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WORLD WAR 2 - Page 2

post #51 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaieke View Post
You should be asking these things yourself, he's your Dad, you should know his life.
I do ask him stuff all the time, and I've shared many of those stories on the board since I joined. It's just that I looked over this thread and saw that most people who had relatives involved in the war were telling stories those relatives told them before they died. Some people said stuff like "I wish I got a chance to ask so and so before they passed away". I figured, "well heck, my dad is a WW2 vet, is still very much alive and is able and willing to take questions! Why not make him available as a resource?"

Figured other Chewers might not have a living WW2 vet in their lives, and might be intrigued by the ability to ask my dad a question

Quote:
Originally Posted by RathBandu View Post

Hey Kate, what was your dad's favorite top 40 hit from back home when he was in the military? I want to know.
He has told me some stuff along those lines before but I can't remember it off the top of my head. He's picking me up later tonight and I will ask him your question, Rath
post #52 of 98

Here is a good piece I found about World War 2. It explains the diplomatic moves that led to the war quite well with a few minor omssions.

post #53 of 98

 

My maternal grandfather fought in North Africa (Tunisia), and him and the rest of his men were eventually captured by The Desert Fox himself.  The captured Americans were shipped to Italy, where they were stripped naked, and put on a train for Berlin.  This was in February, 1943, so you can imagine how ridiculously cold it was.  They were spit on, had rocks thrown at them, and obviously were treated like shit.  Their train took them through the mountains and a cold that most of us will never know (or can imagine).  The POWs all huddled together and tried to stay as warm as possible, even switching positions like the Emperor Penguins in "March of the Penguins".  Still, it was brutal, with many men dying of exposure.  They arrived at a POW camp just outside of Berlin, where he (my grandfather) stayed until the end of the War in 1945.  
 
Unfortunately, my grandfather rarely talked about this time of his life, but it was traumatic (duh).  What bits and pieces my grandmother and mom were able to gather were that, while the Americans were treated like crap in the camp, it was nothing compared to how the Russians were treated.  My grandfather had health problems for the rest of his life, stemming from his stay in the camp as well.
 
I wish I had tried to talk to him about it all, but I never did.  The way I saw it was if he was that secretive about it, it was just something that haunted him so much that he wanted to keep buried.  I get it, and I can't imagine the horrors that he went through and saw.  Especially being a young man, from a small town in Iowa, being in such a strange place and fearing for your life every second of the day.
post #54 of 98


Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard Dickson View Post

ve read that it's pretty commonly accepted that Operation Sealion (the Nazi plan to invade England) wouldn't have worked, and that Germany had no real shot at invading the British mainland.


Nothing is assured in warfare, but the chances of Sea Lion working were marginal to say the least. The problem was Hitler appeared to have an inferiority complex over Churchill. The guy drove him nuts (Hitler commonly referred to him as the "Little Warmonger" seemingly without ever recognising the irony). So much so that his judgment began to be clouded by an insatiable and irrational urge to either defeat him or inflict significant harm upon him. 

 

The German General Staff (von Manstein, Guderian, Jodl etc.) were given nearly a year to devise the invasion of the Low Countries and France. It was a similar story for Operation Barbarossa in the East. These were meticulously planned and cleverly thought-out campaigns supported by a huge investment in weapons, training and logistics. But the keys to the successes of both were the Field Marshalls (arguably the finest military minds on either side in WWII) who were pretty much left to do their jobs by Hitler. 

 

Things were going swimmingly until Neville Chamberlain stood down as Prime Minister and Churchill got the job by default. Hitler always thought he could strike a deal with Britain which in exchange for ending hostilities and staying out of the Empire would mean Britain respecting Germany's right to expand into Eastern Europe. After all, he had nothing against Britain and regarded the British as  spiritual cousins. He may well have come to such an arrangement under Chamberlain. But Churchill was a totally different animal and when von Ribbentrop (carrying this offer) was sent packing soon after Churchill took office Hitler just seemed to lose his marbles completely. Days after he summoned the brass hats and ordered them to devise a full scale amphibious and airborne invasion of Britain in SIX WEEKS. 

