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  1. #1
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Default Your One-Stop WWII-Stuff Thread.

    There are like five stories that I thought were cool or of interest to the history/WWII buffs here so I'm going to throw them all in here. The last week was a busy week for a war that ended in 1945.

    First up, a rare color photo of Adolf Hitler on his 50th birthday surfaced:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...-mostviewedbox



    Looking kinda then there.

    Then you've got a great story about a guy restoring a Spitfire:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...pitfire102.xml

    1000 pound bomb forced evacuation in Hanover, Germany:

    http://news.monstersandcritics.com/e...I_bomb_defused

    China recognizes 900 foriegn aviators who gave their lives defending the country against Japan:

    http://english.people.com.cn/90001/9...2/6330285.html

    ( I think that the Olympics has something to do with this)

    Then there's this story out of Russia. There is a new website up to help families track down relatives killed in the Great War:

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/19081
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  2. #2
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post.

    Anyone interested in a different historical perspective of Adolf Hitler should get hold of the book 'Until The Final Hour' by Traudl Junge. She was Hitlers secretary and was with him from 41' until his suicide in the bunker in 1945.

    I have read pretty much every (respected) book on Hitler and the Nazi regime, it being my specialist topic at University and something I am very interested in, and can honestly say this book is an amazing read. Hearing about Hitler as he was 'behind the scenes' from someone who saw it with their own eyes is quite an eye opener. Just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about Hitler this book has opened up a whole new perspective to me.

    You wont be able to put it down.
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  3. #3
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    Great idea for a thread. I'll see what I can dig up and post here.
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  4. #4
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    I thought that you guys might appreciate these pictures. They are of my Grandfathers uniform coat from the US Army WWII era. He was a veteran of Sicily and Italy. He spent three years overseas. My family wanted me to have it when he passed in 2003. I had it put in a shadow box and it's now on display in my office. I've identified all the pins / ribbons except for the red ones on the collar. They show a blacksmith working, but I don't know what they signify? Maybe someone here can help.

    Anyhow I've go some more of his medals and ribbons in a seperate display case that I'll post when I get a chance.
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  5. #5
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    I'll throw up my article yet again (I haven't had time to research in months). Hopefully I will find out about his uniforms and other stuff soon:

    A Day at the Beach

    Itís summer, so letís think about the sunny fun we have ahead of us.

    Imagine you decide itís time to go to the beach. A good friend of yours is not too excited about the venture, so you do a little coaxing. It wonít be just you two; there will be a bunch of the boys with you. Unfortunately, the forecasts from the best meteorologists arenít predicting very favorable weather for the next few weeks, but you are determined. You decide, after waiting for what seems way too long, your day has come. So you get up nice and early, and before you know it, you hit the beach with perfect weather for your day. Then, shortly after you arrive, the excitement begins.

    No, it isnít girls in bikinis or a keg of cold beer. You suddenly are hit by shrapnel from God knows what, and your friend runs off in horror in an attempt to complete the mission. As you pick up your arm that nearly completely fell off, your friend explodes after presumably running over a mine. You see, this is not just some other day at the beach, this is the greatest day at the beach: June 6, 1944, D-Day, and you have just become the first wave of Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy that would decide the fate of Western Civilization. You are on Utah Beach.

    You are Henry Ratajczak of the 299th Engineer Combat Battalion. Your friend is Alfred Kurzawski, and heís dead, like many others. You didnít drive to the beach in an old Chevy, you landed on an LST (Landing Ship Tank), where most of you puked your guts out from the anxiety and the seasickness. No, you did not decide to go to the beach today, General Dwight David Eisenhower did, but you were ready. Sure, it was tough, but you did it, and so did many others.

    This is just one of the thousands of personal stories from that day, both on the beaches and behind enemy lines. Some will never be told. Others are just waiting to be.

    Most people have no idea the significance of June 6. Many of these same people believe Memorial Day about one week earlier is most importantly the unofficial beginning of summer. Itís a sad reflection of American society today.

    Those who do understand the importance of this day in history see how incredibly different our lives could have been had the brave men not sacrificed the way they did. More importantly, they see how life could have been had they failed. This fact alone exceeds all others in distinction:

    They did not fail.

    Considering the numerous factors against them, from the weather to the sheer magnitude of the invasion, nearly everything needed to go perfect to succeed. Unfortunately, "perfect" in this situation meant thousands dead and more injured.

    But the story does not stop there.

    For the men who survived, life did not just go back to that perfect life you see from TV in the fifties. Reattaching an arm canít be much fun, I assume. It was said by his wife that Henry did not sleep for almost six years after coming home. I know I am fairly cranky when I need to get up before noon sometimes (I work nights and stay up late). I cannot even imagine having to bear the burden of what these men experienced. Alfredís family was told he was dead, then alive, then dead again afterwards. I would not wish that on anyone.

