is the intention of the American Government to conspire with Great Britain and other countries to obstruct Japan's effort toward the establishment of peace through the creation of a new order in East Asia, and especially to preserve Anglo-American rights and interest by keeping Japan and China at war. This intention has been revealed clearly during the course of the present negotiation.

        Thus, the earnest hope of the Japanese Government to adjust Japanese-American relations and to preserve and promote the peace of the Pacific through cooperation with the American Government has finally been lost.

        The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American Government that in view of the attitude of the American Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations.

December 7, 1941

Oral Response by Secretary of State Hull to Ambassador Nomura

I must say that in all my conversations with you [the Japanese Ambassador] during the last nine months I have never uttered one word of untruth. This is borne out absolutely by the record. In all my 50 years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions - infamous falsehoods and distortions on a scale so huge that I never imagined until today that any Government on this planet was capable of uttering them.

Source: United States Department of State Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 129, Dec. 13, 1941.


The address delivered by the President of the United States to the joint meeting of the two Houses of Congress held this day is as follows:

To the Congress of the United States:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 a date which will live in infamy the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, 1 hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces with the unbounded determination of our people we will gain the inevitable triumph so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.


THE WHITE HOUSE, December 8, 1941.

Source: Yale Law School

German Declaration of War on the United States
11 Dec 1941

The German Charge d'Affaires, Dr. Hans Thomsen, and the First Secretary of the German Embassy, Mr. von Strempel, called at the State Department at 8:00 A.M. on December 11, 1941. The Secretary, otherwise engaged, directed that they be received by the Chief of the European Division of the State Department, Mr. Ray Atherton. Mr. Atherton received the German representatives at 9:30 A.M.

The German representatives handed to Mr. Atherton a copy of a note that is being delivered this morning, December 11, to the American Charge d'Affaires in Berlin. Dr. Thomsen said that Germany considers herself in a state of war with the United States. He asked that the appropriate measures be taken for the departure of himself, the members of the German Embassy, and his staff in this country. He reminded Mr. Atherton that the German Government had previously expressed its willingness to grant the same treatment to American press correspondents in Germany as that accorded the American official staff on a reciprocal basis and added that he assumed that the departure of other American citizens from Germany would be permitted on the same basis of German citizens desiring to leave this country. He referred to the exchange of civilians that had been arranged at the time Great Britain and Germany broke off diplomatic relations.

The German Charge d'Affaires then stated that the Swiss Government would take over German interests in this country and that Dr. Bruggmann had already received appropriate instructions from his Government.

He then handed Mr. Atherton a note from the German Government. Mr. Atherton stated that in accepting this note from the German Charge d'Affaires he was merely formalizing the realization that the Government and people of this country had faced since the outbreak of the war in 1939 of the threat and purposes of the German Government and the Nazi regime toward this hemisphere and our free American civilization.

Mr. Atherton then said that this Government would arrange for the delivery of Dr. Thomsen's passports and that he assumed that we would very shortly be in communication with the Swiss Minister. He added that Dr. Thomsen must realize, however, that the physical difficulties of the situation would demand a certain amount of time in working out this reciprocal arrangement for the departure of the missions of the two countries. The German representatives then took their leave.

The text of the note which the German representatives handed to Mr. Ray Atherton, Chief of the European Division of the State Department, at 9:30 A.M., December 11, the original of which had been delivered the morning of December 11 to the American Charge d'Affaires in Berlin, follows:


The Government of the United States having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war, provoked by the British declaration of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, has finally resorted to open military acts of aggression.

On September 11, 1941, the President of the United States publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air Force to shoot on sight at any German war vessel. In his speech of October 27, 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force. Acting under this order, vessels of the American Navy, since early September 1941, have systematically attacked German naval forces. Thus, American destroyers, as for instance the Greer, the Kearney and the Reuben James, have opened fire on German sub-marines according to plan. The Secretary of the American Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed that-American destroyers attacked German submarines.

Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States, under order of their Government and contrary to international law have treated and seized German merchant vessels on the high seas as enemy ships.

The German Government therefore establishes the following facts:

Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States during every period of the present war, the Government of the United States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States has thereby virtually created a state of war.

The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that under these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the United States of America.

Accept, Mr. Charge d'Affaires, the expression of my high consideration.

December 11, 1941.


Source: US Government Printing Office


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - F.D.Roosvelt to Congress on Declaration of War Against Germany and Italy

The VICE PRESIDENT. The Chair lays before the Senate a message from the President of the United States, which the clerk will read.