 

You can imagine the looks of horror that must have circulated the room. These guys weren't the brainwashed political fanatics that populated the SS ranks. Most of the Wehrmacht senior officers were honorable men who had fought with valor and distinction in the preceding war. They had witnessed the devastating effects of mechanised warfare in the Great War and had no wish to see their men die pointlessly. Which is why they did their best to try and bury the plan. Hitler could rant and rave all he liked about the superior fighting prowess of the Aryan soldier. But they knew any attempt at invading Britain would be suicidal. +

 

Even if the Germans could achieve air supremacy (which given Britain's key advantage in radar technology and fully integrated air defence system was no easy feat) they still had to tackle the small matter of the most powerful navy in the world parked directly across their route through the English Channel. It would be like shooting fish in a barrel, especially since the Germans had no means of ferrying troops onto the beaches (unlike the Allies) and seriously considered towing them on flat barges behind ships. 

 

Sea Lion was dropped after Germany lost control of the skies (and conceded its first major defeat in WWII) during the Battle of Britain. Of course, it didn't help that Hitler put control of the Luftwaffe in the pudgy hands of a drug addled moron (Goering) who lived in a fantasy land which made Hitler's look positively spartan. It was around this time that the formerly peerless German war machine slid onto the downslope. Hitler's meddling was a major factor. But the war in the East was a bad idea to begin with. The Germans could have had another six divisions and it wouldn't have made much difference. Russia was just too big with greater resources of men, material and - most of all - motivation. In the end it came down to a numbers game. 

post #55 of 98

The war in the East was indeed a bad idea but it couldn't be avoided. As long as Hitler had some hope of negotiating some kind of peace with the British, his invasion of Soviet Union was inevitable. This wasn't Germany using its central position to fight its enemies one at a time. They were after the gigantic plains west of the Urals and the oilfields of the Caucasus. Just like the Greek colonization of the Black sea and the Roman takeover of Egypt it was something they had to do for the Reich to have any chance of reaching a thousand years. They had few, if any political goals in the Eastern front. It was a war of annihilation and colonization.

 

But when you read about the war, it becomes obvious how much of its ultimately victorious outcome was determined by characteristics the allied leaders had that aren't usually thought of as good. Stalin being a homicidal maniac, Churchill being an unreasonable, single minded extremist, Roosevelt being cynical beyond belief and forcing the Congress into voting for war.

post #56 of 98

My maternal grandfather did not fight in the war despite wanting to. He was the youngest of four brothers, and the eldest three were all shipped over to Europe, where they all died. I do not know how, but apparently one of them died under mysterious circumstances, having fallen overboard somewhere. Foul play was suspected, and I remember hearing from a family member that it was suspected that he had rejected the sexual advances of another soldier, who was questioned about his murder.

 

My paternal great grandfather survived the war, but later developed very severe schizophrenia brought on by PTSD. He was eventually committed and later died in a mental institution. The scars from that event are still felt quite strongly on that side of the family, as it happened when my grandmother and her siblings were still children, and it colored how they all approached relationship, which echoed down to my father, and well, you get the picture.

post #57 of 98

My paternal great-uncle, Jozef Cyrek, was murdered at Auschwitz. He was a Polish-Catholic. I think it's important to recognize that a lot of people died in the Holocaust, from a lot of different places for a lot of different things, but ultimately it all came down to one overarching issue: they weren't 'German' enough. The Holocaust was more about supreme German narcissism than any sort of external prejudice.

 

This his photo, taken as part of the Nazi documentation process. The Nazi's were real good at keeping records.

 

_cyrek.jpg

post #58 of 98

They should be good at record keeping. They contracted IBM to set up their record systems.

post #59 of 98
For those Band of Brothers fans, I just found out Dick Winters died (on the 2nd). One hell of a soldier.

 

post #60 of 98

On hell of a soldier indeed.  I'm very surprised that this did not get more attention.  The man was a hero and the best example of what America can produce.

post #61 of 98

Speaking of courage and valor - I was browsing the list of Victoria Cross (Britain's highest military honour) recipients and came across a few pretty astonishing feats by Gurkha soldiers (Nepalese recruits to the British army) which seem almost larger than fiction itself:

 

Lachhiman Gurung:

 

"On 12/13 May 1945 at Taungdaw, Burma [now Myanmar], Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was manning the most forward post of his platoon which bore the brunt of an attack by at least 200 of the Japanese enemy. Twice he hurled back grenades which had fallen on his trench, but the third exploded in his right hand, blowing off his fingers, shattering his arm and severely wounding him in the face, body and right leg. His two comrades were also badly wounded but the rifleman, now alone and disregarding his wounds, loaded and fired his rifle with his left hand for four hours, calmly waiting for each attack which he met with fire at point blank range. Afterwards, when the casualties were counted, it is reported that there were 31 dead Japanese around his position which he had killed, with only one arm".