    Henry Ratajczak is not just another soldier in this war; he was my grandfather. He never told me this story. In fact, from what I can gather he only told the story once, to Alfredís family when they asked for answers. Fortunately, my grandmother was there to hear it.

    My grandfather died in 1991, after a long bout with cancer. When I started college in 2000, I immediately started researching his experiences and contacted many people who knew him from reunions. Due to illness, I was not able to keep in contact nor attend any reunions as of yet. However, the people I met through this journey have always been at the front of my mind.

    I also have a cigarette ad in my cube at work from 1944. My grandfather is in it, storming the beaches of Florida in preparation for the real thing.

    There is also one more reason this stays in my mind every day. After researching heavily for months, my daughter was born in the early morning hours on June 6, 2001, at the same time of the morning this was all happening just 57 years earlier. I cannot look at her without thinking about the special day she came into this world, and the many who left it years before.

    Happy birthday Alina, and thank you to all who made her freedom possible. Thank you Grandpa.
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  6. #6
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    11.25.17 @ 04:30 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCJanko View Post
    I'll throw up my article yet again (I haven't had time to research in months). Hopefully I will find out about his uniforms and other stuff soon:

    A Day at the Beach

    Itís summer, so letís think about the sunny fun we have ahead of us.

    Imagine you decide itís time to go to the beach...
    What a great recollection. Thanks for posting that.

    When my Grandma K died, I got a bayonet belonging to one of her brothers who fought for the Americans. There's some dried German blood at the base. It's eerie, disturbing, and sad.

    I have several great uncles who fought in WWII on both sides; eight of them fought for the Allies, while three of them fought for the Axis (they were forced to fight; two of them escaped and hit until the war was over, but the third was a Nazi zum kern [Deutsche for "to the core"]).

    Thinking about WWII actually makes me sad, with one of the reasons being the involvement of the people of my ancestral homeland, Germany. The German people are truly a great people who value family and good order. My grandparents were all German immigrants. I was raised in a very loving German Lutheran household and spoke both English and German for the first five years of my life. We lived around many different ethnic groups (European and African) and I was never taught to dislike anyone because of who they were, what they believed, or where they came from. I was proud to be who I was: German blood with an American heart. All that ethnic pride flew out the window when we moved out West, though. I used to get teased and called a Nazi by some mean kids because I was German. I was an American just like them but suddenly I was responsible for for the terrible atrocities committed by the demonic Nazis. Talk about feeling guilty for who you were.

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  7. #7
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    Very interesting thread Axx. Like Yo!Edward I have read around this subject (though not as deep) and I find it fascinating. In fact I just finished a Primo Levi collection of recollections (Moments of Reprieve). I also recommend the biography of Albert Speer by Gitta Sereny (I have a signed copy!!).

    There is of course a world of interesting Fiction to read, and two of my all time favourites are Black Cross and Spandau Phoenix by Greg Iles who researches his novels very well.

    I'll try and get some interesting stuff for this thread.
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  8. #8
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    09.04.12 @ 11:15 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
    Very interesting thread Axx. Like Yo!Edward I have read around this subject (though not as deep) and I find it fascinating. In fact I just finished a Primo Levi collection of recollections (Moments of Reprieve). I also recommend the biography of Albert Speer by Gitta Sereny (I have a signed copy!!).

    There is of course a world of interesting Fiction to read, and two of my all time favourites are Black Cross and Spandau Phoenix by Greg Iles who researches his novels very well.

    I'll try and get some interesting stuff for this thread.
    Primo Levis books are excellent. I was fortunate enough (possibly not the best way of phrasing that) to visit Auschwitz in 1999, it really does blow your mind when your surrounded by a vast area of buildings and structures solely built for the purpose of killing human beings - in massive numbers.

    Regarding what was said about the German perspective, I often find the deaths of many of those young German men the most tragic losses in World War Two. They were fighting for a cause which was lost the moment the war was begun and gave their lives, especially after 1943 when it was clear the war was never going to be won, not for Nazism or Hitler but for each other. At least the Allied soldiers who gave their lives truly can rest easy knowing they paid the ultimate price to rid the world of a truly evil force.

    On a completely different note I was sunning myself on holiday on the Cote D'Azur in the summer of 2000 and was lying on Nice beach sifting through the pebbles as I lay looking at the sun when I felt my hand grasp something that felt completely different to all the other pebbles, it was thin and felt like metal.