The Chief Clerk read as follows:

"To the Congress of the United States:

"On the morning of December 11 the Government of Germany, pursuing its course of world conquest, declared war against the United States.

"The long known and the long expected has thus taken place. The forces endeavoring to enslave the entire world now are moving toward this hemisphere.

"Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty, and civilization.

"Delay invites greater danger. Rapid and united effort by all the peoples of the world who are determined to remain free will insure a world victory of the forces of justice and of righteousness over the forces of savagery and of barbarism.

"Italy also has declared war against the United States.

"I therefore request the Congress to recognize a state of war between the United States and Germany and between the United States and Italy.


"THE WHITE HOUSE, "December 11, 1941."

The VICE PRESIDENT. The message will be printed and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.


Mr. Connally, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, reported an original joint resolution (S. J. Res. 119) declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Germany and the Government and the people of the United States, and making provision to prosecute the same, which was read the first time by its title, and the second time at length, as follows:

"Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany, which has thus been thrust upon the United states, is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. President, I shall presently ask unanimous consent for the immediate consideration of the joint resolution just read to the Senate. Before the request is submitted, however, I desire to say that, being advised of the declaration of war upon the United States by the Governments of Germany and Italy, and anticipating a message by the President of the United States in relation thereto, and after a conference with the Secretary of State, as chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, I called a meeting of the committee this morning and submitted to the committee the course I expected to pursue as chairman and the request which I expected to make.

I am authorized by the Committee on Foreign Relations to say to the Senate that after consideration of the text of the joint resolution which I have reported and after mature consideration of all aspects of this matter, the membership of the Committee on Foreign Relations unanimously approve and agree to the course suggested. One member of the committee was absent, but I have authority to express his views.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for the present consideration of the joint resolution.

The VICE PRESIDENT. Is there objection?

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the joint resolution (S. J. Res. 119) declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Germany and the Government and the people of the United States, and making provision to prosecute the same.

The VICE PRESIDENT. The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the joint resolution.

The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, and was read the third time.

The VICE PRESIDENT. The joint resolution having been read the third time, the question is, Shall it pass?

Mr. CONNALLY. On that question I ask for the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered, and the Chief Clerk proceeded to call the roll.

The result was announced yeas 88, nays 0.

* * * * * *

So the joint resolution (S. J. Res. 119) was passed.

The preamble was agreed to.


Mr. Connally, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, reported an original joint resolution (S. J. Res. 120) declaring; that a state of war exists between the Government of Italy and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same, which was read the first time by its title and the second time at length, as follows:

"Whereas the Government of Italy has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Italy which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Italy; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. President, with the same statement which I made earlier with regard to the Senate Joint Resolution 119 which has just been passed, I ask unanimous consent for the present consideration of Senate Joint Resolution 120.

The VICE PRESIDENT. Is there objection to the present consideration of the joint resolution?

There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the joint resolution (S. J. Res. 120) declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Italy and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same.

The VICE PRESIDENT. The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the joint resolution.

The joint resolution was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, and was read the third time.

The VICE PRESIDENT. The joint resolution having been read the third time, the question is, Shall it pass?

Mr. CONNALLY. Mr. President, on the passage of the joint resolution, I ask for the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

The result was announced yeas 90, nays 0.

So the joint resolution (S. J. Res. 120) was passed.

Source: Yale Law School


US Declarations of a State of War with Japan, Germany, and Italy
15 Dec 1941

1st Session    No. 148











Letter of Transmittal

December 15, 1941.

Ordered, That there be printed as a Senate document the messages to Congress, the radio address, and the proclamations issued by the President of the United States, all relating to the declarations of a state of war with Japan, Germany, and Italy, together with certain proceedings in the Senate and House of Representatives in connection therewith.

Edwin A. Halsey

Source: Yale Law School

US Declarations of a State of War with Japan, Germany, and Italy
15 Dec 1941

1st Session    No. 148











The joint Session of the Senate and the House having been dissolved, the House was called to order by the Speaker at 12 o'clock and 46 minutes p. m.


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the message of the President of the United states be referred to the committee on Foreign Affairs and ordered to be printed.

The SPEAKER. Without objection it is so ordered.

There was no objection.

* * * * * *


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass House Joint Resolution 254, which I send to the desk.

The SPEAKER. The Clerk will read the joint resolution.

The Clerk read as follows:

"Declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States and making provisions to prosecute the same.

"Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

"Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and that the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

The SPEAKER. Is a second demanded?

