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A Soldier Strips the Romance Out of Life at War

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by JCFalkenbergIII, May 31, 2008.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    "On May 10, 1940, the Germans launched their Blitzkrieg on Holland and Belgium. On that day Flight Lieutenant Bill Simpson took off in his Fairey Battle aircraft to attack a large German column reportedly moving through Luxembourg.
    'Suddenly there was a heavy thud and flames poured from the engine. There was a series of sickening crunches and we stopped,' he recalled as he belly-landed the aircraft. 'Great sheets of searing flames rushed between my legs and up to 30ft above me. I couldn't disentangle the straps because my scorched hands were completely useless and a tremendous white heat enveloped me.
    'It was impossible for me to escape from my trap by my own efforts, so I let my hands drop to my knees and curled myself up, waiting for the release of death. My mind was full of a bloodcurdling scream; but no sound came. If it had it might have relieved the shock.'
    Just in time his crew appeared through the flames, tugging at harness straps that had already burned through but they couldn't disguise their shock at his appearance. He looked at his scorched hands: 'I stared at them with an unbelieving terror. . . What would my wife say? 'The skin hung from them like long icicles. The fingers were curled and pointed, like the claws of a great wild bird - distorted, pointed at the ends like talons, ghostly thin. What would I do now? What use would these paralysed talons be to me for the rest of my life?' "

    Blood, guts and modesty: 70 years after the start of WWII, a new book records the moving and humorous accounts of a generation of British heroes | Mail Online
     
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  2. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    "Coldstream Guardsman Bill Weeks described the chaos as the infantry tried to protect the retreating army. 'Not only were you crying, you were probably sick as well and you had probably messed yourself as well with sheer fright! It was unbelievable!

    'You can't explain it really - you're petrified. Bang! Crash! This stuff whistling all around you and you're thinking: "What's going on here?"'
    He remembered his friend Ernie Costa, 'a local who came from Governments Lane and who died in my arms. He was smoking when he got hit and the cigarette was dangling from his lip and burning him.'
    'The only thing that bothered me were the bits of flesh, arms and legs that had been hit by shellfire and sort of disintegrated. You don't want an anonymous missing in action label. That's why you wear your dog tags. It has your name and rank and number - who you are. He may have been decapitated but it's still around "
     
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  3. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    JC,

    Thanks for keeping this thread alive. Stories about the reality of war are so important. I hope you always keep this going.

    Hopefully this reaches the "Gamers" of the X-Box fame.
    Not so "cool" when men faced their fears in real life.
     
  4. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Thanks Steve. I will certainly do so. Especially in hopes to both show what war is really like and to honor those who had to go though what happened. Those who survied and those who didn't.
     
  5. 36thID

    36thID Member

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    Just think how many thousands of stories are out there ?!
     
  6. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    [​IMG] A German soldier taken prisoner during a German counterattack on the 4th Canadian Armoured Division, Sogel, Germany, 10 April 1945.


    This young German doesn't look so different from a holocaust survivor.....
     
  7. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    [​IMG]
    "Close-up of a Jerry prisoner captured near Otterloo" after a German counter-attack towards Otterloo, in an attempt to cut the 5th Canadian Division spearhead. 17 Apr. 1945, Otterloo, The Netherlands.
     
  8. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    Gentelmen:

    If I may add to the Majors letter as an addendum the bile of fear that rises in you throat as you move from your foxhole to the fighting formation in open country. The raging thurst as you canteen run dry. The numbing fear when one of your men dropps from a bullet in the head. All the unspeakable things you carry in yor memory for the rest of your like. Sic transiet Gloris.

    As Ever,

    Walter L. Marlowe
    ( Airborne all the Way)
     
  9. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    There are some experiences that can never ever be conveyed through words.
     
  10. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    This communist spy smiles as his last defiance before being executed.


    [​IMG]
     
  11. D1J1

    D1J1 Member

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    Has it ever been any different for the young? The call to arms is a call, however false, to great adventure and glory for the rest of their lives. Hopefully the statements here will do some good.

    It would however do more good for politicans to read them and take them to heart. I'm not holding my breath for that.:(

    Regards,
    Dennis
     
  12. ChaoS

    ChaoS Member

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    Good letter.

    I realize that unless I experience, I can never even remotely comprehend.

    I would prefer NOT to experience though....
     