 

Bhanbhagta Gurung

 

 

"On 5 March 1945 at Snowdon-East, near Tamandu, Burma (now Myanmar), Gurung and his unit were approaching Snowdon-East. His company became pinned down by an enemy sniper and were suffering casualties. As this sniper was inflicting casualties on the section, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung, being unable to fire from the lying position, stood up fully exposed to the heavy fire and calmly killed the enemy sniper with his rifle, thus saving his section from suffering further casualties.[2]
The section advanced again but came under heavy fire once again. Without waiting for orders, Gurung dashed out to attack the first enemy fox-hole. Throwing two grenades, he killed the two occupants and without any hesitation rushed on to the next enemy fox-hole and killed the Japanese in it with his bayonet. He cleared two further fox-holes with bayonet and grenade. "During his single-handed attacks on these four enemy fox-holes, Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung was subjected to almost continuous and point-blank Light Machine Gun fire from a bunker on the North tip of the objective." For the fifth time, Gurung "went forward alone in the face of heavy enemy fire to knock out this position. He doubled forward and leapt on to the roof of the bunker from where, his hand grenades being finished, he flung two No. 77 smoke grenades into the bunker slit." [2] Gurung killed two Japanese soldiers who ran out of the bunker with his Kukri, and then advanced into the cramped bunker and killed the remaining Japanese soldier.


Gurung ordered three others to take up positions in the bunker. "The enemy counter-attack followed soon after, but under Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung's command the small party inside the bunker repelled it with heavy loss to the-enemy. Rifleman Bhanbhagta Gurung showed outstanding bravery and a complete disregard for his own safety. His courageous clearing of five enemy positions single-handed was in itself decisive in capturing the objective and his inspiring example to the rest of the Company contributed to the speedy consolidation of this success."

 

Tul Bahadur Pun

 

"The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:-

No. 10119 Rifleman Tulbahadur [sic] Pun, 6th Gurkha Rifles, Indian Army.

In Burma on 23 June 1944, a Battalion of the 6th Gurkha Rifles was ordered to attack the Railway Bridge at Mogaung. Immediately the attack developed the enemy opened concentrated and sustained cross fire at close range from a position known as the Red House and from a strong bunker position two hundred yards to the left of it.

So intense was this cross fire that both the leading platoons of 'B' Company, one of which was Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun's, were pinned to the ground and the whole of his Section was wiped out with the exception of himself, the Section commander and one other man. The Section commander immediately led the remaining two men in a charge on the Red House but was at once badly wounded. Rifleman Tulbahadur (sic) Pun and his remaining companion continued the charge, but the latter too was immediately wounded.

Rifleman Tulbahadur Pun then seized the Bren Gun, and firing from the hip as he went, continued the charge on this heavily bunkered position alone, in the face of the most shattering concentration of automatic fire, directed straight at him. With the dawn coming up behind him, he presented a perfect target to the Japanese. He had to move for thirty yards over open ground, ankle deep in mud, through shell holes and over fallen trees.

Despite these overwhelming odds, he reached the Red House and closed with the Japanese occupants. He killed three and put five more to flight and captured two light machine guns and much ammunition. He then gave accurate supporting fire from the bunker to the remainder of his platoon which enabled them to reach their objective.

His outstanding courage and superb gallantry in the face of odds which meant almost certain death were most inspiring to all ranks and beyond praise."

 

 

 

Over the last century the Gurkhas have achieved a legendary status among the British Army for their bravery, steel and humbleness. For this reason they were/are very often assigned the toughest jobs. This loyalty is all the more surprising when you consider that it took until 2009 before they were afforded the same rights as British soldiers (pension, benefits etc.) and offered the option of residency.