Mr. MARTIN of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I demand a second.

The SPEAKER. Without objection, a second is considered as ordered.

There was no objection.

The SPEAKER. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack].

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 20 seconds.

Mr. Speaker and my fellow Americans, the President of the United States has just spoken to the Congress and to the American people. A dastardly attack has been made upon us. This is the time for action.

After debate.

* * * * * *

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask for a vote, and on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Massachusetts demands the yeas and nays. Those who favor taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted.

The SPEAKER. The yeas and nays were ordered. The question is, Will the House suspend the rules and pass the resolution?

The question was taken; and there were yeas 388, nays 1.

* * * * * *

So (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended, and the joint resolution was passed.

The SPEAKER. The Chair desires to announce that he has held in the past and will hold henceforth that it is contrary to the rules of the House for any Member to announce how an absent Member would vote if present.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

* * * * * *


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may be permitted to extend their own remarks on the resolution just acted upon immediately prior to the roll call.

The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, will that permit one to include in his remarks a telegram from a colleague showing how he would have voted ?

The SPEAKER. His own remarks only. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

There was no objection.

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, a number of Members are unavoidably absent and on their way here. I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to extend their own remarks on the resolution just adopted.

The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

There was no objection.


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to take from the Speaker's table the Senate joint resolution (S. J. Res. 116) declaring that a state of war exists between the Imperial Government of Japan and the Government and the people of the United States, and making provision to prosecute the same, and agree to the same.

The Clerk read the Senate joint resolution, as follows:

"Whereas the Imperial Government of Japan has committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:

"Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial Government of Japan which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and that the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial Government of Japan; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

Mr. MARTIN of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object and, of course, I am not going to object this is the same declaration that we just passed?

The SPEAKER. The same.


The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

There was no objection.

The Senate joint resolution was ordered to be read a third time, was read the third time, and passed, and a motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the proceedings by which the House passed House Joint Resolution 254 be vacated and that the resolution be laid on the table.

The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. McCormack]?

There was no objection.



The Speaker laid before the House the following message from the President of the United States, which was read:

"To the Congress of the United States:

"On the morning of December 11, the Government of Germany, pursuing its course of world co nquest, declared war against the United States.

"The long known and the long expected has thus taken place. The forces endeavoring to enslave the entire world now are moving toward this hemisphere.

"Never before has there been a greater challenge to life, liberty, and civilization.

"Delay invites greater danger. Rapid and united effort by all of the peoples of the world who are determined to remain free will insure a world victory of the forces of justice and of righteousness over the forces of savagery and of barbarism.

"Italy also has declared war against the United States.

"I, therefore, request the Congress to recognize a state of war between the United States and Germany, and between the United States and Italy.


"THE WHITE HOUSE, "December 11, 1941."

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I move that the message of the President be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and ordered printed.

The motion was agreed to.


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass House Joint Resolution 256, which I send to the desk and ask to have read.

The Clerk read as follows.

"Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Germany; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

The SPEAKER. The question is, Will the House suspend the rules and pass the joint resolution?

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

* * * * * *

The question was taken; and there were yeas 393, answered "present" 1, not voting 36.

So (two-thirds having voted in favor thereof) the rules were suspended, and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.


A message from the Senate, by Mr. Frazier, its legislative clerk, announced that the Senate had passed joint resolutions of the following titles, in which the concurrence of the House is requested:

"S. J. Res. 119. Joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Germany and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same; and

"S. J. Res. 120. Joint resolution declaring that a state of war exists between the Government of Italy and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same."


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to take from the Speaker's table Senate Joint Resolution 119, which is identical with the resolution just adopted by the House, and pass the Senate resolution.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Massachusetts?

There was no objection.

The Senate joint resolution was read a third time, and passed.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that the action just taken by the House in the passage of House Joint Resolution 256 be vacated and that the resolution be laid on the table.

The SPEAKER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

There was no objection.


Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rule and pass Senate Joint Resolution 120, which I have sent to the Clerk's desk.

The Clerk read as follows:

"Whereas the Government of Italy has formally declared war against the Government and the people of the United States of America: Therefore be it

"Resolved, etc., That the state of war between the United States and the Government of Italy, which has thus been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared; and the President is hereby authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Government of Italy; and, to bring the conflict to a successful termination, all of the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States."

The SPEAKER. The question is, Will the House suspend the rules and pass the resolution?

