1944 or '45

10

Hell in My Hands

“Today I was able to hold and photograph something that absolutely stopped me in my tracks. One person I shared this with said "you had hell in your hands” He was right. I hope the hero who died with this at his side went quickly.

This is so representative of what the heroes of WWII went through…. . Not only in the Pacific theatre, but the German front also. This was Bastogne in 1944. It’s in a friends private collection and it took some doing to be able to photograph it. I was shaking when I handed it back. I took these photos today.. A gentleman I know was kind enough to allow me that privilege. 

Often times we get so caught up in the gun we forget the sacrifices. This one really brings it home. It is believed that the this damage is from artillery fire. This weapon was very likely holstered at the time, and the soldier was facing the explosion. I can’t begin to tell you how powerful of a sentiment this raised in my heart to hold this.

I shared this in a few historical groups I belong to, so some of you have already seen this, but it’s just too powerful of an artifact not to share with the rest of you. Today I held hell in my hands.“


Credit to Daniel MacMurray on Facebook.

A little story about how much of a fucking mess WW2 was in France

France in WW2 was a fucking mess. In the late stages of the war the whole country was occupied, the Resistance was blowing shit up, the Nazis were killing people in retaliation, and the Yankees were just bombing the shit out of them in return. Unfortunately the messiest part was yet to come, somehow.

where I buy my ties right after it was liberated c.1944

One problem about the liberation of Alsace is that in in the 1940′s a great deal of the population was still born and raised in the 40 years of German occupation prior to WW1. Although that alone wouldn’t have been much of a factor, in the interwar era France’s government took on an increasingly left-wing stance, with the Front Populaire introducing many such things as paid leaves and 40-hours weeks. As any French person will tell you, Alsace was and still is somewhat of a right-wing bastion, which meant that unfortunately a bunch of assholes became heartfelt supporters of the fascist regime.
One of these persons, that saw socialism as a bunch of hippie communist decadent libertarian bullshit, was regrettably a pastor in Mulhouse. When the Allied forces came he of course didn’t lose any time and bailed to… the United States.
Apparently that worked out fine for him too. Go figure.

Anyway only one guy was left in the building that housed his church, probably keeping an eye on things while everyone was away. Now two accounts of what happened subsist to this day, and they’re a very good illustration of what kind of messy mess the situation was. The less official version is that as Allied forces liberated the city, soldiers of the FFI came looking for that dickish pastor. They found the guy in his place and assumed he was either lying to cover his identity or a collaborator anyway, and thus they killed him.
It was not uncommon in these days for illegal tribunals to be held in various cities, before order was restored under De Gaulle’s provisional government, and many proven or alleged collaborators found their death without proper trial in 1944 and 1945. In fact this kind of actions were somewhat endorsed by the military, with the famous general Leclerc himself being known for having killed French SS prisoners of war.

the omnipresent 1940′s version of the 4chan party van

The second, official account has it that some of the American soldiers, who were stationed on the grounds of the church - now a frozen food store and a bank, decided to go on a-looting. They wandered into the building and found the wine cellar that any Frenchman worth their salt had back in the days, and got drunk on it. The guy heard the commotion and came down to address the issue, things got heated and the GI’s shot him.
I’m not sure considering the other account how much we can trust this one, as it’s incredibly more convenient for France’s image to have the Americans be the culprit, but unfortunately this kind of incident was far from uncommon as the liberation went on. Even by 1946, there remained one and a half million Allied soldiers awaiting return beyond the sea that had been told in newspaper during their whole interwar years that France was super cool and full of bitches and wine and shit. Thousands of complaints of rape and crimes were reported, with citizens of the major harbor of le Havre protesting against “a regime of terror, imposed by bandits in uniform.“

where I post my mail right after it was liberated c.1944

This among other things is why France wasn’t all that much aligned with the US after WW2, compared to say the UK. This just goes to show just how fucking terrible this war was for most people involved, but also for the countries where the fighting actually happened.
For instance I heard of this story because I live in that same building and I knew some people of the guy’s family. Kind of why I save my jokes and admiration for WW1, everyone’s dead already so who cares.

there’s only so many world wars the landscape can take

“View of operation of the flight deck of the carrier Yorktown (CV-10) in the Pacific during World War II with F6F Hellcat, TBF/TBM Avenger, and SB2C Helldiver aircraft visible. Note the F6F on the aircraft elevator.” 1944-’45.

(National Museum of Naval Aviation: NNAM.1996.488.210.049)

4

Sturmkampfgewehr or StKG

Break-action, shortened Karabiner 98k 26,5mm grenade laucher, first thought up in late-WW2 Nazi Germany, possibly 1943.
Kind of an upgrade to the flare gun based Sturmpistole, this smoothbore carbine was designed to fire the same Wurfkörper 326 LP and and 326 LP n.A. grenades (LP stands for Leuchtpistole/flare gun) and thus fill a light anti-tank purpose in the urban warfare of 1944/45.
Some where manufactured then, others after the war, notably in Norway from .30-06 conversion Karabiner, and the authenticity of many of these weapons are contestable today.
One thing that’s not contestable is how fucking badass it looks though.

2

The Rocket Launcher T34 (Calliope) was a tank-mounted multiple rocket launcher used by the United States Army during World War II. The launcher was placed atop the M4 Sherman, and fired a barrage of 4.5 in (114 mm) M8 rockets from 60 launch tubes. It was developed in 1943; small numbers were produced and were used by various US armor units in 1944-45. It adopts its name from the musical instrument “Calliope”, also known as the steam organ, which had similarly lined pipes.

Note the little “hood ornament” on the second tank.