 

One other VC story I'll mention is that of Royal Airforce pilot Norman_Cyril_Jackson, who serves as a reminder that human beings are capable of the most extraordinary feats when placed under conditions of extreme stress:

 

 

 

"This airman was the flight engineer in a Lancaster detailed to attack Schweinfurt on the night of 26th April, 1944. Bombs were dropped successfully and the aircraft was climbing out of the target area. Suddenly it was attacked by a fighter at about 20,000 feet. The captain took evading action at once, but the enemy secured many hits. A fire started near a petrol tank on the upper surface of the starboard wing, between the fuselage and the inner engine.

Sergeant Jackson was thrown to the floor during the engagement. Wounds which he received from shell splinters in the right leg and shoulder were probably sustained at that time. Recovering himself, he remarked that he could deal with the fire on the wing and obtained his captain's permission to try to put out the flames.

Pushing a hand fire-extinguisher into the top of his life-saving jacket and clipping on his parachute pack, Sergeant Jackson jettisoned the escape hatch above the pilot's head. He then started to climb out of the cockpit and back along the top of the fuselage to the starboard wing. Before he could leave the fuselage his parachute pack opened and the whole canopy and rigging lines spilled into the cockpit.

Undeterred, Sergeant Jackson continued. The pilot (Tony Mifflin), bomb aimer (Maurice Toft) and navigator (Frank Higgins) gathered the parachute together and held on to the rigging lines, paying them out as the airman crawled aft. Eventually he slipped and, falling from the fuselage to the starboard wing, grasped an air intake on the leading edge of the wing. He succeeded in clinging on but lost the extinguisher, which was blown away.

By this time, the fire had spread rapidly and Sergeant Jackson was involved. His face, hands and clothing were severely burnt. Unable to retain his hold he was swept through the flames and over the trailing edge of the wing, dragging his parachute behind. When last seen it was only partly inflated and was burning in a number of places.

Realising that the fire could not be controlled, the captain gave the order to abandon aircraft. Four of the remaining members of the crew landed safely. The captain and rear gunner have not been accounted for.

Sergeant Jackson was unable to control his descent and landed heavily. He sustained a broken ankle, his right eye was closed through burns and his hands were useless. These injuries, together with the wounds received earlier, reduced him to a pitiable state. At daybreak he crawled to the nearest village, where he was taken prisoner. He bore the intense pain and discomfort of the journey to Dulag Luft with magnificent fortitude. After ten months in hospital he made a good recovery, though his hands require further treatment and are only of limited use.

This airman's attempt to extinguish the fire and save the aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands was an act of outstanding gallantry. To venture outside, when travelling at 200 miles an hour, at a great height and in intense cold, was an almost incredible feat. Had he succeeded in subduing the flames, there was little or no prospect of his regaining the cockpit. The spilling of his parachute and the risk of grave damage to its canopy reduced his chances of survival to a minimum. By his ready willingness to face these dangers he set an example of self-sacrifice which will ever be remembered."

 

post #62 of 98

Ghurkas take care of business. There's sort of been an on-going debate in the UK about the treatment and recognition of Ghurka veterans in recent years. Maybe someone in the UK could elaborate on this, as my recollection of the issue is a bit faded at this point.

post #63 of 98

From what I've read, they've more or less won that right to settle in UK now though I'm not too sure how far along that process has progressed.
Their pension however is still a bit of a problem. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11530333

Their reputation in the field precedes them, so much so that in the Falklands the Argentinians rather surrender(and rightly so) when they found out who they were facing. It also helps that the Gurkha units were hellbent on charging the lines with just their kurkri knives rather than use of their guns. You can imagine how disappointed they were when they saw all these hands up and white flags flailing away before them.

An anecdote  to this story : The British Commander of the Gurkha forces in Falklands was once asked by another officer how he commanded them in the field. "Did you just point them at the Argentines and let them go at it?"
"Hell no!" The Commander replied, "If I did that they wouldn't stop till they hit Chile!"


Back to the WWII topic: Another reason Hitler wanted to avoid engaging the British in the War too much because he had a political ace card packed away. That being the abdicated former King of England Edward VIII, was a nazi sympathizer* and they were actually quite chummy together. Hitler wanted to reinstall Edward back to the throne and gain a friendly ally that way.