    Upon looking down at what I had in my hand I found it was an old dogtag, I have checked it out on the internet and have been able to date it between 1943-1944. I have searched endlessly to find any information about the soldier and his fate but have had no luck so far. I know that the dogtag layout tells me he was also a draftee and it cuts it down to, I think, 7 states he could be from. I imagine the tag was either lost when the soldier was enjoying some downtime on the beach or possibly it has somehow been washed up? Possibly during ANVIL the Allied Invasion of Southern France in August 1944? (5 miles down the beach to the West of Cannes)

    I dont know how to post pics on here but if someone tells me I will take some pics, I just thought it was amazing that had anyone else found that the chances are they would have just thrown it....as a World War Two nut I cant help but think somebody somewhere made sure it was ME that found it
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  9. #9
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    10.03.13 @ 10:13 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metal Marc View Post
    What a great recollection. Thanks for posting that.

    When my Grandma K died, I got a bayonet belonging to one of her brothers who fought for the Americans. There's some dried German blood at the base. It's eerie, disturbing, and sad.

    I have several great uncles who fought in WWII on both sides; eight of them fought for the Allies, while three of them fought for the Axis (they were forced to fight; two of them escaped and hit until the war was over, but the third was a Nazi zum kern [Deutsche for "to the core"]).

    Thinking about WWII actually makes me sad, with one of the reasons being the involvement of the people of my ancestral homeland, Germany. The German people are truly a great people who value family and good order. My grandparents were all German immigrants. I was raised in a very loving German Lutheran household and spoke both English and German for the first five years of my life. We lived around many different ethnic groups (European and African) and I was never taught to dislike anyone because of who they were, what they believed, or where they came from. I was proud to be who I was: German blood with an American heart. All that ethnic pride flew out the window when we moved out West, though. I used to get teased and called a Nazi by some mean kids because I was German. I was an American just like them but suddenly I was responsible for for the terrible atrocities committed by the demonic Nazis. Talk about feeling guilty for who you were.
    This is an awesome explanation of "the other side" for people like me. I have a friend whose grandfather fought for the Nazis, and apparently still hates Jews. It's sad.
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  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    05.31.14 @ 08:17 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCJanko View Post
    This is an awesome explanation of "the other side" for people like me. I have a friend whose grandfather fought for the Nazis, and apparently still hates Jews. It's sad.

    I used to have coffee every morning with a guy who flew Fokke Wolfs for the Luftwaffe. He was this tall, mild-mannered guy who was an accountant.

    He was Austrian, and he told me about how the Germans bussed all the college kids in Austria into Germany to see the Olympics in 1936 at Munic. This was durring the depression, when nobody had money or food so you can imagine when they crossed the border there were all these colorful red flags (with the Swastika), flowers on every street corner and people smiling. When they got off the bus they were handed a stein of beer and ushered into a beer garden where they were told to eat as much as they wanted to. In Austria at the time these kids were lucky if they had an apple for an entire day's food, now they were being handed free beer and looking at tons of free food! Hitler dropped in and said hello and welcomed the Austrians to Germany, my friend is 6'4" and he said that Hitler was the same height. Long story short, after ten days of the Father Land the kids were chanting 'Heil Hitler" all the way back to Austria on the bus.

    He started his Luftwaffe stint in North Africa, he got to meet Erwin Rommel a couple of times. He liked Rommel, he wasn't an asshole. Then he was redeployed to Italy, which he said was the best time of his life but to this day he can no longer drink Brandy. He finished the war in France, where he spent about a year before the invasion. He was captured by Canadian soldiers and ended up a POW for about six months.

    I asked him if he flew the short-nose or the long nose version and he said that because he was a Catholic they gave him shit and treated him as a second class citizen so he flew the short-nose. Then he joked 'Besides, I wasn't very good". It was kind of weird to talk to him because he was "The Enemy" once, we were talking about ghosts once and he said that his friend had promised to come back and visit him a year after he'd died. So he went to this guy's grave at midnight but nothing happened. So I ask how his friend died and he says casually "Oh, he was jumped by a pair of Spitfires.". On the 50th Anniversary of D-Day I jokingly asked him what he was doing that morning and he said that he wasn't doing anything because his plane was stuck in the mud. To avoid airstrikes, the Germans had startd to use country roads as airstrips and they parked the planes in the woods along the side. The nasty weather of June, 1944, had cause his plane and most of the others to sink into the mud.
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  11. #11
    Good Enough wombattt's Avatar
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    05.23.17 @ 01:16 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by YO!Edward View Post
    Thanks for this post.

    Anyone interested in a different historical perspective of Adolf Hitler should get hold of the book 'Until The Final Hour' by Traudl Junge. She was Hitlers secretary and was with him from 41' until his suicide in the bunker in 1945.
    Thanks for the recommendation....I couldn't put down the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich....even with Shirer's constant foreshadowing and passive voice....
    ...I just ordered the Junge's book and I'll read it over my break....good to see another historian on the message board....when will you graduate?