Mr. MCCORMACK. Mr. Speaker, on this vote I ask for the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The question was taken; and there were yeas 399, answered "present" 1, not voting 30, as follows:

* * * * * *

So, two-thirds having voted in favor thereof, the rules were suspended and the resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Source: Yale Law School


These next batch of documents are a group of Hitler's Directives and/or orders.
The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
OKW/WFA Nr. 170/39 g. K. Chefs. L1.

Senior Commanders only
By hand of Officer only    Berlin,
31st August 1939.

8 copies
Copy No. 2

Directive No. 1 for the Conduct of the War

    Since the situation on Germany's Eastern frontier has become intolerable and all political possibilities of peaceful settlement have been exhausted, I have decided upon a solution by force.
    The attack on Poland will be undertaken in accordance with the preparations made for 'Case White', with such variations as may be necessitated by the build-up of the Army which is now virtually complete.

    The allocation of tanks and the purpose of the operation remain unchanged.

    Date of attack 1st September 1939.

    This time also applies to operations at Gdynia, in the Bay of Danzig, and at the Dirschau bridge.
    In the West it is important to leave the responsibility for opening hostilities unmistakably to England and France. Minor violations of the frontier will be dealt with, for the time being, purely as local incidents.

    The assurances of neutrality given by us to Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are to be meticulously observed.

    The Western frontier of Germany will not be crossed by land at any point without my explicit orders.

    This applies also to all acts of warfare at sea or to acts which might be regarded, as such.

    The defensive activity of the Air Force will be restricted for the time being to the firm repulse of enemy air attacks on the frontiers of the Reich. In taking action against individual aircraft or small formations, care will be taken to respect the frontiers of neutral countries as far as possible. Only if considerable forces of French or British bombers are employed against German territory across neutral areas will the Air Force be permitted to go into defensive action over neutral soil.

    It is particularly important that any infringement of the neutrality of other states by our Western enemies be immediately reported to the High Command of the Armed Forces.
    Should England and France open hostilities against Germany, it will be the duty of the Armed Forces operating in the West, while conserving their strength as much as possible, to maintain conditions for the successful conclusion of operations against Poland. Within these limits enemy forces and war potential will be damaged as much as possible. The right to order offensive operations is reserved absolutely to me.

    The Army will occupy the West Wall and will take steps to secure it from being outflanked in the north, through the violation by the Western powers of Belgian or Dutch territory. Should French forces invade Luxembourg the bridges on the frontier may be blown up.

    The Navy will operate against merchant shipping, with England as the focal point. In order to increase the effect, the declaration of danger zones may be expected. The Naval High Command will report on the areas which it is desirable to classify as danger zones and on their extent. The text of a public declaration in this matter is to be drawn up in collaboration with the Foreign Office and to be submitted to me for approval through the High Command of the Armed Forces.

    The Baltic Sea is to be secured against enemy intrusion. Commander-in-Chief Navy1 will decide whether the entrances to the Baltic should be mined for this purpose.

    The Air Force is, first of all, to prevent action by the French and English Air Forces against the German Army and German territory.

    In operations against England the task of the Air Force is to take measures to dislocate English imports, the armaments industry, and the transport of troops to France. Any favourable opportunity of an effective attack on concentrated units of the English Navy, particularly on battleships or aircraft carriers, will be exploited. The decision regarding attacks on London is reserved to me.

    Attacks on the English homeland are to be prepared, bearing in mind that inconclusive results with insufficient forces are to be avoided in all circumstances.


Führer Directive 1--Plan of Attack on Poland (August 31, 1939)

Führer Directive 1 was issued August 1, 1939, the day before the invasion of Poland. Since this document was prepared well in advance of the attack on Poland there is no real value in directing military operations. All this had to be worked out well before the invasion. It is not entirely known just what the purpose of the formal directive was other than to give the formal go ahead to his commanders.

Summation courtesy of

This next  item is not from Hitler's Directives but of much more importance; namely the admission by many German POWs of their knowledge of and participation in the killings of Jewish civilians in the Eastern Front.

During World War II the British secretly recorded conversations between German prisoners and they found out that most German soldiers not just the SS had knowledge of mass killings of Jews.

Here are the transcripts translated into English of a few of these recordings.

The 1st one is between Lt. General Heinrich Kittel and another prisoner named Felbert on Dec. 28, 1944. It concerns what he witnessed as a Colonel in Army Group North fighting in Latvia in 1941.

Felbert: Have you also known places from which the Jews have been removed?

Kittel: Yes.

Felbert: Was that carried out quite systematically?