  13. MarcFD

    MarcFD recruit

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    Although i see the point in this thread

    I dont feel it is completely right just to dwell on the harshness of the war

    Alot of you have almost spit on the name of war, (and i do unerstand that it is a dirty game) I think there could have been some good in the war.


    Maybe the places that soldiers have visited, friends that have been make, wearing a full soldiers uniform, getting a medal or badge, ect


    I have a grandfather that was a very young german soldier when he enlisted (he was 14, but lied about his age)

    In one story he told me (he doesnt like to talk about war) He was apparently stationed near a highway that went through a mountain line. He was equipped with a few panzerfausts, and a maschinegewehr 34 or 42(i forget)
    There was a spearhead of American tanks that was rolling forward (i think he said about 15 or so were coming) and he didnt have much backup along with who was with.

    But he said in the distance from behind him, a tiger tank came rolling forward(minutes before all hell would break loose).
    (he also said it was one of the most heart warming sights, to see the tiger tank rolling toward this spear head of shermans approaching)

    One by one he would hear the loud "boom" sound of the shells being fired. The first one was a direct hit to a sherman. The second missed, but as the tiger kept firing, he could see the sherman tanks being hit by the shells.

    In the end, all shermans were knocked off and the tiger tank rolled off back away.

    He believes one of the operators of the tiger was Michael Whittman

    Some people may not believe in most war stories (I for example have heard alot of BS from some people telling stories, but i try to keep an open mind).
    He is a very smart man and is still alive today
    I may try and convince him to go to a war vet meeting, you never know what could happen there. :p



    So if there are any stories that could shed the tiniest bit of light on war, id like to hear it. :)

    Edit:!
    also if anyone knows maybe where this story took place, id like to know(all he said really was that it was an important highway, and it cut straight through a mountain line, so its not much useful info)

    I havnt asked my grandpa yet, but i dont like asking him about war every time he see's me
    I think it would hurt me, if someone kept asking me about parts of a difficult time during my life.
     
  14. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    You should try to assert yourself as not trying to make him dwell on the past, but rather him teaching you about a situation that he took the burdon to live through. You should ask him if he can spare a few hours to talk and put a voice recorder on a table and ask him to tell you his beggining to his end. That way his story could live on through the ages.

    Most veterans are quite old now and I understand that there are many Germans who feel shamed about their service. I am sure he would feel appreciative of you if you acted in a diplomatic manner and took away all the Politics.
     
  15. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    [​IMG]

    An italian soldier killed in action in North Africa, a photo of his child in the right hand.
     
  16. Totenkopf

    Totenkopf אוּרִיאֵל

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    [​IMG]

    italian soldier pointing a bullet hole on his helmet (russia 1941)
     
  17. 1986CamaroZ28

    1986CamaroZ28 Member

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    These are my top 3 picks for best pictures that show what war is like.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    vietnam agent orange - Google Images

    ^Agent Orange pictures are scary as hell too.

    Sowwy if these pix are too graphic
     
  18. tablesaw

    tablesaw Member

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    BEYOND WOW ! JC thanks for shareing this Letter . I think we don't say "THANK YOU " enough to our veterans for their service and sacrifice !

    BEST REGARDS
    tablesaw
     
  19. W Marlowe

    W Marlowe WWII Veteran

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    Someone asked the question if there was any good came out of war, I offer a small event to the world but a large event to me. I was still on active duty when I went to see the Registrar of the Unversity I waanted to attend in 1946. I found out much laater that the lady that became my wife saw me entering the office in my military glory aand was impressed. Among my ribbons were the Legion of Merir ,Two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, Two Commendation Medals, and an Air Medal. These were topped by a Combat Infaantry Badge and a Parachute Badge wioth two Bronze Stars.

    I never learned what kind of impression this made. But I believe that her view of me uniform had some effect.

    As Ever,

    Walter L. Marlowe

    ( ASirborne all the Way):)
     
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  20. Brom

    Brom Member

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    That's a good read. I guess, if we didn't have the innate tendancy to glamourise war, then there wouldn't be any. It's human nature to block out not being able to wash for weeks, to have constant, nagging pains, to think about having to "do your business" in a bit of clingfilm and stow it in your bergen, to feel the deadness of futility when you are exposed to it all, week after week, month after month.

    When you really think about it, what the older generations achieved (Going all over the globe, surviving in jungles, deserts, mountains etc. fighting, all the rest, then coming back to civvy street and not being completely crazy) was an amazing feat of human endurance.

    They sure bred 'em tough back then! :)
     

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