That of course wouldn't work if his armies ended up trashing England too much and turn the country irrevocably against him, whoever is at the throne.
Whatever the case Hitler in the end never had the right logistics to mount an invasion of England anyway at the time. Not enough of the right sea going transports.
He had gathered a large amount of river barges but those were never going to survive the channel crossing and the Royal Navy still had a strong presence in the channel. Luftwaffe or not.


*A fact well known by Churchill and the British AND US secret service. It was why he was shipped off to the Bahamas for the duration of the war and was never to hold any official appointment thereafter(He actually was an officer in France when Germany invaded, though he ran off with his wife to Spain the first chance he got). It may also be part of the reason he abdicated as well. Kinda puts the movie "The King's Speech" into a new light doesn't it?

post #64 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strumvogel View Post
*A fact well known by Churchill and the British AND US secret service. It was why he was shipped off to the Bahamas for the duration of the war and was never to hold any official appointment thereafter(He actually was an officer in France when Germany invaded, though he ran off with his wife to Spain the first chance he got). It may also be part of the reason he abdicated as well. Kinda puts the movie "The King's Speech" into a new light doesn't it?

 

Not really, considering that Edward's Nazi sympathies are kind of a blatant point of the movie. 
 

I'm of the Ian Kershaw school of thought that the strength of Hitler and the Nazis as a military unit was largely trumped up. That they were an effective fighting force, but that there own bureaocracy and high ranking infighting would have eventually throttled their Empire without Russian and American intervention. 

post #65 of 98
Thread Starter 

 

Some interesting WW2 discussion in some of these BBC history podcasts, especially the interviews with survivors of the blitz from June 2010.  They should be downloadable outside the UK:

 

http://www.historyextra.com/podcast-page

 

 

post #66 of 98

 

My father's step father was in the navy on a cruiser. The only WWII story he talked about was being in Typhoon Cobra.

 

 

My mothers father was a transport pilot in the pacific. The only story he told was, once being lost over the pacific, because of being giving bad coordinates, a hairy story in itself. My grandmother told me he had metals form being caught in more then one air rad, but never talked about them. From a man who had stories from his time on the minute man system, he the one who got them to 'work'( his onion of what a nuclear exchange would have been in the 70s and 80s, would have made a great Black comedy. Basically the US would have been lucky if ½ their missile found their targets, then the question of how many warheads would have detonated . The Russians had more to fear from their own weapon systems then the did from ours, the US would not even have to return fire to win that war). He also had some hairy stories about his time with McDonnell Douglas aircraft salvage teams.

 

 

I have known a navy Pear Harbor survivor, a Marine, and a UDT out side the family. The sailor had no real problem talking about the war. The Marine was in the 1st, and you could get him to talk about the "Frozen Chosin" but not Okinawa. The UDT guy had wounds on his neck and face, were he got bayonet in the neck and face on some island by a Imperial Japanese Marine( a bad motherfucker if there ever was one), and left for dead. He then swam back to his ship. He like most UDTs had a life long problem with heroin.

post #67 of 98

The Atlantic has a fantastic (and massive) 20-part photo retrospective of WWII up on their website:

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/ww2.html

post #68 of 98
My grandfather received a Purple Heart on Okinawa and had some shrapnel in his leg until the day he died. He refused to tell anyone about what he saw there.
post #69 of 98

I met Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, years ago when I was living in Minot Air Force Base in ND. Paul and a couple of the crewmen were promoting a book about the mission to Hiroshima. I can't remember the name of the book, but my dad bought it and they autographed it. Really nice bunch of gentlemen. They shook our hands and talked to us for a few minutes. It's because of them I took interest in WWII.

post #70 of 98

My three uncles (mothers brothers) fought for the Japanese Army in WWII. They all came home. I am half Japanese.

My two great uncles (my dad's uncles) fought for the Allies. My Great Uncle Guido was 82nd Airborne and was wounded jumping on D-Day. My Great Uncle Carlo (Cullo) landed at Anzio Beach. Weird world.