Kittel: Yes.

Felbert: Women and children—everybody?

Kittel: Everybody. Horrible!

Felbert: What did they do to the children?

Kittel (very excited): They seized three-year old children by the hair, held them up and shot them with a pistol and then threw them in. I saw that for myself. One could watch it; the SD [Sicherheitsdienst, the Security Service of the SS] had roped the area off and the people were standing watching from about 300 m. off. The Latvians and the German soldiers were just standing there, looking on.
The next one is a revelation by Major General Walter Bruns to an unnamed fellow prisoner.

Bruns: When I arrived those pits were so full that the living had to lie down on top of the dead; then they were shot and, in order to save room, they had to lie down neatly in layers. Before this, however, they were stripped of everything at one of the stations—here at the edge of the wood were the three pits they used that Sunday and here they stood in a queue 1½ km long which approached step by step—a queuing up for death. As they drew nearer they saw what was going on. About here they had to hand over their jewelry and suitcases. All good stuff was put into the suitcases and the remainder thrown on a heap. This was to serve as clothing for our suffering population—and then, a little further on they had to undress and, 500 m in front of the wood, strip completely; they were only permitted to keep on a chemise or knickers. They were all women and small two-year-old children. Then all those cynical remarks! If only I had seen those tommy-gunners, who were relieved every hour because of over-exertion, carry out their task with distaste, but no, nasty remarks like: “Here comes a Jewish beauty!” I can still see it all in my memory: A pretty woman in a flame-colored chemise. Talk about keeping the race pure: at Riga they first slept with them and then shot them to prevent them from talking.
And it was not just high ranking officers who knew. And not just Wehrmacht officers.

Two U-boat crew members witnessed an atrocity in Vilnius, the capitol of Lithaunia.

Minnieur: We were actually there when a pretty girl was shot.

Hartelt: What a pity.

Minnieur: They were all shot ruthlessly! She knew that she was going to be shot. We were going past on motorcycles and saw a procession; suddenly she called to us and we stopped and asked where they were going. She said they were going to be shot. At first we thought she was making some sort of a joke. She more or less told us the way to where they were going. We rode there and—it was quite true—they were shot.

Hartelt: Did she say anything beforehand? Had you met her before?

Minnieur: Yes, we met her the day before; the next day we wondered why she didn’t come. Then we set off on the motorcycle.

Hartelt: Was she working there too?

Minnieur: Yes.

Hartelt: Making roads?

Minnieur: No, she cleaned our barracks. The week we were there we went into the barracks to sleep so that we didn’t … outside—

Hartelt: I bet she let you sleep with her too?

Minnieur: Yes, but you had to take care not to be found out. It’s nothing now; it was really a scandal, the way they slept with Jewish women.

Hartelt: What did she say, that she—?

Minnieur: Nothing at all. Well, we chatted together and she said she came from down there, from Landsberg on the Warthe, and was at Göttingen University.

Hartelt: And a girl like that let anyone sleep with her!

Minnieur: Yes. You couldn’t tell that she was a Jewess; she was quite a nice type, too. It was just her bad luck that she had to die with the others. 75,000 Jews were shot there.

Even Luftwaffe officers stationed on the ground at times were directly involved.

Here is a conversation between Lt. Colonel von Müller-Rienzburg of the Luftwaffe and another prisoner named Bassus

Müller-Rienzburg: The SS issued an invitation to go and shoot Jews. All the troops went along with rifles and … shot them up. Each man could pick the one he wanted. Those were … of the SS, which will, of course, bring down bitter revenge.

Bassus: You mean to say it was sent out like an invitation to a hunt!

Müller-Rienzburg: Yes.

Another Luftwaffe officer- 1st Lt. Fried accepted one of these invitations and told this to 1st Lt.Bentz of the Wehrmacht.

Bentz: What—you fired, too?

Fried: Yes, I did. Some of the people who were inside there said: “Here come the swine,” and swore and threw stones and things at them. There were women and children there, too!

The source of this is from a book -  Soldaten: On Fighting, Killing, and Dying: The Secret WWII Transcripts of German POWs by Sönke Neitzel and Harald Welzer, translated by Jefferson Chase.  Published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 2012

Available at


During the Vietnam War it was commonly believed that the Soviets were only sending "Advisors" to help the North. Not exactly accurate. I have been sent a photo of a reunion in Vietnam with some Soviet pilots who fought  in the Air Combat over Vietnam.
Soviet - Vietnam pilot veterans at Vietnamese celebration event.


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