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  12. #12
    5150 YO!Edward's Avatar
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    I graduated in 2000. Am now at Law School but often find myself putting down the statute books and reading my history books again. My main area of work was 20th Century History, I did my dissertation on the Korean War and the relationship between the US and UK Chiefs of Staff - quite interesting the number of times that the UK had to persuade MacArthur that nuking Seoul or Beiijing was probably NOT a good idea

    I also did courses on Indo-China and in particular State Shinto in Japan during World War Two (a very interesting topic and something I recommend to anyone interested in understanding better the fanatical Japanese resistance encountered on Iwo Jima, Saipan etc).

    However, Nazi Germany is really my specialist topic and the one I am most interested in.
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  13. #13
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    Happy Birthday Major Richard Winters!

    http://www.majordickwinters.com/

    If you're reading this thread then I'm sure that you already have "Band of Brothers" on DVD on your shelf.

    If you want to correct a slight of military history you can go here and sign the petition to get Maj. Winter's Distinguished Service Cross upgaded to the Medal of Honor:

    http://www.petitiononline.com/Winters/petition.html

    [QUOTE]"I cherish the memory of something my grandson said to me the other day. He asked me, 'Grandpa, were you a hero in the war?' Grandpa said no. 'But I served in a company of heroes.'" - A letter to Dick Winters from one of his paratroopers.

    [/QUOTE]

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    Hitler's Lost Fleet Found In Black Sea

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...-mostviewedbox

    Adolf Hitler's 'lost fleet' found in Black Sea
    By Jasper Copping
    Last Updated: 1:52am GMT 04/02/2008



    The final resting place of three German U-boats, nicknamed "Hitler's lost fleet", has been found at the bottom of the Black Sea.

    In pictures: Hitler's lost U-boats
    The submarines had been carried 2,000 miles overland from Germany to attack Russian shipping during the Second World War, but were scuttled as the war neared its end. Now, more than 60 years on, explorers have located the flotilla of three submarines off the coast of Turkey.


    The vessels, including one once commanded by Germany's most successful U-boat ace, formed part of the 30th Flotilla of six submarines, taken by road and river across Nazi-occupied Europe, from Germany's Baltic port at Kiel to Constanta, the Romanian Black Sea port.

    In two years, the fleet sank dozens of ships and lost three of their number to enemy action. But in August 1944, Romania switched sides and declared war on Germany, leaving the three remaining vessels stranded.

    With no base and unable to sail home - the Bosporus and Dardanelles were closed to them because of Turkish neutrality - their captains were ordered to scuttle the boats before rowing ashore and trying to make their way back to Germany. However, all three crews were caught and interned by the Turks.

    Now the submarines' hulls have been discovered by a team led by SelÁuk Kolay, a Turkish marine engineer, who will present his findings to a shipwreck conference in Plymouth this week.

    advertisementMr Kolay established the boats' positions through research in German archives, interviews with surviving sailors and by sonar studies of the seabed.

    He has already completed successful dives to the wreckage of one vessel, U-20, two miles offshore in about 80ft of water. He believes he has discovered another, U-23, at twice that depth, three miles from the town of Agva, but bad weather forced him to suspend diving until the spring.

    He thinks he is also close to pinpointing the third boat, U-19, thought to lie more than 1,000ft down, three miles from the Turkish city of Zonguldak.

    "It's one of the least well known stories of the war but one of the most interesting," said Mr Kolay.

    "It is a quite incredible story. To get to the Black Sea these boats had to be taken across the land, and once they got there they had no way out."


    All three U-boats had been operating against British shipping in the North Sea. U-23 gained notoriety for scoring one of Germany's earliest successes, sinking a British ship off the Shetland Islands days after war began. It was later commanded by Otto Kretschmer, known as "Silent Otto", the most successful U-boat ace.

    In 1941, Germany invaded Russia and decided it needed a presence in the Black Sea to harass Soviet shipping there. Unable to use the Bosporus, the only shipping route into the Black Sea, the boats were dismantled at Kiel and taken by canal to the River Elbe, and upstream to Dresden.

    Here, they were partly dismantled and taken by lorry to Ingolstadt, on the Danube, and then ferried downstream to the Black Sea and Constanta, where they were re-assembled.

    When Romania switched sides the crews were ordered to scuttle out of sight of the Turks so the submarines' locations would remain a mystery. Mr Kolay was helped by a map drawn by Rudolf Arendt, 85, the former captain of the U-23, showing where his crew came ashore.

    Mike Williams, secretary of the Nautical Archaeology Society, said: "This is a significant find because these U-boats were all scuttled, so they should be intact, like a sealed tube. They are unique survivors of the war."



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  15. #15
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    diver down
    Favorite VH Song

    drop dead legs
    Last Online

    12.15.17 @ 05:43 PM
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    [QUOTE=Axxman300;928888]Happy Birthday Major Richard Winters!

    http://www.majordickwinters.com/

    He lives not far from me.

 

 

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