 

Also aside: My Uncle Thomas died in Vietnam in the 3rd Marines. My dad was Navy. My Uncle Nick was Army. My son is currently in the 1st Infantry Div. and just got back from his 2nd deployment to Iraq. Will probably be his last there. Going to Afghanistan next I guess. Oh yeah I served in the Army back when Stripes was relevant. My family is pretty liberal and every generation has worn a uniform. My Aunt Nancy was a hippie tho.

post #71 of 98
Thread Starter 

What if Pearl Harbor never happened?  A controversial view, to say the least.   Ferguson has a point, even if as usual it's not tactfully put.  I can't get on board with these "FDR knew about it all along theories" though.   I don't think Churchill was too upset though.

 

 

post #72 of 98

In the last week or so, I just happened to catch on TV, episode 9 (Stalingrad) of "The World at War" series, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier. It's been some time since I'd seen any of the series, it's one of the things that would make me consider buying a Blu-Ray player.

 

http://www.theworldatwar.com/

post #73 of 98

One of the all time best documentaries, regardless of subject.

post #74 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by stelios View Post

One of the all time best documentaries, regardless of subject.



Agreed. It's absolutely exceptional.

post #75 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan View Post

In the last week or so, I just happened to catch on TV, episode 9 (Stalingrad) of "The World at War" series, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier. It's been some time since I'd seen any of the series, it's one of the things that would make me consider buying a Blu-Ray player.

 

http://www.theworldatwar.com/



When I was like 11, we had a cool history teacher who would show us episodes of this during class. Still get chills from that amazing, haunting theme.

 

 

post #76 of 98

Always wanted the World at War on DVD..now..I want it on Blu Ray

post #77 of 98
Thread Starter 
post #78 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disciple_72 View Post





When I was like 11, we had a cool history teacher who would show us episodes of this during class. Still get chills from that amazing, haunting theme.



Oh man, why did you do that? I I have to go find it and re-watch it.

 

post #79 of 98
Thread Starter 

Fascinating article on Turing, the genius mathematician and code-breaker.  Written for the 50th anniversary V.E.  day celebrations:

 

http://www.turing.org.uk/publications/stimes.html

post #80 of 98

There is almost no story that pisses me off like Turing's. There you have a man who did more for the Allied victory than any hundred of VC awarded soldiers (not trying to diminish anyone's accomplishment but come on) only to have the British government shit down his throat so hard they forced him to kill himself.

post #81 of 98
Thread Starter 

He was certainly persecuted, but his death may have been accidental:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18561092

 

Prof Copeland believes the alternative explanation made at the time by Turing's mother is equally likely.  Turing had cyanide in his house for chemical experiments he conducted in his tiny spare room - the nightmare room he had dubbed it.  He had been electrolysing solutions of the poison, and electroplating spoons with gold, a process that requires potassium cyanide. Although famed for his cerebral powers, Turing had also always shown an experimental bent, and these activities were not unusual for him.

But Turing was careless, Prof Copeland argues.  The electrolysis experiment was wired into the ceiling light socket.  On another occasion, an experiment had resulted in severe electric shocks.  And he was known for tasting chemicals to identify them.  Perhaps he had accidentally put his apple into a puddle of cyanide.

Or perhaps, more likely, he had accidentally inhaled cyanide vapours from the bubbling liquid.

Prof Copeland notes that the nightmare room had a "strong smell" of cyanide after Turing's death; that inhalation leads to a slower death than ingestion; and that the distribution of the poison in Turing's organs was more consistent with inhalation than with ingestion. 

post #82 of 98
Thread Starter 
Interesting discussion on electronic warfare in WW2. It's the most recent podcast in the list:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/twftr


The Junkers of Woodbridge Airfield
Wed, 4 Jul 12
Through the story of a German night fighter captured in Suffolk, Michael Portillo remembers the crucial electronic war waged between the Axis and the Allies.

In July 1944 the crew of a Junkers JU88 night fighter, lost and without fuel, emergency landed their plane on an RAF airfield in Suffolk. This gift from the skies provided British Air Intelligence with the latest German radar secrets. Throughout the war a technological see-saw had been underway with each side trying to gain the the advantage in radar detection and evasion equipment. The radar technology in this particular night fighter explained why large numbers of British bombers were being shot down from the rear and the RAF aircraft were quickly modified as a result.

Alongside distinguished historians and veterans of RAF Bomber Command, Michael pieces together the story of that fateful night. He also explores how it illuminates the vital - yet lesser known - battle front of electronic warfare
post #83 of 98
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluelouboyle View Post

Interesting discussion on electronic warfare in WW2. It's the most recent podcast in the list:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/twftr
The Junkers of Woodbridge Airfield
Wed, 4 Jul 12
Through the story of a German night fighter captured in Suffolk, Michael Portillo remembers the crucial electronic war waged between the Axis and the Allies.
In July 1944 the crew of a Junkers JU88 night fighter, lost and without fuel, emergency landed their plane on an RAF airfield in Suffolk. This gift from the skies provided British Air Intelligence with the latest German radar secrets. Throughout the war a technological see-saw had been underway with each side trying to gain the the advantage in radar detection and evasion equipment. The radar technology in this particular night fighter explained why large numbers of British bombers were being shot down from the rear and the RAF aircraft were quickly modified as a result.
Alongside distinguished historians and veterans of RAF Bomber Command, Michael pieces together the story of that fateful night. He also explores how it illuminates the vital - yet lesser known - battle front of electronic warfare

 

It's a little-known fact that toward the end of WWII Bond creator, Iain Flemming, lead a top-secret unit of special forces, safe-crackers and scientists which charged about Europe trying to locate secret Nazi technology, looted art treasures(*) and gold. Ostensibly this was under the control of Eisenhower, but the reality is they were competing with similar units from France, the US and Russia. Thankfully, together they managed to locate and (eventually) return most of Western Europe's greatest artworks. But the truth remains that trillions of dollars of currency, gold, silver etc. was spirited away into secret Swiss bank accounts, Spain and South America. In terms of technology, Flemming helped secure vital u-boat secrets for Britain whilst the Americans were eager to get their hands on Nazi rocketry and scientists such as Werner von Braun and Walther Dornberger. Unfortunately the allies were already thinking ahead towards future rivalry with the Soviets. The Germans had been fighting the Soviets for years and so - to their shame - they provided safe haven to a crowd of Gestapo killers and SS psychopaths (such as Klaus Barbie and Rheinhard Ghelen) as part of Operation Paperclip toward the same aim. 

 

* IIRC, the Guinness Book of Records still lists the disappearance of Hermann Goering's art collection (itself looted from all quarters of Europe) as the biggest robbery in history. 

post #84 of 98
Thread Starter 
The unkillable soldier. A fascinating life

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30685433
post #85 of 98

post #86 of 98
Thread Starter 
post #87 of 98

The "British Schindler" Sir Nicholas Winton died yesterday.  He was 106.

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-33350880

 

This man saved 669 children destined for Nazi Concentration Camps and never told anyone about what he did until his wife found out in 1988.  

 

You don't get a better example of heroism than that.  Rest in Peace, Sir.

post #88 of 98
It was only after my maternal grandfather passed away last October that I learned that he worked at the Oak Ridge facility in Tennessee during the heyday of the Manhattan Project. I did know that he later worked at the General Dynamics shipyard in Connecticut when the Nautilus was built. I'm learning now that his and my grandmother's retirements were largely financed by stipends he was awarded for developing engineering breakthroughs that the government thought were too good to declassify and let him patent. I never heard a word about any of this from him.
post #89 of 98
Thread Starter 
A long lost Nazi gold train may have been found in Poland. Live updates!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/11826840/Nazi-gold-train-found-in-Poland-live.html
post #90 of 98
Thread Starter 
post #91 of 98
Thread Starter 
post #92 of 98

That's a neat idea. Stuff like that really provides useful context for understanding these events.

post #93 of 98

That was a really great read.

post #94 of 98

Poland 'co-responsible' for WWII says Russian ambassador

 

I seem to remember a certain country that signed a pact with Hitler right before WW2 who can be argued is far more co-responsible for that war.

post #95 of 98

What the shit?

 

Did Stalin's spirit rise from the grave?

post #96 of 98
Thread Starter 
post #97 of 98
Thread Starter 
Fascinating. Real story behind the Great Escape:
http://s.telegraph.co.uk/graphics/projects/great-escape/index.html
post #98 of 98
Thread Starter 
22,000 soldiers died 100 years ago today, the first day of the Somme:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/first-day-somme-timeline-how-8318629#ICID=sharebar_twitter
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